3 Easy Ways to Cultivate Hope

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I’m not a mental health professional. I’m a hope builder. I feel like that, more than anything else I do on this earth, is my purpose. Because hope, when you really think about it, is the only thing you need to get better (besides lots of drugs, exercise, fish oil, probiotics, friends, self-help books, doctors, sleep, therapists, […]

A Zen Approach to Depression

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In his book, “Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart,” psychiatrist Mark Epstein, M.D. tells the famous Buddhist story of Kisagotami and the mustard seed: A young woman named Kisagotami lost her only child to illness around the time of his first birthday. Bereft, she went from house to house in her village, clasping the dead […]

Is There Value in Suffering?

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Last summer, when I was in the midst of a severe depressive episode, a good friend told me that my suffering had value, that she was sure that my angst and tears would serve some purpose. “This isn’t all wasted, “she said, “suffering has redemptive power.” She sent me an excerpt of Pope John Paul […]

Live the Questions Now

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I thought I’d share this favorite quote of mine with you. I read it every day to remind myself not to panic when I get confused. Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because […]

Heaven Is a Place Without Medical Records

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“Do you ever think to yourself, Is this it? Is this all there is?” someone asked me on Easter. He and his wife had been going through a very difficult period managing their special-needs son. Both looked drained and exhausted. “Actually, no,” I responded. “The belief in an afterlife is what I cling to many […]

Thomas Merton’s Prayer

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I pray Thomas Merton’s prayer every day for discernment. In case you’re not familiar with it, I thought I’d share it here. My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahed of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really […]

Being Yourself: The Ultimate Act of Courage

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“To be nobody-but-yourself—in a world which is doing its best, night and day to make you everybody else,” wrote American poet E. E. Cummings, “means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” According to a recent survey by the charity Action for Happiness, in collaboration with Do […]

10 Quotes on Courage

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I need all the pep talks I can get. The following are my favorite quotes on courage. Courage is not the absence of despair; it is, rather, the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair. –Rollo May You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear […]

10 Movies To Uplift You From Depression

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Among my strongest tools to combat depression is distraction, and one of the best distractions is watching a movie. Watching the right movie has an antidepressant effect, as it relieves the brain of the obsessive, ruminating, self-defeating loop for two consecutive hours. The brain can readjust a little during those 120 minutes and is a […]

The Gift of Imperfection

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The lyrics of Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem” go like this: Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Whenever I feel cracked and broken, which is often these days, I go back to those four sentences. They say that imperfection […]

Losing Our Fear of Rest

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I have been having a difficult time writing the “Mindful Monday” posts lately because I’m the opposite of mindful these days. You know how the Buddhist monks talk about the swinging monkeys of the brain, and how you need to tame them? Well, my monkeys have just spotted a jungle gym inside a McDonald’s and […]