The Tumultuous Twenties

*Note: If you’re past your twenties, I invite you to share your thoughts and insights in the comments section about what helped you get through that decade, what you learned, and what wisdom you can import to those still struggling through that difficult decade.

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“Recently, I met a women in her early twenties who was deeply depressed. Looking at her, I saw myself fifteen or twenty years ago. I recognized every desperate feeling, every horrified thought. I asked her why she felt so sad. She told me she felt misunderstood by her father, who didn’t’ want to pay for her therapy or for her to move to another city. She said she was trying to make her way through the world but kept falling down. She couldn’t stay with any career for very long; she felt fat; she felt inadequate; she felt embarrassed and kept thinking that other people … Click here to continue reading...

Live the Questions

I recently came across the following in a book called “The Middle Passage” by James Hollis:

“What the frightened individual wishes above all is the restoration of the sense of self which once worked. What the therapist knows is that the symptoms are helpful clues to the place of injury or neglect, pointing the way to subsequent healing… As Jung asserted, ‘The outbreak of neurosis is not just a matter of chance. As a rule it is most critical. It is usually the moment when a new psychological adjustment, a new adaptation is demanded.’ This implies that our own psyche has organized this crisis, produced this suffering, precisely because injury as been done and change must occur.” pp. 36-7

You can see the philosophy from which I hail, yes? James Hollis is a Jungian analyst who writes from the depth psychological tradition, a field of psychology developed by Carl Jung … Click here to continue reading...

World Anxiety

Photo by Everest Finn – taken 13 miles above Earth

One of the byproducts of being a highly sensitive person prone to anxiety is that you tend to take on others’ pain and stories. This is particularly true if you had an enmeshed relationship with a parent growing up and didn’t learn to solidify the borders of your skin but instead became a porous sponge that absorbed the emotional world of your parent. But the tendency to take on others’ pain and stories is a common struggle for many people regardless of early relationships and speaks to being both sensitive and not having established a full well of Self. For when the waters in your inner well are low, there’s nothing to absorb the pings and bangs of life: every story pings and every pain bangs on those dry, hollow walls.

This often shows up in my work around relationship … Click here to continue reading...

Dream Theme: I Cheated on My Partner

A common dream theme appeared last week on my Open Your Heart forum: cheating on one’s partner. The course participant wrote:

I never remember dreams but just had one last night where I cheated on my bf with a guy I used to date and had no feelings for. In the dream I felt really bad and told my best friend I wasn’t going to tell him that I cheated because it meant nothing and didn’t want to hurt him. She told me that was really dishonest and I was wrestling with that. I am wondering now if this means I feel guilty that I am having all this anxiety and doubting the relationship and he thinks everything is fine because I act really loving towards him, tell him I love him (and I do!). But the fact that he has no idea I’m struggling with this makes me feel Click here to continue reading...

The Critical Moment to Break Free From Anxiety

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  – Viktor E. Frankl

If we could slow life down to micro-moments, if we could literally alter time like a movie turning it into sloooooow moooooootiiiooon so that we could elongate the critical moment when our mind veers off like a runaway locomotive and instead redirect it to stay on the smooth track of clear thinking, everything would change. As challenging as it sounds, that’s exactly what we must do if we’re going to rewire the brain to respond to the stimulus that sends the anxious mind into overdrive.

Let’s break this down with a common example of how this shows up in relationship anxiety:

“I’ll receive a text with a loving gesture, maybe a flirty emoticon or something sexy, and I’ll feel … Click here to continue reading...