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Diane Dreher's Tao of Inner Peace Blog

The Good, the True, and the Beautiful

We all have a negativity bias. Psychologists tell us that our brains are hard wired to focus on problems, on things that can go wrong.[1] This reaction can save our lives in an emergency when we avoid a rattlesnake when walking in the woods or jump out of the way of a car speeding through the crosswalk. But in these uncertain times, our negativity bias can leave us worried, anxious, and on edge.


To counteract the negativity bias and restore our peace of mind, we can consciously cultivate happiness like plants in a garden. This means mindfully focusing our attention on the moments of joy and beauty in our lives. Research at the HeartMath Institute reveals that breathing feelings of appreciation into our hearts can return us to a state of coherence and peace and their scientists have measured this change empirically. [2] But Plato discovered this transformation thousands of years ago during classical times, describing the divine ideals as the Good, the True and the Beautiful and encouraging people to connect with them in greater awareness and appreciation.


To bring the light of greater coherence into our lives, we can focus on what is Good, True, and Beautiful in our lives and the world around us. The beauty of a sunny morning after a winter storm, the goodness of a caring friend, the truth of keeping our promises and living our deepest values. These moments of appreciation can light up our lives and bring us greater peace.


If you'd like to try this right now, take a slow, deep breath, focusing on your heart.

Then slowly breathe out. You can put your hand on your heart to focus your attention there if you wish.

Again, slowly breathe in and breathe out.

As you breathe into your heart, feel your shoulders relax, your mind becoming more peaceful.


Now as you continue this slow heart-focused breathing, think of a time when you felt connected to goodness, beauty or truth.

Was it appreciating the kindness of a friend? The beauty of a radiant sunset?  Acting on the truth of your highest values? Or something else?


Focus on that experience, breathing into your heart, feeling the sense of connection to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in your life.


And when you are ready, return to your regular activities, feeling more relaxed, renewed, and peaceful.



[1] Rozin, P., & Royzman, E. B. (2001). Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, 296-320; Vaish, A., Grossman, T., & Woodward, A. (2008). Not all emotions are created equal: The negativity bias in social-emotional development. Psychological Bulletin, 134: 383-403.

[2] Childre, D., Martin, H., Rozman, D. & McCraty, R. (2016). Heart Intelligence. Waterfront Press, p. 62.

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Your Sense of Home

Kakoivn1. Nha-cap-4-mai-thai. Wikimedia Commons public domain

To feel safe, secure, and at peace in our world, we need a sense of home. Research describes home as a refuge, a place where we feel safe and secure, where we find acceptance, comfort, and renewal.[1] According to Canadian educator Kim Samuel, "Our sense of home is essential to an experience of belonging."[2]


For many of us, "home" is where we grew up.  But for years, when people asked me, "Where are you from?" I didn't know what to say. I'd moved across the country and around the world with my Air Force father on his many assignments. By the time I graduated from high school, I'd attended ten different schools. All that moving made me more adaptable to change and aware of different cultures. But I also felt something was missing from my life. Research has shown that children of military families or diplomats who move frequently can feel a sense of rootlessness, anxiety, and insecurity. [3]


Research has shown that we all need a psychological home, a haven from the challenges of the outside world where we can find refuge, security, and comfort.[4] Czech poet, playwright, and political leader Vaclav Havel described our home as a multidimensional experience in which we're surrounded by concentric circles of connection from our families and close friends to our neighborhoods, towns, workplaces, countries, and the world in which we live. [5]


But many of us have lost our sense of home. Years ago, I counseled homeless women at a local shelter. These women were literally homeless. But many more of us are virtually homeless; we've lost our sense of belonging, the deep relationships we need with the people, places, and natural world around us.[6]


We lost many circles of connection in the Covid pandemic. My local drugstore closed, as did the coffee shop where I'd meet my friends for lunch. Our sense of home is also eroding because of changing corporate practices. Nearly every week I hear of tech companies laying off hundreds of employees. Deprived of their salaries and workplace connections, people's lives are disrupted. They're forced to seek new jobs, and many of them move away. In contrast, after a devastating fire at his factory in 1995, Aaron Feuerstein, the CEO of Malden Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, made the national news by continuing to pay his employees' salaries and benefits for months while rebuilding the factory.


