Habits and the Contradictions of Being Human

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by Judith Bobbe, LCSW

“If you don’t consciously choose the direction of your life, your past will choose it for you.” Rod Stryker

We are creatures of habit. Our habits of thought and behavior are embedded in how we think and in how we experience the world. Just like other animals which can be trained, we are trained unconsciously by our lives to see, think, feel and behave in particular ways.

Every time we think a thought it is conditioning our mind to believe that thought.

Each time we believe a thought, our patterns of feeling and behavior are inclined to support or justify that thought.

Our unconscious beliefs reinforce our identification with our thoughts.  We think our thoughts are true, and we think we are our thoughts. There is a cycle of reinforcement of habits inside us, of which we are largely unaware.

The interaction of thought belief and feelings gets translated into our sense of who we are and what we are capable of.

Real change depends on changing this quiet but powerful dynamic.

“Your mind has measureless capacity to affect the quality and content of your life” Rod Stryker

When we choose to repetitively introduce new thoughts, actions, and intentions into our minds, and choose not to automatically believe our habitual thoughts, we create room inside for the growth of new perspectives. We cultivate a new experience of who we are.

With repetition this newly felt experience becomes a foundation for taking the risk to change. Taking steps over and over again to embody new actions, and new intentions, provides the courage to let go of the self- limiting patterns of the past.

The funny thing about humans is that we all seek comfort, predictability, and familiarity. We feel better when we know what to expect. Familiarity helps us to feel safe and to tolerate the changes which life thrusts upon us.

But in addition to seeking familiarity and safety, we also seek a larger sense of ourselves. We seek a deeper connection with the spaciousness of life, which by its nature, is unpredictable. There is a yearning, which calls upon us to grow beyond our perceived capacities. We want to fulfill our deepest potential for productivity and happiness.

This call to growth can be looked at in terms of spiritual growth, or emotional maturation, or simply the desire to be more loving, kind, patient and generous with life.

It is possible to change and become happier with ones self and life, but it is a inside job.  HH Dalai Lama says “happiness is an inside job”.  This means that we have to change the way we think. Openness to changes in thinking becomes the basis for freedom and positive engagement with the world.

We tend look  to external things like people and situations to make us happy, but this is always ultimately frustrating and temporary because life is always changing.  When we learn how to rely on a more deeply felt sense of the timelessness of our own true being, we become stronger and happier.

We can cultivate an unshakeable belief in our own wholeness and power. We can grow beyond habitual thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, and can become more creative, more flexible, and in love with life every moment.

For more, see my website:



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What if…?

