Becoming Me in 111 Words



Army brat in a critical household

My heart full of anger

Alone and lonely

Why bother?



Conservative college student, trapped again

Rebel by school’s end

Discovering new worlds

Finding life!


Migrant worker- me!

Migrant farm laborer

From Florida to Washington State

Seeing racism up close

Ready to make a difference.



Married Al and had two beautiful babies

– was unprepared and overwhelmed,

divorce and chronic fatigue left me

feeling empty, alone, beaten down.


Me, Pam, Elaine2

Enter Jean, Elaine and Pam

Learned to parent myself and my children

Mentors’ teachings will last forever

I am whole.


What Love Means to Me

Enter Amma

In her music I find Joy

In her arms I find Home

In her mission I find Purpose.


Written for Dungeon Prompts: Becoming You in 111 Words


Live to Work or Work to Live?

Chai as Baby
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

While there are days when I am tired or discouraged that I may think that I work in order to be able to buy the things I need to live, I know that isn’t really true.  I have no doubt that I live to work.  I  have been a psychotherapist since 1987.  My primary modality is group therapy based on a developmental model that includes the concept of “inner children.”  I believe that one of the most important elements in healing is for clients to learn how to parent those vulnerable “children” inside of themselves.

Most people start therapy because they are depressed and/or anxious.  They may have learned to cover their pain with addictive behaviors such over-working, over-thinking, eating disorders or substance abuse.  They frequently have trouble in relationships and often feel alone and lonely.  Past traumas may cause them to experience flashbacks.  They often have poor self esteem and think they are unworthy and will never be good enough.  They may be very critical of themselves and others.

Continue reading “Live to Work or Work to Live?”

“I will be responsible and accountable for my feelings, thoughts, actions and attitudes.”

Photo Credit: Fritz Reitz

When a friend showed me a picture of this rock, I thought of a one of the self care contracts* that I use in my personal life and with my psychotherapy clients.  That contract is “I am responsible and accountable for my thoughts, feelings, actions and attitudes.”

It is not uncommon to hear people in our society make comments such as, “You hurt my feelings.” and “You made me do that.”  You…….you….you.  When we get into the “you’s” we are more than likely not being responsible and accountable for our own feelings, thoughts, actions and attitudes.  Using that way of speaking increases the chances we will immerse ourselves in victim thinking and as a result experience a sense of powerlessness.

I’m not saying that people who are nasty and viscous in their words and actions should not be responsible for what they say and do.  Continue reading ““I will be responsible and accountable for my feelings, thoughts, actions and attitudes.””

Love Yourself, Love Others



During the last two months, I have been invited by two blogging sisters (SeasonedSistha2 and Tournesol Dans Un Jardin) to write ten four-word sentences about love.  The form of the challenges were different, so I decided to do it my own way!  Here are the sentences that came to my mind:


Love has many forms

Love through a smile
Love through a word
Love through a touch
Love through a look

 Love heals painful wounds
Love leads to happiness
Love helps build communities
Love can transform evil

 Love yourself, Love others


What four-word sentences about love would you like to add?


Recovering from Over-Doing


In this week’s Dungeon Prompt, Sreejit asks us to fill in the blank in this sentence:  “I am a Recovering _________.” There was no doubt in my mind what the behavior would be for me. Using the Alcoholics Anonymous introduction, I will say: “Hi!  I am Karuna, and I am a recovering over-doer.”

As I thought about how I would present this topic, I decided to create a new disorder. My fictitious disorder is called “Being versus Doing Disorder.”

The Being vs Doing disorder is on a continuum where the center, a balance between being and doing, is the healthy portion of the continuum. The more someone moves to either end of the continuum, the more likely it is they will have dysfunction in their lives.

When I think of the over-being end of the continuum I think of non-productivity, passivity, and lack of motivation. I don’t know as much about that part of the spectrum since I have almost no personal experience there. I have seen it at work in clients and friends though.

