Explode the #1 Block to Healing from Anxiety (Relationship and Otherwise)

A few weeks ago, as I was cleaning out our closet, I stumbled upon a stack of papers from my grandmother. Most of the papers were familiar, but one unfamiliar packet literally dropped onto my lap, a stapled report for an adult-education class in psychology that she took in 1963 that I had never read before. The title was, “My Psychograph and Its Evaluation.”

It was like stumbling upon a lost treasure: A window into my past, my history, and my beloved grandmother’s inner world. Here was a twelve-page, carefully crafted essay written on delicate typing paper (this was long before the ease of computers and printers) where she analyzed the results of several different psychological tests. The results of the test in terms of numbers are irrelevant to me, but her interpretation and reflections reverberated inside of me on so many levels. Like many people of her generation, my … Click here to continue reading...

The Poetry of Loss

My son and I are driving into town for our weekly Friday morning special time and Suzanne Vega’s song “The World Before Columbus” comes on. It’s a song she wrote for her daughter that I used to sing to Everest when he was a baby, and these lyrics made me cry every time:



Those men who lust for land

And for riches strange and new

Who love those trinkets of desire

Oh they never will have you.

And they’ll never know the gold

Or the copper in your hair

How could they weigh the worth

Of you so rare.

They still make me cry. As we’re driving, I look over at him, so tall, fourteen, a pilot, an adventurer, a light of a human being, and I see the gold and copper that still shine in his hair. I sing along, tears forming as they always do. … Click here to continue reading...

The Art of Patient Loving

Perhaps the area of our lives to suffer most from the increasingly fast pace of the culture is love, for the expectation of immediate results naturally leads to a belief that love should not only be easy, but that when there’s a problem, it should be remediated quickly. Love doesn’t work this way. The truth is that when it comes to intimate relationships – with partners, friends, and children – very few things come quickly or easily.

As I’m decades away from my own battle with relationship anxiety and many of my long-term clients are now swimming in their own troughs and trials of early parenting, it’s on the front of the parent-child relationship that the need for patience appears most prominently in my life. For there’s a loud and pervasive expectation in the current parenting culture that says that when there’s a challenge with a child, it needs to … Click here to continue reading...

The Truth About Love (and my thoughts on Instagram)

Love is one of the great enlargers of the person because it requires us to ‘take in’ the stranger and to understand him, and to exercise restraint and tolerance as well as imagination to make the relationship work.”

– May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

I recently decided to join Instagram. With my new book slated for spring publication, my publisher is expecting me to join more social media platforms. While there’s a part of me that bucks in the face of this expectation, there’s another part that understands that this is a primary way that people share information these days. As I poked around Instagram I could quickly see that, like all social media platforms and our devices, it can be used in a way that depletes us or it can be used in a way that supports consciousness, creativity, and connection. In other words, the problem … Click here to continue reading...

You Can't Stop the Waves but You Can Learn to Surf

At the core of anxiety – whether health anxiety, death anxiety, relationship anxiety, or generalized anxiety – is the need for safety. As I’ve been writing about in my last few posts, left to our own unguided minds, the ego will latch onto our stories to try to gain a foothold into the ever-changing flow of an uncertain world in an attempt to create safety. This never works. As Einstein famously said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” This means that to try to soothe the anxious mind with a method devised by the anxious mind would be like asking your three-year old to comfort herself without the help of an adult. The mind’s ways of trying to create safety under the delusion of control are not only stemming from a primitive part of our brain – the part that feels the … Click here to continue reading...