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My parents built a box for me to live in.
Four walls, a floor, a roof.
My teachers, family and friends, my experiences, the world
Decorated it for me, decided how it would look. [continue reading…]

“Leave it,” my friend says to her dog over and over as we walk. Because the dog picks up a scent, or hears something running in the woods nearby, or just wants to follow any old urge to take off running in the direction of something enticing.

“Leave it,” my Friend says to me over and over. Because I, too, am picking up scents all around me that I want to chase – like the worry over this or the habit of thinking along these lines. Temptation to chase my way down a thought path I’ve been on again and again that’s never gotten me anywhere but that I’ve gotten so used to following, I barely even notice it’s what I’m thinking about.

And my Friend knows full well that for me to CHOOSE to give in to this particular temptation means I’m getting off MY path, and am I really willing to keep making that choice?

So as we’re becoming more and more aware of how our thoughts impact, and even create, the experience of our lives . . . “leave it” – two little words to remind you in each moment that YOU get to make that choice. And that you get to make it repeatedly until a new habit is created and you don’t (sigh of relief) have to chase those things around anymore. Phew.

Off to tai chi class I go, not knowing that I am about to take away something completely unexpected. Yes, I’ll be learning a form that I have wanted to learn for a really long time, and I’m eager for the experience, but what I don’t know is that my teacher will say, on day one, in our very first interaction, something so simple that he’s said a thousand times before, that I’ll take away and manage to turn into my very own practice.

My tai chi teacher comes over to me, the beginning student. Holds the fingertips of my hand up to cue me to let my elbow and shoulder drop.

“Relax,” he says.
I am, I think, and try to relax, but he sees through it.

“Relax more,” he says.
I think I am. Could it be that I don’t know what it feels like to relax, not really?

“Relax more.”
Finally I feel the tension release from my upper body, and my shoulder drops.
He smiles knowingly.
I think I’ve mastered relaxation.

[continue reading…]

Anxiety and the Dreaded In-Crisis ModeIwent to the ER during my first panic attack. Yep, picked the sleeping baby up out of his crib, strapped him into his car seat and my husband drove us there. Because, of course, I thought I was dying. It might be nice to say that I haven’t been there for a panic attack since, but I have. Several times. And then for me, panic ended up looking like countless appointments, tests, doctors, xrays, a surgery even. Because – panic doesn’t always look the same. And it moves around, the bugger, so it’s sneaky and it’s hard to figure out – always, always to figure out what’s real and what isn’t.
[continue reading…]

Journaling Prompt

When this fighter showed up in my art journal, I thought she’d make for an interesting and revealing journaling prompt, since what we’re always trying to get at is self-awareness. Here’s a step-by-step prompt for you to work through. I’d set aside about 20 minutes for this one so that you don’t have to rush through the process. [continue reading…]

My preference is usually gentleness. However . . .

Some days you just need a good swift kick in the pants.
Pull yourself up by the bootstraps?
Put on your big girl – you know.
I’m just not a fan of any of these sayings, but . . .

My family loves to watch Speechless each week. The mom, Maya, has this matter-of-fact way about her that appeals to me, plus, it helps quite a lot that she’s charmingly British. So in one episode, someone tells her something that she’s done and she says very frankly, “I don’t care.” For some reason, I found myself saying this, over and over out loud and then

These girls showed up in my art journal.
They were bizarre and were dripping with the usual elements of Resistance: doubt, fear, confusion, excuses, reasoning – you know the routine. And my girls knew just what to say. [continue reading…]

Because I’m incorporating art making as a daily practice this October, I was eager to find this list I wrote in my journal the last time I was doing a daily art challenge. Dare I admit that it was in June 2015 and that I stuck with it for three whole days? Well, even that is part of the process, I remind myself.

24 life lessons learned through art: [continue reading…]

A Very Brief Look at My Anxiety Journey and Why I’m Doing What I Do
Pandora’s box swung wide open on the night I had my first panic attack, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could just not stuff back in what had come up for me.

What on earth was going on with me? I had no idea at all. I was 30 years old with a one-year old baby and was the happiest I’d ever been in my life.
[continue reading…]

I wonder . . . what DO they hope to achieve,
leaping around at the tippy top of the tallest trees in our yard?

Are they
showing off?
pushing themselves to the very limit of what they are capable of?

Well they certainly aren’t quivering on the ground, or filled with fear up there at the possibility that they’ll leap and plunge to their death. In fact, nothing in them says that this is even a possibility. In their minds it isn’t, and so – in reality it isn’t. [continue reading…]

centering prayer

Have you heard of Centering Prayer? I hadn’t either, but I’m so glad it finally came into my life. All those years, attempting meditation practices, and it just never felt right to me. I always felt like I was attempting to connect to self more than anything else, and it felt empty to me. This is a completely personal thing, the type of meditation you choose. There’s no question that meditation, in any form, has innumerable benefits. For me, it’s Centering Prayer. Hands down, it has got to be one of the most powerful practices there is. Funny thing about this “powerful” practice? It’s all about surrender.
[continue reading…]

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