In her 2016 book of essays, Upstream, Mary Oliver wrote about her Great Ones - writers of the past whose philosophies and ideas guided her own experience of the world. “With them I live my life,” she wrote; “with them I enter the event, mold the meditation, keep if I can some essence of the hour, even as it slips away.” Oliver’s Great Ones included Wordsworth, Shelley, Emerson, and Thoreau, to name a few. “My great ones will be different from your great ones,” she advised. I smile as I recognize that of all my Great Ones, Mary herself tops the list.Read More
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.Read More
Sometimes, I write love letters to myself.
They're healing, they're powerful; they're necessary. I'll scribble them from time to time into my journal and fold down the page in dog-eared fashion so I can quickly go back to find a compassionate pep talk when I feel like I need one. I don't remember how I got started on this practice or what motivated me to stick with it through the initial awkwardness. (Because it was awkward; and how!)
Like first beginning a journaling practice, writing letters to yourself can seem positively painstaking - even when you have no intention of sharing this writing with an audience, you still feel ever so much like a fool. Maybe this is because self-compassion is still a radical idea for many of us. But the more you do it, the more powerful the practice becomes, and the more in touch you become with your own capacity for kindness, patience, and love.Read More
Somewhere on the journey of learning to live fully as someone with social anxiety, there's a new hurdle: learning to keep up emotionally with the newly active social part of yourself. As you grow more comfortable in the situations that previously provoked fear or avoidance a surprising thing can happen: you can find yourself becoming more social, more outgoing than your emotional self is prepared for. This is especially true of socially anxious folks who lean toward the introverted end of the spectrum. Suddenly there's a new, rather bombastic voice in the mix that wants to go on all those fabulous adventures the fearful self had been so good at talking you out of. And before you know it, you're burned out with trying to keep up with this newly-freed sense of creative living.Read More
In my work with my therapist and my personal self-care practice I most often refer to my anxious self as my “inner child.” The reasoning stems from my experiences growing up and the moments when I felt scared and powerless, which ultimately shaped the way anxiety would manifest within me as an adult. In an Instagram post earlier in the year I elaborated on my fearful younger self and the compassion I’ve developed for her.Read More
A favorite piece of wisdom I’ve gathered from American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron is the idea of, as she says it, learning to “stay with the raw feelings.” It sounds scary, and at some levels it is, but at the easiest level for me to get to this practice of staying with the raw feelings is natural, human, basic.Read More