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The Cages We Live In and What It Means to Be Free

“Cages aren’t made or iron, they’re made of thoughts.” ~Unknown

I recently read Glennon Doyle’s Untamed, and like many who have read it, I felt as if it had changed my life—but not because it made me think of all the things I was capable of (as was the case with many of friends who read it), but because it made me realize how capable I had already been.

The book on the whole is beautiful and inspiring, but the part that stuck with me the most was the story about Tabitha, a beautiful cheetah that Glennon and her …

When People We Love Die: How to Honor Their Legacies and Lessons

“The song is ended, but the melody lingers on.” ~Irving Berlin

I never went for any of my grandparent’s funerals as a young child, and honestly, I was secretly glad that I didn’t. I was too young to comprehend what death felt like, and I don’t think I had the strength in me to do so. So, when I heard about their deaths, I told myself stories that they had gone on an extended vacation and were having loads of fun, and hence we couldn’t see them.

This story played in my mind all through the years, and that’s what …

Why I Now Believe Everyone Is Doing the Best They Can

“You just never know what someone is dealing with behind closed doors. No matter how happy someone looks, how loud their laugh is, how big their smile is, there can still be a level of hurt that is indescribable. So be kind. Even when others are not, choose to be kind.” ~Andrea Russett 

Everyone is doing the best they can. When they can do better, they will.

“I disagree,” you say. “I see people who are not doing their best all the time!”

Before the year 2006, I had a ton of complaints about the world and the people around …

4 Ways to Overcome Alienation and Loneliness

“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” ~Kurt Vonnegut

Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own life? Watching other people like you were separated by some invisible wall?

Most of us have felt it from time to time and understand all too well how detrimental loneliness can be if it doesn’t go away. In fact, research has shown that loneliness is worse than smoking or obesity to a person’s health.

Yet we …

When You Struggle with Being Yourself, Remember This

“Make the most of yourself… for that is all there is of you.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every day, it was more or less the same. I presented an edited version of myself to the world. I felt a deep level of discomfort with the idea of letting myself go. Could I? Should I? The answer was “no” every time, even if it wasn’t always a conscious decision.

It felt wrong to be myself in a society where we’re conditioned to believe that we have to look and be a certain way to fit in. I believed that no one …

He Broke My Heart But Taught Me These 5 Things About Love

“Sometimes the only closure you need is the understanding that you deserve better.” ~Trent Shelton 

I’ll never forget the day we met.

It was a classic San Francisco day. The sky was a perfect cerulean blue. The sun sparkled brightly.

I ventured from my apartment in the Haight to Duboce Park to enjoy the Saturday. Dogs chased balls in the dog park. Friends congregated on the little hill. They giggled, listened to music, and ate picnic food. Kites flew high in the breeze. Adults tossed Frisbees in their t-shirts and bare feet.

And I sat, bundled up in my scarf, …

Freedom from Food – This Time for Good!

“Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe.” ~Eckhart Tolle

I cannot say that I didn’t struggle in my life. But there’s one area in which I have overcome the challenges I was facing with hardly an effort: letting go of the eating disorder I was suffering from, getting rid of the extra weight I was carrying, and maintaining the results easily for twenty-eight years.

How Did I Do That?

In a minute I’ll tell you exactly how I did that and how you can do it too. But first let me take a moment to explain …

I Got Fired for Struggling with Depression, and It’s Not Okay

About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.” ~Rita Mae Brown

The stigma associated with mental illness has improved in recent years, but there is still work to be done.

I am a certified life coach and a certified personal trainer. As an employee of a major global fitness studio chain, I was once discriminated against for my mental health issues.

I have always been an athlete, and I love …

How Spending Time Alone Helped Me Overcome My Loneliness

“If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.” ~Jean-Paul Sartre

I have spent most of my life surrounded by people, which is probably why I never realized I was lonely. For the majority of my adult life, the only quiet times I had to myself were the very start and very end of the day. Otherwise, my mind was inundated with chatter, notifications, and distractions.

This constant noise let me mask the depths of my loneliness. I was bombarded with texts and distractions at all times, but I lacked deeper connections. As the years passed and …

39 Supportive Things to Say to a Male Survivor of Sexual Assault

One in six men will be sexually assaulted at some point in their life. It doesn’t make us weak or less masculine—nor should it. Rather, we, as men, should encourage other men to speak up, to be courageous, share this burden with others, and to attend therapy and take medication. There is such a thing as healthy masculinity, and we can find that in our fellow men, in comforting those who are having a rough time. Seeking help in a healthy way, wanting to be better, practicing empathy and compassion and caring for each other are ways of practicing

The First Thing You Need to Do If You Want to Change Your Life

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” ~Eckhart Tolle

There are two ways to live life.

