Blog Posts

Why I’m Grateful for Accidents, Pain, and Loss

“If you have nothing to be grateful for, check your pulse.” ~Unknown

I couldn’t feel my legs.

There wasn’t any pain, just this odd “sameness” of non-sensation.

My body was frozen as I turned my eyes downward to scan down my nineteen-year-old body. Below my knees, my legs were splayed out in a very peculiar way. I was halfway underneath my car, pinned down to the dirt and gravel of the road by the back right tire.

The tire had caught my long, curly hair and the puffy left sleeve of my new white peasant blouse, miraculously missing my face.…

Why Positive Thinking Drained Me (and How I’ve Found Peace)

“Glimpses of love and joy or brief moments of deep peace are possible whenever a gap occurs in the stream of thought.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Eleven years ago I read a book that was life changing for me. It taught me something I never considered during the previous twenty-nine years—that I could change my thoughts.

The book was Loving What Is, by Byron Katie. It set me forth on a journey that included dozens of books that communicated the same thing: We think the same thoughts all day long, over and over, and many of them are negative, filled with …

The Truth About Body-Positive Activists on Social Media

“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.” ~Pema Chodron

I’m on my phone, posting a photo of myself on Instagram. It’s a vulnerable shot—I’m holding my bare belly.

I type in the caption “Accepting my body isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.”

I mean this, but I also have voices in my head telling me to delete the picture because I’m gross, not good enough, and a phony.

I get half a dozen comments supporting me, mostly emoji hearts. One comment reads, “I wish I had your confidence.” I feel weird …

That Big Life Change Won’t Be Satisfying If…

“Nothing changes unless you do.” ~Unknown

In the fall of September 2017, after one of the longest summers of event planning I could have imagined, I quit my job.

As I proudly exited the workforce to pursue my creative talents as a writer, I looked confident and excited on the outside. Yet, in that moment and for the years to follow, I was terrified on the inside.

Even though I’d exited my cubicle walls, head held high, the boundaries, fear, and rules of the office environment followed me around daily for over two and a half years.

I was now …

How I Climbed Out of the Valley of Loss and Healed

“In our lives, change is unavoidable, loss is unavoidable. In the adaptability and ease with which we experience change lies our happiness and freedom.” ~Buddha

The universe was conspiring against me, I was sure of it. By the time I was thirty-six, I had lost everything in life that I had set out to accomplish—my marriage, my pregnancies, my two dogs, and eventually my house. The perfect family model I was so desperate to create was completely lost.

Living alone and in fear of the future, I worried about what may or may not come, because everything I had tried …

Even in the Hospital, He Found Joy in the Now

“Don’t let the sadness of your past and the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present.” ~Unknown

Back in the day when I was a stay-at-home mom, “mindfulness” wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary. The only mindfulness I was aware of was my own mind-fullness just trying to navigate a busy, full schedule with three children. It wasn’t until later in life that mindfulness was brought to my attention through the examples my oldest son Sean exhibited.

Sean was my mindfulness teacher. He showed me how to be in the sweet spot of the now. He …

How to Live a Life You Love (Even If Others Doubt You)

“Not all those who wander are lost.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien

I will always remember those words.

I had just decided to ditch my old life. Instead of pursuing a cushy career as a lawyer, I wanted to create a business as a freelance writer because it felt like a fulfilling thing to do.

“You’ll never make it work. You’ll regret your decision,” a loved one told me.

Those words pushed my buttons. I felt scared.

What if I would regret it?

Was I stupid, even delusional, for thinking there was an alternative to living a pre-planned life with a secure nine-to-five …

Free Up Your Space: Two Simple Questions for Easy Decluttering

“Owning less is better than organizing more.” ~Joshua Becker

There are lots of reasons to declutter—to free up space, to pare down belongings in advance of a move, to release any possessions that weigh you down emotionally, and to make room for new things to come into your life. And there’s another reason, though people don’t usually realize it: to reduce stress and overwhelm.

The more stuff you have, the more time, energy, and money you need to devote to maintaining it, and the more likely you feel anxious in your cramped and potentially disorganized space.

I declutter two …

It’s Not Selfish to Want to Thrive, and I Now Know I Deserve It

“To create more positive results in your life, replace ‘if only’ with ‘next time.” ~Celestine Chua

I’m twenty-nine-and-a-half and I’ve finally committed to pursuing my dreams of becoming a singer/musician/songwriter, actress, and screenwriter.

But most importantly, I finally feel allowed to live the life I want to live.

I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression on and off since I was fifteen. My coping mechanism always looked the same: isolating myself in my room, listening to music, and making up stories or music videos to go along with songs. I loved to refine these little scenes, repeating the songs over and …

My Life with an Alcoholic Parent (and 6 Addiction Myths)

“Be the person who breaks the cycle. If you were judged, choose understanding. If you were rejected, choose acceptance. If you were shamed, choose compassion. Be the person you needed when you were hurting, not the person who hurt you. Vow to be better than what broke you—to heal instead of becoming bitter so you can act from your heart, not your pain.” ~Lori Deschene

Take a moment to look around where you are right now. Look at the people surrounding you, whether you’re in your office, a waiting room, or the line at the post office.

