Tag Archives: Therapy

Culivating Creativity

People usually contact a counselor to address specific issues, including anxiety, depression, addiction, or relationship issues.  When challenges like these inhabit the life of a person, they tend to use up a person’s energy, leaving no time nor energy for creativity.

cropped-20141025_163721_1.jpgIn the 1940’s, a man named Abraham Maslow developed a concept called the Hierarchy of Needs.  Maslow’s hierarchy can be broken down into three categories:  Survival, Love, and Creativity.  Maslow said that when people have survival issues to deal with, they are not going to apply energy to pursuing love nor being creative.  Survival needs include food, shelter, and feeling safe.

While this model may not apply to every person, it does seem to apply to most people.  The counseling related issues mentioned above are survival issues to the people who are afflicted, and as a result relationships become strained and all creative energy is applied to the pursuit of survival.

Unbounded creativity on the other hand, requires nurturing.  An ongoing sense of freedom, 1338259321security in relationships, and security in personal safety contribute to a person’s ability to  pursue creative gifts.  Everyone has unique creative gifts, be they artistic, physically expressive (like sports and dancing), people related, mechanical inclination, gardening, or something else.  The variety of creative gifts people are blessed with are endless.

While the initial goal of counseling is to get relief from specific issues and symptoms, the underlying goal is usually the restoration of the joy and freedom of creative expression and sharing.  At Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, we believe that we were all created to be healthy, creative, loving, and joyful people.  Using Mindfulness Oriented Meditation and Therapeutic tools, we help people to accept, let go of, and grow beyond the experiences and issues that hold us back in life.  Our goal is to help people discover and cultivate the gifts that we are blessed with, in both individual therapy and in Meditation Workshops.

20141026_085602_1Christian Tantric Meditation classes provide tools for connecting with our Creative and Spiritual roots, and developing compassion for self and others.  Our next set of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes will begin on Saturday, May 13th from 10:00 to 11:30 AM EST.  We will be providing classes at our studio in Sautee near Helen Georgia, in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

Classes cost $20.00, and space is limited so sign up today.  Call 678-358-8775, email me at dave@sunrisemeditation.org, or register at http://sunrisemeditation.org/contact-us/.

Upcoming Events and Workshops


Sunrise Meditation and Counseling Upcoming and Current Schedule:

Peace meetings:  Tuesdays 7:00 PM Starting Feb 7th – Contemplative time of reflection, all faiths (and no – faiths) welcome.  Cost:  No cost, donations accepted.

Recovery Workshops:  Thursdays 7:00-8:30 PM Starting Feb 2nd – Addiction and recovery education, people in recovery and family members welcome.  Cost: 25.00 / session, 20.00 if paid in advance.

Meditation Workshops:  Saturdays 10:00-11:30 Starting March 4th. Cost: 25.00 / session, 20.00 if paid in advance.

Individual Counseling and Spiritual Direction sessions available for 65.00 / 1 hour session.

Call 678-358-8775 or visit http://sunrisemeditation.org/workshops/ for more information or to register.

Meditation and Recovery Workshops Announcement

Meditation Workshops:

Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, located in Sautee Georgia in the North Georgia Mountains, is happy to announce that we will be providing a series of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes begin Saturday March 4th 2017, from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

Our workshops cost 25.00 each, and a 20.00 discount is available for registering and paying for all 4 classes in advance.

For more information or to register for a Workshop or an Individual Therapeutic or Spiritual Discernment Session, visit our Contact and Registration page  or call 678-358-8775.

Our Meditation Workshops are helpful for Managing Stress, Releasing Barriers to Growth, Increasing Spirituality, and increasing Compassion for self and others.  We teach techniques that have been in practice for thousands of years, presented in a manner consistent with Judeo-Christian Scripture and Practice, with proven therapeutic benefits. 

Recovery Workshops:

Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, located in Sautee Georgia in the North Georgia Mountains, is happy to announce that we will be providing a series of eight weekly addiction recovery classes starting Thursday February 2 2017 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM.  The curricula of the classes will include education regarding addiction and recovery, emotions management, codependency, and long term recovery strategies.  People in recovery, families of people in recovery, and people seeking knowledge regarding the challenges involved in recovery are welcome.

