Post Traumatic Growth

In this week's yoga class at my son's pre-school, we talked about lotus flowers growing from mud.  We then made mud with brahma dandasana, warmed the earth with sun salutations, and germinated lotus seeds with our breath. 

Many of these children have directly been impacted by the mud slides in our community of Santa Barbara. Some of the children are evacuated indefinitely from their mud filled homes, others know children who have died.

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Evolutionary Mismatch

On my son's first day of kindergarten, he was directed to a large carpet of colored squares where children squat, kneeled, sat crisscross, and wiggled while the teacher surveyed from above in her static chair. The teacher then taught their first lesson: stay in your square, sit on your bottom, and don't talk to your neighbor. She was preparing their bodies and minds for the 12 plus (60?) years ahead of desks and chairs.

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Default Mind: Four modes to dissatisfaction

A few weeks ago, I met four psychologist friends in New Mexico to reconnect, soak in the mineral hot springs of Ojo Cliente, and do what psychologists do when we get together....psychoanalyze ourselves. Group therapy for the brave. I have been yearning to get away for a while. When battling my toddler to take a nap or folding endless superhero underpants, I fantasized about reading People magazine on an airplane ALONE.

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Sliding Door Moments

Seventeen years ago, I met my partner in yoga class. On our first date we hiked up Inspiration Point to a view of Santa Barbara Foothills folding into East Beach below. Two dogs, two doctorates, two kids and nine chickens (how did we get to 9?) later, our marriage needed tending.

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Committed Action: Developing habits for a valued life

Last year. I began making wild yeast bread. It started from an interest in making whole foods for my family (after reading Michael Pollan's Cooked) and has grown into a weekly habit. On Saturday evenings, I "feed" my wild yeast and measure and soak the grains. On Sundays, my family works together to fold and turn the silky dough during it's slow (7 hours total) fermentation. Our weekly practice of bread nourishes many of my core values...

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The Monsters in Our Heads

When my oldest son was 3, there was a period of time where he woke in the middle of the night screaming in terror. My husband and I would rush in and find him pointing to "bad guys with antlers," crying, “Do you see them, Mommy? They are against the wall!” My initial instinct was to say what most parents would say, “Honey, there are no such thing as monsters.” My second instinct was to do what some psychologists would do, anxiously consult the DSM-5 for symptoms of early childhood psychosis.

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When I grow up I want to be a...

When I was a little girl and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I did not answer teacher or ballerina or neurosurgeon. "A snail," I would say. Snails get to have their homes on their backs wherever they go. Snails get to live close to the earth, sliding along at their own pace.  For the last 3 decades, I have been trying to find my way back to my true nature.

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The Dark Side of Self Esteem

Often, when I ask clients about therapy goals they list “self esteem” as a primary concern. I have a similar reaction to the words “self esteem” as I do to the words “fat free.” Just as fat free foods are often loaded with sugar or fake sweeteners to make them palatable, working on “self esteem” can produce saccharine and artificial results. At the same time the USDA is challenging the myths of low fat eating and embracing butter, the science of psychology is challenging the myths about  high self-esteem and embracing self-compassion.

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