Our efforts may not be as dramatic as Aaron Feuerstein's but we can strengthen the sense of home for ourselves and our world. We can begin by pausing to mindfully appreciate the beauty in our own living space, neighborhood, and community. Taking small steps, we can cultivate a greater sense of refuge and comfort where we live, perhaps by hanging a favorite picture on the wall, putting a comfortable chair by the window, or curling up with a warm blanket.


We can cultivate a stronger sense of home in our communities by greeting our neighbors, colleagues, and the people we see each day, creating what psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, calls "micromoments of connectivity" that benefit both people, dramatically improving our emotional and physical health, raising our mood, relieving stress, and reducing inflammation. Over time, these small acts can spread in a positive ripple effect to create a stronger sense of home in our community.[vii]  We can also strengthen our sense of home by volunteering for causes we believe in and taking steps to protect our natural environment. And at the end of the day, we can look up at the sky to connect in awe with the universe of stars sparkling overhead.

Please join me in a brief meditation to connect with the sense of home.


What is one step you can take this week to cultivate a greater sense of home?


I wish you joy in the comfort of home.


[1] Després, C. (1991, Summer). The meaning of home: Literature review and directions for future research and theoretical development. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 8 (2), 96-115; Mallett, S. (2004). Understanding home: A critical review of the literature. The Sociological Review, 52, 62-89.

[2] Samuel, K. (2022). On Belonging: Finding Connection in an Age of Isolation. New York, NY: Abrams Press, p. 101.

[3] Morris, T., Manley, D., Northstone, K., & Sabel, C. E. (2017). How do moving and other major life events impact mental health? A longitudinal analysis of UK children. Health and Place, 46, 257-266; Taylor, S. (2022). Disconnected: The Roots of Human Cruelty and How Connection Can Heal the World. Alresford, UK: John Hunt Publishing.

[4] Sigmon, S., Whitcomb, S. R., Snyder, C. R. (2002). Psychological home. In A. T. Fisher, C. C. Sonn, & B. J. Fisher (Eds.). Psychological Sense of Community: Research, Applications, and Implications, pp. 25-41. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. 

[5] Havel, V. (1992). Summer Meditations. P. Wilson (Trans.). New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, pages 30-31;  See also Tucker, A. (1994). In search of home. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 11 (2), 181-187.

[6] Samuel, K. (2022). On Belonging: Finding Connection in an Age of Isolation. New York, NY: Abrams Press, p. 19.

[vii] Fredrickson, B. (2013). Love 2.0: How our supreme emotion affects everything we feel, think, do, and become. New York, NY: Hudson Street Press.


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Look to the Light

Winter is the darkest season of the year. The days grow shorter from summer until the winter solstice, December 21, when the great wheel of time turns toward the light and the days gradually grow longer again.


This year, many of us have felt like we've been dwelling in darkness, still coping with losses from the Covid pandemic. According to a recent New York Times editorial, Americans have been experiencing a sense of gloom, feeling pessimistic about the economy and our future, despite an impressive recovery and strong economic performance. [1]


Darkness fills the daily news with reports of wars, fires, floods, and other natural disasters. Yet all news is biased—and I say this from my own work on a newspaper. News reports focus on crime, calamities, and chaos—only part of what is going on, ignoring the light that fills our world. The news rarely reports on the courage of health care workers and first responders, the dedication of teachers, the inspiration of the arts, the beauty of nature, the daily kindness of others, and the vital light within us.


Yet even now, the light of new seasons is emerging. As French novelist Albert Camus wrote, "In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." [2]  Signs of new life are appearing. As  winter darkens the skies, the first green shoots of daffodil bulbs are appearing in my garden. By acknowledging the small signs of beauty in our world, we can look to the light. And this light will enable us to see more clearly, become more mindful, find inspiration, and discover new solutions to the challenges we face.


If you'd like to join me in a brief meditation,

Take a deep mindful breath, focusing on your heart and slowly breathe out.

Breathe in and breathe out one more time.

Once again, slowly breathe in and breathe out.

Now recall one recent vision of light you recall—the stars sparkling above you, the flickering candlelight, the colorful holiday lights in your neighborhood, or the light in a loved one's eyes.

Take a deep heartfelt breath in as you focus on the light.

Feel the light surround you as you slowly breathe out.


