by Bernard Paul Leclerc Jr.
November 15, 2018, 9:45 AM

I am sitting on a slick rock chair with my coffee as the sun rises from behind the La Salle mountains in south eastern Utah. I am mesmerized at the silhouette of the peaks as a starburst of light, like a Les Paul guitar, shone out of the eastern sky. Here in the American Holy Land where time seems endless, I am instantly transported to an internal place within my own Soul. My youth behind me and old age ahead I’m perplexed about the impacts I made in my past life and what impacts I’m making now. Memories are fading and time grows precious.

My friend Nick is rumbling around in my head reminding me of all the lives we touched working with troubled kids and young adults as wilderness guides here in Utah. Now, with that behind me, I ask “What am I doing now that is as important, as impactful, as meaningful?” Every day I touch peoples’ lives one way or another. I know the role of teacher and mentor has changed. But why am I struggling and why am I seeing today’s situations as trivial or that today the people in my life feel less important? Why don’t they mean as much as the kids once did?

It occurs to me that this is a problem of self-perception. Maybe? Certainly, the people we love most and the people that come to us in our lives every day are just as important as those who so desperately needed our help then. We learned in wilderness therapy even the smallest of things can change the way someone views themselves or their world and thereby make changes to better their lives. So many times, even when our efforts seemed ineffective, the universal spirit worked and threw someone a lifeline where we didn’t even know it at the time. Why did I seem to feel as though I had anything to do with that moment of revelation?

Today, I move more toward humility as a bedrock principle in my own spiritual quest. I realize that my ego and self-importance are no longer required for my self-worth or for me to feel okay. A deep internal shame from my own childhood is slowly melting away.

Jeezz that took a long time.

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Other Writers – Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence
by Daniel Goleman
Published by Bantam Dell a Division of Random House, Inc.
Tenth Anniversary Edition,
1995 and 2005

Not coming from a background of scientific psychological study and not being prone to read such material, I can’t begin to say how grateful I am for taking the time to be exposed to the depth and breadth of this book. Like many people, I had a vague idea that research was being done in areas of the human brain activity in relationship to learning, behavior and in innate responses, but had little comprehension of the powerful findings of how Emotional Intelligence is being applied in therapy as well as being on the cusp of implementation in society in general. The need, as the author points out, is vitally important in our society as institutions and mores change rapidly and in seemingly chaotic ways.

Emotional Intelligence is a relatively new term, posited in the late 20th century, to bring together many specific areas of study. Separately, research is being done on how modes of behavior are imprinted on our psyche, and include the use of neuroscience to visualize the functioning of the human brain as experience moves through the circuitry. The combination of this whole body of work has been a growing synthesis to where this book argues that the human experience is lived with two distinct, co-equal, continually active, forms of awareness. These are the intellectual brain (rational, interpretive, problem-solving – executive functions) and the emotional brain (reactive / impulsive, action-oriented, motivational – feeling functions).

The marrying of these evolving understandings of the whole person is that the emotional brain, just as the intellectual brain, needs training and refinement in all of life’s stages from infancy, through early childhood, into preadolescence and adolescence. And the good news is that retraining a unique set of preprogramed responses in adults can be accomplished with directed awareness, non-judgmental support and careful reconstruction of triggering events.

The five Parts in sixteen chapters of this book take the reader through the complexity of human emotional laying out the brain architecture, chemical / neural interactions, sensory clues, response memory, and the myriad of variations that can develop from both natural predispositions and environmental conditions. That is to say, there are general rules, but the path in calibrating emotional response needs to be creatively done with each individual and in conjunction with the help of a uniquely empathetic mentor who has the capacity to gain trust and relate in a genuine / authentic way to the emotions being expressed.

My contribution to the ideas of relearning emotional responses is based on my path from a starting point of virtually complete emotional devastation to a place of inner-peace where my responses to difficulties were no longer subject to being hijacked by unresolved past experiences. I put together the Process based on personal work with the help of others in the process of change and with my observations of them I witnessed the enormous benefit of honesty, integrity and humility. My coming to self-awareness and acceptance was one of trial and error, rather than a well-controlled approach. Non-the-less, I attest to all of the conclusions of Dr. Goleman, one in particular seen on page 285 in the Chapter; Schooling the Emotions, (paraphrased) “… It’s not just for those with problems, but all can benefit from these skills; these are an inoculation for life”.

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For more information on the concepts and methods of self-examination, please visit the web site or to acquire the book go to

Other Writers on Self-Examination and Change – Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle is the Way
by Ryan Holiday
Published by Penguin Group

In this amazingly concise narrative, Ryan Holiday lays out what we know to be the secrets of a positive and commanding approach to living. The title “The Obstacle is the Way’ is taken from one of the thoughts of Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor that articulates the art of turning obstacles upside down. The book represents ideas of stoicism which were founded in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. This school of thought is predominantly a philosophy of personal ethics informed by a system of logic and views on natural laws.

