Discomfort As Guide

photo by Rebecca Wong

You feel discomfort. 

And it doesn’t mean that anything or anyone did anything wrong. 

Or that anything that came before this moment of time was a false or untrue or inauthentic. 

Your discomfort simply means that something is rubbing on you. 

It’s asking for your attention. To grow.

It’s time for something new, or new to you. 

And so you invite your discomfort to join you in dreaming into what could create more space -- and maybe this is why sometimes you run away/hide/withdraw, because this is also a version of creating space. 

This is where you can ask your discomfort for information to guide you into new possibilities. 

New spaces require all the questions -- all the discernment and tuning in: What ways can you pivot? Where to pivot towards? Why? How? When?

Discomfort guides you back into alignment with yourself...into consciousness. 

On why politics are personal

politics are personal

On why politics are personal; they’re relational.

As a couples therapist, I intimately work with men and women who have been assaulted/have assaulted. Men and women who seek mentoring around living respectful and relational lives, even if it wasn’t what was modeled for them as normal. In other words, I help couples heal power dynamics everyday.

The political circus we’re bearing collective witness to is very much akin to the pain and abuses I witness daily in my office.

Politics is about people. And if it’s about people, it can be either about turning toward people, and tending to/governing them. Or it can be about turning away and having power over them.

Again, very much the story I witness daily in my office.

And since we’re talking about people and relationships, there’s a truth worth stating. We can turn toward one another. And that starts with believing someone when she tells you “don’t trust them with power over you.” Listen, be curious.

That’s not what we witnessed in modern politics though, at every turn she’s gaslighted. And here’s the rub, many know that gaslighting too well. It’s the same power that’s oppressed them too.

We can’t repair what we don’t recognize as broken. We pass down what we aren’t conscious of. We avoid what makes us uncomfortable. When we do, we remain stuck and tuned out. Turned away and disempowered.

We rise together, collectively, because we believe. We don’t have to believe her story, you see, because herstory is all of ours.

We empower ourselves, our relationships, our families, our communities, the next generation when we talk openly about a restorative, reparative, reclamation of power.

I wish you and yours healthful, respectful relationships in all aspects of your life.

Sex-Ed: a foundation for healthy relationships

Often the couples I work with tell me no one ever talked to them about puberty sex and sexual education in general. If they were lucky the school nurse gave a lecture. That’s sad. No wonder by the time I see them in mid life they are fraught with questions about what’s normal and plagued with anxieties.

Sex Ed is foundational in building healthy relationships. In being able to navigate ones own changing body and sexual health. It’s too important to be left to wandering the expansive interwebs for information. If no one talked to you, how did you learn? What were your informational sources? And also, how do you know where to begin as a parent or educator?

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That’s where this book series comes in: there are 3 books (one for 4+, one for 7+ and one for 10+) they’ll make a great addition to your family library. Read them together and then go back to for reference as needed. 

Sex Education matters.

p.s. Yes, you’re normal. And if you want to discuss further reach out.

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It’s not my job to make you feel better

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I turned to my husband, looked him dead in the eye, and said, “It’s not my job to make you feel better.”

The silence stretched out for just a minute. And then our eyes crinkled as we smiled at each other and high fived.

Anyone who’s been in a relationship knows that’s not a common response to someone telling you to take care of your own happiness.

On that particular night the stakes were even higher, we were sitting on the couch late night visioning into our future together. He asked me to find a way to accomplish something based on a shared dream and the answer I gave him wasn’t the outcome he wanted to hear.

He was understanding…and disappointed.  

And that’s when I told him it wasn’t my job to make him feel better. Not smugly or with any snarkiness, but rather with total regard for him, and total confidence in knowing that he wasn’t defensive.

I’m blowing up this moment in celebration of how we’ve grown. How we humans learn. And how when we learn and grow together, our dreams grow together.

You see, what’s significant in this story is how both he and I sat in the moment. Neither of us were uncomfortable. In fact, moments later we reviewed what had just transpired between us. It was awesome to see how much more in alignment our lens are then they use to be.

And it’s not because we’re trying harder either. In fact, it’s because we’re letting go more. And in the process, we’re letting in more too.

I believe that you can attain this alignment in your relationships too. Reach out if I can help.

RELATIONSHIP REPAIR

RELATIONSHIP REPAIR

When we show up for one another, we wake up for ourselves.

It takes much grit to do the intimate work of being seen. Of seeing our own stories and patterns. Of accepting our selves and also our loved ones.

