Tuesday, December 12, 2017

weekly theme :: ADAPTATION

Control, Surrender, and Change

The ability to change with an ever-changing world is an innate ability that we sometimes forget to cultivate. Flowing with the flow of the world is not always easy. To add a wrinkle, when do we hunker down and hold on? To go a step forward, when is the right time to surrender and retreat. Control, adaptation and surrender are all different approaches. Knowing the difference between what WE CAN change externally and what WE NEED to change internally can be vexing. When is force the answer? When is adaptation the answer? When is retreat the answer? Tales, legends and myths are lenses in which we can examine these moments in life when we must decide between adapting, retreating or holding to the center.

Most successful species have an uncanny knack for adaptation. The ability to merge with the occasional chaos of life and ride it out like a rogue wave is a skill that can be cultivated. But it requires practice and awareness. With many things in life, maybe we try to apply our will at first only to learn that an adaptive perspective may be needed. So we switch tactics. This happens often.

This week let’s explore real life situations where we can apply control, adaptation, or retreat and observe the results. Let’s show the clients everyday examples of adaptation, retreat and control. We can also pull from mythology many examples of this struggle between grasping (control) and letting go (surrender) and adaptation (change).

Call or stop by Zen Recovery Path. We will be inspired with Art Projects, Kung Fu Classes, Tai Chi, Music group and Movie with Meaning.

126 E. 16th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(800) 759-1930

Monday, December 4, 2017

weekly theme :: SELF LOVE

Author: Zen Recovery Path

We are doing something a little bit different with this week's theme.
Watch video for explanation

(Character: Samurai Man)
Oh, hello! So, this week instead of writing out a theme (bad writers block) but now this time what we do is a video, very modern, very good. Yes. OK. I start to sound uh too much like a Cookie Monster. OK. Anyway. This weeks theme the clients came to me and they said to me they said, Samurai Man, we have big problem with self-love. Can you help us with loving ourselves? And I said you have come to the right person. For I am a master of the self love. So, by unanimous client choice this week we going to teach them how to do the self-love. You have to look deep within yourself too. To find the love that you also have for yourself. Goodbye and good luck.

Monday, November 27, 2017

weekly theme :: FORGIVENESS

Author: Ryan Thompson

Forgiveness is not giving up nor is it admitting defeat. Forgiveness is about taking power back and making a conscious decision to let go of resentments, pain and anger. Some people are not ready to forgive and rightly so, what about victims of sexual assault and violence as well as people who have suffered physical, emotional abuse and unearned shame? Is it not appropriate to feel rage or become victimized due to events that have happened directly or indirectly to us? We can become consumed by our suffering and have our whole worldview including our biases and attitude be controlled by our suffering and resentments. When we look objectively at how our resentments have power over us we can see how we engage in belittling ourselves and in turn increase our own self-loathing and even convince ourselves we deserve it, or we act upon anger and allow it to dominate our actions and perceptions of the world.

Forgiveness can begin the process of emotionally disconnecting ourselves from the events and pain that we have used to define us. Forgiveness is not about forgetting or even making a statement that what happened to create the resentment is acceptable, it is about making a personal statement that one does not want to be emotionally controlled by the events, memories and perception of self that resentments create.

Some clients are ready to forgive, and we can foster that by asking the question and helping the client find the answer of; how. There are many ways to forgive and the least of all is giving the terrible advice of “Just let this go.” Well, How? How do people “let go” how do people forgive? For some it is a mere acknowledging that the incident(s) occurred, facing the emotions that arise and stating forgiveness. Others need rituals or prayer to assist in maintaining the intention of forgiveness. Forgiveness can act like the tide of the ocean or the changing moon and our resentments can creep back in, even after we have made the conscious decision to forgive. In this case, one needs to repeat the action of forgiveness and take a little more power back until the resentment has eventually been drained and the individual is free from that resentment.

It is our job to help foster forgiveness and more importantly to help the client answer the question of how to forgive. It is also not our job to push someone to forgive when they are not ready as those individuals may still need to be further defined or come to a better understanding or acknowledge lessons to be learned from the experience before they become willing and ready to forgive. Even if that lesson is to realize how much damage and influence these resentments have had in our lives, and then we can pose the question “Are you ready to let this go?”

