Developing a Gratitude Practice

Developing a gratitude practice has been one of the best (and easiest) things I’ve done to help myself in my healing journey. It’s such a basic, simple concept that most of us overlook the power it has. In fact, according to a study from Ohio State University, we are hard-wired to focus on the negative (1). We all know that we can have a wonderful day, with one negative encounter with a co-worker, and all we focus on the rest of the day is that one negative, despite the hundreds of positives that we observed. It’s easier to focus on the bad; being mindful of the good takes effort! However, allowing that one negative to override all the good causes you to miss out on a lot, especially the chance to be happy.

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An Evening in Chairs & Pairs

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until, well, always: We are made for each other.

We are communal beings who thrive when we’re actively engaged in healthy and helpful relationships and communities. However, there’s a cruel irony that takes place when we, as individuals, encounter life’s challenges and either forget to lean into or lack a safe community for support, thus leaving us to deal with our stuff on our own.

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Mindful Photography

There are three figs. They’re lined up on my white table. Not quite green and not quite red, they’re an in-between color, that point where red and green meet and mix. There are patches of green. Patches of red. Patches of brown. I stand still, and look closer. 

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Two Evenings in Blue

Depression has a number of assumptions made about it--

“Depression is just a fancy way of saying you’re lazy.”

“Depression isn’t really a big deal.”

“Depression is easy to get over. Just get out of bed and you’ll be fine.”

To anyone who’s been depressed or watched a loved one suffer from this particular brain illness, the widely popularized assumptions above only further keep these individuals in isolation. Assumptions are just that: assumptions, not the truth. Those familiar with the illness know depression is much more complex, challenging, and isolating than the world around us believes.

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Separation and Opportunity for a Journey Towards Self- Love

“Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving, of one’s capacity to love. Hence the problem to them is how to be loved, how to be lovable.”  ― Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

Romantic relationships for most individuals are incredibly intense experiences, especially the ending of a relationship. Relationships are often mirrors that reflect precisely the wounds that have injured us in the past. The ability of self-love is often also reflected by the relationship and the love we received from our primary caregivers.

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The Gut Check Concept

“A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” ― Rosalynn Carter

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge two truths: One, we need relationships. Two, relationships are hard work.

Any human being who has ever known another is aware of the double-edged sword that is being in a relationship. Though beautiful and necessary to our survival, relationships are messy, confrontational, and even at times, painful.

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My Binge Eating Disorder Recovery Story

Despite the name, binge eating disorder is not about food. It sounds so simple but it’s one of the universal truths that liberated me after years of research and self-administered treatments. Often paired with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or tendencies for addictive behaviors (Source), binge eating disorder is really a symptom of something that sits deeper, a void that needs to be filled. It’s developed as a coping strategy. To eat food in obscene amount, to eat food that’s easily available and makes us feel good, to give in to the blissful but temporary feeling of fullness, is to self-administer love and acceptance without disturbing anyone, asking for anything.

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Can you decipher the messages of the body?

“And one cannot begin to comprehend how filled up a therapy room can be by emotions: every inch every corner in that which we sit occupying the sadness, the anger, the pressure, the pain. Every inch and every corner filled up, except for the vessel that carries it originally, within the body of the client there is only a void; emptiness.”

Throughout my experience working as a psychotherapist under supervision I have encountered remarkable ways in which emotions have been expressed through various physiological representations in the body.  Somatization refers to a tendency to experience and communicate somatic distress and symptoms unaccounted for by pathological findings, which are commonly attributed to physical illness. It has been a bewildering experience to observe that almost half of my clients over the course of therapy express bodily symptoms.

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The Struggle & Acceptance of Learning a New Language

One of the top ten questions I've been asked in new social settings while living abroad is, "do you speak the language?”  For us that language is German, and yes, in Austria they speak German.  There are different variations and dialects in learning German, and even Viennese German can carry several distinctions given to the form but German it is.  And German I am currently struggling with.

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