Counselor's Corner The simple answer to everything

By Fred Cavaiani

For the past thirty eight years I have been listening to the life struggles of men and women in psychotherapy. By a conservative count I have listened to the emotional pain and struggles of people for about 58,000 hours. This is about an average of thirty hours a week for the past thirty eight years. I have heard much pain and suffering and much joy and success throughout the years. I have experienced the greatest success stories and observed the greatest tragedies. I love what I do. Over the years I have come to some fundamental conclusions about life and success in life.

The main conclusion is that everyone is hungry to be treated in a loving, caring manner. We all hunger for Love. The second conclusion is that when I refuse to love my fellow brother and sister in life I will become empty and miserable in life.

Every emotional struggle in life is based upon a lack of being loved at crucial moments of a person's life. The damage to a person's self esteem when love is absent at crucial moments is damaging and painful. Psychotherapy and marriage counseling is to help a person recover a sense of feeling loved and to open up to the pain that has never been fully experienced so it can heal. In this journey the therapist's office is a comforting sanctuary where the pain can be released and in this release healing begins in a safe and nurturing manner. Those who have the courage to do this in a consistent manner become troubadors of love to the whole world. Those who decide that it is too painful to go deeper within oneself continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again while hanging on to resentments and seeking happiness in very superficial ways.

Yet the simple answer to everything is to realize that the purpose of life is to simply love one another. Hold nothing against anyone and hold nothing against yourself and you will be set free. To get to the point of appreciating the depth of love three fundamental foundations are important.

The first is the decision to love myself in an appropriate and health-giving manner. This means exercise on a daily basis. The second important fundamental foundation is the practice of daily meditation or quiet time. On these two foundations most of us fail. I give a bi-monthly presentation to a group of people working in the medical profession. I teach them how to meditate. As we sit in a circle and I take them through a meditation, all 25 or 30 love the experience. They find themselves relaxed, energized and inspired. These are all very busy, caring medical professionals who have been serving others for years. At the end of the session I ask how many many meditate or take daily quiet time on a regular basis. Usually about only two or three raise their hands. The same goes for exercising.

The two fundamental foundations of a successful and peaceful life are often absent for most of us. There are so many excuses. Yet to make the excuse that we are too busy to exercise or meditate is really saying that I am too busy to live life in a harmonious and peaceful manner.

The third fundamental foundation of life is the decision to love everyone and hold nothing against anyone. This means that I become acquainted with the deepest part of whatever religion or philosophy or theology of life I profess. In these religions, theologies, or philosophies of life, there will always be the fundamental foundation of Love. Love is not what I am waiting to get from God or someone else. It is always what I am willing to give. When I give love to all, my heart opens up to Life, Love, God, Presence and Peace. Then joy and happiness can enter. In the precess of giving, all things open up to me in a postive manner.

This is why the first two fundamental foundations need to happen. When I am reaching out to myself in a caring,(loving) energized (exercise), and reflective (meditation) manner I start the process of love.

Yet we are often afraid to do this. The more loving I am the more I have to let go of preconceived ideas, opinions and judgments. Tension and misery happens when I look out at the world in a condemning and judgmental way toward people, places and things. Gerard Manly Hopkins speaks of " the world being filled with the grandeur of God". To see and experience this "Grandeur" is to love and open up to the present moment before me. The old song of years ago, "What the world needs now is Love, Sweet, Love" is really true. But love can only happen when I embrace the present moment and present person with an open mind and heart. And this will happen when I start embracing myself with loving, energized and reflective actions. These three foundations are the basis for a successful, meaningful and happy life. They are really the best therapy anyone can do for themselves. It is the simple answer for everything. Profound wisdom is based on simple actions and simple attitudes.

Fred Cavaiani is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Mon, Feb 22, 2010