Relationships are hard work. Deep work. They open our souls to the old wounds that need tending and care and expose our most vulnerable parts in a tender, sacred, surrender.

#EmbraceTheMess

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There's so much chatter about how to be a good parent. How to nurture the best in your children.

All the advice.

Truth is, adulting can be hard.

Parenting can be harder still.

You may have run out of energy to devote to yourself and the relationship that got you here in the first place.

That's where the #MessyParenthoodCommunity comes in.

We get it.

We're not here to judge you, just to hold space for you.

Years ago, when I entered the tribe of motherhood a wise mamma said to me "the nicest thing you can do for another mom, is invite her over to your messy house."

Too often we see what we think others lives really are and we judge ourselves in comparison. But these things we think are others truths, aren't the whole picture.

They don't include the messes. Internal or external.

WE ARE NOW FORMING, a group for moms and dads.

A space where you can be seen, heard and understood.

Building community - in person mixers and a professionally facilitated facebook group.

We're a professionally moderated community that meets both online AND in person (presently in NY and CO with hopes to expand our reach). We offer mommas and poppas a space to dive in, get real and connect.

 

An invitation to reflect on a Mother in your life

Gift for Mommy | Photo Credit Rebecca Wong

I invite you to pause and reflect on a mother today.

Maybe she's your mother.
Maybe you wished she was your mother. 
Maybe she's the mother you wish to be. 
Maybe she's the mother of your children. 
Maybe she's the mother you never got to be or meet. 
Maybe she's the the mother you lost. 
Maybe she's the mother that hurt you. 
Maybe she's the mother that loved you. 
Maybe she's you.

Take a moment and find a quiet place and reflect on her presence in your life.

Notice all the feelings thinking of her evokes in your body. 
Notice how thinking of her makes your mind wander. 
Notice what you wish for as you think of her. 
Notice the impact she has on you.

Are there places within you that need more mother love to heal? 
And places that need forgiveness and holding? 
Can you give yourself permission to go there? 
To honor those mother seeking places on this day and others?

With love. 
Rebecca

A Mother's Day Gift: More Presence, Less Shame

A Mother's Day Gift: More Presence, Less Shame


Over the last few weeks we've been diving into deep conversations with parenting experts that I wanted share with you in time for mother's day: a little gift of reflection in the midst of your everyday. 

It's my hope that the podcast helps to inspire some delicious introspection that helps to hold you and all the relationships that matter in your lives.  

A STORY OF SURVIVAL AND HEALING: A THERAPIST’S JOURNEY INTO SEEING & BEING SEEN

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Elizabeth Cush, MA, LCPC is a therapist and blogger in Annapolis, Md, where she owns and operates Progression Counseling. She walks with women on their path of self-discovery when they feel lost or unseen and helps them uncover their wants, needs and desires. A certified clinical trauma professional, Elizabeth incorporates mindfulness and meditation into her psychotherapy work.

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Healing begins when you’re seen. Healing deepens when you see yourself.

Throughout most of my life, anxiety has been a  constant companion. As a young child, anxiety was part of my emotional landscape, and it also inflected my physical world. I needed to feel that my body was safe and secure. I’d get my mom to tie the ribbons at the waist of my dresses so tightly that I could feel them cutting into my skin. I couldn’t fall asleep at night unless the covers were tucked so tightly that I felt the pressure of the blankets pushing me into the bed.

As a teenager I often disconnected from my difficult feelings. I wasn’t fully present and it was as if I was in a fog. At other times, it was as if all the wires in my system fired at the same time. When I was stressed and anxious I became hyper aware of my clothes touching my skin. Irritable and angry much of the time, I struggled with depression. All of this confused me. I wasn’t making the connection between the physical sensory discomfort and my emotional discomfort.

I felt like I didn’t fit in. I believed that there was something wrong deep within me and that I was the problem. When I’d try to “fix” that, I’d mold myself to other people’s needs and agree  to things I wasn’t sure I wanted. My body would try to get my attention: a heavy tightness would press down on my chest. To this day, that pressure continues to remind me when I’m holding back and not speaking up for my wants and needs.

Surviving Abuse

It’s not easy for me to open up and it takes a lot for me to let down my guard - to be vulnerable, to trust, to be me. So much of that comes back to my childhood. The physical and emotional symptoms that I described didn’t just crop up one day. When we were very young, my sister and I were abused by a powerful man in my family. The abuse was allowed to continue even after my sister and I came forward and told my parents and they consulted with the other adults in the family. It took a huge leap of faith to tell our story, but the adults we relied upon rationalized the abuse. My sister and I were told to figure it out on our own.

