Season of the Fallen Flower

It’s the season of the fallen flower. It’s the season of heat when the rising temperatures cause the petals, so vibrant and alive just a few weeks ago, to wilt. It’s the season of paradox: we bask in summer light and longer days yet the hands of darkness are stealing away the light minute by minute; we revel in the heat yet when it reaches a crescendo and breaking point we seek shelter indoors. The winter of summer. The emotional paradox of this season is that when there’s heat there’s an expectation of joy – beer and BBQs, swimming pools and parties – and yet there’s an undercurrent of sadness because we sense, especially the highly sensitive ones, the loss of light that begins after the summer solstice, and we feel in our bones the interplay of life and death.

We live in a culture that desperately seeks to avoid … Click here to continue reading...

“I Wish He Was Taller”

I could have titled this post with any of the phrases I hear every day from my clients and course members:

“I wish she was thinner.” “I wish he was more successful.” “I wish she had better skin.” “I wish he was more assertive.” “I wish she had a different voice.”

But this is the one that came through a few weeks ago in a session with a client (*shared with permission), so we’ll start here: I wish he was taller. What’s embedded in that sentiment? How we respond to the unbidden or undesirable thought once it arrives determines whether we walk down the path of learning and discovery or get stuck in the tar pit of anxiety. It’s that one crucial moment that defines the choice-point and makes the difference. Here’s how our dialogue unfolded:

“When I first saw him I thought, ‘I wish he was taller,’ my client … Click here to continue reading...

Television and Anxiety

If you’re a member of my Break Free From Relationship Anxiety E-Course, you know that I follow a holistic model when working with anxiety. This means that in order to break open and discover what’s embedded inside the messenger of anxiety, we must address the four realms of Self: cognitive, physical, emotional, and spiritual/soul/creative. When anxiety and intrusive thoughts hit we ask, “What’s needed in these four realms of self? Which realm is asking for my attention?” Anxiety and intrusive thoughts are the distress flare. Our loving and compassionate action is the response.

In order to do our inner work and even slow down enough to ask what’s needed, we need to create time and space in our lives. Yet when I ask people how much time they’re spending turning inward, they often say, “I just don’t have the time.” Tell me your day, I respond. “Well, I … Click here to continue reading...

The Need for Certainty

Last Tuesday we were riding our bikes in gorgeous, 70-degree spring weather. On Wednesday we woke up to a foot of snow and a power outage. There’s a saying in Colorado that goes, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait fifteen minutes.” This is true every day of the year, but it’s never more true than in spring.

I find the temperamental weather here both fascinating and disconcerting. Growing up in Los Angeles, where it’s 65-70 degrees practically every day of the year, I came to rely on the consistent weather as a source of comfort. If I went to school wearing shorts, I knew I would come home wearing shorts. But here, we can leave for the day wearing shorts and come home wearing full winter gear.

Yet when I drop into the teaching, I know that living with these weather patterns has furthered by ability to deal … Click here to continue reading...

Fix Me, Save Me, Help Me, Rescue Me

My friend and colleague, Carrie, and I were talking one morning about how one of the most challenging – and often more rewarding – aspects of our work is helping clients break through the wall of resistance that prevents them from taking full responsibility for their well-being. On the surface, it looks like all of these clients want to feel better – otherwise why would they be in therapy? – but resistance works undercover and often comes out through the backdoor. While they want to feel better, they don’t always want to do the inner work that will allow them to feel better. And it’s even deeper than that: they may want to want to do the work, but when their resistance is iron-clad, as thick as the Great Wall of China, it wields all of the power. They are powerless. Until they’re not.

Here are clues that you’re … Click here to continue reading...