One is a more reactive approach, where you fight back when you encounter challenges in your personal or professional life. The other is a more proactive one where you are mindful of the trends within you and around you and ready with your surfboard whenever a big wave hits!

The only difference between the two is awareness.

Awareness empowers you to make conscious choices based on an understanding of yourself and the situation, to notice what your choice created, and to then choose again. …

If You’re in a Painful Relationship and Considering Estrangement…

“I understand the life around me better, not from love, which everyone acknowledges to be a great teacher, but from estrangement, to which nobody has attributed the power of reinforcing insight.” ~Nirad C. Chaudhuri

I was brought up to understand that family is family.  So I have naturally given great weight to the importance of family bonds. However, what happens when a familial bond breaks? Do you commit yourself to holding on despite the cost, or do you acknowledge the damage and take the necessary steps to sever the tie?

Personally, I sit somewhere in the middle. Any …

What Happened When I Stopped Drinking Alcohol Every Night

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

I love Sophia Loren. There’s a picture of her in my home looking eternally youthful and refreshed. From what I’ve been told it’s due to her nine to ten hours of sleep each night.

When I look at this picture, I see someone who relishes in the delights of life. Food, laughter, sex, work, motherhood, and self-care. Not long ago I stared at that picture thinking, “How could I admire someone so much and live my life in such a different …

If You’re Insecure and Afraid of Rejection Like Me…

“How brave the moon shines in her skin; outnumbered by the stars.” ~Angie Welland-Crosby

I have this reoccurring dream where I am about to teach a yoga class. I stand to teach, and no one is paying any attention to me. They are all distracted or in deep conversation with one another and have no interest in engaging in the class.

As I begin, one by one the students get up and leave. I am mortified and discouraged, though I continue to teach anyway.

I wake up from the dream with a sinking feeling in my stomach and heaviness in …

The Joy of Not Getting What We Want

“Remember that not getting what you want Is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~Dalai Lama

Let me tell you a story. I first read it in a book on Taoism, but I’ve seen it in at least a dozen other places since then, each with its own variation. Here’s the gist:

There’s this farmer. His favorite horse runs away. Everyone tells him that this is a terrible turn of events and that they are sorry for him. He says, “We’ll see.”

The horse comes back a few days later, and it brings an entire herd of wild horses with …

How to Make Everything Easier by Accepting the Present Moment

“The power of now can only be realized now. It requires no time and effort. Effort means you’re trying hard to get somewhere and so you are not present, welcoming this moment as it is.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Eight years ago, I was very depressed. I wanted nothing more than to stop feeling this way and dreamed of escaping my body. I had struggled with depression for many years, and I was terrified that I might feel that way forever.

Someone recommended I do a mindfulness-based course. This turned out to be the one of the most helpful parts of my …

8 Ways to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think of You

“You can’t force anyone to value, respect, understand, or support you, but you can choose to spend your time around people who do.” ~Lori Deschene

It can be paralyzing.

The worry about what other people think about you, I mean. That worry can hinder you from pursuing your dreams. It can stop you from expressing your true nature and stand in the way of the life you so badly want to create.

This worry can easily get your mind wandering to dark places and trigger feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and self-doubt. When it has a grip on you, you …

What If There’s Beauty on the Other Side of Your Pain?

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” ~Albert Einstein

“I don’t want to live anymore. I don’t want to be here. I can’t do this. It hurts too much. It’s too hard.”

I’m curious how many times I’ve heard these words over my lifetime. From different people, ages, genders, ethnicities, and walks of life. The words the same, the heaviness no different from one to the next. Hopelessness has a specific tone attached to it. Flat, low, and empty.

Being the child of a parent who committed suicide, there is a …

Why I Ignored Morgan Freeman’s Advice on How to Live My Best Life

“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” ~Roy T. Bennett

When I was a college senior, God, or the voice of God (aka Morgan Freeman) came to my campus to give a talk. At the end of the talk, I beelined toward the mic set up in the aisle of the auditorium, excited to ask my question and for him to share his wisdom with me.

“Hi, thanks so much for being with us today! As a college senior trying to figure out what to do next, I was …

44 Things to Never Say to a Rape Survivor

“It was not your fault, even if you were drunk, even if you were wearing a low-cut mini-dress, even if you were out walking alone at night, even if you were on a date with the rapist and kind of liked him but didn’t want to have sex with him.” ~Joanna Connors

Child sexual abuse victims who speak up are incredibly brave and vulnerable. If a child comes to you for support, be mindful of your energy and reactions. If you need to ask them questions to get a better understanding, be mindful of your tone, body language, and intonation.…