Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools

kindle coverOne  of the nicest things about having a blog is that it provides a recorded history, similar to journal writing. I can see that I’ve not written a blog for almost six months! At the time of my last blog I wrote about looking for an illustrator for my young adult book, “It’s an Inside-Out World.” The project has since evolved to help school age children find greater mental health and wellbeing in schools and in their daily lives.

Over the course of six months of work, I have learned a great deal. Not only the technical aspect of self publishing on Amazon and Kindle, but also what it takes to complete a big project and to collect the right team of people to see it through. I feel incredibly blessed to have found the right team along the way, with very little effort on my part — a great deal of time, focus, concentration and energy perhaps, but it was mostly an enjoyable project that felt more like putting one foot in front of the other than working hard to accomplish a goal.

In fact, it was never a goal of mine to write a book, much less an illustrated book for youths! The story line literally fell in my lap and then I had no choice but to follow through, or so I thought. I think of myself as the scribe and the project manager, rather than the author. The author was the sum total of all the people and parts that made it come together in the end. I woke up one morning with the story in my head and it didn’t feel as though I had dreamed it, but there it was begging to be told. What else could I have done but sit right down at my computer and put fingers to keyboard to write what was already in my head?

Enter all the angels who seemingly swooped down to let me know that as miraculous as the unsolicited delivery of a story may seem, it still needed to be honed. I have Jack Pransky to thank for that, as well as Judy Sedgeman who woke me up to the fact that youths no longer use a phone other than to text, face time, or for social media….more revamping. A young woman who was sixteen at the time, now seventeen, helped me revise words to sound the way teens talk these days. I joined an authors’ forum where I found a wonderful team of illustrators in India, and my formatter, Caroline Frechette, in Canada. Caroline knows more about writing and publishing in the young adult world than anyone I could imagine. She has written books for this age range, won awards and she is also a librarian, along with being quite brilliant. Jyll Kashmann, my trusty editor, who finds typos in the NYT, rounded out the team. A team of angels.

I had a few humbling experiences. One night (actually, it was in the wee hours of the morning) I had a go-round with my illustrator on-line with India. Our thread was about measurements and dpi and resolution, as I recall. I was incredibly impressed with her patience and kindness even when I was clueless about some things. The whole project seemed magical. It came out of nowhere and has a life of it’s own which lead to helping young people find peace and satisfaction in their lives. I’m honored to have wound up here. To top it off, I was recently invited to participate in a global call of educators involved in bringing the inside-out perspective to schools and none of them knew I had written this book. That goes beyond synchronicity. I’m not even sure how I got invited.

I know that anyone can write a book or complete any project they feel passionate about. How fortunate we are to experience life as creative beings and to know that when we hit a rough spot we can catch our breath, regroup, and begin again. The book seems to be for the Young Adult age range, maybe eleven to seventeen, to help them understand how to access their innate health and wellbeing during troubling times. I’ve received feedback from adults who have read a pre-published copy, that it will be an appealing read for adults as well. I hope you will consider pre-ordering a digital copy that you can view on any device, even your smartphone just by downloading the Kindle app. You will be notified when it becomes available but the price increases once the pre-orders are filled. Here is the link for you: “It’s an Inside-Out World!” If you’ve been struggling with a project of your own, I hope this blog has inspired you to take a breath, regroup, and start again!


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It’s Been Awhile…

Apologies for my absence here, but I want to keep you posted nonetheless…

I’ve been working on the final edit for my relationship book, The Secret of Love, and a Young Adult book, It’s an Inside-Out World, which has taken all of my writing energies.  I’m also working on finding the right illustrator for the young adult book, approximate age range of eleven to fifteen. I’d love to receive your opinions. I’ll embed two examples below.

I’m also announcing “A Flood Sale”

Healthy Thinking, Feeling, Doing, from The Inside-Out; A Middle School Curriculum and Guide For the Prevention of Violence, Abuse & Other Problem Behaviors, by Jack Pransky and Lori Carpenos is now on sale for almost half price: $18.00 covers shipping. The publisher, Safer Society Press, sustained a major flood last winter and had to make changes. Please contact: if you are interested in making a purchase.
And here are the two illustrator examples (the first one seems more free spirited to me, the second more for younger children)
What do you think? Please leave me a comment in the comment section below.
Thank you!


