Author Archives: Starting Point


[Healing with Sound] ~ Sound/Music: Dealing with Anxiety ~ (Onsite)

When: Saturday Oct 1st,  2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Where: Onsite at The Starting Point
Facilitator: Angelo Rizzo
Cost:  Free to all. Please consider a Love Offering for The Starting Point Inc. of NJ at startingpoint.org/donations

*NOTE: Please note that we will need around five people to sign up for this event.  It is a huge amount of work to spend several hours loading and unloading the van and car with all of our equipment, and have only two or three people show up. Thank you!

For more details, go to http://rebrand.ly/HealingSound.You can also RSVP at this site, in order to attend this transformative workshop and obtain the Zoom link to join this meeting.



 

Thought Of The Month Sept 2022 ~ “Reality and Responsibility…”

By Vince DiPasquale

Welcome to the fall season, a special time of the year. It’s almost like the world comes out of heat hibernation and returns to reality. We are reminded during this season of two special words, reality and responsibility. These words are both scary and beautiful at the same time. We spend a good portion of our lives avoiding reality. Many times, we play the “someday” game, i.e., someday things will be better; someday I’ll do this; someday I’ll do that. It reminds me of the famous Peanuts cartoon characters, Charlie Brown and Lucy. Remember when Lucy held the football for Charlie Brown to kick? When he went to kick it, Lucy would pull it away and Charlie would fall on his rear end. Charlie would then get up and attempt to kick it again with the same result. The Peanuts gang would ask, “Don’t you know she’s not going to hold it?” Charlie responds, “Someday she will.”

So often our lives become unmanageable because we refuse to face reality. We also play a game called the “blame” game. It’s so much easier to blame other people for our failings than it is to take responsibility for ourselves. One thing I have learned is that life becomes so much simple and more beautiful when you live each day by facing reality. It’s such a gift when we learn to accept reality, learn from it, and get on with life. I’ve also learned that I only hurt myself when I hold resentments. Let them go. Face them, heal and move on. Letting go with forgiveness is to allow us to heal from our hurt. It takes a special person to face the reality or our life with spirit of forgiveness. We need to look at all the experiences of life as gifts. Our experiences are God’s way of teaching us and making us strong. If we only take the time to realize that the greatest spiritual word on the face of the Earth is acceptance.  Nothing in life happens by accident. From the moment of our births our families and life experiences are our greatest teachers, and hopefully we face each experience with a positive attitude. Everything we do in life depends on the way we face reality. I’m a big believer that if we have the courage to face our history, it will become our greatest teacher. Please don’t be afraid of reality. It will give you the strength to look at each situation in a positive way. Remember you are your attitude. Our attitudes are learned. Take the time to make sure your attitudes are positive so life can be lived in a healthy way. Be open to the wonderful lesson’s life is dealing us.

Along with reality comes the great gift of personal responsibility. Remember to be responsible is to be free. So many of us have become so dependent on so many persons, places, and things that we have forgotten how important it is to have a feeling of independence while we are learning to become responsible. It is a process that takes time, effort, and personal investment. Responsibility is something we can’t take for granted. It’s so easy just to sit back and be dependent on others. We all remember the famous slogan.

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” Life is such a beautiful process. If we accept it and are open to it, we’ll be able to grow into mature, responsible people.

To mature and accept personal responsibility isn’t easy, but it’s so rewarding. Please let’s all come out of hibernation and face the reality of life. Remember you can run, but you can’t hide. Sooner or later reality and responsibility will find you. Take time during this fall season to ask ourselves if we are willing to walk our spiritual journey called life, facing reality and responsibility.

Don’t forget to face all these moments that help us grow through the eyes of gratitude. Hopefully, one day you’ll be able today,“I am grateful for what was, what is, and what will be. I’m willing to face all the realities of life with spirit of personal responsibility.” Enjoy the fall season. As the leaves change and mature let’s hope we can all do likewise. Be thankful for all the experiences life has given us and let’s pray that we can see their reality through positive eyes.

