Girls, we run this.

“Reppin for the girls, who takin over the world

…How we’re smart enough to make these millions

Strong enough to bear the children

Then get back to business.”- Beyonce “Run the World (Girls)”

Happy International Girls’ Day! A wise person once said, “If you can be yourself, be yourself. But if you can be Beyonce, be Beyonce.” Needless to say, I love Beyonce and I love this jam. Beyonce writes and sings anthems. Songs that embody a movement, a belief, an ideology. And this song, certainly embodies the cause and belief in the power and strength of women. As a woman, who works primarily with women; I see strength, patience, love, and all good things pour out of many of the strong women that I am blessed to know. Many of them have faith beyond any person I’ve ever met, but you wouldn’t be able to guess just by looking at them. You can’t judge a woman by her cover!

Living in this world, and working with eating disorders; I’ve begun to reflect on the plight of women through a different lens. Our society has become increasingly (and disgustingly) objectifying of women. As every year passes, it seems we’re expected to be even more skinny, artificial and photo-shopped than the month, year, or day before. We begin to view standards and see images that make us feel less worthy, less beautiful, less “woman.” And it is a sad, sad truth only sadly (sometimes) reinforced by the men in our society. Instead of lifting us up and appreciating the beauty, brains and baby-making ladies we are (Beyonce paraphrase); they often feed into our insecurity and validate that because we are not big/small enough, smart/dumb enough, out-going/quiet enough than we are un-worthy.

At the risk of sounding like a complete bra-burning feminist, I have to say that ladies– we have to stick together and stand up for ourselves! It is one of my core beliefs that we all receive the respect that we give ourselves. Love who you are, and know what you deserve and don’t treat your body like an object, free to be “bought” for a cheap drink or bargained for a commitment. Your body is a temple to be honored, not an object to be perfected. It is sacred. It is “fearfully and wonderfully made” to be enjoyed through a life that is well lived, not hated and bashed and criticized for the way it looks different than the one next to it. Women, we need to stop comparing and putting beach other down and recognize the unique role that each woman plays in her life, her family, our world.

And if we come together and recognize and see the beauty in all women, whether or not they look like they belong on the cover of Vogue, we will each do our part in coloring this black and white world a rainbow of light. Because we all have different colors, we all have light within us, we all have deep, incomparable beauty and the sooner we begin to recognize it in each other; the sooner we begin to believe it for ourselves and act in a way that honors the beauty of us.

Because after all girls, we run this!

Scar Tissue that I wish you saw.

“Autumn’s sweet we call it fall
I’ll make it to the moon if I have to crawl
With the birds I’ll share
This lonely view”

It’s lonely at the top. And the world tells us that the top is where we want to be. The message we receive is that if you want to be successful, if you want to “make it to the moon”, you have to give it all you have. Walk until all your legs come out from under you. Crawl to reach your destination and step on whoever gets in your way.

The sweetness of autumn provides an opposite picture than the one of isolated success. During this time of year, we are gearing up to spend time with other people. The holidays are one of the few times in our society that we can’t avoid people the easy way we can during the year. It forces us to come together and enjoy the company of others. Contrast our constant strive for success and pleasing ourselves and think about what we are thankful for, celebrate memories with others and spend quality time creating a shared feeling of togetherness, home, and love. The holidays are a hard time for many people. Maybe you didn’t come from a happy home or don’t have many family or friends to spend it with. Sometimes relationships get so strained that the closest people in your life are the very ones you need to let go of. The holidays are also a time where deep wounds re-surface, and anger, bitterness and resentment are the resulting emotions when you think about what this holiday season “should” look like. And you wish whoever hurt you so much would get to see your scar tissue. The wound from that broken relationship and what it took for you to heal. Maybe these experiences make you dread the holidays and wait for it to come and go so you can get on to living without having to think of any pain.

It’s hard to live in a world where another person can hurt you and disappoint you. The natural response is to feel that because that person hurt you, everyone else will. “No one cares about me so I must care about myself and not care about anyone else.” This is the response we are tempted to have when faced with pain, betrayal, rejection and all the other array of emotions that a human being’s actions can cause us to feel.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could love each other as we would want to be loved. Forgive like we’d want to be forgiven? That is after all, what we were made for, to do. Don’t crawl through life with the wound and limp that someone else’s careless or ill-intended actions created. Find the strength to stand up and go through life together with other humans. The ones that have the potential to let you down. Showing love and grace to them as you should to yourself. There’s no better formula for success.

When you wish upon a star…

When you wish upon a star...

When’s the last time you made a wish? When’s the last time you believed the wish you made would come true?

I believe a wish is a prayer that you believe is close to impossible so you keep it in your heart out of fear that it will never come true. It’s a secret prayer, never spoken or shared with someone else and we all have them “when you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are.”

