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How I Found Purpose When I Lost It at Work

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

When I was in my last semester of college in 2016, I got my first paid job working in libraries as a childrens library assistant. I can remember the passion and sense of purpose I initially felt when taking this job. The idea that, every day, Id be helping foster a love of reading in kids felt like a worthwhile career.

Reading supports cognitive development in children. It enhances language skills and improves concentration. It encourages

How My Trauma Led Me to the Sex Industry and What’s Helping Me Heal

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~Rumi

The hardest battle I’ve fought is an ongoing one. It’s an all-consuming shadow of dread that never leaves, only resting long enough for me to catch my breath.

I know what it feels like to be depressed. I know the feeling of pain and hopelessness so well it almost feels like home.

I remember being around eleven years old and thinking, wow, this all seems so meaningless. I had become awakened by my consciousness and overwhelmed by emptiness. I knew then that there was more to life than …

How Life’s Daily Challenges Can Actually Be Gifts in Disguise

“Smile at your patterns.” ~Tsoknyi Rinpoche

Partway through Eckhart Tolle’s Conscious Manifestation course, I furiously jotted down his teachings about challenges and obstacles to remind myself that they’re not only a normal part of the human experience but necessary for spiritual growth. “Yes!!!!” I wrote in agreement.

When faced with difficulty, the human tendency is to react and resist, and when we do this, we add suffering to an already difficult situation. This tendency is reflexive within me, and my mindfulness practice has enabled me to either observe the cascading habit pattern as it unfolds, which disentangles me from its

How to Cope with a Toxic and Estranged Family Relationship

“Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.” ~Unknown

You two are family. Maybe you grew up with them and were by their side for a huge chunk of their life. There was a lot of laughing, crying, and sharing. Some fighting too.

You know how their brain works probably better than anyone else. But sometimes, in adulthood, those closest to you can become unrecognizable—estranged, cold, and careless. For no apparent reason, you find yourself shut out of their life. Your peace-feelers are increasingly rejected. You’ve been left out in the cold.…

How to Tame Your ‘Tornado’ Mind and Stop Overthinking Everything

“You don’t suffer because you have thoughts. You suffer because you judge them, resist them, believe them, wallow in them, or identify with them.” ~Unknown

At one point in my life, I wondered, “Will things always be this way?”

So rushed, with barely a moment to call my own. Current events swirling around, reflecting the worst side of humanity. Lost under the weight of my to-do lists, financial worries, and deadlines.

I barely knew where my thoughts stopped and I started. Would I always be this anxious, irritated, distracted, and isolated from those around me? Even from loved ones?…

How to Avoid a Soul-Crushing Life Crisis

“Sometimes it takes an overwhelming breakdown to have an unbelievable breakthrough.” ~Unknown

I had hit rock bottom.

Now that means different things to different people, so let me explain what my rock bottom meant.

I’ll start with my physical health. I was underweight, about twenty-five pounds. My face looked gaunt and scrawny.

I was hypertensive, even though I was eating a healthy diet. I also had severe eczema. The itching was so bad that I woke up in the middle of the night with my legs covered in blood from the scratching.

The only thing that helped make the …

Everything Seems to Be Falling Apart… Because It Is

“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not on the branch, but in its own wings. Always believe in yourself.”  ~Unknown

If you’ve ever stopped and thought, “What the hell am I doing?” or “How did I end up here?” believe me when I tell you that you are one of many—including me.

Feeling lost is stressful enough, but what about when we disappoint ourselves more than anyone around us? What do we do when we have no sense of direction or purpose, and dwindling confidence in ourselves?

I …

The Art of Slow Living: How to Reclaim Your Peace and Joy

“In today’s rush, we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just being.” ~Eckhart Tolle

We’re going to start with a visualization exercise. Set a timer for one minute, close your eyes, and reflect on your happiest childhood memories…

I was born into a family of wanderers, individuals who held a deeply rooted love of travel, and an even deeper sense of adventure. My happiest childhood memories are the times when we packed up our suitcases and hit the road (or the sky or the sea).

In the quiet stillness of …

Why Social Media and My Addictive Personality Don’t Mesh

Twitter didn’t give me the flu or bronchitis, but it made me sick. Unhealthy. Ill-feeling. And it could have been any social media platform that did it, I just happened to have chosen Twitter.

For years I avoided creating any sort of social media account. I complained to companies the old-fashioned way: calling or emailing customer service. I didn’t need to know what people I wasn’t in touch with in real life were doing.

As someone who was married and not dating, there simply wasn’t the requirement to be on any kind of social media. With two kids, I spent …

What Helped Me Move On After Being Cheated On

“Sometimes walking away is the only option because you finally respect yourself enough to know that you deserve better.” ~Unknown

When I was cheated on, I was hit by an ongoing blizzard of conflicting emotions.

