Category Archives: Mindfulness

Best Tips for Mindfully Parenting Your Teen

Be the kind of parent you aspire to be (and maybe wish you‘d had)


Parenting teenagers can be really hard and often times ungratifying. (I know that’s not really a word, but you know what I mean – sucky, or just not getting any of your wishes met and not being gratified in any way as a parent. Disheartening and displeasing.)

The challenges and negativity can feel relentless. Aggravating. So tiresome. Endless, and you know, just ungratifying…

But you know in your heart of hearts it doesn’t have to be this difficult. You know you’re a good parent, and you’ve got a good kid…If only she could be more responsible, or he could have less attitude…

Maybe you’ve had one too many conflicts with your teenager this summer and you feel pretty exasperated at this point. You are so sick and tired of repeating the same lectures to him or her, over and over, and getting no cooperation. Your teenage child has made another bad decision (not turned in school work, gotten poor grades, picked on their younger sibling relentlessly, lied or distorted the truth about where they were, not cleaned up after themselves, hung out and gotten in trouble with friends who are bad influences, not taken responsibility for negative behaviors, etc.).

Or maybe you feel really wounded by their ugly attitude or the obnoxious disrespect that they seem to freely throw your way. Your feelings are mostly hurt, but actually, that just makes you feel madder at them. It sucks to be not appreciated for all that you do and then raged at on top of that. You may wonder (or resent) ‘How can they be so ungrateful when they have so much, and I work so damn hard?’

You are so tempted to throw your hands up and pull away so they can see for themselves once and for all, the difficulty or how hard it is to take care of themselves. You are no longer interested in being the parent because it’s so unrewarding and maddening most of the time. You have fantasies of banishing them from your household and letting them fend for themselves, never to bother you again and figuring it out on their own. They have let you down so many times.

You may be struggling with your own bitterness, anger, frustration, disappointment and feel like those negative feelings are causing you lots of stress and eating you alive. You know It’s not good for your health to be marinating in these feelings day after day. You can’t stand feeling like this.

Well, the good news is that it is possible to move through this time of discontent. This too shall pass.

The bad news is that you can’t make it go away instantaneously. So, to make it a little gentler and bearable on you (the person who wants to parent more positively), I have a few suggestions…

The main thing is to be mindful of your feelings, thoughts, actions. Strive to be responsive rather than matching your teen’s reactivity.

First, honor your own feelings. Do a RAIN practice for yourself:

Recognize what you’re feeling (discouragement, rage, sadness, fear)

Allow those feelings to simply be present. This is what is right now.

Investigate with kindness. What’s underneath these feelings? How are you treating yourself about these feelings? What does this feel like? Get to know your feeling rather than dismiss it.

Nurture whatever is needed. Maybe place a warm hand on your heart and breathe in kind attention.

Find a positive way to express your emotions. Or take a break and breathe until you are calmer and ready to talk. Know the damage that kids can go through to be the recipient of those negative feelings that too often might be expressed in a negative way (feeling not liked, not good enough, disconnected, angry – which inevitably goes inward in a self-destructive way, or outward in an aggressive other-destructive way.)

Do your best to remember that your teen’s anger or unappealing behavior is partly a cover-up for some shame or sorrow that he’s feeling inside, but can’t adequately articulate. And remember that grownups are like that too.

Here are some questions to reflect upon for yourself as you try to feel better about your parenting and try to improve the harmony in the household. It’s important to take some time and maybe even journal the answers to these questions, to give yourself time for consideration, before engaging in another argument with your teenager. Remember, the time you invest in tending to and having compassion for your own feelings and experiences will be meaningful in having more understanding and ease in your relationship with your teen.

  • What are you proudest of in your parenting?
  • What are your strengths as a parent?
  • What’s the last time you felt like you were being the kind of parent you wanted to be, and felt close to your child? What was going on?
  • What’s hard for you in parenting (or step-parenting)?
  • What kind of relationship do you aspire to have with your teen? What kind of parent do you have to be to have that? Make that your intention.
  • What was your relationship like with your parents when you were a teen? Are you close to one or the other of your parents? Yes, or no, what impacted that?
  • What do you appreciate and/or resent that your parents did, that helped you or hurt you?
  • When did you first notice you felt disappointed by your teen?
  • What are you aware of, about yourself that makes you not so easy to live with? And how have you tried to change or improve upon that?
  • What are your hopes for this teen? What are your fears?
  • What would you most love to hear from him/her?
  • What do you wish he understood better about you?
  • How do you make apologies, or like to be apologized to? How would you prefer to be approached by your teen?
  • What kind of support do you need to be a happier parent?

After spending some time checking in with yourself about your feelings around parenting, consider these tips:

  • Don’t come AT your child/teen. Try to come alongside him or her.
  • Don’t be a lie–invitee. Make it safe to express vulnerability, making mistakes, confusion.
  • Love the child you have and don’t punish him for not being the child you wish you had.
  • Listening deeply builds an open heart; it humanizes your teen.
  • Look at what you might be doing that’s contributing to the problem.
  • Reflect thoughtfully on how you were raised and see how much of that you want to repeat.
  • When you shame a child, it makes his anger grow (inwardly or outwardly). Pay attention to the words coming out of your mouth or your actions that might be shaming her.
  • Take care of your own self so you can be your best self when doing the hard work of parenting and not make things worse. Try to do no harm.
  • Give reasonable “punishment“ for the crime. Give an opportunity to earn privileges back, by acting responsibly and humanely.
  • Kids lie because they feel they’ve lost the connection (lost the feeling of being loved; or they want to appear good so they won’t lose your love; or they’ve lost some sense of security in who they are) – Acknowledge how hard and courageous it is to tell the truth. Check in with your own distortions of truth. Ask how you can help them to own their truth, even when it’s uncomfortable.
  • Show them how to, and model yourself healthy ways of handling discomfort (not self-medicating or zoning out; yes, articulating their feelings, asking for support, being in nature, having compassion, not believing thoughts, building resilience, pausing so they can calm themselves down, etc).

So thank you for reading this far. That means that even though you might be feeling frustrated, you have not given up on your teen, or on yourself. Clearly, you have it in you to keep being the good and courageous parent that you are.

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are about how to parent your teen and not lose your own sanity. It’s really important work that you’re doing and you deserve kind awareness about that.

