Meditating: It’s not all Unicorns and Rainbows

Mental health is a tender human experience, and we must be mindful of how we discuss it and share practices, like meditating, that may support us through it. Meditating is often touted as a “cure-all” for mental health. While it may be a helpful practice, it is neither a panacea nor easy. This misinformation is a disservice to those who may be helped by meditating. Continue Reading

PTSD and Eating Disorder Recovery: The Role of Avoidance

It’s no secret that mental health disorders like PTSD and eating disorders can take a toll on your life. But you may not know how we cope with these disorders, and avoidance can worsen them. Avoidance is a common coping mechanism for people with PTSD and eating disorders. It can take many forms, such as avoiding certain places, people, or activities that activate symptoms. Avoidance can also take the form of engaging in activities or behavior to not having the time or space to feel our body’s communication, feelings, thoughts, and emotions of our suffering. Another common coping mechanism is to turn to alcohol or drugs to numb the feelings of anxiety and fear. While these behaviors may provide some relief in the short term, they can worsen symptoms in the long run. In this article, I will discuss the role of avoidance and behaviors in disordered mental health and recovery. I will also be providing some tips on learning how to cope in a healthier way. Continue Reading

PTSD and Eating Disorder Recovery: The Emptiness and Isolation

If you’re like me, you’re probably no stranger to the feeling of isolation and emptiness. That feeling of hollowness lingers no matter what you do to try to fill it. For me, this feels like an emptiness within me, the size of the Grand Canyon. I am frozen, unable to cry out for help—I am empty and alone. Have you ever felt like you were trying to fill a void? Unlike filling a glass or a pool with water—it is like filling an ocean that feeds lakes, rivers, and streams. This is my experience of what an eating disorder binge Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – Hope & Cynicism

Hope and cynicism: they may seem like polar opposites, but both of these two perspectives live within each of us. At times elusive, hope can be our closest ally when we face the chaos of the unknown. And at times when positivity can feel saccharine and hollow, cynicism can feel like the only thing connecting us to real, solid ground. This month, we invite you to partake in honest and enlightening conversations on how we think about the future. Are some more apt to hope than others? Is cynicism a more honest worldview, or does it mistakenly forecast certainty into Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – Intimacy

For many of us, the word intimacy is interchangeable with the physical and romantic connection. Yet many of us long for intimacy in other ways: emotional connection with family members, trust in friendships, and compassion for ourselves. This month, you’re invited to gather to discuss the idea of intimacy. How has our childhood affected our present-day relationships? Why do we sometimes pull away when others get close? How can we find meaningful fulfillment in platonic relationships, as well as with romantic partners? Join us for an enlightening conversation about relationships, honesty, and connection. Come away feeling a little less lonely, Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – Identity

Who are you? Many of us answer this question by pointing to aspects of ourselves we believe immutable — gender, ethnicity, profession, or family role. Yet these nominal identities do not seem to capture the whole of who we are. Join us for an evening of dialogue on identity — what it is, where it comes from, and how it changes throughout our lives. How do we learn who we are? What happens when aspects of our identity we believed immutable start to change? How does identity affect our relationship with ourselves and others? Join us for lively conversations about Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – The Body

Embodiment — the experience of having a body — is a universal experience, and yet how we think and feel about our bodies is as unique as each of us. Join us for engaging dialogue about the physical self. What does it mean to have a ‘good body’? How much of how we think about our bodies is inherited from our parents, our society, and our culture at large? When, if ever, is it a good idea to make a change in our physical body? And what does it take to find a sense of ease and confidence in one’s Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – Confessions

From the time we are children, many of us learn to hide aspects of our true thoughts and behaviors from others. Yet the most fulfilling encounters almost always emerge when we can be fully transparent about ourselves — without filters, shyness, or reserve. Join us this month, for an evening of warm and fascinating conversational confessions. Why do we keep secrets, and what do those secrets say about ourselves? What keeps us from asking for what we really want? Join us for an evening of transparent conversations on the themes of family, relationships, money, and career. Come away feeling more Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – Failure

