Call the Witch by Its True Name

My favorite fairy tale when I was a child was Rumpelstiltskin, the story of a girl who makes a bargain with an imp-like creature in exchange for saving her life from being executed by the king. First she gives the imp a necklace, then a ring, then promises her firstborn child. But when her child arrives, she begs the imp to let her keep it. He says he will if she can guess his name. In deep distress, she wanders into the forest and stumbles upon the creature, who is hopping around the fire singing, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll go to the king’s house, nobody knows my name, I’m called ‘Rumpelstiltskin.'” When the imp arrives at the kingdom to claim the baby, the girl (now married to the king), says, “Your name is Rumpelstiltskin.” The imp is enraged, but the deal is broken and he has no choice but to … Click here to continue reading...

Love is Softening

Our hearts are encased in protection, layers of materials like iron or brick that create a fortress around our most sensitive selves. When these material first arrived, they came as friends, for our hearts as young people didn’t know how to rest undefended. We needed to harden in order to survive. But one aspect of growing up means realizing that our greatest strength is what we have become conditioned to believe is our greatest weakness: a softened heart is a wise heart, and it no longer needs the armor it thought it needed to keep it safe.

Safety, as an adult, means dropping the defenses. It means letting those we love into our innermost chambers. It means saying “I don’t know” or “Yes, maybe that as well” instead of being entrenched in one position. It means taking the risk of being vulnerable, which by definition is an undefended state. It … Click here to continue reading...

In Bed With Fear

We hear a lot about the power of fear these days, and the way we culturally/psychologically talk about it speaks to our beliefs that there are forces “out there” that are dark or evil that we need to overpower. In the early days of my work, I also spoke of fear in these terms, but over the years I’ve softened my perspective and have come to see fear as an inner bully that doesn’t need our aggression as much as our loving attention. When fear takes over, especially in the form of debilitating anxiety, it’s easy to feel like fear is the aggressor and you’re the victim. The truth (as I see it) is that “bully and victim” are two sides of the same coin, characters that are co-creating a dance that stems from pain and, when met with force, leads to more pain.

What happens when, instead of meeting … Click here to continue reading...

Walk With Love

Please note: If you are pleased with the results of the recent elections, you may not want to read this post. I wrote it for those who are struggling emotionally and need support and guidance for how to walk through their difficult feelings so that they can arrive, ultimately, back at love. 

However, I need to say that my first draft of this article was written two days after the elections in a raw state of emotions, and I have since edited out the portions of it that were coming from my own small-minded and black-and-white thinking. I do not want to name-call. I do not want to participate in a culture of hate and divisiveness. I know that not everyone who voted for Trump carries all of his values and his rhetoric, and that the reasons why people voted for whoever they voted for are complex and multi-faceted. I Click here to continue reading...

The Life You're Meant to Live

Somewhere along the road of childhood into adolescence, a belief is transmitted that says: Follow the roadmap that culture presents and you will find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This roadmap looks like: Graduate from a 4-year university, land a corporate job then climb the ladder, get married, buy a house, then have a couple of kids (in that order). There are a thousand other assumptions along the way: Marry someone of the opposite sex (who is also “the love of your life”); marry someone of similar background; don’t move too far away from your parents or your hometown; have your babies in the hospital; send your kids to school; don’t do your own thing; don’t have your own life, I could go on and on.

Very few people question this assumed path. Instead, they follow its implicit formula and then, years down the road, … Click here to continue reading...