Over-doing has many facets. It commonly begins in childhood when the only or main way to get positive attention from parents is to do impressive things. It also develops when parents criticize their children anytime they are relaxing or are doing things the parents consider nonproductive.

As a result, adults with an over-doing disorder may be seeking validation and praise for what they accomplish. An over-doer is also likely to be a rescuer. As such, they do things they aren’t asked to do and are likely to do things they don’t want to do. In addition, they do more than their share of the work that needs to be done and do things for other people that they could do for themselves. Those with this “disorder’ are likely to over-commit and seem incapable of being still.

Over-doing has been a major characteristic of my adult life. At one point, I was raising two children, working three jobs, doing my personal therapy and in school studying for a PhD.   During my therapy, I realized I didn’t want a PhD, I was just seeking attention from the father, who had disowned me.  I stopped my schooling but was still overdoing. Before long, I began to experience extreme exhaustion and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

With CFS, I was in survival mode and it was impossible for me to do as much as I had been doing, although I still tried to.  When it began dissipating after five years, I went back to over doing. There is no doubt that a part of me believed it was only acceptable for me to stop if I was sick.  Eventually I developed high blood pressure and other physical problems.

I reached a point where I had to cut back on all of my commitments. Nowadays, I am putting my emphasis on doing the things I want to do, and am saying no to many requests.  I still have trouble with “simply being” but I no longer am into major over-doing.   I hope some day I will be much closer to the center of the being-doing continuum.

I have realized a behavior that really fueled my over-doing disorder was the desire to be “in the know.” That puts me in the place of being asked for information that I don’t want to share, which then creates stress, whether I share it or not. As I continue to slow down, I am finding myself holder of less information. I am loving responding to requests with “I’m not in that loop anymore. You will have to ask someone else.”

I learned many skills during my over-doing years.  Last week friends of mine were in a life and death crisis and I stepped in to help immediately.  There is a time and place for those skills, but it takes discrimination to use them correctly.  In that instance, I have no doubt that my choices were appropriate.

I am very committed to my recovery from over-doing. While I may find myself immersed in the old behaviors from time to time, I don’t think I will ever be drawn so deep into them again. I see what I am doing  much sooner and and change course when needed.

In evaluating myself on the scale found in Portia Nelson’s Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters, I find I am in generally in Chapter 4 or 5.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.


Every time I walk around an invitation to over-do or avoid putting myself in the situation where I know I am going to be tempted, I consider my choice worthy of celebration!  I am truly movig towards a life of balance.


Do you have a “Being vs Doing” disorder? Where do you fall on the continuum? How does it disrupt your life? Do you consider yourself in recovery?



Quote of the Week: André Gide

André Gide
Photo Credit: Wikimedia



One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.

— André Gide





André Paul Guillaume Gide (22 November 1869- 19 February 1951) was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947.

Quote from: Les faux-monnayeurs [The Counterfeiters] (1925)


Quote of the Week: Wayne Muller

Wayne Muller


Allow yourself to play with the freedom that comes from being ordinary and nobody special.  The pressure is off.  You can relax.  Nothing special is expected of you.  Nobody is watching.  Why should they?  You are just an ordinary child of the earth.  Perfectly unexceptional, perfect just as you are.



from Legacy of the Heart:  The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood by Wayne Muller, Simon and Schuster, 1992, page 84.


What Self-Love Means

I found this incredible post about self-love today.  I am sending it to all of my psychotherapy clients, and thought many of you would find it valuable as well.
I am republishing it with permission from You can find the original post here.”
What Self-Love Means: 20+ Ways to Be Good to Yourself
by Banu Sekendur

Heart-with-Hands“Self-love requires you to be honest about your current choices and thought patterns and undertake new practices that reflect self-worth.” ~Caroline Kirk

If one more person told me to go love myself I was going to levitate into the air and pull one of those impossible martial arts moves from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I was sick of it!

What the heck does loving myself mean? Were they talking about bubble baths, pedicures, and cucumber masks? It turns out there is so much more to self-love than just pampering ourselves. I found this out the hard way. Continue reading “What Self-Love Means”