ACT and The Here and Now

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  How can I make this a good year?

A:  Live it in each present moment!

The beginning of a new year is a time when many of us are inclined to look back at the old year just gone or look forward to the new year to come.  It is a time when resolutions are easily made and just as easily broken, a time when nostalgia for the past is tempting and hopes for the future are most tender.  In other words the beginning of a new year gives us a unique chance to take stock of what is gone and make plans for the future.   I like this time of year.

However, ACT reminds us that too much time spent in the future past is not a good thing.  The past is gone, we cannot do anything about it, the future may not yet be ours.  Future past is just an illusion.  It is only in the present that we can exercise our powers,  where we can take positive action, where we can make a difference.

I wrote “THE HERE AND NOW” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you spend too much time in the future past?
  • Are you able to use the present moment to make a positive change?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

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POEM FOR TODAY

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THE HERE AND NOW

 

Let’s not create a crisis where there’s not really one,

And let’s not keep poking at the past, for that’s already gone,

And let’s turn our backs on future stuff which may not yet be ours,

For it’s in the present moment that we exercise our powers.

We can choose this very moment to a valued action take,

Move towards a desired outcome, or reverse a past mistake,

For there’s power in the present that no other time-frame claims,

Future past is just illusion, we can’t live them, they’re just names.

But the present, that is different, that’s a potent place to be,

Offers each of us potential to explore our energy

In pursuit of what’s important, moves us closer to our goals,

Makes each step we take significant, rewards our hungry souls.

And so let’s take each present moment and determine that we’ll do

All we can to make them memorable, so as they’re passing through

We are not tempted to reject them, say they disappoint somehow,

Because there’s always something good to do within the here and now.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “THE HERE AND NOW” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

Living as much as we can in the present moment weakens the depression that comes from living too much in the past and the anxiety that comes from living too much in the future.  This is a wonderful thing to know.   ACT offers us the gift of Mindfulness to open the door to the present moment, to the here and now.

If you are new to Mindfulness then I recommend the book that I first read when I was new to it too.  I have recommended it before and I return to it often.  It is a great introduction and comes with an accompanying CD to get you started and keep you going.  Give it a try, it is not called “The Life Changing Bestseller” for nothing!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

just-for-today-i-promise

 

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Shocks!

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  I’m in shock!  What can I do?

A:  Use it wisely.   Take stock and reaffirm your values.

I suppose some shocks are pleasant, of course they are, the surprise present, the unexpected encounter, the lucky break, but generally speaking shocks have a more sinister implication.

In my book a shock is more likely to be unpleasant and unwelcome, something that comes out of the blue to shake my complacency and shunt me out of my comfort zone.

If you are the same then you probably view shocks in the same way, unwelcome occurrences that rock your world, at least for a while.  Unless we are pretty extraordinary human beings, and there are some of those around, first reactions to shock are pretty standard.  They may include some or all of the following:

disbelief, fear, anxiety, denial, irritability, nightmares, flashbacks, numbness, detachment, guilt, shame, helplessness, the list goes on!

All of these feelings are unpleasant, none of them are feelings we would want to encourage, but nonetheless in ACT terms, “if we have them they are already here.”  Struggling against them just increases our emotional pain.  Accepting what we cannot change is a tall order, especially in the first after math of a shock, but when we are willing to do so then we are on the road to something different.

That something different can include using a shock in a more constructive way, as a chance to take stock and reaffirm our values.

I wrote “SHOCKS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with shocks?
  • Are you able to use them constructively, as a way to reaffirm your values?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

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POEM FOR TODAY

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SHOCKS

 

Sometimes a something shakes us and it comes as such a shock

That we’re reminded we are overdue some time for taking stock,

And that because we’ve been too busy, too complacent or too low

We haven’t reassessed if where we are is where we want to go.

Maybe life’s become so crowded we forget what we once knew

That when we settle in the stillness values tell us what to do,

And that a little readjustment can a lot of difference make,

And when we let our values lead us then a surer step we take.

It’s a shame this sense of knowing isn’t with us constantly,

How that it often takes a shock to wake us from our reverie,

But although a shock’s unwelcome it can serve us very well

If we allow it to speak to us and we heed its warning bell.

And so if we are still astounded, still dumbfounded or amazed,

Let us use this shock occurrence as a chance to reappraise

If the route that we are choosing is the same route that we chose

When we let our values lead us, long before this shock arose.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed “SHOCKS” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

In ACT terms leading a meaningful life means discovering or rediscovering our values and then taking actions which are in line with them.  This can be easier said than done!  Sometimes we have strayed so far from our values that we cannot easily remember what they are.  Sometimes we are so goal orientated that we mix up values and goals.  Doing this leads to a very different experience of life.

