Francis Weller on grief + anger. Life-changing wisdom in this talk.

Listen in as psychotherapist and author Francis Weller, MFT discuss the communal nature of grief, the expressive virtue of anger, false happiness, and the two hands of grief and gratitude. Interview recorded at the 2013 Minnesota Men’s Conference. Give yourself the gift of this 13 minutes. Totally life-changing wisdom.

 

 

Understanding is love’s other name.

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Found this on Brain Pickings. So beautiful I had to share!

At the heart of Nhat Hanh’s teachings is the idea that “understanding is love’s other name” — that to love another means to fully understand his or her suffering. (“Suffering” sounds rather dramatic, but in Buddhism it refers to any source of profound dissatisfaction — be it physical or psychoemotional or spiritual.) Understanding, after all, is what everybody needs — but even if we grasp this on a theoretical level, we habitually get too caught in the smallness of our fixations to be able to offer such expansive understanding. He illustrates this mismatch of scales with an apt metaphor:

“If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others. We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.”

“The question then becomes how to grow our own hearts, which begins with a commitment to understand and bear witness to our own suffering: When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That’s why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness. Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.”

 

When I shared this on my Facebook page, the wise Lauren Rosenfeld responded with this:

“Sometimes we stubbornly refuse to understand because we believe that understanding is a zero sum game: If I reach out to understand you, I must give up a part of my self that I am clinging to as if it were a raft on turbulent river of life. But, in reaching out to understand, what I truly give up is self certainty, which is ego driven and illusory. I let go of the raft of self certainty and find that the flow of the river of Life will carry me and you together.

Understanding is infinitely expansive and illuminating — and in this way — as Thay explains — it is equivalent to love: it casts light on our true nature, our interconnectedness, our infinite and infinitely expansive being.”

I have read these quotes over and over in the last couple of weeks, letting it sink into my heart as deeply as it can go. It’s becoming a bit of a mantra – Understanding is love’s other name… And so I’ve been practicing lately – to get more curious, to let go of being right in favor of understanding. Sometimes it’s as easy as slowing down and reminding myself that all I need to do is listen.

 

 

My little dude.

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Nico got into trouble again yesterday. This time during the after school program when he shouted, “BOOOOORRRING!” while everyone was reading quietly. And then the day before when he left the classroom with 2 other friends to, “feel the air on his face.” The teacher couldn’t find him for a while.

“What was happening when you decided to leave?” I asked.

“I don’t remember,” he replied. And then, “I was so exhausted, I just wanted to lie in the sun.”

Maybe this is it… I think. Chickens coming home to roost. The way Nico is going to act out in protest over the divorce, or the fact that I go out more than usual now, or that I’ve been very shouty lately. I catalog all the things I’ve done wrong, sure that I must be to blame- the one that’s causing this behavior.

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He always has a little dirt beard.

The intuitive brought him up in the middle of our last reading. “Does your 5 year old say things that piss people off?”

“All. The. Time.” I replied. “He walked into the kitchen yesterday with his pants down and said, “It’s penis time ladies!”

The intuitive laughed. “He is having a language explosion right now. He’s highly observant. Probably a writer. This is just how he rolls. He will always be challenging for other people, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. It really creates a lot of success for him. It will be his gold when he’s older.”

“So it’s not my fault?!” I wanted to say. Phew!!

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When I was pregnant with Nico I had a vivid dream about him. He takes life in fully… was the dream’s message – food, pleasure, all of it. He doesn’t resist life. He guzzles it.

I could tell you more stories, like how the other day in the car he asked: “Mommy, why do people say OMG instead of oh-my-gosh?” And I said something about how it comes from texting culture and how people want to abbreviate things so they don’t have to type so much.

“I like saying oh-em-gee,” he replied. “It makes me feel like a big boy.”

Then he paused.

“Like a first grader.”

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Best school picture ever.

 

My not-so-secret superpower.

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You probably know that my superpower is taking portraits – particularly natural head shots of women I adore!

I love making women feel beautiful. I want them to feel like themselves in front of my lens- radiant, natural, with their true spirit shining through. My style is playful and easy.

Here is my new portfolio site!

You might even recognize some of the talented women on the site: Dr.Brene Brown, Bari Tessler Linden, Mati Rose McDonough, Karen Walrond, Amy Ahlers + SARK … just to name a few!

Let’s get you on the calendar. (Bay area peeps!)

I would love to get you on my calendar for the coming weeks and months! Whether it’s head shots for your website/blog (or a dating profile!) I’ve got you covered. Family sessions also available.

p.s. I will be teaching in Ojai this May as part of a gorgeous gathering of mamas – including Amanda de Cadenet Shiva Rose + so many more. It’s going to soulful and luxurious! More info here.

 

 

Showcase of E-course Bootcamp Alumni

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Just want to give a shout-out to some of my E-course Bootcamp alumni that have launched their courses since our work together. So proud of what they’ve created!

30 Day Love Your Body Breakthrough Course with Kimber Simpkins

Reading Your Cosmic Map: An Astrological Adventure Course
with Stargazer Li

Fireworks Storytelling with Gin

Waking Up, Writing Down with Lisa O’Neill

The Happiness Habit with Michelle deSpain

Find Your Flow: Tame the Chaos and Create a Rhythm for Your Whole Life
with Allison Mueller