In support of going it alone....

·      Whether by choice or by force, more women than ever are going it alone. Yet so many women struggle with savoring their alone time. If a gaggle of girlfriends or a partner aren’t game for doing something, women, far too many women, will just opt to stay home and watch a movie rather than go out and face (or embrace) their aloneness. I can relate, I did the same when I got divorced until I realized ... There's a whole wide world full of experiences out there ... and many women are missing it! 

·      So “where do I start to connect to my aloneness?” and “What is a solo journey?” you ask.  A solo journey is a journey outward into the world alone.  It is not isolation.  It is an outward action while maintaining a distinct sense of oneness. 

·      It's time for women to be brave and push their comfort zones and deliberately get out there and live life boldly. Here are my top solo journeys for your MIND, BODY and SOUL that EVERY woman should take to enhance their beautiful solo life. 

Here's some suggestions for you on going it alone! 

1)   Journey to another land: Go on a trip completely alone.  Go see and do things in a country or city that you’ve always been interested in seeing.  Do exactly what you want to do.  Check with no one for approval. Make your own reservations. Decide on the location and sites and how long and how far you go.  Allow yourself to get a little bit lost.

2)   Take a journey through literature: Read a book in public.  (Not all at once!)  Decide on a location that is NOT a usual locale for reading such as a book store, library or your home and go OUT to read.  Need to decide where to read? Chose a theme based on the book you’re reading.  Maybe you want to read a classic like Huckleberry Finn sitting by a lovely river?

3)   Journey into the world of artistry:  Write or sketch (a la Toulouse Lautrec)  in a journal or sketch pad in a public location like a bar or a coffee shop or dance hall (do they still have dance halls?)  Write down or draw what you see.

4)   Get lost outside the lines: Grab some markers and one of those new beautiful coloring books so popular now ( and get lost outside the lines while you let yourself get lost in a crowd.  Continue finding new places and continue to draw or write until you’ve completed the book or sketchpad.  

5)   Journey into film: Go to the movies.  Decide on a series of movies or a topic each week for a month and really experience each movie without input or bias from anyone else.  It’s an amazing experience to cry or laugh in a movie theatre alone.

6)   Journey into the nature of seasons: Get a membership at a Botanic Garden and visit regularly and note how the flowers and landscape change over the seasons. 

7)   Journey down the road of life’s little pleasures: Take a bucket list road trip.  Create a bucket list of 5 -10 random little things you would want to accomplish in a weekend or a day and go do them!  On my last bucket list road trip, I drove to Moab, Utah.  On my list: Color in a coloring book outside under a tree; eat pie; take a picture in front of the sign saying “Welcome to Colorado”; pee by the side of the road (shh don’t tell anyone!); learn something new; swim in a river; meet a new person and do a handstand under the arches.  Check, check and check!

8)   Take a solo gastronomical journey: Go out to fancy restaurants alone.  Pretend you are a food critic and really evaluate the service and the food.  Look for presentation, service, flavor, atmosphere etc…

9)    Take a journey through your senses: Really luxuriate in all of the senses and spoil yourself.  Spend a day or a weekend giving to all of the senses.  Smell: find a new perfume that smells wonderful and amazing to you.  Hear: Attend a local venue that offers live music or poetry alone.  Or enjoy the symphony, ballet or opera alone.  See: Take some time to look for beauty in your area. Photograph items that you feel are beautiful.  Maybe it is simply sitting in a park and watching the sunset? Taste: buy one small piece of exquisite chocolate or cake or something that just makes you mouth sing with pleasure. Touch: End your sensory journey with an amazing massage. Or go home and spend time touching yourself.  Speaking of touching yourself…

10)                  Take a sexual journey: Just because you alone doesn’t mean you cannot be sexual.  Sometimes solo sex can be a wonderful and rewarding experience.  How else are you going to get to know what feels right or good to you?  Start your sexual journey at an adult store.  Look around.  They are oddly not that creepy.  Look at all of the toys and activities.  What attracts you?  What interests you? What excites you? What makes you laugh?  What freaks you out?  Ask questions.  Often the staff is really helpful.  Pretend your just picking out a new vacuum.  Then take your new items home and spend a luxurious evening alone.

11)                  Journey into gratitude: Buy some amazing stationary and write thank you cards to all of your friends and family.  Set up shop in a pretty place, an outdoor cafe, a cozy bench at the park, a fun corner of a cool wine bar and then Just write what comes to mind and thank them for being a part of your life.  Tell them how much they mean to you!

12)                   Journey into movement:  Take a dance class. Sign up for a yoga class or tap dancing, whatever moves you!  Join a meet up group for running or cycling.  Not much of a dancer- there’s classes in martial arts, or tai chi that are very focused on movement.  Look at this journey more so from a place of movement rather than about exercise or health.  Learn how to move your body in many different ways.  

13)                  Journey into spirituality and religion:  Dedicate a month or two to learning about religion a little more by attending many different churches, temples and synagogues. Chose a different one each week.  Then spend some time thinking about your own faith and the place of religion and faith in your life.   How has it served you?  How has it hurt you?  What is it that your truly believe?

14)                  Take a daring journey: Always wanted to do something but was too scared? Do it now!  Go skydiving. Get your nose pierced. Get a tattoo. Go rock climbing.  Go go cart racing! Do something daring and crazy. Once you get over being scared, it will be fun and exhilarating!