It’s something most of us avoid at all costs, but failure is an inevitable part of the human experience. Many of us keep our career, relationship, and personal failures hidden. Yet the most successful people among us have not only tried and failed but learned to reap failure’s benefits. Join us for an evening of open and compassionate dialogue about messing up. What does it mean to fail? How much of how we think about failure inherited from our parents, our society, and our culture at large? What can we learn from experiences of failure, and how can we persist Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – Creativity

We are all born with a desire to create – and yet somehow, as adults, many of us grow disconnected from our innate creative powers. Often the pressure to perform, be productive, and get it right holds us back from fully immersing ourselves in the creative process. And some of us simply don’t make time to play and create in our daily lives. Join us for a dynamic evening of conversation about the creative process. Is creativity a universal human trait, or are some simply born without it? What’s the best way to tap into the creative powers, and what Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – How We Eat

At the most basic level, food gives us the energy we need to live. But we eat for more than just physiological nourishment: we eat to come together, to mark occasions like weddings and funerals, to discover cultures, to feel better when we’re in pain. This month you’re invited to gather for a discussion on the many ways food impacts our lives. Why do we eat what we eat? What is the relationship between food and mental health? And how can our relationship with food become an extension of our values and ethics? Join us for a discussion of food, Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – Growing Older

Aging: it’s the one experience that doesn’t discriminate. No matter how smart, wealthy, or powerful you are, every person on earth is on a journey toward mortality. Some of us hardly think about this process at all; for others, it looms in our consciousness every day. This month we invite you to reflect on what it means to grow older. What has aging meant for your identity and relationships? What gifts has it bestown, and what has it taken away? How often, if at all, do you think about your own mortality? Join us for thoughtful consideration of life, evolution, Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – Addiction

We all have, to some extent, internalized a cliche image of addiction: a person shooting up heroin in a park, a man buying a bottle of vodka at nine in the morning, or a girl who sneaks off at every opportunity to light up another cigarette. But in fact, addiction is far more common than those stereotypes suggest. In some ways, we all know the experience of addiction from the inside. But what causes us to become addicted? And why is the experience clouded by so much shame and secrecy? This month we invite you to discuss addiction — from Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – Grief and Loss

Loss is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of the human experience, yet it is an inevitable consequence of being alive. One of the great paradoxes of grief is that it is inextricably linked to our capacity for love. The truth is, someday, we will all lose everything that we hold dear. This month we invite you into a touching conversation about love, loss, and the process of grieving. What has loss given us, and what has it taken away? What does life after a great loss look like? Do you ever really get over a loss, or do Continue Reading

Virtual Campfire Series – The Mind

Many of us don’t think much about the mind, but consciousness is perhaps the most quintessential part of the human experience. The mind can trick us, embolden us, and even torture us. Mental illness is surprisingly common, yet it’s taboo to talk about. In December, you’re invited for a thoughtful conversation about the mind and how it goes awry. What is consciousness, and where does it come from? What causes experiences of mental illness? What can these experiences teach us about ourselves, the mind, and society at large? Join us for a frank discussion about consciousness, mental illness, and what Continue Reading

Healing my negative self-image

My self-image healing had begun, and while I wasn’t ready to trust my thoughts yet, This was the hardest part; as I went back through the many influences challenging the beliefs I had created my self-image out of, I realized that I had heard them as truths. That day in the passenger seat, I listened to those words and decided that being overweight made me unworthy, reinforcing the feeling of being invisible. I began to see myself those who truly loved me for me. Continue Reading

Why we need community to thrive!

When I’m struggling, what’s the first thing I do? I cut myself off from people! I hide from the very community that is my support! Thriving isn’t just about feeling rested and ready to take on the world. We need people to share it with, celebrate it with, and support us when we struggle. That friend who will tell you to take a damn shower—that friend who will stop the story in your head and remind you of what matters. Continue Reading

Awakening your inner strength: A journey to empathy

Deep within us is a sacred space—where our true self lives, empathy, authentic strength, and love reside. When we struggle, we can be disconnected from this part of ourselves. Our thoughts, which can be distorted by mental health, can disrupt our ability to see our true self and self-worth. Think back to being a kid. Do you remember the freedom we felt as we played? How was the tree always climbable? How was the wave that knocked us over always so much fun? Then ultimately, as we face failure, this faith in ourselves fades. To make sense of it all, Continue Reading

Is productivity costing us everything?

