How to Avoid Avoidance


We tend to move toward what we are attracted to. “I think I’ll have another piece of that pecan pie.” We tend to move away from what we have an aversion to. “Thank you, but I think I’ll pass on the beets tonight.” Sometimes we have an aversion to what we need to do. So we find all kinds of creative ways to avoid doing what we know we need to do. And then the…

Continue reading

Honoring Your Mother After She Has Died

Gregg Krech compiled the following suggestions for those who want to honor their moms after they have died. For the past twenty years I have been conducting retreats in which a person spends a week reflecting on his or her entire life (Naikan retreat). A participant always begins with her mother and a central part of the reflection is remembering the details of what was received from her mother from the time of her birth…

Continue reading

A Scroll was Found Between Two Hearts

This beautiful article was written by our dear friend, Romie Georgia. My mother was 96 years old when she died last month. This tiny woman, child of immigrants from the Ukraine, lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, and countless economic and political upheavals. Her childhood was cruelly marked by a misguided radiation treatment, which destroyed her health and physical well-being. She never expected to live past the age of fifty (when both her…

Continue reading



The following letter was inspired by Gregg Krech’s reflections during a two-week Naikan Retreat in Japan. During the retreat the author was deeply struck by the depth and breadth of the care he had received throughout his childhood. He felt compelled to acknowledge this by offering his sincere appreciation to his mother in a letter he composed spontaneously after finding a robin’s nest in the garden. He realized that, throughout his entire childhood, he couldn’t…

Continue reading

Thanking Mom


This essay was written by one of our members, Peter Smith, after he completed our Naikan self-reflection program.  Last summer, due to economic circumstances, I lived with my mother and father. I was very nervous about this as the majority of the time my mother does not want me to live at home and I rarely want to live there as well. Just to put things in context, my mother is an alcoholic, addict, and,…

Continue reading

Decision Fatigue

My grandmother was a very busy, focused and productive woman.  The three delicious meals she prepared every day for her family of ten (including home-made Choice-overloadsoup and Italian bread each day for lunch) are still talked about today. Needless to say, at that time, all meals were made “from scratch”, using whole foods, a dash of creativity and a good dose of time.  In addition to all of her other household responsibilities, she was an extraordinary seamstress, who made all eight of her children’s clothes, sewing well into the night.

Continue reading

The Gains and Losses of Getting Older

old and young

Several of my friends have found themselves in the role of caregivers for husbands who are struggling with memory loss stemming from dementia and Alzheimer’s. In one case, my friend was having a conversation with her husband about the subject of memory loss. He said to her: Throughout life, whether you’re a kid, adolescent, young adult, middle-age, or old age, you constantly gain something and lose something with passage of time . . . we…

Continue reading

Itadaki Masu


Itadaki Masu* by John J. Brugaletta I have received water, flowing and pooled, salt and fresh, cold and hot; wind off the ocean, among the trees, over wheat fields; wool for the warmth. I am grateful for these, and for the many-touching octopi, the common beauty of oleanders, tough-limbed oaks, lithe ocelots, leather-skinned oranges, and pungent onions. About me lie perch from farm ponds, peppers and parsnips, potatoes and tellicherry peppercorns, pork and peaches, paprika,…

Continue reading