Catherine Nelson Ph.D. – BBSH / Pathwork

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Breaking Down to Breaking Through

How Adaptable Are You When Sudden Change Occurs?

Catherine Nelson, Ph.D.
May – June 2023 • Vol 4, No 4

“Change” in our lives is ongoing and highly variable. Some change is tolerable; some change is welcome and needed. Some change can be abrupt and unwanted, at least initially, but it can open a space or an opportunity for something else to break through….

Tom and his wife Lila were happily married living on a few acres of land in the country. They were once farmers and worked hard during the seasons, but now they were in their seventies and retired. They were still gardening, and they enjoyed the beauty of the wild flowers in their untilled fields, as well as the wildlife that came through from the nearby forest.

Their son Jack had recently graduated from college and found a good job in a city. He would come home to help his parents when he could, but his job kept him busy, and it was a long one-way four-hour drive to his parents’ home.

On his last visit, Jack noticed how much his father had physically slowed down in doing the chores. Tom was walking slower and sometimes lost his balance. Jack had always helped his father when he was growing up; he knew his father had his own way of doing things and was not interested in new ideas or suggestions.

One day Lila called Jack to report that Tom had tripped outside, had fallen down backwards and suffered a mild concussion. The doctor said he needed to rest for at least a week. Jack came home that weekend to help out. Tom insisted he would be doing the chores in a day or two. Jack could see that his father was no longer able to do all of the outdoor work in his usual ways. Jack also knew his father was going to keep trying to do the work no matter what the doctor said.

Jack spoke to Lila, and they talked about all the work that needed to be done on the property. Jack took a week’s vacation a few days later, and he came home to help his parents. He also loaded in his truck a small utility task vehicle (UTV) with two seats and a loading area in the back. It had “rollover” protection for the occupants, too.

Jack knew his best strategy with his father was to use the UTV and do all the same chores his father would have done. It took him half the usual time, and Tom was watching Jack through the window. Tom was impressed with what he saw. Jack had Tom drive the UTV with him for a few days. Tom was actually smiling as he drove around their property, and he quickly realized the value of the small vehicle. Jack knew Tom would drive slowly and carefully.

Lila later reported that Tom was able to get many of the chores done more easily, and in less time, and he was not as tired as he used to be. They each knew that, at some point, Tom would no longer be able to do all the work on his property. However, Jack had given Tom, not only a new and easier way to get things done, but he also gave Tom the gift of more time to adjust to the inevitable physical limitations of his older age.

A second story occurred in North Carolina, and it started almost a hundred years ago. There was a small river that flowed down from nearby mountains all year long. In the spring, with rapid run off and flooding, it was a problem for the local farmers. They got together and asked the nearby small-town officials to dam the stream, and the officials did.

However, the dam changed the river. There was a local, peaceful Indian tribe who had fished the same small river for many years. The damming of the river negatively impacted the turbidity of the water, the water temperature, the aquatic organisms and impeded the migration of a species of fish that lived in the stream.

The fish had been a major food supply for the Indian tribe long before the farmers settled and grew their crops near the river. Over the years, the tribal leaders asked that the dam be removed a number of times. The town officials chose to align with the interests of the farmers.

Many more years passed, and the dam slowly began to break down. The farmers no longer grew their crops in that area. The rivers were now control-led by a state river agency. Something had to be done with the weakening dam. The officials had three choices: to take down the old dam and put in a new one; to repair the old dam; or to remove the dam completely. The Indian leaders met with the state officials and asked that the dam be removed. They met and agreed; they decided to remove the dam and let the river flow naturally. It was the least expensive choice, and the Indians would finally have the river restored to its natural state.

The removal of the dam and the restoration of the river took three years to complete. Both the state agency and members of the Indian tribe worked together. The Indian tribe is able to fish the river once again.

This story is an example of a slow “breaking down” of an old dam and how the Indian tribe persisted and patiently waited for a “break-through,” which took many years.

What is your relationship to something breaking down in your life, be it sudden or happening slowly? How adaptable are you when sudden change occurs? How open are you to new and even unknown possibilities? The saying goes, there are two “givens” in our life—death and taxes. Let’s add “the inevitability of change” to that list. Yes, change will always be a part of life. How we meet it and work with it is what matters.

Catherine Nelson, Ph.D., has a counseling practice in Bozeman with many years of experience working with individuals and groups. She has taught at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing and is a certified Pathwork Helper. She offers workshops on personal transformation and energy healing and is available for individual sessions. Call Catherine at (406) 585-8025 or send e-mail to Visit:

2023-05-02T13:05:52-06:00Mental & Emotional Health|

The Curiosity to Learn

and the Courage to Relearn!

Catherine Nelson, Ph.D.
January – February 2023 • Vol 4, No 2

As we begin the 2023 New Year, it’s helpful to learn about others who have made some challenging choices based on their integrity. Such examples can motivate us to try to make honorable decisions from our own integrity in the days ahead.