Classes will cost 25.00 per person per week.  A $40.00 discount will be available for advanced registration and payment for all 8 classes.  Upon completion of the classes, a certificate of completion will be provided.

These classes are intended for people actively involved in recovery and people affected by addiction, including family members.

Our Recovery Workshops include Education and Tools for establishing and maintaining physical, emotional, and Spiritual health. We provide tools for increasing Self Awareness, promoting Emotional Stability, encouraging Healthy Relationships, and building personal long term recovery strategies.  All recovery workshops include mindfulness oriented meditation instruction.

For more information or to register for a Workshop or an Individual Therapeutic or Spiritual Discernment Session, visit our Contact and Registration page  or call 678-358-8775.

A Christmas Meditation Gift

advent-wreath-1879730_640Another holiday season is upon us in the United States and worldwide.  For Christians, this season celebrates the birth of Jesus, whom we know as Emmanuel, “God with us.”

If we were to imagine for a second that Jesus was born at the year 0 CE (historians differ as to the actual year of Jesus’ birth), He would have been celebrating His 16th birthday 2000 years ago.  Imagine that, Jesus as a young person, with all the hopes and dreams, the fears and insecurities, the hormones and emotions associated with a 16 year old maturing human being.

Prior to that he was a child, full of curiosity and questions, and prior to that a toddler brimming nativity-scene-1807599_640with energy.  And prior to that, like any human child, Jesus was completely dependent on His parents for sustenance, nurture, love, and protection.  Jesus was born in an area of the world that was perhaps as unstable and dangerous at the time of His birth as it is today.  He was born homeless besides.

But the story of the birth of Jesus is not only about vulnerability.  Nor is the birth of any child only about weakness and vulnerability.  A newborn child has a mind that is not limited by learned rules and desires.  The heart of a newborn child is not scarred with resentments and disappointments. And the core of a newly born child is not burdened with learned fears and responsibilities.  A newborn child represents earth%20sunrise2pure, unfettered potential for a free and joyful life, filled with unconditional love and meaningful accomplishment.

And this is my prayer for this Season, that we may all take a lesson from the newborn child, and make an effort to lay down our desires, resentments, and fears so that we may see, feel, and experience the world in new joyful, hopeful, loving, and faithful ways.


With this in mind, consider sharing the gift of Meditation for Christmas.  The Christian Tantric Meditation practice helps people to let go of desires, resentments and burdens, and realize our potential as joyful, loving, and confident human beings.

The Christian Tantric Meditation Guide book is available through Amazon at http://sunrisemeditation.org/publications/, and our next Christian Tantric meditation classes will be conducted in February of 2017.  The series of four  classes will be held on Saturdays February 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th.  In addition to the core practice classes, we will also be offering classes oriented towards addiction recovery, and advanced classes in compassion for people who have already taken the first four classes.

These classes are useful for beginners and people who are experienced in meditation alike.  Our pricing will be 25.00 per individual class, or 80.00 if all four classes are signed up for in advance.

For more information, either call us at 678-358-8775, email us at dave@sunrisemeditation.org, or register at http://sunrisemeditation.org/contact-us/  on our website.

Whatever your tradition, religion, and culture, we wish you a joyful holiday season, filled with hope, love, and peace.

Why does Change Feel so Strange?

There is one thought and feeling that is common to everyone who begins to make healthy changes in their lives.   And that is the thought and feeling that “this is not me, this is not who I am.”

This is true whether the changes involve meditation, exercise, diet, codependence related “assertive living”, or recovery.

ButterflyFor example, we go to a yoga class and find ourselves surrounded by people who are experienced and seem to know what they are doing.  We may feel clumsy and strange, like we “don’t fit in.”

Changes we make to take care of ourselves also inevitable involve feelings of guilt.  These feelings are often reinforced by our loved ones.  Early in the morning or later in the evening we move to a quiet place for meditation or pull out a yoga mat, and we practice.  Our family gives us that look like “what the hell are you doing?”  They complain about how their lives are disrupted and how we are no longer “available,” even if we are only taking 20 minutes out of the usual routine.