This winter, as many of us light candles to celebrate holiday feasts, let's look to the light within and around us. For by looking to the light, each of us can become a beacon of hope, lighting the way to new paths of peace and possibility for ourselves and our world.


[1] Wallace-Wells, D. (2023, December 10). It's No Surprise that America is Pessimistic. The New York Times, Opinion section, p. 9.

[2] See discussion of this quote on https://www.google.com/search?q=camus+winter+quote&oq=camus+wintrr&gs_lcrp=EgZjaHJvbWUqCQgBEAAYDRiABDIGCAAQRRg5MgkIARAAGA0YgAQyCAgCEAAYDRgeMgoIAxAAGAUYDRgeMgoIBBAAGAUYDRgeMgoIBRAAGAgYDRgeMgoIBhAAGAgYDRgeMgoIBxAAGAgYDRgeMgoICBAAGAgYDRgeMgoICRAAGAUYDRgeMgoIChAAGAgYDRgeMg0ICxAAGIYDGIAEGIoFMg0IDBAAGIYDGIAEGIoFMg0IDRAAGIYDGIAEGIoF0gEKMjMzNDRqMGoxOagCALACAA&client=ms-android-att-us-rvc3&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8


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The Power of Your Attention

The wisdom of many spiritual traditions reminds us of the power of our attention. Buddhism calls us to become more aware in the present moment. The Tao Te Ching tells us to "Be present, observe the process/Stay centered and prevail,"[1] and in the Jewish tradition, the words negah (affliction) and oneg (joy) in the Torah are made up of the same Hebrew letters, in reverse order.[2]  What makes the difference?  Where we focus our attention. And we have a choice.


Years ago, in the deprivation of a Nazi concentration camp, psychiatrist Viktor Frankl realized that everything can be taken away from us, "but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."[3]


We have the power to choose where we place our attention—our precious invisible power that creates tangible, real world results.  And we must choose mindfully, for in this world there are many distractions.


  • As psychologists tell us, we have a "negativity bias," that makes us aware of potential threats to our survival.[4] So we notice the negative things more than the positive. This could save our lives when we're walking in the woods and hear a noise that could be a rattlesnake, so we notice this more than the beautiful landscape. But the negativity bias makes us disregard much of the daily beauty in our lives.
  • Among other distractions, people with a strong sense of responsibility often miss out on life's beauty because they see life as a long list of chores. I recall taking out the garbage after dinner one night and looking up to notice the beauty of countless stars sparkling overhead that I'd missed so many times before.
  • Our attention can also be drawn from the present moment by an internal dialog of worry about the future, regret about the past, or negative self-talk.
  • And if we're bored and restless, our attention can be hijacked by advertisers and social media, trying to capture our attention, using us to sell products and make a profit.


To a great extent, our attention creates our reality.  Pause for a moment to look around you. Where are you and where have you been focusing your attention—on your cell phone or in restlessness, impatience, worry, planning, regret, or self-criticism?


If you'd like to join me in a brief meditation, close your eyes, take a deep mindful breath and slowly release it.

Breathing in, notice the air filling your lungs.

Breathing out, notice the air releasing.

Breathing in, notice your body relaxing.

Breathing out, as your mind becomes more still.


Now gently open your eyes and look around. Focus your attention on something beautiful—the tree outside your window, a photo of a friend, your beloved dog or cat, the light that fills your room, or something else.

Breathing in gratitude, breathing out peace.


I wish you joy in the present moment.



[1] Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching. Chapter 33. Diane Dreher's translation.

[2] Robbins, D. J. (2022). Tazria: The Circle Keeps Turning. In M. Strassfeld (Ed.). Torah without End, pp. 54-55. Teaneck, NJ: Ben Yehuda Press.

[3] Frankl, V.E. (1984). Man's Search for Meaning. New York, NY: Washington Square Press. Originally published in 1959. Quote on page 86.

[4] Rozin, P., & Royzman, E. B. (2001). Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, 296-320.


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Your Favorite Books

Do you enjoy reading? Research has found that reading is the most widely reported source of flow,[1] and that reading narratives—novels, biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs—can expand our experience, increasing our empathy and understanding.[2] When I was a teenager, I used to read novels in bed at night with a flashlight, traveling far beyond my limited self to other lives and times. Now I also enjoy reading nonfiction books about positive psychology that expand the way I see the world.