by Judith Bobbe, LCSW

“Through yoga and meditation, we can change the vibration of the subconscious mind by gently releasing the stored memories, beliefs, and haunting thoughts that limit us.” —Mukta Kaur Khalsa
What if our minds and hearts were as wide and open as the sky?
What if we could perceive the world, seeing beauty, opportunity and possibility everywhere?
Imagine how wonderfully reassuring that would feel.
Deep within each of is is a source of undeniable strength. This light within creates hope and confidence.
In our culture there is little training to look within to develop the stability and confidence to cope effectively with the challenges of life experiences.  How can we be strong and positive even in the face of disappointments, losses and the changes that are inevitably a part of being human?
The ancient wisdom and practices developed centuries ago in the East have hidden treasures which allow us to become the fullest, strongest and most vibrant individuals that we were meant to be. These skills are easy to learn.
Practices of mindfulness, deep relaxation, yoga, meditation, and breath awareness are windows into this world of infinite possibility and trust in life.
I can guide you, within the individualized context of psychotherapy, to take the steps into these practices, to choose the ones that are best for you, and to learn how to integrate your own practices into a lifetime of expansive healthy living.
You will experience more calm, optimism,  and confidence in yourself. You will have a greater in your ability to make changes in your life.It is hard to change without the right tools and methods, but these methods do exist. As with any other project you might want to start, methods are necessary. I am here to encourage you at every step, and to be persistent, when you feel discouraged.
Doubt and discouragement are a part of everyone’s path of growth and I will help you to keep going. I will help you to cultivate compassion for yourself and for your own growth process.
Within this context you will learn how to overcome and change negative thoughts and behavior patterns. You can change your internal environment, which will make all of life’s challenges easier to negotiate.
In addition, you will develop the internal strength to heal old wounds, traumas and stuck points which have been holding you back. You will find that you have more energy for your life. Developing new skills will give you the courage to move forward.
This is the true path of freedom and growth, which dwells in the expansiveness of the sky within you,  and in the light that shines inside you, which is waiting to be cultivated.
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By Judith Bobbe, LCSW
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“May you honor the best in yourself and the best in others. … May love carry you and guide your breath, guide your thoughts, guide your actions, and guide your words. May you be a bright light in this world. May your soul catch fire… and with that light, light many other lights.” — Rod Stryker
What does it mean when a person wants to change?
I would say that even the thought of changing means opportunity.
When we decide we want to change it means that we believe, deep down inside, that there are strengths within which are not fully accessible, and that we want these strengths to be more available to us. We want to be the fullest most beautiful unique selves that we can be. We want to be free to love, to contribute to the world and to have a fully felt sense of purpose which transcends our own selves.
These strengths include intuition, wisdom and compassion. These strengths also include the ability to see what we really need, the desire for deeper connection with life, and the desire to become more than our habitual reactions direct us to be.When a person decides to change, by reaching out for help in any way, there begins the  possibility of ever- increasing self-awareness, growth and optimism. Taking charge of ones life by learning skills which go against stuck self- limiting patterns is the gateway to freedom and an endless capacity to learn how to be more happy.
Habits of coping with life learned in childhood are often fraught with limiting consequences. The need to get away, to shut down, to negate self-expression for fear of being hurt in some way, are habits which create difficulty, sadness and isolation in adulthood.
Many suffer, unaware that it is these patterns themselves within, which cause depression anxiety and addiction.
Shutting down the heart in order to feel safe is what makes most unhappy people,unhappy.
As a psychotherapist working with habit change through means such as mindfulness training, deep breathing, yoga and meditation, I see people freeing themselves of old patterns, often much to their own amazement.
Learning how to tolerate the discomfort of challenging emotions without reacting habitually, is emotionally empowering. Learning how to be still and experience a deeper level of who you are, along with skills of managing emotions, are keys to a new life of greater richness and fulfillment.
I can help you to actualize your own joyful capacities, to live more wisely from within your own intuition, and to emerge from limiting conditioning with optimism and confidence.
All it takes is persistence and the willingness to be encouraged to do new things with consistency. You will learn to believe in yourself.
I am very encouraging and I understand that change is challenging but that it is definitely possible. We will start and proceed patiently wherever you feel most comfortable, to develop new skills and habits.
Consistent practice will teach you that you can change, and that you truly have an endless capacity to live with more freedom and strength than you ever knew was possible.
You will know, from inside your own consciousness, that the limitations of the past do not have to determine your present and future. You can become the person you were truly meant to be, with your own unique contributions to make to the world and to your own life. You can learn how to live guided by the ever- present light inside you, leading you to accomplishments contentment and joy.

The Secret Doorway

by Judith Bobbe,  LCSW


“Mindfulness isn’t about what is happening; it is about how we are relating to what is happening — how much awareness, balance and compassion are we bringing to this moment’s experience, whatever it is.” Sharon Salzberg

The world around us is always changing. In contrast to the unpredictability of life around us is the radiant force of light inside us, that which is always available to us: a timeless source of strength and reassurance that can guide us to live a life of the highest good.

Often we get stuck in habits that prevent us from being aware that the light within is there at all. Thinking and worrying about the future, or dwelling on past events, are such familiar ways of thinking.

Habits based on fear, discouragement and disappointment  cause constriction in the mind body and emotions. We need to protect ourselves so patterns develop that create a smaller world inside us, which seems safer.

How can we see that there is a vast realm of goodness and strength inside us even when the constriction is all we know?

Mindfulness practices bring us in touch with a larger reality. Being in touch with what is, without judgment, allows us to have a sense of life that transcends our narrow perceptions that are habituated out of fear.