*UPDATE: Vince’s VIRTUAL Lecture Series : Virtual ONLY via Zoom ~ Wednesday At 12 and 7

Please join us for Vince’s DiPasquale’s weekly lectures held live every Wednesday at 12PM and 7PM (on Zoom.)

(For more info about Vince, check out his bio at https://startingpoint.org/vinces-corner .)


Wednesdays 12PM:

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84817848874
Meeting ID: 848 1784 8874

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–OR– Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kebZNmLNak

———————————————-

Wednesdays 7PM:

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89253761873
Meeting ID: 892 5376 1873

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+13017158592,,89253761873# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

–OR– Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kebZNmLNak


Many of Vince’s previous lectures can be found on  Vince’s YouTube Page. Please take a few moments each day and visit Vince’s Facebook Page and The Starting Point’s Facebook Page for more of Vince’s content.



WEEKLY LECTURE SERIES SCHEDULE

PERSONAL GROWTH

    • Sept 7 ~ The Spiritual Journey
    • Sept 14 ~ Navigating the Seasons of Our Lives, Kevin Elsey, LCP
    • Sept 21 ~ The Serenity Prayer
    • Sept 28 ~  The Slogans

GIFTS OF GRATITUDE

    • Oct 5 ~ Gift of Life
    • Oct 12 ~ Gift of Family
    • Oct 19 ~ Gift of Experience
    • Oct 26 ~ Gift of Recovery
    • Nov 2 ~ Gift of Change
    • Nov 9 ~ Gift of Service
    • Nov 16 ~ Gift of Gratitude
    • Nov 23 ~ No Lecture

HOLIDAY SERIES

    • Nov 30 ~ Codependency and The Holidays
    • Dec 7 ~ Spirituality and The Holidays
    • Dec 14 ~ Relationships and The Holidays
    • Dec 21 ~ Special Holidays Services
    • Dec 28 ~ No Lecture

 

 

 

 


 

Thought Of The Month August 2022 ~ “A Sense of Belonging…”

 By Vince DiPasquale 


Embrace Silence:  Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of belonging that comes to us.  Bill W.

August is a month dedicated to the wonderful word, retreat.  People have often called it the dog days of summer.  It’s a time to take a break from the busy, crazy activities of life, stand still and learn to enjoy the quiet and solitude.  Many of the great teachers have always taken time to be quiet and learn to appreciate the gifts and creations of life.

In our 12-step program we are taught some very special words that invite us to experience the wonders and beauty of life.  Let go and let God, gratitude, prayer, meditation, openness, spiritual awakening, service, acceptance, sharing.  I consider these words to be the secret to inner peace and serenity.

Let go and let God allows us to decrease tension, stress, and anxiety.  It helps us to realize that we are not in charge.  Once we allow ourselves to release control, we become free to experience the journey of life.  Each experience is allowing us to discover the lesson our Higher Power is trying to teach us.  When you allow yourself to let go you can connect to the God experience within.  Each one of us as God’s creation is the channel through which the Higher Power speaks to us.  Be quiet and listen.

Gratitude is our way of saying thank you for the experiences we have been given. If we live in gratitude each situation will open a new door for us in our life’s journey.  Each day as we awaken say a prayer of gratitude for the gift of life.

Prayer is our life source, our way of sharing with our Creator our feelings.  The Higher Power and our Guardian Angels are always there to be our guides.  All we must do is ask for their help and guidance.  I truly believe they walk with us throughout our journey.  The 5th step is to share our true feelings with God, the greater healer and teacher.  Our lives should be constant prayer.  At all times let’s share our joys, sorrows, and the realities of life with our Higher Power.  Prayer is the foundation of faith.

Meditation is God’s way of teaching the value of being quiet.  When we are in stillness, we can hear the teachings and messages of life.  We live in world of noise, activity, gadgets, games, and business.  These are always what we run from in life.  If we stay busy, we don’t hear the lessons of life.  Take time to be quiet.  Try each day to be open to the messages God gives us every moment of life.  Many of us think if we are not doing something we are wasting time.  Quiet and solitude are the foundations of settlement and inner peace.  When we are quiet, we can hear God’s messages. Meditation is the gift of listening and learning.

