Anxiety is a Game of Whack-A-Mole

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The anxious mind can latch onto almost any topic:

What if I don’t have enough money? What if my kids aren’t okay? What if I don’t get pregnant? What if I have cancer? What if I don’t love my partner enough and I’m making a terrible mistake? What if I don’t have enough friends? What if I’m gay? What if I’m a pedophile? What if I have an STD? What if there’s a terrorist attack ? What if I’m in the wrong career? What if the plane crashes?

How many of these thoughts have you struggled with? And have you found that you can resolve one thought only to find that another pops up in its place? That’s why anxiety is a game of whack-a-mole: if you whack down one mole (thought) without addressing it from the root, another will quickly … Click here to continue reading...

Grief Neutralizes Thought

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We are addicted to our stories. The thoughts come in and take us away on their magic carpet promise of arriving in a land of certainty, where the vulnerability and pain of life can’t touch us. We learn early to climb aboard this carpet because, as young people, we usually don’t know how to manage the big feelings of life. Big feelings coursing through a little body are only manageable when that body is being held in the arms of a loving, solid caregiver who can transmit the message, “You’re okay. It’s okay. I’ve got you. It’s a big feeling but it won’t hurt you. Let it come. Be loud. I’m here.” Most of us, sadly, receive a vastly different message, often from day one.

We become so adept at climbing aboard the magic carpet of thoughts and stories that it becomes a habit, a neural-pattern in your brain that … Click here to continue reading...

A Tale of Two Moths, Dark Night of the Soul, and Sexuality

I met Andrea in my first round of Open Your Heart in May 2013. Every time she posted on the forum, I was moved and inspired by the depth and clarity of her writing, and her ability to transpose her inner world into words. When she shared this story with me over email, I immediately asked if she would be willing to share it on my site, as I knew it would provide light and inspiration for those struggling through dark night of the soul, especially when sexuality is effected. As Andrea so beautifully shares, it’s often when we can see our experience reflected through nature and metaphor that we find some solace, hope, and the energy to go on. 

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I’ve struggled with relationship anxiety, perfectionism, a highly sensitive nature, a declining libido and other changes associated with fluctuating hormones and mid-life, and a recently diagnosed autoimmune disease.  When the stress was too much for my body to take emotionally … Click here to continue reading...

Compassion or Comparison

My yoga teacher has said this phrase dozens of times, but one morning it went in differently and landed in the places where breath meets bone, where sinew aches with loss and the water in the pelvic bowl of my hips shimmered like a moonlit lake. The words traveled along ancient blood-lines to the place where ancestral memory digs a spade into foreign soil, where the grandmothers and great-grandmothers hummed the melodies of their lineage while baking the day’s bread and folded their pain in the flour.

Compassion rather than comparison. Connect to what’s needed in this moment instead of to what everyone else is doing or what you think you “should” be doing.

She cued a pose and I did something else. She cued another pose and I remained where I was, following my breath into the places that needed attention. The beginning of a poem filtered into consciousness, … Click here to continue reading...

The Escape Hatch of Perfection

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There are so many ways that we can avoid pain. We can choose denial. We can self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. We can fall prey to fear/ego’s insidiously convincing beliefs that to turn inward is “selfish, indulgent, and will get you nowhere.” We avoid pain because we live in a culture that teaches us to avoid pain. We avoid pain because we don’t know that turning toward pain (and I use pain as an umbrella term for anything uncomfortable that we wish to avoid feeling) is one of the secret pathways to joy.

If you’ve found your way to my site, one of your default methods of avoiding pain is likely to travel up to the safe regions of your mind where pain can’t find you. There you sit at the Great Loom of Intrusive Thoughts and spin your web of “what-ifs” and “if-onlys”, each thread keeping you stuck in anxiety of … Click here to continue reading...