It's Hard Being Human

At least once a day the phrase “it’s hard being human” enters my brain. It usually arrives on the heels of my sons arguing with each other and me trying to teach them how to communicate more effectively. As a result of feeling hurt, one will lash out at the other, and before we know it the great domino effect of anger feeds off each other until they’re both in a rage. When we’ve slowed them back down to somewhere near neutral, I’ll say something like, “Next time he hurts your feelings, can you try saying, ‘That hurt my feelings’ or ‘Let’s take some space’ instead of lashing out?” It’s a conversation I’ve had a hundred times with them, and only recently has it begun to take hold so that once a while one of them will resist the impulse to lash out and instead say, “That hurt my feelings.” … Click here to continue reading...

Great Doubt Great Awakening

I’ll never forget the day I was trying to find a parking spot at our local market and I saw this bumper sticker:

Great Doubt Great Awakening

Little Doubt Little Awakening

No Doubt Fast Asleep

– Zen Maxim

Now, Boulder is full of philosophical bumper stickers of all persuasions, but if you know my work, I’m sure you can imagine why this one brought a huge smile to my face. You mean Zen Buddhism is supporting what I talk about every day in my work? How wonderful!

Buddhist Psychotherapist Tara Brach says it this way:

“Like investigation, healthy doubt arises from the urge to know what is true–it challenges assumptions or the status quo in service of healing and freedom. In contrast, unhealthy doubt arises from fear or aversion, and it questions one’s own basic potential or worth, or the value of another.”

― Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace Click here to continue reading...

Longing for Aliveness

It’s often during this time of year in the Northern hemisphere, when the entire natural world is quivering with a restlessness to birth itself anew, when the animals are shaking the last snowflakes off their backs and the flowers are poking their heads above ground, that the projection of, “I’m not attracted/in love enough with my partner” emerges loud and fierce in my work with clients.

Why would this be? Why would the transition of seasons cause the projection about attraction and in-love feelings to rear its familiar, compelling, and insistent head?

Let’s break it down:

Transitons, for the highly sensitive among us, activate grief, restlessness, and vulnerability. This is true for the larger life transitions – getting married, moving, buying a house, having a baby – as well as for the ones that receive little to no attention in this culture: dusk and dawn, birthdays, and the change of … Click here to continue reading...

I Feel Like I'm Lying When I Say I Love You

These are statements I hear quite often in my practice: I feel like I’m lying when I say I love you to my partner. I feel like a fake, an imposter, like I’m leading him/her on. If I don’t feel love, how can I say it? And I’m not always feeling it. In fact, it seems like more often than not I’m not feeling in love, or loving feelings at all. So how can I be genuine and say I love you?

When you say I love you even when you don’t feel it you’re acting from who you really are. Yes, you are lying: You are lying to the fear-based part of you. You’re lying to the gatekeeper that wants to protect you from getting hurt… again. You’re being untruthful to your small-minded ego who is defined by its separateness and, thus, is terrified of losing itself in the … Click here to continue reading...

Love Cannot Be Measured

Love cannot be measured. It cannot be placed in test tubes in a science laboratory or placed on the great scale of life to determine whether or not there’s enough. The anxious/sensitive mind longs for a definite answer to the questions that swirl through its brain – Do I love you enough? What is enough? Do I love you as much as you love me? – praying that a divine hand will reach down from the heavens and seal the relationship with a stamp of approval. But love is not an exam you take in school where you can receive a letter grade. It’s not a handful of precious jewels you can place on a scale to determine its worth. It can’t be quantified, graded, or weighed. Love cannot be measured.

You long to measure love because the hypervigilant part of you wants to make sure that you have what … Click here to continue reading...