“The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” ~Pema Chodron
I was recently having dinner with a group of friends, and I casually mentioned that I’ve been making more effort in my life to help prevent climate change.
Across the table, someone looked straight at me and said, “You know human-induced climate change isn’t real, right?”
I was shocked because I’ve known this person for years and we’ve always agreed on important topics in the past. I immediately shot back with, “Umm, yes it is!” and proceeded to tell him exactly why he was …
“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” ~Rumi
“Isn’t this a miracle?” I asked myself in the milk aisle at Whole Foods.
It was a Wednesday night after work, and I was buying a few staples to get us through the week. It was a completely ordinary moment in a completely ordinary day, and it was miraculous.
Rewind a few years, same Whole Foods, same shopping list, and you’d find me absentmindedly wandering the aisles, lost in a head full of worries. I couldn’t tell you …
As a mom who works from home while caring for two young kids, I know all too well how easy is to get overwhelmed and stressed out. I also know the deep sense of regret and sometimes shame that bubble up when I lash out from a place of agitation (usually at my boyfriend, who’s equally frazzled).
I sometimes beat myself up when this happens because this isn’t the kind of person I want to be. But this only makes things worse because now I feel bad about my actions, my impact, and myself. So instead, I try to catch …
“I can’t believe what I’m managing to get through.” ~Frank Bruni
My worst fear was inflicted upon me three months ago: a cancer diagnosis—non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Out of nowhere!
Truth be told though, lots of awful things that happen to us come suddenly out of nowhere—a car accident, suicide, heart attack, and yes, a diagnostic finding. We’re stopped in our tracks, seemingly paralyzed as we go into shock and dissociative mode.
My world as I knew it stopped. It became enclosed in the universe of illness—tiny and limited. I became one-dimensional—a sick patient.
And I went into shock. To the …
“Refuse to inherit dysfunction. Learn new ways of living instead of repeating what you lived through.” ~Thema Davis
For anybody that experienced a chaotic childhood, stability in adulthood is unfamiliar territory.
When you grow up in an environment where shouting is the norm, unstable relationships are all you observe, and moods are determined by others in your household, it’s hard to ever feel relaxed.
As an adult dealing with the long-term effects of childhood instability and chaos, I jump at the slightest sound now.
And I know I’m not alone when I say instability is all I have experienced.
“You are allowed to terminate your relationship with toxic family members. You are allowed to walk away from people who hurt you. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for taking care of yourself.” ~Unknown
You might think I’m a monster because I don’t have a relationship with my parents. I don’t spend holidays with them; I don’t call them and reminisce; they don’t know pertinent details about my life, my friends, my family, my work, or even the person I have become. Do these facts shock you?
It is possible that you have only known loving, supportive parents. Parents who …
“Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it. Others could be given a single weed and only see the wildflower in it. Perception is a key component to gratitude. And gratitude a key component to joy.” ~Amy Weatherly
I grew up in a deeply negative environment. My parents separated acrimoniously when I was seven, and they were a grim example of how not to do divorce.
They brought out the worst in each other, and sadly, over time, they also brought out the worst in me. I was depressed as …
“Grief is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” ~Jamie Anderson
When I was seventeen, my dad died from depression. This is now almost twenty-two years ago.
The first fifteen years after his death, however, I’d say he died from a disease—which is true, I just didn’t want to say it was a psychological disease. Cancer, people probably assumed.
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself… You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow…” ~Kahlil Gibran
Now that my daughters are in therapy trying to heal their relationship with me, I have more compassion than ever for my mom. I haven’t felt angry at her in years. But when I was a teen, I earnestly desired to kill her more than once.
“If you don’t love yourself, you’ll always be looking for someone else to fill the void inside you, but no one will ever be able to do it.” ~Lori Deschene
Two years ago, I sat in my basement with tears streaming down my face. I had just found a copy of an old letter I’d written to an old boyfriend years before. In it, I was practically begging for his love, and also complaining and even shaming him for not loving me well.
As I read, I was overcome by three insights, all of which brought up big emotions:
“Sobriety was the greatest gift I ever gave myself.” ~Rob Lowe
I tried and failed to have a fabulous relationship with alcohol for many years.
When my children were tiny I drank far more than was good for me, thinking I was relaxing, unwinding, socializing, and having fun. I’d seen my life shrink down from a world with lots of freedom and vibrancy to a socially restricted void, and I wanted to feel normal. I wanted to join in with everyone else.
All my birthday cards had bottles of gin or glasses of fizz on them, all the Friday afternoon …
“I love when people that have been through hell walk out of the flames carrying buckets of water for those still consumed by the fire.” ~Stephanie Sparkles
I have a tattoo on my back of Charles Bukowski’s quote “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” It spoke to me as I had been walking, often crawling, through a fire for much of my life.
At times, I took different paths, skipping through fields of flowers, but eventually I would find my way back to what I knew, which gave me a strange sense of comfort—the fire …
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” ~Howard Zinn
Have you ever experienced an unexpected act of kindness that completely changed your day?
I have, and I sincerely hope you have too.
Please pause for a moment and try to remember the last time that happened. How were you feeling before? What happened? And how did the act of kindness impact you?
If I look back on my own life, I can find countless moments where the suddenness, the unexpectedness of an act of kindness, shook me awake.
It might sound strange, but this …
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” ~Lao Tzu
While this Lao Tzu quote may sound familiar, I recently learned there is a second portion of that quote that often gets omitted.
“When the student is truly ready…the teacher will disappear.”
The first part of this quote was a healing anchor for me as I went through what I call a thirteen, or a divine storm.
In one year’s time, I went through a devastating divorce, was robbed, got in two car accidents, and lost a dear friend to a heart attack. I felt like I was watching …
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
When I was fifteen years old, my dad abandoned my mother, younger sister, and me after a bankruptcy. My mother sat me down at the kitchen table to show me our financial situation scribbled on a yellow legal pad.
Dad left us with six months of unpaid rent. The landlord threatened us with eviction until mom made a deal to pay extra rent …
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~Eckart Tolle
It was perfect. Well, almost.
I was doing the work I love, with someone I love, my two boys were thriving, and we seemed to finally be on the road to retirement. What could possibly be wrong with this picture?
A lot, apparently.
I was waking up worried and unsatisfied. Always feeling like life was missing something, like I was missing something, not doing enough, asking: How can my business be better? What will my kids do next year? Is my …
“Whatever you’re feeling, it will eventually pass.” ~Lori Deschene
Can you feel an intense emotion, like anger, without acting on it, reacting to it, or trying to get rid of it?
Can you feel such an intense emotion without needing to justify or explain it—or needing to find someone or something to blame it on?
After successfully dodging it for two years, I recently caught Covid-19. The physical symptoms were utter misery. But something much more interesting happened while I was unwell.
The whole experience brought some intense emotions to the surface. Namely seething anger about something that had …
“At the end of life, at the end of YOUR life, what essence emerges? What have you filled the world with? In remembering you, what words will others choose?” ~Amy Rosenthal
Most people believe sorting through a loved one’s belongings after death provides closure. For me, it provided an existential crisis.
After glancing at the angry sky in my father’s driveway for what seemed like hours, I mustered up the courage to crack open the door to the kitchen. The eerie silence stopped me in my tracks. Wasn’t he cooking up a storm in this cluttered kitchen just a …