Dharma Talk: It’s Not Your Job to Pretend

Nov 9, 2014

by Lea Seigen Shinraku

On October 18, 2014, I was at Austin Zen Center to give a morning talk and an afternoon workshop. In this talk, titled “It’s Not Your Job to Pretend,”  I speak about how we often seek safety by pretending to be wiser or more compassionate than we are. When we pretend to be wiser than we are, we allow ourselves or our inner critic to have unearned authority. And when we pretend to be more compassionate than we are, it is difficult to have adaptive boundaries with other people. Read the rest of this entry…


Is it scary to say “No”?

Oct 12, 2014

by Lea Seigen Shinraku

It’s just a few weeks until Halloween, a holiday that offers children and adults the opportunity to connect with the more shadowy aspects of human experience. For some, it means acknowledging death, and honoring loved ones who have died. In more mainstream cultural expressions, death is portrayed in a sometimes campy way (with dancing skeletons and cartoon ghosts). Still, Halloween reminds us that impermanence is actually right here, interwoven with our day-to-day lives. It can be scary to let that truth fully register. Most of us are understandably attached to our lives as they are, including our sense of who we are. Read the rest of this entry…


Self-Compassion Just Might Save Your Life

Sep 11, 2014

by Lea Seigen Shinraku

(this post first appeared in Psyched Magazine)

I had an experience recently which re-affirmed for me that self-compassion is probably the most powerful tool I have. Some might wonder how that could be true. While more people are becoming aware of the importance of self-compassion in mental health and well-being, it still runs counter to the values of the prevailing mainstream culture that tends to emphasize immediate gratification, competition, and self-esteem based on hierarchical achievement.  Read the rest of this entry…


Interview: How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs

Aug 31, 2014

In a recent interview, published on Psych Central, I talk about the ways that limiting beliefs are so deeply engrained (and often reinforced by media) that they can be invisible to us. Read the rest of this entry…