Within this context Mr. Holiday weaves an understanding of how to accept and deal with circumstances that seem to keep us from accomplishing our goals. The powerful premise he presents is that the obstacle is not an impediment but rather an opportunity to use our uniquely human attributes to address obstaacles.

The material that follows is a series of short essays organized around three guiding principles he refers to as disciplines;
1) Perception: a function of the mind,
2) Action: a function of the body, and
3) Will: a function of the heart.

Perception is used to define how we see things. We train our perception to see solutions, not problems. We use our intellect to control our emotions to better address difficulties with reason. We prepare to act by developing a plan and assessing the contingencies that may need to be employed. Without these developed skills we are likely to give up before we start. Without objectivity we are likely to be consumed by fear and confusion. Without a plan we waste time and energy that leaves us discouraged and exhausted.

In my book, A Process; Developing a New Approach to Living, I point out that our difficulties stem from an incorrect perception about who we are and our place in the world. This misperception is at the root of our difficulty in adopting a positive approach. If we only see problems it is likely because we consider ourselves to be incapable, flawed in some way, or afraid of failure. Until we discover, examine and address our erroneous core beliefs about ourselves, applying the positive aspects of perception are less ineffective.

Action, the second discipline, is the aspect of addressing obstacles with strength. Action implies moving forward. Action is synonymous with not stopping. When one thing is not working, action means redirecting the efforts. In my view, the most notable element of action is “trust the process” which Ryan uses to emphasize that action is applied in the here and now. There is an immediacy and unambiguity about action.

Why would we have prepared a plan with the first discipline if we were not going to use it. The plan is the process to be followed laying out the sequential steps to keep on task. This guiding tool is the essence of what is laid out in my book for positive change. One stage leads to the next but there is no point in jumping forward until the current stage is complete. There is no short cut to the end. What I really like about Ryan’s approach is his detailing the positive elements of action that can be used to execute the plan.

I was not expecting the aspect of will to deal with obstacle, but as I read the third section it became clear that will is equally as necessary as perception and action. Will is the impulse to “not give up”. The examples provided include; the fortitude to find more strength after all energy appears to be completely depleted, calling on a vision or purpose makes the effort worthwhile or using these tools to address difficulties in order to transform day-to-day tasks into character defining moments. Without a challenge, the victory would be hollow. Without resistance we would not build strength. But remember, not all problems are solvable and life does not last forever.

In Mr. Holiday’s book the objective is to refine how we see ourselves in relation to impediments we find in our way and in so doing be the fully functioning person we are capable of being. In my book the objective is to discover the impediments we put up in our own way, address them and change them and in so doing be the fully functioning person we are capable of being.

I enthusiastically recommend you read this and the other books Ryan has written. Find them at Their clarity in presenting the most basic of human strengths is an invaluable addition to anyone’s tool-box in living a meaningful and productive life.

For more information on the concepts and methods of self-examination, please visit our web site

Excerpts from an article in Psychology Today – January 2018

The article titled “Change Artist

This article is yet another demonstration that lay people as well as professionals come to such strikingly similar conclusions regarding the process of change. I have taken the liberty to compare the findings outlined in this article with the Stages provided in my book – A Process: Developing a New Approach to Living. Nine out of my 12 Stages are referenced by the authors of this piece.

Rules for Reinvention
“It’s possible to make fundamental changes in behavior —and even personality—at any age.”

1. Don’t beat yourself up for your problem; it serves a purpose.
Stage 1. There are lessons to be learned that only experience can teach you.

2. Accept the deep discomfort of uncertainty that change brings; it’s only temporary.
Stage 2. Let go of the resistance to change and embrace the reality of what you are experiencing.

3. Prepare in advance ways to counter feelings of frustration and discouragement.
Stage 3. Make a commitment that is stronger than your habitual self-defeating behavior.

4. Acknowledge the fear of failing to meet a wanted goal.
Stage 4. Come to terms with the immensity of the internal work to be done.

5. List the pros and cons of changing and inventory the forces working for and against change.
Stage 4. This is a rigorous and exhaustive accounting of personality and character traits.

6. Keep friends around; they lift your mood.
Stage 5. You need to have realistic and supportive feedback as progress takes place.

7. Break your goal down into small, specific, incremental steps.
Stages 6 and 9. Know what you want to change and make a plan.

8. Stay attuned to the dream; give yourself regular reminders of the goal.
Stage 11. Maintain your vision but stay focused on the immediate task at hand.

9. Align your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with your goal; you might feel you’re faking it at first.
Stage 11. If you are confident that you are going in the right direction, proceeding is much easier.

10. Engage in any activity that boosts faith in yourself.
Stage 12. When you get to a place of giving, it becomes a continuous benefit to yourself.

For more information on the concepts and methods of self-examination, please visit our web site or to acquire the book go to