If you or someone you care about is struggling in parenting or being parented, please contact me for a parenting or adolescent therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445

Best Tips for Hope During Heavy Times

I’m at a loss for words, and my heart it hurts

“I’m at a loss for words, and my heart it hurts. Things going on in this world so absurd – Mr. President tell me what’s the word?”

mindfulness when you are angry and sad about world events helps the healing.

These words are from Landon McNamara’s song “Loss for Words” which is about the grief experienced by witnessing all the violence going on in the world. But I find it equally applicable to what’s going on right now. Here we are in another time of unfathomable trauma and heartache going on in our country and many are struggling to find the words to express the complex and difficult feelings that we are experiencing.

Feelings like helplessness, anger, sadness, grief about all the unnecessary loss and separation that’s going on. Or feelings of anxiousness and being afraid of what’s to come. Many of us are struggling with trying to make sense with what feels so crazy-making, each day with a different mandate coming at us. We experience these feelings in our bodies, we have a visceral sense of the trauma and torment that is being carried out.

My clients talk to me from time to time about the strain and overwhelm they feel about what’s going on politically and socially in our country. But this experience in particular, related to children that are being separated from their parents at the border, seems to have hit everybody’s rawest nerve and deepest heartstrings. Most every hour I’ve had someone pouring their heart out to me about how disturbed they feel about this example of humankind not being treated with human kindness.

Mostly there is an experience about helplessness and questions about what one can do to alleviate some of the suffering (in the world or within themselves.) Or people wonder about how to handle their feelings of outrage in light of the circumstances that are happening, that are inhumane, egregious, akin to torture and abuse, and even kidnapping.

Anyone who has suffered trauma in their lives or been victimized seems to be especially vulnerable and re-stimulated about these horrific things going on. Clients are talking to me about feeling like the world’s soul has been deeply injured, and humankind has taken an enormous blow.

Some have called this fascism on American soil, equal to what many in Latin American countries already live with and expect regularly. These immigrants who have already narrowly escaped the tail of the shark in their own countries, have sought to protect their families, only to travel north and land in the mouth of the shark.

Others have talked to me just about how terribly sad it is, and how they are reminded of their own children, and the pain they would feel if their own children were in any kind of pain. Still, others have talked to me indicating that they really don’t have anywhere else in the world to talk about this in a personal feeling way.

As a human being and as a mother I have been deeply impacted by this terrible scenario. I am heartsick and alarmed in a profound way over the separations and the lack of cohesion demonstrated, as ICE and so-called ‘Human Services’ are trying to reconnect parents with their children. I have been horrified by the lack of compassion demonstrated.

Before this, I had already felt personally affronted by the ways this administration thinks about and treats people of color, particularly Latinos (calling immigrants rapists and criminals; humiliating proud Puerto Ricans after hurricane Maria with paper towels; eliminating hopes for Dreamers; wanting to build the Wall), but these actions after zero-tolerance have been even more unbearable.

As a psychotherapist I am deeply troubled by what’s currently going on and by what I know will be the likely future that plays out for these children and families that have been separated. To be separated from one’s parent when one is a child is a traumatic event with lifelong negative implications. To be separated from your child when one is a parent is equally traumatic, and there seems to be no level of support for the devastation that has occurred and continues, day after day. We all know that racism is an ongoing traumatic experience to bear. It affects our psyche, our relationships, our sense of security in the world, our families.

Admittedly I have had difficulty to find the words to respond to peoples’ anguish adequately. I have been at a loss for words myself. But I have also felt inspired by the positive and compassionate actions taken by many to address this outrage, like the grandmas who want to make sure someone is looking out for the children.

And from listening to or reading those people who give me guidance and solace, here are some of the best tips I have encountered for holding on to hope in heavy times:

  • Be inspired by all of the support that’s out there – know you are not alone.
  • Let your human compassion grow – be kinder to the next homeless person or person you see who is struggling.
  • Send peace, care, compassion, empathy into the universe.
  • Take action: go to a rally and make signs (Click here to see some of the signs that I witnessed at this weekend‘s ‘Families Belong Together’ rallies). Take only actions that reflect those coming from your heart.
  • Call your Senators and Representatives.
  • Give money to causes like the ACLU or Raíces, or Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande, so they can continue their important work.
  • Cry, share your sorrows, grieve collectively.
  • Remember, all living beings want to be happy, belong, connect and be free. We are all similar that way.
  • Take breaks from the news.
  • Don’t use your suffering to cause anguish to others – use it instead to elevate others.
  • Treating someone as an outsider increases our experience of them as less than human. Do the opposite – see their similarities to see them as more human and more connected to you.
  • Be fully present, even when loss has come. Make space for the “One who knows“ inside of you. Remain calm and clear and bring forth your own wisdom, conscience, compassion.
  • Be fair and generous with your courage as you acknowledge how things are. Remember that many others know how to survive, as do you. Let yourself experience the hardship intimately, personally within yourself, and then also share it with the world.
  • When angry, Breathe (with presence into your heart), and Push (act with intelligence and love, that comes from your best self). Redemptive anger is better than reactionary anger.
  • Pay attention to how you touch your sorrows – is it with fear, anger, aversion, tenderness, warmth, acceptance?
  • Feel underneath your anger and connect to what hurts.
  • Become present and aware of that unbelievable beauty and inevitable tragedy that make up human life. The juxtaposition can be painful.
  • Mindfulness practices empower you to carry on, and help you to remember who you really are. No matter what happens, you still have your courage and good heart. Mindfulness also helps to reduce racial bias and the treating of people as unreal others.
  • Bear witness. Listen deeply to the stories.
  • Share compassion. Let yourself feel another’s pain. Let in other peoples’ suffering. Get close enough so your heart can be broken (open).
  • Offer loving kindness to yourself; then to a benefactor/friend; then to someone you have a complicated relationship with (like a parent, or a spouse); then to a neutral person you may often overlook; then to an enemy or difficult person; then to all living beings….

May you be happy
May you be safe
May you be healthy
May you live with ease
May you not suffer.

What’s your experience like during difficult times? What helps you to get through? I’d love to hear from you. Reply back.

If you or someone you care about is having difficulty managing the overwhelm of racism or discrimination and would like some support, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445

Heart Full Moments June 2018

Comfort for the Soul

A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.


