“No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to feel anything but criticism and judgment toward myself.”

“My friends tell me that I’m kind and compassionate; why can’t I be that way toward myself?”

“When I hear about self-acceptance my mind agrees, but my heart just can’t get there.”

“I can feel ok about myself until I mess up; then I just fall down the rabbit hole of shame and self-judgment.”

“I can be loving and accepting toward others, but it just doesn’t click when it’s about myself.”

If this sounds familiar, you are so not alone. Some of the most empathic, caring people in this world struggle to give themselves even a shred of self-acceptance. It took me a long time to embrace myself as a whole person– imperfections included.

And I’m still learning!

But my relationship with myself today looks radically different. Self-judgment can still accost me (though not as often!), but now I know how to walk the well-worn path into compassionate understanding toward myself.

And there, I remember that to be human— messy, faltering, and unsure– is a wild and precious thing.
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How to do a Gut Check

January 1, 2014

One night a little over a year ago found me lying sleeplessly in bed, contemplating one of the biggest decisions of my life: Leaving the job I loved to launch my own private practice.  A distinct vision had been growing in me—one centered upon a desire to guide more people toward the deep and thirst-slaking well of the creative unconscious.

What gave me pause was the risk.  As one who walks through life with both gut intuition and a practical mind, a decision of this magnitude had me balanced carefully on the cusp, propelled by greathearted desire, and held at bay by cautious common sense.
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Adolescence is a time of incredible growth and transformation!  The developing adolescent mind is capable of unprecedented reasoning, teenagers begin to resemble adults more in ability and appearance, and socially, there is the “graduation” from supervised play dates to independent outings with friends of their own choosing.

For parents, it can be an effort to keep pace with these changes.  Adolescents face dilemmas of judgment and decision-making that seem to multiply in intensity with each year that passes.  Adult-like fashion and products are marketed to younger and younger girls all the time, and technology increases avenues for social contact and the dissemination of information, while decreasing the amount of control parents have over either.  These are truly challenging times.

They are also times of incredible opportunity.  Advances in science, psychology and sociology mean that we understand adolescence now better than we ever have before.  And those challenges I just listed?  We are now able to identify the specific skill sets that any individual needs for healthy decision-making.  Best of all, we understand how these skills sets unfold in the adolescent brain—and what we can do to support their development.

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Bear 450We’ve all heard the body referred to as a temple. Many cherish this metaphor, and if it speaks to you, then by all means hold onto it. But may I be honest about what that image evokes for me? An empty, inanimate shell; hollow unless the spirit visits.

Instead, I foster a fairly radical concept…
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