What You Choose Determines What Comes Next

Transitions, as breaking and renewal points, offer choice-points that determine how we unfold into the next stage of our lives. Many people find me during their wedding transition when when they’re broken open not only by relationship anxiety but also by the earthquake of feelings that erupt because of the transition itself. The same is true for the transition into parenthood, career changes, moves, and deaths. Because we’re not schooled in the language of transitions and we’re terrified of big feelings, people tend to feel burdened by what feels like an unfair onslaught of anxiety: “Why does everyone else seem to happy when I’m so sad and anxious?” My response, as I’ve shared many times here and in my courses, is, “You’re one of the lucky ones. You’re being shown your core stories, and the seeds you plant now toward healing the flawed stories will serve you in your next … Click here to continue reading...

The Art of Making Decisions

birds in flight

Our culture fails to teach us the essential skills we need to navigate through life successfully in so many ways. As I discuss often on this site, it fails to teach us about healthy, real love. It fails to teach us about how to feel our feelings and work with our thoughts. It fails to guide us through the potholes and landmines of transitions. And it fails to teach us how to make decisions, both big and small.

Not only does the culture fail to offer useful decision-making skills but it suggests techniques that often truncate and sabotage the process. A prime example of this is the pros and cons list, which is the main tool the culture offers for trying to make a major life decision. On the surface there’s nothing inherently wrong with making such a list, but when we look deeper we see that it’s a way … Click here to continue reading...

In the Flow of this Uncertain Life

Last weekend was a challenging one for my family. The week of unrelenting rain here in Colorado created overflow in the creeks, and we were faced with a situation that was frighteningly close to the floods of 2013 as the normally gentle waters behind our house surged and swelled into a serpentine river and began to bite off large chunks of our land. Once again, my husband stayed up most of the night for several nights and worked all day fortifying our land. And once again, the boys and I helped where we could but mostly stayed inside, where I tried to calm their anxiety while tending to my own.

Living this close to nature brings the precarious position of our planet forefront into our consciousness. In the midst of this scare, my mind that longs for certainty was already planning our escape: we’ll sell this house and move to … Click here to continue reading...

The Escape Hatch from Anxiety

Life is uncomfortable; there is no escaping that reality. From the time we emerge from the perfect, symbiotic state of the womb and enter the world, we’re confronted with the fact that the external environment doesn’t always meet our needs and our internal state fluctuates from equilibrium to disequilibrium, often a dozen times or more in the course of a single day. I remember when my son was a baby and he was suffering from digestion difficulties. I tried everything in my power to ease his pain – including limiting my diet to three foods – but nothing helped. I clearly recall looking at him one day in his tiny four month old body and thinking, “It’s uncomfortable being in a body and there’s nothing I can do to change that.” It was my first of many motherhood lessons about letting go and realizing that part of our lot as … Click here to continue reading...

Whatever You Water Will Grow

This summer I was determined to grow a beautiful, thriving garden. Last spring I packed away my excuses (not enough time, it’s impossible with a toddler underfoot) and proceeded, under the tutelage of my dear friend, Lisa, to begin my seedlings in greenhouses beneath homemade ligthboxes. My older son and I attended to them faithfully each day and delighted as each little green sprout poked its head above ground. We watered them, transplanted them, and loved them. (Everest insisted on eating lunch beside them to make sure they felt loved.) And when it was finally time to plant them outdoors, we did so with tender loving care. This would surely be the year that we picked peas and kale straight from our own backyard!

All proceeded well for several weeks. I found time to water and weed them each day and, sure enough, the peas began to flourish. My soul … Click here to continue reading...