In recovery, someone from the old crowd calls and says “let’s get a beer”, or a spouse soul-623424_640pulls out a bottle of wine and offers a glass.  If we reply “no thank you”, suddenly we are “better than they are” and “no longer trusted”.

Within ourselves we ask “What the hell am I doing?  This isn’t me!  I should be enjoying a joint on the back deck,” or “vegging out in front of the TV,” or “sleeping until the last possible second and rushing through the shower and off to work.”

This is the nature of change.  It feels strange.  Other people are better at whatever we are attempting to do.  And the people in our relationships really want stability, they are uncomfortable with change.  Especially in recovery, people we know and love are very wary of change, as they know from experience changes can mean drama or relapse or even worse.

How do we get past this?  Mindfulness teaches us to live one moment at a time.  To accept our temporary discomfort, recognize and accept that these feeling in ourselves and our loved ones are “normal”, and carry on, one step, one moment, one day at a time.

20140704_181100_1We also must be kind to ourselves.  At first, change may happen in starts, stops, and stutters.  Yesterday wasn’t so great, but today I am here, I am doing this, and I feel good about it.

Eventually, we wake up one day and realize that the changes we were attempting to make in our lives are no longer changes.  They are a part of who we are, our day to day lives.  We are no longer uncomfortable with meditation or yoga or going to meetings, in fact we are more uncomfortable with neglecting ourselves.  And we feel relieved when we can get back to our self-care routines.

Change, growth, stepping out and rising to a challenge, all starts with a first step.

At Sunrise Meditation and Counseling we are blessed and happy to be available to help people with that first step towards healthier living.  We will again be offering a series of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains beginning the weekend after Labor Day, Saturday September 10th.   This is an opportunity to experience all four phases of the Christian Tantric Meditation protocol in a low cost short series of classes on four consecutive Saturdays.  The traditional Wellness based Christian Tantric Meditation protocol will be offered from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM.  And we will again be offering these Meditation classes from Recovery oriented perspective from 9:00 AM-10:30 AM.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

Visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 20.00 for a class.

Breaking Destructive Cycles

Life is full of cycles.  Yearly cycles of seasons, seasonal holidays and cycles of learning and growth, graduation, and then beginning again to learn more.  And there are monthly cycles of bills to pay, full moons, and fertility.

blossom-918453_960_720While some cycles are natural and can be comforting and even inspiring, other cycles can be painful and destructive.  Cycles of anger, codependency, depression, and addiction for example.

All destructive cycles have certain characterizing words in common, words like triggers, breaking points, regret, so called “honeymoon periods,” and periods where emotions builds again.  Some destructive cycles can be very short, repeating weekly or even daily, and some can be much longer, repeating monthly or even longer.

Consider anger for example, and its partner codependency.  In the anger cycle, tensionsurreal-402830_960_720 builds, a trigger causes a break when yelling and breaking of things may occur, followed by regret and a period of calm.  Meanwhile,  a more passive or passive aggressive partner might try to be “nice” for awhile, but eventually attempts to exercise some form of rebellion or self care, which changes a usual routine.  This break from routine may “trigger” an argument or angry outburst, and the cycle repeats.

Even depression can have an identifiable cycle, moving from self care, to self isolation, and self neglect.

Every close relationship experiences disagreements, everyone gets angry or unhappy at one time or another, and many people have occasional alcoholic beverages without embarrassing or hurting themselves or others.  How can people recognized they are getting “trapped” in a cycle?

1338259321When life or livelihood gets interrupted, especially on a routine basis, it is time to consider making some meaningful changes before someone gets hurt.  The monthly arguments that always escalate into loud conflict, damaged property, or bruises, the occasional drinking or prescription drug use that turns into every weekend and eventually creeps into the work week, the mood swings that lead to either avoiding friends and family or erupt in conflict with coworkers or customers.

