The Power of Vulnerability. Brene Brown’s Ted Talk May be the Breakthrough You’re Looking For.

 “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” ~ Brené Brown.


Vulnerability: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

Vulnerability is something that has become popular to talk about. We throw the word around the way we do consciousness, meditation, tantra—catch phrases loaded with meaning. Vulnerability is one of my favorite subjects, and I explore it often when writing about relationships.

But are we really familiar with what it means to be vulnerable? Are we practicing it, or even examining the places in our lives where vulnerability can find root and blossom?

Sometimes we dance around a philosophy or a subject and understand it on an intellectual level, but not actually live it. The problem with knowing it is that, sometimes, we are fooled into thinking we are embodying it. It can feel real, without being real.

I’ve been examining myself on this subject and resonate with Brene Brown’s story of an emotional breakdown—something many women and men can relate to after spending years protecting themselves from vulnerability. Brown’s belief is that we do this using three mechanisms: Perfectionism, numbing (anything to quiet our true feelings, as in addictions), and foreboding joy (the dread that kills happiness)

Sometime in our journey into adulthood, we are infected with an idea that we must create a certain life, follow certain rules, be a certain person, and ignoring the pleas of our soul to experience life authentically and through vulnerability, we soldier on pleasing others and living up to society’s expectations.

The rest here:



This is What Happened When I Started Taking French Baths!


“Why don’t you start taking French baths?” suggested my healthy living guru, brushing his luxurious long hair aside, a testament to his wholesome lifestyle.

I immediately imagined something erotic when he said French  because this is just how my mind works.

“What’s that?” I asked, fully present to the conversation, sipping the green smoothie he had whipped up with a dozen ingredients I had never heard of.

“A French bath is one without water—skin brushing, with a dry brush. It invigorates the lymphatic system and makes our skin beautiful!” He proceeded to show me his array of natural bristle brushes, how they were used and gave me a complete pseudo demonstration of the process. Clothed, mind you.

As he spoke, I continued thinking that this could be part of some erotic love ritual.

And there is something erotic about being healthy and vibrant, participating fully in life and finding ways to give back to the body we live in.

A French bath, or dry skin brushing is not to be confused with the other meaning for French bath, washing only the essentials at one’s sink with a washcloth. This was a common practice in earlier times, akin to washing in a cabin in the woods without running water.

Here is the quick run-down on how to take a French bath.

It’s easy to do in the morning (but doing it in the evening is okay too). Sometimes I do it before I head out for my early morning hike, and I shower later. It didn’t take long before I became addicted to this feel-good practice, much like oil pulling or brushing my hair 100 strokes before bed.

Healthy rituals are an enriching way to be present with ourselves on a daily basis. It is a gift to the hard working body—our sacred vessel.

It’s been 20-odd-years since I first started skin brushing, and my skin is still glowing and velvety at 56 years old. (Other benefits are listed below.) Every time I skin brush, I feel my body responding with a grateful rush of energy. Try it—you’ll love it!

The rest here!

Transforming Emotional Wounds into Emotional Wisdom.


“A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping for the comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty.” ~ Pema Chödrön

I used to wonder whether anyone ever actually had a pleasant childhood, and a life not marred by trauma.

I wanted to imagine that “the norm” was a bucolic, blessed existence, where children were nurtured and loved into adulthood. I imagined a childhood in which someone was surrounded by wise tribe members who understood the importance of a safe and uplifting environment.

How often do we hear each other say, “It would have been nice to have had a normal upbringing”?

Normal is the totality of human experience; it does not mean “good.” I have learned to not idealize “normal.”

The truth is that emotional wounding is something that happens to all of us in varying degrees—even those of us who did have lovely childhoods.

Being wounded is a part of living as an incarnated spirit. That’s not a statement of pessimism—it’s a clear understanding of the human condition. And as always, I write from my own experience and accumulated understanding of what that has been, sharing from my own vulnerability so that others can be comfortable in theirs.

I like this quote from Pema Chödrön that teaches about life being both gloriousness and wretchedness, and how life can both inspire us and soften us—and through pain, teach us compassion for ourselves and for others:

“Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. 

On the other hand, wretchedness—life’s painful aspect—softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient in being there for another person. The wretchedness humbles and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have the energy to eat an apple. One inspires us, the other softens us.” 

What I encounter most from clients who write to me about trauma is the word “broken.” Broken is how society describes those who endure continued suffering due to life trauma. I strongly dislike the word (and concept) because it continues to damage us long after we’ve lived through our challenges.

You are not broken. You are a multidimensional being who is experiencing life in its beauty, its ugliness and its complexity. Consider removing the word from your vocabulary.

More here my loves…

In All Things Love, Remember this…


“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” ~ Sharon Salzberg

We can go round and round with love in a never-ending dance of questions.

I think that for the most part, we are not yet jaded on love—although some of us are, and many of us seek to understand the mystery of it all.

We shouldn’t suffer in love, although that’s a “romantic” notion that’s been propagated since time immemorial.

When love is new, we may forget to eat and sleep, living on the fumes of every moment our new lover affords us, but that is where the suffering should stop.

In fact, it can be quite pleasant to be lost to love in this way—when emotions are heightened, and we are truly alive with passion. I’m all for that heady kind of business. In fact, we need more of it in the later stages of love, don’t we?

We need to be truly alive more of the time…love is wonderful kindling for a life of fire.