I can help you to use easy techniques that will bring you into an awareness of a larger sense of yourself and your real capacities. Simple tools can be easily integrated into your life that will expand your mind, your ability to tolerate difficult emotions, and to be more flexible in your life in general.

You will in fact have greater mental clarity and vision about your life, your emotions, and your relationships. This has a real calming effect that emanates from within and helps fear to be less dominant in your emotional habits.

Within a therapeutic relationship that fosters encouragement, patience and persistence, and an understanding of your individual needs, you will be surprised to learn that you can grow beyond your own expectations, into a state of more contentment, confidence and courage.

The light that resides within you can be accessed with greater ease as you continue to practice, and to learn how to tolerate all of your emotions. You will be calmer and experience real personal freedom. The habits that create a small world within you will become much less appealing and you will discover that you do have a choice in how to live, enjoying more moments of your life, in touch with the wholeness of who you really are.

For more see my website: http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com


Alignment Within

by Judith Bobbe, LCSW

There is a capacity inside each of us that is filled with strength, calm and personal freedom. This mysterious source of wisdom is always there, always available to be tapped into for guidance.

What do you want to align your self with – what thoughts habits and feelings do you want to be guided by in your life? How can you develop clarity of vision and purpose? How can you align with your truest self?

Your own soul is that part of you that resides in you, beyond the reach of anxiety depression and discouragement.

Inner life is by its nature quiet and the outer world is very distracting.

How do we turn within when the world is so compelling to our attention?

Awareness of our true nature, that spacious open sense of self, evolves naturally from practices of stillness and persistent mindfulness. For many, these practices seem impossible. Making the time to stop in a busy day to sit still, can seem impractical and not worth the effort. It is hard for us to be still without a sense of judgment coming in and creating such discomfort that practice is abandoned. When we realize that these judgments are natural, it becomes easier to persist.

Such judgments can take the form of thoughts like: ” I am not doing this well.  I cannot meditate.  This will not help me.  Why bother to sit here when I have so much I have to get done! I cannot quiet my mind. I can’t get myself to do this everyday so why bother?”

Self- judgment can stop us in our tracks as meditation or mindfulness practice begins, and even as practice progresses. Negative thoughts and feelings discourage us from developing practices of self-inquiry. So, how can these obstacles be overcome?

The first step is to realize that self- judgments, doubt and skepticism are extremely natural as we begin new practices.

There is nothing wrong with you if you have attempted practices of self- awareness, and have stopped. Doubt, uncertainty or confusion about introspective processes is a part of practice for everyone. If you welcome this awareness in, as part of learning how to be with yourself, you can develop real curiosity and patience. If you make room for the doubt and the discomfort as natural, you will progress with greater success.

The proper guidance and encouragement is all you need to keep trying, and before long the benefits of practice will compel you little by little, to continue.

I can help you to get there, to find your own inner sanctuary where you can be restored, as we explore techniques until we find the best ones for you. You can begin to love the process of aligning within.

You don’t have to be able to sit on a meditation cushion, or even in a chair for long periods of time, to be able to learn how to look inwards with curiosity and confidence. I offer simple practices, which can be done by anyone, even if you have a short attention span.

In the context of a therapy relationship, in which your individual needs are understood, a positive attitude towards practices for yourself will begin to grow and you will feel better. You will be happier with yourself and your choices and you will be more capable of enjoying your life. Real confidence in your ability to align yourself with your strengths will emerge.

This will become an undeniable force of motivation inside you.

I am patient and curious about what will work best for you.

I will help you to find a way to connect with that part of you that calls you into your own strengths and intuitive wisdom. This will help you to heal issues that keep you from moving forward in your life, and to develop real acceptance for all of the parts of who you are.

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for more see my website:



The Light Within

by Judith Bobbe, LCSW

“In me there is a light that lights the whole world.” – Rod Stryker

How many of us ever get to experience the true infinite power and expansiveness of our own potential?  In my experience as a therapist and as a person living in this world, not many people ever get close to really knowing their own limitless potential.

It is said that we use only a small portion of our brain’s capacity. What, in addition, do we use of the capacity of our soul?

Many people who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other very common problems, are unaware of the power and resourcefulness of their own soul.

