And Then He's Eleven

As my son approached his eleventh birthday, I found myself sounding like those women who used to stop me on the street as I was walking with my newborn so many years ago: “Oh, sweetheart, what a beautiful baby! It goes by so quickly. Soak in every minute of it. I can still remember when my boys learned to walk like it was yesterday…”

Yes, it does go by quickly. One evening this summer, as the four of us took an after-dinner walk, I looked at my older son, whose head now reaches my chin, and asked my husband, “When do you think he’ll be taller than me?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe two summers. But maybe  next year.”

Each birthday brings an acute awareness of the passage of time. Then the memories tumble in, as they always do on the threshold of a transition.

I see him as a … Click here to continue reading...

Anxiety: A Portal to Serenity

On the other side of anxiety lives serenity. When you walk into the forest and face the fear-vines of your mind – swashbuckling at first then sitting down in the glade and simply watching – you eventually unfold into an open field. You cannot know this until you walk through it. Fear is the test. It’s the revolving door. On one side is anxiety and on the other side is the peace and tranquility of your true nature.

It’s difficult to realize when you’re in the stronghold of anxiety that what lives on the other side is serenity. In fact, until you’ve walked through the revolving door of anxiety and greeted serenity on the other side, you don’t realize that anxiety and serenity are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. Just like darkness and light share a sector of psyche and grief and joy share a chamber of … Click here to continue reading...

Worry and Anxiety

One of the first questions I ask a new client who’s struggling with relationship anxiety is, “Did you have anxiety as a child?” It’s no longer surprising to me when the client says no because I can almost guarantee that she’ll answer affirmatively to my next question, “Did you worry a lot as a child?”

For some reason we don’t correlate anxiety with worry. Perhaps it’s because there’s still some stigma attached to the word anxiety, so culturally we latch onto worry as a more palatable term. Yet it’s essential to understand that worry is the mental manifestation of anxiety. Experiencing nameless dread or identifiable dread as well as being called “too sensitive” or “overly sensitive” as a child are other indicators that anxiety was likely present.

I ask this question because it’s important to understand that if you’re struggling with relationship anxiety it’s easy to blame your relationship … Click here to continue reading...

Breaking Up With Friends

Carl Jung coined the term “synchronicity” to describe the connecting principle that causes events or experiences to intersect simultaneously. We’re familiar with the word “coincidence” to describe a similar principle, but synchronicity carries a paranormal or, perhaps, a spiritual connotation: a recognition that we’re all connected through an invisible web in more ways than we realize.

So when the vast majority of my clients discuss the painful experience of outgrowing or ending friendships in the same two-week span, the word synchronicity springs to mind. It’s more than coincidence; it’s the sense that we’re all struggling with the same issues and that none of us are alone.

It’s an inevitable and heartbreaking fact that some friendships seem to have a finite lifespan. There are friends that you know will see you through every transition and life change, support you through every loss and joy, witness your breakdowns and celebrate your breakthroughs. … Click here to continue reading...

My Baby Turns Three

I don’t know why some people experience the pain and loss of transitions and milestones more than others. Perhaps it’s an inborn personality trait; perhaps it’s connected to childbirth or postnatal trauma where babies were separated from their mothers for too long; perhaps it’s associated with early separation experiences with school or friends (being dropped off at kindergarten before a child is ready to leave his mother); or perhaps it’s a mysterious amalgamation of all or none of the above. And in the end it doesn’t really matter. What matters is what happens when we deny our natural need to express and process the pain and loss of any of life’s transitions. Which is what I did this week.

Last Saturday, I sat in the glider that I received as a gift before Asher was born. I rocking and staring out at our land in spring: the apple trees in … Click here to continue reading...