I once told my boss I was overwhelmed with all of the looming deadlines, major projects and personnel changes we were managing. His response, “You’re always overwhelmed.”
When the two small yorkies that live in the condo above me bark for more than ten minutes at a time or repeatedly within an hour I want to jump out of my skin.
A friend asked me why I cry so much, and the tone was evident: this is a problem. I used to be embarrassed about the fact that I cry at Hallmark commercials, beautiful natural scenery, and mostly when I get touched by all manner of human kindness and even by personal aha moments.
A sock or strap that won’t stay in place or an itchy tag on my shirt needs constant adjustment or it will keep me from focusing on anything else successfully.
Benefit of the doubt. Accountability. Forgiveness. Grace. Understanding. Compassion. Kindness.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about A Time to Kill, the book by John Grisham that was made into a movie starring Samuel L. Jackson and Matthew McConaughey, the former as the black father who kills his ten-year-old daughter’s white rapists and the latter as the white lawyer who represents him in his murder trial. There is no doubt that he shot the men in cold blood as he did it at the courthouse after he realized they would probably be set free despite their crime. The trial ignites racial tensions with protesters and counter-protesters, media frenzy and strong feelings on both sides.
Wikipedia describes the closing argument that McConaughey’s character uses to turn the tide for his c...
"Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others."
—Christopher Germer, The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion
For as long as I can remember, I have woken up in the morning with a persistent cough. It doesn’t usually last long, and I’ve had it for so long that I don’t always even notice anymore, but people around of me often do and ask about it. I have wondered about it too through the years and looked it up many times. Louise Hay and others attribute a persistent cough to “barking at the world for attention.” That part didn’t connect strongly until another piece was added from another source that suggested this also had to do with self-acceptance and compassion. I knew immediately that was it.
Beth and I met at a retreat in February 2019. It took place in an exotic location (there were monkeys in the trees behind the house where we stayed). It was beautiful, peaceful and we could walk to the beach. The leader held space for amazing conversations and provided heart-opening teachings. The food was lovingly prepared from local ingredients, and it was both yummy and healthy (and unique too). We engaged with the local culture and people, and participated in fun activities each day. We had the opportunity to pamper ourselves in the way that most resonated with us from spa treatments, to pool time, to reading in a hammock, to connecting with fellow retreat participants, to alone time. All of our needs were taken care of so we could focus solely on what felt good to us.
Have you ever heard that quote about jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down? I seem to live that one quite a bit in my life. At least three times in my career I have left jobs (with several-months-notice to my employers) with absolutely no idea what I was going to do next. In each case, it felt to me like a natural ending, and I was aware that it was time to move on. I just didn’t know to what. Each time it turned out okay. Better than okay, actually, as I ended up in new cities or with exciting new vocational adventures to pursue.
As I approach my fiftieth year, I’m being prodded to leap again into the unknown. The prodding began back in January when I made the decision to give notice to the board of the non-profit I founded in 2007. I ran it for six years from m...
When I consume too much news it is difficult to convince myself that we’re not at the beginning (perhaps in the middle) of the apocalypse. In a week that saw two mass shootings in the United States that killed 31 people in less than 24 hours, I also heard that multiple countries are on the verge of not having enough water for their own citizens, and that big tech is collaborating with big pharma to manipulate online search algorithms in order to suppress free speech and limit what we can find about health alternatives. 1984 anyone?
It is can be super stressful, anxiety-producing and downright depressing be exposed to too much media, and for that reason, I have limited mine severely to only NPR when I’m in the car, a few select podcasts and daily email news bulletins, and what intrigues me...
Sorry to leave my community hanging for so long following my last post in May. It turns out the uncertainty I was feeling back then was well-founded as the summer turned out to be more challenging than I could have imagined. So much so that I did very little for nearly three months of recovery following a much more extensive surgery than I’ve ever had before. My scan in May showed that the seven tumors in my abdomen had grown significantly and melded into four large masses. That prompted me to visit my gynecological oncologist and schedule surgery to remove them in mid-July.
Four previous surgeries have been mostly laparoscopic and outpatient (with only one exception), and this one was expected to be no different. I began experiencing more discomfort in the three months prior to surgery, a...
I have written many cancerversary blogs over the past twelve years since I was diagnosed, and sometimes I feel as if I’ve processed everything there is to process about my cancer experience and said all there is to say, but of course that’s not true because we are never really done with cancer. For some it’s because of a terminal diagnosis, for others (like me) because our cancer keeps coming back, and for others the emotional scars remain even if the physical ones have healed. There are always reminders of what we have lost, or on-going issues that we have to deal with.
This cancerversary, my thoughts aren’t very organized, and I’m not quite sure how I feel. In the past I have felt celebratory, triumphant, hopeful and sometimes fearful, alone or frustrated. Today, I am feeling doubtful. N...
How do you feel when someone you are attracted to gives you attention? Do your feelings depend upon whether you (or they) are single? Whether you are on the street, in the office or at a party? Do they depend upon what kind of attention is given – a look of admiration, a smile, a wink, a catcall?
Ok, how about another example. What happens inside you when someone gushes in front of others about how great you are? Are you flattered, uncomfortable, touched? How do you respond? Do you demur, letting the group know you’re not really all that? Do you accept the acknowledgement uncomfortably and change the subject as soon as possible?
It’s the rare person that can receive, really RECEIVE, all the attention, acknowledgement, gratitude, praise, admiration, and even love and affection that come...
My friend wrote recently about practices that are not luxuries, but necessities. I appreciated her approach to thinking about things that we sometimes treat as nice to have when really they are mandatory for our health and well-being. I really resonated with the example she shared about giving herself time to re-charge between busyness, travel and big projects in life. I definitely need that too, and when I don’t give it to myself, I tend to get sick. My body finds a way to make me rest when I don’t make that a priority.
Another practice that has become absolutely mandatory for me is mindfulness. That term can encompass a number of different things, but it really means taking time every day for just being present.
Mindfulness can be as simple as being totally focused on whatever you ar...