I've always been intrigued by biographies and autobiographies. When we read about other lives, we can learn from the trials and triumphs of those who have come before us. For years, I taught a senior seminar on autobiography for my students were graduating into a new chapter of their lives. I wanted them to learn how Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Jane Goodall, Nelson Mandela, and others overcame early disappointments and personal challenges, developing their capacity to hope, and lighting the way for the rest of us.  


I recently entered a "three favorite reads of 2023" survey from Shepherd.com. My favorite books and the reasons I chose them are listed here 

And here is the list summarizing favorite books by all the authors who filled out the survey https://shepherd.com/bboy/2023


What were the favorite books you read this year?


[1] McQuillan, J. & Conde, G. (1996). The conditions of flow in reading: Two studies of optimal experience. Reading Psychology: An International Quarterly, 17, 109-135.

[2] Nell, V. (1988). Lost in a Book: The Psychology of Reading for Pleasure. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; Djikic, M., Oatley, K., & Moldoveanu, M. C.(2013). Reading other minds: Effects of literature on empathy. Scientific Study of Literature, 3(1), 28-47.


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In Search of Community

The Tao Te Ching, written over twenty-five centuries ago, says that

The wise leader creates harmony

Reaching out from the heart

To build community.

                            (Tao, 49)


Where do you find your community? Lately I've been walking up the street to the Little Free Library to leave books for my neighbors and see if there are any I'd like to read myself. Sometimes I just look inside and smile. The fact that my neighbors and I are sharing books makes me feel more connected and optimistic--It's a small affirmation of community.


Having a sense of community builds a world view of cooperation and trust where we feel connected to the people around us. Yet, sadly, the sense of community in this country has been eroded away—as neighborhood stores are being replaced by online shopping. It's easier to buy from Godzilla.com with a few clicks on the computer than to meet our neighbors at the local market or hardware store. Our young people spend more time on faceless social media than connecting in person. And the Covid pandemic has divided us even more.


What have we lost? Instead of relationships, we have transactions. When we're disconnected from community, we become isolated individuals subject to the whims of tech giants. Cooperation and community are replaced by authoritarian corporations, focused on the bottom line instead of personal relationships with customers and employees. Instead of cooperative "power with," as my friend Dudley Weeks describes it, there is  "power over" [1] other people and nature, which is destroying our environment. As the Tao Te Ching tells  us in words that ring true today:


Where there is no compassion or community

People become lost and fearful,

The country divided and polarized,

And fanatics cry out in anger.

                           (Tao, 18)


For our personal health and the health of our world, it's up to each of us to cultivate community, to reach out to support our local shops, get to know our neighbors, to live more cooperatively with the people and natural world around us. 


Please join me in this brief meditation on cultivating community.

  • Take a few moments to relax, close your eyes or gaze gently down.
  • As you take a deep mindful breath and slowly release it.
  • Now recall a time in your life when you experienced the joy of connection and community—with other people, nature, perhaps a dramatic performance or concert.
  • Where were you?
  • How did you feel?
  • Experience that feeling again now as you slowly breathe in and breathe out.

Now ask yourself, "How can I cultivate more community in my life?"


The answer will come—either now or later in a new thought or insight.

Follow that insight as you reach out to create greater community in your life and our world.


I wish you joy on the path.

[1]Weeks, D. (1992). The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution. Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy Tarcher.


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Your Inner Space

The Tao Te Ching says that


All life embodies yin

And embraces yang.

Through their union

Achieving harmony.

               (Tao, chapter 42)


Yet today, this harmony of yin and yang, contemplation and action, is hard to find. We live in a world of excessive yang—frantic action, multitasking, incessant noise and interruptions from ever present cell phones, texts, emails, and social media. Without the mindfulness of yin, yang becomes mindless action.


How do you include contemplative yin in your life?

I begin each morning with meditation and creative writing time. For my HeartMath Inner Balance meditations I use an app on my cell phone.


This morning, during meditation, I laughed when someone called my phone, it vibrated and went into voice mail. "This is my meditation time." I thought, returning to meditation.


A half hour later, I was writing an article when someone knocked on my front door. I shook my head and laughed again. "This is my writing time," I told myself, and went back to my article.


We need to create boundaries around our precious yin time. It takes inner discipline to affirm our need for yin when besieged by the world outside. But we need time to reflect, to check in with ourselves, to seek inner guidance and inspiration. And if we don't give ourselves regular yin time, no one else will.