These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. It’s been another challenging time this month, and I know we each need some comfort and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to the unbearable beauty and inevitable pain of our world – with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • “I do want to create art beyond rage. Rage is a place to begin, but not end. I’m not as wise as my work, but I know if I take the writing deep enough, something larger and greater than myself will flash forth and illuminate me, heal me. I do want to devour my demons—despair, grief, shame, fear—and use them to nourish my art. Otherwise they’ll devour me.” – Sandra Cisneros
  • “We’re all under the same sky and walk the same earth; we’re alive together during the same moment.” – Maxine Hong Kingston
  • “That’s what, to me, carries teams over the top,” Kerr told the sports website Bleacher Report soon after the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers. “A lot of teams have talent, and obviously we have great talent. But when that talent is committed to the greater good . . . that takes you over the top.” – Steve Kerr
  • “When researchers studied the gender composition of management teams of the top firms in Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500 list, they found that, on average, “female representation in top management leads to an increase of $42 million in firm value.”
  • “Prejudice hurts the health of both targets and (to a different degree) perpetrators. The targets of prejudice experience the well-documented “weathering effect” on their physical and mental health. On the other side, many studies suggest that people who discriminate are at much greater risk of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, interracial interactions needn’t be stressful. In many of the same studies, low-prejudice people respond to interracial interactions in ways that are happy and healthy.”
  • “The most fortunate are those who have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy.” – Abraham Maslow
  • “The wound is the place where the light enters you” – Rumi
  • “Thanking is difficult. That’s why most people judge.” – Carl Jung
  • “Life is fragile and short and worth all the loving presence we can bring to it.” – Rebecca Kushins
  • ”Racism is a heart disease. How we think and respond is at the core of racial suffering and racial healing. If we cannot think clearly and respond wisely, we will continue to damage the world’s heart.“ – Ruth King
  • “Every choice made has both good and evil results. The best we can do is to intend the good.”
  • “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott
  • “If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” — Desmond Tutu
  • “We find ourselves again upon a time where we will one day utter “how could we have let that happen?” We cannot afford to forget that there is a history of separating children from their parents: during slave auctions; during the forced assimilation of American Indians; and during the Holocaust. The reverberations of these barbaric stains on our history are still felt today and future generations of these original victims will inherit the intergenerational transmission of these traumas. To try and argue that this policy of ripping children from their parents at the border is somehow different from the systematic traumatization of children during the times of slavery, forced assimilation, and the Holocaust is to disregard history. To somehow convince ourselves that this systematic traumatization of children has no bearing on the lives of these children and no impact on the legacy of our country is to be living in an alternate universe. And to not care about the impact these policies have on these children is to succumb to the worst potential of humanity.
    We, the undersigned, implore you to recognize what is at stake when children are taken from their mothers and other attachment figures. As psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, and counselors we have a responsibility to report any concern of child maltreatment. This policy of separation is an indefensible violation of children’s civil rights and we uphold our responsibility as mandated reporters to sound the alarm.” – Petition to Stop Border Separations of Children from Parents
  • “In its passivity and resignation, cynicism is a hardening, a calcification of the soul. Hope is a stretching of its ligaments, a limber reach for something greater.” – Maria Popova
  • “When my daughters were born, I made a pledge to them, and to myself, that I would do everything I could to give them some things I didn’t have. And I decided that if I could be one thing in life, it would be to be a good father.“ – Barack Obama
  • “I imagine that one of the reasons that people cling to their hate and prejudice so stubbornly is because they sense that once that hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with their own pain.“ – James Baldwin
  • “Now a time of change has come.
    We must listen deeply, bear witness, honor everyone, and choose our actions wisely and courageously.
    Do not worry if the Right Action is not yet clear to you.
    Wait in the unknowing with mindfulness and a clear heart.
    Soon the right time will come and you will know to stand up.
    I will meet you there.” – Jack Kornfield
  • “Our ideal should be to create something beautiful that did not exist before us.” – Zapotec saying
  • “I started to view caring for my mental health as a revolutionary act, a form of resistance to the forces of oppression that were threatening to extinguish me, a working-class black woman. I come from a legacy of people who fought simply to be and I view my effort to fight my depression as a battle for freedom.” – Sherri Williams, PhD
  • ”In each of us, there is a little voice that knows exactly which way to go.” – Alice Walker
  • “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong, because someday in life, you will have been all of these.” – George Washington Carver

So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that has some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with compassion and reflection and that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what inspires and nourishes your soul.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445

Best Tips for Being a Good Father

In appreciation of Fathers

how to be a good father; positive parenting

Father’s Day has just passed, and I wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge some of the many acts of fatherhood that I have been honored to witness lately.

In this time of unrest, where the images that we are bombarded with seem to be filled with hurtful, harmful actions of thoughtlessness and hate – often committed by men in power, I wanted to offer some other examples of strong men – particularly Dad‘s – who demonstrate care, consideration, inclusion, stability, kindness. I believe there are more good men in this world who really want to do right by their families and communities, than the ugly actions of a few would have us believe.

In my family, and my community and in who I work with, there are many more men who are unsung heroes; who plugin, are hands-on and deeply caring in everyday life as fathers.

This then is a simple but profound thank you to you who are actively creating a culture of care and presence and are mindful about fathering. Your contributions are important and not unseen. (My auto-fill first put the word ‘insane’ there – which in this day and age is appropriate also!)

First, to my own father – thank you for your steadiness; your endless offers to help; for your patience and mostly for your kindness. Thank you for working so hard so I could be OK. I know from my work that many people have not been as lucky as I in terms of having a present and generous father. Thank you for not letting the hardship of your life be destructive toward mine.

Thank you to my male relatives – grandfathers, uncles, and cousins – who have acted in a fatherly way toward me and my family, and been generous with time, attention, kindness, and hard work.

Deep appreciation to the father of my children who has been a blessing in their lives – instilling confidence and much love; sharing strength and tenderness – and who has been in a true parenting partnership with me.

