Shifting Perspective Opens Space for Hope

August 2, 2023|Uncategorized|

Have you noticed how distress narrows your focus? The problematic conversation, tricky decision, or unwelcome symptom is like the fog that blankets your inner system, blocking everything else. It doesn’t feel like you have the necessary resources to tackle the challenge. Frustration can spiral into despair or hopelessness. How can you regain clarity? What helps broaden your perspective? First, let’s talk about what doesn’t work. Bypassing pain with platitudes is an understandable protective strategy, but it dishonors your experience. We do it to ourselves and “offer” it to others because it is challenging to turn toward vulnerability with curiosity. Protective --->

How to Courageously Overcome Obstacles

June 23, 2023|Uncategorized|

It’s wildflower season in Central Oregon, and I’m delighted by the variety we see on our daily hike. They’re fleeting, so this week’s will be replaced by others before the heat of summer consumes the last of them. Wildflowers are courageous. They emerge in spaces dominated by soaring pines and massive boulders. The soil is dusty and rocky; water is already scarce. Their stems are fragile—so fine one wonders how they hold their blooms. Against the odds, they muster determination and persistence to bring beauty to the world. They remind me of you. We might not have a personal relationship, --->

What Blocks Joy?

June 23, 2023|Uncategorized|

Are you allowing yourself to feel joy? Joy is juicy, sparkly, and exuberant. When we let it course through us, we dance and giggle. We focus on the present moment; worries dissipate, and fears subside. Why wouldn’t we allow ourselves to feel joy? Joy is open, unguarded, and expansive, which feels risky to some members of your internal family. They worry you’ll be blindsided and hurt if joy distracts you. If you aren’t aware of threats, you aren’t in control. Protective members of your internal family want to maintain control. They don’t realize control is an illusion. Their strategies---like perfectionism, --->

Identifying and Expressing Needs

June 23, 2023|Uncategorized|

This week, I met with a fellow writer who offered tips for introducing more people to my book. Whenever I have conversations about promoting my work, part of me cringes, and another part of me feels like she wants to run away from the topic. These protective members of my inner family wish people would magically find and benefit from the book—end of story. Imagine their reaction to hearing that one of the best ways for people to discover my book was by having more book reviews. Amazon’s algorithm is kind to authors whose readers give reviews. But that requires --->

Living While You Wait

March 21, 2023|Uncategorized|

    Do you feel like you are in a holding pattern, like a plane trying to land at a busy airport when the skies are congested? Circling, using up fuel, the view obscured by clouds, making little progress toward the next phase of your journey? As I began writing this, my daughter-in-law was six days past the due date for their second child. She veered between trying to control the uncontrollable with acupuncture appointments and castor oil, tears of frustration, and savoring her family of three before it became a family of four. Anticipating the ordeal of labor and --->

Are You Feeling Compassion Fatigue?

February 22, 2023|Uncategorized|

Do you sometimes feel like you lack compassion? Much as we would like to turn the page on problems when we enter a new year, they persist. In the context of unrelenting challenges, you’ll sometimes see the phrase “compassion fatigue.” Compassion fatigue is a myth. It’s much more likely we’re experiencing empathy fatigue. While we often use the terms interchangeably, compassion and empathy are different. We know from neuroscience that they reside in distinct areas of the brain. Empathy is feeling with which helps us understand why—when we are bombarded by suffering—we can become overwhelmed and exhausted. Empathy takes us --->

Making Challenging Decisions

November 8, 2022|Uncategorized|

How do you feel about decision-making? Would you rather eat jello salad on Thanksgiving than be stuck trying to decide among options? Or, are you “decisive” by nature—someone who readily chooses and moves on? I typically fall into the “decisive” category. But as I’ve been contemplating a complex situation over the past month, I’ve realized that there’s a category of decisions that can stymie most of us. I call it the “Should I stay or should I go?” category. These decisions arise in relationships, organizations, vocations, ministries, and spiritual communities—the most important contexts of our lives. If we are wondering --->

Support for Times When You’re Overwhelmed

October 26, 2022|Uncategorized|

Is anyone out there feeling overwhelmed? Are there more tasks on your list than hours in the day? Maybe some important relationships are challenging. Or you are grieving the loss of a loved one. I could fill this post with all of the ways life is hard. I hope you’re feeling supported in your struggles. But sometimes, when you courageously reach out for comfort, the response you get leaves you feeling even more discouraged. Jesus offers hurting people companionship, wisdom, and rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my --->

How to Navigate Transitions

August 29, 2022|Uncategorized|

How do you feel about transitions? Life is full of them, but that doesn’t mean we enthusiastically embrace them. Transitions—planned or unplanned, chosen or imposed upon us—provoke various responses from our internal family. Transitions include routine events, like returning to work after vacation, milestone events like launching a child into college or yourself into a new endeavor, and unexpected (unwelcome) events like illness or the death of loved ones. What transition are you navigating? Have you noticed waves of different emotions and thoughts pinballing through your mind? These are reactions of your internal family members to change. Some will be --->

How to Heal from Loss

May 29, 2022|Uncategorized|

There is so much loss, so much to grieve. Unrelenting waves of tragic news—deaths from Covid surpassing one million, unprovoked brutality in Ukraine, racist hatred, children gunned down in their classrooms, religious leaders hiding abuse behind hypocrisy. All of this communal loss on top of your other losses. How do you deal with the pain? How do you heal? There are no predictable stages leading in a straight line to resolution and restoration. But there is a process, a practice that supports you through the pain. The tasks required in a season of grief engage your entire inner family. They --->

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