A new love helps us to remember how we look to someone who values us, because we see our reflection in their eyes. We feel appreciated. We feel empowered. We are lifted up, and that can be addictive.

And so begins the longing for that sacred reminder of our worth.

Validation through love is a gift—but an even greater gift we can give ourselves is to value ourselves before love, during love and post love.

Self-worth and self-love can solve nearly every romantic woe there is. We are not taught about this enough. We are taught too often to wait for that person who will “complete us,” and who will make us feel that we are vitally important in this world.

Self-worth (or more accurately, lack of it) is where love breaks down.

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.” ~ Michel de Montaigne

Waiting for that mirror of self-worth are the fairy-tales we’re raised on. The savior, the prince and the rescuer are the archetypes of love based on dismal footing.

Let’s go back a step. Although we know intellectually that self-worth is vital in love, we are all struggling, to one degree or another, to value ourselves enough to accept nothing less than what we deserve.

Ah, but that may be the rub. We may not believe that we deserve it. We may also think that not everyone can have that kind of empowering love. But why not? We can, if we ask for it and wait.

Wait? What do you mean wait? Who has time to wait…clocks are ticking, and we crave a partner to share our life with.

There’s nothing wrong with that. And learning how to value ourselves is a life-long journey. We grow as we experience, and hopefully choose a better love the next time.

The little girl who is broken inside of us, the teenager who has been abused, the young mother who has been left to manage things on her own—any one of us—has to summon the courage to say no to a relationship that is not truly love, but rather a dependence on external validation.

More here…

How to Find Peace When Breaking Someone’s Heart.


“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” ~ Pema Chodron

They say that love is complicated—but it’s not.

Love is simple and truthful and kind.

We are the ones who are complicated and who stumble around love, like flamingos in stilettos.

We are learning, all of us, how to navigate the purity of love without tripping over ourselves.

I wrote this with a romantic relationship in mind, but the healing process applies to any situation where our actions, intended or out of our control, contribute to the breaking of hearts.

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride.” ~ Pablo Neruda

Sometimes we get hurt in love, and sometimes we hurt others. Sometimes we rip open our vulnerable hearts and see them trampled ungracefully and ungraciously. Sometimes we’ve had enough.

When it is our turn to stand up for ourselves—when we finally reach that pivotal moment that secures our freedom from a lack-luster love—how do we deal with breaking that other heart?

Because it’s not always obvious to the one we love that we are hurting enough to leave. And it’s not easy for the one we must abandon to face their own broken heart either.

They may be brutally devoid of the capability to love us as we need to be loved, they may be masters of passive-aggressive behavior and strip us of our self-esteem, or they may be narcissists and deflect all the blame—or perhaps it is our own issues that break down the love-affair, or a bit of both, but no matter how it plays out, the one we leave will inevitably suffer before they heal.

The knowledge of that possibility often keeps us trapped in situations that make absolutely no sense, because we don’t want to hurt another human being.

So what can we learn from having to pluck up our courage and face hurting another?

If our own pain is so overwhelming that we simply don’t give a flying f*ck about the other person, leaving is made easier.

But what if we are sensitive to their situation, or what if we still love them deeply? What if our compassion for them as a human being overrides our own anger and hurt?

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~ Pema Chodron

What if we are empathetic to the hurt in their eyes when we announce the end of our relationship? What if our hand on the door leaves them broken and pleading? What if we almost crumble and stay, because we cannot face the pain of hurting them?

We are all human. Practicing detachment is not easy. Even if we can shut down our emotions, and pretend that we no longer care, after sharing love with someone, there are energetic bonds that need unraveling…

More here, my loves:

5 Healing and Empowering Gemstones for Empaths.


“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ C.G. Jung

 We are all sensitive creatures—absorbent sponges by nature—because we are not only physical, but also energetic beings.

But some of us are so open to other energies, by blueprint and by the conditioning of our experiences, that we are easily overwhelmed by our bustling world.

In my own experience as an empath, I’ve suffered an increase in discomfort when my personal space is influenced by other human beings, in crowded or noisy situations, or even just around my beloved—as I am so finely tuned to other frequencies.

Now this kind of tuning in is helpful when I’m reading Tarot cards for clients or feeling my way through life in general. But at times it is so overwhelming that I am exhausted from a few hours in town or a few minutes in a store or someone’s home. Even a walk in nature can be dense with signals.

If you are an empath, you know what I’m talking about. We are like lightning rods attracting the vibrational energy of everything that exists on the planet. Sometimes we laugh about it, or take a ribbing for being overly sensitive. However, the symptoms empaths deal with range from slightly aggravating to life threatening, and should not be taken without pause as to their effect.

“You are meant to shine. Be patient, the rest of us are still learning about who you are,” is something I have said when explaining that the world is still learning how empaths function.

Many empaths are creatives, work with nature or animals, are intuitive or psychic, may be labelled ADD/ADHD, are deep thinkers, are comfortable in other realms (astral travel, lucid dreaming), or may be reclusive. Check, check, and check!

It’s not always a comfortable life, but I would not have it any other way; and so say many of my empath connections. Being an empath is a gift on many levels. But we do need to help ourselves manage our day-to-day existence. Empaths can often experience physical manifestations of their sensitivity, and after a while, this can become debilitating. Protection of one’s environment is key.

The rest hereFive Healing & Empowering Gemstones for Empaths. | elephant journal