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The Dangers of Running on Autopilot

Even though I have been on my healing journey for years and have come a long way, I can still fall into old patterns of resistance, old habits that reflect who I was, not who I am now. Even after all this time, I sometimes need gentle reminders that I have taken up these old habits. Sometimes that gentle reminder comes from someone else, sometimes it comes from my compassionate adult self. The thing that helps me stay compassionate and not immediately turn to shaming and judging myself is my awareness of automatic patterns and habits, also known as running on “autopilot,” and I hope that by sharing this information with you, it can help you move forward with compassion for yourself, once you understand that it isn’t always your fault when you resist change and revert to old habits. Because until we become aware of our automatic patterns and habits, change is very difficult, sometimes impossible.

Most of our day to day behaviors and actions are done on an automatic...

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Your Negative Self-Image is Holding You Back

Once I started to work on myself and recognized how my body was responding to trauma, how the tension in my body was feeding my need to defend and protect myself, I realized how that fed into my beliefs that there was something wrong with me.
 
There was something wrong but there was nothing wrong with me. What was wrong was that I had carried a negative self image for such a long time that I did not see how it made me feel about myself. It had become the lens through which I saw the world.
 
As I worked to help my body let go of chronic tension and find balance, the defensive side of me would flare up, showing up in how I approached my relationships, expecting the worst and defaulting to self-sabotage. But as my body began to finally feel safe, a new awareness of myself emerged. 
 
As I learned to be present in my body and connected to the present moment, I started to hear my own thoughts. It was a bit shocking in the beginning. All this time, I thought others...
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Why Mindfulness Is So Important

I just got home from a beautiful retreat on trauma and compassion in Nashville, TN. It was very well organized by the hosts and a very diverse group of people attended. We heard from researchers in the field of trauma and compassion and then spent 2 days immersed in learning about and experiencing compassion through meditation, sharing, and journaling. 

I came away from this experience feeling very moved. I even found myself in tears more than once on the plane ride home as I reflected on the experience, the learning, and the deep authentic sharing that I experienced in the room, both from the presenters and participants. Nothing makes my heart sing like hearing people speaking courageously from their hearts. 

What struck me over and over again, during the many breathing and meditation exercises, was how profound the human experience is in feeling and expressing pain and sadness, even joy and beauty, and what I kept hearing and seeing throughout the weekend was the hope,...

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Will I Ever Be Happy Again?

My heart sings with happiness every day. Why? Because I focus on the things that make me happy and give me joy. I do this on purpose. It’s an intentional action. Not something that just happens.

To be honest, feeling joyful isn’t easy for me. I’m not one of those naturally happy people, who leaps out of bed every morning with a smile on her face. For too many years, I was bound by shame and couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be happy or joyful. I didn’t feel worthy of happiness.

Back then, I wanted everyone else to make me happy. However, that’s not how happiness works, so I was always disappointed. I expected things to go wrong, to be betrayed, abandoned, and ignored. It took a long time to get to the happy, joyous place I’m at right now.

How did I do it? Through the simple practice of self-care and self-love.

The secret to happiness is to do at least one simple thing every day that makes you happy and gives you joy. It can be...

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