Heartbroken Not Broken

Shame is often a placeholder for powerlessness and a protector against grief. Instead of feeling the rawness of grief, the mind latches onto a shame story that says, “I’m broken.” Instead of surrendering to the powerlessness of painful situations that had nothing to do with you, like your parents’ divorce or any other trauma, the shame story says, “It was all my fault.” Instead of leaping off the cliff of thoughts and diving into the sea of vulnerability that defines being human, the shame story says, “I don’t deserve love.”

These shame stories often arise in childhood as brilliant defense and survival mechanisms, for if children were to see the truth of their family, social, societal, or education situations and feel the corresponding feelings of loneliness and heartbreak they would crumble. Shame gives us an illusory sense of control: If it’s my fault, I can change it. If I’m doing … Click here to continue reading...

A Foundational Key for Breaking Free From Anxiety

“This is your body, your greatest gift, pregnant with wisdom you do not hear, grief you thought was forgotten, and joy you have never known.”

― Marion Woodman, Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul

We’re a neck-up culture. We place a high premium on words and believe that our salvation comes from intellectual prowess. We talk and think and ruminate: talking our way out of problems, thinking our way through dilemmas, and fully believing that all of life’s answers are found in our heads. Some of this propensity toward talking comes from our extroverted culture (Americans have a particularly bad reputation worldwide for being blabber-mouths) but it also comes from a defense mechanism that begins early in life for many children: when the pain is too big, they travel away from their bodies, which is the locus of pain, and into their heads.

This … Click here to continue reading...

“My Partner Doesn’t Know How To Touch Me”

Clients often say to me, “My partner isn’t a great lover. He or she doesn’t know how to touch me like past partners have.” To which I respond, “Maybe that’s true, but if your own anxiety, current life circumstances, and sexual/body history are weighing down on you, you will shut down. Anxiety kills desire. Past pain around sexuality eclipses sexual freedom. Body shame circumvents arousal. The work must begin with you. And from there you can have a very different conversation with your partner about what you like and what you don’t like.”

There’s usually a long pause, and then a sigh of relief that speaks to their realization that perhaps there’s hope for the relationship and their sex life after all. Paralyzed by the expectations of the culture that says that sex should be sizzling hot from the first kiss and that this initial spark should fan into fireworks … Click here to continue reading...

Loneliness and Love

There’s a fundamental loneliness that is part of the fabric of being human. It arrives in the corners of night, when shadows form from curtain folds and the backs of chairs. It seeps in just before twilight, when afternoon exhales its last breath and evening hasn’t yet inhaled. It lives on the edges of exaltation, in the space between the golden hour when the gods breathe their jeweled breath over meadows and in the splintered crack just before night’s multi-colored ink begins to sink into dreams.

There are acute times when loneliness appears. Holidays, transitional ebbs in the day or week, birthdays. This is often when the shame stories bleed into loneliness and tell you things like, “Everyone else is having fun right now. Everyone else has a family and is off on an adventure and I’m alone. Or I’m not alone – I’m with my family or my partner … Click here to continue reading...

At the Heart of Anxiety

“The final stage of healing is using what happens to you to help other people. That is healing in itself.” – Gloria Steinem

“Why me?” people often ask when they’re dragged into the underworld of anxiety in any form. “Why do they have it so easy? Why does it look like everyone else glides through life when I struggle?”

I’ve written many times on this site and in my courses about the gift of being highly sensitive and the gems that are gleaned from doing our healing work. And I’ve touched on the final stage of healing, which Gloria Steinem succinctly summarizes above, which is to take what you’ve learned and help others.  The two are intimately linked, for it’s those who embrace the gifts of their sensitivity, which means attending to anxiety, who are more easily able to live life in alignment with their true selves. One of the … Click here to continue reading...