World Anxiety

Photo by Everest Finn – taken 13 miles above Earth

One of the byproducts of being a highly sensitive person prone to anxiety is that you tend to take on others’ pain and stories. This is particularly true if you had an enmeshed relationship with a parent growing up and didn’t learn to solidify the borders of your skin but instead became a porous sponge that absorbed the emotional world of your parent. But the tendency to take on others’ pain and stories is a common struggle for many people regardless of early relationships and speaks to being both sensitive and not having established a full well of Self. For when the waters in your inner well are low, there’s nothing to absorb the pings and bangs of life: every story pings and every pain bangs on those dry, hollow walls.

This often shows up in my work around relationship … Click here to continue reading...

Is My Partner Right For Me?

Among the many questions that plague those suffering from relationship anxiety, the question “Is my partner right for me?” tops the list of last-night ruminations.

As with so many intrusive thoughts, we must first recognize that the question is coming from the ego, the part of ourselves that demands certainty and operates under a black-and-white mindset. Right implies wrong, which plays directly into the ego’s need for certainty and, thus, the illusion of safety. The ego believes if we can answer these unanswerable questions, we can avoid the “fundamental ambiguity of being human”, a phrase that Pema Chodron uses to so aptly describe the discomfort that is an intrinsic and unavoidable part of the human experience.

However, much to the dismay of the ego, life doesn’t come in neat packages that can be divided into black-and-white answers. One of the ego’s sole missions is to try to control … Click here to continue reading...

In Love with the Feeling of Being In Love

A term appeared on my e-course forum several years ago: infatuation junkie. Forum members were using it to describe the phenomena of chasing after the feeling that arises during the infatuation stage of a relationship, what our culture calls being “head over heels in love” and is accompanied by belly butterflies and other heart-stopping sensations. It’s an eye-opening moment on one’s journey from relationship anxiety to acceptance and serenity when the person afflicted with the addiction to the feeling of being in love can identify it as such. Naming, which is another term for coming out of denial, is often the first step toward recovery.

It’s understandable that we would chase this feeling. What’s not to love about the feelings of aliveness, meaning and completion that arise as a result of “falling in love”?  Ultimately isn’t that what we’re all seeking – to feel fully alive, to live a … Click here to continue reading...