What makes a wish come true? A little faith, a little hope and a little of you. Even the most passive wish takes some action: seeing a star, having a thought. Even blowing out candles on your birthday cake takes you playing a part. What’s the one thing you wish would come true? What is in your way: and is it you? Many times all we can see is the obstacles to making a wish become a dream become reality. Many times that obstacle is our own self: our doubts, our fears. It takes faith to let go and send out our wish as a prayer. It takes faith and action to realize if that wish is really meant to come true.

here today and gone tomorrow

But when October comes and goes in no time at all
I’ll begin to feel the chill of an early fall.

Oh how quick they slip away, here today and gone tomorrow.
Love and seasons never stay, bitter winds are sure to follow. — George Strait, “The Chill of An Early Fall”

In honor of the Country Music Awards, today’s lyric of the day quote is from the legendary George Strait. I love the double meaning of the word fall in this song. It’s a season and it’s a feeling. The season of fall is the predecessor of winter just like a feeling of fall in a relationship may be the beginning of goodbye.

A start of a relationship is a funny thing. In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis writes: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”. In the beginning of any relationship, you meet someone and if you click, it feels like you’ve known them all your life. You share about yourselves, mostly similarities, and the time flies, because you’re having fun! But as Mr. Strait sings “when October comes and goes in no time at all… begin to feel the chill of early fall.” Although he’s clearly being a bit pessimistic, he captures a very interesting definition of love as a feeling that “doesn’t stay.” and “bitter winds being sure to follow”. In a way he is right, there is always a fall from grace in every relationship. That moment when you realize, that other person is as human and imperfect as you are. It’s a difficult moment but we all know that it is inevitable: that person you deemed the queen of summer, is soon to fall off her pedestal. That is just the nature of this world and human life in general. The fear of how far they will fall or how it will hurt us when we realize their humanness is sometimes worse than the actual act itself. It creeps up on us like cold weather in November. Mostly because it reflects the fear of how imperfect and “human” we can be. And the thing about it is, especially if you’re from southern california; if you have to experience the fall, the least that could happen is not having to experience it earlier than necessary! Most of us want to stay in the “honeymoon” period as long as possible. With no bitterness, all sweetness.

But, the reality is, as George says, we’re all “here today and gone tomorrow”. So why not embrace the human qualities of another person before it’s too late. Your love for someone once you realize they are not perfect, will bring much peace and freedom. And it will help you love yourself, and understand that you are loved in a deeper way: flaws and all. And if someone is not meant to be in your life, it is my firm belief that they will not stay. People are in our lives for a “reason, season or a lifetime” And if they’re meant to be, they will be. And if they’re meant to leave, they will leave with the winds of tomorrow.  And you will be okay.

Autumn Fallin, from trees. The snow is up to our knees… I believe, it was you. Who I wanted to be walkin next to.

And I believe we were friends
And I believe we will be again

If I knock on your door would you let me in?”- JayMay “Autumn Fallin'”

Best song. And in this video, it is performed in one of the best cities in the world. London is such a charming place. Besides all the history, literature and religion that was birthed in the Motherland; deep down, it is a city with a story. And how fitting that the gifted story-telling singer-songwriter, Jaymay chooses this city with a story as the backdrop to her autumn fairy-tale.

The thing I love about this song, and Jaymay as an artist, is like any good story-teller, she invites you into her story, her life. And she does it by setting up the scene. “Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away”… Okay, not that kind of story, I’m not going all geek squad on you, don’t worry, but by the first words “Autumn’s fallin…” she sets a beautiful scene. Autumn is falling from trees, and instantly in our minds we see Jaymay and ____ walking through the snow, walking through central park, getting rid of shoes, and a whole bunch of other fun things that this setting, this season may bring. Our imagination sets in as she tells the story. And we’re fully aware that this is her story until slowly but surely, her story becomes ours.

And we go from, man I wish I was walking with Jaymay in Central Park to… BAM. The picture of the one person I want to be walking next to. RIGHT THERE WITH ME. The “hero”, “prince charming” or “princess charming” in our story. Maybe someone comes to mind. Maybe a group of friends, maybe a long lost friend you’ve lost touch with, someone you couldn’t picture your life story without.
Whoever it is. Whatever it is. A good song brings the song-writer’s life experiences into your heart and your mind. It makes you reevaluate your life and ask yourself tough questions like “who do I want to be talking to, walking next to, spending forever next to?” What kind of stories and adventures do I want to tell? And who is in those stories that I don’t want there. And who is not in those stories that I do want? And then of course these thoughts and hopes, lead us to action. It leads us to following our dreams and believing our hopes will come true… “I believe we were friends. I believe we would be again.”

