It had to have been 2009 or so. A year-ish perhaps, maybe less, into my first long-term relationship right after high school (that would last another five years). He was living with my family and I - long story - and working at a popular pizza spot downtown. I expected him home late but as the hour crept beyond midnight, I began to wonder. Called - no answer. Called again - no answer. After all this time I can recall what it felt like to stand in my room as the TV lit the walls in this haunting sort of way in the darkness. The clock kept ticking and I was worried now. Not that he was doing something wrong - nothing like that in that moment. In my mind scenes of his forest green, Ford Ranger being submerged in a body of water with his lifeless body inside played on repeat, mixed with other images depicting the tragic demise of the boy I loved. Soon his phone went straight to voicemail (I had to have tried at least 30 times). I was terrified now and losing my grip quickly. I called the police station - crazy, I know. I called his friends (it was WAY too late to be calling anyone). I called his job. Before I knew it, it was about 3 AM and I was driving around downtown and past his family's praying for a glimpse of him. Nothing. Around 4 AM I went home and went to bed, on the phone with a sweet friend of his who assured me that he was safe and that there was an explanation of some kind for all of this. By the time I found any rest, the sun had come up. Dis-ease and pure panic still radiating in my bones.
*story by Dr. Nicole Davis Psy.D., J.D - a gifted teacher and guide for integrated Mindfulness + Wellbeing.
It must’ve been my first year of licensed practice, now that I think about it. I had a client during that time, let’s call her Maria, who was struggling with moderate to severe chronic depression. We’d been working together for a few months with little noticeable change in her mood. She was frustrated with therapy, and (candidly) I was frustrated too. Even armed with all of my years of education and supervised practice, along with a heart full of compassion and a fresh desire to help, we were stuck in a therapy rut and I was feeling a bit hopeless that I could help. One day, out of a combination of desperation and trying to get her off of the hamster wheel of melancholy, I asked her “is there anything at ALL in your day that you find even a teenie tiny bit enjoyable?” And after some serious deliberation, she decided that her morning cup of coffee was pretty much all that brought her any semblance of daily joy…
*story by Sarah Claire Smith who holds her Masters in Counseling and is an all-around special human being.
“What is wrong with you?”
“Is there something wrong with me?”
“Suck it up.”
“Get over it.”
“Just don’t do that.”
“Just move on.”
These statements and questions can sting. They illicit shame. They are shallow. Would you take a moment to swim with me from the shallow end of the pool towards the deep end?
Writing has been harder for me in the last six months or so. Through this fascinating shift in how I synthesize, integrate and expel information, I feel profoundly less connected to actual words and infinitely more connected to the feeling of energies. I can feel things more than I can say/express things, it seems. If I could communicate solely through interpretive dance to music from the early 2000’s, that’d probably work like gangbusters, actually. Actually…it ain’t a bad idea.
In my desire to connect more consistently with my community and to write more (because I genuinely do love writing), I took to the newly super popular Instagram Questions to ask people what they’d want me to write about in this space. No one gives a shit when I tell them to "ask me anything". Usually my friends just respond with explicit inquiries they already know the answer to that include eggplant emojis. Eye roll. But also - high five guys.
Much to my total excitement, people responded with really, really thoughtful prompts. The ONE “BS” response I got from a friend of mine is actually something I could totally spin. Hot Air Balloons. Stay tuned for that sexy metaphor. Every single one of them resonated with something I’ve reflected on in some capacity as of late. So, I’ll write about them all. But today, I’ll start with one by a friend I’ve never actually met named Elliot Slin, but that I look forward to soul-to-soul conversations with in person when Nature decides its time for me to go to Vancouver.
His request was this (obv the title of this post gave it away already but pretend you didn’t already know): Uncomfortable Conversations.
It’s the day before my birthday and I’m in bed in the middle of the afternoon, blinds dark, trying to nap away the tiredness that is reverberating from the space behind my eyelids. Dunder Mifflin sweatshirt on (photo above from another day when Apollo wasn’t so bored of me). Hair a mess. How to Train Your Dragon may or may not be playing in the background - IDK. My skin shows no signs of living in a place where the sun shines. The reflection staring back at me in the mirror reveals little evidence of a life force being present within. I realized yesterday that there is always big energy moving in my life at this time of year. This year is no different.
Guys, it’s been a hell of a week. Last Tuesday I had a therapy session that unearthed some major trauma from my childhood. Something I’ve sensed for a while is in there but have been unable to access in the ways we normally perceive memory. All I’ve had for a good handful of years now is a sneaking suspicion based on some events in my earth twenties that got me wondering, and a series of recurring dreams that began around that time and haven’t stopped. There is no visual memory available to me, but my intuition is my most trusted informant and it’s been speaking up at a higher volume. I’ve been able to feel an awareness wanting to come through, poking holes in the floor of my subconscious to let the light in.
It’s hard to sleep in beds that aren't your own.
The clock reads 6:23 am and I’ve been up for about two hours now. The thunder rolling outside my window only just came to a close and I traded the sound for the white noise of a ceiling fan keeping me cooler than I’d like. My eyes aren’t happy about the light from my phone but I’ve been awake for too long with the chatter of my mind not to write.
In less than two months from today I’ll basically be living out of my car and I can’t stop thinking about that this morning. I think it was the thunder, and the accompanying realization that I’d be huddled with Apollo in the back of a Mazda 5 encapsulated in our little metal box in unfamiliar places during other moments such as this. He is so afraid of thunder storms. The projection of that moment in my mind makes the feeling of his trembling body against my belly seem real already.
What am I doing?
Intuition is an ability which is available to everyone. Strengthening our intuitive abilities can have a direct positive influence on our human relationships, business relationships and material relationships. The definition of intuition is a way to make a decision without analyzing or consciously processing. Our primal brain structures are designed to do just that, make decisions based solely on our environmental and bodily cues, without using the higher brain structures of analysis. I would define intuition as feeling guided through the ebb and flow of life.
Intuition always speaks first. All we need to learn to do, is turn down the dial of our analytical brain, cut out our already developed reasoning skills and allow the intuitive feeling to flow through. Sounds straightforward enough, right? Unfortunately, throughout our lives we are not taught to rely on this subtle cueing system but rather taught to reason and logic our way through a problem. This action can lead to challenges as we relearn the path to our innate intuitive understanding.
What is Intuitive Eating? Loaded question. It looks different for each person. It is NOT a diet in any way. So, what does it mean exactly? Well, the authors of Intuitive Eating state this definition:
“Intuitive Eating is a dynamic mind-body integration of instinct, emotion, and rational thought. It is a personal process of honoring your health by paying attention to the messages of your body and meeting your physical and emotional needs. It is an inner journey of discovery that puts you front and center; you are the expert of your own body.”
I read that the first time and was like…what the fuck?…