Saturday, March 10, 2012

After the Wedding

If you haven't seen the movie, After The Wedding, you should.

What a remarkable representation of colliding worlds. One element that really spoke to me was the incredible impression that adults have over young children. A man, who spends his time providing the kind of friendship and leadership that children needs really spoke to me.

It made me really think about the kind of friendship and leadership that I provide to those who are younger than me. The impression we make is so important and so valuable, and such a gift.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why Do We Share?

I was in my weekly yoga class a few days ago (as part of my 2012 new years resolution to attend two classes per week), and right as we were in the beginning stretches of the class to warm up, my teacher started sharing very personal details about her life. Needless to say, the details that she shared weren't the components of small talk, and I spent the entire yoga class lacking mindfulness and thinking about why it is that certain people are inclined to share.

While being unable to really understand why it is that other people share things, I could come up with some clear reasons as to why I share:

1) I want to be heard and supported.
2) I want to feel normalized.
3) I appreciate the feeling of saying something out loud and having the seemingly scary detail not be as intense.
4) I appreciate the human experience and think that at some point in our lives, we have millions of similar thoughts and feelings as others.

Think about why you share things?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Confidence To Try

I've always kind of been an "all or nothing" kind of gal. Especially when it comes to athletics. Historically if I only have 30 minutes to work out - I am more likely to drop the project than to take advantage of the 30 minutes that I have. Because in my mind, "if I don't have an hour, then its just not worth it." Wow. It's one thing to live with that kind of attitude and blindly exist in parallel with it, and then its quite another to hit that mindset head on and realize for the first time that it actually isn't authentic for you.

In college, running was my go to. Always excited to get out and run for an hour or two, and really used that time as my sanctuary. It allowed me to feel grounded to handle stress and unexpected changes in my life, and kept me physically feeling structured, confident, and energized. I didn't realize how much I leaned on it until life gave me a good dose of perspective.

I started to experience pretty significant knee pain, to the point of tears over the stabbing like feeling that just wouldn't seem to go away. This was a loaded bag - there was obviously the physical pain of it all and wrapping my head around actually how much Advil I could take safely, and then there was the emotional realization that my one method of release (obviously my own doing) was gone at least for the time being.

I went in and got an XRAY of my knee to find out that I had a severely inflamed IT band and that I should stay off of it for a few months. Great. Now this, in retrospect (as it always goes) a blessing - because it forced me to try other things, which sometimes let's face it - we need. What I appreciated more than anything else was finally - the world was providing for me, but the only way I was at the time allowing the world to provide for me was by physically not allowing me to stay in my current groove. Rigid much?

So what did this mean then...are you really telling me that I'm going to have to start working out on an elliptical? What I began to do, was become introspective - and learn my edge. I had absolutely reached my edge of rigidity. I was uncomfortable enough where I was set enough in my ways that I was unable to take my blinders off.

So I started biking. And cross training. And swimming. And who knew...I was happier. So for a few months, I proceeded along this course really mixing it up, enjoying new things, and feeling like I was in the beginning phases of dating...myself. I was being introduced to new parts of myself - and for the first time in a long time, I had trust.

So a couple of years later, I moved to Boulder - basically having not run for over 900 days. WEIRD for me. But I realized something even stranger about this whole process as I had lived in Boulder for about a year: I was afraid to run. I was afraid of that pain that I felt. And I was terrified that I would have to be off the exercise forever.

About 6 months ago, I went out for a 5 minute run. 5 minutes. I have always prided myself on being a daredevil. I was the first to try hangliding in my family, went skydiving, scuba dove at extreme depths, and never had a problem! I was TERRIFIED to run. After that 5 minute run, I was relieved. I thought about it, and hadn't realized until that moment how terrified I was to try to run again. Day after day, I would add a minute. Now I'm pain free and able to put in 10 miles no problem. It was a journey that process, but as my insight for the day: always have confidence to try.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Bigger Picture

I was having my way too infrequent meetup with one of my dearest friends on Sunday, and we got to the topic of really taking note of the bigger picture. It was so ironic that she had brought up this conversation, just her sharing her thoughts on what had happened in her life over the past year - and how it had or hadn't lined up with her intention, interest, and overall values. It was ironic because the couple of days before, I had really been in this space of feeling like I was missing MY bigger picture.

