Catch 22



For some reason life is full of intractable – not easily solved or manageable – problems. The standard optimistic viewpoint on this is that it is for our growth, we will be given nothing we can’t handle, etc..

It also might just be the way things work, see The Root of Stress for a taste of the part we create ourselves. There is certainly the part we have no apparent control over as well, see 30 Blows.

In my practice we train with koans to find an appropriate response to situations that are not solvable by the rational mind. Such as, ‘What is the sound of one hand’, which you’ve probably heard of but with clapping added. Koan is an esoteric system, but one of the few tools that actually addresses this subject of meeting life head on.

This week I was presented with a life koan about this very blog. You see it seems LinkedIn would like me to:

‘modify my content to make it more in line with their professional network’.

This came right on the heels of another person from my old industry dying of a heart attack in his early 50s and as details were starting to circulate about the suicide the week before.

Corporate Rehab was started because:

people are dying from the lack of ability to deal with the end game of corporate life.

Wouldn’t the ‘professional’ thing to do be to acknowledge it?

I make no claim to be the most articulate or best council on this subject and would be happy to see the conversation and service expanded by others. However for now it is me and LinkedIn is the obvious platform. I will have to find a middle-way.

Much of what I have written so far is about looking inward which I know is a difficult step. For an easier first step may I recommend the book Everything is Workable .

If you are finding yourself out on a limb and feel like you have no choices … reach out to me, a priest, a minister, pastor a therapist … there is plenty of good living outside the corporate world view and it’s not that hard to find.

I hope this meets the censors criteria and sees the light of your screen.

May your lives go well


The Root of Stress

Stress Pic

Stress manifests from one source and that is the maintenance of your story.

We each have a story of who we are.

You are not your story.

To complicate things you didn’t consciously create the story, much of the story you accepted from your family and the culture you grew up in without a thought. This is not wrong it is just how the self develops.

Stress develops when our story and reality diverge. The farther apart they are the greater the stress.

If we are successful at re-inventing our self as things change, life is fairly stress free. Most of us had a couple decades of career growth where this was true. We parlayed one story into the next, we were told and told everyone, we were growing. As the economy changed and corporate environment shifted, we found no motavation to re-invent ourselves in a direction we considered un-growth.

Our stories don’t accomodate being happy as the cheese guy at Whole Foods.

As an aside I chose this example because I know a guy who went from CEO to cheese guy and is quite happy.

Unknotting the psyche and psychology of the story and stressors is a long arguous process, it is much easier to just see through the whole story business. This allows the efforts you make to go toward moving forward on a new plan.

The goal of Corporate Rehab is to help you see through what is no longer serving you and empower you to write a new screen play where you lead the interesting and fulfilling life you desire.

May your life go well


Plucking Tiger

straw2There is the following story in Zen:

A man walking across a field encounters a tiger. He fled, the tiger chasing after him. Coming to a cliff, he caught hold of a wild vine and swung himself over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Terrified, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger had come, waiting to eat him. Two mice, one white and one black, little by little began to gnaw away at the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine in one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

No matter which field of life we choose, we encounter the tiger and sooner or later we find ourselves over a cliff holding on to a vine. Notice the story is clear to point out that he swung himself over the edge, likely feeling quite clever or victorious at the time.

So here he is, if he climbs back up, a tiger to face; if he lets go, a tiger to face. If he just holds on, over time the little mice will gnaw through the vine and again tiger to face.

It is easy in life to become so focused on the tiger and preoccupied by the mice that we never even look around and see the strawberry.  Let alone take the risk of loosening our grip to reach out, pluck it and pop it in our mouth.

The tigers and mice are a given as part of the human condition, by our age we have all witnessed death often enough to realize we are all just hanging on the vine. What is optional is how many strawberries we will pluck.

What are your tigers? What are your mice?

Have you plucked all the strawberries in reach?

What is that strawberry just out of reach if you loosened your grip a bit more?

May your life go well




Confusion and Meditation

by Willem Scuitemaker

by Willem Scuitemaker


Confusion is a very repeatable and natural outcome in examining life and it is now being documented at large, not just by monastics.

The last few years meditation has emerged from the fringe and received a fair bit of attention in the public press. This is primarily due to numerous studies that show it reduces stress, anxiety and blood pressure therefore increasing the immune system, fertility and emotional stability. Nothing in my years would make me doubt any of this.

In recent months there has been a bit of a backlash developing in the press, which I frankly find humorous. In good western style many people came to meditation looking for a quick fix. Likewise, as good westerners they over achieved.

The truth is there are many techniques to initiate you into meditation … follow the breathe, count the breathe, label thoughts, etc. … and with a little effort they all work fairly quickly. You are so relieved to get a break from the daily grind and the energetic kick combines to make it a habit.

With continued sitting, mindfulness, contemplation, stilling the mind … whatever term you were introduced to … sooner or later you will have an actual insight! If the first one doesn’t scare the bejeebers out of you or leave you confused, sooner or later one will. This is where the spate of recent articles are coming from.*

Confusion is the common outcome, post insight, because you are simply not able to look at the underlying fear. Insights raise fear because they are not a product of the thinking mind and at the same time ring true. They upset the very foundation you have built upon and every alarm bell you have goes off.  In the end it is better to be confused than, heaven forbid, admit you were wrong and face the change implied.

Whether you meditate or not you are always examining your life to one extent or another. Being introspective or self-aware is how we define what separates human from animal. I propose to you that your confusion regarding life’s direction has the same roots.

What are you confused about?  What are the underlying fears?

If you want to look at this, you can of course take up meditation until it surfaces or find a place where it is quiet, you won’t be interrupted and you feel very physically safe. Then start the conversation with your-self about your deepest fears. You will be surprised how much of your life has been defined by just one deeply rooted fear.

Because I know this is scary terrain, let me attempt to soften the ground a bit. None of them are real, they are all empty suits.  I have witnessed hundreds if not thousands of fears expressed. The vast majority are not even logically relevant. They may have been relevant when you were four or fifteen or thirty-two, but you are not four or fifteen or thirty-two anymore.

May your life go well

*The basic yoga instructor and the ‘it’s all bliss and light’ new agers that introduce meditation typically have no experience to speak from and compound the problem by doubling down on their shtick at this point. This is a very difficult juncture in the process, when one realizes they need guidance and peers.