fbpx
Menu

Blog Posts

How I Calm My Anxiety Octopus at Home with My Aquaponics Zen Zone

“Stay in the moment. The practice of staying present will heal you. Obsessing about how the future will turn out creates anxiety. Replaying broken scenarios from the past causes anger and sadness. Stay here, in this moment.” ~Sylvester McNutt

Like many people, I have an anxiety disorder that twists my thoughts and feelings. I call it my “anxiety octopus,” as it feels like there are tentacles in my brain triggering fear-based reactions for no reason. In everything, even things that I am confident in, I suddenly feel insecure and unsure.

It takes time to realize that the “anxiety octopus” has …

How I Stopped Feeling Like There Was Something Wrong with Me

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin

In the past, I often felt like I didn’t belong in groups of women.

Sometimes I felt like something was wrong with me, like I was othered in one way or another: too sporty, too quiet, too serious, too emotional, too dumb, too smart, too wild, too normal, too sexual, too prude.

Other times, I felt like something was wrong with all of them. Girls’ nights and bachelorette parties? The screeching voices, the loud laughs, the mundane conversations about makeup, …

[Free Event] Collective Trauma Summit: Creating a Global Healing Movement

Hi friends! As someone who’s passionate about growth and healing, I’m pleased to share that the FREE Collective Trauma Summit: Creating a Global Healing Movement is starting soon. Each year, over 100,000 people worldwide gather online to explore innovative ways to address current global traumas and unhealed cultural wounds.

From September 26 to October 4, the summit will feature 60+ expert sessions, panel discussions, live events, poetry readings, music, movement sessions, guided meditations, and more.

The summit features a powerful lineup of leading experts, practitioners, and thought leaders from diverse backgrounds, including psychologists, neuroscientists, human rights and social justice activists, …

Meditation Simplified: How to Find Calm in Our Chaotic World

“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain.” ~Eckhart Tolle

I completed my meditation teacher training in 2022 and continue to practice two to three times each day.

I was initially skeptical of what this practice could possibly offer me. But, as someone who had been riddled with daily anxiety, periodic bouts of depression, and an exhausting inability to maintain focus that left me depleted energetically, I was keen to learn more and discover for myself …

How to Clear the Emotional Clutter That Weighs You Down

“Declutter your mind, your heart, your home. Let go of the heaviness that is weighing you down.” ~Maria Defillo

I remember perusing through a used bookstore in a small New England town as a teenager. A book caught my eye—maybe because its spine was a MacIntosh apple red—and I slid it off the shelf. It was titled Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston.

Back at home in my apartment in Boston, I devoured it. That book shifted the trajectory of my life. Fast-forward seventeen years later and living clutter-free is not only my lifestyle, it’s my calling …

Navigating Social Anxiety: 10 Powerful NLP Tools for Personal Growth

“We need each other, deeper than anyone ever dares to admit even to themselves. I think it is a genetic imperative that we huddle together and hold on to each other.” ~Patch Adams

A few years ago, I was invited to a work event. When I received the invitation a few months before, the idea seemed fun—a friendly gathering with colleagues, filled with vibrant conversations and laughter, enabling me to create human connections in the workplace.

As the day approached, a familiar knot tightened in my stomach, I couldn’t breathe deeply, and an overwhelming sense of unease took hold. I …

When the People We Love Shut Us Out: What I Now Understand

“Have patience that is all unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like closed rooms, like books written like a foreign language.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

I started thinking about a distant relative on a walk in the woods. I had thought about her more often when she suddenly stopped speaking to our family, well over a decade ago. I would reach out to her through email, but after not hearing back over the years, I thought about her less and less and eventually stopped trying to connect with her.

On this particular walk, I began to

How I Found a Beautiful Purpose by Giving Up the Search

“You and your purpose in life are the same thing. Your purpose is to be you.” ~George Alexiou

We all play a pivotal role in society. But I’ve toyed with the New Age spiritual notion that we all have a unique purpose on Earth to fulfill—a purpose for which we have chosen to be here.

I used to wonder if I could only be happy if I found this one resounding and elusive purpose.

If I knew my soul’s purpose, I believed my life would suddenly have endless meaning and vitality. Once I found my purpose, I would leap out …

A Mindfulness Technique to Overcome Perfectionism and Step into Self-Love

“When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are not pretending, we are not hiding—we are simply present with whatever is going on inside us. Ironically, it is this very feeling of authenticity that draws people to us, not the brittle effort of perfectionism.” ~Maureen Cooper

Most of my life I have been really good at following the have-tos and oughts of perfectionism.

I have to keep the house clean. What will the company think?

I ought to be pleasant and pleasing. Stop being stubborn. Worse yet, stop being angry.

I should not have told that long story …

How to Create a Vision Board That Actually Works (Free eCourse with Journal Purchase!)

We all have goals for the future, many of them things that would dramatically improve our lives and the lives of the people we love.

Maybe you want to get healthy and fit so you can live a longer, more active life and be there for your kids for years to come. Maybe you want to pay off your debt so you can reduce your stress and increase your financial security. Or perhaps you want to launch a business so you can have more control over your schedule and make the impact you want to make in the world.

