Category “letting go”

Free Online Festival: A Different Kind of Trauma Conference

Hi friends!

Last year I invited you all to join the Embodied Trauma Conference, a powerful, healing event hosted by Tiny Buddha contributor Karine Bell.

This free, five-day online summit featured a series of talks from twenty-two thought leaders, all focusing on different aspects of healing from trauma—including developmental, sexual, racial, and intergenerational.

This year she’s offering a FREE follow-up event that I’m sure you’ll find transformative. It’s called Tending the Roots: A 4-day Odyssey of Resilience & Reimagination, Culture & Community, and it takes place next week, between April 21st and 24th.

This event will focus on our …

Why I No Longer Fight for Acknowledgment When Someone Devalues Me

“People will teach you how to love by not loving you back. People will teach you how to forgive by not apologizing. People will teach you kindness by their judgment. People will teach you how to grow by remaining stagnant. Pay attention when you’re going through pain and mysterious times. Listen to the wisdom life is trying to teach you.” ~Meredith Marple

“The ad was a misprint. We can’t offer you any monetary compensation for your writing, maybe dog treats.”

This is an actual response from a successful animal-themed magazine I was going to write for. This letter went on

When You Lose a Loved One to Suicide: Healing from the Guilt and Trauma

“You will survive, and you will find purpose in the chaos. Moving on doesn’t mean letting go.” ~Mary VanHaute

I was ten years old when I discovered the truth. He didn’t fall. He wasn’t pushed. It wasn’t an accident.

He jumped.

Suicide isn’t a concept easily explained to a six-year-old, much less her younger siblings, so I grew up believing that my father’s drowning was an unfortunate freak accident. It was “just one of those things,” the cruel way of the world, and there was nothing anyone could have done about it.

This explanation more than satisfied me and, other …

Learning to Honor My Grief When the World Has Become Desensitized to Loss

“The answer to the pain of grief is not how to get yourself out of it, but how to support yourself inside it.” ~Unknown 

Since losing my husband Matt over eight months ago to cancer at the age of just thirty-nine, I have noticed so many changes happening within me, and one of those changes is a fierce sense of protectiveness that I have over my grief.

We are living in a unique time in history. The world has turned upside down due to the coronavirus pandemic, and at the time of writing this the UK had just passed 100,000 …

The Day I Found Out from the Internet my Estranged Father Had Died

“The scars you can’t see are the hardest to heal.” ~Astrid Alauda

On a lazy Sunday morning as I lounged in bed, I picked up my phone, scrolled through my news feed on Facebook, and decided to Google my parents’ names.

I am estranged from my parents, and I have not had much of a relationship with them in over fifteen years; however, there’s a part of me that will always care about them.

I Googled my mother’s name first and found the usual articles about her dance classes, and her name on church and community bulletin boards. …

7 Things You Need to Know If You’re Going Through a Painful Breakup

Last year my uncle died shortly after someone I love went through a pretty traumatic breakup. I love all my family, but I wasn’t really close to my uncle and didn’t know him all that well, so I was more grieving for my mother and aunt than myself.

As I bore witness to the deep pain around me, I started thinking about the expectations we often hold of people when grieving a breakup, as opposed to grieving a death. We often expect them to feel sad for a while and then just get over it. Because the person didn’t die, …

The Magic of Rewriting Our Most Painful Stories

“When you bring peace to your past, you can move forward to your future.” ~Unknown

It amazes me how things that happen in our childhood can greatly impact our adult lives. I learned the hard way that I was living my life with a deep wound in my heart.

My father was a very strict man with a temper when I was little, starting when I was around seven years old.

He had a way of making me feel like all my efforts were not enough. If I scored an 8 in a math exam, he would say, “Why 8

10 Quotes You Need to Read If You Struggle with Anxiety

Have you ever received well-intentioned advice while facing intense anxiety, only to feel judged, misunderstood, or condescended?

Like, “Calm down!” Or “Just be positive!” Or “Don’t worry so much!”

The people who try to help generally want to do just that, but it’s always easier to advise someone when you’re not feeling what they’re feeling, because you have the benefit of rational thought—which goes out the window when fight-or-flight mode takes over.

And if you’ve never felt the depth of anxiety some of us experience—perhaps because you weren’t conditioned that way through trauma, or you’ve learned to block or …

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 …

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, …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Healing from the Conflicting Loss of a Difficult Parent

“Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I had a tumultuous and interesting relationship with my father. He was a strong, proud man in his spirit as well as in his physical appearance. In my younger years, I …

If You Expect a Lot and You’re Tired of Being Disappointed

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Almost universally, many of the problems we face in life are tied to our own expectations.  Expectations of ourselves. Expectations of others. Expectations of situations. Expectations of the world at large.

We may expect ourselves to be perfect and successful in all our pursuits. We may expect to feel constantly happy with our lives. We may expect others to think and react like we do. We may expect …

4 Reasons to Let Go of the Need to Plan Your Future

“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living in the now.” ~Alan Watts

I went to college a little bit later in life. Because of that, people often mistakenly believed I was operating on a specific (and somewhat urgent) timetable—as though I was running to catch up with the rest of the people my age.

However, I was already in a career I loved (teaching yoga) that supported me financially. For me, going back to school was mainly about enjoying the process of getting an education without any pressure to get …

Tips from a Former Addict: How I Made a Change for Good

I was a drug addict. Yes, I did it all. No, my childhood was not full of abuse, I was actually a pretty lucky kid, and I had it no worse and no better than anyone else, except for maybe some “daddy issues.”

I am not much for blame. I know who was smoking, sniffing, and popping, and it wasn’t the bad angel on my shoulder who made me do it, it was just me.

I can give you the exact reason why I started doing drugs. I was afraid to just be myself, simple enough. Everyone else’s thoughts …

3 Ways Decluttering Can Help You Accept Yourself

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” ~Brené Brown

I had just squeezed all my possessions into a jumbo-sized moving van and relocated to a teeny tiny apartment. I had landed a new job in a new city, and everything seemed peachy keen… at least, on the surface.

It was a fresh spring evening in 2015, and I’d spent the entire day trying to fit all my clutter into my new home. Picture this: my 350-square-foot attic had sloped ceilings, the world’s smallest kitchen, and …

Dear Estranged Adult: You Are Strong and Worthy of Love

Dear estranged adult,

What I want you to remember is that it was never really about you, although it might have felt like it at the time and it might feel that way now.

When your parents told you over and over you weren’t good enough, that you would never amount to anything, they were just projecting their own feeling about themselves on to you because deep down, they do not feel they are good enough and don’t believe they have amounted to anything.

Maybe these feelings were passed down from their parents, or maybe your parents have regrets about …