Spiritual awakening is the core of our spirituality.  The word spiritual comes from Latin and Greek and means to be open to discover the potential and beauty in all of us.  Our purpose on this earth is to be on a constant journey of self-awakening and discovery.  We are all spiritual creatures.  Each day be open to the lessons we are learning in life.  Every one of us is a book.  Each day we add a new chapter in our life’s journal.  Let’s all try to look at life through positive eyes.  Each awakening allows us to grow a little bit more.  Remember we should always be moving forward on our journey – progress, not perfection.

Service and sharing allows us to continue our progress of growth.  We are not islands.  If we take the time to share the book of life with others, we will receive back a hundredfold.  To give is to receive.  We are part of a world community.  There is so much to learn.  Diversity is the key to life.  In service we share our experiences, strength, and hope.  Don’t isolate or hide your gifts.  The more we share with others the more positive and rewarding our lives will become.  Let’s hope and pray every day to be examples to others by carrying the message of life and recovery and by the way we live our lives.  Live life to the fullest and the energy from us will touch others.  Service also teaches the gift of humility and connects us to all of God’s creatures.

Finally, we come to the most beautiful word on earth – acceptance.  When we can accept the reality of who we are we will be able to accept others.  This gift allows us to look upon each of God’s creations with unconditional love, it allows us to be totally alive and celebrate each moment.

During this peaceful month of August when the world quiets down, take time to reflect, be quiet and listen to all the messages of life with gratitude and openness.  Remember it’s a gift to be able to experience our aloneness.  To be in solitude is to be in touch with the secret of life, inner peace.

May God bless all of us as we walk our life’s journey’s.

 

Thought Of The Month July 2022 ~ “Celebrate Your Independence ~ and Live Free!”

 By Vince DiPasquale 


When People lack a sense of awe,                                        Do not limit the view of yourself. 

There will be disaster,                                                   Do not despise the conditions of your birth. 

When people do not fear worldly power,                     Do not resist the natural course of your life. 

a greater power will arrive.                                           In this way you will never weary of this world. 

Therefore, the sage knows himself, but makes no show of himself, loves himself but does not exalt himself.  He prefers what is within to what is without. *  


    The month of July teaches us the lessons of freedom.  To be truly free we need to spend time learning to live in the spirit of awe and acceptance.  In these two simple words we learn the special secret of life.  We have been given the gift of life from our Creator.  When we stop and look at God’s creation we must be in awe.  Each day let’s learn not to take life for granted.  Each of us has a purpose in this world. Each of God’s creatures are both teachers and pupils to us if we can learn to face life’s journey with the gift of acceptance. 

     We are told not to limit the view of ourselves, remembering how special we are.  Each one of us is a combination of talents, feelings, and thoughts.  Our spirit and energy give us the spark to look at life in a special way.  Let’s use the words of the Tao to examine our spiritual journey through this world.  

     How you view yourself doesn’t limit what you can accomplish.  The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to learn to embrace our history.  Instead of trying to change our history, let’s learn to embrace it, accept it, and let it become our teacher.  Our story, our history is the greatest book in the process of being written.  Each day we write a new chapter.  We are told in the Tao not to despise our history because it is the natural course of life.  If we come to accept life on its’ terms, it will pay us back a hundredfold.  We are taught by the process that we will experience the real meaning of freedom.  To be truly free we must embrace life in its’ fullest. To be free is to become responsible for our journey and not become weary of life.  To be fully alive is to look at the world through the eyes of nature.  The world we live in is a great adventure.  It’s God’s gift to us and must be treated with respect.  If we respect ourselves, if we honor our journey, we will be able to help others honor themselves. 