How do you connect with yin in your life? Do you have regular times of solitude for meditation, prayer, and inspiration? And can you pause during the day when life becomes too yang, to take a brief yin break to restore your balance?


I invite you to join me now in a brief yin break meditation.


First gaze gently downward or close your eyes.

Then take a deep, mindful breath and slowly release it,

Releasing tension.

Slowly breathe in and breathe out once more,

Releasing stress.

Then once more slowly breathing in and breathing out.


As you return to normal breathing, ask yourself three questions:

  • How do I feel?
  • What do I need?
  • What can I do?


As you connect with the inner guidance of yin, may you move forward in greater harmony.


I wish you joy on the path.




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Harvest and Gratitude

In the golden days of autumn, the great wheel of time turns from summer to fall. For centuries, our agrarian ancestors measured time by the seasons as the agricultural year took them on a spiritual journey through the annual cycles of life. Each month brought new lessons, as alternating seasons of darkness and light prompted them to seek deeper meaning beneath the busy surface of their days.


In this season of autumn, our ancestors brought in their last harvests, put away food for the coming winter, and joined together in rituals of thanksgiving. The ritual of giving thanks for the harvest has long been celebrated in cultures around the world. The American holiday of Thanksgiving is one example, and one of the few traditions that still unites our often painfully divided country.    


At a time when the US surgeon general has declared a loneliness epidemic in our country, now, more than ever we can benefit from practicing gratitude. According to psychologist Robert Emmons, PhD, practicing gratitude can help us overcome loneliness and isolation by making us feel closer and more connected to others. Beginning a new habit of practicing gratitude can restore our connection to nature and one another, and bring a deeper sense of meaning to our lives. Throughout many decades of research, Emmons has found that gratitude can help relieve depression and anxiety, improve our relationships, bring us greater joy and meaning, and restore our hope in challenging times.[i]


Today, amid the brightly colored autumn leaves, golden pumpkins, and seasonal celebrations, we can to take time from our busy lives to reflect on the gifts of the past seasons and participate in this ritual of giving thanks.


Here are some simple ways to practice gratitude:

  • Begin each day with gratitude. When you wake up in the morning, think of one thing you're looking forward to that day.
  • Give thanks before meals. You can do this silently or make it a practice to give thanks with family and friends as you share a meal together.
  • Pause during the day to appreciate the beauty of the world around you.
  • Make it a point to thank people.
  • Send a gratitude letter or thank you card to someone who has helped you or brought joy into your life.
  • Keep a gratitude journal—write down three things you're grateful for at the end of each day.


I wish you joy, gratitude, and peace in this golden season of autumn.

[i] Emmons, R. A. (2007). Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Emmons cites decades of research and offers a wealth of insights on the positive effects of gratitude.

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Heart Centered Meditation

The HeartMath Institute in Northern California has found that meditation promotes greater peace of mind by creating coherence—more harmonious heart rhythms and greater balance in our nervous systems. They've developed various forms of heart coherence meditation, which can reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and lead to better health. [1] Recent research has shown that people who practiced heart coherence meditation daily for four weeks experienced positive changes in their brains.[2]


Demonstrating how we are all interconnected, HeartMath researchers have found that when we achieve greater heart coherence, our energies can promote greater peace of mind in those around us. [3]


Heart coherence meditations combine mindful breathing with an added focus on the heart. Here is a short way to practice this today:


  • Focus your attention on the center of your chest, in the area of your heart. You can place your hand on your heart to help you focus.
  • Breathe slowly and mindfully, imagining that your breath is flowing in and out of your heart.  Don't force your breathing. Just let it flow smoothly and easily in a rhythm that feels good to you.
  • As you continue heart-focused breathing, recall a time when you felt joy, appreciation, or care for a special person, pet, or place that you enjoy. Keep this feeling in mind as you continue breathing slowly and mindfully, focusing on your heart.
  • When you catch your mind wandering, return your focus to your heart.[4]


You can practice heart coherence meditation for ten minutes or more as a regular meditation practice. When you're feeling stressed, you can also use this as a "quick coherence" technique for a minute or two to gain greater peace of mind. 


I wish you joy on the path.


