Bobbi L. Emel, MFT
Walking the path with you March 2010
In This Issue
Shared History
Death Is Nothing At All
Don't Resist
A moment of pure joy
Core Gifts Corner
Make a therapy appointment
young woman meditating
Retreats can be very relaxing. Although new technological advances have made life easier in general,  it's hard to "get away from it all" when you are inundated with information from your cell phone and laptop. Taking time away from all of the noise and constant demands can help you to refocus on what is important in your life and to truly relax your mind, body, and spirit.
 Schedule a weekend away from your home without taking your cell phone or laptop. Worried about being unreachable in case something happens at home? Give your family and friends the phone number of the hotel or other place you'll be staying. That's how we used to do it - remember?
Don't have money or time for a get-away retreat? Then do an in-house retreat. I have one planned for later this month. I'm going to let my friends know that I'm not available for two days, then I'm going to turn off my cell phone, laptop, and television. I'm going to read, read, read! I think I may just get a massage, too . . .
How about you? What would you do if you turned off all of your electronic devices and focused on just yourself and your own sense of relaxation?
Can you do it? I'm throwing out a gentle challenge to you: Take two days off from work, house chores, and electronics and let me know how it goes for you.
Remember, it's all about you!
Please Share Me!
couple sharing laptop
Know someone who might enjoy this newsletter? Please feel free to forward!
 Bobbi imageWelcome
Hello and thanks for reading my newsletter! This issue looks at the spiral path of grief as well as the concept of non-resistance.
A fun picture is featured in my new segment, "And now for a moment of pure joy . . ."
There's also more about Core Gifts in this month's newsletter and - don't forget! - if you have questions about grief, caregiving, depression, stress management, or any other topic, make sure to send me an email and I'll answer in next month's newsletter!
If you or anyone you know needs compassionate, effective therapy, please call me at 650-529-9059 or email me at
****This month's issue is dedicated to my late partner, Ruth, who died March 6, 2004.****
                                              spiral staircase      

Revisiting Grief

As much as we wish the path of grief was a straight one with a definite end, it's really more like an upward spiral. Like passing a certain point on a spiral, the intense, painful periods of grief are visited again and again in quick succession. As time goes on and we move up the spiral, we pass that painful point on the spiral less often. But we do still revisit it occasionally. Perhaps the pain has dulled somewhat, but the nature of grief is such that we may move up and down that spiral for quite awhile after a loss or the death of a loved one.
I bring up this idea of the spiral to raise awareness for both the grieving person and the friends and family of the grieving person. For the grieving person, just know that it is normal and natural for your grief to come in quick spasms at first that get further apart with time. As the years go by, don't be too surprised if you revisit your grief even when you thought you were "over it."
For the friends and family of the grieving person, be aware that, even after a length of time when you think the person "should be over it," the spiral of the grief path may circle around again, striking the griever with fresh pain. He may be embarrassed to tell you that he is feeling the pain of grief again so make it easy on him by asking how he is doing with his grief every now and again. Let him know that you understand about the spiral of grief and he is always welcome to share his feelings with you, no matter how long it has been since the loss.
Traveling the spiral of grief together makes the painful points on the path ever so much easier to bear.
If you or someone you know is grieving a loss, I'm here to help. Please call me at 650-529-9059 to make an appointment for supportive therapy on your path. You can also email me at
You're not alone.

 Death Is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away
into the next room.

I am I, 
and you are you;
whatever we were to each other,
that, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way
which you always used,
put no difference in your tone,
wear no forced air
of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we shared together.
Let my name ever be
the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all
that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.