There were the initial tears that I failed to hide from anyone. There was a cold ruthlessness as I told her that I couldn’t be with her after what she did. There was a wave of misery, there was a wave of anger, and all of it was dotted with periodic moments of calm and even gratitude that she was finally out of my life.…

The Power of Perspective: A Simple Way to Ease Anxiety

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking.” ~Eckhart Tolle

One of the first ideas I learned in law school was “the reasonable third person,” a legal fiction created to help figure out if someone has acted unreasonably. There’s no clear-cut definition, so I spent a lot of energy arguing what a reasonable person would do. This hypothetical person haunted my law school exams, and later, my career.

But I realized the reasonable third person could teach me something beyond the courtroom. I could apply that …

How Listening to Depression Can Help Us Overcome It

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.” ~Rumi

My first diagnosis of depression came at the age of fifteen. Depression runs in my family; it wasn’t a case of overmedicating. It was genuine, and the black dog has followed me all my life.

I’ve been on eight different antidepressants and a handful of anti-anxiety drugs. I’ve been in and out of therapist offices and hospitals for most of my life, and I expect that I’ll continue to do so.

My mindset (and that of my family and doctors) was that depression is an adversary to be defeated. If …

9 Mindful Social Media Practices That Will Make You a Happier Person

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ~Steve Furtick

Social media is not a full (or even sometimes real) portrayal of someone’s life. If you forget this, you fall into the trap of comparing your life to what someone else chooses to share.

This is dangerous.

Comparing can lead to feelings of inadequacy, envy, and even hatred toward others. These kinds of feelings, if left un-dealt with, can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. Or, if you are a person who already struggles with anxiety or depression, having these kinds …

You Are Not for Everyone, and That’s Okay

One of the most freeing things we learn in life is that we don’t have to like everyone, everyone doesn’t have to like us, and it’s perfectly okay.” –Unknown

I grew up a people pleaser. It was drilled into me from childhood that it was very important to be aware of what other people thought of me and my actions at all times. Growing up in the south, keeping up with appearances is something that becomes a part of your identity.

While I enjoy the part of Southern upbringing that taught me to always be polite, the part …

How to Make Anxiety Work for You, Not Against You

“Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness.” 
~Jean Vanier

I got fired from my job, my boyfriend left me, and my father died in one day.

In reality, my career was going super well, I didn’t have a boyfriend, and my father was amazingly healthy, but what I did have was something I call an ultra amazing imagination, where I would make up fascinating stories about things that could happen and worry about them. (Or as other people call it, general anxiety disorder.)

I met my now BFF anxiety when I was about ten years old. Initially,

The Art of Pain: Why the Dark Times Make Life Beautiful

“In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice… No one can live in the light all the time.” ~Libba Bray

Happiness, and the quest for it, is not all it’s cracked up to be. What I mean is that I think we’re making a mistake in reaching only for happiness, lightness, good days, and good moods.

I think that we’re restricting ourselves.

We’re fishing in an ocean of emotions, looking to only reel in one or two kinds, throwing back the ones we don’t want without even noticing …

How to Cope When People Disappoint You

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” ~Alexander Pope

Growing up, I had a wonderful relationship with my mother. We did all the usual mother-daughter things together—went shopping, had brunch—and we supported each other when my father left.

In 2011, I was happily pregnant. I felt supported by my family and ready to take on motherhood. My husband and I were elated by the birth of our little boy.

It’s fair to say that I may have been a little naïve about what was to come. I knew it would be hard work, but I …

Family Isn’t Always Forever: When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” ~Edna Buchanan

A few years ago I ended all contact with my parents, and I have not seen or spoken to them since then.

The truth is I am actually okay with that. Initially, I thought I was going to lose my mind. I had been brought up to believe that family comes first. Children should respect and take care of their parents. Family should—and will—always be there for each other.

Those beliefs were based on love, and I cherished them.

I wanted so much to feel that connection—that unconditional love those

You Can Change Your Life with Tiny Daily Improvements

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~Karen Kaiser Clark

Of all the people who have passed through my life over the years, the one person I remember the most was this old, ornery man who seemed to have the personality of a mule. Stubborn to the core, with a straightforward approach to everything, Phil was a difficult man to like, yet I learned to love him.

Phil didn’t speak much, but when he did, it came from the heart. He grew up in the mid thirties, in a rough Detroit neighborhood, composed mainly of Irish immigrants. In Phil’s …

Ending a Toxic Relationship: When It’s Time to Say “No More”

“Worry less, smile more. Don’t regret, just learn and grow.” ~Unknown

The day finally came when my heart was strong enough to speak up.

I had spent many years trying to be the calm, sensible one. The one who would try to rationalize my sister’s behavior just to keep the peace.

For years the strategy was to keep everything in its place and accept what was said, done, or requested. The day finally came when the weight of accepting the burden was too much to bear.

No amount of talking would convince my sister that I was being reasonable. It …