a. You are to feel physically safe: the goal is to know that you can sit here without concern
​    for your physical safety

b. You are to feel emotionally safe: the goal is to know that nothing from the past can  
    bother you at this time in this place. Whatever has happened in the past cannot touch  
    you right now. Let all concerns, sorrows, pain, guilt and anger go. There is no need for
    them here and now; they serve no valuable purpose here and now.

c. You are to feel psychologically safe: the goal is to release all concern about the future;
    you can face the future after the 12 minutes you have allowed yourself for this activity.
    Right now, in these few minutes, there is nothing in the past or the future or the present
​    that is a threat to your sense of safety.

d. Be willing to deliberately decide to let everything go; there is no other place you need to
    be; there is nothing else you need to be doing; you scheduled this time to be here doing

    this activity. You are exactly where you are to be, doing exactly what you are to be doing.

e. Relax into complete safety. Allow yourself to fully experience that complete safety for
​    two minutes. Stay there longer only if you want to.​

   As the caption says...
                         The  first  step to getting  anywhere is  deciding

you’re no longer willing to stay where you are!

I love the wisdom embedded in this statement.

​The key to the wisdom of the statement lies in two vital words: deciding and willing.

It is important to notice what the duck decided to do and what the duck did not do. The duck did not dive into the boardwalk, or a sidewalk, or a street. The duck decided to dive straight into the water, which is a part of his natural habitat. I think the water, in a way, called to him to jump in, just as I believe our true nature calls us to jump in and take a swim in the lake of spiritual truth.


We have to be willing to make the same kind of decision. Making a commitment to change for the sake of change will not take us to the destination we seek; we want to make a commitment to a change that makes sense and a change that brings the truth of who we are to the surface of our lives.


​The duck made a courageous, committed decision to go forward, with no detours, no stop signs, and full speed ahead.  The Zen master in the parable below had the courage to live with peace, joy, love, and freedom regardless of the circumstances the river of life washed upon his shore.

The purpose of this website is to help create positive, life-changing experiences. The best way to experience something is to do it.

After each of the Seven Steps, a “CALL TO ACTION” is provided which recommends an activity, or activities, to perform in order to experience the concept presented in the step.

The recommended activity for STEP 1 is:

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him.

Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.

This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

Ah, so* – A Zen Parable

               An Important Detour

Let me introduce you to our Park Benches – a wonderful place to ponder great questions and enjoy insightful stories and parables.
The button below takes you directly to my story about the life-changing insights I experienced during my first reading of the parable, Ah, so.

                                               Or you can go to Park Benches: Stories and Parables and look for: Jeanne’s Ah, so Life-changing Experience.
                                                                                       Then come back to this page to continue STEP 1.​​​

The  first  step to getting  anywhere is  deciding

you’re no longer willing to stay where you are!

This activity is not a formal meditation exercise.
The purpose of this activity is to experience a complete sense of safety.​

  1. Deliberately schedule 12 minutes of alone time.

  2. Find a place that is:
         a. Physically comfortable for sitting

         b. Quiet and without the chance of interruption
         c. Has peaceful lighting

  3. Get into a physically comfortable position

  4. Take a deep breath and allow your body to slowly, totally relax.

  5. The goal is to experience feeling completely safe for 2 minutes. You will not have to worry about the time since you have given yourself 12 minutes. You will have time to settle into the activity, time to experience the sense of safety, and time to get ready to move on after the activity.

  6. When you are ready, leave this spot and continue with your day or evening. If you can take the sense of safety with you, great; if you cannot, that is fine too. This activity is designed to allow not only the cells in your body but also your psyche to begin to experience a sense of safety, which is the first inkling of peace.

  7. STEP 2 provides a formula that has the possibility to create the peace and joy you seek. Go there when you are ready to concentrate on the content of STEP 2.     

Photo by Kathryn Elena


In great anger the parents went to the master and charged him.

“Ah, so?” was all he would say.

After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had

lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care

of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbors and everything else the little one needed.

Two years later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth—that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fish market.  

The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.

Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was,
“Ah, so.”


* This parable is also known as: Is That So?
Reps, Paul. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection Of Zen And Pre-Zen Writings (p. 27). Pickle Partners Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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Continue STEP 1 here...

Two Key Questions

The two questions to answer honestly for yourself if you want to experience LOVE, PEACE, JOY, and FREEDOM in your life are:

  1. Have you consciously, completely, and deliberately decided that you no longer
    want to feel lost, afraid, angry, sad, and lonely?

  2. Are you sincerely willing, committed, and determined to do whatever it takes to
    find a new way of life that is filled with peace, joy, love and freedom?

If the answer to those two questions is a resounding, confident, resolute YES, then I know

without question that you will succeed in experiencing what you seek.

There are some important, fundamental concepts to understand in order to make the changes necessary to achieve the goals you seek; they are:

  1. Are you willing to pursue a spiritual path? The goals of peace, joy, love and freedom are spiritual in nature.
    The path to these goals is a spiritual one, not a practical or logical or a clinically psychological one, though the
    spiritual path incorporates some practical, logical and psychological elements along the way.

  2. Love and freedom are who you are. Are you willing to accept that statement as truth? Love and freedom are
    not goals to achieve; they are the essence of the true self to be uncovered, unveiled, revealed.

  3. The way to unveil the truth of who we are is to discover how to achieve peace of mind and how to have a joyful
    heart. The goal is to achieve the peace that passes all understanding and to be the joy that is boundless.

  4.  Once these goals are achieved, you will experience the love and freedom that you already are – yes, you are love
    and freedom at your core; the purpose of this website is to provide some tools to help people achieve peace of mind
    and to have a joyful heart, and I sincerely believe we can do that together.

Are you ready?