The good news is that recognizing these cycle traps is the beginning of healing.  Developing self awareness about triggers, addiction, anger, general anxiety and depression levels, and codependent complacency behaviors can help us to break out of cycle traps before they reach a critical “blow up” or “melt down” stage.

How do we develop self awareness?  Tools like journaling, taking note of our state of mind, recognizing the repeated events that lead up to “breaking points”, becoming aware of words or events that trigger impulsive outbursts or depression or drinking or drug use can be of great help.

Coupled with developing self awareness are development of tools for altering thinking or feet-538245__180behavior patterns.  Techniques like deep breathing, grounding, calling a friend or sponsor, or just walking away can be helpful.

This is where taking part in therapeutic groups dedicated to emotions, alcoholics, narcotics, or codependency, can be helpful.  Engagement in one on one counseling with a trusted professional can be helpful also.

Meditation practices are a natural form of self care.  Meditation can lead to increased awareness and compassion for self and others, while the relaxation and breathing associated with meditation can be a helpful tool in letting go of the some of the thoughts and feelings that feed the cyclical traps.

With this in mind, Sunrise Meditation and Counseling  are happy to announce another “Meditation Day Retreat”  in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains on Saturday April 30th.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

logolargerPeople who attend our classes learn skills for developing self awareness, dealing with stress, and increasing enjoyment of life and personal freedom through letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.  More advanced classes explore increasing Spirituality through Divine Communion practice, and exercising Compassion with healthy boundaries for self and others.  People who are new to meditation and people who are experienced with meditation find our classes helpful.

Our Saturday morning class from 10:00-11:30 teaches basic meditation skills including breath centered mind stabilization and mindfulness.  Our afternoon class from 1:00-2:30 explores more advanced skills designed to Open our Consciousness.  Our classes generally include about 20-30 minutes of instruction and discussion, and 20-30 minutes of meditation skill practice.

To register, visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 25.00 for a class or 40.00 for signing up for two classes or bringing a friend.

Meditation Workshop Registration Open

We are now accepting registrations for Meditation Workshops on Saturday June 13th.  We are offering a morning Workshop that covers Mind Stabilization and Stress Reduction practices 10-11:30 AM, and an afternoon workshop that features Opening Consciousness and Self Awareness practices from 1:00-2:30 PM.  Visit our Contact and Registration page or call 678-358-8775 for more information.

The warm response and interest that Sunrise Meditation and Counseling has received has been very gratifying. This blog is being posted to answer a few questions that have come up about the practice and the location.

Why Sautee Georgia?  Why not closer to Atlanta?

Sautee is a beautiful and peaceful environment conducive to healing and restoration.

There is value in engaging in Workshops and therapy some distance from one’s home. Depending on where in the Atlanta Metro area a person is coming from, the drive can take as little as 1 hour and 15 minutes on a weekend. I’ve personally spent more time in traffic during rush hour in Atlanta trying to travel just a few miles. And, our “Visiting Sautee” page gives directions to avoid the tourist backup that can accumulate approaching Helen.

I personally engage in Spiritual Direction on a monthly basis, and my Spiritual Director is located on the Southeast side of Atlanta. I find that the drive there provides an opportunity to consider my motivation and needs, and the drive back is an opportunity to reflect on the session experience and how it applies to my life.

Why individual Workshops? Why not full weekend retreats?

Many people want to “get away” but can’t engage in an entire weekend or even an overnight activity. We offer a weekend “day trip” option. Our “Visiting Sautee” web page offers pointers to local lodging and scenic attractions if a person or couple wants to create their own “retreat weekend” that includes Workshops or Therapy. We also offer a discount on single day back to back workshops so a person can enjoy multiple workshops in a day if they choose.

Is there any way to get Christian Tantric Meditation Workshops closer to Atlanta?

Meditation or Recovery Workshops can be provided for groups of people at a location of their choosing evenings during the week. Workshops have been provided for groups in private homes, and have been discussed with Church groups. Call us at 678-358-8775 for more information if you are part of a group who has an interest.

