Feeling Sad Today? Maybe not.

I woke up feeling sad the other day,

but didn’t know why.

I just knew that it felt bad.


     I thought, “If I can figure out why I’m sad, then I can fix it”. I began a data search in my brain, picking out this and that, mulling over missed opportunities, lost loves, bad behavior, etc. Nothing clicked with what I was actually feeling. Instead, bringing up these memories just made me feel worse. I then woke up to a new thought: The sadness I’m feeling is all based on my thinking, and so I quickly switched gears. “OK, good. All I need to do is change my thinking. Think about something else…” I lay in bed, not wanting to get up until I solved this, so I mentally searched for an activity that would get me out of this “stinkin’ thinkin'”, something that would change my thought pattern. The only ideas I came up with were shallow distractions. Then I woke up again.
OMG – This is about judgment! For years, I had decided that feeling sad was bad for me! My whole life I saw sadness as something to be endured, avoided or fixed. “Hey, what if I didn’t judge it anymore?”, I thought. “What if I didn’t see it as something wrong?” In that moment – literally in that instant – my sadness disappeared, and I smiled.

My experience wasn’t about correcting the sadness, but rather about how I judged it. I laughed as I saw the simplicity in it all. Could it really be that easy? Yes, because I felt it.

(Originally Published January 6, 2020)

Does Your Resume Prove Your Worth?

I think it was in college when I fully embraced the busy lifestyle. I went to a theater conservatory, held a full-time schedule, had nightly rehearsals, and hostessed on the weekends. I loved it – the ever changing rotation of shows, schedules, and jobs fueled me. I continued this pattern after college as I pounded the pavement creating a career in Chicago theater. Exercise_cartoonExplaining my artist’s path was exhausting, so it was easier to prove myself with projects. I kept doing and doing and doing, and saw my results as markers of my worth in the entertainment field. I was so focused on results that I never stopped long enough to see why I was doing what I was doing.

I believe, the 17th century philosopher, Blaise Paskal, said it best: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Today, when I sit in silence (a practice, practice, practice), I am able to sense what is important and what is not. I am able to sense that my True Self can never be validated by results and outside recognition. That while advertisements insist that “more is better”, I understand that the differences I make in the world – no matter how small – are enough. I understand all of this, because silence reminds me of why I do what I do. So when I first speak with a potential client, I simply listen. Inevitably, they call me to find out how they can solve a problem. The truth is, even if I tell them the “how”, they will never follow through until they know the “why”. So I ask,  “Why do you want to do XYZ?” – and this is where the silence begins.comfortable+silence

They say (“they”?) that our minds have on average sixty thousand thoughts a day. There’s nothing wrong with thought. I love thought (I love algebra for cryin’ out loud). Goals, dreams and problem solving tend to emerge from thought. But I believe that vision, self-compassion, and solutions are born in silence.

Accidental Gifts

Sarcasm’s a tricky thing, isn’t it? Last week I was heading into the 7-11, when I noticed an elderly man in a wheelchair asking a couple for a handout. The boyfriend stopped, but the woman – who was using a walker – paused in front of the doorway. “Oh he’s always asking people to do things for him!” she snapped. opendoorBut before anyone could respond, I opened the door for her and said, “And let me do this for you.” She thanked me several times and told me how sweet I was, completely missing the irony. This ticked me off. I wasn’t trying to be nice, I was trying to teach her a lesson in compassion! How annoying to mistake my finger wagging for a courteous gesture! Truth? When she saw kindness in me instead of a smartass, her focus changed, her mood changed, and she went inside the store with a big stupid smile on her face. I gave her crap, but she saw compassion.

So how do we take life’s crap and as see it as a gift? postman A crappy gift I received last year was facial eczema. It was horrible. It worked its way across my face in excruciating two week cycles: first the skin became inflamed like a severe sunburn, then it dried, pulled and tightened across my eyes and mouth like latex make-up, and finally it would crack, peel and flake. No sooner had the flaking subsided, did the painful “sunburn” start all over again. I could no longer wear my contact lenses, and the slightest brush of my hair would trigger insatiable itching. This went on for months.

I didn’t want to be angry about this – my skin was trying to tell me something, right?  I saw a Doctor of Asian Medicine, early-acupuncture-imageand she prescribed an extreme diet change: no gluten, dairy, coffee, soda, spices, alcohol, chocolate, onions, garlic, dark fruits, brown rice, nuts, etc. This truly sucked. She also prescribed frequent acupuncture sessions and many, many Chinese herbs. After three months, I saw waves of healing and recurrence, but I could no longer afford her. I still stuck with the diet, though. Along the way, I found a meditation practice that provided the only peaceful time in my day. About five months later, things were starting to improve: the cycles were now separated by longer time periods of peaceful skin. Yet it would always return. I knew I needed help, so I contacted my aunt who is an Integrative Doctor in the adrenal_test_kit_clinical_pakMidwest. Before I could say anything, she generously offered to work with me long distance. After a full lab analysis, (did you know you can FedEx your body fluids?) it was determined that something was “off” in my gut. She prescribed supplements: fish oils, probiotics, vitamin D, folic acid, digestive enzymes, etc. She also warned me against corn and soy. Really?

What’s working for me, may not work for you. Every body’s different.  I’ve been faithfully taking my supplements (about six a day),  and I’ve reduced my daily diet restrictions to gluten, coffee, soda, and dairy. Now and again I will see barely noticeable rough patches when I eat “bad” foods, but they clear up quickly.  It’s been fifteen months since the eczema began, and today I am grateful for it. It has brought about lifestyle changes that I had put on the back burner for years:

  • Integrative Medicine
  • Daily meditation
  • Conscious eating

If not for the eczema, I’d still be bombarding my system with “harmless” foods, until a perhaps worse situation appeared. I never would have investigated my gut health and discovered deficiencies before they got worse. I also never would have committed to a meditation practice, which grounds me, and regularly brings sweet insights. I awoke to this one last spring:Lotus position on the edge of a cliff

And at every moment, in every day, there is opportunity to receive all gifts.