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The Secret of Love: Understand the Mystery, Unleash the Magic

After about fifty “working titles” my co-author, Chris Heath and I came up with a winner: “The Secret of Love”….   “Understand the Mystery, Unleash the Magic.” The instant all those words were spoken, I knew it was the perfect title; it really says what this book is about. Here’s an Intro to “The Secret of Love” It was filmed by Rudi and Jenny of Three Principles Movies; another resource I highly recommend.

I was also  involved with our annual Conference – which took place from Oct 23 – 26 in St. Paul, Minnessota. It was incredible. You will be able to view all the Plenarys and every breakout session once they are loaded on the 3PGC site –. I had the pleasure of presenting a break-out on being a 3 principles practitioner with an ER Nurse and a Psychologist who was a Banker and a client of a Principles based Psychologist who then decided to switch careers and return to school for his Doctorate with the intention of sharing the Principles with his clients. I also had the pleasure of co-facilitating with Dr. Joe Bailey, at the end of the conference for a group of fifty people sharing the insights they had during the conference. There was so much “Aloha” spirit at this conference that it felt more like a Retreat than a Psychological conference. Everyone is welcome; maybe you will join me for next year’s conference?

The conference inspired the blog I’m going to write next. It will be about how the 3 Principles provide a paradigm shift away from looking at what is wrong with people; diagnosing people in order to “fix” them….. toward a health based Psychology that points people in the direction of their innate health and well-being. I hope to have that story in your mailbox very soon. Thank you for your patience! Back to editing:

“The Secret of Love.”

Be Well and Happy Fall



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Finding Resilience and Potential in Life

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”

I’ve harkened back to this old John Lennon lyric many times throughout my life, when things didn’t go according to my plan. It’s brought me comfort to remember this happens to all humans, though I can’t say that I liked it very much. I think that’s true for most people – they may give in to, or even accept the concept but not exactly embrace what comes their way.

I saw a deeper meaning to the lyric as my understanding of the Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness unfolded through the years. I began to see that I have greater choice than to merely accept the way things occur. I began to see that it has to do with what I do with my own thinking around whatever happens. I could think perturbed thoughts, or I could think shucks I have to accept this, or I could think neutral, with no thought of judgment at all. I realized it’s up to me to steer my thought rudder around toward clear open waters rather than bash my ship against the rock wall that suddenly appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, on my well planned course.

“Thought is like the rudder of a ship. It guides you through life and if you learn to use that rudder properly, you can guide your way through life far better than you ever imagined. You can go from one reality to another. You can find your happiness…”
Sydney Banks, The Missing Link

When I didn’t go to judgment, I’d become curious, quite naturally. I wondered where the new path would lead me or what there was to learn from this new, unplanned event.

Finding Resilience and Potential in Life:

Understanding how Mind, Thought, and Consciousness work together to provide a very real experience of life was what allowed me to back off of my own thinking, to see that what I think and therefore how I respond, was optional. After all, I’ve witnessed others see the same thing differently and I’ve even experienced myself see the same thing differently at different times, so I realized it’s possible to just open my mind up to see the unexpected event or circumstance in a brighter light. Frankly, the results have been nothing short of miraculous.

Life happens and we do what we do with it according to what we make of it. Do you see what I mean?

Here’s an example from my own life: I expected to be finished with my book by now – actually, quite some time ago. Truth be known – I began it over five years ago! What I found is that it has a life of its own. I changed so much along the way, and I’m really glad it worked out that way because I know that I’ll have a much better book to offer, in the end.

If you have a story that illustrates finding resilience and potential in life, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.

Here’s to life unfolding in the way that it does and to each of us finding the bright spot within, that allows us to recognize the mystery behind it!


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The Truth About Supremely Happy People

…if only people knew the truth about supremely happy people.

