Category “change & challenges”

Why Advice Doesn’t Help When We’re Hurting (and What Does)

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we’re listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” ~Karl A. Menninger

I remember my first call like it was yesterday.

I answered the phone, heart beating out of my chest, hand firm on a sheet of local emergency phone numbers.

The voice on the other end was full of… meek embarrassment.

Not exactly what I was expecting.

“Uhh, I’m really sorry… I’m not, uhh… I’m not suicidal…. I just… I just had a …

Something Good Can Come from Pain and Struggle

“How thankful I am today, to know that all my past struggles were necessary for me to be where I am now.” ~Unknown

Ten years ago when I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, my first thought was “Why me?” and it was this thought that followed me throughout my journey. It wasn’t until I was well enough to look back that I realized how much of my life was shaped by my anorexia. But not in a bad way.

Today, I am thankful for the struggles I endured, for the deepest lows I dragged myself through, and all the places …

3 Things to Remember When Facing Emotional Pain

“We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us—how we can take it, what we do with it—and that is what really counts in the end.” ~Joseph Fort Newton

Life is messy. Sometimes it’s so beautiful that I feel blinded by the glory I have the privilege of bearing witness to. Other times, I have felt such deep despair that I thought my tears would never end.

Unfortunately, my husband and I endured the deepest despair we could possibly imagine immediately following what should have been our …

A Simple Sentence That Helps When You Feel Overwhelmed

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Days after the initial divorce from my ex-partner, I wanted to meet two very close friends in the city. I knew they would be loving and supportive and that the experience would be good for me. But I was so grief stricken and overwhelmed with emotion that even leaving the house felt like a monumental effort.

Sitting on the edge of my bed, picturing all the steps it would take me from where I was now to where they were seemed insurmountable. Normally, I would have jumped in …

The Pain Won’t Go Away Until We Learn the Lesson

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” ~Pema Chodron

Wounds I thought were healed began to burst open after a recent breakup. I had obviously not learned the lessons I was meant to years ago.

As a child I put 100% effort into everything I did, from schoolwork and swimming training to leadership positions. I remember feeling so sure of myself.

I drew my confidence from many areas of my life. A good student, swimming champion, school captain… I had my life sorted. Although the swimming accolades and A’s on my report …

When Life Takes a Detour: Turning Uncertainty Into Joy

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” ~Og Mandino

You know when you get a major wake up call that shakes you to the core and gets you to focus on what’s truly important? That’s what 2014 was for me.

My boyfriend and I had gotten married in May 2014 after moving from Toronto to a small town to be closer to his aging mother.

I was working thirteen-hour days to re-establish my wellness business, and things were slowly picking up. I was finally …

We Can Get Through It, Even If We Think We Can’t

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” ~Carl Gustav

It used to be my favorite guided meditation. You know the one about the mountain, where you imagine yourself as the mountain? Strong, tall, standing firm in the face of all that comes at it—rain, hail, shine. Letting it all wash off without getting rattled by it.

One of the reasons I used to love that particular guided meditation was because I could relate to it. I could relate to it because I love mountains. I love trekking and I love mountains. Big mountains. …

How to Move Forward When You Feel Like Your Life Is Over

“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

At seventeen years old, baseball was my life. I played on the top summer Connecticut baseball teams, constantly practiced and trained, and dreamed of being a starter for the high school varsity team. Junior year I was on varsity but didn’t get any playing time, so I was putting all my hopes and dreams into spring of my senior year.

When I went to college showcases, I was one of the standout players and I received many letters in the mail from …

There’s No Expiration Date on Grief (So Don’t Rush Your Pain)

“They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite.” ~Cassandra Clare

I lost my father to a heart attack when I was sixteen. I went to school on the morning of April 14, 2008 having a dad and went home that night not having one. I soon found myself dealing with an unfamiliar cocktail of emotions, pain so overwhelming that I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Every time I thought I was pulling myself together, I’d notice his belt buckle sitting on the dresser, or a pair of his socks on the floor, …

How to Recover and Find Strength after Losing a Parent

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” ~Dalai Lama

There was a period in life I called “the golden era.” Not in hindsight but at the actual time.

I named it such because I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

Everyone I loved was alive and well. I had a good job, a home, and a loving companion. All the things everyone longs for.

Little did I know, this “golden era” would end too …

Hate Your Job? Change May Be Hard But It’s Worth It

“It’s never the environment; it’s never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events—how we interpret them—that shapes who we are today and who we’ll become tomorrow.” ~Tony Robbins

How long are we going to put up with lifestyles that kill us before we decide to do something about it?