     The Tao teaches us that if we take the time to do our work the energy of our journey will reach out to others.  The 12th step of our program teaches us that if we have the courage to work on ourselves, to experience a spiritual awakening, then we will be able to carry the message of life to others by example.  Remember, if we live in the spirit of life, try to look at all things through positive eyes and continue to be open to growth, we will be able to look at all things in the spirit of gratitude. 

     If we can face life with its’ struggles and joys and never lose the spirit of awe, life becomes an adventure.  Let’s try to accept it on life’s terms.  Try to look at all experiences with a positive attitude and life will show us the way.  We are on God’s journey and our goal is to learn the lessons of life and one day hear our Creator say.  “Job well done.  Welcome home. 

     Being free is to be responsible for our life’s journey.  This is the month of freedom.  As you celebrate Independence Day, take time to reflect on all the gifts we have.  Don’t take life for granted.  Get out there and live it.  God bless you on your journey. 


*Chapter 72, Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi)

Visit our Educational Channel on YouTube!


We cordially invite you to listen to some of Loretta Depka’s conversations with practitioners about grief and loss, forgiveness, anger management, recovery, and many, many other topics.


Click here to listen to calendar year 2022 programs.
Click here for our 2021 programs.


 

Time to Explore Vince’s Corner –and his YouTube channel!

Enjoy lots of past lectures on topics about

recovery and life.

 

Click the graphic below to jump directly

to Vince’s page. (Or use this link.)

 


 

Vince Talks Purpose

Be inspired to discover or renew your purpose! Join Vince DiPasquale for a powerful lesson he shared with PennMedicine and The University of Pennsylvania Health Systems employees for their National Employee Health and Well-Being Month.

Vince spoke about the importance of reestablishing one’s purpose in order to overcome challenges, face adversity, and move forward.

Click Here to visit his talk on YouTube.

Thought Of The Month June 2022 ~ “Choose an Attitude of Gratitude!”

By Vince DiPasquale

As we enter the month of June, we think of graduation, school closings, baseball, and the official beginning of summer. It’s a time to reflect and look at the life with a spirit of gratitude. Let’s all take a moment to reflect and look at the life in a positive way.

Take a moment to meditate on your personal spiritual journey. At that moment of your birth, you came into this world as a pure, beautiful child. At that moment you had all that you needed for life. You entered five different family systems, with each system having some form of dysfunction.

  1. Our family of origin, blood family.
  2. Our neighborhood, cultural, or environmental family.
  3. Religious family system.
  4. Peer family
  5. Society family

Each of these family systems are supposed to be our teachers and mentors to guide us through life. Unfortunately, most of us must experience many negative or dysfunctional areas so that we can awaken to the positive lessons in life. I know that my higher power, who I call the Boss, has sent me many beautiful teachers. Some I listened to and some I didn’t. However, I know now that if I try to look at all parts of my life with the spirit of gratitude, I will attract what I need for my life. Even our mistakes weren’t really mistakes. They were a result of our negative messages and thoughts. A long time ago a protestant minister had the courage to write a book called, “The Power of Positive Thinking”. Norman Vincent Peale decided that we all have the power given to us by God to look at each experience through positive eyes. In 1935 the founders of AA and its early members understood this. They gave us a beautiful gift, “This 12 Steps”, which is our guide to the spiritual awakening and the discovery of the beauty and strength that we all possess. Each one of us is a miracle in progress. Each day we need to say, “thank you” to yesterday for all its many lessons and be open to the new lessons of today. As you wake up each morning say “thank you” for another day. Take time to pray for the gift of openness and whatever we experience will then come into out lives and we will attract it with the gift of gratitude. Did you ever think that one day you’d be able to say, “I’m grateful for today, grateful for yesterday, and already grateful for what will be”?

Take the time to look at the life through a different set of eyes. Don’t talk about anything negative. Think positively. Look at life as a gift to be shared. Hopefully you’ll be able to see the rainbow at the end of the storm. One day you’ll be able to look at life in a simple way. There’s a beautiful saying, “a child shall lead them.” There’s a little child inside all of us. Celebrate that child and get out there to play, share, and enjoy each day. If you invoke the power of positive thinking, good will follow. Remember each one of us is a gift. Please don’t take it for granted.

