Heal & Renew

Personal Growth for Conscious Living

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Mindful Reboot

I was contemplating the idea of mindfulness the other day, and how it seems to have lately become another victim of our age of pop culture appropriation of trendy, self-help techniques.  I don’t want you to misunderstand, I think the spotlight that has been placed on mindfulness is amazing in many ways, expanding our awareness of techniques emphasizing quieting the mind instead of reaching for our replacement brains: phones, ipads and such.  However, I think mindfulness has become a bit stretched and pulled and battered in our collective understanding of these techniques, how they are used, and how they can help us.

Many view mindfulness through the lens of meditative poses designed to disengage from the world or “shut off” your brain, and I’ve heard from too many that they’ve tried and abandoned the practice because they are simply no good at it, lamenting, “my brain just doesn’t work like that” or “I can’t turn off my thoughts…” Continue reading


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Lessons from Beyond the Rainbow

Judy GarlandToday, on the anniversary of Judy Garland’s famously attended funeral in New York City, along with the NYC Gay Pride parade this weekend, it seemed like an appropriate time to devote a blog post to this icon.  She is a deeply beloved figure both within the gay community and to children and adults around the world who have landed upon her classic film, the Wizard of Oz.  I was one of those kids, awed and fascinated by the innocent and beautiful Dorothy in the blue dress.  The Wizard of Oz played on repeat in my home, as I fawned over her voice, her sparkly red shoes, and her metaphorical journey back home. 

As beloved and talented as she was, she was also a tragic figure, dying at the early age of 47 from an accidental barbiturate overdose, with a long string of failed marriages behind her and a history of childhood abuse by studio executives.  As loved as she was, she never could quite seem to muster that same love for herself.  She picked herself up by the bootstraps many a time, only to fall back into the same patterns of addiction and difficult men. Continue reading

holding hands


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Radical Relating

Given that the term “radical” seems to be a buzzword in recent political news, a good topic to land on today seems to be the idea of “radical genuineness.” Radical genuineness is a term used in a type of therapy called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to describe validating someone’s distress which includes understanding their experience as equals, without viewing them as victims or as different from you.  It is respecting and understanding someone’s experience on a deeper level.  For those unfamiliar with dialectical behavior therapy, it’s a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy created by Marsha Linehan in the 1970’s for people struggling with intense emotional dysregulation, used today with good success and research support. Continue reading

Wolf in Woods


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Untaming of the Shrew

You know when you read two pages into a book and know it’s going to be one of “those ones.”  You all know what I’m talking about.  One of those books that goes on your life-changing list, your “must-read” recommendations, one you’ll return to over and over until the edges are creased, the cover abandoned, and the pages stained with coffee or tears or both. Continue reading


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Psychologists can struggle too…

In the realm of psychology, it is not often that you hear of therapists or professionals admitting to their own struggles and emotional ups and downs.  We are supposed to be the models of emotional well-being, after all.  Well, guess what, we’re human too, with all sorts of messy stories and imperfections.  I think the greatest gift a therapist or any healer can give to others is the openness to be themselves and share that story, especially since healing from setbacks can be one of the greatest gifts to building oneself as a well-rounded and empathetic practitioner.  Continue reading

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