What You Choose Determines What Comes Next

Transitions, as breaking and renewal points, offer choice-points that determine how we unfold into the next stage of our lives. Many people find me during their wedding transition when when they’re broken open not only by relationship anxiety but also by the earthquake of feelings that erupt because of the transition itself. The same is true for the transition into parenthood, career changes, moves, and deaths. Because we’re not schooled in the language of transitions and we’re terrified of big feelings, people tend to feel burdened by what feels like an unfair onslaught of anxiety: “Why does everyone else seem to happy when I’m so sad and anxious?” My response, as I’ve shared many times here and in my courses, is, “You’re one of the lucky ones. You’re being shown your core stories, and the seeds you plant now toward healing the flawed stories will serve you in your next … Click here to continue reading...

The Art of Making Decisions

Our culture fails to teach us the essential skills we need to navigate through life successfully in so many ways. As I discuss often on this site, it fails to teach us about healthy, real love. It fails to teach us about how to feel our feelings and work with our thoughts. It fails to guide us through the potholes and landmines of transitions. And it fails to teach us how to make decisions, both big and small.

Not only does the culture fail to offer useful decision-making skills but it suggests techniques that often truncate and sabotage the process. A prime example of this is the pros and cons list, which is the main tool the culture offers for trying to make a major life decision. On the surface there’s nothing inherently wrong with making such a list, but when we look deeper we see that it’s a way … Click here to continue reading...

The Myth of a Calling

Alongside the myth of “the One” that our culture espouses, we’re also inundated with the pressure to find, pursue and live out our “calling.” The culture says: “If you’re not living out your dream career, you’re settling. If you have a regular job, you’re not fulfilling your potential. Follow your bliss! Live your dreams! The world is your oyster! Go make it happen!”

That’s great in theory, and I’m all for people living a life that is aligned with their passions, but there are several holes in this philosophy that arise when it shifts from theory to actual life with actual people, like the following:

1. You don’t know what your passion is.

2. You believe that if you changed jobs or careers you would fill the empty place inside of you.

3. You believe that there is only ONE career that is your calling. (For more on this, Click here to continue reading...

A Passionate Life

Inspired by the courageous, wise members of my July 2014 Trust Yourself program. Quotes from the forum reprinted with permission.

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My family and I were driving into town last summer when we saw a blue van pass by with the words “Mr. Pool” printed on the side.

“There goes Mr. Pool,” I said, as we had just hired him to finish hooking up our pool heater. And I had this moment of appreciation for the person who started Mr. Pool.

“Isn’t it great that someone had an idea or had a passion for pools and started his or her own business? It’s so much better than working in an office building for The Man,” I said.

My husband vehemently agreed. After working in cubicles for twenty years in the visual effects industry, my husband has a particular, visceral aversion to The Man.

“But wasn’t there some sense of … Click here to continue reading...

The Escape Hatch from Anxiety

Life is uncomfortable; there is no escaping that reality. From the time we emerge from the perfect, symbiotic state of the womb and enter the world, we’re confronted with the fact that the external environment doesn’t always meet our needs and our internal state fluctuates from equilibrium to disequilibrium, often a dozen times or more in the course of a single day. I remember when my son was a baby and he was suffering from digestion difficulties. I tried everything in my power to ease his pain – including limiting my diet to three foods – but nothing helped. I clearly recall looking at him one day in his tiny four month old body and thinking, “It’s uncomfortable being in a body and there’s nothing I can do to change that.” It was my first of many motherhood lessons about letting go and realizing that part of our lot as … Click here to continue reading...