How was this past year? Living in a pandemic has been difficult for most if not all of us. Yep, me included. Being a therapist doesn't prevent me from having worry, stress and loss; but it does afford me the opportunity to view this with a more nuanced lens than most people might have. I have doom scrolled way too much this year, but then I started to think about it, and you know what? I think I've actually been looking for hope. I've been hope scrolling, but the news these days is way more focused on doom, and that diet for my brain is not helpful, nor feeding me with the hope I seek. So, how am I going to find hope in 2022? Hope was the slogan for Obama's campaign, remember?-- and now that hope seems like a dim light in the past. I'm going to put my hope in what humans have been and are capable of, creating. Creating art, connections, great food and new lives.
What if you could transform your suffering into your greatest wisdom? What if you could stop struggling to not feel, and learn how to feel, to process and access your emotional wisdom? Many of our blocks and walls of confusion are simply paper tigers, created in our own minds around invisible rules of how we should or shouldn’t be feeling. Hire me to help you transform your frustration, hurt or anger into energy for change. Joy could be just around the corner.
There was a song* that proposed just this, back when I was growing up, it was saying in essence, that sometimes, if we can’t be with the one we love, we should love the one we’re with. It might be the best advice ever. I think that at times, more people want to love the person in their imagination, than the one they’re with, and if you think about that, how does that work? We live in an age of nearly instant gratification with internet links just a click away, and with online dating, why, just look at all those people out there, who might just be able to make me happy. When in reality, we have the task in life, to make ourselves happy.
And the other thing is; that we only know so much about all those other people, and to be honest, they’re not really in your life, and trying to live in your head is not very comforting at all. So, how do you love the one you’re with? You might just start by learning to love yourself, by allowing yourself to explore who you are, and how you might make yourself happy, and then, you can allow this space, this freedom, created by being curious instead of judgmental, into the relationships you now have. If your lover isn’t meeting your needs, are you telling them what your needs are? We experience life only one moment at a time, and if you’re wishing for more love, fill your moments with love, one person at a time, start with you.
* Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
For nearly every person, one of our most early experiences is that of being known for our gender. At birth, we are declared either a girl or a boy, and this early identity usually stays with us for all of our lives. Our parents or caregivers, and our culture, from the very start, give us messages about what it means to live our lives as girls and boys, then, women and men. The messages continue throughout our lives, in our families, our friendships, through pop culture and the media. What happens then, in relationship? How do we live our personal identities and our relational identities conforming to gender expectations? Some people are able to more easily identify when gender socialization feels uncomfortable to them, and for others, this plays out unknowingly in their lives and relationships. The more we are able to understand gender socialization, and how this may or may not be affecting our lives, helps us to become aware of the messages that we are seeing around us, and allows us the choice to either affirm or deny their power in our lives.
Understanding our emotions and the mind-body connection is crucial to healing. Integrating all of who we are and harnessing this energy moves us into the lives we imagine, dream about and create. Tapping can release the blocks (beliefs that we think are keeping us safe) that we've created ourselves. Tapping is a safe way to connect with and clear away old beliefs that keep us held back from who we want to be and how to move forward.
Does this scenario sound familiar? As a child, you believed you had to stay small (quiet, invisible) to be safe. For many of us, the old, outdated idea that children should be seen and not heard (my mom was told this repeatedly) is still imbedded in our culture and in our heads. Unfortunately, many parents didn't (or don't) even know how to attune to and see their children. They can't acknowledge their kids' emotions, because they are not connected to their own inner world.
Check out the link below for a great tapping sequence that will take you through your childhood blocks so that you can be the rockstar that you truly are:
For more information or for help getting past your past, be in touch.
Our minds and bodies are connected--right? Read here for more good news about the healing benefits of meditation. If you're unsure how to start a meditation practice, give me a call. I'd love to help you grow towards your best self, including beginning your own meditation practice.
The dilemma that many mental health professionals now face is that much of the field has not caught up with the most recent research. This means that our diagnostic tools are outdated. Yet, if clients want to use their health insurance, providers must assign a diagnosis. The outdated thought is that our bodies and our minds are separate and that mental illness originates in the mind. Along this thinking, is that 'cures' are aimed at changing thoughts or 'illness.'
Current research in many fields (psychology, interpersonal neurobiology, immunology, neuroscience, cellular biology), continues to prove there is a mind/body connection and other fields such as sociology and post modern theories also note that people have lives of intersectionality. What this means is that our inner lives intersect with each other, and also with our 'outer' lives to create different meanings and constructs that affect our health and well-being.
One example of this might be the tension that a person who is not part of the dominant culture feels on a day to day basis (racial profiling). This person is not creating the tension, circumstances are intersecting with how this person is dealing with the challenge of feeling safe. Another example that I often see is that a person really doesn't have words for their inner experiences or emotions. I work with both individuals and couples to express this inner world of emotions, which produces radical change quickly.
In my practice, if a person chooses to use insurance, I work collaboratively with them to provide the mental health diagnosis that best fits their appraisal of their situation, with the understanding that the model we are working with is part of a historical paradigm. I work holistically, basing my understanding of people on the most recent research available. Step into the future with me.
Don Draper and the Marlboro Man: Created Constructs
What these two have in common, besides being fiction, is that they are ideal constructs of men who do not process (feel) or share their feelings. In this culture, boys are still socialized not to admit to or consider their emotions. What research has found, is that men are not "wired" this way, they are conditioned to be this way, and it has also found that when people (of either gender) don't express their feelings, they can become physically ill or depressed, or both. Trying to live a life of constantly being 'tough' and 'on top of things' takes a toll. The stress builds up and you ignore the nagging feelings that something is wrong.
Fortunately, our culture is beginning to address our gender 'norms' and expectations for both boys and girls and men and women (and those who choose not to be labeled in a binary gender construct). With this, more men are seeking help to learn how to recognize and express their emotional selves. When we express our whole selves, our body heals and we are able to access our drive and creativity. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor, take good care of yourself. I love working with men of all ages who are open to creating space in their lives for their emotional selves to emerge. Once this happens, you will feel more complete and alive than ever before.
It's that time of year to clean out the dust, shake out rugs and clean closets. How about this year, you think about shaking the dust out of your self, too? You know, all those habits you picked up and finally need to let go of?
If you can think about what some of those habits really mean or do for you, you might find it easier to let go. Are you shopping for things you don't need? Do you find that when you are shopping you are in a 'zone'? Do you like the alone time, or the fact that you are treating yourself to something nice? Does this last when you come home and find that you already have more clothes (or wallets), or whatever, than you can even use? Find a different way to get the same results without the residual regret. This might be a good time to take a walk, instead of shop, or call a friend you haven't talked to in a while. Try to be more mindful of your habits, and cultivate the kind of life you choose, not a default mode. The future is now, shake it up.