If we want to discover or re-discover our values there is a very good article at Working with Act.  It is entitled “Finding True North:  How to Clarify Values” and it includes some helpful exercises for “finding true north.”  I loved it!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

just-for-today-ill-treat

 

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Delusion and Defusion

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  How can I resist the siren songs?

A:  Don´t believe everything you hear.

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Just because we think something doesn’t mean that it’s right; just because we think something repeatedly doesn’t mean that it’s true.  In fact there is a good case for saying that anything that we think automatically, habitually, we would do well to treat with scepticism.

Research shows that about 80% of our thoughts are automatic and, unfortunately, negatively automatic!  There is a good evolutionary reason for this.  Thinking automatically frees us up to scan our environment for threats, for dangers.  The human organism has evolved with a default position for survival and hooray for that!  It has ensured the survival of the species, but let’s not fall into the trap of believing that everything we think is true.  Automatic thoughts are automatic because we have thought them so often that we have hard wired our brains to produce them.  That doesn’t make them true, it just makes them automatic.

If we have automatic thoughts that are unhelpful let’s remember that ACT has a strategy to help us to deal with them more skilfully.   It’s called Defusion.

I wrote “SIREN SONGS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with your siren songs?
  • Are you able to create distance, to treat them with scepticism?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

old-town

SIREN SONGS

 

Maybe we have a story we have told ourselves so long

That we’ve forgotten how it hurts us when we heed its siren song,

And how when we fall for its treachery, its seeming to be true,

We are deafened to the real truth that’s what siren songs will do.

They will whisper in the small hours when we may be feeling low,

Feed our tender insecurities, take pleasure as they grow,

And when we are at our weakest they urge us to action take,

And drown out the voice of reason in decisions that we make.

For a siren song is powerful, it lures us constantly

As it pretends to be a friendly port in an unfriendly sea,

And although it’s much frequented, that won’t mean that it must last,

For there’ll come a time when siren songs are best left in the past.

And although it won’t be easy to resist the siren call,

If we turn to our awareness then the siren call can stall,

And if we tune in to our values, and change course despite our fears,

Then the siren song’s receding and it’s falling on deaf ears.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “SIREN SONGS” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

Defusion is the key to unlock us from our automatic thoughts, our habitual stories.  Awareness of what is happening and making contact with our Self as Context is our path to freedom.  Creating a different relationship with our thoughts and seeing ourself as The Thinker and not the thought can empower us hugely.

When we understand that evolution has conspired to ensure our survival and that automatic negative thinking is an important part of that process maybe that will help us to take our thoughts less seriously.

For more on all of this, Delusion and Defusion, there are some great Defusion techniques at getselfhelp.co.uk.  Check them out; I found them really useful.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Letting Go Again!

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q: What’s the best way to deal with insults?

A:  Don’t trade them, dissolve them.

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When someone hurts us the natural reaction is to retaliate; when someone insults us the normal response is to have a go back.  But natural and normal are not always the most effective, the most skilful ways to behave.  And ACT is all about being skilful, not for the benefit of others, but for our own benefit.  In this way ACT could be said to be a selfish therapy!  But it isn’t, not really.  The fact is that by helping ourselves we are more able to help others.  When we feel good inside then we have something good to give away.

One of the greatest gifts that we can give to ourselves is compassion.  We can always choose to be kind to ourselves, even when others are not.  And being kind means protecting our equilibrium, keeping an even keel.  If insults come our way we can choose not to engage with them, not to make things worse; if someone is mean to us we can opt not to get defensive, not to go on the offensive, we can choose to let the hurt go.

I wrote “BRICKBATS AND FLOWERS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you react when people hurt you?
  • Do you think you could respond more skilfully?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

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BRICKBATS AND FLOWERS

 

Sometimes it’s best to wait a bit and let life just work through,

Sometimes it’s doing nothing is the best thing we can do,

And sometimes when people hurt us or they irk us in some way,

It is better to remember things won’t always look this way.

With a little bit of distance then a larger view we see,

So, when people disappoint us we don’t take it personally,

We can sense that their agenda may be different to ours,

So, whilst they are hurling brickbats we can hand them back some flowers.

It’s a lovely little feeling when we realise it’s gone,

All the bile that was arising has dissolved and we’ve moved on,

And we’re glad we kept our counsel, and we gave ourselves some space

Until the story we were stirring simply vanished without trace.

And it’s certainly not easy should a slight or two occur

To resist the urge to have our say, to give that pot a stir,

But if we can just stay silent whilst emotion swirls about,

Then it’s likely we will find in time it simply fizzles out.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “BRICKBATS AND FLOWERS” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

Compassion is a commodity that is sadly lacking in today’s world, and yet compassion has wonderful healing properties.  Who doesn’t feel better after a kind word, a comforting gesture, a helping hand?

