Coming Back To Ourselves

Posted by Harriet on

holdingflower“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.”  Mary Oliver

“Who am I”, you may ask yourself all too many times.  You’ve forgotten yourself in the midst of all the stress, chaos and turmoil of life.

Every time I facilitate a workshop, there’s at least one participant who says either aloud in front of the group or privately at the end of the session that she doesn’t know who she is anymore, that she doesn’t know what she likes and enjoys; that there is such a disconnect.

Whether it’s raising kids or being a caretaker to a spouse or elderly parents, you tend to put yourself on the back burner.  By the time you can move to the front one because some of those responsibilities and obligations have minimized, you begin to realize, “I forgot who the heck I am.”

If you’re not busy nurturing others, you may feel submerged by problems, drowning in the swirling negativity.  This doesn’t exactly lend itself to thinking enjoyment.  It’s more like a downward spiral.  In that mode, your mind may not take you out on that beautiful nature walk or to your drawing pad to sketch the perennial black-eyed susans growing in the front yard.

We somehow seem almost conditioned to remove ourselves from our own lives.  It’s as if we have to subjugate ourselves to our external callings.

Getting back to ourselves, becoming aware and bringing forth our best selves is a gift we can give the world. 

Look For The Silver Lining

Posted by Harriet on


So what’s the silver lining in your recent challenge?

For me it was the fact that my severe joint pain hit my left hand, that I was able to walk and that everything about our trip was just so perfect – the weather, accommodations, beauty, logistical arrangements and touring.

I developed some weird allergic reactions to a couple of antibiotics.  One antibiotic was given for my infected root canal and when I developed a  C-diff type terrible stomach reaction, I was given another antibiotic to quell that.  A few days later I broke out in hives and a skin rash.

We were due to go on vacation so I stopped the antibiotics (as per doctor’s orders) and took benedryl for the itches.

A few days into the trip I developed swelling and joint pain in my hand, the likes of which I have never experienced.  That progressed to severe joint pain in different parts of my body.  I couldn’t raise my arms and layed like a mummy to go to sleep.

But as long as I could walk, we went about our travel days.   So I needed some help pulling my arms through my clothes.  And I, totally out-of-character, probably took more tylenols that week than in my lifetime.   (not much of an exaggeration here)

As long as my gut stayed good (which is my weak link), I was determined to proceed with a gorgeous trip.

And so I kept pulling myself back to the all the good and kept looking for all ‘at leasts’: at least it’s not my right hand, at least it’s not my stomach, at least the couple of health people I saw were good, at least we’re still doing what we set out to do.

What Kind Of A Person Are You? by Tyler Perry

Posted by Harriet on


“I have this tree analogy when I think of people in my life, be it friends, family, acquaintances, employees, co-workers, whomever… They­ are all placed inside what I call my tree test.

It goes like this:


Some people come into your life and they are like leaves on a tree. They are only there for a season. You can’t depend on them or count on them because they are weak and only there to give you shade.

Like leaves, they are there to take what they need and as soon as it gets cold or a wind blows in your life they are gone. You can’t be angry at them, it’s just who they are.


There are some people who come into your life and they are like branches on a tree. They are stronger than leaves, but you have to be careful with them.

They will stick around through most seasons, but if you go through a storm or two in your life it’s possible that you could lose them. Most times they break away when it’s tough.

Although they are stronger than leaves, you have to test them out before you run out there and put all your weight on them. In most cases they can’t handle too much weight. But again, you can’t be mad with them, it’s just who they are.


If you can find some people in your life who are like the roots of a tree then you have found something special.

The Good and Bad Habits of Going Through Grief and Becoming Mentally Strong

Posted by Harriet on

amymorinI haven’t posted a blog interview for quite a while.  I’m actually working on compiling 3 years worth of my monthly interviews into a book.  When I stumbled upon Amy Morin online, I had to ask her to do a blog interview.  Her personal and professional life is the theme of my work and blog-  rebuilding life through and beyond adversity and loss.

Talk about overcoming challenges.  Ms. Morin had to deal with tremendous loss over a three year period.  First she lost her mom and then her 26 year old husband, both suddenly.  A few years later her father-in-law became ill with terminal cancer and died.  As a result of all this, Amy wrote “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” and it went viral.  She turned it into a book by the same title which was recently published.  As a social worker/therapist, she brings her personal and professional skills to the specific area of resiliency-building.  Resilience is a muscle we can all build and grow.


What helped you carry on and move in a positive direction?

My education as a social worker and my experiences as a psychotherapist certainly taught me a lot about grief. So fortunately, I had an understanding of what to expect and what sorts of things are helpful.

I also have really supportive friends and family and a strong faith in God, which helped me deal with that pain. I always held out hope that life could get better and I knew I could create a future that I looked forward to if I used my grief to heal.

Moving Through the Process of Grief

Posted by Harriet on

SalmonsahnpainRead my updated and expanded piece to The Grief of Now as published on the amazing and artistic Karen Salmansohn‘s website.

Experiencing, speaking and writing from both my personal self and my professional self.

...As someone who is also on the professional side of this {grief} work – loss, grief, growth– I recommend you work the grief process by beginning here …

Click here to read complete guest post.


What helps you get through?  We love hearing from you so share your thoughts on either site.  Thank you for stopping by.

15 Minutes A Day For You

Posted by Harriet on

care-for-self-e1375729453412So 15 minutes sounds like a lot in the whirlwind of your day?!  From the minute you wake up you’re on that treadmill trying to keep up; otherwise you’ll fall off – and this and that won’t get accomplished.  As it is, you can’t keep up with all that needs to get done.

But I promise you, if you focus on incorporating a brief interlude into your day, you can take a few minutes to do something for you.  We all waste many minutes a day with nothing.  So why not specifically prioritize and make the decision to build in this time for you.

It’s not about finding the time.  It’s about making  the time.  It’s all about priorities, choice and focus.

So figure out when you’re going to grab those few minutes and then decide how you’ll spend it.   And then when you’re spending it, do it with mindfulness.  Really be there with it so that it makes a more lasting impression.  Feel it, breathe it and take notice of it.

If you just go through the quick motions of it, it will feel like one more stress ball added in to your day. Or you won’t even realize you did something, it will go so fast.   And that’s certainly not the point.  A few minutes of reprieve can go a long way to give you that boost you need to continue on.  Sometimes you need that sugar boost; well you certainly need that ‘me’ boost.

Something is always better than nothing. 


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