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Seeker on the spiritual path. Student of living well.

Reflections on self-growth and why I’m grateful for my heartbreak

Woman hugs herself while looking out at beautiful sunset.
Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

It’s been a year and a half since the worst breakup of my life, the one I thought I’d never get over. We always think that, don’t we? That surely this pain will last forever. Then one day along the way — and it might hit you out of nowhere — you don’t feel so sad anymore. You’ll realize thinking about your ex doesn’t break your heart, and that actually it feels…fine.

You are surprised, pleasantly, at how right everyone was, that what you thought would end you at the time has indeed become just a faint memory — that…

Detox from the noise and return to your best self

Blurry picture of woman in chaos. Red and blue.
Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

These days, it can feel near impossible to escape the noise of modern life. We live in the age of the attention economy in which our technologically hyperconnected world gives us access to information in an instant and we are constantly responding to the dings, rings, and red badges from a slew of digital platforms strategically vying for our attention. This is all on top of the other items we must give our energy to on a regular basis: work, parenting, relationships, housekeeping, bills, etc.

While our human attention has always been a scarce resource, meaning that attention to one…

Finding balance in how we care for ourselves

Coffee mugs appear as yin and yang.
Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Most of us who have at-minimum dabbled in the world of Eastern philosophy have heard of the Chinese concept of Yin and Yang. In fact, the presence of these terms has become fairly commonplace in the world of modern Western yoga spaces that I inhabit (think Yin Yoga). It was only in a recent therapy session, however, that was I introduced to how this dualist principle could apply to how I practice self-compassion—and it totally changed how I think about self-care.

A background on Yin and Yang

In case you need a refresher, according to the ancient Taoist philosophy the two energies of Yin (the feminine)…

Lessons for life we can all learn… without crossing three oceans

The Taj Majal is visible through a doorway.
Photo by me from my trip to the Taj Mahal, January 2019

In early adulthood, my hopes for the future revolved around one thing: traveling the world.

I put this above most all else: career, financial security, romantic love, etc. Sure, I obligingly finished my college degree and even worked a nine-to-five for a year. But these felt more like ways to pass the time — and like things I “should be doing” — until the next opportunity to hop on a plane arose.

I kept this vision close to heart and by age 25 I had seen parts of five continents (including the one on which I was born, I admit)…

A few simple rituals to cultivate a loving presence today, especially if it feels difficult

Outdoor planter on sidewalk says “love self.”
Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

It’s that special day, again — Valentine’s Day. While many of us are welcoming the day with warmth and joy as we take the opportunity to honor the loving relationships in our lives, others may struggle today. Many of us have lost love, others have yet to find it. If you are one of these people, you’d maybe rather forget this day exists altogether especially as you scroll through social media and see everyone else’s gushing, googly-eyed posts (not that there’s anything wrong with those!).

If you are one of the people experiencing difficult emotions today, firstly see if you…

The exercises that helped me go from chronically anxious to mostly at-ease

Woman breathes in meditation by river
Photo by Le Minh Phuong on Unsplash

You could say anxiety and I were destined to be together, genetically speaking. With three out of my four siblings and my father living with it to a diagnosable degree, anxiety and I had also been close companions for most of my life.

But lately, anxiety and I are not so close. Over the past several years as a yoga practitioner, meditator, and now instructor, I’ve become quite familiar with techniques for calming body and mind in a tangible way. And while there are a whole array of tools and habits I employ on a daily basis to keep my…

A simple mindset shift that gives me strength every day

Hands offering flowers to someone.
Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

As humans, we unconsciously relate to life through this one question: What can life offer me?

What can I get out of today? Tomorrow? This year? How could this moment be different/better? What can I add or change or fix?

This is how we tend to go about our days, unaware. We exist in a state of grasping for something else, always finding something to fix.

I’ve been used to living my life like this, too. I notice it show up in ways ranging from the immediate and subtle (if I have one more cup of coffee, I’ll be happy…

Simple ways to turn back to your inner light

Woman with joy walks on beach
Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Feeling joy in life doesn’t always come easily to me. This fact was made poignantly clear at a wellness fair last winter when I took an emotional health assessment via this weird handheld device. Supposedly through signals in my body the device was able to detect that out of all emotional indicators, my levels of joy were severely lacking. And while this technology may sound kind of “woo woo” (and it does to me, if I’m honest) the results struck me…because they felt true.

“You must be going through a hard time, huh?” …

Common Misconceptions and How to Change Your Mind about Them

Photo by Katerina Jerabkova on Unsplash

I cannot speak enough to the powerful influence mindfulness meditation has had in my adult life thus far. I can say with certainty I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it. It is a discipline practiced by Eastern traditions for millennia, and in more recent times lauded by Western scientists, medical professionals, and wellness experts.

And yet it seems some people still need convincing…

I’ve noticed a few common misconceptions people hold around meditation — myths that often serve as obstacles to establishing or maintaining a practice.


Lessons on Spirituality and Being Human

Photo by Toni Reed on Unsplash

With the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, I’d guess many of us have confronted areas of our lives and ourselves in unexpected ways in the past year. Speaking for myself, with a newfound plethora of time and enforced solitude, I had the opportunity to really sit with myself for the first time in a long time. Though this wasn’t always comfortable, I discovered a few essential insights into my inner world and about how to live well.

Below are my biggest takeaways from this pandemic so far— lessons about life and spirituality and humanness. Perhaps you can relate.

  1. Loneliness is…

Grace Herbener

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