“The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” ~Nathaniel Branden
Do me a favor and don’t tell my wife what I’m about to share with you.
I have an absurd number of weaknesses.
Just kidding. My wife, of course, knows this. She is well aware of my many shortcomings. While she would be happy to add to the growing Encyclopedia of dumb shit I do, I will keep this short and sweet out of respect for your time.
We live in a weird culture that’s afraid to admit any of us have weaknesses or struggles. We’re …
“When we lose someone we love we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind.” ~Unknown
If I look like my best friend just died, that’s because he has. Not the one whom I played with every day growing up and haven’t seen in years, nor the one with whom I went to high school and stayed connected with on social media.
No. I lost my very best friend of nearly four decades. My gay “husband,” who lived with me for fourteen years and helped me raise my two youngest sons, from …
“Before you put yourself down, please consider everything you’ve accomplished to get to this point, every life you’ve touched, and every moment you’ve pushed beyond your fears. You are a champion, a fighter. You are worthy of nothing less than the deepest love you have to share.” ~Scott Stabile
It seems that we’re being bombarded daily with heart-felt messages to love ourselves more. It’s everywhere—from our Instagram newsfeed to handprinted tote bags to the “You are worthy” mural at your local coffee shop.
I appreciate the society-wide agreement we seem to have made to remind ourselves to choose self-love.…
“Don’t wait for joy to find you, because you might end up waiting forever.” ~Unknown
Eight years ago, my husband and I made a pact to make joy our job.
We were in the middle of chasing little kids and careers, had a whole lot of stress (on the edge of burnout), and realized that something needed to change.
The idea started small, with the premise that if we waited for joy to find us, we might wait forever. We figured that life was going to require us to do something different to see a different result. It took us …
“It’s okay that you don’t know how to move on. Start with something easier…. Like not going back.” ~Unknown
I’m one of the 70% of people who have experienced trauma, and it can be hard to deal with. Actually, I’ve experienced more than one traumatic event, which is also common.
In fact, sometimes it feels like trauma and the symptoms have ruled my life.
The gut-churning, confused thoughts, sweating, shaking, inability to breathe and panic are horrible parts, though to me there is something worse.
The fear that it will happen again. The fear of what it took …
“Be brave enough to take off the masks you wear out there and get to know who you are underneath. Be vulnerable enough to accept your flaws and know that they are what make you human; they are what make you real. Be confident enough to accept and cherish your strengths. Don’t minimize them or hide them. They are your beautiful gifts to share with the world. Be brave enough to say, you know what, all of this is who I am. I make so many mistakes. I can be forgetful, I am messy. But I am doing my best …
“Our brains are wired for connection, but trauma rewires them for protection. That’s why healthy relationships are difficult for wounded people.” ~Ryan North
If popular culture is anything to go by, everyone has the perfect gang to hang with in coffee shops, engaging in witty banter. Or a BFF who knows them better than anyone else and will be there through thick and thin. So, if friendships make you anxious and you find them hard to navigate, it’s easy to feel ashamed and think it’s just you.
I had problems with friendships for most of my life, and it often …
“No matter how far we come, our parents are always in us.” ~Brad Meltzer
Had you asked me five years ago, before my healing and personal growth journey began, if my upbringing and childhood wounds were shaping the choices I was making in relationships, I would have scoffed at you and said, “No way. Are you kidding?”
Somehow, I had normalized the dysfunction I grew up in: the absentee father, the mother with mental illness, the lack of stability and safety, the enmeshment and codependency, the attachment wounds that left me spending a lifetime searching for someone or something to …
“A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden.” ~Buddha
Family is often considered the cornerstone of our lives, providing support, love, and a sense of belonging. However, not all family dynamics are healthy, and breaking free from toxic patterns can be crucial for personal growth and overall well-being.
Unhealthy family dynamics can manifest in various ways, …
“Until we transform ourselves, we are like mobs of angry people screaming for peace. In order to move the world, we must be able to stand still in it.” ~Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
It only happens about every ten years or so. The primal scream. It gets unleashed when things feel like too much.
But it happened recently, to the dismay of my husband who was enjoying a rare moment of quiet in the house. I had just dropped our son off to basketball practice. The soup I’d picked up for dinner spilled in the car, and the lid to the …
Loss is confronting. But I ask you to please walk beside me while I address this most challenging aspect of life.
