Category “change & challenges”

Stop Striving for Happiness and Start Practicing It Now

“Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.” ~Chuang Tzu

It all started when one of my boys asked me if I was happy, and of course I answered yes.

Why wouldn’t I be happy? I have a handsome and kind husband, two boys of which I am very proud, I had a successful business, I had a house I loved, I was surrounded by friends, I was a sought after speaker in my community, and blah blah blah.

Then my son asked why I didn’t have fun anymore. I began defending my happiness to him, explaining all the reasons …

Treat Depression Without Medication: Interview with Jonathan Robinson and Book Giveaway

Update: The winners for this giveaway have been chosen. They are: Marsha Law and Talya Price.

I experienced my first bout of depression at twelve years old, and by seventeen I so frequently felt despondent that my boyfriend questioned if I could go one day without crying. I could not.

My life became a series of self-destructive habits, from binging and purging, to drinking, to cutting myself—the first two to numb my feelings, and the last to feel something, a pain of my own choosing, which somehow felt like relief.

In my senior year of high school, I was …

Things Change When You Do (and Small Changes Add Up)

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” ~Victor Hugo

A year-and-a-half ago, I was diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Every day, I felt like I was travelling through an endless tunnel. The only way I could fall asleep was by pretending that I was dying.

My life felt pointless. I felt like I was on the wrong path. The combination of my two mental illnesses made me feel like I was a prisoner in my own body, like I could not control my brain.

Since this point in time, a lot …

Fear Is Inevitable but It Doesn’t Have to Paralyze Us

“Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me.” ~Isabel Allende

I woke up with a knot at the pit of my stomach, yet again. For as long as I could remember, I carried this intangible lump inside me. It went with me everywhere.

I am fairly certain it woke up with me, and there was a small span of time when I was in the deepest of sleep when it took a break.

Terrified—that’s how I felt all the time. Muscles taut and butterflies in my stomach. I was a wreck, ready …

Life is a Gift: How to Enjoy It and Find Happiness After a Tragic Loss

“If we could see that everything, even tragedy, is a gift in disguise, we would then find the best way to nourish the soul.” ~Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Sometimes a tragedy can give new energy to life and bring awareness we have been living on autopilot.

I still remember the night like it was yesterday. It was late and my husband and I had just turned off the light when my phone rang. It was my aunt saying my dad pushed his life alert and was transported to the hospital.

I fumbled to find my clothes and hurried to the …

Taking the Shame and Fear Out of Mistakes

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is continually fearing that you’ll make one.” ~Elbert Hubbard

There have been times in my life when I knew I was stuck, but instead of dealing with it I chose to backpedal to the “safest bet” for me at the time, whether it was the steady paycheck from a soul-crushing job or an abusive relationship.

Then, one day, I suddenly realized that I had spent precious years just going through the motions.

One reason I had gotten so stuck was because I had been trained from early childhood to avoid making

When You’re Hurting and Healing: Give Yourself a Break

“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress, which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.” ~Unknown

Often these days, I would like nothing more than to move forward. If I could only figure out which way was forward, I would definitely start heading in that direction. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m going through a break-up, the most major break-up of my life so far.

Again, I’m often disappointed that if I were to check a box to describe my “relationship status” it would most likely be “It’s complicated.”…

Why You Don’t Need to Eliminate Self-Doubt and Fear

“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.” ~Unknown

Self-doubt has been a companion that has followed me around like a trained dog follows his master. Every step I’ve made outside of my comfort zone, it’s been there, right beside me.

Moving from Germany to England to attend high school, I was full of high hopes and aspirations. But despite my intensive English course and hard work, I could hardly understand anyone in the first few weeks.

Feeling left high and dry by my so-called “English skills,” I …

5 Lessons from a Breakdown: How to Make Hard Times Easier

“Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.” ~Benjamin Disraeli

Three years ago, at twenty-five, I had a breakdown that stole over two years of my life and almost killed me.

People often think of breakdowns like car accidents—one almighty crash that results in the dissolution of that person’s being. But for most of us, breakdowns are a slow descent into madness. They creep up on you. They change you one small step at a time until you no longer recognize yourself.

You get exhausted walking around the supermarket for your weekly shopping. You …

3 Surefire Ways to Embrace Being Different

“To be nobody but yourself in a world doing its best to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human can ever fight and never stop fighting.” ~e.e. cummings

I’m gay. I’m married to a woman and we have a beautiful daughter together. I also have an ex–boyfriend that I was with for quite a significant time. Most of my friends are straight, and I thought I was too until about five years ago when I fell in love with my now-wife.

It was a crazy time, and I suddenly had to deal with being different

Finding Happiness on the Other Side of Fear

“Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us.” ~Steven Pressfield

We are so scared of the unknown. Anything that we haven’t yet experienced can lead to fear.

