Feelings Are Messy


As humans in an uncertain world, we seek certainty in a variety of ways. We ask questions that are fundamentally unanswerable. We ruminate and obsess on a single thought (otherwise known as intrusive thoughts). We Google and text and seek reassurance in a variety of increasingly technologically oriented ways. When I see someone falling into these common mental habits, the first question I encourage them to ask themselves is, “What are these thoughts/actions protecting me from feeling?”

We’re so identified with spending thousands of hours in the realm of thought that oftentimes this question doesn’t make any sense. What do you mean “protecting” me from feeling? What I mean is that somewhere along the road of growing up, somewhere between the innately healthy relationship that babies have to their emotional life and the disconnected relationship that most adults have, we learned that one way to manage the messy, amorphous, … Click here to continue reading...

An Interview with a Course Member

Lake Phoksumdo, Dolpo, Nepal

Over and over again, the feedback I receive from my 30-day course participants is that one of the most impactful and life-changing aspects of my courses is hearing from and connecting with other people who are going through the exact same struggles. Despite the worldwide web, we live more isolated than we’ve ever lived, which leads to the sense that we’re the only one struggling with our particular brand of challenge. Because of the role I hold, I swim daily in the common notes that compose the pain of the human song, and I write about those themes as much as I can on this blog. But there’s something about hearing people’s stories on the live, group, weekly calls that transcends even the power of the written word.

Along these lines, I’d like to share an email interview I conducted with a Trust Yourself graduate a … 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...

Risk Aversion and Anxiety


I’m standing on the edge of my life, as if on the shores of a cold but beautiful lake. I want to dive in but I’m scared, only the fear doesn’t sound like fear as much as doubt, anxiety, uncertainty, and ambivalence. What if I make a mistake? What if the water is too cold and I can’t breathe? What if there’s a better lake out there: warmer, smoother, less dangerous? I’m here but I do not move, too scared to fail, too scared to risk, too scared to live. 

One of the hallmark characteristics of being on the sensitive-anxious-creative spectrum is the tendency to lean toward safety and away from risk. As sensitives who can see and imagine all possibilities, we’re constantly scanning the horizon and imagining everything that can go terribly awry in any situation. As I’ve written in other blog posts, this quality served us very well … Click here to continue reading...

The News and Anxiety

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We live in uncertain times, and that statement alone can send an anxious-sensitive personality type into a tailspin. But the truth is that we’ve always lived in uncertain times. Because death exists, our lives hang in the balance on this precious and precarious planet. The threats change faces – where once we feared our babies getting eaten by a wild hyena or dying of tuberculosis now we fear terrorist attacks and school bombings – but the threat is more or less the same as it’s always been. The bottom line is that there are no guarantees for our survival, an awareness that can send those who are attached to the guarantee of safety in the face of change into anxiety.

How we meet that anxiety determines whether we spiral into depression or ignite into action. If we hook into the fear stories, we quickly descend down the spiral slide that … Click here to continue reading...