Welcoming Your Inner Children

December 16, 2021|Uncategorized|

Have you ever said, maybe even out loud, “Oh, grow up!” Exasperation over someone’s immaturity got on your nerves, and you couldn’t tolerate their child-like behavior one more minute. Reactivity is a signal, an invitation to explore inner terrain. This seems like an ideal time to get curious and reflect on how we feel about the child-like parts of ourselves and others. During the season when Christians celebrate the mystery of God’s incarnation, God entering our world as a baby, can we welcome our inner children? When you feel the presence of one of your inner children, a young part --->

Gratitude is Tricky

November 18, 2021|Uncategorized|

Are you feeling ambivalent about gratitude? About participating in the conversations around the table next week where you share the blessings of the past year? I’ve already seen quite a few posts as we head toward Thanksgiving, extolling the healing power of gratitude. It’s true that gratitude, properly practiced, has a positive impact on well-being. The tricky thing is that you can use gratitude to bypass painful emotions. This Thanksgiving could be your first gathering without a loved one who died. Or, the first time you are going to more than one household because your parents divorced. Perhaps you are --->

Is Perfectionism Really the Voice of the Oppressor?

October 21, 2021|Uncategorized|

I recently shared a quote from Anne Lamott on Instagram that got exponentially more engagement than any other post. I’m pretty sure that’s because people didn’t read the whole thing. She said, “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.” I think that’s all people needed to read to say, “YES!” Hit the heart button and move on. I didn’t share the quote because I agree with her, but because I don’t. While Anne is a patron saint of writers, I disagree with her about this. Oh, I understand that the drive for perfection can feel like an oppressor, like someone --->

A Loving Way to Handle Painful Beliefs

September 23, 2021|Uncategorized|

Do you remember the last time you believed something awful about yourself? Perhaps someone you love was disappointed in you. Or, you expressed a need, and you were ignored. Maybe you mustered up the courage to disagree, to take a stand for something you value, and you were shut down. Sometimes you enter a conversation knowing it’s vulnerable, and other times you’re blindsided by a reaction that sends you spinning. When you take the risk to be vulnerable, and it doesn’t go well, you will likely hear the voice of a part of you who believes that you are defective --->

How Well Are You Balancing Work and Play?

July 14, 2021|Uncategorized|

During the long months of the pandemic, did you notice work taking over every part of your schedule, squeezing out play? Disruptions in jobs, schooling, and the simple fact that most recreation was off-limits conspired to fill our days with responsibilities. Have you been able to shift back to a more balanced rhythm? Are you paying attention to the signs that you need to take a break from work? (You work, whether you’re paid for it or not.) Often, those signs are in your body, such as fatigue or tension. Whatever the nature of your work, whatever season of life --->

Meet My Friend the Inner Critic

June 9, 2021|Uncategorized|

How would you feel if you had urgent information you believed would keep someone safe, and every time you tried to share it, you were dismissed and disrespected? If your sense of urgency was rooted in the belief that something terrible would happen if you didn’t speak up, I’m guessing you would raise the volume, maybe jumping up and down to get attention. This is how your inner critic feels when you’re about to do something risky, something that could lead to criticism, and ultimately, to feeling shame. Your dedicated inner critic is a member of your risk management team --->

Meet My Friend the Overfunctioner

May 25, 2021|Uncategorized|

I arrived at my son’s preschool mid-afternoon, a few hours before I would typically pick him up. The three-year-olds were having their post-nap snack, seated in tiny chairs around a table, and my son happened to be at the head of the table facing the door. When he saw me, he jumped up and said, “MOM! Let me introduce you to my friends!” He proceeded to tell me each friend’s name (as though I’d never seen them before!). His affection for them and his eagerness to share how important they were still warms my heart. You have a group of --->

What Divide Are You Navigating?

May 18, 2021|Uncategorized|

The things that divide us – politics, religion, race – are painful. Do you stand on your side of the divide, wondering how you can ever cross the chasm to reach someone on the other side? Do you even want to bother? Why bother trying to bridge a divide? Hanging with our tribe, the people who agree with our view of things, and ranting privately or publicly might feel good for a time. But righteous indignation gives way to grief and hopelessness. I don’t want to stay in that pain, and I’ll bet you don’t either. Bridging divides begins inside --->

How I Learned the Cost of Minimizing Vulnerability

April 22, 2021|Uncategorized|

This time last year, I had a crash course in the impact of minimizing vulnerability. It’s one of the most common protective strategies, and it comes with a cost. I’d been waiting for a call all week. Grabbing my robe, I hurried to get to the phone. I sat down on the window seat, listening to the rush of words from the surgeon. When she said, “carcinoma,” I was stunned. Despite the possibility that the biopsy would show cancer, the doctors I’d seen uniformly told me, “it’s probably nothing.” But it wasn’t “nothing”; it was breast cancer. The surgeon was --->

How to Make Friends with Your Anger


Have you been trying to stuff your anger? How’s that going? I’m guessing it’s not working very well. That’s because the part of you holding anger deserves your attention. It has something important to tell you. Anger is not your enemy. It’s not a “bad” or “negative” emotion, although that’s probably what you’ve heard. Nerdy neuroscience alert! We have seven affective (emotional) circuits in our brain, and anger is one of them. We are hard-wired (a.k.a. created by God) to feel anger. Anger gives us the energy to take action when something is not okay. And there’s a LOT that’s --->

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