Setting Boundaries: Or, How to (Almost) Not Graduate From College

I was a music major in college. In my junior year I played in an orchestra led by a revered conductor. This revered instructor also had a habit of verbally abusing students in rehearsal. At one point the evil eye of his bad temper focused on me. I made a mistake. He hurled insults at me in front of the entire ensemble. The next day, I did what I thought I should do: I went back to rehearsal…

Tired of the Hustle? Trade Rigidity for Generosity

We live in a hustle culture. This culture pressures us to work too much, have unrealistic expectations, and project a relentless “can do!” attitude whether we’re feeling energized or not. “If you’ve fallen prey to the hustle culture, you have bought into the idea that it’s cool to be ‘always-on’ and to push yourself to the max each of the 1,440 minutes of the day,” says Psychotherapist Bryan…

More Space: How to Increase Joy in an Overstimulating World

Life is crowded. It’s crowded with too much information, too much stimulation and too many responsibilities. To live with a sense of joy and purpose, we must effectively navigate an overstimulating environment so we can stay focused on what’s most important. We must make sure our to-do list aligns with what’s truly meaningful so we don’t become sidetracked with unimportant tasks on a regular…

Beyond Gifts: Give and Receive Holiday Joy

I’ve always been prone to romantic visions of - well, everything, honestly. But I’ve tended to wax especially romantic over all things Christmas. My fantasy Christmas-shopping self smiles and skips through a picturesque snowfall as I carry bags holding the perfect gifts (all at an affordable price!) for everyone on my list. I feel nothing but joy and excitement as I sip my gingerbread latt…

For Labor Day, a Side of Grace With Our Grit

“It takes courage to say YES to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.” – Brené Brown The upcoming Labor Day holiday got me thinking about our relationship to work. Work, of course, is necessary. Work on behalf of a worthy cause or to accomplish an important goal can also be hugely satisfying. Sometimes, work energizes us. I’m often energized when I work…

How to Thrive: What Caring for Animals Can Teach Us

I love animals. Don’t you? Because I have a particular soft spot for animals in need, my husband and I support many animal rescue organizations. This includes the Maryland Animal Sanctuary & Rescue (MAS Rescue), the Orphaned Wildlife Center, and the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Because of these affiliations, the word “sanctuary” has a strong association for me. Animal sanctuaries provi…