I am not using the word soul in a religious sense but in a sense of all of those intuitive wise and mysterious capacities that reside deep within us.

Often it takes a calamity or a  trauma like a car accident or serious illness, for people to look more deeply into who they are, and to discover a meaningful life purpose that may have been elusive before. To be shaken to the core by a traumatic event can be a positively life changing experience for people who use the moment to re- actualize and transform themselves.

You can begin to transform yourself, as well, by simply learning how to look more carefully at who you are and to be encouraged to persist in discovering your own true inner self.

As a therapist working with people who feel trapped by their emotions and stuck in non- productive habits, I see that when people are taught how to look more deeply into themselves, into the more mysterious realms of thought feeling and intuition, they discover that they really are much more of a person than their symptoms and problems allow them to believe.

I am your guide on this journey of self- discovery.

Healing is not only about understanding the past but also about learning how to develop the fire within you that burns with an infinite capacity for creativity, growth and joy. Difficult feelings which have dragged you down, the impact of the past, and mistaken beliefs about the unworthiness of who you are, can begin to fall away and to become much more faint in their influence over you.

Positive beliefs about your own potential begin to grow with a glow which is undeniable so that changes becomes more natural and easy to accomplish.

This is the path of real personal freedom.

I am here as your guide to train you to develop all of the richness of your own unique self. I believe in your capacity for change, for joy, and for actualizing a purpose that is yours in which to flourish.

for more see my website: http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com




Remembering, Living, Exploring

by Judith Bobbe, LCSW

“The best of modern therapy is much like a process of shared meditation, where therapist and client sit together, learning to pay close attention to those aspects and dimensions of the self that the client bay be unable to touch on his or her own.”  Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart.

It is important to remember and understand the past. We need to understand who we are in the context of our past experiences. Our influences from early life determine the way we each cope with life.

Remembering and understanding the past, however, does not in itself create change. People often feel trapped in habits and behavior patterns which were established earlier in life, and want to understand how to change.

How can we get in touch with who we really are, beyond our expectations and beliefs?

Change and motivation grow in the present, out of openness and commitment to try new ways of behaving and thinking. In order to believe that change is possible, a different experience of who we are is the only really motivating force. Experiencing oneself differently, introduces hope and curiosity about how life might be better, if we take the risk to grow and change.

When we try new activities that expand our perceptions of ourselves, the courage to change begins. We discover aspects of our own strengths and capacities.

Practices such as Yoga, meditation, deep relaxation, journaling, making art, and other creative activities, transcend our normal life flow, and provide access to richer aspects of ourselves. These experiences reveal to us a sense of ourselves that is deeper and broader than our habitual ways of knowing who we are. Inner life exploration grounded in mind- body expansion and discovery, and in creative activity, teach us that we are more than we think we are. Exploration teaches us that there is a level of reality within us that is infinitely wise, strong and clear.

Habitual thought patterns, the demands of work, responsibilities to others, and the outside world, can combine to make it seem almost illusory that it is possible to get in touch with our intuitive strengths. It seems illusory but it is a reality. It really is possible for anyone who commits to try, to discover their own vast inner world of strength , and I can be your guide in this process of self-discovery. Your own inner world is a part of you that is deeper than any of the symptoms of depression, anxiety, fear, or other states of mind which might seem inescapable to you.

Who are you when you sit in meditation? Who are you when you stretch and breathe into a yoga pose? Who are you when you are creative? What are the strengths that are waiting there inside of you to be discovered?

Inside each of us is an entire universe of boundless potential. In yoga philosophy, this is referred to as uncovering the dust that covers the soul, burning off the dust through practices.

Through encouragement and persistent practice, attention within, and real curiosity about our thoughts, we become more positive about ourselves.  Life becomes a reality, to be lived and explored, with a whole new range of capacity for joy and freedom. Issues from the past can be healed with greater ease and comfort.

I am persistent, patient and dedicated to finding ways to help you to take the risk to grow, and to finding the ways that are best for you. I provide an array of tools to help you to discover more richness, meaning and the core of strength inside of you.

for more, see my website: http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com

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