A meditation on peace

by Velleda C. Ceccoli Ph.D. on September 11, 2015

Many of you who follow my blog know that I believe that although words can be powerful and magical, they often cannot capture the complexity of our experience. Today, on September 11, 2015 I urge you to listen to this music by the contemporary composer Karl Jenkins, entitled: The Armed Man, A Mass for Peace – Benedictus, and spend a few minutes with its message. It “speaks” to so much….







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On taking time off – and packing light

by Velleda C. Ceccoli Ph.D. on August 4, 2015

imagesThis is vacation time, the summer months calling forth warm breezes and the desire to step back, to take it easy, to take time off. For many in my profession of psychoanalysis, August is the month to leave our work and our patients and to take time to rest and play. So this post is about vacations and the fact that all of us need them, and further, that we could all use to pack light and leave some of our baggage behind.

The etymology of the word vacation comes from the latin vacare– meaning to be unoccupied or to vacate.  Over time, vacations became a time for physical, mental and spiritual self improvement. The virtue of leisure as a time to reconstitute and replenish was slowly introduced into our culture via medicine and religion. The former establishing the need for rest from work and the latter providing opportunities to take time off that were aimed at spiritual well being without the use of substances and other potential “detractors”. The notion that holidays help us become better versions of ourselves because of their restorative capabilities is now a well established fact, and one that most of us include in our lives.

All of us need time off.

Vacations give us a chance to forget our worries, albeit for a specific period of time. They offer us the opportunity to turn our minds away from the busyness of every day life and restore our mental and physical energy. In so doing, we are often able to come back to work and the demands in our lives, with a renewed sense of possibility and the ability to think outside the box- approaching issues with fresh eyes and minds. Think of holidays as necessary pauses to the ongoing rhythm we have established in our lives, and as opportunities to reset and reconsider who we are and what we are doing and want to do. This may require thinking about what we bring with us and what we pack in our suitcases. Do we overstuff even when we go on vacation? Or leave important things behind? What is in those suitcases anyway? What can you let go of? What do you take with you?

Pack light say I.

Yes, try to leave some of the baggage that you usually carry  behind -you know, the one that makes your shoulders hurt because of its weight- and leave room for new experiences to surprise you. Leaving space for rest and play creates more space for work to happen in. I once had a patient tell me that the more she slowed down in her life the more time she seemed to have to do everything she needed to do. She was right. And so it is with holidays. Taking time off and packing light gives us the opportunity to encounter parts of ourselves that we might not pay attention to in our daily life, parts that are essential to our sense of well being. When we have space we can reconsider what we fill it with.

Whether your vacation is a staycation or your holiday takes you to an exotic place, consider the value of interrupting your life with spaces that make room to pause, breathe and just be. Vacating from the known, the overcrowded, the box that we create for ourselves and the stuff we carry along with us can lead to much needed areas of personal expansion. Holidays and vacations turn out to be real lifesavers.



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ON GUILT- and getting down with our bad selves.

July 13, 2015

Guilt is one of those emotions that has been shortchanged in psychology, except to be understood as a sign that an individual has internalized societal and cultural norms and developed a sense of empathy for others. Freud saw guilt as one of the hallmarks of civilized humanity, an important emotion which signaled an internal conflict […]

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ON RECOGNITION – And the feeling of being known.

July 5, 2015

What does it mean to be known by another? To be recognized for who one is, warts and all?  The good with the bad and everything in between? I think we might be talking about the precondition for love, and about what it means to love another person, about the way we negotiate and make meaning […]

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ON RESOLUTIONS – and the will to change.

December 31, 2014

This is that time of year when everyone thinks about change and about the things in one’s life that need changing. The end of the year provides a time to take inventory of our lives, take stock of what we have done and what we have not. Resolutions abound, ranging from – losing weight, starting […]

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About a Woman: Marilyn Monroe

October 27, 2014

Lately I have been thinking about women, and the many incarnations we can embody and be in the articulation of our femininity and our way of being the woman we want to be. Such thoughts led me to consider Marilyn Monroe- yes, the Marilyn Monroe, the woman that illuminated that “dark continent called woman” in […]

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On Building a Life – Alongside.

September 10, 2014

It is thirteen years after. Almost to the day. I do not know when you will be reading this post, but I am writing it on the eve of. The eve of the event that changed everything for many of us. Strange to look out my window and see the beams of light knowing what […]

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ON PASSION: and the feeling of intensity.

August 12, 2014

Most people think that passion is something that we feel when we fall in love or lust – and while that is true, there is much more to passion. Passion runs the gamut of emotions. Passion adds intensity and a particular kind of alchemy to any feeling that we experience, highlighting its emotional reverberation in […]

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ON IMAGINATION – and the power to make things right.

June 9, 2014

“Logic will get you from A to Z; but imagination will get you everywhere.” ― Albert Einstein   I have always been partial to fairytales and science fiction because they helped me explore lands that I could only dream of, until, as a young child, I realized that I often dreamed of them while awake, […]

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ON MINDFULNESS – and minding your p’s and q’s.

March 31, 2014

Mindfulness is a term that gets used a lot these days, despite the fact that it has been around for centuries. Eastern thought, primarily Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism, and meditative disciplines have always had the concept of mindfulness at their core. The idea of mindfulness has entered western ideas through the world of spirituality and […]

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