Holiday Pain and Gratitude

If you’re like most people, there’s probably an element of pain, dread and/or overwhelm as we enter the holiday season. The rush to consume, the pressure to feel joyful, and the expectation of experiencing perfect familial bliss set against a Normal Rockwell backdrop is enough to send any human being under a gray cloud. Add to that being a highly sensitive person that can veer toward anxiety or depression and the recipe for implosions or explosions is laid out on the holiday table alongside the turkey and cranberries.

Holidays, birthdays, and transitions are a set-up for disappointment and pain. Whenever we expect to feel one certain way (i.e. blissful, connected, happy), the other emotions inside clamor for attention until we break down in some form. We simply balk in the face of expectations. And the expectation itself for pure joy is, in a word, ridiculous. Why do we put so … Click here to continue reading...

In the Flow of this Uncertain Life

Last weekend was a challenging one for my family. The week of unrelenting rain here in Colorado created overflow in the creeks, and we were faced with a situation that was frighteningly close to the floods of 2013 as the normally gentle waters behind our house surged and swelled into a serpentine river and began to bite off large chunks of our land. Once again, my husband stayed up most of the night for several nights and worked all day fortifying our land. And once again, the boys and I helped where we could but mostly stayed inside, where I tried to calm their anxiety while tending to my own.

Living this close to nature brings the precarious position of our planet forefront into our consciousness. In the midst of this scare, my mind that longs for certainty was already planning our escape: we’ll sell this house and move to … Click here to continue reading...

Parenting by the the Fuel Source of Gratitude

People often ask me how I survived the early years of motherhood when our firstborn son woke up between ten to twelve times a night and needed more than the breast to go back to sleep. Part of what allowed me to survive was an extraordinary partner who shouldered the nighttime challenges with me for the first year. Part of it was a fierce commitment to eating nourishing foods and eliminating sugar and caffeine completely. But most of it was learning early on in pregnancy that actively connecting to the free and sustainable fuel source of gratitude powered me through all challenges associated with motherhood.

My gratitude practice began in my first trimester of pregnancy when I was taken down by a sickness nobody could have prepared me for. And the more I interviewed women for my Birthing a New Mother program, the more clearly I saw the direct connection … 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...

Birthday 42: Each Line Tells a Story

Tomorrow I turn forty-two. Every time I’ve thought about my birthday these past couple of weeks, my mind intellectualized with statements like, “What’s a birthday, anyway? Another random and meaningless cultural construction. Just another day. Nothing special.” But I know enough about the mind to know that when I’m stuck in my head I’m trying to avoid something in my heart. So I drop down.

I breathe. I set my older son in charge of the little one and go upstairs to turn inward. Within moments, I’m in my heart-space, walking through the layers of feeling that rise up.

First, gratitude: My husband, who creates the foundation on which we’ve built our connected, rich, challenging, passionate life. My husband, who spends weeks planning for my birthday each year, channeling his artistic talent into creating a special gift for me. Every year I tell him I don’t need anything, and every … Click here to continue reading...