Monday, November 20, 2017

weekly theme :: GRATITUDE


One of my favorite descriptions of what Gratitude means to me comes from the book Consolations by David Whyte.  He writes:

Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us.  Gratitude is not necessarily something that is shown after the event, it is the deep, a priori state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life. 
Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living participating human being is privilege; that we are miraculously part of something rather than nothing.  Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape.
To see the full miraculous essentiality of the color blue is to be grateful with no necessity for a word of thanks.  TO see fully, the beauty of a daughter’s face is to be fully grateful without having to seek a God to thank him.  To sit among friends and strangers, hearing many voices, strange opinions; to intuit inner lives beneath surface lives, to inhabit many worlds at once in this world, to be a someone amongst all other someone’s, and therefore to make a conversation without saying a word, is to deepen our sense of presence and therefore our natural sense of thankfulness that everything happens both with us and without us, that we are participants and witness all at once.
Thankfulness finds its full measure in generosity of presence, both through participation and witness.  We sit at the table as part of every other person’s world while making our own world without will or effort, this is what is extraordinary and gifted, this is the essence of gratefulness, seeing to the heart of privilege.  Thanksgiving happens when our sense of presence meets all other presences.  Being unappreciative might mean we are simply not paying attention.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

weekly theme :: FAMILY DYNAMICS

Author: Sifu Matt Carver

In preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, this week's theme will focus on Family Dynamics.  Let's incorporate the genogram and have clients reflect on what their ideal family environment looks and feels like and how they can play a part in nurturing the ideal family environment for the holidays.  Here's some motivation from our Clinical Director/Therapist, Ryan Thompson.

As humans, relationships are integral to just about every aspect of our lives. What has been the quality of those relationships? Early in life, our family of origin, whether it be in a nuclear family, adoptive family, or institutions such as boarding homes or foster homes have been our first experiences of learning to engage in relationships. These early experiences of family dynamics often have a lasting impact on the quality, types and patterns of our future relationships. Maybe some relationships have been healthy and supportive while others have been a source of pain, mistrust, disappointment and sadness. These relationships are a significant factor in the formation of our lenses of perception. If our relationships have been of a toxic origin, how do we change them, how do we become aware that "normal and expected" is often a formulated perception based upon familiarity even if toxic or volatile relationships is the norm. 
In life, we will run into other people moving on their path of life whom have developed their own relationship styles, systems and strategies. In order to stop repeating toxic and maladaptive relationship patterns that maintain substance use disorders through codependency, enabling, resentments, in-authenticity and manipulation we must raise awareness of the dynamics we have learned from our early family experiences. Then we must learn the characteristics and techniques that lead to healthy relationship dynamics such as trust, respect, effective communication, authenticity and how to set healthy boundaries. As we move forward in life and as we meet the other people on their journey we have an opportunity to forge relationships that are made of denser and more reliable material.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Thank you for attending Zen Recovery path's Open House. It was a big success. We invited all healers, helpers and professionals in the substance abuse treatment community to join hands in the united effort to extinguish addiction. 

The attendance was generous and the Ane Thanh Lion Dance took the audience's breath away.
We look forward to seeing everyone next year for the "JOIN OUR HANDS" annual program which hopes to create a network that can use their combined intentions to put an end to the opioid epidemic that currently plagues the United States. Your support is helping provide critical assistance to those in need, their families and entire communities. On behalf of those that benefit from your caring, thank you for your support.

With Appreciation,
Sifu Matt Carver

Monday, November 6, 2017

weekly theme :: INSPIRATION

Author: Sifu Matt Carver

Ask yourself, "What is my Why?" 

Inspiration comes in many forms. Getting inspired by something or someone get our hearts and minds focused on a single subject. This is great practice for folks with scattered thoughts and lingering ADD. Early in recovery, it is hard to get excited about anything. Our brain receptors are a little fried from over use. But as we begin to settle back into who we are, inspiration becomes a welcomed old friend.

Now, waiting around to be inspired is a little presumptuous. I find when you take a step back and ask yourself, "Why?" the discovery begins. Besides, inspiration can be cultivated and accentuated. Putting ourselves in new creative environments and surrounding ourselves with inspiring people helps propagate inspiration in our own lives.

Getting sober can feel like a backwards fall into boredom and dullsville. But it doesn’t have to be. Finding ways to get excited about life begins as a practice and a routine. Exploring different cultures, or music you never listen to, or learning a language or taking a dance class. Engaging in these new pursuits and flights of inspiration help fill the void left in early sobriety. Often times it is not just the drugs and alcohol that disappears, but an entire lifestyle and identity. Rebuilding this bedrock and filling this vacancy will require inspiration (and some footwork).

Sharing what gets us personally excited is one way to help others find their spark for life. Trying new things and experiences is another. This week let’s have discussions about what makes life so rich and inviting. What makes us want to engage and create? Help our clients rediscover that zest for life that addiction and compulsive behavior extinguished.

Call or stop by Zen Recovery Path. We will be inspired with Art Projects, Kung Fu Classes, Tai Chi, Music group and Movie with Meaning.

126 E. 16th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(800) 759-1930