Helpful Articles

integrative support

Featured articles

Dive right into reading...

become a subscriber for exclusive content

Earlier today, I stumbled upon a video of a poet--Sabrina Benaim, whose works I'm not yet familiar with--reading these words:

I am feeling better.

So I say good morning,

and mean it... and that's a big deal.

Yes, today is a good morning

to exhale,

to feel joy,

with the release of a breath I no longer need to be holding.

I am not alone because I feel alone.

I am not alone because I feel alone.

I am not alone because I feel alone with company.

When I look in the mirror

I will find a reflection of the gifts I am withholding from myself.

Light hits everything at a different angle.

I will make it a habit of tilting my head.

When the sadness waterfalls

I will let the salt cleanse the wounds I cannot see.

I will let dance parties be the hospitals I heal in.

If I need more help I will let the people offering help me.

If I need more help I will let the medication help me.

I forgive my body for being a machine after all.

I forgive my memory for being the cupboard door that will continue to pop ajar no matter how many times I push it shut.

I forgive myself.

Even if I am the last person I want to forgive.

Wherever I have come from,

Wherever I am going,

I will remember the present as the only place to start.

Today is a good day

to wake up and be great

and have gratitude

for the restless pump of a heart

for the way it does not know how to hold back

I will exhale and I will begin to do the same.

Do her words resonate with you, too?

I'd love to hear from you--what poems, songs, books, or quotes speak to you?

#depression #creativeexpression #overcomingobstacles #memories #griefmourning

7 views

Creative expression can be extremely therapeutic.

I've personally tried cooking, learning to play music, creating playlists, drawing, painting, writing, singing, dancing, crocheting, jewelry making and sculpting as a means for connecting to and processing my emotions.

I didn't love all of the activities and skills that I've tried. I revisit some of them, periodically, as something comes up that starts to feel like "emotional indigestion" (i.e. "stuck"); while I have little interest in trying others again.

Mourning is an important part of the grieving process. It's the process of expressing and working through the pain and confusion that naturally occurs with our human grief experiences.

Unfortunately, many of us have been raised with "poor emotional hygiene." We are often taught to "stuff down," hide and/or disown emotions that are uncomfortable, heavy or "bad" as a result of the living in a polarized culture where feelings are mistakenly valued as "good" or "bad."

As a result of our "poor emotional hygiene," many of us may run toward distraction, suppress and judge ourselves for crying or even just having or feeling these difficult emotions. It's no one's fault, but it is our responsibility to figure out how to maintain our personal wellbeing when we recognize these unhealthy habits.

When it comes to grief, the natural reaction to traumatic loss and unwanted major change; these tendencies to shun our pain and discomfort can add deep and intense suffering to our already-challenging circumstances.

Mourning through creative expression can be a boon for those of us who might be stuck on "being strong" or having a "stiff upper lip."

Making something--whether it's something to eat, hear, read, see, or touch--can be a productive way to mourn, acknowledge, release and transform the pain & confusion into beauty and love that remain in spite of our losses.

I encourage those of you who find crying, meditating, journaling or talking particularly difficult; to try a creative expression work through what you're feeling, even if you don't consider yourself "creative."

Try to reframe creative expression as a "playful" experience or an "experiment". ...and if that's not enough to move you beyond your self-limiting belief, ask yourself "what's the worst that could happen if you made something that wasn't beautiful to hang on the wall, or delicious enough to warrant making again?"

The truth is, you have so much to gain (peace, clarity, a new perspective, healing ...and who knows, maybe even learning or having something you might enjoy) in exchange for the small investment in time and effort to experiment.

Give it a try sometime--I'd love to hear about your experience!

#practices #griefmourning #healing #creativeexpression #TEDTalk

2 views

Do you think that meditation is the "emptying your mind," posing like a pretzel for hours on end, reserved for the ultra-healthy, "crunchy-granola-type" yoga people? Think again.

I ignorantly used to picture that specific stereotype, myself. ...and "no way" was this 12-cup-of-coffee-a-day high-heel-pantsuit-wearing Manhattan-bound, 89-100-project juggling marketing management professional capable of "emptying" her mind (let alone her bladder at times)!

The truth is: while there are sooo many ways to meditate and become more mindful, the ultimate goal of meditation on a whole is simple: slow down and "go inside."

WHY WE'RE HEARING ABOUT MINDFULNESS MORE & MORE

It's fairly obvious that a major reason that meditation and mindfulness are talked about so much these days is because this modern Western world is so stressed, depressed and fast-paced that we have forgotten ourselves; and over the decades we have focused our lives on chasing happiness and success..."out there."

Stress, conflicts, shame and depression can come from inflating the importance of normal. Somewhere along the line, we seem to have forgotten that "normal" is a synonym for average, common or ordinary--and that it's not the same as "natural." Through all the hubbub and chasing of external things, we seem to forget how to simply return to "being" well, our natural internal state.

MENTAL DECLUTTERING

When we "go inside" we see what's become of our inner world. Have you ever been so busy that you haven't had time to clean at home, in your car, or in your bag? Has it become chaotic, cluttered, heavy and a challenge to use or be in? That's the same thing that's happening inside of each one of us!

Tripping over shoes in the house that you decided not to wear last-minute; or running out of clean laundry or cutlery... they're like half-done projects and considerations; conflicting schedules and unclear priorities which block the path and flow for things we want in our life: happiness, fulfillment and connection.

Meditation and mindfulness help us to slow down and practice "dialing back" our view to (actual) reality: the non-judgmental awareness of our true natural state in the present moment so that we can move through the next steps thoughtfully, without wasting precious energy on blaming, complaining or comparing (aka: the woulda, coulda shoulda's).

My personal account ("I missed the nudge, so I got a slap") is a prime example of how things can get out of control--how burnout, overwhelm and depression can take over when there is no more time to be.

Over the course of adopting my mindful self-care practices, I'm more readily able to embrace the fact that I can't change the events, actions and circumstances in my past; and am open to forgiving myself now for the unintentional abuse, the missed opportunities--freeing me to focus my efforts on being present, vigilant, aware and intentional in the here and now; because this moment, too, will be another one to add to my history soon enough.

 

EXPECTATIONS CAN COMPLICATE THINGS, ESPECIALLY GRIEF

At first meditating was really hard for me. I was still stuck on the idea that I wasn't supposed to have any thoughts; and after Nelson died unexpectedly--and I could barely stand to sit with myself in all of my unacknowledged inner turmoil, raw grief and the throes of suffering the aftermath.

It took some time, but eventually I stumbled upon the free 21-day guided meditation experience "Hope In Uncertain Times" at just the right time. Although, I wasn't able to sit through the 20-minute lead meditations everyday; it turned out that trying each time was enough to get me the relief I needed to be able to start functioning again--enough to start going back to work in my Manhattan office after taking four months to work through the initial shock of devastation.

PRACTICE MAKES... PROGRESS

Since then, I've added mindful check-ins and (different kinds of) meditation into my self-care practices; noticing a very obvious correlation between my ability to cope with grief & distress, and the amount of peace of mind & stability I feel--with whether I've taken the time for my self-care practices.

Meditation and breath work have helped me learn to be mindful (non-judgmentally aware) of how and who I am; and more intentional of becoming the ways I want to be: grateful, loving, connected and helpful.

I'd love to hear what you've tried and how its working for you!

#practices #mindfulness #healing #griefmourning

18 views