Does our focus on productivity lead to burnout? I never even questioned it. Isn’t that the goal to use our time wisely, achieve, and be productive?  If you had asked me this question six months ago, my answer would have been yes. But then, it all changed.  A few of my closest friends and family started to share their concerns, but the praise and feeling of success quickly drowned them out. Then, like a wave that I never saw coming, I was drowning.  The signs have been there for so long; exhaustion, achy body, foggy mind, eye fatigue, difficulty with digestion, feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and easily agitated. Honestly, they were badges of honour. The suffering is completely overlooked in a society that praises accomplishment and culture of “do more with less.” Continue Reading

Turning Emotions into Emotional Regulation with “RAIN”

Our thoughts often skip over acknowledging the emotion and lump it together as one experience. By focusing solely on the thought, we are disconnecting from our experience of the thought. We may be experiencing sadness or fear and feeling disappointment or regret without recognizing that we can easily miss what we actually need. However, if we learn to identify thoughts, feelings, and emotions individually, we can develop emotional intelligence. Learning to understand what makes us feel and respond the way we do allows us the ability to regulate our experience. Continue Reading

We need Community: How to keep them healthy

Strong communities are critical because they’re often an essential source of social connection and a sense of belonging. Being part of a community can positively affect mental health and emotional well-being. Community involvement provides a sense of belonging and social connectedness. It can also offer extra meaning and purpose to everyday life. Communities can exist or be created from a shared location, hobbies, lived experiences and backgrounds, or a common cause. Continue Reading

Do we have to “burn the boats” to be successful?

Have you ever heard the expression “burn the boats?” The first time I heard it was on September 9th, 2016. I had recently begun to recover from complete burnout and the resulting illnesses in my body. A result fueled by decades of unresolved trauma and believing I always had to be productive. I worked 80 hours a week and volunteered over 1200 hours a year at its height. Still at least two years away from realizing that I was allowed to say no, and day by day burning myself out trying to meet the expectations of my mind, boss, and society. Continue Reading

The history of “Self-Care” the good the bad and the ugly

Everywhere you look today, someone tells us to self-care, that self-care is the answer to our problems, and we should be if we aren’t doing it. If we’ve spoken before, you have likely heard my opinion of the word “should.” I know it is a bit ironic to say this. I feel that the word should, should be removed from our language. Funny right! As a mentor recently said, I believe that “should” is “the most disempowering factitious concept” in our language today. It can be easy to get caught up in the pressure placed on us from all sides to “self-care” or feel that it is a sales gimmick. This expectation that if we only did this or bought, our lives would be better or finally good to me is unethical. The pressure to not self-care to not get caught in its consumerization can be just as profound. Continue Reading

What does it really mean to hold space for yourself

As a parent, there is nothing worse than your child being sick or hurt. We recently went through this challenging experience with our son. The fear in his eyes was heart-wrenching and took every ounce of my ability to hold it together. I felt powerless as the doctors surrounded him. As I watched him face this challenging day, I could do nothing to take his pain away. I couldn’t be the hero mom who swooped in and took it on for him. My role was completely different. I need to just be there and hold his hand, holding space for his experience. Which is when I got it, it would be easy to be there trying to solve or fix it. But that wasn’t what he needed. What he needed was to be loved, and I needed to be at my best to do that. Continue Reading

What it really means to hold space for someone

It means walking alongside another person without judgment, without trying to fix them or the situation, without trying to impact the outcome, while not making them feel inadequate. We must open our hearts, let go of judgment and control, and offer our unconditional support. Whether we hold space for someone directly or have space for someone as they hold space for someone else. Continue Reading

Why I’m glad I got sick

Throughout my life, I have had hundreds of conversations with people who, like me, have gotten sick or faced something traumatic that changed their lives forever. I have listened as they intimately shared their suffering and their victories. There is a common thread in those stories; we struggled with the questions. So today, I thought I would share the question people often asked me during this time, the impact this question had, and the answers. Continue Reading