Beginning Again in 2021

2020 has been filled with one heartbreak after another, each one seeming worse than the last. Many of us have felt at times like everything we’d thought we could count on was lost, and that the weight of the failures, setbacks, and tragedies might crush us.  I get it; sometimes things just feel too hard to face. I’ve spent way too much energy trying to bury my head in the sand – and then feeling more and more overwhelmed with each of my refusals to acknowledge the problem.  Looking to the helpers And yet, we have also seen the most …

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Greeting the Holiday in a New Way

Although I am normally an optimistic person, lately I’ve found myself feeling a bit down as I realize that so many of the things I love about this time of year won’t be a possibility; that this holiday will be like no other. Things like the whoosh of cold air when I open the door to welcome family on Christmas Day, or the warmth emanating from the fire as I gather with friends whom I haven’t seen in way too long. Or, watching the kids’ excited faces while waiting for the moment when the adults finally say, “OKAY, let’s open …

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Pointing at Mindfulness for Therapists and Their Clients

A teacher once asked her students to imagine standing outside on a dark, starry night. “Imagine you are with a friend, and your friend is trying to show you the moon. ‘Look!’ they might say as they lift their index finger toward the sky; ‘There’s the moon!’ Imagine how your eyes would follow their finger as it guided you to look at the moon hanging high in the night sky. Without your friend pointing you in the proper direction, you may have missed the moon completely.” The teacher then wisely concluded, “Don’t mistake the finger pointing at the moon for …

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What If It’s Not “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for Me?

If you polled the people in my innermost circles about whether I lean more heavily toward optimism or pessimism, I would venture to guess that they’d overwhelmingly label me as a positive person. I’m a hugger, I’m a Pisces, I call all my dear ones “My Love”… so you might be inclined to assume that I’m also the type of person to put my Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving and host cookie exchanges.  I hate to disappoint, but I’m not. Nearly imperceptibly, a feeling of dread and resistance begin to creep into my emotional body just before Halloween, and it …

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Rebuilding Trust in Our Bodies

“What is always speaking silently is the body.”  – Norman Brown There are many reasons why we grow to mistrust our bodies.  My struggle to connect with my body stems from multiple sources, including how I was raised to not trust my body’s cues around food.  I’ve been pondering this quite a bit lately, since I recently participated in the Mindful Eating for the Holidays workshop. I was just reminded of it again while scrolling Instagram. I follow an account, @family.snack.nutritionist, that shares strategies for parents to have less stress around mealtimes with their children, and helps with building healthy …

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Moving Forward: Embracing All Parts of Ourselves

I want to think of myself as level-headed and compassionate, slow to anger and reasonable, but lately, it has become evident that’s only part of the story. I am also a person who can get lost in feelings of anger, judgment, and disgust. Being forced to contemplate these two sides of my personality has been a struggle. It’s painful to look into the shadows.  Over the last few months, I’ve been depending on my mindfulness practice to bring me back again and again from the brink of despair to a level of equilibrium. As I’ve listened to the rhetoric of …

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Care for Yourself This Holiday Season by Asking: What Do I Really Need?

Now, more than ever—amid the ongoing pandemic, social unrest, and divisive political climate, the pleasure I seek from food goes a long way in soothing the raw edges of my emotions, connecting with family, and entertaining myself with a love for cooking.  I teach what I need. When I teach mindful eating, I often say mindful eating is a lifetime practice. That may feel daunting to hear, but my personal experience tells me that it’s true.  Lately, my own mindful eating practice has needed some extra care and attention as I find myself struggling with more internal distress. The ways …

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Election Stress: Ways to Meet a Mess of Emotions

This month’s election is unprecedented. It is unprecedented in the sense that everyone will be impacted by it one way or another. After the election is said and done, there will be a group of people celebrating and a group of people grieving, angry, and scared. There may also be a third group who feels indifferent or ambivalent.  There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to be dealing with a MESS of emotions—a mess of so many different thoughts and feelings, both on Election Day, as well as after the results are announced. As I pondered …

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Creating Space When Life Feels a Bit Too Routine

As I write this, we are 10 months into 2020, 7 months into a pandemic, 5 months into renewed racial justice protests, about 2 months into the school year, and a week away from a momentous presidential election. It feels cliché to comment on how unusual of a year we’ve had—but we can all agree it’s been a difficult year, for many reasons.  And though I’ve been struggling with anxiety, missing seeing my friends and their babies in-person, and grieving the loss of the ability to pick up and visit my favorite local coffee shops and small businesses on a …

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How Parents Can Share Mindfulness with Their Families

As a youth mindfulness educator, parents often ask me, “What can I do if my teen won’t attend mindfulness classes?” My answer might be surprising, but it is always, “Learn and practice mindfulness yourself.”  Our children learn from our behaviors: How we express ourselves when we’re happy, sad, or mad; how we find ways to bring calm into our own lives; how well we can be present for them and really listen and support them when they’re struggling.  Learning to be present with ourselves first can be a beautiful gift we then share with our children. Begin With Present-Moment Awareness …

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