Warmest regard to the dads I know through work and life who:

  • Are not afraid to shop for their teenage daughter or who take pride in teaching them how to wash a car the right way.
  • Who tear up when they make a wedding day toast to their kids.
  • Who raise their sons with love and tenderness after that son’s mom has died.
  • Who leave a legacy of doing good in the world, who continue to teach their children even after they (the dads) have died.
  • Who teach their kids practical skills like painting, construction, car maintenance.
  • Who delight in playing with their kids.
  • Who delight in being with and playing with their grandkids.
  • Who listen to their daughter’s feelings and even bear their tears.
  • Who teach their sons to be beautiful, strong, capable, contributing adult men of color.
  • Who can be loving and attentive to another man’s child and treat them as his own.
  • Who is excited about the upcoming birth of his child.
  • Who takes pride in his ethnicity and culture and imparts that to his children.
  • Who works on his own mental health issues, while trying to create a better life for his kids.
  • Who acknowledges his own privilege, racism, sexism and makes amends for ways he has been insensitive or been at fault.
  • Who are working on maintaining sobriety because that means a better future for their kids.
  • Who intentionally try to treat their kids in better ways than what they grew up with.
  • Who works a second job around children’s schedule.
  • Who care about giving children different opportunities than what was available to them.
  • Who want to protect their daughters from getting into abusive relationships.
  • Who accept their daughters and sons when they come out, and continue to love them fully.
  • Who love to laugh, play music or dance with their kids.
  • Who through it all, try to maintain respectful communication with their children’s mom.
  • Who aren’t afraid to say “I’m sorry” or “I love you” or “I’m afraid”.

These are just a few of the admirable behaviors I have witnessed, done by good fathers. How about you? What are you thinking and feeling about the fathers in your life – present or passed? How would you add to this list? I’d love to hear.

If you or someone you love is mourning the father you had, or never had; or struggling in your relationships with fathers in your life, and need help to come to more peace, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445

Best Tips for Awesome Teamwork (as recommended by the Warriors)

Mindfulness, compassion, joy and teamwork go hand-in-hand

Joy, mindfulness, compassion and competition create good teams.

We all have teams we are a part of, or that we lead, that can feel more or less successful on any given day. Maybe we’re coaching our kid’s soccer team, or we’re in a team at work responsible for carrying out particular projects, or we’re trying to be a better couple team or parenting team with our partner.

Maybe we’re part of a team of like-minded individuals trying to bring about change and social justice in our schools, businesses, communities; or simply in a team of our family trying to help each member live their best lives. Maybe we’re just trying to be on our own team with ourselves, with a little more self-respect and support.

We all know the potential beauty, and potential struggle inherent in being part of any team. Working together can bring about hardship and heartache, as well as progress and meaningful purpose; frustration and failure as well as camaraderie and community. Sometimes we might let the final win or loss define the whole team, forgetting how important the journey and struggle together was, regardless of the outcome.

I have been following the Golden State Warriors Basketball team and celebrated their ultimate success in the NBA finals, not so much because yet again it’s another championship, but because of the character and values-based competition that the team engages in on a regular basis. I admire and believe their extraordinary success comes from combining their amazing athleticism with deep core values and really living them.

Here I have paraphrased some of what I heard them all talk about after their championship win. These are great tips for anybody on any kind of team to keep in mind as a way of creating a more cohesive (and successful) Team….

  • Have each other‘s back.
  • If you must be hardheaded, so be it. But when it comes down to it, do listen and work hard.
  • Don’t care who gets the glory.
  • The real MVP is the one behind you, supporting you.
  • Kevin Durant, the MVP, is happy to let Steph Curry be the face of the organization.
  • Have fun. Be joyous doing what you love. Have a sense of humor. Enjoy it all.
  • Eat well before you play hard. (Good self-care helps you to be a better teammate).
  • Be authentic. Be yourself. Be the best version of yourself you can be.
  • Give love and get so much love back.
  • Always ask about what the players or those on the front lines think. And then implement that input. (Coaches learn from players, who learn from coaches, who learn from players, etc..)
  • Acknowledge that not all ideas work (including your own), but do be open to considering them.
  • Rather than blame someone for mistakes, take ownership or accountability for what’s contributed.
  • Spend time with your family.
  • Encourage the youth around you.
  • Give back.
  • Be part of the community. (Never forget where you come from. Don’t isolate or alienate.)
  • “I don’t care what kind of a basketball player you are. What kind of a man/ human being will you be?” – Kevin Durant’s Mom
  • Responsibility, perseverance, make for a good man.
  • Joy, mindfulness, compassion, competition. Let everything you do be built around your core values.
  • Be grateful for the opportunity you have.
  • Overcoming adversity and a long hard season make for a sweeter win.
  • The downs make the victory that much sweeter. (Embrace the adversity.)
  • “This is for you guys. We appreciate your support.” – Warriors players to fans
  • “I have defensive breakdowns out there when I just am thinking about myself, and the other guys step up to help out.” – Draymond Green… (And I’m reminded I am a part of this team).
  • Surround yourself with good people – treat them like family.
  • When your teammate isn’t making shots, pick up for them.
  • Do stuff together. Stay together.
  • It’s all about the Team.
  • Hear everyone’s voice.
  • Gain trust by letting teammates know you care about them, they’re important to you.
  • Listen to other people’s story and have compassion.
  • Struggle is better – you got to go through the pain and discomfort to come out better and have more satisfaction on the other end.
  • Ask someone with more experience how they do what they do successfully.
  • Keep a good attitude. Keep going whenever you hit adversity.
  • Continue to get better from within.
  • Can’t give up on yourself. You’ve got to persevere.
  • When you’re not doing well, make sure to keep supporting your team.
  • It’s all about the team. Stay ready to contribute in the best way possible.
  • Help each other to become the best version of themselves.
  • The human connection always matters and has a huge impact.
  • Truly appreciate every moment you have to do what you love.
  • Don’t give into human nature and let your accomplishments feel like old repeats – celebrate each win as a new and special thing. Consider the preciousness of each moment.
  • Build your core values into your daily routine and let it become your culture.

Congratulations Golden State Warriors! Thank you for being a team that inspires us each to be the best teammates we can be on our own teams. Thank you for modeling the practice of living, working and playing by core values. And thank you for sharing your success with your supporters.

And after witnessing the celebration parade, I noticed one more tip about good teamwork:

  • Do good work and the people will come (together) joyfully and peacefully…Yeah!!

