What a Long Journey

Sometimes I wonder why I am so drawn to readings, podcasts, and videos about emotional health. Mostly, it’s because I had to clean up my own struggles, understand where they were coming from, and learn to recognize I would have good days but also bad moments. The human experience.

This takes time. And if often takes words from experts to get you through the dark spots.

What I’ve learned:

  • We must live with imperfection and failure.
  • We will all experience moments of doubt, hurt, and pain. It’s what we do with those times that will push us through to the other side.
  • Knowledge of how the mind works is essential.
  • We can only release shame when we become vulnerable and share our stories.
  • Focusing on breath solves many problems.
  • I really can’t change the past; I can create a future that heals my heart.

I love this Brene Brown quote: “Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it’s about creating a clearing. It’s opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question.”

Ten years ago, the walls I had erected to protect me started to crumble. I’ve learned those walls had to go. When we are kind to ourselves, we open up fields and forests of relationships that can grow. Start by forgiving yourself and see what happens.

Self-Esteem or Self-Compassion?

I’ve spent the better part of the last two years studying self-compassion. In this podcast, Laurie Santos talks to Kristin Neff about why self-compassion is so important. Don’t let the term self-love or self-compassion bother you (I had to work through that, too). But know it is key to having a “fierce tenderness” about the world as you move through it.

Self-esteem in itself is good, but not if it comes at the expense of perfectionism, fear of failure, and an inability to function (all possible). Self-compassion, on the other hand, means to know that we recognize our common humanity, that we all make mistakes, and that we can recognize suffering but move on from it. We must limit self-criticism and embrace a tenderness toward ourselves. Really, it works!

The podcast is worth listening to as Kristen shares her own challenges with being compassionate toward herself as she raised her autistic child.

“Painful feelings are, by their very nature, temporary. They will weaken over time as long as we don’t prolong or amplify them through resistance or avoidance. The only way to eventually free ourselves from debilitating pain, therefore, is to be with it as it is. The only way out is through.”

Kristin Neff

Here it Comes Again




Do you have a “default” story you always tell yourself? Of course you do. We all do.

It took me a long time to understand and face all the stories I had buried: that women defer to men, that I shouldn’t express my opinion, that I am disorganized and lack attention to details. There are more.

These stories shape us, and as we narrate the stories in our head, send us on our journeys. I was finally able to realize where the stories had come from (culture, parents, experiences) and, more importantly, figure out how to break the cycle.

For example, I am a little disorganized. But that doesn’t make me a bad person. I have also learned to compensate. I have been a success in many aspects of my life. When I lose something these days, I try to laugh and not let myself get dragged down into “I always do this. Why can’t I be more organized?”

All this to say, I’m sure the reason I letterpress print sayings and quotes I love is the reminder to myself that I am fine. A change of thoughts translates to a change in actions. Sometimes I need to pause for a moment, shake those negative thoughts out of my head, and then I’m on my way.





“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

 Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum