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With so much chaos on our planet, it’s hard to stay centered and positive. It is possible to be calm under any circumstance, if you are willing to embrace truth while practicing being an observer rather than a reactor.

When people make agreements, there’s a reasonable expectation that all with keep their word. Sometimes people are downright dishonest and have no intention of doing so. Others justify bending rules with all kinds of excuses. When people don’t keep their agreements, it evokes anger from those they have let down.

Staying peaceful amid strife doesn’t mean we stick our head in the sand when things are going wrong. But we can embrace truth without attacking anyone or anything. …


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When a family suffers from addiction, it’s only natural to focus on the person who has an apparent addiction. Addiction is a family illness that causes pain to all loved ones. To watch a person needlessly suffer is excruciating.

Many people want their lives to be different, but they don’t make the needed changes to bring forth a better life. Instead, there is an expectation that when people, places, and things make the desired adjustments, then everything will be alright. This means that everyone else should do the heavy lifting while I remain the same. …


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The year 2020 has been an emotional challenge for almost everyone. Covid19 has created financial uncertainty for some, isolation for others, and disruption to the family system. The political drama has stretched people’s emotions thinner than a fully elongated rubber band. These types of stressors tend to bring on heightened amounts of anxiety, anger, and depression.

We don’t have to be at the mercy of our emotions. A Course in Miracles teaches us that all negative feelings come from fear — the home of the unhealthy ego. …


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Even though we have physical pain and emotional pain, they have similarities when it comes to healing. For the sake of avoiding something uncomfortable, we tend to avoid both. If we heed the warning signs that pain offers, we need not suffer. If we pay attention to an uncomfortable body sensation, there is a possibility of early detection and warding off a more severe illness. The same holds true for emotional pain.

Pain in any form is an indication that we are hurting. If we ignore the hurt, it doesn’t go away and only festers. The problem with ignoring discomfort is that our brain has a remarkable way of adapting to greater amounts. …


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When writing, Exit the Maze — One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure, I discovered something so stunning, I could hardly believe my eyes. Statistics from the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, National Institute for Health, and others, revealed the facts I’d always suspected but never knew for sure. For years, we’ve been hearing that the three major causes of death are heart disease, cancer, and accidents, followed by lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide. But, unfortunately, we’ve been hoodwinked into a big illusion, and I’d like to explain why.

While it’s true that heart disease is the number one cause of death, what isn’t emphasized is the actual causes of heart disease. Ingesting excessive amounts of sugar, trans fats, and toxic substances found in alcohol and drugs cause the symptoms; clogged arteries, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. In other words, people are eating, drinking, smoking, and ingesting chemicals and foods to the extent that they are fueling their own heart disease without any conscious awareness!!! …


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Last Saturday morning, I received one of those most-dreaded telephone calls I’d ever expected. “Donna, please call me. Jessie (not her real name) passed away last night. She died of an overdose.” Shock flooded through my body as if I’d been injected with a hail infested tornado.

Jessie had been a dear and close friend of our family, and we’d spent hours talking about recovery from addiction. She was several years sober. During that time, she ran a successful business and was a loving and present mother to her young daughter.

I wanted to cry, but no time for that now. I had a greater need to console the man on the phone. …


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Betrayal takes many forms. Trust from one person to another is betrayed when an agreement has been unilaterally breached. For example, when a contract (oral or otherwise) is broken without notice or mutual consent. A friend or loved one is betrayed when someone, without provocation, becomes disloyal or disregards mutual respect.

I have faced some very painful betrayals; close friends who had affairs with my partner, backstabbers, infidelities, broken contracts, exploitation for personal success, lies, and deception. Each event was shocking and painful, like being shot without warning. The most painful betrayals were from those who had been taught and professed the highest morals. …


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According to A Course in Miracles, forgiveness is the key to happiness. But what does it mean to forgive? And what does it have to do with being happy?

Forgiveness is the voluntary release of negative feelings toward someone whom you feel has, in some way, harmed you. It is the letting go of resentment and replacing a bitter feeling with neutrality or even compassion.

Once healed, some people can replace the grievance with gratitude. A person who goes through an unwanted divorce, grieves the loss, and goes on to meet someone who is a better fit, is an example.

Sometimes, the violation is so severe; it’s difficult to heal. When a person loses their life savings through a dishonest partner or business transaction, when an innocent loved one is murdered, when justice fails, the inequities are so severe that the intensity of the trauma thwarts the healing process. In these cases, life makes no sense. …


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I once owned a business in which we had a sign that read: “Drink more coffee, you can sleep when you’re dead.” While it’s a humorous quote, it doesn’t give much relief to people who suffer sleep disorders. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for the best health and wellbeing. Sleep has become a serious health problem; at least 35 percent of the general population reports sleeping problems.

The CDC claims a short sleep duration is defined as less than 7 hours of sleep per 24-hour period, though it does not have to be continuous. …


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Each one of us has the free will to be open-minded and to think for ourselves. Open-mindedness means taking the effort and time to listen to another point of view and to explore the evidence that supports opposing positions. It’s good and healthy to compare and contrast differences. We then can accept or reject any or all of the information, but it’s at least done from an informed perspective.

Some people dismiss any data that is contrary to their belief system regardless of whether the information is correct or not.

About

Dr. Donna Marks

Dr. Donna Marks is a licensed psychotherapist and an addictions counselor. She is certified in Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Hypnosis, and Sex Therapy.

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