Moreover, in ACT terms, compassion focused exercises have been shown to greatly increase the psychological flexibility that is at the heart of ACT.

The next book on my reading list is:

The ACT Practitioner's Guide to the Science of Compassion: Tools for Fostering Psychological Flexibility by [Tirch, Dennis, Schoendorff, Benjamin, Silberstein, Laura R.]

I love the way that ACT mixes Science with Soul.   I want to find out more about Compassion.  I want to learn about these wonderful tools for fostering Psychological Flexibility.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

 

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and The Enduring Self

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE OF INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES, POEMS AND OTHER ACT GOODIES!

Q:  How can I cope when life gets turbulent?

A:  Hang on to your sense of Self!

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One of the things I most like about ACT is the emphasis it puts on continuing to create a rich and meaningful life, even in the midst of life’s challenges.  I love the way that it encourages us to just get on with it.  We do not have to wait until conditions are to our liking it.  There is nothing to wait for.  Life is here and now and when we stop waiting we start living, immediately.

In ACT there is no need to wait until we feel like taking action.  In fact in ACT feelings are not regarded as a very sound basis for decisions.  Feelings come and feelings go, they are transient.  A much better bet is to take valued action even if we don’t feel like it.  Likely we will feel better, maybe we won’t.  That’s not really the point.  The point is that by taking action in the here and now we are living our lives, we are doing something to make a difference.

If we can get a sense of our Self as something enduring, something more than our feelings that come and go, then we are on our way to dealing more skilfully with turbulent events.  We cannot stop our initial reactions, they are natural and normal, but we can choose what to do next.  If we can do that from a Sense of our Enduring Self we will make wiser decisions.  Not easy, but so worthwhile!

I wrote “THE STUFF OF LIFE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with turbulent events?
  • Do you have a sense of yourself as being more than the content of your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

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THE STUFF OF LIFE

 

We’re back to where we started, but is that really true?

We’ve not said the things we would have said, done things we used to do,

And though stuff that we are facing may not in itself have changed,

We have dealt with first reactions and our Self then re-arranged.

We have reached for our composure, that lovely steady thing,

And have breathed into our tension, felt the calm that breath can bring,

And we’ve looked around in wonder at a life that still goes on

And determined to step into it, not wait ‘til stuff has gone.

And although we’d wish it other, we are human after all,

We’re not hostage to misfortune when it’s time for it to call,

For we’ve allocated space to it, a place where it can dwell,

And we’ll not be overwhelmed by it, we’ll live our life as well.

And so although we’ve come full circle, the same stuff now re-appeared,

It’s like we’ve found a new dimension, not that stuff has disappeared

But that we see it in perspective, from a different point of view,

We have a sense of Self enduring whilst this stuff just passes through.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “THE STUFF OF LIFE” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

The concept of Self as Context is not easy to understand but it is crucial if we are to get the most out of ACT.  When we are able to make a distinction between our Self as Content, the stuff that happens to us, and our Self as Context, the enduring Self that is the backdrop to our experiences, then we are on the way to gaining a different perspective.  This perspective helps us to deal more skilfully with the day to day events that otherwise might floor us.

If you want to learn more about Self As Context then Russ Harris has an interesting video that might de-mystify it.  Entitled “Torch in the Dark” it shines a light on the Enduring Self, the Self as Context, the Observer Self.   Take a look.  It helped me to see that bit more clearly!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

 

 

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Interfering

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  What should I do when I’m tempted to interfere?

A:  Beware!  Mind your own business!

If we interfere in other people’s lives we do so at our peril.  It is a very dangerous game to play!  Sometimes it can be very tempting to intervene, to try to stop someone making what we perceive to be a serious mistake.   But is it, and should we?  When it comes to young children, yes we do have a responsibility to keep them safe and try to keep them on the right path, even if that right path is our path and may be questionable.  When it comes to adults, though, we may need to think again.

In Twelve Step circles the concept of “tough love” is often advocated.  Letting go of someone and allowing them to reach a rock bottom is not seen as heartless and cruel.  Rather it is seen as an opportunity for survival, for recovery, for growth.  Opinion may be divided on this, but generally speaking what is true is that getting overly e-meshed in someone else’s life is not a good thing!

It is hard enough to live our own life well, let alone to presume that we know how someone else should live theirs.  So, we interfere at our peril.

I wrote “MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you get overly involved in other people’s lives?
  • Are you too quick to offer your opinions?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

 

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MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS

 

I won’t presume to tell you what I can’t presume to know,

So, I’ll just mind my own business, let you choose which way to go,

For I can’t foretell the future nor else consequences see,

So, I’ll just stay on the side-lines and leave what will be to be.