Meditation Workshops in Sautee Georgia

logolargerSunrise Meditation and Counseling Offering Weekend Workshops in North Georgia Mountains


Contact: Dave Miller, Director
Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries
678-358-8775 dave@sunrisemeditation.org

Sautee Nacoochee, Ga – May 22, 2015

Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries is pleased to announce the opening of Sunrise Meditation and Counseling in Sautee, Georgia. The new center is located in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains near Helen Georgia at: 2276 Highway 17, Suite E, Sautee, Georgia 30571

The new center offers Meditation Workshops, Individual Counseling Therapy, Spiritual Discernment, and Outpatient Recovery Workshops.

The Meditation Workshops will be based on Dave Miller’s book, “Christian Tantric Meditation Guide” available at Amazon.com. CTM uses a Christian Perspective to describe Meditation practices of Mindfulness, Self Emptying, Divine Communion, and Compassion Training.

When asked who would find these workshops valuable, Miller replied “anyone who is dealing with stress, experiences barriers to personal growth, desires to grow Spiritually, or desires to increase their compassion toward self and others.

About Dave Miller

Dave Miller is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor, with Master’s degrees in Community Counseling and Theological Studies. As a Lay Minister and Counselor, Dave has worked in Recovery, Mental Health, Judicial, and Church settings. His training and experience in Counseling and Christian Ministry, combined with his studies in Tantric meditation techniques, all contributed to the publication of his book “Christian Tantric Meditation Guide.” Dave also holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering.

About Sunrise Meditation and Counseling:

Sunrise Meditation and Counseling is a ministry of Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries LLC, visit SunriseMeditation.org, or call 678-358-8775.

Video Introducing Dave Miller

Hi – My name is Dave Miller, and I am a licensed associate professional counselor, lay pastor, and author of the book Christian Tantric Meditation Guide, available at Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback editions. I also administrate Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries under the direction of Renewal Wellness at New Hope Counseling in Cumming Georgia. I work with groups and individuals who need some help dealing with or letting go of some of the burdens that hold them back in life, physically, emotionally, in relationships, and Spiritually.

I’ve been married to my wife Stacey for 30 years, and together we’ve raised 4 children who are grown now. I’m also a church going Christian, and I believe that God loves us all unconditionally, and God demonstrates love for humanity through the teachings, the life, the death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. I believe that God is with us today, all around us and within us, in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I believe that we can know that the Holy Spirit is present with us and with others by recognizing the Gifts that the Holy Spirit brings, including love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.   I also have found that in order to recognize and receive the gifts the Holy Spirit has to offer, we need to learn to let go of some of the burdens that hold us back and open ourselves up to receive and accept those gifts.

I first received by calling into ministry in the Spring of 1994. I had been working as an electrical engineer for over 10 years at that point. As I recall, it was a beautiful day, and while I was driving down the road I decided to ask God a question. The question I asked was whether there are trees and flowers and birds in heaven. I was a little surprised when I received an answer. It wasn’t a direct voice so much as a strong sense of a loving affirming Presence. The answer I received was yes, there are trees and flowers in heaven. Then I asked the question whether there I would still be an individual person in heaven, able to learn and grow as a person. I love learning, I love reading, I love exploring and sharing. The answer came back that yes, I would still be myself and I would be able to learn and grow. Then I asked the question that changed everything. I asked whether there is anything we can do here on earth that we can’t do in heaven. The answer was yes, there is one thing we can do here that we won’t be able to do in heaven, and that is help people who are suffering, because there is no suffering nor death in heaven. As you can imagine, this experience affected me deeply, and defined the path that I have been following ever since.

The first thing that people notice when they meet me is my tracheotomy. My trach gives me a little extra room to breath because I have scar tissue in my upper airway. You may notice that I put my thumb over my trach to talk. This allows me to push air up past my vocal cords so I can talk. I’ve had this for 20 years now, and I’m so used to it that I hardly notice it, and my friends say they don’t notice it either. It’s just a part of who I am now.