[1] Childre, D., Martin, H., Rozman, D., & McCraty, R. (2016). Heart intelligence: Connecting with the intuitive wisdom of the heart. Waterfront Press, p. 31.

[2] Min, J., Rouanet, J., Cadete Martini, A., Nashiro, K., Yoo, H. J., Porat,S., et al. (2023). Modulating heart rate oscillation affects plasma amyloid beta and tau levels in younger and older adults. Scientific Reports, 13, 3967.

[3] Childre, D., Martin, H., Rozman, D., & McCraty, R. (2016). Heart intelligence: Connecting with the intuitive wisdom of the heart. Waterfront Press, p. 127.

[4] Childre, D., & Rozman, D. (2005). Transforming Stress: The HeartMath Solution for Relieving Worry, Fatigue, and Tension. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. Description of this heart coherence meditation on pages 44-45.


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From Reactive to Creative

We all have habitual patterns in our lives, patterns developed over time that tell us who we are and what we can expect from life. When we're not aware of them, we simply react. We can let these patterns control us, remaining defined by our past. 


Becoming aware of these old patterns gives us a choice. We can be reactive or creative, words with the same letters but opposite meanings. By using our power to choose, we can create new possibilities within and around us.  As psychiatrist Viktor Frankl realized, even in the darkness of a Nazi concentration camp, the one freedom  no one can take from us is our freedom to choose our response to any circumstance life brings us.[1]


As I write this blog, I'm wearing my UCLA T-shirt. I dreamed of going to UCLA when I was a high school student  in Germany, where my Air Force father was stationed, and was so excited when I received my acceptance letter. That summer, we moved to California for my father's next assignment at Norton Air Force Base near Riverside. In August, I was packing up to leave my parents' suburban house for UCLA when my mother came into my bedroom and announced, "Your father and I have transferred your acceptance to UC Riverside so you don't have to go away to college."


--"Have to?" I thought. I wanted  to go away to college, to begin living life on my own, and I wanted to go to UCLA.

--When I asked my mother why, she said, "We can't afford it," and left the room.


I was new in town, had no resources, no money and felt helpless, controlled, and trapped. So I commuted to UC Riverside, worried about my parents' finances.  In December, I realized my fears were unfounded  when my mother got a mink coat and a new Mercedes for Christmas. There was obviously something else going on.


Refusing to surrender to the old pattern of helplessness, I took action. That summer I started working at a temp agency and  saving my money. I was driving home from work one afternoon in my parents' old red Volkswagon when I passed the Press-Enterprise office on 14th Street. A thought suddenly filled my mind—"I'm a writer—I should work there." I was only a shy teenager, but I turned the car into the parking lot, walked inside, and said to a reporter, "I'm Diane Dreher. I'm a writer and I'd like to apply for a job." He ushered me upstairs to the personnel office. When I filled out the application form, they said their college intern had given notice that morning and asked  "Can  you begin work on Monday?"


As a Press-Enterprise editorial intern, I worked my way through the University of California, Riverside,   paying for campus housing, tuition, and books, and enjoying my newfound freedom. Writing reviews and entertainment copy, I flourished in the creative atmosphere of the newsroom, working alongside professional journalists who showed me what it means to be a writer. I majored  in English and Comparative Literature and graduated  summa cum laude with a graduate fellowship to the PhD program in English at UCLA.


When I got to UCLA, not only was graduate school one of the best times of my life, but, looking back, I realize that my response to initial disappointment built my resilience and opened up new possibilities.


Psychologist Mary Pipher says that she always asked her clients two questions: "What did you learn from your experience" and "When you look back on this event, is there anything that you can feel proud of?"[2] As I look back, I'm proud of that shy teenager who refused to give in to helplessness and reached out with courage to follow her dreams.


Now it's your turn


Take a long, deep mindful breath

And think of a time in your life when you overcame adversity or disappointment

How did you feel?

What did you do?

Did you release an old pattern to live more creatively?

Did you learn a valuable lesson?

And what do you feel proud of yourself for?


Remember that, as you face new challenges, you always have the power to choose.

And your choices create your future.


[1] Frankl, V.E. (1984). Man's Search for Meaning. New York, NY: Washington Square Press. Originally published in 1959.

[2] Pipher, M. (2022). A Life in Light: Meditations on Impermance. NewYork, NY: Thorndike Press, p. 17.

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