We were 4 and 6 years old.

I can picture my younger self in a starchy, smocked calico printed dress. Chubby legs, a smile on my face, wanting to be loved, cared for... I just wanted to be seen, heard, and protected. Instead the message I received was, “Don’t make a fuss!  Please, go figure out how to protect yourself.” As we grew older the abuse stopped, but the emotional scars are still present and they show themselves when I’m feeling most vulnerable.

Seeing the Unseen and Hearing the Unheard

I know what it means to feel like no one sees you and no one hears you.  I know the fear of showing my real self. And this is why I became a therapist, because I care so deeply about those who feel unseen and unheard.

As a therapist, I hold sacred space as I see my clients in their most vulnerable moments. I work with women who have trouble showing up as who they really are. They feel inauthentic in their lives and they struggle with anxiety and depression. As we work together, they experience what it’s like when their voices, their needs, their wants, and their pain are finally seen and heard.

Truly Seeing Myself

My own deep dive into therapy has helped me understand my shame and self-blame. It’s helped me to re-integrate the parts of me that I pushed away. I’m able to feel the power of those voices inside me that long to be heard. I’m able to acknowledge the parts of myself that need to have their stories told, shared, and embraced with compassion. I’ve begun the process of listening, loving, trusting, and seeing all of me.

I’m not sure I’ll ever rid myself of the need to protect myself, or the worry that I’ll show myself and there won’t be anyone to see me, but I’ve learned that I can be there for me. I am the one who will be able to see me, to hear me, to support me, and love me.

The abuse I experienced used to feel like a liability, but now I see it as my strength. I am a better therapist because of my story and I appreciate how it’s shaped me both personally and professionally. My clients feel that I truly understand their pain and trust that I can see their true selves in ways that might be hidden from them. I receive their stories with empathy and I support them with encouragement and compassion. As they reach out, as they explore their experiences and move forward on their journey, I continue to grow and heal right there beside them.

 

Editors' Note: Are you a therapist interested in diving into your own stories and understanding how the stories you hold can help your clients heal? Consider joining our Practice of Being Seen virtual membership community for therapists

Finding the New Normal in Our Post-Election World

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This election rattled me more than I’d like to admit. But I got up the next day and went to work, because what else was there to do?

Since November, I have felt it in waves, in small moments, in seismic shifts.   I’ve paid close attention to others’ reactions too. It only makes sense that the impact of this inauguration will touch us all, in a myriad of deeply personal ways. Ultimately, I can only speak for myself and my growing sense that the shifting political and social tides influence the way I see myself and the ways I wish to be seen.

To be clear, the daily realities of my life haven’t t really changed all that much over the last few months, and for that I am grateful. But, all the same, something has shifted. Something deep in my bones, in my body, in my awareness says that this is different.

I’m midway through a yearlong postgraduate training in trauma and the creative arts and it’s helping me understand my own experiences in a new way. I know that I hold trauma memories in my bones, in my body, in my history and in the ancestral stories of those who came before me.

I was teased a lot as a child – I was different, I was an “exotic face”, and that was hard. I had a funny name, a hairy upper lip, a Dad with an accent. For years, I just wanted to be like everyone else – have a name people could pronounce, a face that didn’t stand out, a heritage that was simple. I just wanted to fit in.

Aspects of those experiences have been  coming up since the election. I don’t consider myself traumatized (I have never considered myself a trauma survivor), but at the core of my life experience is an experience of being an outsider, of being unique, of being different in some way, and that leaves an imprint.

As a child and  as a teenager, I did what I could to downplay my uniqueness.  I would often call my father “Dad” instead of “Papa” around my friends – to his credit, he never asked why. When I could, I avoided explaining about my Holocaust survivor grandfather, my triple citizenships, the fact that I was born “here”, then lived “there” for a bit and then came back “here.”

But as I got older, I grew into myself. I grew to love my exotic name, my dark eyes, my unique look. And maybe there’s a part of me that really loves that. I got so used to being the only Jew, the only one with a parent not US-born.

Over the years, diversity became the new normal. I easily shifted from being one of a few to being one of many – I can’t remember the last time I heard the name “Maya” called on the street and it was actually for me.

But now something has shifted. The diversity that I and so many other New Yorkers grew so accustomed to seems to have a different texture. Now, I feel that shift and I know that I want to be seen, and I wonder what that means.

The trauma that my grandfather endured resonates in my bones. The echoes of “Never Again” echo in my head. I know I am privileged, and can hide my differentness to a fairly large extent. But would continuing to hide really make sense ? For my work? For the world? For me?

