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Why I Never Let Anyone Support Me Until the Day I Almost Died

“Why don’t you get up and make the coffee, while I stay in my sleeping bag and plan our ascent route?” I half-heartedly ask my climbing partner Hank.

He just looks at me with that unassuming, “give-me-a-break Val Jon” look …

The False Comfort of Having More: Finding Peace in Living with Less

“Be a curator of your life. Slowly cut things out until you’re left only with what you love, with what’s necessary, with what makes you happy.” ~Leo Babauta

As a kid, I remember begging my dad to take me to …

You’re Bent, Not Broken: A Mindset Shift That Can Change Your Life

Bent but never broken; down but never out.” ~Annetta Ribken

I lived for a long time thinking I was broken beyond repair.

Let me rephrase: I thought I was unloved, unworthy, scarred, and broken. What a package, right?…

A Guide to Saying No Without Guilt: 7 Steps for People-Pleasers

“You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.” ~Unknown

Why is it so hard to say no? The uncomfortable buildup of emotion I felt while contemplating dropping the ‘n’ word used to have me …

Feeling Weighed Down by Regret? What Helps Me Let Go

“Be kind to past versions of yourself that didn’t know the things you know now.” ~Unknown

When I taught yoga classes in jails in Colorado and New Jersey, I would end class with the Metta Meditation:

May we all feel …

How Mindfulness Helped Me Become My Own Best Friend

“With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment.”  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I am not a good friend to myself. This realization shook me as I …

The Chaos of Life After Loss and the Love That Never Dies

“We need to grieve the ones we’ve lost—not to sustain our connection to suffering, but to sustain our connection to love.” ~Jennifer Williamson

Ken was only forty-seven years old when he met his untimely death.

It was surreal, my …

How to Feel Comfortable Setting Boundaries and Why We Need Them

“Avoiding certain people to protect your emotional health is not weakness. It is wisdom.” ~Unknown

The word “boundary” often conjures up negative thoughts. After all, it’s usually an indication of something being restricted.

However, deciding to set boundaries is one …

How to Prevent Burnout: 15 Simple Self-Care Ideas to Help You Recharge

“It’s okay if you fall apart sometimes. Tacos fall apart, and we still love them.” ~Unknown

Do you often find yourself saying, “I just have to get through this week…” and then that turns into every week? I know I …

The Science of Happiness: 9 Feel-Good Tools to Boost Your Mood

“Remember, being happy doesn’t mean you have it all. It simply means you’re thankful for all you have.” ~Unknown

I remember sitting on the New York City subway, tears streaming down my face, armed with valium and lithium along with …

How I Stopped Shrinking to Please People and Started Reclaiming My Space

“A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and herself only.” ~Maya Angelou

For as long as I can remember, …

4 Ways to Save Your Sanity When Life Gets Hard and Overwhelming

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ~Jon Kabat Zinn

In December of 2020, we noticed Mom’s speech seemed difficult. Like she had stuffed cotton balls in her mouth, and someone was restraining her jaw from …

Why Judging People Hurt Me and 5 Things That Helped Me Stop

“It’s very easy to judge. It’s much more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience and a willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods.” ~Doe Zantamata

In the past, judgments kept me safe. They reassured me that …

No, You Don’t Have to Work Harder: The Truth About Finding Success

“Ease is the sign of grace in everything.” ~Marty Rubin

Work harder. Never give up. Believe in yourself. Get out of bed earlier. Shout self-affirmations in the mirror. Adapt the habits of “highly successful” people…

How many times have we …

How One Fleeting Mindful Minute Completely Changed My Life

“Don’t believe everything you think.” ~Unknown

I am a self-confessed overthinker. I could spend hours thinking and going down the rabbit hole in my mind trying to find answers to all sorts of situations.

About ten years ago, I …

How My Dad’s Advice to Let Someone Else Shine Created My Fear of Success

“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.” ~Robert Tew

Everyone has fears. It is not an emotion that is only for a chosen few. One’s fear may seem irrational to …

5 Ways to Be Productive with Chronic Illness: How I Built a Business from Bed

“The master leads by weakening their ambition and toughening their resolve.” ~Tao Te Ching

How much of productivity advice is ableist? Sure, there are lots of good ideas and concepts in there, but most of it is healthy-body-focused.

Advice like:…

Why We Don’t See Other People Clearly and How to Start

“If I had the chance I’d ask the world to dance, but I’d be dancing with myself.” ~Billy idol

Spending long periods of time alone—as I’ve done while traveling solo over the past year—is an eye-opening experience.

Without the distractions …

How Overthinking Ruined my Relationships and How I Overcame It

“Overthinking ruins you. It ruins the situation. And it twists things around. It makes you worry. Plus, it just makes everything worse than it actually is.” ~Karen Salmansohn

I grew up with parents who believed a kid shouldn’t have friends …

How Writing Letters to My Chronic Pain Helps Me Find Relief

Dear pain-in-my-feet:

I’m sorry we ever met. Remind me where I made your acquaintance? Oh, yes—on my February trip to Death Valley, where I assumed long days of hiking had caused a rock bruise. Instead of healing, you got worse