If you or someone you care about needs help becoming a better teammate or creating a more cohesive team, please contact me for a couples therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445


Reflect on these wise quotes and inspiration…

A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

IMG_8538These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. I am happy to share them with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • Inspiration of the month: Daniel D. Music. He plays electric violin accompanying several genres of music. Another therapist shared this with me as a suggestion for waiting room music.  I found it to be passionate, soulful and inspirational to listen to while working on a creative project. He’ll help you get your work done with heart and soul. I like his story and how he’s putting himself out there, and doing good in the world.  Check him out here.
  • “Ultimately, I decided that my role as a therapist is both to support the individual (who has said something racist) and to support a greater good. These are inseparable to me. Partly because racism and other kinds of oppression are also harmful to the oppressor. So by not pointing out problematic thinking on the part of my client in regards to their blind spots when it comes to race and privilege, I’m not supporting their healing and growth.“ – Lily Sloane
  • “Walls turned sideways are bridges.” – Angela Davis
  • “When you listen generously to people they can hear the truth in themselves, often for the first time.” – Rachel Naomi Remen
  • “Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.“ – Elizabeth Kubler Ross
  • “If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for.”- Terry Lynn Taylor
  • “Laughter isn’t even the other side of tears. It is tears turned inside out. Truly the suffering is great, here on earth. We blunder along, shredded by our mistakes, bludgeoned by our faults. Not having a clue where the dark path leads us. But on the whole, we stumble along bravely, don’t you think?” – Alice Walker
  • FAITH:
    “Every morning when I was a girl
    my mother would wake me
    with song, the same lilting lyric
    every dawn,
    It’s going to be such a lovely day,
    good morning, good morning I say.
    It sounds too grand to call it ceremony,
    and she would have appeared
    an unlikely celebrant
    in her bathrobe and slippers,
    but she infused this daily ritual with prayer
    and to this day I wake
    certain that the world
    will have beauty in it
    and certain that I will find it—
    this the most beautiful gift
    any mother could give.” – POEM by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
  • “If I could summarize nonviolence in one word, it would be: patience.” – Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
  • “Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control.” – Kelly McGonigal
  • “There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.” – Wangari Maathai
  • “Beauty seen makes the one who sees it more beautiful.” – Br. David Steindl Rast
  • “The human spirit must sometimes take wings or sails, and create something that is not just utilitarian or commonplace.” -Queen Elizabeth II
  • “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou
  • “You are your best thing.” – Toni Morrison
  • “If you wish to heal your sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of others. They are looking to you for guidance, help, courage, strength, understanding, and for assurance. Most of all, they are looking to you for love.” – Ana Castillo

So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that has some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with wisdom and reflection and that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what inspires and nourishes your soul.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full-heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445

Best Tips for Brain-Building Activities

Give your brain a workout to improve its functioning

Easy and fun ways to improve brain health

Your brain matter matters!

I am out of the office this week, ‘on holiday’ as they say in certain parts of the world, and I wanted to give you a light-hearted list of tips to strengthen your brain and improve how it works for you. A lot of these things you may already be doing, and may not have realized how important they are to developing the different areas of your brain.

If you’re feeling a bit foggy or having difficulty concentrating, or feeling like your internal executive CEO  isn’t at the top of her game, it may be your brain’s way of asking for more attention and healthy care. Maybe you’re not including enough of these things in your daily life.

I am having the lovely opportunity to travel, which is a really great way to shake up and wake up my brain a bit. Hearing new language, learning a different history, experiencing different ways of life and worldviews, appreciating differences and universalities of new cultures, and even driving on the opposite side of the road than what I am used to! When I am confused or in the throes of acclimating, I keep reminding myself that change and novelty are good for my brain. This is definitely a good brain workout!

If you can travel, do so. But if you can’t get away right at the moment, you can try some of these things at home, and know you’ve given your brain a revitalizing journey.

Tips for A Good Brain Workout:

  • Dance (Publicly, privately, joyously..)
  • Play board games, word games and memory games (This is especially good to do with your kids, good for them and you)
  • Meditation (Yes, the practice of quieting your brain actually helps to grow it)
  • Learning a new language
  • Morning exercises (breathing, walk, yoga)
  • Remembering a list of items, each one associated with body parts or sites in your home, or with pneumonic techniques or pictures
  • Keeping a Gratitude list, especially of things you haven’t noticed before
  • Listening with curiosity to someone, especially someone you know well. Pay special attention to their body language, tone. Try to be a journalist and listen to the story behind the story.
  • Trying a new way to go home, get out of the routine. Try a new recipe, a new sport, use your non-dominant hand to do routine tasks.
  • Get enough rest. (Seriously, major brain cleanup and development & integration go on when you sleep well. If you shortchange your sleep, you are wearing away the foundation of your brain)
  • Learn something new. Try something new. Take risks to move out of your comfort zone.
  • An excellent podcast for learning practical tools to boost your memory, read faster, enhance your thinking can be found at
  • Incorporate top brain foods (blueberries, chocolate, coconut oil, broccoli, kale…)
  • Use hand warming techniques to send a signal to your body to relax. Your brain functions better when it’s in a state of calm.
  • Get rid of automatic negative thoughts.
  • Name your feelings. Learn to differentiate the subtleties of emotions (ie: the difference between anger and frustration).
  • Create a vision board and then move things onto a gratitude board, once accomplished
  • Do Journaling or create a collage to capture positive moments and experiences in your life. Create a library of your own.
  • Try Juggling – jugglers tend to have a bigger brain.
  • Change your environment. Move your furniture around. Practice Interior design – this improves spatial awareness.
  • Do old-fashioned handwriting (yes, take an actual pen in hand as you write on paper). For bonus brain boosting, write with your non-dominant hand.
  • Play Table tennis
  • Do Martial arts (these last three activities sharpen coordination)
  • You are never too old to learn something new. Engage in Lifelong learning – contributes to longevity, and a brain that keeps working well as long as you are alive.
  • Create a Bucket list – the brain loves activity that involves promise and excitement. You don’t have to travel the world; even a daily simple bucket list improves brain functioning.
  • Reading books or listening to them allows you to consolidate decades of information or experiences of others in just a few hours.
  • Teach something you’ve learned.
  • Look at everyday activities at home and work for new perspectives and new ways of doing them.
  • Effective notetaking – is not every word or no note at all, but something that incorporates images or mapping or salient themes.
  • Goal setting. Intention Creating.
  • Remembering your dreams. Journal them first thing when you wake up.
  • Get outside in nature. Have some experiences of awe.

Hopefully, this list gives you something new to think about and boost your brain’s functioning with, and that you find enjoyable. It’s much easier to engage in some new activity when it feels like it will be fun and not just a should-do chore.

