When Fear Washes In: Health Anxiety and Other Fears of Death

Fear is a part of life. Sometimes we can keep it at bay, but eventually, with certainty, it will creep in like a red tide on an otherwise calm beach. We try to run, but it’s faster than we are. We try to hide but it discovers all of our hiding places. Eventually we realize that the only way to effectively work with fear is to turn around and face it and to cultivate practices that push it back out to sea where it’s reabsorbed in the great vastness of those bigger waters.

Fear can show up in many ways, with many faces. We fear for our children’s health. We fear that we’re in the wrong relationship. We fear that the strange lump we’ve just discovered is cancer. I can’t tell you how many of my clients struggle with health anxiety on a regular basis. “Every time my throat hurts … Click here to continue reading...

Anxiety: Ambassador of Wholeness

Dreams come in the service of health and wholeness.” – Jeremy Taylor, author of “The Wisdom of Your Dreams”

A few weekends ago I attended one of the most inspiring, nourishing, revelatory workshops of my life. It was a workshop on dreamwork facilitated by the world-renowned Unitarian Universalist minister, author, and spectacular human being, Jeremy Taylor. Jeremy has spent nearly fifty years studying the world of dream, symbols, metaphors, archetypes, and the unconscious – and if you’re familiar with my work and mindset you can see from that list alone why the workshop would knock my socks off. I was sitting there the whole time thinking, you mean, I get to sit in a room with twelve other people who are as excited about dreams and metaphors as I am? People who understand that life – including dreams and symptoms like anxiety – cannot be taken at … Click here to continue reading...

Gratitude 108 Offering

We hear a lot about the power of gratitude lately. There seems to have been a hundredth monkey leap in consciousness, a global awareness that gratitude is a powerful and relatively easy way to sweep out the propensity toward negativity and connect to what’s good and right in our world.

For me, a gratitude practice is a way to connect to God (Spirit, nature, highest self; for me the word God works well). There are many ways to connect with God, of course: sitting in nature, meditating, listening to or writing poetry, a full-bodied dance in your living room, a candlelit bath, making love. I cannot say exactly what happens when we connect to the divine, as a lived experience transcends words, but you know it when you taste it.

And we know it when we’re disconnected from God-consciousness. As a culture we misplace the natural yearning to unite with … Click here to continue reading...

Turning Five

“Were you in labor at this time five years ago?” my husband asked tonight as we were cleaning up the kitchen after our early Passover dinner.

“No, not yet. I didn’t go into labor until 4am.”

April 14, 2009 – 4am

I’m awakened by a puddle of warm liquid gathered around me. Although unlike anything experienced in normal life, it’s familiar, as it’s exactly how I was awakened by the onset of Everest’s labor, and at the exact same time: 4am at 37 weeks. My body seems to gestate babies like clockwork. I get out of bed slowly so as not to wake up my sleeping four year old and husband and walk downstairs. My entire body is trembling, shaking with the terrifying and exhilarating awareness that I’m about to enter the fire of labor and be initiated into the dark and magnificent forest of childbirth. My second son has Click here to continue reading...

Dear Self, I Love You

Where there is expectation there’s a setup for disappointment, which is why holidays like Valentine’s Day so often include tears. For whether you’re single or partnered, it’s almost impossible to escape the expectation that on this one day your partner is supposed to wow and dazzle you with expressions of love and romance or, if you’re single, it’s difficult to escape falling into the belief that there’s something wrong with you.

Inspired by a woman’s suggestion in my workout class, I realized that there’s an ideal antidote to this setup that allows everyone to utilize this holiday as an opportunity to find empowerment and love without waiting for anyone else to give it to them: Write yourself a love letter!

If you have trouble getting into the mood, imagine that the most loving person in the world is standing beside you, reflecting what she or he sees. Let this person … Click here to continue reading...