All is well 

Henry Scott Holland
1847 -1918

Don't Resist
Have you ever noticed how a rock with jagged edges that allows the river water to run over it becomes soft and smooth? 
Several years ago, my partner, Ruth, and I were sitting in the oncologist's office. Ruth was telling Dr. Patel about her concerns about the chemotherapy she was undergoing for her Stage IV breast cancer. He listened carefully, paused for a moment, and then said gently, "Ruth, don't resist. Let the chemotherapy work within you and for you rather than fighting against it. Keep doing your yoga, keep saying your prayers, but try not to resist your cancer or the treatments."
Ruth and I looked at each other. Isn't that what people do when they have cancer - fight, battle, struggle? Then it dawned on us. We were free. We didn't have to fight. "Don't resist." This became our mantra in a four-year journey with Ruth's cancer that was filled with peace, joy, and more love from people around us than we ever knew existed. I have no doubt that had we chosen to continue struggling and resisting, Ruth's journey would have been much shorter and more traumatic.
What about you? Do you resist challenges that come along in your life? It's not just big events like cancer that we often resist, but more routine things like new duties at work or some other change we weren't expecting. What does resisting do but take up more of the precious energy we have to truly live a joyous life?
The next time you are faced with a challenge or a change, notice how you feel inside. Are you tense and uptight? Check to see if you are resisting what life is bringing you. Now take a deep breath and allow the river water to run all around you, softening your jagged edges.
 How does it feel to not resist?
And now for a moment of pure joy . . .
White Collie
Isn't it nice to have a moment of joy in your day? Here's rescue Collie, Peter, free from living the first five years of his life in a small kennel, running with joy and sporting his NorCal Collie Rescue bandana.
For more information about NorCal Collie Rescue, please go to
 Do you have a picture that shows pure joy? Send it to me at with a description and permission for use and it may be featured in next month's "moment of pure joy!"
needle and thread  Core Gift Corner 
"People are itchy and lost and bored and quick to jump at any fix. Why is there such a vast self-help industry in this country? Why do all these selves need help? They have been deprived of something by our psychological culture. They have been deprived of the sense that there is something else in life, some purpose that has come with them into the world."

James Hillman, excerpted from Scott London interview in March 1998 issue of The Sun magazine under the title, "From Little Acorns: A Radical New Psychology."
Do you need to scratch an itch? Finding your Core Gift can do that for you and the best way to identify your Gift is by attending a Core Gift workshop. Here are the dates of my next workshops along with more information:
Saturday, April 3, 2010 
Friday, April 16, 2010
Palo Alto Unity Church
3391 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, Ca. 94306
9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Registration: $100
6 CEUs available for MFTs and LCSWs
Here's what you'll learn and experience at a Finding Your Core Gift workshop:
  • Ancient and not-so-ancient origins of the Core Gift idea
  • How naming, claiming, and being seen for your Core Gift strengthens you and your village (your community)
  • A sense of truly being seen and a new way to see others
  • A gentle and evocative interview process to elicit your  Core Gift
  • Discovering and declaring your unique Core Gift statement
  • Insight regarding your Gift in your  work and your life
What happens at the workshop?
Workshops are kept to a small number of participants due to the interactive nature of the workshop. After brief introductions, we'll explore the origins of the Core Gift idea and why it's such a powerful and important tool for each of us.
The rest of the day is spent finding your Core Gift. Working in triads, you'll use an interview process that defines threads which have run throughout your life. As you and your group explore these threads, your Core Gift will be revealed.
We end the workshop by honoring the Core Gifts of all the participants, discussing the many ways of using your Gift and reaping its benefits, and we'll look ahead to what will be offered in follow-up Core Gift workshops.
I look forward to seeing you there!
For more information, go to
If you would like one-to-one coaching to identify and develop your Core Gift, give me a call at 650-529-9059 or email me at 

 Have questions?
Do you have questions about depression, grief/loss, Core Gifts, stress management, or anything else that comes to mind? Email me at and I'll answer them in upcoming newsletters!
 Compassionate, supportive, effective therapy
If you or someone you know needs to talk with a caring professional about grief, caregiving, depression, stress, or any other bumps on the path of life, please call me for an appointment at  650-529-9059 or email me at
You're not alone.
'Til next time...
Thanks for reading my newsletter and may you know peace and love always.
Bobbi L. Emel, MFT
1040 Border Rd.
Los Altos, California 94024