I will forever remember my first time skydiving. I was absolutely terrified. Are you sure this parachute is going to open up? “No ma’am, it’s not for sure. But it’s highly likely.” Great.

During pregnancy, I was scared nearly every day for nine months as I wondered, “How in the world is that going to come out of there?” Well, one thing was …

Managing Chronic Pain: 5 Lessons from Being Hit by a Truck

“Pain can change you, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad change. Take that pain and turn it into wisdom.” ~Unknown

You know how people say, “It was like being hit by a truck”?

I know what they mean.

But the impact took over ten years.

It was a cold, snowy January, and I was in my car, singing along to the radio.

I was doing a steady, careful sixty miles per hour, in the middle lane of a busy British highway. I was on my way to deliver my first solo course for the company I’d …

A Mindful Way to Find Relief from the Pain of Envy

“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.” ~Unknown

Envy is such an overpowering and overwhelming feeling, often something hidden, or masked by a smiley face, or fuelled into rage and resentment. I’ve experienced all of these emotions in my life, and as I neared my fortieth birthday, I felt that I could not go on. I was crippled by the “envy story” stuck on repeat mode inside my mind.

As I watched friends and family swoop by me in terms of outer achievements and success, the envy …

The Experiences That Keep Repeating: Finally Learning the Lesson

“Humbleness, forgiveness, clarity and love are the dynamics of freedom. They are the foundations of authentic power.” ~Gary Zukav

I love the way the universe doesn’t let us get away with anything. Its loving energy allows us to repeat similar life experiences over and over again until we learn that spiritual lesson. Lately, I have been having the most profound healing around my stepson James.

This one particular night, the universe was offering a chance to love my own father and forgive myself for how I treated my brother, through my relationship with James.

When he got home from

Getting Back Your Spark When Every Day Feels Hard

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Did you ever wake up one morning and not know who you were anymore?

Waking up for the past four years of my life, I felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day. The same things happened every day, and I felt the same horrible feelings all the time. Anxiety, depression, and hopelessness ran my life.

I had it all figured out at some point. I was furthering my career and moving toward my dream of becoming a psychologist. I …

How to Find Peace and Balance When Dealing with Change

“Change is the only constant.” ~Heraclitus

Have you ever noticed how many transitions we go through all day?

The transition from waking up to getting out of bed, from PJs (or au natural) to clothes, from red light to green light, from inhale to exhale. Every waking moment is a transition.

Why, then, are we, as humans, so uncomfortable with change?

We want everything to stay the same, but at the same time, crave variety. We grasp so tightly to how we think things should be (did she not hear that I wanted extra foam on my latte?) and, simultaneously, …

How to Get Your Joy and Vitality Back When You’ve Been Depressed

“When everything seem to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” ~Henry Ford

We all have this image of how depression looks. It’s a person looking all sullen and grim. Rain is usually involved. It’s dark. It’s cloudy. It’s depressing.

But what about the sunny depression, the one that almost never shows its face in public, the one that looks just… normal.

I’m a naturally happy person. I wake up smiling. I go to bed smiling. I even smile in my sleep, or so I’ve been told. Yet I’ve been depressed, …

Finding a Window of Opportunity When Life Closes a Door

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” ~John Wooden

“Why don’t you just take up swimming?” the doctor asked.

I was twenty years old, single-minded in my pursuit of a dance career, visiting yet another doctor about the vicious tendinitis that had forced me to give up my spot at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City.

What the doctor didn’t understand is that dance isn’t just a sporting activity; it’s a way of life, an identity.

Telling a young dancer to “just take up swimming” is about as helpful …

How to Quit or Move On Without Feeling Guilty

“Some people think it’s holding on that makes one strong–sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown

When I accepted a position with a small company, I thought I had found everything I wanted: challenging work in my field, flexible hours, a laid-back atmosphere, and a short commute.

My new job seemed to be perfect, but soon I realized it wasn’t.

While I loved the kind of work I did, the “casual” atmosphere ended up being too casual. Hearing racy jokes and mocking comments became part of my workday. The jokes seemed to become more offensive as days went by.

Then the gossip …

Rethinking Mistakes and Recognizing the Good in “Bad” Choices

“Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.” ~Unknown

For most of my life, I’ve seen the world in black and white, and I’ve felt constricted and pained as a result.

When I was a young girl, I believed there were good people and bad people, and I believed I was bad.

When I was an adolescent, I believed there was good food and bad food, and because everything tasty fell into the latter category, I channeled the shame from feeling bad into bulimia.

And when I grew into adulthood, I believed there were good decisions and bad …