Losing those we love.
While loss is inevitable, it is something that we always think happens to others.
Until it happens to us.
The last six months I have had a steep learning curve on loss.
The spiral began in May this year.
On May 18th, my partner suddenly walked out. I was blindsided. Heartbroken. I would later learn the truth about his duplicity. But that is fodder for a memoir at a later date.
Two weeks …
When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was a guided meditation titled “Cultivating Joy.” In this meditation I was taken back to a time when I felt joy. The first thing that popped into my mind was a time about three weeks ago; my husband, my dog Lily, and I had traveled to Wintergreen Resort to celebrate my birthday.
Wintergreen has always been a magical place for me. I was born and raised in the same county, but just on the other side of the mountain. My idea of a birthday celebration has become much less …
“Feelings come and go, like clouds in the sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to find ourselves caught in a whirlwind of intense emotions.
Whether it’s the stress of looming deadlines, the anxiety of an uncertain future, or the frustration of unexpected setbacks, intense feelings often hijack our mental well-being, leaving us feeling drained and powerless in their wake.
In such moments, our instinctual response is often to either suppress these emotions or allow them to dictate our actions, leading to a cycle of reactivity and emotional turbulence.
Growing up, …
“I have inherent worth. It cannot be raised by my strengths or lowered by my weaknesses or defects of character.” ~Pia Melody
Perhaps you’ll resonate with the way I am feeling as of late: I tell myself I am enough. I have always been enough, just as I am, without doing anything at all. But I struggle to accept this truth without feeling like I have to earn it. Like I have to take a zillion steps for self-care, accomplish a certain number of goals, or do enough things to win validation from other people.
I believe at the …
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I suspect that most people are victims of hate. Wars happen because of hate. Your mental, emotional, and even physical balance is lost because of hate. Hate destroys joy and happiness.
Think about the last time you felt intense emotions of hate—for another person, for a group of people, or even for yourself. Just thinking about it will make you feel not so nice. Now, as you think about those feelings of hate, simply observe yourself.…
“Solitude is where one discovers one is not alone.” ~Marty Rubin
“No one invites me to their party.” That’s what middle school was like for me, anyway. No matter how hard I tried, I could never really fit in with any friend groups.
It seemed like everyone got the instructions on who to hang with and where to sit except me.
I was the serious, quiet type. And the gossipers and sleepover crews didn’t want serious and reserved. So I bounced around, making a buddy here and there. But I was never fully brought into the social scene.
At first, …
In the spring of 2012, I heard this word, “rest.” I realized how horrible I was at it. I wasn’t even sure what it was. Was it extra sleep? Was it not working on Sundays? Shortly after I heard this word, my life began changing. For one reason or another, one by one, the things with which I occupied myself were stripped away until I found myself with nothing left to hold.
A year later I was in a panic, wondering how we were going to make ends meet. Everything in me said to do what I had always done: …
“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ~Hermann Hesse
When I work with people who are suffering from anxiety, fear, grief, or other challenging issues, I like to take them through a simple exercise I call “The Noticing Exercise.”
It’s my first port of call when helping people break free from mind-created suffering.
It’s amazing how quickly, and effortlessly, people can move from suffering to peace, simply through shifting their focus to being aware of the present moment—noticing the sensation of the body touching the chair, …
“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. And by doing it, they’re proven right.” ~Amy Poehler
Ready isn’t a state of being, it’s a state of mind. Or maybe I should say we don’t have to be anything to qualify for the label of being ready for something; rather, it’s a mindset in which we choose to embrace the unknown. My story starts like this…
A few months into my soul-searching, I realized I had to move. Away from my unfulfilling job, away from my unhealthy habits perpetuated by my …
“When we are brave enough to tend to our hearts, our messy emotions can teach us how to be free—not free from pain but free from the fear of pain and the barrier it creates to fully living.” ~Kris Carr
It’s crazy how you go about your life thinking all is okay, and then BOOM, something happens that changes you forever. Grief and loss come and hit you in the face.
You know… the days that you start as one person and end as someone else.
But it’s not your first loss or trauma! You had a childhood of pain …