It’s …

5 Things to Remember When Heartbreak Feels Too Heavy to Bear

“If you feel like you’re losing everything, remember that trees lose their leaves every year and they still stand tall and wait for better days to come.” ~Unknown

For a big lover like me, heartbreak has always gotten the best of me. I have felt heavy pain from the ending of a relationship, the ghosting of a situationship, and the loss of what could have been with someone I never dated. And I’ve experienced the sting of friendships leaving my life.

It’s all heartbreaking.

It starts with a crippling, piercing full-body agony. And eventually it grows into a dull ache …

181 Days Teetotal (And Counting): All I’ve Gained Since I Stopped Drinking

TRIGGER WARNING: This post references an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some. 

“When you quit drinking you stop waiting.” ~Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story

I’m now at 181 days teetotal. I prefer teetotal to sober. I say sober sometimes, but teetotal feels lighter, airier, and I feel lighter and airier these days.

For the life of me, I can’t remember when I took my first sip of alcohol. It probably came from a grownup’s glass.

What I can remember is being sixteen or so, half waking up from a blackout with a friend’s hand down …

Caretaking Your Sensitive System for More Love in your Relationship

Sometimes you’ve got to look straight into the tired eyes of the woman staring back at you in the mirror and tell her that she deserves the best kind of love, the best kind of life, and devote yourself to giving it to her all over again.” ~S.C. Lourie

I learned the hard way that in order to have an intimate relationship (and life) that feels deeply satisfying, nourishing, and fulfilling, highly sensitive people (HSPs) need to attend more to their emotional well-being than non-HSPs.

Before I knew I was highly sensitive (which is a normal trait …

The Allure of Unhealthy, One-Sided Friendships and How I’ve Let Them Go

“The real test of friendship is can you literally do nothing with the other person? Can you enjoy those moments of life that are utterly simple?” ~Eugene Kennedy 

I could not. When I was with them, we had to be doing something. That is why I didn’t see it. I kept myself too busy to see or feel what was happening.

It was the panic attack during a long-distance drive home that should have been the sign that something was very wrong.

I didn’t see or expect that my choice of friendships was ruining my mental health and, …

How You Can Have More with Less: The Magic and Joy of Being Present

“Don’t let this silly world trick you into starving your soul for material things. Cause someday you’re gonna be sitting out under the sun and realize how little you actually need to be truly happy.” ~Brooke Hampton

It was early morning. The birds were chirping, the street sweepers were methodically clearing debris off the sidewalk, and the coffee vendor was chattily filling his customers’ cups with fragrant java from the dispenser precariously balanced on the back of his bicycle. There I was, taking a pleasant and serene walk while on my recent visit to India.

As I took a turn …

Accepting Fear and Sadness as Normal Parts of a Good Life

“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.” ~Naomi Shihab Nye

I knew it was around that time. When I opened my eyes, it was pitch black outside and I couldn’t yet hear the chickens in the distance waking up. It was 4 a.m. again.

In the past few days, I have loved this gift of jet lag; transitioning to a thirteen-hour time change has afforded me this dark, mysterious quiet that has woken up inside of me the place from which I write—a place that spontaneously arises when the

4 Happiness Tips from an Introvert Who Spent Years Trying to Change

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” ~Jillian Michaels

I’m an introvert. I need lots of time to myself to recharge after socializing with others, and I relish solitude, as it gives me the time and space to think and be creative. I’m quiet and can be shy on occasion, but I really enjoy spending time with close family and friends.

Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with this part of my personality and focused a lot of energy trying to change it. However, the acceptance I have found over the last year has been life-changing, and I hope writing about my journey …

I Felt Like I Didn’t Belong: 5 Lessons from a Former Misfit

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” ~Maya Angelou

In my final year of high school, I had a horrible breakup. I was heavily attached to my girlfriend because, with her, for the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. Growing up in Germany, of Arabic roots, made me feel like I belonged nowhere. I didn’t feel German nor Arabic.

With her, I finally thought I had a place somewhere. So when this relationship ended, all I wanted was to escape. I hoped a change of location would solve …

How to Heal from Rejection (Without Getting Down on Yourself)

“This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.” ~Kristen Neff

The handsome man I was dating sat on the easy chair to tell a difficult story. We were in my loft, and he was avoiding eye contact. I studied the symmetry of his jaw as he spoke.

“I did something stupid,” he said.

I thought he was confiding in me. Maybe this intimacy would bring us closer. Maybe his eye had wandered but he was choosing me. I leaned in.…

The Pressure to Dream Big and the Beauty of Wanting Less

“What if I accept that all I really want is a small, slow, simple life? A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough.” ~Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui

Why do we feel such pressure to dream big? I think it starts in childhood when parents, teachers, and other adults start asking the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

One of the many problems with this question is its premise. In the classroom, at church, at youth camp, at home, you are not alone, and you’re able to hear, understand, and internalize how others might answer this …