By Lori Carpenos, LMFT and Jack Pransky

Very happy people all have one thing in common, though most of them don’t even know what it is. The truth about supremely happy people is that they spend more time living in positive, upbeat thinking than the rest of the population. They don’t do it on purpose; it’s natural to them. If you took a closer look you’d see that they don’t focus on what they don’t like in life. They are more enamored with, more intrigued by, and more interested in the joyful aspects of life. If two poles existed with positivity at one end and negativity at the other, they would naturally gravitate toward the positive. Because they enjoy it so much they tend to have more benevolent thinking. They don’t even know they’re doing it because they don’t think they’re doing anything. And they’re not; they’re just being. They would say, “Well, what other way is there to be?”

How do we know this about them? Because we know this about us! It’s not that we’re happy all the time, but when we’re not we don’t take it too seriously. We know it will pass and, lo and behold, the happiness eventually returns.

Unlike many of the people we spoke of above, seeing through the eyes of happiness and positivity did not come naturally to us. Jack’s ex-wife used to call him “Doctor Doom” because he was always looking at what could go wrong. Lori was depressed for years and spent years talking about it to a therapist!

But we learned the truth about supremely happy people.

We learned about “The Three Principles,” and by “principles” we mean “universal truths” or facts about how our entire experience of life is created—not what happens to us in life, but what we make of what happens to us, or our internal experience of whatever happens to us. In other words, what we have come to understand about these three psychological/spiritual principles at the core of all human experience is what brought us to the state in which happy people naturally live. Anyone can attain a happier, more joyous experience of life with a deep enough understanding of these principles.

We do not have enough space here to go into detail about what the three universal principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought are, but to cut to the chase, at their essence and most simply, what these principles mean is that whatever happens in the outside world can never make us happy or unhappy. What makes us happy or unhappy or any other feeling or emotion comes from our own thinking appearing and feeling real to us. Happy people are happy because they see themselves and the world through happy eyeballs (their own thinking), plain and simple. Unhappy people are unhappy because they see the very same things through the eyes of anger or upset or disappointment or frustration or worry or bother or depression or any other emotion. In other words, happy people create their own happiness simply because of what they see with their own creative power of thought made to look and feel real by their consciousness. Therefore, happiness is their own creation.

And here is an even more amazing thing that we learned from understanding the three principles: If we didn’t take our unhappy thoughts seriously they wouldn’t impact us and we would automatically be happy! We don’t have to go out of our way to think up positive or happy thoughts (that’s too hard!), because joy and happiness is already naturally built into the human spirit, and the only way human beings cannot experience it is if they create the illusion with their own thinking that life is otherwise. Such thinking puts a veil over the internal happiness that exists, and which would be there for everyone to see if they weren’t thinking otherwise. Now, there is nothing one can do to stop those thoughts and the resulting feelings from popping into our heads, but when other than joyful, loving, peaceful or wise thoughts do pop in, we don’t have to take them to heart, we don’t have to believe them, trust them or follow them. We simply allow them to pass through like clouds across the sun.

We could not have an experience of anything without the ability to think! That’s a fact.  We could not have an experience of anything if we had no consciousness of our thoughts; it would be like reading a book in a foreign language that we didn’t understand a word of. That’s a fact. And without the energy behind life (the principle of Mind), the creative source of everything, we would not be able to think or be conscious. That’s a fact. All we have to understand is how these facts work together to create any possible experience, any feeling, we can ever have.

Think about it: We could not possibly be in a bad mood without low quality thoughts, and vice versa. We could not possibly be in a good mood without high quality thoughts and vice versa. Most of our thinking is not voluntary; thoughts just occur, constantly, for all of us every moment of our lives. We get into habits of thinking, however, which can result in labels, such as pessimist, optimist, worrywart, Debbie Downer, Nervous Nelly, etc. Our individual thoughts create outcomes—sort of a built-in system of consequences–all brought about by us!

Outcomes change however, for people who know enough about the three principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought and how they operate within every human being. A deep understanding of these principles naturally results in greater resilience, common sense, happier lives (no matter what is going on in the outside world), greater passion for life and a more generous spirit, as well as a greater appreciation for ordinary life experiences. There’s nothing to cultivate or make happen. These are the outcomes from a simple understanding.