I’ll attend to my own interests and not mix them up with yours,

And I’ll fix my own shortcomings not fixate on all your flaws,

And I’ll recognise the stories that are churning round my head

As just little bits of fiction and be sceptical instead.

For I can create some distance and I can carve out a space,

Watch a story bubble up then let it vanish without trace,

And if I resist temptation and don’t need to have my say,

Then words won’t come back to haunt me if they’re left unsaid today.

So, I won’t presume to tell you what I can’t presume to know,

I will just mind my own business, let you choose which way to go,

And then if one day down the future I look back with some delight

‘Twill be because I kept my counsel, and I see now I was right.

 © Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

When we feel the urge to intervene, interfere, start meddling in someone else’s life, we may not be able to stop the urge but we do not need to act on it.  This is what ACT teaches us.  There is a difference between the initial reaction and the considered response.

Becoming more mindful will help us to notice what is happening and we can choose to make a different decision.  Instead of jumping in and trying to “fix” someone else, we can choose to defuse.  We can make some space for the urge to rise and fall, we can notice what stories we are telling ourselves, what thoughts we are spinning, and we can choose to watch them come and go.  We can do that.  We do have a choice.

Getting overly embroiled in trying to “fix” other people can be a sign that we are avoiding what needs “fixing” in our own lives.  It can be a great distraction.  Other people’s flaws are so much more apparent than our own!  And yet ACT provides us with a wonderful blueprint for personal progress.

Choose a value, pick an action that is in line with it, and then just do something meaningful.  Instantly our own life improves.  It really is as simple as that!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

 

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Complacency

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  I have  been too complacent for too long.  Now what?

A:  If you are ready to change, ACT principles will help you.

Complacency is one of the more dangerous emotions.  It can be snatched away at anytime and so we would do well to treat it with suspicion.  It is a false friend.  Usually we do not even know when we are suffering from complacency.  When things are going well there is a tendency to think they will always go well, but we should know better.  Life is all about change.  Nothing stays the same.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop the pain when we are suddenly shaken out of our complacency.  Events come to rock us, to shake us awake, and we can be left reeling in their aftermath.  It is in that aftermath that we can look back at that complacency for what it was, a risky, fragile thing.  This is the time for re-building.  This is where ACT can help us.   ACT is built on surer foundations than shaky complacency.

I wrote “PRECARIOUS COMPLACENCY” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you come to realise that complacency is a false friend?
  • Are you ready to explore ACT for surer foundations?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

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PRECARIOUS COMPLACENCY

 

Maybe we’re feeling battered, tossed about ferociously,

As life deals to us its hammer blows quite indiscriminately,

And we didn’t see them coming, in blind ignorance we bathed

Until it seemed that life decided we should not escape unscathed.

It may be that we resisted, we resented, felt betrayed,

As we railed against injustice and the penalty we paid

For a bit of sweet complacency, that risky, fragile thing,

Now it’s lying round in tatters and we’re suffering its sting.

It maybe that life felt good then, we were smug then, unaware

That precarious complacency could vanish in thin air,

Leaving us to make adjustments, come to terms with what we’ve lost,

But it’s likely in the meantime we’ll feel battered, torn and tossed.

And that’s just the way it is now, there’s no shame, and there’s no blame,

We’re just feeling what we’re feeling, we won’t always feel the same,

And it may be good to name it, this is anger, this is fear,

There’s no point in a denial, if we feel it, then it’s here.

But it won’t be here forever, if we give it time ‘twill go,

So right now, whilst it is visiting we could it get to know,

Where is it now located, and how does it manifest?

Yes, such knowledge can be scary but sometimes knowledge is best.

And so, let’s not deny emotion, let us be prepared to meet

With a feeling that’s arising, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet,

And if we can gain perspective, from a feeling point of view,

We’ll see who we are is permanent, whilst feelings just pass through.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “PRECARIOUS COMPLACENCY” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

Complacency can feel like a lovely warm comfort blanket, that’s why we love it so much.  It makes us feel safe, except we’re not, not really.

Change is almost a given these days.  Increasing job insecurity, an unpredictable economy, turbulent world events, anything can happen at any time, but the one thing that remains constant is that those who deal with change on a regular basis as opposed to those who don’t, will most likely be able to deal with that change more effectively.

Complacency robs us of the chance to develop those skills.  Complacency tends to nip in the bud any potential for change and consequently when change does occur it is a big shock to the system.

ACT is not about complacency, ACT is about change, development, growth, personal fulfilment.  None of these are available to us when we are complacent.  So next time we are shaken out of our complacency let’s not look on it as a loss, which it is not, let us look at it as an opportunity for growth, which it is.

If you are ready to ACTivate your life then the book of the same name is a good read.  I love it!

Product Details

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne