Holy Fear

We hear and read a lot of fear these days in psychological and spiritual circles. Mostly, fear is painted in a negative way as the energy that we have to wrestle with and overcome in order to live a life of joy. Most of the statements and quotes we read about fear pin it in the position of the enemy, the obstacle, the dark road. These quotes are accurate, but they’re only talking about one kind of fear. There’s another face of fear that needs and deserves our attention.

Recently, while reading Rabbi Naomi Levy’s book, “Einstein and the Rabbi”, the phrase “holy fear” leapt out at me from the page. She writes:

“There are two divine attributes that emanate toward us: they are love and fear. Love and fear are always keeping each other in check like yin and yang. Love is an outpouring that flows from the soul, Click here to continue reading...

Take Back Your Gold

Last Monday, after a typical Colorado October snowstorm, my sons and I drove into town to serve dinner to the homeless. Consistent with this time of year, the snow started to melt just hours after it fell, and what was left was a stunning display of beauty where the golds and reds of autumn kissed the snow-covered foothills in the foreground with the pure white Rocky Mountains jutting up above it all. The juxtaposition of colors took my breath away and shook off the last shroud of the gray morning that had settled into my soul. As the sun broke through and added another layer of gold to the landscape, my heart did the same.

As we drove through the breathtaking beauty and I thought about the meeting of autumn and winter, I pondered for the thousandth time why I love working in the realm of transitions. It’s because these … Click here to continue reading...

Perfection and The Fear of Failure

It’s better to make a mistake with the full force of your being than to carefully avoid mistakes with a trembling spirit.

– Dan Millman, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

When I was in graduate school many ago, my classmates would often ask me how I was able to write papers so quickly and effortlessly. Many of them were perfectionists (like myself and many of you), and they struggled with writer’s block when faced with a blank piece of paper. When I was asked this question, it prompted me to think about how I was able to overcome my own perfectionism, and I realized that the breakthrough moment had come in high school when, in some moment of grace, I realized that if I gave myself full permission to write the worst paper I had ever written it freed me to express myself. From that point on, … Click here to continue reading...

Where Anxiety Hangs Its Hat

Anxiety can hang its hat on almost any hook. It can focus on relationships, fertility, parenting, health, the world, money, career, death. Within each of these topics, there are endless sub-topics that lure anxiety into its lair. If we’re talking about relationship anxiety, for example, the hook can be: lack of physical attraction, lack of sexual attraction, focusing in any area of perceived lack (education, intelligence, social fluency, humor, wit, height, ambition), religious differences, we never had an infatuation stage, or just a pervasive sense that the relationship is “wrong”.

But what if I haven’t listed your particular hook? Does that means this work doesn’t apply to you? That’s the classic response from the anxious mind!

So when I receive emails like the following…

Have you written anything on being in a relationship with significant age gaps, socioeconomic differences or previous marriage and kids in the picture? I’m curious about Click here to continue reading...

Dream Theme: I Cheated on My Partner

A common dream theme appeared last week on my Open Your Heart forum: cheating on one’s partner. The course participant wrote:

I never remember dreams but just had one last night where I cheated on my bf with a guy I used to date and had no feelings for. In the dream I felt really bad and told my best friend I wasn’t going to tell him that I cheated because it meant nothing and didn’t want to hurt him. She told me that was really dishonest and I was wrestling with that. I am wondering now if this means I feel guilty that I am having all this anxiety and doubting the relationship and he thinks everything is fine because I act really loving towards him, tell him I love him (and I do!). But the fact that he has no idea I’m struggling with this makes me feel Click here to continue reading...