We Can’t Heal If We Won’t Feel

“What would it look like… if you let yourself feel?” asked my therapist.

What now? I feel all the time! Come at me!

If you’ve met me in real life, you’ve seen me cry. It’s as simple as that. I can’t think of anyone I’ve been face-to-face with on a friendship level, who has not seen my tears. I feel. What is my therapist talking about?

My emotional leaks happen a few times a day, and I don’t see them coming. One minute I’m discussing a book with a group of gals, the next I’m in the car, losing my shit. I feel! What is my therapist talking about?!

It starts with a twitch at the corner of my eye. Then a lump in my throat. My nose runs. Jaw clenches. Ears plug up. Tears flow. I feel. I feel. Honestly, what’s my therapist talking about?

As soon as I’m able, I’m shoving tissues up my nostrils. Sometimes I have to change my shirt because it’s wet from sadness. I feel.

I chastise myself.

Suck it up.

Stop crying.

Why do you cry all the damn time?

You scare people off when you get messy.

I feel. I feel.

I cut it off. Shove it down. Get it together.

That-a-girl. Carry on.

And so, traumas are left half-done, unresolved, hanging in the space behind me, always there, ever so close.

Yes, I feel. But I don’t allow my emotions to flow through. I shame them, blame them, and contain them. I try to stay a step ahead.

I understand now what my therapist is saying. I want to heal, so I need to feel. To accomplish that, a few things need to change. Can you look above and see what they are?

I can.

Let yourself feel

“This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.”
Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind


Resilience Reminder

Drinking yesterday’s coffee because I don’t feel like making today’s. Honestly, it’s shit.

The days are persistent, and I hate being dragged. Everything feels tedious, even well-worn practices like writing. I’m too weary to hear myself speak.

I saw this Charlotte Brontë quote this morning. It resonated.

Brontë Quote

When I get tired of the fight, it’s important to reflect on why I try so hard. I land on these three values-




I overcome the lump in my throat to find myself. I show up in discomfort so I won’t be alone. I’m tenacious in the pursuit of healing. I just gotta get better. 

I appear to be giving myself a talking-to via blog post. At a time when I want to quit writing, here’s a reminder of why I started.

Thanks for listening. Onward, to March.

Write ALM February Writing Prompts

Lost Words

Within the night
I come alive
Lyrical poems
Slip my lips
Slither down sheets
Curl in my belly
And resonate

My fingers itch
No pen nearby
Heavy eyes
Sleep unfolds
I fall in
When I awake
I’m speechless

Empty journal page

Gratitude Practice As A Reset Button

spilled coffeeI won’t pretend that spilled lattes were the worst part of my week. A messy kitchen is a lived-in kitchen, and tea towels are easily laundered. But making coffee in a French Press is time-consuming, and this mishap first thing in the morning did elicit a string of expletives.

Look, life is uncertainty and pain. We do our best, but really have no control. Coffee spills. People die. Friendships end. It’s disheartening.

Gratitude is a way to get a handle on difficult emotions, big or small.

As coffee floods the counter, I cuss, then laugh, then find gratitude in the moment. More beans. An electric kettle. A morning in a warm house.

When someone dies, I sob, then smile, then find gratitude in the pain. They lived. They loved. I learned.

When I lose a friend, I blame, shame, then find gratitude in the experience. I gain insight. I find my worth. I embody resilience.

Gratitude practice doesn’t put a bandaid over life’s discomforts. It doesn’t gloss over them like an Instagram filter. Gratitude doesn’t dismiss pain, or invalidate loss.

Gratitude is a reset button. When I experience negative emotions, I reach out to grasp the good. The difficulties remain, but I can view them from a different perspective.

Gratitude practice gets me off the why-me train, and sets my path anew.

I don’t always feel grateful when I practice gratitude, the same way I don’t always feel like writing when I write. This is the beauty of practices, the empowering truth- we make choices. We dwell on the places of our choosing.

When I feel I’m being dragged down a negative path, I can disrupt anxiety with gratitude. It’s a line in the sand. A flag on a summit. A declaration.

I may be miserable, but dammit, I am grateful to be full of life, and to have the option!

It’s important to note that practicing gratitude doesn’t permanently revoke the why-me card. I am resilient, but my bounce back rate isn’t that of bread dough. I’ll spill coffee, be grateful I even have coffee, then bitch as I clean up coffee.

Practices are most useful when employed consistently. Fall down. Get up. Fall down. Get up. The falling down matters much less than the getting up. Little by little, I grow and heal, using gratitude practice as a reset button.

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Snapshots Of Gratitude

There’s no such thing as a good week or a bad week, a good day or a bad day. There are moments. On Sundays I gather better moments, and string them together to practice gratitude.

Birds in treeDrinking coffee on the porch, accompanied by Mourning Doves.

Good musicMusic that lifts my mood.

Nonviolent Communication excerptAn enlightening book (Nonviolent Communication).

Life is challenging and often painful. Frequent bursts of joy fuel me. The little things mean a lot. I seek perspective, so I practice gratitude.

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