Statistically, one out …

Why I Won’t Just “Let Go” of the Hurt in My Heart

“It’s not a matter of ‘letting go.’ You would if you could. Instead of ‘let it go’ we should probably say ‘let it be.’” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

I’m not good at heartbreak. I wrestle the circumstances, hate it, and can’t let go of the hope that the relationship could be transformed.

Aren’t there people who do heartbreak well? Aren’t there folks who sit in heartbreak for just a little while, then shortly fold up their hands and accept the situation? Sometimes it seems there are those who even flip a switch—”It didn’t work, we tried our best”—and that’s that, and they …

10 Things You Need to Know to Maintain Strong Friendships

“A friend is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.” ~Frank Crane

Studies show that feeling connected to other people is a core human need. A sense of connection impacts not only on our mental health but also our physical well-being. It reduces our risk of disease and increases longevity.

While the research is clear, statistics also suggest that our level of social connectedness is declining. Social media might help us be more widely connected, but it doesn’t usually replace the connection we experience in offline friendships.

It seems that as adults we aren’t that good at friendships. People …

How to Journal Away Your Disappointment in Yourself

“Forgive yourself for not knowing better at the time. Forgive yourself for giving away your power. Forgive yourself for past behaviors. Forgive yourself for the survival patterns and traits you picked up while enduring trauma. Forgive yourself for being who you needed to be.” ~Audrey Kitching

“I can’t do this.”

“Why do I look so fat? I’m disgusting!”

“I haven’t done enough today. I am so useless.”

“I shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn’t have said that.

“Oh my god, why did this happen to me? What am I going to do …

What to Do When Someone You Love is Struggling

“Sometimes the easiest way to solve a problem is to stop participating in the problem.” ~ Jonathan Mead

I don’t think I’m alone in having someone in my life whom I wish I could change. Someone I see struggling, who ignores or resents any lifesavers I send their way. I can clearly see how this person contributes to their own struggles, but they remain totally unaware of it. Sometimes, I want to shake some sense into this person; I think, “If only they would get their life together…”

For many of us, this person is a relative: a sister, …

How to Practice Joy and Bravery

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” ~Alphonse Karr

“You should have told them. You should have told them you like it. They need to know people are happy there.”

“I know I should have. But I didn’t want to seem insensitive or make anyone feel bad.”

We sat at the dinner table, my boyfriend looking at me, me staring at my cleaned plate. We’d had variations of this conversation before. I tell him my coworkers aren’t happy at work, but I am happy at work, and he is forever confused as to …

It’s More Important to Be Authentic Than Impressive

“The most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves is to remain ignorant by not having the courage to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” ~Pema Chödrön

All my life I’ve chased after success, as I was encouraged to do from a very young age.

When I was six, my father got me my first proper study desk as a gift for getting into a ‘good’ school. The type of desk that towered over a little six-year-old—complete with bookshelves and an in-built fluorescent light. In the middle of the shelf frame stuck a white sticky label inscribed with my …

What Happens When We Assume the Worst of People We Love

“Before you assume, learn. Before you judge, understand. Before you hurt, feel. Before you say, think.” ~Unknown

There we were on a Saturday afternoon doing such benign things as running errands at Costco, Trader Joes, and the post office. Excitement galore.

Yet, it would be a day I came to a major realization, understanding something I already knew in theory but wasn’t putting into practice.

Here’s the realization: Mind reading in relationships leads to confusion, resentment, frustration, and name-calling.

I’m not talking about psychic mind reading either! I’m referring to the kind of mind reading that you likely do every …

I Hear You: A Must-Read Book for Stronger, Happier Relationships

Have you ever felt like someone was listening to you but not really hearing you—or worse, not even fully listening?

Maybe they were more looking through you than at you, just kind of zoning out, all the while nodding, as if taking in what you were saying, but not. Or even worse still, maybe they weren’t giving you any signs of engagement, but rather alternating between glances up at you and glimpses down at their phone.

It’s rare these days to get someone’s full attention, and even more difficult to end a conversation feeling truly heard and understood—as if the …

Being Shy Made Me Strong, and It Can Do the Same for You

“Never assume that loud is strong and quiet is weak.” ~Unknown

This quote seems counterintuitive, right?

For many years, I, too, scoffed at the idea.

Having dealt with crippling shyness throughout my life, I know firsthand what it’s like to feel weak, powerless, and trapped because of it.

As a child, I remember clinging to my mom’s leg and using her body to hide from strangers. Then, as I got older, this shy behavior manifested into a fear of speaking my mind, interacting with others, putting myself out there, and so on and so forth.

My quiet and timid nature …

I Thought It Was Love, But It Was Actually Abuse

“Alone doesn’t always mean lonely. Relationship doesn’t always mean happy. Being alone will never cause as much loneliness as being in the wrong relationship.” ~Unknown

I don’t know if it’s the conditioning of Disney movies that makes every young girl dream of finding her Prince Charming, but that was my experience. My prince entered my life just like that, saving me from my boredom and taking me on a roller coaster of excitement. He assured me that our love was going to last forever, and the naivety of being sixteen made me believe him.

It didn’t take long for his …