This is not as much of a mystery as it sounds on the surface. Psychologist Abraham Maslow found that everyone in their best or peak moments displayed the same characteristics as ”self-actualized” people. In other words, even generally miserable people have happy moments, and in those happy moments they are thinking the way the happiest people think generally. This means we all have it in us to be happy because in moments we are! We all know how to be that way because it happens to us, sometimes even in spite of ourselves. All we have to do is realize what our minds look like and function like in those moments, allow it to happen more often and disbelieve our thinking when we’re not thinking that way.

We don’t want you to believe us. Simply look inside yourself and see if it’s true for you. If you want to learn more about it and understand it better you can watch interviews of people from all walks of life talk about these three principles at or or read books such as Somebody Should Have Told Us! by Dr. Jack Pransky. There is no doubt that understanding these Principles leads to greater happiness—at least it has been no doubt for us and for the thousands of others who have caught on to the way life really works.

If you live anywhere near Hartford, CT, USA please consider coming to a Retreat on Feb. 28 and March 1, led by two renowned 3 Principles teachers, Drs. Pettit and Sedgeman. You can find out more here: 

Download (PDF, 414KB)



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Perspective Changes

Perspective Changes


It truly is all perspective!

Some of you already know about my hearing loss. I often joke that all my years of listening to clients must have burned them out. At times I marvel at the intricacy and delicacy of the human cochlear that no man-made device can ever hope to replicate. Perspective changes all on it’s own.

There are times when I feel incredibly blessed to have had perfect hearing at one point in my life; something I took for granted. There are moments when I feel blessed to still be able to hear something, anything — in my one working ear, albeit quite compromised.  I give thanks for modern technology and the scientists who invented the hearing aide; thankfully I’m not living in the beginning of the 20th century or I’d have to carry a large horn with me! To think I sometimes have the nerve to complain about the teeny weeny batteries that need changing so frequently. I was once caught with none in sight and realized I hadn’t ordered more in time before I ran out. Then, another moment of gratitude that there’s such a thing as a hearing aide with a tiny battery. Pleasure and displeasure always come to us from our own thinking.

A series of events brought me to the conclusion that my next step was to investigate a cochlear implant. Fast forward (though it seemed like just a few short weeks) I had the surgery two days before Christmas.  It was explained that sound will be totally different than what I hear with my natural hearing. Voices will sound like robots or cartoon characters until I get accustomed to it over the course of three to twelve months of three to six mapping sessions in the audiologist’s office and weekly speech therapy for six to twelve months. The human cochlear is too extraordinary to replicate exactly.

Perspective Changes

There was always a chance that I would not be a candidate, until my hearing test proved that my hearing ear was “terrible enough,” according to my surgeon.  I asked if that was a new diagnosis…“terrible enough?” I passed with flying colors: When terrible is a good thing. He was surprised. I guess I hadn’t realized how much lip reading I do automatically. When I relayed this story to a friend of mine she confessed that she had thought I had been checking out her lip wrinkles! We had a good laugh!

The surgeon threads a tiny electrode filament through the labyrinth of the cochlear in the inner ear, where tiny hair cells once stood tall and straight. To think that tiny hair cells can be so consequential to us. It’s an incredible miracle. Hard to imagine that we lose things we never imagined losing yet in it’s loss we can awaken to another gift — the gift of gratitude and the realization that although nothing stays the same, we are built to adapt.

The other night I had the pleasure of attending our local symphony orchestra to hear Handel’s Messiah. I marveled at the sound of instruments I could hear with my natural hearing and then with my hearing aide — different, but still beautiful. This was perhaps, one of my richer audio moments — because it was imbued with the knowledge that it is a miracle to be able to hear at all. Pleasure and displeasure always come to us from our own thinking! I made a mental note to listen to music more often!  Miracles won’t amount to anything if we don’t recognize and utilize them. There are so many miracles to become aware of, often so close we don’t even notice them.


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Lori Carpenos & Associates 2013-12-18 03:00:21

I was driving home from my yoga class last Saturday during the start of our first snowfall of the year. It approached slowly, like a white cat who didn’t want to be noticed.