Seeing and being seen are two different things – equally hard, equally raw. I hold one in each hand, and tentatively step forward. I do not know what to do, which always scares me. But I know, deeply, that to do nothing would be wrong.

So I allow myself to feel scared when sirens rush past, and to notice my body. To make eye contact with strangers on a NYC street and smile. Do these action seem too small, too inconsequential when I’m trying to find ways to respond to post-election America and how the diverse society I value seems to be eroding?  

To let myself be more present, and less removed from everyday interactions is actually quite powerful. I can let myself be seen now. I must let myself be seen now.

Right now, my response to our changing society is to make deep and intimate connection with myself and others. Tomorrow it will mean something else, but right now, it’s enough to see and be seen.

Editors' Note: We're continuing the conversation about how to respond to our changing world in our brand new podcast, The Practice of Being Seen, which is set to launch January 25. Find us on iTunes or your favorite podcasting platform on 1/25 and learn more at www.practiceofbeingseen.com.

The Somehow Theory

The Somehow Theory is a story that holds me. I hope it offers you some holding and hope too....

The first time I remember asking, I'm five years old and we're sitting in a flower print swivel club chair in the mirrored living room. It's the early 80s.

I sit on grandpa’s lap, cuddle into him and trace the green tattooed numbers on his left forearm with my index finger, over and over just the same as I locate each freckle on his arm. These are his markings. I know them by heart. Perhaps what I know even more than anything is the love I feel sitting on his lap as I trace. This is my safe space. “Grandpa, what do these numbers mean?”

The Somehow Theory

“These numbers,” he tells me, this time and countless times to come, “are my story. And you, are my reason for living.” These are big words to land on the shoulders and in the heart of a child still small and innocent enough to nestle into grandpa’s lap for a journey into the stories that follow all the “why’s” I so naturally provoke him with.

He tells me he has so many stories in him but he’s promised himself not to share most of them with me. “You don’t need to know it all,” he says gently. He can’t bear for me to. After all, I'm his reason for living.

Over the years he tells me his stories in small bursts; about how the family was separated immediately after getting off the cattle cars at Aushwitz. One of my grandfather's brothers was carrying their invalid father, a WW1 hero, followed by his mother and two sisters. When they arrived, they were all sent to the left. My grandfather, on his own, was sent to the right. He survived. Later that day, he asked another prisoner when he'd see his family again. The prisoner responded by shouting to him, “Look up, you see that smoke," he said. "There they are." And so he knew. Not even twenty fours hours after entering the camp, he knew what was in store for them all.

He also shared so many stories about liberation. My grandfather and his two buddies, whom he’d bonded together and survived with in camp, went looking for a sister who they had heard survived at Bergen Belsen. They didn’t find her. Instead they met three women, among them my grandmother. The women were still living in the camp when they met. The men told them they’d be back when they had a place for them to live, then they'd marry them. The women laughed. Who were these men? These three newly liberated men used their moxie and somehow managed to obtain new suits from a local shopkeeper and then came back to woo the women. Again and again. Each time in new suits. And in no time the three couples married.

Girls my age had princesses but I had liberation as my love story.

I hold onto this love story, passed down from my grandparents, two holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives on The Somehow Theory.

That somehow, if you believe enough, if you hope enough, it will work out.

No matter how hard it is.

As we watched the results of our presidential election roll in, my husband looked me in the eye and said, "We have to live each day. That's it. Don't succumb to fear. Live. Love." And that's what I'm planning on. Living and loving as much as I can every damn day. It's exactly the medicine my grandparents would have recommended. I invite you to join me.

The remedy for "not enoughness"

 The Remedy for "Not Enoughness" - photo credit Rebecca Wong

I couldn’t sleep. I was feeling frustrated and unable to express my thoughts clearly on the written page. I’ve been observing processes and patterns in my clinical work with clients, consultations with colleagues, and in my personal life.

I’ve felt called to share these patterns with you, my community. But I was stuck and unable to find words to express my observations. I know that this too is a common thread, a through line between all of us who are experiencing and seeing great transformation but just can’t find the words to describe it all.

The thing is, when you are stuck, when you are in the messy murky ick of feeling not good enough, you can’t go around it. You can’t distract yourself away from it. You must go through it.

And, until you do move through your “not good enough” territory, you’re going to keep stumbling every time you try to skip over a certain line in your story. It’s a pattern that will keep showing up like a constant shadow until you find a way to heal.