Each day reflect and celebrate all the lessons of life. Enjoy life, it’s worth living. Enjoy the special season of summer. Get out and have fun. Think positively and all good will come to you.

 

*UPDATE: Experience this Remarkable, AWARD-WINNING Documentary “Starting Point: The Story of Vince DiPasquale” !

“The Story of Vince DiPasquale” has won yet another award; this being an “Honorable Mention” at the New Hope Film Festival!

Now experience this remarkable, award-winning documentary, “Starting Point: The Story of Vince DiPasquale” anytime on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device!

Click on the graphic below for more info or to begin streaming now!


 

2022 Educational Program “Loss of a Child – Part 2” with Pat Obst and Loretta Depka is Now On The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel

In continuance of the program series entitled “Loss of a Loved One“, Pat Obst, LCSW, MSW and Loretta Depka, Executive Director resumed their discussions on the complex process of grieving highly personal losses. The topic discussed is the 2nd part of her two-part series entitled “Loss of a Child – Part 2.

Here, Pat continues to share her own powerful experience of loss; namely, the loss of her son.

You can find The Starting Point’s YouTube channel here.


Pat is a therapist who specializes in loss and grief, Pat Obst has walked the grief journey with many clients and has experienced losses personally. This led her to create the Afterwards Journey, to help clients grieve, heal, and recreate their lives after loss. More information can be found on her practitioner profile at https://startingpoint.org/practitioner/pat-obst/

 

2022 Educational Program “Loss of a Child – Part 1” with Pat Obst and Loretta Depka is Now On The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel

In continuance of the program series entitled “Loss of a Loved One“, Pat Obst, LCSW, MSW and Loretta Depka, Executive Director resumed their discussions on the complex process of grieving highly personal losses. The topic discussed is the 1st part of a two-part series entitled “Loss of a Child. ” Pat shares her own powerful experience of loss; namely, the loss of her son.

 

You can find The Starting Point’s YouTube channel here.


Pat is a therapist who specializes in loss and grief, Pat Obst has walked the grief journey with many clients and has experienced losses personally. This led her to create the Afterwards Journey, to help clients grieve, heal, and recreate their lives after loss. More information can be found on her practitioner profile at https://startingpoint.org/practitioner/pat-obst/

 

2022 Educational Program “Loss of a Loved One ~ Spouse, Partner, Significant Other” with Pat Obst and Loretta Depka is Now On The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel

In a continuance of the program series entitled “Loss of a Loved One“, Pat Obst, LCSW, MSW and Loretta Depka, Executive Director continued their discussions on the complex process of grieving highly personal losses. The topic discussed is theLoss of a ~ Spouse, Partner or Significant Other“. 

 

You can find The Starting Point’s YouTube channel here.


Pat is a therapist who specializes in loss and grief, Pat Obst has walked the grief journey with many clients and has experienced losses personally. This led her to create the Afterwards Journey, to help clients grieve, heal, and recreate their lives after loss. More information can be found on her practitioner profile at https://startingpoint.org/practitioner/pat-obst/


Thought Of The Month May 2022 ~ “Gratitude, Love, and Service”

By Vince DiPasquale
______________________________________________________________________________

“You can’t give to others what you don’t have.”
“Service is God’s gift to us so we can learn how to give and receive.”
______________________________________________________________________________

May is one of the most beautiful and special months of the year. It is the month of new birth, flowers, a time when everything comes alive. For me, it is the month of my birth, 82 years ago. This month has always reminded me of how grateful I am for the gift of life and for all the wonderful special people God has sent me on my journey as my teachers. May reminds me to reflect on the gift of spirituality that God gave all of us at our births. God and the angels sent us on a spiritual journey into this world. The spirituality means that our purpose is to discover the spirit that makes us who we are. In our 12 Step program we are told in the 12th Step that after having had a spiritual awakening, we are to carry the message to others. We are told that if we do our work and give in the spirit of sharing with others, we will receive things beyond our wildest dreams.

