Core Counselling - discover your true self

Summer Self-Awareness


 There is and can be no special planned technique for discovering and awakening one’s inner self, because the inner self is first of all a spontaneity that is nothing if not free.     ~   Thomas Merton

Indeed. The unconscious communicates with us through dreams, spontaneous images or day fantasies, slips of the tongue, body symptoms and gestures, and other unplanned events. All we can do is slow down and become more mindful of these ‘messages’ when they do arise.  We can also prompt our unconscious with certain psycho-activating activities (e.g., books, films, environments, meditation, yoga, Qigong, etc.).

Whether creating or viewing art, artwork often evokes unconscious feelings, memories, associations and ideas. Strolling through artists’ studios and art galleries provides an opportunity to view new ways of arranging form and colour. We can tap into our creativity through art classes, writing workshops or self-guiding instructional books.

CBC’s radio show Tapestry, hosted by Mary Hynes, airs Sundays at 3 pm.  This show goes deep by investigating the messy, complicated, and sometimes absurd nature of life, through the lenses of psychology, philosophy, religion and spirituality.

For people grieving, a beautiful song (Pull Me Through) about missing a loved one by Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo):

For books, here is a link to CBC summer reading book list:

Another person found these “nuggets” from Jungian author James Hollis’ book, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life:  “The cure for loneliness is solitude” and “In a world of fugitives, the person who is headed in the right direction appears to be running away”.  Also a good Hollis read is What Matters Most.


You can view a video of Hollis’ individuation interview from the PBS Houston Living Smart program an interview and news magazine program focusing on spiritual, financial, personal, mental, physical, emotional, and educational aspects of well-being. (Part 1) (Part 2)

Other authors/speakers that had one person stating, “They simply enrich my life,” include Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay and Thích Nhất Hạnh.

Another meaningful read is When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.

From the above book:  Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.

Other words of wisdom:

I believe the very purpose of life is to learn to be happy in an imperfect world.   ~   Dali Lama

The practice of meditation invites one to still the mind, put ego aside and allows for both a deepening into ourselves and an opening up to what may arise while meditating.  For on-line guided meditations, check out Linda Hall’s website as she has a number of free videos and her voice is very soothing.

For anyone who has struggled with chronic weight issues or eating disorders, yo-yo dieting someone recommended Bright Line Eating ( which helps get to the underlying issues. The resources are intelligent, scientific and well-presented and the program has a 24/7 online support community component.

Rick Hanson has an interesting website and email send-outs. In addition to the Train Your Brain for Happiness online course, he also offers The Foundations of Well-Being, a step-by-step online program for growing the good in your brain and your life.

Got fun lately? Humour also evokes trickster energy, showing us the absurdity in life, perhaps helping us clarify how we give meaning to life.  Some readers’ suggestions included the works of George Carlin and laughter yoga.

For the latest in medical, health, nutrition, and drugs the website   offers interesting videos and articles

For relationship information there is the tried-and-try Gottman Institute ( and also Mort Fertel (

For addiction/recovery insights, there is Tommy Rosen’s Recovery 2.0 on-line (free) conferences (There is a current one, July 12-16) with interviews with top-notch and a wide-range of experts.

A great source of self-awareness, spiritual and meaningful material (books, list of authors/speakers, audio, on-line courses, CD’s) with even some free resources is Sounds True ( There is also a link to Sounds True Radio.

As Merton further explained, “The contemplative life must provide an area, a space of liberty, of silence, in which possibilities are allowed to surface and new choices – beyond routine choice – become manifest.”

Summer can be a time to challenge our ‘routine choices.’ By challenging ourselves to try new situations, and even face some fears, we ask ego to place its discomfort and need for knowing outcomes aside. Take time to ponder your ‘usual’ way. What else could you eat, wear, read, view or do? Where else could you visit? What have you always wanted to try?

Most of the above suggestions have been submitted by readers.  Thank you for your ideas. Have fun exploring

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Diane Hancox, MA, CCC provides counselling services to Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Nanaimo and Vancouver Island.