I feel like I am masterful at coming to the end of the week, having done basically exactly (with some exceptions) what I had done the previous week. Wake up, exercise, eat, work, eat, work, come home, do something fun but planned, bed, repeat. Not that any of that is bad by any means, it isn't what I try to communicate. But sometimes I feel like I get lost in my routine. It commands me and my energy in a pretty powerful way.

And I feel like my life ebbs and flows in a pretty habitual way as well with regards to seeing the bigger picture. I will live through my routine for an extended period of time, then there will be an event or conversation, such as the one I had on Sunday, where it will really come to my attention that I need to take a better look at the bigger picture. And then I will incorporate those elements into my day to day, really engaging with my overall desires and intentions for this life. Which are......?

Adventure, spontaneity, love, relationship, education, and enlightenment. Those elements are SO important to me - so how do I incorporate them? I get on my bike and explore trails that I've never been to in order to create adventure. I start saying "no" to invitations so that I can allow my night to be spontaneous. I hold a much higher intention to give my family/friends my 150% attention and energy and really communicate to them how much I care and love for them. I audit classes and attend lectures to stay educated and inspired. And I'm SO good at doing these.....for a period of time.

To me, the conversation that I had on Sunday was very important for me. Not only did I get to see one of my favorite women, but she keyed me into a part of myself that I didn't realize was so engrained. I am an excellent "big picture seeing and not seeing habitual offender." Meaning - I don't want to find myself looking back on my year wondering where it went. I want to look back on my year and see the elements that are so important to me being sprinkled all over my day like a caramel sea salt cupcake. How does one do that?

It is a promise to myself to live a big picture life. For it's the only one I've got.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Cove

I have a very dear friend, who obviously - shocker - is going to go nameless, who spends the majority of his days circling the world, videoing and exploring the world beneath the ocean's surface. He is one of my favorite people of all time. Why? For many reasons, but one is he does and lives his ultimate passions. I am secretly (not anymore) jealous of this way of life. One of the few experiences I have ever had where I felt completely removed and on my own and part of a whole new way of life was when I was scuba diving. From the moment you go beneath the surface, there is a beautiful silence. A silence like I wanted to stay forever.

So what comes up for me as I watch The Cove is basically the same sentiment that comes up in me when I watch another really compelling documentary: how have we gotten to this point in our world? How have we come to a place where we compromise so easily our own integrity for this so called "personal gain." To me these documentaries are so devastating at some point - because what I feel we follow are truly good people at heart, who slowly uncover years of tragic behavior. And as it is uncovered, the viewers are just these naive innocent bystanders who see it all compressed into 90 minutes of documented film. Documentaries to me are kind of strange in that particular way.

What blows my mind more than anything else, is how much energy people dedicate to inhumane treatment. And not just on other animals, but really on ourselves as well. I don't know, it baffles me - and what is revealed are years and years of people "working behind the scenes" and "staying deviant after hours" for what? It breaks my heart.

This movie is just another explanation of what I have always felt. And it goes back to the essence of human relationship as well: we are all in this together, and we owe it to each other to support and honor one another authentically, not break the rules for some preconceived personal gain that actually doesn't exist. We have completely missed the boat, and thank god for those who are willing to go out on limbs to risk their lives and reputations for what they believe to be true and right. I long for more people with that kind of bravery. For each one of you - how will you act bravely in your day to day? How will you fight for what is right, and how will you honor your own integrity?