Let’s take the time this month to reflect on the terms of spiritual awakening and service. Thomas Merton, a great spiritual author said, “No man is an island.” We can’t grow or discover our greatness alone. The steps remind us that recovery is a “WE” program. I would like to share with you some of the great teachers I have experienced on my spiritual journey. Two of my most special teachers were my parents and my family. I, like you, was born into a dysfunctional human family. Yet today I realize that to be human and dysfunctional is to be teachable. My Dad was truly a man of service to others. He was a giver who didn’t know how to receive. The lessons I learned from him was to set boundaries, make time for me, and to value who I am. Both my parents went through their struggles and unknowingly, they gave me tools to deal with my struggles. My crazy and wonderful Italian family gave me a PhD. in fear and guilt yet they taught me how to laugh at life.

Another great teacher was the Catholic Church. It gave me a great place to hide from life until I was ready to face it. In my twelve years in the seminary and twenty years in the priesthood, I experienced years filled with turmoil and confusion. Most of those years taught me how unmanageable my life was. I refer to them as the crazy yet beautiful years. However, there were so many teachable moments. I was on a journey to save the world, but I usually forgot to work on me. Morgan brought me to experience my first 12 Step Al-Anon meeting in 1969. Jack, my mentor in rehab in Philadelphia taught me the gift of humility. Then there were all the wonderful teachers in AA who shared their stories with me. I experienced many relationships at LaSalle University in my master’s program, especially Gerry, a Jesuit from Belgium, who taught me not to take life too seriously and to go with the flow. He was a special piece of my spiritual journey with his advice, “Never take the simple things for of life for granted, life is full of many adjustments. Things are always in process. Nothing stays the same so be open to change.” These were his spiritual words of wisdom. He was truly a man for all seasons.

In 1977 the Higher Power sent me to a simple house in South Philadelphia where with six other special people my journey with Starting Point began. In these simple conditions with our soup kitchen in the basement I was able to live there for three years. I experienced so many wonderful people who came into my life to help me begin the journey of Starting Point. I thought I was helping them, but, they were helping me.

In the early 80’s the Higher Power sent more teachers. My wife, Carol, came on the scene to teach me the value of getting healthy. A special holistic health doctor and her influence allowed me to face physical, emotional, and spiritual dysfunction. At that time, I didn’t know how important being healthy was. This journey led me to a whole new journey of responsibility and growth. The Higher Power sent me three beautiful stepdaughters and seven grandchildren who are special teachers in my life. This was my new Starting Point and the continuation of my spiritual journey. I learned that I was given a spiritual path that all of us can follow.

With all my background in theology, the greatest gift God gave me was the gift of the 12 Steps. I truly believe that the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous were divinely inspired when these steps were put together. To me they developed the greatest spiritual program on the earth. They teach us that if we do our work, learn to accept who we are, discover our gifts, and then by the way we live our lives we will be an example to others. The greatest service we can give to others is the gift of self.

The month of May reminds me, and hopefully reminds all of us, to look at the life through the eyes of gratitude, love, and service to others. Enjoy these days of new birth.

2022 Educational Program “Loss of a Parent, Grandparent or Sibling’“; with Pat Obst and Loretta Depka is Now On The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel

In this program, Pat Obst, LCSW, MSW and Loretta Depka, Executive Director continued their discussions on the complex process of grieving.

This particular topic is processing the loss of a Parent, Grandparent or Sibling.

You can find The Starting Point’s YouTube channel here.


Pat is a therapist who specializes in loss and grief, Pat Obst has walked the grief journey with many clients and has experienced losses personally. This led her to create the Afterwards Journey, to help clients grieve, heal, and recreate their lives after loss. More information can be found on her practitioner profile at https://startingpoint.org/practitioner/pat-obst/