Just in time for Valentine’s Day. Please enjoy my recipe for Love Soup!

Follow this recipe to create a truly healing and nurturing soup—almost as good as grandma’s.  Prepare the recipe just for yourself, or make extra to share with your friends and loved ones.  Either way I promise you’ll be feeling the love.


  1. Start with your favorite soup recipe—or find a new one.  If you don’t like soup, substitute another, heathy-ish, comfort food.  Make sure it’s something that you find truly delicious and feel good about feeding yourself.
  2. Prepare the kitchen by removing as much mess and clutter as it takes you to feel comfortable in your workspace.  Remember that you are cleaning for yourself. If the process starts to seem like a chore, it means that you’ve done enough.  Prefer working in a messy environment?  Then feel free to leave things as they are, or even mess things up a bit before proceeding.
  3. Set the mood by lighting candles, playing your favorite tunes, opening or closing the shades.   Whatever it takes to bring some more fun, peace, and pleasure into your kitchen.
  4. Take out the ingredients and set them up on the counter. Remember that gratitude is a form of love.  So take a moment to really honor and appreciate the bounty that is before you.  If you are missing an ingredient, no worries. You can always substitute something else and/or try a different recipe.  Cooking, like life, is a creative process and sometimes you just have to make do with the ingredients you have on hand.
  5. As you begin preparing the meal, try and stay present and positive.  If you enjoy cooking, you can then focus on how much fun you are having and how great it feels to take the time to do something that you truly enjoy.  If cooking isn’t usually your thing—that’s OK too.  Feel free to cut any corners in your recipe (e.g., use precut or frozen veggies, precooked chicken), and focus instead on how good it feels to be taking the time to do something positive and nurturing for yourself.
  6. As you work, imagine yourself channeling love, light, and life force energy into the food.  It might help to think about someone for whom you care deeply or about a time when you felt joyful and at peace.
  7. While the food cooks, be sure to smell the aromas, take in the beautiful colors of the vegetables swirling around in the pot, and think about just how yummy the finished product will taste—and how loved and nourished you will feel while you are eating it.
  8. Set the table with your most beautiful dishes and linens. Add flowers, candles, and any other flourishes that you find pleasing (unless this seems like another chore, in which case you can skip this part).
  9. Serve, eat, and feel the love.  You deserve it!

Attaining your goals for 2014

Resolution time is here again.  This is the time of year when so many of us start out with great intentions to transform ourselves and our lives only to find ourselves falling back on old habits and behavior patterns.  Here are some tips for making this year’s resolutions stick.

  • Define your goals.  The more general the goal the harder it is to manifest.  Be as specific as possible.  Refine diffuse goals like “getting healthier” and “being a better parent” into more concrete actions like adding a daily serving of vegetables to your diet or reserving an hour a week to spend some quality time with each child.
  • Start small.  People often bite off much more than they can chew and then get discouraged when their initial plans fail. By focusing on small, easily obtainable goals we are more likely to experience immediate success that will help us stick with our longer-term goals.
  • Focus on one goal at a time.  Research suggests that willpower is a limited commodity that can become quickly depleted when we try to make too many changes at once.
  • Turn your “shoulds” into “wants.”  Oftentimes, we set goals based on what we think we should do, rather than what we truly want.  Yet, we are far more motivated to achieve our goals when we feel a sense of personal investment.  When setting a goal ask yourself, why do I want this?  What’s in it for me?  What do will I gain from making these changes in my life?  You can even create a list of positive benefits to help you stay focused when your will power wanes or when you find yourself settling back into old behavioral patterns.
  • Use your imagination.  Many of us can easily think of reasons why our plans will fail.  These negative thoughts keep our attention focused on obstacles rather than the pathway to success.  To counter this tendency try imagining that you have already reached your goals.   You can also visualize yourself completing each of the steps you will take to get there.  Notice any resistance that comes up as this may help you identify any real or imagined obstacles to achieving your goals.
  • Identify conflicting goals and limiting beliefs.  Perhaps you want to lose weight but don’t want to stop eating the foods that you love.  Or you want to change jobs but feel you are too old to compete in the marketplace. Once we have identified what is limiting us we can work towards resolution.  Sometimes it is as simple as reframing, such as remembering that age brings maturity, wisdom, social connections and experience qualities that are definite assets on any job search.  Other times we may need to adjust our plans such as choosing a weight loss strategy that allows for small portions of your favorite foods.
  • Shine a light on your unconscious mind.  Often times the biggest obstacles to change lie just beyond the boundaries of consciousness.   A trained psychotherapist can help you to begin to identify unconscious beliefs and behavior patterns that may be getting in the way of your reaching your goals.

Hang in there!  Life is all about trail and error.  Rather than thinking of setbacks as “failures,” treat them as opportunities to learn and to grow.

On Endings

The only thing that is constant is change. – Heraclitus

As the year nears it’s end what better time to reflect on the role of endings in our life. Endings are both final and perpetual in that each ending ushers in a new beginning and each new beginning necessitates the end of that which came before. I contemplate this truth each morning when I practice the ancient meditation ritual of Kirtan Kriya which involves chanting the five primal sounds saa (infinity, cosmos, beginnings), taa (life, experience), naa (death, change, transformation), and maa (rebirth). This practice teaches me that each moment in time is both an ending and a new beginning. And that the more I can make peace with the inevitable cycle of creation, the better able I am to live fully. Perhaps, this is why as I prepare to leave my position at Westport Family Counseling to pursue new opportunities, rather than grief for what I will lose, I feel a faint restlessness for what will come next. For me endings are exciting in that they are always a prelude to something new.

Of course, endings may also bring a sense of loss. And many of my clients find their way into therapy to process such losses. The end of a marriage. The loss of a job. The move to a new home. And, of course, most significantly the loss of a loved one. Endings come in many different forms and at many different times in our life spans. My work as a counselor is to help each individual process their loss, while also helping clients (in their own time and their own way) to find their way back into the realm of beginnings.

Endings are also an integral part of the therapeutic relationship. Clients come and go. Some get better quickly and move on. Others become frustrated and bail out. Sometimes after a period of time working together it can be difficult for clients (and sometimes even the therapist) to recognize that our work together is done, and they have the insights, skills, and tools that they need to take the next steps in their journey without my support. Though I am always pleased to see my clients move on, I also grieve the loss. Fortunately, I understand that is it normal and natural to have mixed feelings about endings, and that with proper guidance and support dealing with these transitions can actually be quite healing for both myself and my clients.

So, as I spend my last days at Westport Family Counseling and prepare to embark on my new adventure I will remind myself that endings our always bittersweet. And perhaps therein lies their value.