Episodic Intimacy vs. Committed Intimacy

Dr. Paul Dunion

There are at least two expressions of emotional intimacy, with one gaining increasing popularity. Episodic Intimacy is the one becoming more and more in vogue. It can offer some advantages that don’t come with the territory of Committed Intimacy. It allows participant the chance to avoid the inevitable messy conditions of Committed Intimacy. The mess refers to conflict, diverse beliefs and values, the need to develop agreements that support the employment of non-blameful accountability, and the need to competently employ boundaries that support an individual’s autonomy while not fracturing rapport with the…

Seeking Meaning Beyond Trauma

Dr. Paul Dunion

For many, the search for genuine meaning remains a desirous life-long pursuit. There are many expressions of meaning. How do we know when our lives can actually be characterized as meaningful? On a very fundamental level, searching for meaning places your life in a context of meaning. That is, you know what it means to lose meaning and to reacquire it.

An old definition of the word meaning is “to name”. When we name ourselves, we are attributing meaning to our lives. We can name ourselves as lovers of apple turnovers or as…

The Challenge of Chronic Trauma and Facing Ambiguity

Dr. Paul Dunion

Survivors of early chronic, developmental trauma have little or no resiliency to effectively respond to ambiguity or uncertainty. The loss of such resiliency is captured in the following by James Hollis: “Living with ambiguity, not being too attached to the old ‘certainties’, and learning what life needs to tell us whether or not we think we are up to it are, frankly, the only ways to grow, become more capacious, live a larger journey.”

How do survivors of early trauma become so averse to ambiguity? What happens to their…

A Blessing for Being

Paul Dunion

There are ancient rivals named Becoming and

Being. Even if you have not thought about Becoming

or talked about it, your body knows Becoming

as doing. You get educated, pursue occupational

goals, you achieve, you create a home, you pay bills

and rake leaves in Autumn.

Without a great deal of consideration, you give

Becoming the power to hold your essential worth.

And rightly so, you build, you generate, you create,

you fix, you teach and maybe you heal. However,

there comes a time when the weight of the soul’s

sacredness asks for more.

A Five Stage Re-entry into the Here and Now

Paul Dunion

The idea that it may be worthwhile to live as much as possible in the here and now seems to have been reduced to a minor spiritual axiom. Recently, while having dinner with an old friend who has enjoyed a generous amount of professional success, I heard a reference to the here and now as an extraneous cliché. “I know I should pay more attention to living in the present, but the excitement of my books booming and my art-work getting a new-founded notoriety just pulls me into a…

Condemned and Free

Suspending Hostilities Directed at Truth

Dr. Paul Dunion

Truth is currently under siege. Nothing is more debilitating and devastating to a people than the pursuit of the best version of the truth experiencing a profound desolation. When a commitment to pursue the truth is sacrificed, we live with no North Star. We wander aimlessly or grab onto the loudest and most available voice. We don’t know how to decide what or who to trust. We become strangers to what truly matters.

Rollo May, the existential psychologist, reminds us that we are condemned to an approximation of the…

Seeking Balance

Paul Dunion

What is balance? Is it a good thing? If so, how is it acquired? Before addressing psychological balance, let’s explore the analogy of physical balance. We say that if you can stand on one foot while holding the other foot uplifted, you have demonstrated some measure of balance. If you can stand on one foot, and move the other foot in mid-air forward, side-to-side and backward, then you’ve demonstrating more balance. If you can do the same exercise with your eyes closed, then you are likely showing a greater level of balance.

The above illustrations suggest…

Building Bridges — From Divisiveness to Unity

Paul Dunion

We all love hearing beliefs that are indistinguishable from our own. What can we make of this propensity to rejoice over conversations where the participants agree, confirm and even applaud our beliefs? The ego remains convinced that its current version of truth must be correct. It is often the ego’s tenacity about being right that derails conversations involving different beliefs. Of course, the gusto around the need to be right quickly slips into an investment to win as one idea is aimed at outperforming someone else’s idea.

Once we are locked…

A Blessing For the Peacemaker

Paul Dunion

Kabir says, “When deep inside you there is a loaded gun, how can you have God?” Kabir appears to be reminding us that our relationship with the divine is dependent upon living with diminished inner violence. As one who desires to make peace, you are asked to become acquainted with your gun, the one pointed at you.

Feel your finger on the trigger. It’s been there in so many ways. You might ask, “Where does this gun come from?” Well, maybe your father handed it to you when you did not throw a…

Black Lives Matter — From Altruism and Beyond

Dr. Paul Dunion

Our streets are talking to us. The talk is loud and mostly true. It says, “Black lives matter”, “Marginalization of some hurts everyone”, “Separation breeds ignorance and fear”, Leadership from ego cannot hold those who are following” and “It’s time to recall the power of kindness and compassion”.

These voices can be ignored or they can be heard as a soulful plea for change. The listening we do can be shaped and crafted by altruism. It doesn’t always get enacted automatically.

Sometimes being intentional or deliberate about kindness will…

Paul Dunion Ed.D, LPC

Life is an extremely deep mystery. Let yourself be touched by her and she may grant you a glimpse.