Go work your brain out!

If you or someone you care about needs help to deal better with your thoughts and feelings so you can enhance your overall brain functioning, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445


Best Tips for Developing a Sense of Personal Power

Personal Power from the inside out


Do you wish you felt more empowered in your own world? You wish everything wasn’t always so difficult to move forward with, and that you could accomplish more? Or that you could have more impact or influence on how things go in life?

Lots of times we feel at the mercy of every one else’s demands or needs or expectations of us. We hate to say it, but often that makes us feel powerless or defeated, or without control over our own lives.

You might want to feel more empowered with your partner, or your kids, or your coworkers, or your boss. You notice you might be reacting a lot out of a sense of powerlessness and rage, rather than speaking clearly about what you need or would like. Sometimes you might even feel like a victim in a situation, which then usually makes you feel even worse.

Maybe you just need to shift a little your perspective about personal power, or the sense of agency you have…

You know, that part of you that has an impact on the world, makes things happen, is about living your life under your direction, and feels a sense of freedom to express. Your personal power emerges when you present your own thoughts, feelings, wishes, needs and you’re not always worried about what others say, or their judgments. When you make decisions that are right for you, and are not more dependent on someone else’s whims or discomforts. When you’re not wrought in guilt, or prioritizing taking care of everyone else. Your personal power helps you to know and care about yourself, and at the same time, not harm others.

Here are some tips and things to think about, in order to strengthen your sense of personal power in the world…

  • When you present as a victim, you are lacking in your sense of personal power. Let the powerlessness you feel guide you to what you need and help you to call upon your sense of personal power.
  • Recognize your own triggers. Be thoughtful about them and don’t give them away easily.
  • Anytime you’re beating yourself up, that is not the best use of your personal power.
  • Ask for what you want with dignity. Honor how hard that is, to ask for what you want. When you begin to ask in ways that other people can hear and potentially respond to, you are raising you personal power quotient.
  • Use “I“ statements. But not to be judgy or critical.
  • Respond rather than react. Take a moment between the trigger and your response.
  • Don’t let others’ demands, needs, reactions make you a victim in response. Own your own feelings.
  • You are in charge of how you react.
  • Set intentions at the beginning of the day for how you want to respond, communicate, feel. Remind yourself throughout the day of your intentions.
  • Accept your limits. Don’t apologize for them or justify them.
  • Show up as the partner, person you want to be, in the relationship you want to have.
  • Speak clearly, honestly, without blaming or shaming. Speak in a way you can live with and stand behind. That’s living with integrity.
  • You can have room for yourself; hold onto yourself and still be able to imagine what it’s like for others. Self-compassion helps build compassion for others.
  • Take the risk to discover your own truth and give a voice to it.
  • Avoid blaming, accusing, name-calling, lecturing, judging.
  • Admit to your own mistakes, and don’t punish or blame yourself for them. Try acting as if you have compassion for that part of you that made the mistake.
  • Look for vulnerability underneath your own surface feelings. Be open to what you may discover about yourself. When you express that, that’s courageous.
  • Assert yourself without harming others.
  • Don’t personalize everything.
  • Practice empathy and compassion. No better source of personal power.
  • Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same kindness and respect you would a good friend. The best source of growing your sense of personal power.
  • Listen deeply; speak openly.
  • Take time to be with yourself. Really.
  • Feel good about who you are. Practice bringing to mind things that you are proud of, or like how you handled, or made room for, or felt internally powerful about. They might be really subtle – which is actually more powerful.
  • Learn to check in with yourself before reacting. Notice how your body or heart feel with different emotions.
  • Admit and accept your vulnerability – it helps you to take the risk to have close connections with others.
  • Think of your own sense of agency – earliest experiences and recent experiences. What makes these experiences personally powerful for you? Likewise, when you lack power…what makes those situations so?
  • Savor and install the feeling when you’ve done something well.
  • Learn that your thoughts are just thoughts. What you think is not reality, nor does it have to be believed.
  • To get a little distance from your thoughts, say to yourself, “I am having the thought that this will never work out.(or whatever the thought is…)” Then, for a little more distance, say to yourself, “I am noticing that I am having the thought that this will never work out.” This little bit of space between your thoughts and you gives breathing room for your sense of personal power to come forth.
  • Notice how it feels to be aligned with your own wishes, when your actions are not bent around others’ wishes or expectations of you. Get to know that feeling and install that feeling deeply, so it becomes more familiar to you.

I’d love to hear from you…How do you feel when your personal power is alive and well? Or what gets in the way of feeling personally powerful? Share your strengths and vulnerabilities here.

If you or someone you care about needs help to build up your sense of personal power, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445

Tips for Taming the Inner Critic

How to manage that critical inner voice

elf compassion helps to tame the inner critic.

This month I’m starting a series of simplified blog posts. They will be more in the form of lists of best tips on topics like:

  • Favorite and best tips for:
  • Parenting with Mindfulness (being the best parent you can be)
  • Brain building activities
  • Improving intimate relationships – getting along with your partner
  • Dealing with anxiety and stress
  • Dealing with depression and stress
  • Dealing with overwhelm
  • Managing the time you don’t think you have
  • Navigating difficult parenting years
  • Having more family harmony
  • Women of color dealing with stress
  • Taming the inner critic
  • Developing a sense of personal power
  • Helping your child to limit device time
  • Managing difficult emotions (or calming down your Hot Mess)

My purpose is twofold:

I want to present useful information that’s easy to read and digest so you can apply it easily to your busy life. I know your time is precious, and if I can offer you one kernel of wisdom that doesn’t take 20 minutes to read, that will make your life easier and richer, I am all for that. I believe in making mindful practices more easily accessible in everyday life, to everyone.

Second, I have been told by many that I offer too much information – it’s good information, but sometimes difficult to digest because it requires more time. So I am being intentional about putting out the information in more bite-size pieces. Still powerful, but you only need to taste.

I don’t want to give you a firehose to drink from when you only need a sip of water!

Also, I have some professional projects I’m working on presently that require more of my own time and attention than I have left over after writing a full-length blog post. So, good for you and good for me too.

I still am available to hear from you and share ideas you have about living your best life in this challenging world we live in. Please feel free to respond, ask questions, or just share your perspective. Let me know if there are other topics you’d like “tips” about.