There was an unusual story in the news after the recent senatorial elections. It was about a senator who had been running for reelection. Before his first campaign, this senator said he did not believe in climate change. His electorate were mostly conservative, and they held the same belief. Prior to his first election, his teenage son had told the senator he would also vote for him but he asked his father to learn more about climate change after the election. The senator did well in his first campaign.

The senator respected his son and took his son’s request to heart. After the election, the senator and his wife went on a cruise ship and traveled to the Antarctic. There they saw and learned about the glaciers that were melting. When he returned home, the senator also attended several scientific lectures on climate change. He realized how misinformed he had been, and he clearly understood the extent of the climate change that had occurred, and was occurring, with serious consequences for our planet.

In his campaign for reelection, the senator had been looking forward to continue to serve his voters and work hard to represent them. He spoke about his new position on climate change with his constituents. The majority of his electorate still denied climate change, and the senator was not reelected. When the senator was interviewed about his political loss, he said he was not surprised with the outcome. Like most other politicians, he aligned with the political, social, and economic viewpoints of the majority of voters in order to win an election. In a sense, most politicians want to mirror their voters’ opinions. Although his opinions on other issues political, economic, and social had not changed, he said he could no longer support the belief that “climate change” was a hoax.

He said he accepted his loss in the election, and he would plan to find other ways to earn a living and participate in local politics. Some might argue that the senator had made a political blunder. He should have either kept quiet on climate change, or pretend to align with the predominant view of his constituency.

There are several interesting aspects to this story. One is the senator’s willingness to follow his son’s suggestion to become more informed about climate change. Surely many others had spoken to the senator in his first term of office and challenged his beliefs about climate change, but none had the impact of his son’s suggestion. There was something special between father and son that motivated the senator to learn more about climate change and relearn what he thought he already knew.

A second piece is about the senator’s integrity to align with his “new” findings about climate change even though it contributed to his election loss and possible political future with his voters. It took courage for the senator to be willing to relearn what he thought he knew and to accept the political consequences when speaking his truth to others.

Who among us would be willing to examine a different point of view or seek scientific verification to either confirm or deny a current belief about an important issue? Could we bear to find out that we had been misinformed? Would we be willing to speak to share new information if it was contrary to a popular belief in our family, with friends, or the local community? Many of us would not want to be or feel rejected. Our “loyalty” to others seems to outweigh our “courage” to question what we believe, to be willing to relearn, and to change our beliefs if there are factual contradictions.

Let this story of the senator be an example to all of us. Undoubtedly, we will experience many conflicting opinions, beliefs, and misinformation in the new year. We can each bring more awareness and courage to the choices we are making.

2023-02-01T13:37:52-07:00Current Events|

What Our Dogs Can Teach Us

About Living a Better Life

Catherine Nelson, Ph.D.
November – December 2022 • Vol 4, No 1

I believe that every animal species has something to teach us if we would pay closer attention to them and understand some of their core qualities. For example, let us look at dogs. I frequently take a walk in a nearby dog park early in the morning and watch the dogs. I enjoy the beauty of the dog park and the views of the distant mountains, but most of all, I enjoy watching the dogs and their boundless energy when they are off leash. They are always excited to be able to move about freely. Some walk, some run and some even leap in the air. Some dogs stay close to their persons and some run off and then work their way back. Their joy of movement is infectious.

Many of us have busy lives with numerous responsibilities to our families, our jobs, our community and so much more. We work hard to be responsible and caring. Sometimes we lose our sense of joy and in particular, our sense of joy of physical movement. Some of us even feel guilty if we take time to be outdoors engaging in a physical activity that gives us pleasure. And yet, it is precious time to do something outdoors to refresh and energize both emotionally and physically. We can inhale the freshness of the outdoor air; we will see the sky, the trees, the mountains and meadows and know we are part of all that is on planet earth. The movement of our physical body will release naturally some of our daily tensions and worries.

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2022-10-29T11:49:31-06:00Animal & Pets|

Practicing Patience, Persistence & Gratitude

We Never Know When These Qualities Will Become Important

Catherine Nelson, Ph.D.
July – August 2022 • Vol 3, No 122

We never know when the qualities of patience, persistence and gratitude will become important in our lives. Recently I met with several of my retired friends at the coffee shop for an informal meeting and here is what transpired.

Bob who was a plumber was the first to share. The internet server company he uses had made a recent change which caused problems with his voice mail on his land line. Bob works part time as a “handyman” and needs his voice mail for his customers. He called the company and spoke with eight different technicians before his problem was resolved. He said all the technicians he spoke to over a ten-day period were courteous and polite and each had assured him that his problem had been corrected.

However, each time he hung up with the technician, he found the “problem” was still on his voice mail. The last technician did correct the problem. Bob had to describe his problem with every technician to help them understand what was needed. He said it took a lot of patience on his part to calmly repeat the same information again and again.

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2022-09-14T09:39:45-06:00Natural Therapies/Remedies|