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The Best Approach to Self-Care: How to Attend to Your Unmet Needs

“Caring for your body, mind, and spirit is your greatest and grandest responsibility. It’s about listening to the needs of your soul and then honoring them.” ~Kristi Ling 

There’s something I haven’t told many people. I kept it to myself because it clashed with my “identity” and the image I hoped to project (hello, ego!).

I’ve been creating content and working in the spirituality and personal development fields for a number of years. Although I don’t strive to become like Buddha, there’s a part of me (call it my spiritual ego) that expects certain things of me, such as to …

How Embodiment Can Make You Feel More Alive (and 5 Ways to Do It)

“Embodiment is living within, being present within the internal space of the body.” ~Judith Blackstone

When I was a little boy, I would dance whenever I heard a catchy pop song on the radio. There are photos of me throwing down dance moves, exuding joy and vitality. At some point, though, I lost my ability to dance.

If I were to guess what happened, I would say that I stopped dancing when I became self-conscious. I was no longer just being; suddenly, I became aware of being someone with a body.

So a long and complicated relationship with my body …

The One Thought That Killed My Crippling Fear of Other People’s Opinions

“Don’t worry if someone does not like you. Most people are struggling to like themselves.” ~Unknown

For as long as I can remember, I have been deathly afraid of what other people thought of me.

I remember looking at all the other girls in third grade and wondering why I didn’t have a flat stomach like them. I was ashamed of my body and didn’t want other people to look at me. This is not a thought that a ten-year-old girl should have, but unfortunately, it’s all too common.

Every single woman I know has voiced this same struggle. That …

10 Ways to Calm Anxious Thoughts and Soothe Your Nervous System

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ~Jack Canfield

Freezing in fear is something I have done since I was a child.

My first home was an unsafe one, living with my alcoholic granddad. Once upon a time I didn’t know life without fear.

I learned young to scan for danger. How were everyone’s moods? Were the adults okay today? I would freeze and be still and quiet in an attempt to keep myself safe and control an eruption.

Unknown to me, between the ages of conception and seven years old my nervous system was being programmed. …

It’s Amazing How a Little Kindness Can Open Someone’s Heart

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” ~Ray Bradbury

I have a weekly ritual of stopping by a small Vietnamese market close to our home. Thursday is delivery day for Lady Finger bananas, which are sweet little bananas from Mexico.

When I first frequented the shop, the small, dark-haired owner behind the counter would comment rather sternly, “Only bananas, that it!” …

How Releasing Control Opened Me Up to a Limitless Life

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” ~Richard Bach

I have always wanted to create a family.

As a child, I lovingly cared for my dolls and fell head over heels for my college boyfriend. Kneeling before me with a ring, he said, “I want you to be the mother of our children.” I swooned as we walked down the aisle at the tender age of twenty-two, convinced I was set for life. I had the husband, and I would have the family.

I entered into our marriage with the expectation and security …

Why I Had to Stop Judging Myself to Start Healing from Childhood Trauma

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” ~Brené Brown

A few years ago, when I began recovering from childhood trauma, the first thing I learned was that I needed to master the skill of self-awareness.

However, becoming aware came with some pretty hard truths about who I was, what I did, and how I acted because of what had happened to me.

Although I eventually found the courage to face some challenging experiences from my past, I wasn’t ready to forgive and accept myself.

When …

FREE Global JOY Summit! Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and More…

Hi friends! I’m excited to invite you to the upcoming Global Joy Summit, a FREE online even running from November 13th to 16th.

This is an amazing opportunity to be inspired by the contagious joy and timely message of the Dalai Lama and the late, great Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and learn from 30+ renowned joy scientists, spiritual teachers, changemakers, and artists.

The lived experiences of these two global icons, and self-described “mischievous brothers,” serve as a profound example of the power of joy in the face of adversity. They teach us that joy is an essential key …

The 5 Happiness Zappers and What Helps Me Cope with Them

“Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.” ~Eckhart Tolle

When my mother told me, “Honey, you don’t understand; you can’t,” initially I felt like she was being condescending.

It was Mother’s Day and, unbeknownst to me, the last time I’d see her before her final hospital visit.

We’d spent that Saturday updating her computer, watching waves at the beach, and picking up seashells, then eating dinner at a popular local restaurant frequented by travelers, including famous musicians on tour buses because of its location off of the interstate.

By early evening, we were …

Children’s Movies are Obsessed with Death, but Don’t Show Healthy Grief

“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

I knew my son was watching me. We were inhaling fistfuls of popcorn while Frozen 2 played on the screen above. (Spoiler alert…)

Anna has just realized her sister, Elsa, is dead, frozen solid at the bottom of a river. Anna must carry on life without her.