Today, here are some tips to manage that pesky inner critic’s voice…

Best Tips for Taming Your Inner Critic

Have you ever had a meditation experience that goes something like this?

“…Oh, it feels so good to follow my breath….My shoulders were so high…I’m just starting to let them drop…I feel myself sinking into the chair… I feel my weight in the chair……I think I’m gaining weight… My pants are too tight. It’s my own fault that I have no control when I walk by the donut shop….I eat when I’m stressed… I should know better than to eat when I’m stressed…Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be meditatingjust paying attention to my breath…It feels so good to just breathe…even though I’m sure I can’t even breathe right….Nowhere else to be…Nothing else to do...My to do list is so long – I can’t finish anything on it. Everyone else does such a better job. The one thing that’s been on my list for so long is to call my friend…It’s a terrible thing when I say friendships are so important to me and yet I don’t call them  back…I’m such a bad friend. I’m sure they’re annoyed with me…Don’t think about that right now! Just ‘meditate’!…I’m supposed to be meditatingJust breathe naturally...what’s the point of this anyways? All I do is think about everything else.  I can’t control my mind. I can’t even meditate right. I’m not good at this….WHAT? It’s time to stop already? I’m such a Hot Mess!…I wish I could just take a breath….”

This mind chatter often comes up when one is trying to create space through meditation or mindfulness. Then it just makes people feel bad and feel as if there is something wrong with them that prevents them from meditating right.

If you notice, this kind of mind chatter also comes up everywhere else in all kinds of circumstances and situations (like having dinner at a friend’s house, at a meeting at work, when your partner is complaining about their day, when your kids are stressing you out…).

Usually, it’s not friendly mind chatter. Usually, it’s a mean or critical inner voice that tries to take over…

Everyone has an inner critic. Here are some tips to keep your inner critic from ruining your life:

  • Soften your Hot Mess voice. Try to speak your feelings from the heart.
  • Speak to yourself like you would your child, or pet, or BFF.
  • The negative inner voice can negatively affect relationships with yourself and with others. So be gentle.
  • See the inner voice as a bubble of words coming out of your head… Poof it away.

Whenever you hear that tone of “you’re not good enough“, let that be a cue that this is not something you have to listen to closely – you won’t be tested on this.

Hold your inner critic with care, compassion – befriend it, get to know it and what it’s protected you from. Describe it. Ask questions of it (like what does it need? What’s it here to help you learn?).

Don’t try to get rid of it – just lessen its power.

Anytime you’re beating yourself up for making a mistake, not knowing, not being good enough, you’re treating yourself in an abusive way – taking away your own personal power, and victimizing yourself. Try treating yourself with compassion instead.

Instead of bringing criticism to the critic’s voice, bring curiosity, openness, inquiry.

See what it needs. What are its fears? Consider treating your inner critic with kindness. Problem-solve with it.

Know thyself. Know your feelings, wishes, thoughts, decisions. And speak them kindly to others, and especially to yourself.

Your Inner Critic can be associated with depression, anxiety, perfectionism. Catch yourself when you’re not letting your Inner Supporter get a word in edgewise.

Don’t be critical about the critical inner voice. Lots of times people don’t like to meditate because it brings up their inner critic and they think they’re doing it all wrong.

Inquire as to what are some favorite topics of your inner critic? Give a name to your inner critic (i.e. Zelda). Relate to it. See the inner critic as being in your corner. Appreciate it and that it cares about you and really wants you to live your own best life (though it might be awkward about how it communicates that to you).

Recognize and greet it when it shows up, but don’t let it be the only one you talk to you throughout the whole party. You must appreciate it, but keep a boundary – don’t let it be mean to you. When you notice it being mean, say “Get thee behind me Zelda!” Or something else a little dramatic and silly.

Using humor is one way of softening the inner critic’s voice.

Focus in on your values. When behavior is driven by things innately important and meaningful to you, that is a more powerful motivator than the critic demanding you to do something.

To clarify values, think of the happiest and most content person you know – somebody you admire most, and write down what traits make them so. Also when you’re dead and gone what do you most want to be remembered for? Write those traits down. These traits are indicative of your core values. Better to use these as a motivator than the inner critic.

Often times people are reluctant to let go of their inner critic because they think they won’t do anything and they’ll be lazy. It’s way better to motivate yourself with values than with self-punishment.

It’s not about getting rid of the inner critic, just know when to listen or not; or be able to turn down the volume of it.

You can have good self-esteem and still have an inner critic. You must be able to discriminate when to pay attention and when is it just noise.

Everyone has an inner critic. Some good ways to handle it are to picture it on a volume control knob that you can turn down. Or as a barking dog tied to a tree and you just keep on walking by. Or you can tell the inner critic to shut up. Or ask the critic what it’s trying to teach you and try to figure out that lesson. You can argue against it.

People who listen passively to the critic end up feeling terrible. This can then connect to depression. To defend yourself or make it a learning experience or take some action with it is more helpful.

Pay attention to how you decide when to listen to that voice and when not. Often it never occurs to somebody that they don’t have to listen to that voice.

Something silly but profound to try:

  • Say out loud what that voice usually says internally, for one minute.
  • Pick a cartoon character or funny voice and say all the exact same things again out loud, but with that funny voice.
  • Notice where the location of that voice is in your body.
  • Move the voice to come out of your body from a different place like you’re butt, or from your big toe, muffled through your shoe. Say again out loud, but only for a minute, those things your inner critic typically says, from that body part or with that voice. Notice how ridiculous it sounds. Let yourself laugh with kindness about that voice. This might seem superficial but can really reduce the power of the inner critic.

So these my best tips list for today. Do any of them resonate with you? I’d love to hear how you’re getting along with your inner critic, and any wisdom or challenges you’re aware of.

