Posts by Paula Stephens

Paula Stephens, M.A. is a speaker, author, yogi and the founder of Crazy Good Grief. She is studying to become endorsed as a Buddhist Chaplain and currently works as a volunteer chaplain and yoga teacher at a jail near her home in Denver, Colorado. She is also a hospice chaplain, wellness coach, and ERYT Yoga Instructor.

Paula Stephens's Website

A Buddhist Chaplain Shares How to Cope with the Pandemic

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can find a number of helpful coronavirus resources and all related Tiny Buddha articles here.

When I decided over two years ago to become a Buddhist Chaplain, I could’ve never dreamed that I would be experiencing our current pandemic crisis.

I chose to become a Buddhist Chaplain after I lost my son in 2010. The experience of losing a child forever changed how I related to the world and how I relate to grief, suffering, and compassion.

One of the most profound lessons I learned about grief is that it doesn’t have to follow the …

It’s Not Either/Or: The Power of Opening Your Mind and Seeing Both Sides

“Compassionate listening is to help the other side suffer less.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

In late 2017 my husband and I were both getting ready for work one morning when I casually said, “Hey, I think I’m going to start teaching yoga in the jail.”

Without missing a beat my husband said, “Well, that’s a terrible idea. Why would you do that?”

He gave this comment as a statement, flat and decisive. I had suspected I would get this type of response, so I tried to play it cool, like it didn’t bother me. But it still stung a bit, since …

Post-Traumatic Growth: How Pain Can Lead to Gain

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” ~Shauna Niequist

It’s been over five years since the unexpected death of my oldest son. The first couple years were fraught with depression, despair, and a sense of hopelessness like I had never felt before. I even kept a notebook in my purse outlining the plan for how I would ultimately end my life.

It wasn’t until this past year that I told my friends about how close I had been to the edge. After outing myself, I found out they …

Why We Don’t Need to Apologize So Often & How to Do It Well When We Do

“The ability to apologize sincerely and express regret for the unskillful things we say or do is an art. A true apology can relieve a great deal of suffering in the other person.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

My life has been full of apologies. I’ve been on both the receiving and giving end of the good, the bad, and the ugly apology.

Just recently a dear friend who I hadn’t connected with in a long time reached out and asked if we could meet for coffee. I sort of backhandedly blew her off and told her I would try to meet …

How to Move On: What It Really Means to Let Go

“Don’t let the darkness from your past block the light of joy in your present. What happened is done. Stop giving time to things which no longer exist, when there is so much joy to be found here and now.” ~Karen Salmansohn

If you are lucky enough to spend time in mindful communities you will hear the phrase “letting go” used frequently. The practice of letting go is used to support our acceptance of the way things are, and I believe it’s a cornerstone of creating a happy, full life.

But what happens when you’re being asked to let go

The Stage of Grief You’ve Never Heard of But May Be Stuck In

“Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~Anais Nin

Since I was a little girl I have believed in the power of wishes. I’ve never missed a first star, a dandelion plume, or load of hay (load of hay, load of hay, make a wish and turn away) to express to the universe my deepest desires.

When I was fifteen and my dad was at the end stages of cancer, I …