It was a joy to be out in it, as everything began to slow down, and the roads were still safe enough to not feel scared as I drove the terrain. Life felt like a movie in slow motion. Traffic slowed, people walked with care, all in an effort to stay safe. I felt fully present; a feeling I wanted to savor. Fewer cars, people, no hustle, bustle.

As I drove home, ever more slowly, in the flow of traffic, I realized how good it felt and by comparison how speeded up I had become lately.

It’s so easy to get all caught up in the maelstrom of everyday life, trying to get things accomplished and tick off the never ending “to-do” list. Today’s early afternoon slow down was a much needed antidote to my typical busy-ness.

When I’m caught up in it, I’m  not even aware of the fact that I could slow down.  Realizing now — if I can slow down and get present, in a snowstorm, I can do it anytime. Slowing down brought the gift of higher quality thoughts, as it usually does. I love these reminders.

As I drove down the street, my immediate world seemed to take on a pleasant patina. Driving became fun and exciting, instead of just another chore to accomplish. The pure white landscape gave way to a mysterious white fog, as twilight approached. All seemed so quiet outside, that I felt compelled to turn the radio down low. There were plenty of errands to tend to, but I decided to go straight home to write. Quiet is a beautiful feeling; I wanted to envelop myself in it.

I’m wondering what you did during the storm, what you thought about, and if it affected you differently. Please leave a comment if you’d like to share with the rest of us. Might make a fun topic for our next Tuesday night group session!


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How to Instantly Make Your Life Better

Live in the Life Force rather than Life Circumstances

Ever wake up thinking something like: “Life is so difficult” — or have a day where one too many things have gone wrong, or felt as though the last straw has finally broken your strong back? I think every one of us can say we’ve had those moments, or days, or even a bad month, perhaps year; I know I certainly have. Yet at some point we arrive back at our happier, more content selves. Have you ever wondered what causes that? Resiliency. All of humanity seems to be able to bounce back from whatever misfortune has befallen them, if not right away, then — eventually.

This is what allows us to be resilient:

There are scientific, universal laws that are known as principles, which explain resiliency and the human condition. Knowing about these principles (our operating system)  and understanding them at a deep enough level will allow you to, as the title states, make your life better instantly!  We know this is possible because we’ve experienced it ourselves and we’ve witnessed it in our clients and students.

You see, these principles, or facts of life, though invisible, are always present within every human being from birth to death, during every moment of life.

  • They explain the full range of human emotions.

  • They explain why people see things differently from one another.

  • They explain why it makes no sense to take things personally.

  • They explain why we can see something one way and then see it another way, at a  future moment in time; in essence…

  • They explain the human condition in it’s totality.

When people understand these principles they automatically stop taking their thinking so seriously because these principles explain that we are making it all up, as we go along, all the time. We are not living in a reality, we live in a personal reality, whether we realize it or not.

How can we take anything we make up as gospel truth when we realize we’ve created it? Remember the first time you saw a frightening movie like, “Jaws,” and realized the shark was a mechanical device made to look real? It then became impossible to feel scared by it. Or when you uncovered the workings of a magic trick — once you understood how it worked, you couldn’t get wowed by the trick any longer. However, the very fact that this is what occurs in the human psyche is in itself magical. Some have called it a mystical experience when they wake-up to their ability to create a reality with their own thinking.

In the moments we realize we are part of nature, part of the life force behind everything, we see our circumstances as neutral, and then they don’t have a bad affect on us.

The truth is, we don’t actually “make” our life better, because that implies doing something. It’s actually about NOT doing something that makes our life better….  when we decline to entertain negative thoughts that occur to us, pay them as little attention as possible, they will drift away; on their own. If you ever forgot to study for a test in school you would have experienced how easy it is for things to drift away when we don’t tend to them.  That is the true nature of thought for each of us.

