From My Desk To Yours...


The Role of “Family” in Relationship

Over the years (more often than not), I have heard story after story about how stressful family gatherings are around the holidays. In fact, there is an entire product-based industry capitalizing off this stereotype. (One of my favorites is a funny dishtowel I spied in my aunt’s house): Now, not every family is dysfunctional, of course, because every experience of family is highly individual. What may appear to be “bad” to someone else, is “normal” or even fun to the person experiencing it. I’ve heard stories of yelling, fights, and behavior that would lead an outsider to believe that everybody hates everybody – when the reverse is actually true. Then I’ve heard stories of happy peaceful dinners, where after the…
Read More

Guarding Against Sadness

In our Western society, we have a tendency to guard against sadness. When we see someone who is down, or struggling, we don’t sit with them in their pain, but rather, we try to encourage them to not be sad. We even tell them that they shouldn’t be sad, and then list a long array of reasons why they need to be happy. The truth is, though, when we do that, it’s because we are uncomfortable with their sadness, because it reminds us of our own. Now, I’m not talking about the person who is perpetually negative or complaining (nor about the individual experiencing clinical depression). That’s a different story. I’m talking about the person who just found out that…
Read More

Grateful – so much more than a word

Grateful: One word that says so much, yet doesn’t fully convey its own depth. How could a word be both profound and simple? A feeling and an action? Something that can drop me to my knees with humility and fill me with grace in the same breath? And yet, also be part of daily life at the most genuine small moments? For me, being grateful isn’t about one day a year, it’s every day. And yet, I’m grateful that we have identified one day to focus on gratitude… to give thanks.

The Gift of All Saints’ Day

On November 1st, with Halloween behind us and the holiday season looming on the horizon, I think All Saints’ Day is the perfect day to pause and reflect. It’s like a reset button for your soul – if you choose to use it. Recently, I’ve felt a growing urgency to push that button. To reset. To step back. To breathe… To simply hit the ginormous pause button in the sky. (Is there one?) When we’re on overload – physically, mentally, and emotionally – it also affects us spiritually, whether we’re aware of it or not. And, to me, a day that’s named for all the saints that have come before us is the perfect time to raise our awareness and…
Read More

Where do you belong?

The other day I was thinking about belonging. I had worked with a client who said to me, “I don’t know where I fit in…” To which I replied: “The question is not where do you fit in… The question is where do you belong.” It’s so important to feel a sense of belonging. Ideally, we feel like we belong to our families as we are growing up – but I know that’s not true for a lot of people. Then there’s the fellowship of community: neighborhoods, religious institutions, school groups, sports, activities. All of these create opportunities for us to belong to something. To be a part of something. But even then it can be difficult to feel a sense…
Read More

Resiliency and Stability

If you want to know how resilient you truly are… live through a major home renovation. Ok, I’m kidding… sort of. I know I’m resilient. I’ve been through a lot worse emotionally, but living at home with no kitchen and no bedroom – my mattress in the floor in another room, and my clothes scattered between a couple drawers, hangers, and bags – has been surprisingly difficult. Before it all began, I thought “What’s the big deal?” We moved a microwave and refrigerator into the living room and bought a hot plate. I thought it would be easy. Or at least easier. First world problems, I know. Turns out, it’s not easy for me to live without the stability of…
Read More

Choice is a Superpower

Embracing choice is a superpower. When you realize this, everything changes… for the better. I’ve been working on my next book, which is all about how to actually create positive change in your life in a tangible, actionable way. But the first step to actually creating change is wanting to… making a choice. In fact, choice is the most important step we take throughout our lives on a daily basis. It’s also something we all do rather reflexively and distractedly – if not, unconsciously. However, when we make choice conscious and realize that we are engaging in decision-making nearly every minute of every day, we are flexing our real muscles. We develop our superpowers, and the quality of our life…
Read More

Priorities, Values, and Authenticity

What are your priorities, really? It’s an honest question, to which we often provide less-than-honest answers. If we were 100% truthful about our actual priorities (the things we actively pursue and attend to), we might not actually like ourselves so much, and fear others might not like us at all. The rub is, of course, the “others” already know your priorities based on your actions, so the only person you’re lying to is yourself. There are many quotes in the world about being a priority, making something a priority, etc. Here are just a few I dug up: “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” – Mark Twain Or Maya Angelou’s less passive…
Read More

Ownership, Obligation, and Love

The question was never “What can be done?” The question was always “What can you do?” Or rather, “What can I do?” When I start a session with a new client, I always start with: “How can I help you?” Because it’s a simple truth that we can only do what we can do. If a client said to me, “I need you to tell my partner that they’re wrong so that they understand how much I’m hurting,” my response would be, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with that… I can, however, help you with your hurting.” ‘What can I do?’ is answered by what I can do. Everybody has unique gifts, and everybody can use their talents to do something and…
Read More