15)                  Journey out to go inward: Sign up for a class or join a meet up group focused on contemplative prayer or meditation. Meditation is tough to start on your own.  It is easier to begin when in a group.  So get started!

16)                   Journey into service; Serve food in a soup kitchen. Or volunteer at an organization that speaks to you. Or you could simply cook a fabulous meal and deliver it to a friend who is could use a break from the dinner grind.

17)                  Journey into the cosmos by just laying outside at night and simply stargazing.  Spend time imagining how vast and great the universe is and breathe in to the possibility that your problems, your issues, your concerns are all in their rightful place, and that you are one with and part of this infinite universe.  Imagine that you are entirely subsequent and minuscule in comparison, yet at the same time, entirely essential to the balance of everything.  

7 Reasons Why I Think Therapy Doesn’t Have to Suck!

I admit it! I am a bit biased about positive effects of therapy for my clients and well, for everyone! So often I have a new client come to me and say, “I was so scared to come here today.” Or “Well that wasn’t really so bad. I thought it was going to suck!” But therapy doesn’t have to suck! AND if going to therapy sucks for you, find a new therapist! There are so many people to choose from, keep looking until you find someone who resonates with you. Perhaps I will?

1) You get one full hour (sometime 2 hours if you ask nicely and I have space) to talk about yourself without worrying what I think of you or that you have to see me in the drop off line at your kid’s school the next day. You don’t have to worry if you’re giving me enough time to talk about myself. I won’t talk about myself. (Well maybe a little but only when it’s appropriate or it helps you!) You don’t have to worry if you sound crazy or selfish or if you go into a full-blown ugly cry. I always have lots of tissue on hand to mop up your tears and snot. It’s exactly the place to feel & experience all that stuff! You can get mad and storm out and I will still be there the next week wanting to talk about your experience. Where else can you get that kind of dedication and attention?

2) You get to go to your dark places and still stay safe. I won’t react to them with discomfort. Or ever say, “Um… your just too dark to be my client.” I provide a container of clinical skills for you to bounce around in. I allow you to go to the edge of your fear or darkness and at times, sanity, without quite ever going over. I will help guide you and allow you to become more enlightened along your path to recovery. I will not let you crash, (hopefully) but walk with you right up to the crash scene and emotionally hold your hand through the dark places and facilitate your arrival on the other end.

3) You get someone to hold your secrets. In fact, I am required by law to hold secrets and not divulge them to anyone. Anyone! Ever! Unless you are going to hurt yourself or someone else, then okay, I have to tell! But that’s a good thing right?

4) Therapy with me can be fun at times. I will be able to help you laugh at some of your issues in a loving and productive way. We all take our selves and our lives so seriously. Sometimes it’s really helpful to have someone in your life that can help you find the levity in an otherwise ridiculous situation.

5) I provide unbiased clinically researched insights into your behavior, thoughts and emotions. Most everybody else in the world is giving you their opinion about things based on their own experiences. But my experience doesn’t really matter. I will show you the pros and cons of a situation and help guide you to your own best decision.

6) Therapy with me can give you structure and a touch point when everything else in your world seems like it is coming unhinged. Hopefully, my office can be the one place where things make sense and where you feel safe.

7) I will play many roles for you along the way. Some times you might need a good swift kick in the pants, other times you need a cheer leader, or a guide through the dark places, other times still, a good strong silent shoulder to cry on. All of this can be provided with a strong clinical and spiritual foundation. If you see me for a period of time, and truly allow yourself to trust and be vulnerable, I will get to be all of those things for you.

I know this list is a bit “tongue and cheek” but let me assure you, it is with all seriousness and great humility that I do my work and I would be honored to be chosen as someone to help you do your work.

Natural prescription for anti depression

These are proven ways to raise dopamine in the brain. Low dopamine levels can lead to lack of motivation, fatigue, addictive behavior, mood swings and memory loss. Instead of running to a doctor for meds or turning to unhealthy ways to raise your dopamine levels, why not first try to increase dopamine naturally? Here a few ways you might want to try. There are many other ways but these could get you started!

Shake it off
Dance, Skip, jump, run, tumble, fly -Exert yourself! Doesn’t need to be a big giant workout everyday, just do something to exert yourself and raise your heartbeat for at least 1 solid minute.
Pray and be quiet
Learn how to take 5 minutes a day to pray and/or meditate. To sit in silence and in gratitude for that time.
Laugh out loud
Use the internet to laugh!!! There are so many funny things on line now! Spend a minute each day watching, reading or listening to something funny!
Breathe better
This may sound strange, but we have actually forgotten how to breathe. When you breathe from your chest and not your diaphragm your body doesn’t operate as well. So take a minute to focus on your breathe and really breathe deeply.
Share your story
Join a support group, connect with others, reach out to friends and family and if your depression is really debilitating seek out professional help. Remember Therapy doesn’t have to suck!
Eat your lima beans
Also, almonds, apples, avocado, bananas, beets, chocolate, coffee, fava beans, green leafy vegetables, green tea, lima beans, oatmeal, sea vegetables, sesame and pumpkin seeds, turmeric, watermelon, wheat germ
Take your vitamins
There are tons of websites and information about different supplements to increase dopamine in the brain. (Always consult a doctor before taking any new supplements!)