For me...true expression of emotion in the moment that it is happening is my first step in the right direction :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Since November 23, 2009 I haven't least not in this way. And I feel like my life has gone through significant change. When I first began this blog, I was sitting in the kitchen of my mother's best friend's home who lives in Boulder, Utah. Ironically, I had just embarked on the journey of my life - my move to Boulder, CO. And I had no idea what the next 4 years (up until this time) was going to hold for me. All I knew is that "for the next four seasons, I was bound to make Boulder work." Since that time, I have undergone extreme joys and sorrows, I have completed a Masters education in Counseling Psychology, I have met incredible people, I have learned new sports and uncovered thousands of layers of my being. I feel humbled and deeply grateful for the life that I have and the people that have been in the trenches with me.

For the last two years, I have been absorbed by life. My main reason for stopping writing, as many writers have experienced, was due to a "lack of inspiration." Now for me, it's easy to call it a lack of inspiration. But what I really mean is, other things started getting more of my attention, my energy, and my interest. And all of my ideas and thoughts, feelings and emotions were being kept inside of me - sometimes released in conversation with others, but there is nothing like the raw honesty of writing. And in the past few months, and actually ironically today, the message to "start writing again" have come to me. They have always been there now that I look back in retrospect, but now I am starting to pay more attention. My move to Boulder, CO was when my blinders came off - and in regards to my writing, somehow that blinders got put back on. But now they come off again, and I'm ready. I have emerged from another place to continue to express this part of myself.

There is so much to say I find, and it doesn't all need to be said here. I want to continue to express my experiences with others, share what I'm going through and what I'm learning. Because this life is a daily evolution and I am thrilled that the energy is there again for me to start to write. When I think about change, I think that humans are fabulous at handling predicted change. We have it nailed for the change in our life that we create. But where I think there is room for improvement, in my experience obviously is the change that we don't anticipate. I used to wear this necklace every day (for about 5 years) that said "I want to be forever the me that greets change with open arms and heart." Game on.

All I want to say is thank you. I am thankful for the break from writing and excited for the connection back to it. I am thankful for the people who have encouraged me to start back up. I do have much to share and am committed to sharing more.

Monday, November 23, 2009

opening the wound

It as just as I learned in nursing school: in order to ensure a clean wound, you must acknowledge the source, open it, dig through it, remove debris, clean it, close it, and allow it to heal. I have found that the same applies for emotional pain. Through experiences and my time as a student in Counseling Psychology, I have learned the hard way that traditional healing of the wound does not work in the "default" methods that we have become so accustomed to. Sometimes it takes more than a band-aid to really prevent infection and long term damage.

In mental health especially, I have gained an awareness that we are a band-aid oriented culture in the sense that we are so eager to mask symptoms with medication just in order to supposedly integrate them into "normal" behavior. Unfortunately, just as with physical wounds, emotional wounds can create a bigger problem when merely covered with a prescription.

What it does, is forces individuals to rely on a pill a day in order to redistribute biochemical transmitters within the brain so that the balance is in place. However, with time, infection will continue to grow until it is seemingly out of control. Because all that the medication will do is cover up the problem underneath, and will prevent an individual from acknowledging that inner struggle, because for all they know, they are feeling better.

With true emotional healing, the wound at its source must be identified. Once it is named and its origin is understood, then the real work can begin. I am eager to discover how much a person can process through unpleasant experiences and emotions without anything other than conversation. I believe in my heart that we can get farther than we believe we can. This "debriedment" of sorts, when working through emotional turmoil can be extremely painful, just as is the cleaning out of a physical wound, however its power is undeniable.

With that initial painful re-entry back into the source of the hurt, you can really make efforts to moving through it. How is it that we have missed this vital component within the realm of health care? In my nursing school experience in the psychiatric unit, so much of the real humanistic interaction was lost, because patients were sedated as a side effect of their medications.

There is so much fear in the symptoms that surround mental health disturbance, that health care professionals are so eager to have them eradicated that they allow this to cloud over the emphasis on conversation. I have found that so much of what patients want is to be heard and normalized, and when they are merely handed a prescription as a result of admitting to a list of symptoms, their feeling of importance is lost.

I believe that it is my responsibility as a rising mental health professional to make sure that above all else, I realize the power of conversation and the importance of allowing my clients to feel heard and supported. Of course there are always circumstances where western modalities are necessary, I just won't be quick to take that road.