It’s no surprise to me that between 70-80% of American workers (depending on the source) dislike their jobs. I was part of that statistic until the disappointment got the better of me and I had no choice but to leave it all behind.

Things were …

Overcoming Shame When You Took a Risk and It Didn’t Work Out

“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” ~Jack Kerouac

There was no denying it. I had reached a dead-end. A year and a half spent living in a southern town that was simply too small for me; it was time to go. I needed a city, preferably a large one filled with numerous opportunities for a budding young writer.

Ironically, the very day it dawned on me that it was time to move to a metropolitan area, love summoned me. It shouted to me from thousands of miles away, beckoning me to change the course of my travels.

My …

How to Be Your Own Hero When Faced With a Hopeless Challenge

“You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.” ~Yogi Bhajan

Can you remember a time when you felt completely helpless?

I do. It was the day my daughter was diagnosed with a serious digestive illness. The doctor told us in the hospital chapel, and he acted like it was a death sentence. His one and only solution was to hand us sets of harsh prescriptions.

I was in shock, and I knew deep down that something just didn’t add up. Her symptoms hadn’t even been that severe, although she had lost a significant amount of weight. What …

Life’s Greatest Miracles Often Come Disguised as Hardship

“Out of difficulties grow miracles.” ~Jean dela Bruyere

The image in my mind is vivid, like an old photograph etched into my brain, where every facet is clearly discernible.

It was a frigid, blustery December night, right before my son’s seventh birthday. The heating unit had gone on the blitz, and the house was so freezing it seemed as though ice crystals would form on the inside of our windows.

Grabbing as many blankets as possible, I wanted to envelope my son with covers, hoping he would feel safe and warm in the cocoon. Time for bed, I reassured him …

The Beauty of Uncertainty: Each Day is a Blank Canvas


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

It occurred to me one day, while staring at my computer at work, that I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of having uncertainty in any area of my life.

I plan my schedule rigidly, including what social/extracurricular activities I’m going to do over the next week. I take very few risks, and when …

5 Ways a Creative Practice Can Help You Through Grief

“The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort toward wholeness.” ~Madeleine L’engle.

Heartbreak, sadness, and loss are uniting experiences across humanity—all of us are likely to experience grief in some form.

In grief, it can be common to feel lost, demotivated, depressed, and also, to experience a loss of self-esteem; it’s difficult to feel good about yourself when you’re processing all of the emotions that go along with grieving.

Developing a regular creative practice can be a helpful, healing way through loss. I used a creative practice to help find my way through a …

10 Steps to Find Yourself Again After Loss

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that remains.” ~Anne Frank

Despite pink and orange being my two favorite colors, there was a period in my life when I only wanted to wear black, from head to toe.

On Super Bowl Sunday 2002, my life changed forever. My husband of fourteen years died in his sleep of a massive heart attack, and I became a suddenly single mom of a six-year old and an eleven-year old.

Although we all acknowledge that death is a part of life, few of us spend any amount of time …

Why Stress Is Good for You and How to Respond to It

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Viktor Frankl

These days we can’t seem to get away from stress. We all feel it, and we all hate it. Even my sister’s two dogs are on a special diet for their stress-induced digestive issues, and I’m pretty sure they hate stress too.

Recently it hit me: Our relationship with stress is dysfunctional. No wonder we’re stuck in an anxiety-ridden existence!

Stress is Love

Stress has gotten a bad rep, but it …

Healing Is a Journey, Not a Destination (and You’re Not Broken)

“Healing requires from us to stop struggling, but to enjoy life more and endure it less.” ~Darina Stoyanova

At the age of twenty-seven I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, chronic inflammation of the bladder that causes UTI like symptoms. I am now twenty-nine and still experiencing symptoms, but I have improved greatly.

I have spent that time searching for the answers to this medical enigma, for which doctors claim there is no cure. At first my research led me on a path of frustration and hopelessness, until I realized that my mindset was what was holding me back from healing.…

The Upside of Adversity: 6 Lessons from Thriving with Chronic Illness

“If you’re not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you’re determined to learn, no one can stop you.” ~Unknown

I vividly remember the day that I realized something was seriously wrong inside my body.

It was a Friday night. I was out with some friends after work when I suddenly started slurring my speech.

I’d been drinking soda water all evening.

I excused myself to go to the bathroom. I remember trying to stem the rising feeling of panic, to convince myself that everything was okay.

As I stared at my reflection in the mirror, noticing a …