Guess what occurs when you allow your negative thoughts to drift along in the natural flow of thinking? More positive thoughts will enter your mind – naturally, without “doing” anything! In fact, wise solutions to problems, typically occur during calm moments. The solution then appears obvious and we wonder why we hadn’t seen it when were upset, mulling over and dwelling on the problem? Please don’t take my word for it — see for yourself — simply notice what naturally occurs for you when you allow yourself to be in the flow of thoughts without taking any one of them seriously. Our minds calm down, our state of mind lifts, and our life appears so much better — instantly. In the moment our mind clears our life looks much better and the experience of life is much better in those moments.


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How Knowing About Three Principles Can Help Us

We are conscious beings and capable of knowing that we are conscious beings – that’s really quite amazing, isn’t it?

Group Session

Group Session

Sometimes stories that come out in a counseling session or in a group session seem to beg to be recorded. This is one of those times.

A group of us meet on alternate Tuesday nights to explore the Three Principles in our everyday lives. Participants share insights that occurred from their knowledge of the Three Principles and how that knowledge assisted them in their interactions at home, at work, and with friends and family.

Through the weeks we had heard of a group member’s recent dealings with his elderly mother who had been showing signs of dementia. I’ll call him Dave. One evening Dave received an email from his sister who had him convinced that their mother was declining faster than anyone had realized.

Concerned and hoping to share opinions on next steps, Dave called his parents. Dave’s father told him there was no reason to panic; his mother said: “Oh, you know how your sister tends to exaggerate things.” Dave confirmed that there was no diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or even dementia, according to his mother’s Dr. and test results.

Knowing what he had learned about the power of Thought from his understanding of the Three Principles, it occurred to him that people have different slants on “reality” and that they bring their personal thoughts into situations which affect that reality. Like mixing yellow paint into blue paint which then creates green paint — imbuing a situation with our personal thinking, colors the situation making it appear as factual when in fact it is just our slant on the situation.

He said, “After talking to my father I realized it was a case of ‘separate realities’ going on between them and my sister. That was when my thinking changed.”

We call that “thought recognition.” In the moments we realize our experience is coming from our own thinking, an insight often follows. Dave realized that his family members, having different thoughts about the same situation, were coming from different realities. That was when his own thinking shifted. Notice this has nothing to do with “positive thinking.” It has to do with a shift in consciousness from within himself simply by recognizing the Principles at the core of the experience.

Dave said she wasn’t herself, not the way she was before; yet he had been more relaxed about his mother’s situation over the last few days since he had some new thoughts about it:

“She is definitely having some memory problems and confusion, also hand tremors and a slower gait, but if she’s safe and following doctor’s orders and happy I see no reason to be bothered that she’s not the way she was.  Actually, she seemed more relaxed, when I saw her, not at all bothered by any of the changes we’re perceiving.” What matters is what she experiences and that she gets good care.

While visiting his parents, Dave had the opportunity to attend a family reunion with nieces and nephews he had not seen in a long time. He was struck by how well everyone got along and in his more relaxed state of mind with regard to his mother’s condition he found himself touched by the way the younger generation interacted so well with one another. He had a wonderful new thought come to mind, since he had stopped filling his head with worry thoughts. Now there was space for upbeat, caring thoughts to come through and Dave realized that the younger generation would carry on beautifully as the older generation departed.

Another insight took place at work.  Dave had some difficulties with a co-worker he felt didn’t tow the line and carry her weight on the job. Then he was put in the position of having to be trained by her, on a new system. He saw firsthand just how incorrect our initial perceptions can be. He realized that not only does she accomplish an amazing amount of tasks during the workday when he had had the impression that she was a dead weight;  a neerdowell, he saw while being trained that she is a supreme multi-tasker. She was able to talk to coworkers while she faxed, copied and filed, all while interacting pleasantly, helping co-workers laugh and relax. He realized immediately, given his understanding of the Three Principles, that it was all an illusion on his part. His image of her was coming from his own thinking – it was not based in reality; yet it appeared to be real, given his personal perception (Thought plus Consciousness = perceived reality) of her…. what an eye opener that was! He and others in the group realized this experience/insight informed other aspects of life as well.