Autumn is falling. Let’s fall right with it, fall in love with the story of your life. 🙂

All Too Well

All Too Well

There are moments in music that can be defined in one word. Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” is one of those moments, and the one word that can sum up this ballad is: nostalgia.
A longing for the past. Reminiscing on a better time and grieving the loss of what was, what could have been and what will never be.
During this time of year, nostalgia runs rampant in our hearts and minds. We think about holidays of the past, with family and friends who may no longer be with us, old traditions we have lost along the way and even just the loss of another year with the ones we love.
What’s most interesting is that amidst all of these feelings of nostalgia; this time of year is also the most aesthetically delightful times (if, of course, you are in a geographical location that experiences season). As Charles Dickens writes, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.
This season, with all the nostalgia and difficult memories it may bring, also brings new memories, new beauty, new growth.

It is good to cherish our lives, every past and present moment. It is also good to recognize the beauty of change, the beauty of loss. As you watch the changing leaves, realize the beauty of their “dying.” As you watch the change in your life circumstances, recognize the beauty in the loss of your life. In the things you “let die”. Maybe they are your fears. Maybe they are your unrealized dreams. Maybe they are your worries and stress about what others think of you.
If the green leaves of summer never encountered the Autumn. They would never become the beautiful fall colors we know and love. If we never experience change and loss in life, we would never “let go” of what we’re not meant to hold onto in the first place.
Change is hard. Loss is painful. We can still picture the life we once had, or wish we had. But what we must realize is that though our dream was beautiful, the loss of it, the transformation into a new dream, is beautiful too. There is beauty in letting go…

“In the end, only 3 things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”

Leave your dishes in the sink. Leave your fear there too.

Leave your dishes in the sink. Leave your fear there too.

You can find a million words, to build a wall of fear. Safe behind that wall, imprisoned here.
Take that someday step today, to who you’re meant to be.
And turn your dreams to plans so you can breathe” – Superchick- This is the Time

Confession: I’m not a fan of Halloween. I know, what’s wrong with me,right? The only thing I actually like about it is that it brings us that much closer to Thanksgiving and then… wait for it…. CHRISTMAS. Nevertheless, Halloween provides the perfect opportunity to do what we therapists do best: analyze human behavior. Surely, some of our finest moments as a human race must have occurred during this lovely holiday in which something mysterious and fascinating MUST be happening in our brain (sugar high?) that convinces us, otherwise rational humans, that it is perfectly normal and acceptable to wear masks of things like zombies, werewolves, etc. or worse, a zombies or werewolves with the weapon that killed them still in stuck in their head and knock on people’s doors expecting to be rewarded for such original fashion statements… So now that you have a beautiful visual in your head, as we watch people make these rational decisions, I can’t help but discover (invent) a deeper meaning to the holiday and what it represents to our society.
And I came to the following conclusion: life is a lot like halloween. And no, not because life is like a box of chocolates (although I completely agree with that statement, that Forrest knows his stuff!) In life, like Halloween, there is always an opportunity to live from a place of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of meaninglessness. And this fear sometimes causes us to wear a mask. We wear masks to hide parts of ourselves that we don’t want people to see. Maybe we wear a mask at work. Maybe we wear a mask with a significant other. Or a social group we are trying to impress. We think, “I can’t show them THAT”, “If they knew, THAT about me, they would… “This is a side of me everyone would think is…”

So instead, of actually embracing those things about ourselves and allowing it to grow our character, we hide them, buried deep down in the closet of our heart.The good and the bad. We hold the weight and spend all our energy trying to be people we’re not out of fear that we can never truly embrace all parts of ourselves and be loved and accepted regardless of what’s underneath the mask.
As a young therapist, I bring a lot of that fear into the therapy room with me. Although, ironically, I thought I was supposed to be “the one who has it together”, I often feel the most afraid, like I need to wear a mask in front of my clients so they don’t find out that… guess what I’M A HUMAN TOO?

Isn’t that the funny thing? In life, like during halloween, we ALL know there is something under the mask. We all know that there are things the next person is hiding and as unwilling to share as we are. And you know what is the funniest thing about it? We assume that the only ugly and scary masks are the ones we wear at Halloween. And only at Halloween are our true selves more beautiful. But the real ugliness is in the life masks. The gossip we engage in so that we fit in. The lie we tell to get us out of an ethical dilemma at work. The pleasantries we engage in at church or in social circles so we don’t have to really be honest about the terrible week we had when someone asks “how are you doing?” So why are we all so afraid? Because fear is a prison. We lock ourselves in our tower walls, and throw away the key. We’d rather stare at walls, and play our parts and recite the lines, than discover the risks and rewards that lay on the other side of those walls. But really, on the other side of that wall is where our dreams live. And if we were watching our lives on the movie screen, we would be screaming at ourselves, at the top of our lungs: “FORGET THE FEAR. JUMP THAT WALL. TURN YOUR DREAMS TO PLANS SO YOU CAN BREATHE.” The movie is only 1 hour and 20 minutes. They’ve got to jump that wall before it’s too late. Your life is only ________. Break down those walls and live your life like someone died for you, today. There’s no better time. This is the time, this is your life.

“What would you try if you had no fear”. Happy Halloween. Here’s to no fear.