Grace Through Uncertainty

birds in flight

“Whether through birds in snow, or geese honking in the dark, or through the brilliant wet leaf that hits your face the moment you are questioning your worth, the quiet teachers are everywhere. When we think we are in charge, their lessons dissolve as accidents or coincidence. But when we’re brave enough to listen, the glass that breaks across the room is offering us direction that can only be heard in the roots of how we feel and think.”- Mark Nepo

Uncertainty is part of life. Part of the human condition is to be aware of and struggle with uncertainty, yet few people inherently know how to live with it in a graceful way. Left to its own devices, and in the absence of a culture that teaches us how to create footholds that help us anchor into life in healthy ways, the mind will choose the path of least … Click here to continue reading...

A Taste of My Own Medicine

Our older son will turn fourteen this week, and as part of the Jewish tradition he will be walking through the rite of passage of a Bar Mitzvah. Given that my husband was raised Catholic and now connects most deeply to Source through art and nature and the fact that we’re not raising our boys in a traditional religious setting, this will be a very creative interpretation of a traditional Bar Mitzvah. One of my dearest friends from childhood who is studying to become a rabbi will be officiating, we’ll be celebrating in a tent in our backyard, and my son will be offering a highly unusual drash (interpretation of his Torah portion), which has to do with his passion for airplanes. Like all aspects of our life, we’re doing it our own way.

Nevertheless, forty-five people will be joining us, many coming from around the country, and we need … Click here to continue reading...

The Scars of First Heartbreak

There’s nothing like the first. The first family. The first friend. The first kiss. The first job. The first baby. The first heartbreak.

The first time or experience or relationship lays the groove of a blueprint for how we navigate later, similar experiences. Our first experience of a family that occurs in our family of origin creates a groove in psyche called “family”, much like the groove in a vinyl album. When the needle of a later experience sets down on the groove of “family”, you will automatically think about your family of origin, and the overarching feeling of what it was like to be in your family will color your expectations of current or future family. Likewise, our first experience of marriage is often our parents’ marriage; what we learned, saw, and absorbed there affects our expectations, hopes, and fears around our own marriage possibly more than any other … Click here to continue reading...

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...