If you or someone you care about is having a hard time taming that inner critic, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445

Heart Full Moments from April 2018

Finding wisdom and inspiration

live your best life with words of wisdom

A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words,
meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

These are the most impactful things I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. I am happy to share them with you. You never know where you’ll find some wisdom or inspiration. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Keep them in your own collection of wonderful wisdoms. These are wise words about living life more fully, with compassion, and are reminders about paying attention to what’s really important. Enjoy…

  • “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller
  • “Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” – Helen Keller
  • Anyone can be happy when they get what they want; the challenge is to stay grateful and peaceful even when the world around you feels crazy and dangerous and horrible.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • “Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.“ – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Choose feelings over logic, adventure over perfection, here over there, now over then, and always love, love, love.“ – from “notes from the universe“
  • “In times of sorrow
    May you see light on the path ahead
    When the road you walk is dark.
    May you always hear,
    Even in your hour of sorrow,
    The gentle singing of the lark.
    When times are hard may hardness
    Never turn your heart to stone,
    May you always remember
    When the shadows fall,
    you do not walk alone.” – memorial prayer
  • “It is a huge danger to pretend that awful things do not happen. But you need enough hope to keep going. I am trying to make hope. Flowers grow out of darkness.” -Corina Kent
  • “My prayer is, let me be a blessing to someone or something today.” – Jean Houston
  • “Don’t plan it all. Let life surprise you a little.” – Julia Alvarez
  • “By going with what’s happening rather than expending energy fighting or turning away from it, you create the opportunity to gain insight into what’s driving your concerns.“ – Bob Stahl
  • “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.” –  Native American proverb
  • Rise Up Lyrics, Andra Day
    You’re broken down and tired
    Of living life on a merry go round
    And you can’t find the fighter
    But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
    And move mountains
    We gonna walk it out
    And move mountains
    And I’ll rise up
    I’ll rise like the day
    I’ll rise up
    I’ll rise unafraid
    I’ll rise up
    And I’ll do it a thousand times again
    And I’ll rise up
    High like the waves
    I’ll rise up
    In spite of the ache
    I’ll rise up
    And I’ll do it a thousand times again
    For you
    For you
    For you
    For you
    When the silence isn’t quiet
    And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
    And I know you feel like dying
    But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
    And move mountains
    We’ll take it to its feet
    And move mountains
    And I’ll rise up
    I’ll rise like the day
    I’ll rise up
    I’ll rise unafraid
    I’ll rise up
    And I’ll do it a thousand times again
    For you
    For you
    For you
    For you
    All we need, all we need is hope
    And for that we have each other
    And for that we have each other
    We will rise
    We will rise
    We’ll rise, oh oh
    We’ll rise
    I’ll rise up
    Rise like the day
    I’ll rise up
    In spite of the ache
    I will rise a thousand times again
    And we’ll rise up
    Rise like the waves
    We’ll rise up
    In spite of the ache
    We’ll rise up
    And we’ll do it a thousand times again
    For you oh oh oh oh oh
    For you oh oh oh oh oh
    For you oh oh oh oh oh
    For you
  • “A star at dawn, a drop of dew, an echo, a rainbow and a dream.” – The Buddha
  • “We don’t see the world as IT is; we see it the way WE are.” -Talmud teaching
  • “One of the most prominent characteristics of our left brain is it’s ability to weave stories. The storyteller portion of our left brain’s language centers is specifically designed to make sense of the world outside us, based upon minimal amounts of information. It functions by taking whatever details it has to work with, and then weaves them together in the form of a story. Most impressively, our left brain is brilliant in its ability to make stuff up, and fill in the blanks when there are gaps in its factual data.
    As my left brain language centers recovered and became functional again, I spent a lot of time observing how my story-teller would draw conclusions, based upon minimal information. For the longest time I found these antics of my storyteller to be rather comical. Until I realized that my left brain whole heartedly expected the rest of my brain to believe the stories it was making up!… I need to remember however, that there are enormous gaps between what I actually know and what I think I know. I learned I need to be very wary of my story teller’s potential for stirring up trauma and drama.“ -Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight
  • “Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” –  Victor Frankl
  • “Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation and healing.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • “Sometimes I think I need a spare heart to feel all the things I feel.” – Sanober Khan
  • “Travel back in time to bring to mind some of the many ways children had fun before cell phones, computers or televisions were invented. For thousands of years, kids have been drawing, dancing, climbing, scribbling, digging, making music, and using their imaginations to generate fun. Left to their own devices — and not those electronic ones — your children will find ways to occupy themselves while you catch your breath at the end of a long day.” – Susan Stiffelman
  • ”A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” – Christopher Germer
  • “Dwayne Johnson, 45, embraces his role as an inspirational figure. When a 19-year-old fan tweeted that he took hope for his own future from seeing Johnson’s achievements after battling depression, Johnson shot back a tweet of his own: “Battled that beast more than once. Us men [too] prideful to ask for help. Speak up, ask for help & you’re never alone. See [you] at the top one day.” Also:
    You’ve also got to learn how to block out all the noise and all the things that distract you from your dreams and ambitions. You’ve got listen to that little voice inside you that tells you that you’re good enough and that you can realize your dreams.” – Dwayne Johnson
  • “The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.” – Hans Christian Andersen
  • “You have to stop thinking you’ll be stuck in your situation forever. We feel like our heart will never heal or we’ll never get out of this impossible struggle. Don’t confuse a season for a lifetime. Even your trials have an expiration date. You will grow, life will change, things will work out.“ – Brittney Moses
  • “Be proud of who you are and the struggle that makes you YOU.” And “Be encouraged. Really be encouraged and have hope.” – Michelle Obama
  • “Silence isn’t empty. It’s full of answers.“ – Kiara Elliott
  • “Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening.” – Lisa M. Hayes
  • “The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” – Wendall Berry
  • “Oh Lord, may I become the person my dog thinks that I am.“ – Bumper sticker…
    …“Oh Lord, may I remember that I am the person my dog thinks that I am.“ – Cindi Rivera

Thank you for reading. I hope you have enjoyed this month’s Heart Full Moments – wise words that I’ve been touched by, and reflected about. I hope you have had the chance to read or see or hear things, in your own world too, that have made you pause and breathe in, the wisdom or wonder of that experience. Thank you also for any inspirational wisdoms you have shared with me.

You might keep your own list of Heart-full or mind-full gems, and re-read them when you need an uplift. Simply to be on the lookout for gems that speak to you is a mindful practice that helps to keep your heart open to all that’s good in the world.

To deepen your experience even more, you might use any one of these as a journal prompt, where you add whatever comes to mind about how this applies in your life, and how it makes you feel. Or use any one of these as a conversation starter and see if you can draw someone out to share how these words make them feel. Enjoy sharing Heart full wisdom…

I’d love to hear from you. What have you come across lately that inspires you to keep on keeping on?

If you or someone you care about needs help to overcome some of life’s struggles, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445