Life Is Not A Popularity Contest

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We’re born intrinsically worthy. Every person on the planet – every single baby – is born deserving of love. When we gaze upon the miracle of a newborn, we don’t say, “I’ll only love you if you’re the smartest, most popular person in your school and you attend Harvard one day and become a doctor and marry another doctor and live in a fancy house and drive fancy cars.” No, we love a baby because she exists. We pour love into the perfection of a baby because he’s here. I love you because I love you. And the baby feels loved for no reason at all.

But somewhere along the way, the baby learns that the loving is conditional. Perhaps it’s when he sees his mother’s eyes brighten when he reads his first words at age three. Or perhaps it’s when she hears her father bragging to his friends that … Click here to continue reading…

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The Timeless Spot of Grace

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Each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry; an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by god. It is this spot of grace that issues peace. Psychologists call this spot the Psyche, Theologians call it the Soul, Jung calls it the Seat of Unconscious, Hindu masters call it Atman, Buddhists call it Dharma, Rilke calls it Inwardness, Sufis call it Qalb, And Jesus calls it the Center of our Love.

To know this spot of Inwardness is to know who we are, not by surface markers of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be addressed, but by feeling our place in relation to the infinite and by inhabiting it. This is a hard lifelong task, for the nature of becoming is a Click here to continue reading…

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The Gift of Intrusive Thoughts

I like to start every article that I write about anxiety, worry, or intrusive thoughts by saying that I hold a different view than most people about the function of anxiety in that I see it as a gift. I know firsthand how miserable it is to suffer from anxiety, but I also know that when you turn toward the anxiety and view it as a messenger delivering vital information from your inner world that can help you heal and transform your life, you shift from hating the anxiety and trying to make it go away to being able to turn toward it and learn from it. Then, and only then, can the healing begin.

If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts you’re in a hell-realm of mental agony. A thought arrives, you hook in, and you’re in for the nightmare ride of your lifetime: descending into the underworld of a … Click here to continue reading…

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Travel Anxiety

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In our culture that upholds the extrovert ideal as the pinnacle of a life fully lived, I often hear from clients who share that they often feel shame when they don’t fit the mold. I hear from clients in their 20s who feel like they “should” enjoy going to parties and drinking alcohol; clients in their 30s who feel like they “should” have unequivocal clarity about wanting to have a child; and clients of all ages who fall into the belief that they “should” enjoy traveling.

While traveling can be exciting and eye-opening, it can also be quite grueling, especially for the highly sensitive and introverted temperaments. One of the hallmarks of highly sensitive people is having difficulty with change, and there are few experiences more disruptive than leaving the comfort zone of home, the familiarity of your bed and routines, the place where your roots extend down into the … Click here to continue reading…

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The Well of Being

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When I was getting ready to leave yesterday morning for a family gathering, the term “well-being” popped into my head. It’s a term we hear a lot these days, especially if we frequent websites that promote a healthy lifestyle. And I thought, “Well-being. A well of being. Well-being means that you’re able to access a well of being inside of you.”

There may be no medicine more effective to neutralize anxiety than accessing your own well of being. What is a well of being? A well of being is a quiet place inside of you, a resting space where you can audibly hear the noise quieting and physically feel your soul relax. It’s your own private retreat that’s accessible and free. It’s what the Buddhists call “refuge”, often in reference to our tendency to seek comfort in fleeting external objects and conditions instead of the sustainable inner realm. It’s a … Click here to continue reading…

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