TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with an account of domestic violence and may be triggering to some.
“You can’t heal the people you love. You can’t make choices for them. You can’t rescue them.” ~Unknown
Every story starts at the beginning. But how far back should I go? Birth?
I was born at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, in May of 1972…just after three in the morning.
No, wait. That’s not morning. It’s still dark outside.
Forgive me. That’s an inside joke.
You see, just a few years ago a friend of thirty years came to …
“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” ~Mandy Hale
I have to start off with how I define the different levels of self-care.
There is what I call surface-level self-care. This would be things like getting your nails done and taking a bubble bath. Very important stuff but not the type of self-care that’s going to help you make the changes on the inside that create change in your outside world.
Then we have deep-level self-care. I define this as working on things like setting …
When you’re in fight-or-flight mode, everything you do or don’t do teaches the brain something about the perceived threat. When you avoid or flee the situation, your brain experiences a wave of relief. The amygdala learns that avoiding that situation is how you stay safe from that threat.
This is exactly how you want the brain to respond if the threat is a grizzly bear. But what if the perceived threat is something less biologically adaptive, like a worry about being judged or teased?
Let’s say you’re invited to a party full of new people, and you have thoughts of …
“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” ~Audre Lorde
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I realized that I no longer needed to fight for my survival, but I do know that it came after several years of prayer, healing, and intensive work. It wasn’t an event, but rather the feeling of peace and calm that comes after a storm.
For me, the storm dissipated slowly. It was the kind of storm that kept swirling and re-emerging until I finally realized that it would take concentrated …
“Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.”
Once again, Dr. Seuss reminds us of the finite nature of life with a powerful punch in the face.
If I’m being honest, only about a third of my week am I kicking ass. And that doesn’t factor in the weeks when I feel like I’m as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
On days like this morning, when I’m doing dishes and get pissed off that my wife left a tea bag in her mug, again, it has clearly slipped my mind …
“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise Hay
There is a lot of hype around self-love these days. The media and marketing world often bombard us with messages insinuating that the key to self-love lies in consumerism. For a long time, I bought into this idea.
I would see an advertisement urging me to treat myself to a high-end face cream for a dose of self-care. Or a promotional email landing in my inbox might suggest that a calming lavender bubble bath was just what I needed …
“It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.” ~Joaquin Phoenix
Earlier this year, I went to Egypt with a small group of friends.
“Egypt will activate something ancient in you,” I was told by one of them. “You have to go.”
Egypt wasn’t exactly on my bucket list, but in the span of one year, three different people had told me I needed to visit the country, so when the opportunity presented itself, I did.
The trip was organized by one of my favorite mystics, who thoughtfully designed it around the individual healing needs of …
“Stay in the moment. The practice of staying present will heal you. Obsessing about how the future will turn out creates anxiety. Replaying broken scenarios from the past causes anger and sadness. Stay here, in this moment.” ~Sylvester McNutt
Like many people, I have an anxiety disorder that twists my thoughts and feelings. I call it my “anxiety octopus,” as it feels like there are tentacles in my brain triggering fear-based reactions for no reason. In everything, even things that I am confident in, I suddenly feel insecure and unsure.
It takes time to realize that the “anxiety octopus” has …
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin
In the past, I often felt like I didn’t belong in groups of women.
Sometimes I felt like something was wrong with me, like I was othered in one way or another: too sporty, too quiet, too serious, too emotional, too dumb, too smart, too wild, too normal, too sexual, too prude.
Other times, I felt like something was wrong with all of them. Girls’ nights and bachelorette parties? The screeching voices, the loud laughs, the mundane conversations about makeup, …
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From September 26 to October 4, the summit will feature 60+ expert sessions, panel discussions, live events, poetry readings, music, movement sessions, guided meditations, and more.
The summit features a powerful lineup of leading experts, practitioners, and thought leaders from diverse backgrounds, including psychologists, neuroscientists, human rights and social justice activists, …
“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain.” ~Eckhart Tolle
I completed my meditation teacher training in 2022 and continue to practice two to three times each day.
I was initially skeptical of what this practice could possibly offer me. But, as someone who had been riddled with daily anxiety, periodic bouts of depression, and an exhausting inability to maintain focus that left me depleted energetically, I was keen to learn more and discover for myself …
“Declutter your mind, your heart, your home. Let go of the heaviness that is weighing you down.” ~Maria Defillo
I remember perusing through a used bookstore in a small New England town as a teenager. A book caught my eye—maybe because its spine was a MacIntosh apple red—and I slid it off the shelf. It was titled Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston.
Back at home in my apartment in Boston, I devoured it. That book shifted the trajectory of my life. Fast-forward seventeen years later and living clutter-free is not only my lifestyle, it’s my calling …
“You and your purpose in life are the same thing. Your purpose is to be you.” ~George Alexiou
We all play a pivotal role in society. But I’ve toyed with the New Age spiritual notion that we all have a unique purpose on Earth to fulfill—a purpose for which we have chosen to be here.
I used to wonder if I could only be happy if I found this one resounding and elusive purpose.
If I knew my soul’s purpose, I believed my life would suddenly have endless meaning and vitality. Once I found my purpose, I would leap out …
“When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are not pretending, we are not hiding—we are simply present with whatever is going on inside us. Ironically, it is this very feeling of authenticity that draws people to us, not the brittle effort of perfectionism.” ~Maureen Cooper
Most of my life I have been really good at following the have-tos and oughts of perfectionism.
I have to keep the house clean. What will the company think?
I ought to be pleasant and pleasing. Stop being stubborn. Worse yet, stop being angry.
I should not have told that long story …
We all have goals for the future, many of them things that would dramatically improve our lives and the lives of the people we love.
Maybe you want to get healthy and fit so you can live a longer, more active life and be there for your kids for years to come. Maybe you want to pay off your debt so you can reduce your stress and increase your financial security. Or perhaps you want to launch a business so you can have more control over your schedule and make the impact you want to make in the world.
“If you feel like you’re losing everything, remember that trees lose their leaves every year and they still stand tall and wait for better days to come.” ~Unknown
For a big lover like me, heartbreak has always gotten the best of me. I have felt heavy pain from the ending of a relationship, the ghosting of a situationship, and the loss of what could have been with someone I never dated. And I’ve experienced the sting of friendships leaving my life.
It’s all heartbreaking.
It starts with a crippling, piercing full-body agony. And eventually it grows into a dull ache …
TRIGGER WARNING: This post references an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some.
“When you quit drinking you stop waiting.” ~Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story
I’m now at 181 days teetotal. I prefer teetotal to sober. I say sober sometimes, but teetotal feels lighter, airier, and I feel lighter and airier these days.
For the life of me, I can’t remember when I took my first sip of alcohol. It probably came from a grownup’s glass.
What I can remember is being sixteen or so, half waking up from a blackout with a friend’s hand down …