Self-Compassion Saturday: the eBook!

I was honored to be a contributor to this book. You can download it for free. What a great first read for 2015!

A Thousand Shades of Gray

Click on the image to download the eBook

It’s finally finished! The final post for this series was published December 2013. I had hoped to get it compiled into an ebook sooner, but life had other plans. It’s here now, and I humbly offer it to you, kind and gentle reader, this amazing time capsule of wisdom and compassion. Just click here or on the image above to download the ebook. May your new year be one filled with the freedom of self-compassion.

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What I Wish People Knew About Depression

This is so important, I had to reblog it!

Therese J. Borchard

robin-williamsSomeone recently asked me to write on what I wish people knew about depression, in light of Robin William’s suicide. Here’s my response.

I wish people knew that depression is complex, that it is a physiological condition with psychological and spiritual components, and therefore can’t be forced into any neat and tidy box, that healing needs to come from lots of kinds of sources and that every person’s recovery is different.

I wish people knew the depression doesn’t happen in a vacuum and is part of a intricate web of biological systems (nervous, digestive, endocrine, respiratory), that depression is about the gut as well as the brain, the thyroid and the nerves, that we would have better health in this country if we approached depression with a holistic view.

I wish people understood that untreated depression can increase the risk of developing other illnesses, that a 2007 Norwegian study found…

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Building Safeness: How to get intimate with our inner critic

I haven’t been blogging much lately, but wanted to share this article I found. I like this line, from it, “Like all relationships, our relationship with our inner critic is complicated.” So true!

Ottawa Mindfulness Clinic

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We all want to feel safe. It’s important. When we feel safe, we feel confident and more willingly open ourselves to new experiences. In fact, feeling safe leads to the willingness to take risks – to risk being known, being seen, loving and feeling loved. As we encounter the world in all its various ways of showing us what being safe means, we learn to open and close our hearts (and minds) when we feel respected or rejected. Paul Gilbert¹, the developer of Compassion Focused Therapy, uses the term “safeness” to describe the experience of being safe. It’s different from “safety” or “safety-seeking” which tend to be what we do when we are engaged in the threat evaluation/response processes.

There are many things in our environment that we have learned are safe and many we have learned are unsafe. Hot stoves, fast-moving traffic, dark alleys and the like are easy to discern in…

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Transform #tinyhearts

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When I saw this heart, I immediately knew I would share something about the magical process of a becoming a butterfly. In searching, I found this poignant poem. The author wrote, “I wrote this for me…but it feels like it was meant for you too. If you know someone else who needs this, please pass it on.”  How generous! Please visit her blog Spirit Moves Dance or find her on Facebook.

Transformation

by Meg Goodmanson

It will not always feel good,
This growing.
This stretching beyond the boundaries of the known,
The comfortable.

It will not always feel safe,
This learning and relearning of your own abilities
This reexamining of beliefs
This pushing of envelopes
This breaking through enclosing walls.

You will shiver.

You will doubt.

You will want to run home.

Back behind walls of safety.

This walk to the edge will not
Feel good, safe, or comfortable,
But there is no faster way to learn.
There is no other way to grow.

So step out.
Leave your home base
Your comfort zone
Your cocoon

Acknowledge the fear and discomfort

But step out all the same.

With each step you take,
Your world expands
Your caterpillar mind will
Strain to comprehend the unbounded vastness of the sky.

Step out.

Step…step…step.

Unfurl your wings.

Fly.

 photo by Greg Markway

photo by Greg Markway

Stories and Compassion

“Everything is held together with stories.

That is all that is holding us together,

stories and compassion.” 

― Barry Lopez

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I told you my stories, and you reached out with compassion. It helped. It continues to help. Thank you.

I have had a good few days, and I know it’s because of you. This is no small thing–being there for each other. Yet we underestimate its importance.

At first glance, there seems to be nothing new about valuing compassion. It’s an idea that has been around for thousands of years in both the religious and secular worlds. But perhaps it is the universality of compassion that has lulled us into underestimating its importance.

Compassion is a treasure hidden in plain sight,

which we often don’t notice. -Larry Dorsey, M.D.

A big trend in psychotherapy is  “evidenced based treatment protocols.” Even as a write that, it sounds so cold. Of course, there are techniques and methods that are effective for a wide variety of problems.

But research over a long period of time continues to find that the core ingredient of someone’s progress in therapy is the relationship between the therapist and the client. It’s what humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers called “unconditional positive regard.” Psychologist David Myers writes:

Unconditional positive regard is an attitude of grace,

an attitude that values us even knowing our failings.

noname-30Writing on a blog is not the same as psychotherapy, but similar healing happens. You tell your stories. You find others have similar stories. You learn you’re not alone. You are seen.

You find out people accept you even if

you’re a bit tattered around the edges.

Again, this is no small thing.

Again, thank you, friends.

Around Here Lately

I thought I’d share some random pictures and a few thoughts about life around here.

photo-53The coolest thing: I met with some graduate students from Taiwan. One of them contacted me because she had read both of my books on social anxiety disorder and was going to be at the University of Missouri for a cultural exchange program. She wanted to interview me for a class project. I hope to write a whole post on this–it was so, so neat. She had brought her Chinese edition of Painfully Shy, all highlighted, and wanted me to sign it. She said it was a miracle that we met, and asked for a hug when we said good-bye.

An interesting tidbit: They all said that being quiet in Taiwan was revered. It was the shy, quiet students who were popular and who were selected by teachers to be class presidents. It sure was confirmation of this research study.

Real Life: Greg sitting in the recliner, holding Larry up like a baby, shoes on the floor, stuff all over the counter-tops, and me being sneaky taking pictures.photo-56

 Lots of Walks: When I feel sad about all the things I can’t do with my chronic pain, I remember that there are lots of things I can do, like take walks around the neighborhood. The sunsets have been gorgeous.photo-57

Life Make-Over Fail: Greg says I sound like a walking women’s magazine. I’ve been talking to him for at least a month that after baseball season was over (our St. Louis Cardinals were in the World Series) we were going to have a “Life Make-Over.” We were going to watch less TV, eat better, exercise more, spend less time on the computer… It was all supposed to start on November 1. Well, we did horribly over the weekend.  Greg watched LOTS of football (but to be fair, he didn’t feel well). I even told myself I wasn’t going to eat my nightly ice cream, but I did. We didn’t exercise.  This is why you should never try to start things on the first of the month or on a Monday. It feels too much like a diet and instant rebellion kicks in.photo-60

Funny: Larry looks a bit like Einstein. They both have the static hair thing going on.my_collage_by_Fuzel-2

Still Pondering Existential Issues (some things never change):photo-59

More August Break Pictures

These are not in order, and I’m skipping some days. Yea for flexibility!

Mid-day…my favorite Kelly Rae clock.

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White…bluebird eggs from earlier in the summer
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Not white, but still with the nest theme…an empty nest gift basket I made for a friend.

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Something Old…a church pew, now in our entryway, from St. Peter’s Cathedral where Greg’s father went to church and school

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A strange juxtaposition, but another Something Old picture, the old Missouri State Penitentiary…Greg used to play baseball “inside the walls” when he was a kid. Now he is in charge of all the mental health services for Missouri’s Department of Corrections.

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