My son …

5 Life Lessons from a Brain Tumor That Could Have Killed Me

“Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender.” ~Danielle Orner

I was slumped against a wall at Oxford Circus Station early one Sunday evening when an irritated male voice suddenly barked, “MOVE!”

Moments beforehand, I had lost my vision.

Without conscious thought, I muttered, “RUDE!” and staggered off without clearly seeing where I was going.

It was only months later, on retracing my steps at Oxford Circus, that I realized I’d been blocking his view of some street art.

I’d allowed a guy to bully me

How I Learned to Love My Body Instead of Hating Her

“Your body does not need to be fixed, because your body is not a problem. Your body is a person.” ~Jamie Lee Finch

I was thirty years old when I realized that I was completely dissociated from my body.

I grew up in the height of the purity culture movement in American Evangelicalism. Purity culture was based on one primary concept: abstain from sex until marriage. But the messaging went further than this.

I sat next to my peers in youth group while the male pastor stood on stage and told us young women to always cover our bodies. For …

Why Codependents Don’t Trust Themselves to Make Decisions and How to Start

“Slow, soulful living is all about coming back to your truth, the only guidance you’ll ever need. When you rush, you have the tendency to follow others. When you bring in mindfulness, you have the power to align with yourself.” ~Kris Franken

Codependency previously created a lot of pain and agony in my life. One of the ways it manifested was in my inability to trust myself. I would overthink decisions to death, fearful that I would choose the “wrong one” or upset someone if they didn’t agree or were disappointed by my choice.

I was terrified of “making a …

Freedom Is the Space Between Each Judgmental or Righteous Thought

“It is inner stillness that will save and transform the world.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Life is hard. Impenetrable at times. How can we use our spirituality to navigate through the density of life?

That question inspired this piece of writing. And my navigation tool is almost effortless; I feel compelled to share it.

When my mind is churning and burning with thoughts and fears and worries, I take myself off to a quiet place, get still, and watch my mind. I wait for the tiny gap between each thought. Bingo.

That space, that little gap, is freedom in its truest, purest …

Surrendering Isn’t Giving Up: Why We Need to Accept What’s Happened

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” ~Nathaniel Branden

I remember the last time I saw him before my world crumbled. I held up my hand with the ASL sign for “I love you” through the window to him, as he mouthed the words back and got in his car to leave for work. I found out an hour later that he—my fiancé—had begun cheating on me a month before he had proposed.

He never fought for me. Even during the course of our relationship, when he would run away due to his own insecurities, …

After the Assault: What I Now Know About Repressed Trauma

TRIGGER WARNING: This article details an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some people.

The small park down the street from my childhood home: friends and I spent many evenings there as teenagers. We’d watch movies on each other’s MP3 players and eat from a bag of microwave popcorn while owls hooted from the trees above.

Twigs lightly poked against our backs. Fallen leaves graced skin. Crickets hummed in the darkness. The stars shone bright through the branches of the redwoods.

Eight years later at a park in Montevideo, Uruguay, darkness again surrounded me. Leaves and twigs …

Why My Boyfriend and I Play Like Kids and Are Happier for It

“Play is the foundation of learning, creativity, self-expression, and constructive problem-solving. It’s how children wrestle with life to make it meaningful.” ~Susan Linn, Psychiatrist

We met at a job interview for a summer camp. At the time, I was twenty-two years old and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English literature and psychology at UBC. On the other hand, H was attending college in the hopes of one day becoming a high school history teacher. He also “liked to promote and support the development of children.”

During our first date, we grabbed coffee and spent some time at Indigo …

Why Judging People Is Really About You (Not Them)

“It’s easy to judge. It’s more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods. Through judging, we separate. Through understanding, we grow.” ~Doe Zantamata

Why doesn’t he say something?

I was sitting at the dinner table with my partner and friends. Everyone was interacting and talking to each other, except my partner. He was just sitting there quietly. I had to admit, this situation made me very uncomfortable.

Why was he so quiet? We had been dating for over six months and normally, when it was just …

You Can Be the Cycle Breaker: 9 Ways to Heal After Childhood Trauma

“It’s up to us to break generational curses. When they say, ‘It runs in the family,’ you tell them, ‘This is where it runs out.’” ~Unknown

I never even knew what I experienced was trauma. It was my normal. I was born into a world where I had to walk on eggshells, always on high alert for danger.

I held my breath and always did my best to be good and to not cause an eruption of my dad’s temper. He literally controlled my every move through fear. I agreed to anything just to feel safe and to please him.…

A Simple Guide for Introverts: How to Embrace Your Personality

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The world has a preference for the extroverted among us. In school we learn public speaking, and we are expected to raise our hand and participate in discussions. We act as if what we hear and see from a person can tell us everything there is to know about them. But what about the unspoken, that magical light that lives within us?

Here’s what I’ve learned about being an introvert that has helped me embrace, value, and honor …