Dave then recalled that several years ago when he had been thinking that his previous boss liked his co-workers better than him because they were fun and he was boring. “My thinking at the time was that my co workers joked around too much…with practical jokes and throwing little things at each other and socializing a lot at work. It probably affected my relationship with the coworkers because I’m guessing that I came off as aloof or annoyed with them.”

“As I began to recognize the Principles in action more, I realized that the boss might have wished they could be more like me. I think that was one of the first times the Three Principles really clicked with me because I realized that the other thought was equally as likely as what I had initially ‘made up’ and the truth was that I really didn’t know what my boss was thinking about the situation or if he even was comparing us at all.”

“It’s truly been remarkable how my understanding of the Three Principles has unexpectedly helped in ways I never would have suspected, such as having more compassion for others as well as myself.”

We have found these sessions to be really helpful for all of us. We learn from one another’s insights, creating a ripple effect; one insight seems to illicit another. If you would like to join our group, please contact me at: or 860-561-1919.


What is Innate Well-being?

Couple Enjoying Time Together

Relationships are easy when people understand the Principles and innate health


The following is an excerpt taken from an interview with Dr. Dicken and Coizie Bettinger for a book on relationships and the 3 Principles that I’m writing with Chris Heath.

Dicken was a practicing psychologist in Vermont when he learned of the Principles.  He and his family moved to LaConner, WA to work with a group of therapists whose mission was to share the Principles with others.


At the time we started learning the Principles, we began to understand that our thinking creates our moods. This was immediately helpful in our family because the kids were around ten and fourteen when we became aware of this. It was something they could relate to and understand. We came up with this sort of rule for the family that we wouldn’t talk about problems or issues or hard things when any of us was in a low mood. Our children loved to catch us in low moods and then not want to talk about whatever it was, which was very effective because our parenting improved as a result. We didn’t deal with problems in low moods. We would just wait it out until we felt better and that was good for Dicken and me.

We just flat out refused to talk about things while in low moods. It was a big discovery that it’s normal for the quality of our thinking to go up and down (which is what moods are) instead of believing that what we think when we are in a low mood means something significant or it means something that has to be talked about in the relationship. And so when we began to see low mood thinking as normal and that you didn’t really have to pay attention to that thinking and it would pass pretty quickly, boy did that make things easier in all of our relationships. We didn’t feel compelled to have to talk about things when we were upset. And we didn’t think it was necessary to do that in order to have a better relationship. We didn’t take each other’s low moods so personally so it became more and more just a natural fit and a normal cycle and nothing to really be concerned about. Feelings no longer were  statements about the relationship. They just became indicators of the quality of thought that was coming through. That was huge. It made a big difference. It seemed to take the pressure off. I think before that we took each other’s low mood thinking personally and thought we had to figure it out. If Dicken got into a low mood and he seemed pretty serious, I would sometimes think that meant something about me; that he was mad at me or unhappy with me. So I thought that we needed to discuss it. And unfortunately we would. (Laughter)

To this day it is just such a relief not to feel like there are issues and problems and things that we need to talk about. We just know that in a better mood, when better thinking starts coming through it either won’t be a problem or it will look different or there will be a solution that comes to mind. It is just so easy. We definitely started to have much more trust in our own wisdom and in leaving things alone until our heads cleared. Then we were in a space that was very easy to see our way through any difficulties or problems or challenges. It relieved the pressure of having to work so hard to figure out what didn’t seem right. We both gained much deeper trust in our own capacity for common sense and wise thinking and that we could trust our thinking when we were in good feelings but not at all when we were in bad feelings.  This was so helpful.  It paid off to just wait until the wise thinking showed up rather than work so hard when it wasn’t available.

