Check out this Headspace article on how to use mindfulness and other strategies to shift your experience of commuting. It includes some insight and practical tips from yours truly and other helping professionals.
Recently I spoke at graduation at East West College of the Healing Arts. Below is a transcript of that talk.
Hello my dear ones. It’s an honor to speak to you today. First, I want to congratulate all of you on finishing school. I know that you’ve all worked really hard and achieved this goal in spite of all kinds of obstacles. At times like this it's natural to think about what's next. Graduation speeches often advocate for and celebrate things like ambition and goal setting, and following your passion. Well I’m not going to do any of that today. Those things have their place. And yet, they also have a dark side.
First, I have to break some bad news: we are not really in control of our lives. Not 100% anyway. We can respond to this truth by desperately trying to deny it, by orchestrating every possible aspect of our lives so that we don’t have to face the discomfort. Believe me, I know a little something about this. Maybe a lot. Another possibility is to try to accept, dare I say even embrace, this truth.
I’m not suggesting you completely abandon all goal setting and planning. They absolutely have their place. A plan likely helped get you here. I’m not suggesting you be passive, a spectator in your life, and that things will just happen. You must engage in the world. You must take action. However, what I am proposing is that you consider how you might lean into this uncertainty, how you might balance action with receptivity. To wonder what it would be like to live, as the poet John O'Donohue says, “like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”
In a previous post, I talked about how fear of others’ judgement can get in the way of enjoying the present moment.
That piece also touched on how judging others can be a protective strategy, an attempt to keep ourselves from looking at things that feel scary or shameful. Judgement can also be a way of trying to make ourselves less vulnerable so that, theoretically, we can't be let down or rejected.
When we judge others, we create a barrier which makes it difficult to experience the connection we so desperately crave.
Very often we turn that judgement around to ourselves.
At times, self-judgment can be another kind of protective strategy: if I criticize myself before others do, I can’t be hurt.*
*Note: This does not actually work.
Let’s go back to Zumba class for just a moment.
So many self-critical thoughts can flood through our heads.
I'm so uncoordinated.
I’m too old for this.
I can’t dance.
I’m too fat.
I’m too skinny.
I can’t keep up.
I look foolish.
My [body part of choice] is jiggly.
I'm out of shape.
reconnecting with what matters
When we become aware of self-critical thoughts, it can be helpful to pause and ask ourselves a question.
This piece about managing anxiety at work includes some practical advice from me and a handful of other therapists, psychologists, and life coaches.
After working with people for many years, certain universal truths began to reveal themselves.
We all long for connection.
We all long to be seen, understood, loved and accepted.
And: We are terrified these things won't ever happen.
We feel ashamed. We feel lonely. We feel afraid.
We compare ourselves and our lives to others and we rarely measure up.
When welcoming new people to class, my Zumba teacher often tells them not to worry about what other people are thinking.
"No one is watching you; I promise," she says.
Happy New Year!
Here's an article about how to be more mindful in 2017 that includes some of my thoughts on the matter.
-notice what you're experiencing
-offer yourself compassion
“Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love.” -George Eliot
Recently I had to say goodbye.
Like many goodbyes, this one was made up of small and big goodbyes all tangled up into and born out of a single event.
I left my job as Dean of Students at East West College after six years.
As a social-worker-therapist-type-person, you might assume that I am comfortable "sitting with" painful, vulnerable and complex feelings.
If you assume this about me, you would be correct, and...I am still a human being!
Saying goodbye after six years, much less saying goodbye over and over again to many people, multiples times, over weeks and months was really tough.
It was uncomfortable and exhausting and hard, and it was a profoundly rich and sacred opportunity.
At some point in the midst of all of this, I had a thought...
I only look backwards to see how far I've come: how to let go of the past and how it can move us forward
Recently I contributed to anarticle about how we relate to the past.
This piece, written by holistic health coach Amy Height, examines how and why getting stuck in the past can be problematic; ways of mindfully bringing ourselves back to the present; and how and when looking back can be useful.
Check it out here.
Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough - that we should try again. ~Julia Cameron
I have worked with countless people who find themselves in the grips of Perfectionism.
I love helping them learn to accept themselves as they are and embrace “good enough.” I love witnessing them discover how this allows them to live more fully, freely, and authentically. It’s exciting, nourishing, and inspiring work.
But it can be hard to make this shift. It takes practice. And like every other bad habit we try to kick, there is the inevitable relapse. I know this because I have lived it.
Correction: I am living it.
“My name is Fara and I’m a (Recovering) Perfectionist.”
Not too long ago, I was getting ready to teach a class. I did a lot of preparation going into this situation to keep my Perfectionist at bay because I knew this situation was ripe for her arrival.*
*It was my first time teaching it. It was something I created (read: no one else could be blamed for its failure). In this class were going to be some people I already knew--people whose opinions of me I cared about, colleagues I respect and and admire. Not only colleagues, but fellow teachers (!!!). There would also be people who didn't know me. If I failed, their opinion of me would be shaped around this one event.
I cringe at the level of self-involvement.
So, I did a few things...
fara tucker, lcsw
therapist and teacher in Portland, Oregon