the healing of silence and solitude
be like the ocean
My greatest practice for getting to know my anxious self has been something I've learned through Buddhism, poetry, cognitive behavioral therapy, and philosophy alike: the practice of staying. Pema Chodron calls it "staying with the raw feelings." CBT calls it "identifying the cognitive distortions." David Whyte calls it "the sweet confinement of your aloneness."
What these ideas have collectedly translated to for me is this: honor what you're feeling. Stop making excuses or trying to explain away your struggles in order to pretend they don't exist.
when it's necessary to say no
By nature or by grace, you're like the ocean.
an invitation to peace
Understandably, 'no' and anxiety go well together, and we often see every no as another win for our fear. The opposite of anxiety, we think, is yes. So we must be living on yeses to be truly overcoming anxiety.
Can you just imagine the exhaustion?
We don't always learn so easily that no actually does have its place in our healing practice. As much as too many no moments can lead to despair, too many yes moments can lead to burn-out. The importance lies in our ability to use both words with intention throughout our lives.
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
There is an extraordinary journey being offered to you, an invitation down a quieter, less-traveled, yet all the more scenic path. It's the journey into your own authenticity, but to get there requires the courage to cross through more treacherous terrain: the crags of fear and the bogs of doubt. At points along the way you'll reach clearings that will stop your breath with their beauty, their aliveness. You may not believe it to be a real place, but after time you'll realize that it's true and it's there, a place inside yourself where a distant voice whispers to you that you are enough.
To Walk Invisible: A Portrait of the Brontës
n our frantic, overwhelming, too busy world, what does a heart-centered life look like? For each of us it’s different, of course, because it’s dependent upon what’s in our hearts, whomever and whatever truly reside there. But it’s very likely – perhaps a guaranteed certainty – that the things we give importance to in our lives are not the same things living in the softest part of our heart. This is the journey inward that Shauna Niequist chronicles in her book, Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living. A collection of thought-provoking essays, Present Over Perfect explores the discoveries we make when we slow down, simplify, and choose to live with more grace and intention.
I will breathe more...
Among the many women who became giants throughout the history of literature, none appear quiet as formative as the Brontë sisters. Condemned to live as free-thinking women in a man's world, the Brontës - steadfast Emily, passionate Charlotte, and sensitive Anne - famously wrote under pseudonyms that led publishers and audiences to believe they were men, seemingly the only path available to them that would allow them to write freely and publicly. Determined to support their family and themselves, the sisters published in a way that would allow them to be taken seriously and to not be judged or shamed for their aspirations; yet, they could never be themselves. Nonetheless, their legacies have managed to carry on through history not as the brothers (presumably) Bell, but as the sisters Brontë, where they serve as beacons of quiet courage and resilience for generations of passionate women across world-changing new territory.
Patience, patience indeed
One more bit of inspiration from Tyler Knott Gregson, the beginning of this piece struck me as a series of healthy reminders to myself. There's so much more motivation to be had in saying "I will" instead of "I won't."
Play around with inhabiting this poem, imagining a serene, confident, and deeply loving you saying the words to the part of yourself who lives in fear of not being enough. Notice what it feels like to be your own hero or heroine. It doesn't matter what that person looks like, what material goods or social status they have achieved, or - goodness knows - how well their social media feed is curated.