After I first received my trach, I was left without a voice several years. I could use a buzzer to communicate, but for the most part I was silent. One might say I was forced into a vow of silence. I started writing about the feelings I was experiencing, the sense of loss and frustration, and about my relationship with God as I went through this. A minister friend of mine read my writing and suggested that I take some classes in the Emory University Divinity program to learn the language I needed to express myself theologically. I took his advice, attended Emory and ended up getting my Master’s in Theological Studies.

During that time I attended Emory, I practiced chaplain ministry in a homeless shelter setting at Atlanta Union Mission. Having no voice, I was forced to “just listen” to the people I worked with, offering no advice whatsoever. I was blessed to witness not only the amazing stories and wonderful cultural diversity of the people I worked with, but also the almost miraculous healing properties that empathetic listening can provide. This experience led me to a deeper exploration of the power of listening, to myself, to God, and to others, with the help of meditation.

I continued to listen as I practiced lay ministry within the Methodist Church and later led an alternative worship service that was based on sharing and listening.

My exploration of listening led me to Argosy University, where I earned my Master’s in Community Counseling, after which I went into listening professionally as a counselor. In my therapy practice I use both solution focused and mindfulness oriented cognitive behavioral techniques.

And throughout all of this, I have been training in and studying and practicing techniques in prayerful listening and meditation. .

So here I am today. I’ve had a lot of experiences that have led me to where I am today. My experience as a working professional, as someone who continues to live with a long term medical condition, my experience in ministry, and in working with people who suffer with burdens that hold them back in life, all contribute to who I am today.

How about you? What’s your calling? What kinds of experiences have you had? How have they made you stronger? How have they held you back? What kinds of tools do you have to deal with the issues that life hands us every day? Do you recognize the fruits of the Spirit in your own life and in the lives of others around you?

I share some of the meditation listening tools I’ve learned and practice in my book, Christian Tantric Meditation guide. The book provides exercises for learning to listen to ourselves and the world around us, listening to the Spirit that is all around us and within us, and listening to others. The practice involves letting go of desires, resentments, and fears, so that we can increase our feelings of freedom, love, and faith, and grow our compassion for ourselves and others.

I also share meditation and Cognitive Behavioral tools in therapeutic groups and in individual one on one sessions. I’m currently offering free workshops to introduce Christian Tantric meditative listening practices to anyone who is interested in letting go of burdens, resentments and fears that hold them back, increasing their sense of freedom, love, and faith, and increasing compassion for self and others.

My rates are very reasonable, I’m available on evenings and weekends, and I’d really like to meet you and hear your story. Whether you buy the book or call for individual or group sessions, there’s a blessing waiting for you. Visit my website at www.ecumenicalwellness.org, and give me a call. Have a blessed day!



There are many forms of meditation a person can practice. In its most basic form, meditation can be considered a listening practice. As a spiritual practice, meditation can be considered a listening prayer. When practicing listening prayer meditation, we open ourselves up to see, hear, and feel what the Holy Spirit would have us experience.

At the core of most meditation practices is self emptying. Self emptying practices may be used to achieve a sense of joy and peace. As a stand alone practice, self emptying can be very powerful.

The path that is followed in Christian Tantric Meditation very much parallels the path that Christ took in his life and ministry. Christians may recall the story of Christ wandering in the wilderness for 40 days. This part of Christ’s journey represents the practice of self emptying. During this time Jesus released His human desires to the extent that He was not vulnerable to temptation. Similarly, in Christian Tantric meditation, we release our desires, our resentments, and our fears that hold us back and prevent us from receiving and accepting Divine Communion through the Holy Spirit.

By emptying one’s self, a person makes room for awareness. The awareness that develops in self emptying can have many dimensions, including awareness of self, awareness one’s spirituality and connection with one’s Higher Power, and awareness of creation and others who are a part of our lives. This development of self awareness is also known as mindfulness.

Meditation can be used as an intentional exercise, aimed at increasing our internal capacities. Christian Tantric meditation was developed as an exercise for the mind, heart, and core areas of consciousness. By exercising these areas of consciousness, a person increases her / his capacity for mindfulness, love, self confidence, and compassion.