There was one really good example of that which I will never forget. It was when we were making the decision to leave Vermont to move out here to La Conner, WA. When we first started thinking about moving our son had two more years of high school, so we thought he could come out here to finish high school.  But we weren’t ready to move until he had only one more year left and of course he was adamant that he wasn’t going to go. So we started to have conversations about it and immediately one or two or all three of us would just start having upset thinking, and we would get scared, or I would cry. It seemed like we didn’t know what to do or what could possibly be the solution. So when we started trying to figure out how we were going to work this out we all agreed that we would only talk about it when we were all in pretty good states of mind. And if any of us got upset while we were talking, we would stop. And we knew that at some point we would come to agreement. We trusted that would happen. But it wouldn’t happen if we were upset and having a hard time talking about it, so we started and stopped the conversation several different times over the next weeks.  And then one time, one of us got a different idea. A totally new thought that none of us had even considered, a whole new option for what we could do.  This new thought was so different, which was for Dicken to go out to Wasington by himself and I would stay back with Ben until he finished his last year of high school. It made so much sense to all of us immediately.  It was a big relief and it felt so right that we just trusted it. Immediately we began to put our energy into thinking about what we could do to make it the absolute best year that our family ever had.  We all began to become creative and to brainstorm and come up with new ideas for how to do that and it ended up creating a remarkable growth-filled year for all of us. I don’t think we would have gotten there if we had used our old way of thinking that would have forced a decision that would have been really difficult for somebody. Most likely we would have forced our son to come out here.   

I don’t know what it would have been, we had different options but that is just one example of how, by learning the Principles we began to trust in our own wisdom.  We learned that the answers would be there when we were in a good state of thinking as opposed to when we were anxiety-ridden. Our understanding of the Principles allowed us to trust our wisdom.


After my very first training in the Principles, I made this remarkable discovery that at any moment when I just stopped working on getting somewhere in order to develop or to achieve my well-being, the most incredible experience happened. I naturally began to feel and think better which is what I was looking for in the first place, and I didn’t have to work at it. I already had it, just naturally built in. This notion that I already had perfect well-being inside and I didn’t have to develop it, was a huge change for me. So as I worked less on myself and had less thinking on my mind I began to become more lighthearted and more present and more available and my kids noticed it and it sure made things so much easier for Coizie and me. We got closer and closer without even trying. So I learned that intimacy was not a function of working. You can’t work your way to intimacy. It was a given that when my personal thinking would quiet down I would feel warmth and a connection and closeness to whoever was around me.  I couldn’t believe it was that easy. I couldn’t believe that if I got out of my own way I would feel close and connected to people around me.

Coizie and I started having so much fun.  We would allow our thinking to quiet down and then we would feel warm and connected and so close.  We would just enjoy sharing quiet time together.  We started seeing how easy it was to connect on a much deeper level.  We couldn’t believe that we discovered something so simple that could immediately help us be warmer and more loving as parents, as well as warm, loving and intimate in our marriage. What a beautiful thing to discover and then be able to share with clients and see them have the same results very quickly. To see this happen over and over again was just unbelievable to me. It was like a dream come true.

I changed from being preoccupied and resorting to my old pattern of withdrawing.  I would withdraw into myself and I would turn to my books and techniques to escape inner tension.  I still experience inner tension sometimes, but it doesn’t mean anything anymore and it wakes me up to the fact of thought and I fall out of that thinking easily and quickly. I now realize that pure consciousness is an underlying space inside that is always there.  I experience this space as welcoming and warm and loving and wise.  It is my home base.  For me to know that this home base is always right there inside, not just in me, but in everybody; in my family, my friends, my clients and even in strangers, has been powerful. For me to see and know with certainly that beauty is in everybody, allows me to know that even when my kids or wife are having a difficult time and struggling, inside they are already perfectly ok.  This is so helpful.

To be really patient with the fact that we all get caught up at times in our own thinking is good to realize. The thoughts seem real to us and we get stuck. Realizing that allows us to look past it.  This really helped us when our kids were teenagers and now with grandchildren, it does as well. We’re sharing with them about thinking and feeling; where our feelings really come from.


It just takes one person to begin to live it in a family, a relationship, or even an organization. Dicken was the first to learn about the Principles, but it was contagious in our family. You could see it spreading from one person to another to another and then we would each reinforce the other, just by the way we were living from this understanding. You know, right now our son’s girlfriend is learning this from Dicken and that is just so neat to think that she is deepening her love for our son.  And to see her becoming more satisfied and at ease with herself is just so great! 

Please have a look at Dicken’s website for more information:


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