So here I was, up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, quiet literally afraid of the shadow, of my own shadow. I couldn’t even turn off the Himalayan salt lamp that sits next to my bed. Its soft warm glow soothed me. And when my husband awoke and looked at me and asked me to turn off the lamp and cuddle in with him, I did and then I gave myself permission to cry.

This mess, this ick...this was me finding my through line. I had to feel my way into the shadow while I was wrapped in the darkness of an October night.

But after the darkest night, there’s always a morning

The next morning my friend and I met for a walk at Gatehouse Road. Hudson Valley locals will surely know this path with its canopy of trees and the tremendous views of the Mohonk tower that sits atop the Ridge. I parked my car at the head of the trail and as my dog Tova and I waited for my friend and her daughter to arrive, magic unfolded.

I have to back up a bit. The process of training Tova has become a touchstone for me,  I’m still quite a novice. She’s an amazing teacher but it’s taking awhile to understand what she needs of me. I’m learning, for example, that part of my role is to anticipate the approach of other dogs and read her body language well enough to step between them when needed. Some dogs will stop her in her tracks from 100 feet away. She’ll nose right up to some dogs in hopes of getting a good sniff. She drops directly into a play bow for some. And others will make her toss her ears back and raises her hackles. I’m learning what her body language means. I’m a good but slow study. That’s how I learn.

As Tova and I were waiting we came in contact with a few other dogs in a range of temperaments and it was good practice for us to rehearse our roles. We started to get good at her stepping behind and I in front. And during our dance rehearsal we happened to meet Joseph.

I say happened, but it’s quite literally like he was planted there for us to meet.

 

Joseph and I shared a connection. At first, it was over his painting and my dog, over the beauty of the day and the history of the gatehouse, and then, it went deeper. We talked about creativity and making and how he’d been a painter forever. We talked about my nearly forgotten art school background. He gave me permission to photograph his work and asked me to snap a few shots with his camera as well.

I thought I was just killing some time while waiting for a friend, but, something magical had just transpired. And I was so in the moment that I hadn’t noticed. A sleeping piece of me was waking up.

Waking up your flow, getting unstuck

I’ve been experiencing a lot of waking up lately. This seems to be how my creativity works: I don’t even realize I’d been sleeping until I experience a rather painful awakening. First I feel stuck and I stumble, I trip over the through line of feeling that shows me there’s something I need to learn, I need to pay attention to. As part of this cycle, I can see that “stuckness” is actually a natural ebb, a space for integration.

I didn’t know it yet, but Joseph was standing at the portal of my next awakening.

My friend and her daughter arrive. It’s time to say goodbye to the man with the brushes and the canvas. It’s time to pass through to something new.

My friend is a writer, a storyteller, a truth seeker. We cut through the fluff and dives fully into the infinite enoughness as we walk and talk and process together. We pause according to the needs of my dog and her toddler. Little mirrors, they take turns reflecting our energy in their antics.

We’re talking about a piece she’s editing for me. It’s the piece that haunted my sleepless night. All the feelings rush back: I’m stuck again. I’m not enough. I can’t write like she does and I can’t find my story. I’m just sharing my raw, unfiltered process and we know that the process alone won’t be enough to draw you in. And though the piece isn’t in front of us as we walk, we can still discuss it because it isn’t about anything I’ve written. It’s about this moment we’re having. It’s us feeling our way into something greater.

And then we step out of the shadows of the trees and into the pasture with the pigs dressed as cows --that’s what her daughter decided they were-- and the tears that shadowed the day dissolve into laughter.  We get it. We live in this AWE-FULL place with these god AWE-FULL views and this AWE-FULL company  and… We’re seeing the joke and the light in the midst of the negativity loop and we --no me-- this is my process. My friend has kindly stepped on board to keep me company, keep it flowing now simply to exaggerate it and make it more laughable. More of a punctuation mark on this moment.

In this moment I’m waking up. I’m seeing my friend as a companion who helps me see myself and Joseph as a magical mentor whose presence helped initiate a space for me to think and see a new way of being.

My friend is holding space, as if she too knows we are standing at this important juncture, she’s watching me wake up and she knows that what I need more than anything in this moment in time is to really show up and connect. And she knows that as I am feeling my connection to all these less secure parts of me, her presence grounds me. That's what relationships do. They allow us opportunities to see our own reflection --mess and all-- in another’s eyes. They hold us when we need holding.

As we return to our cars, Joseph is no longer there. I recognize how our brief interaction helped me slow down and tune in, to find my connection point. I had been so busy trying to write that I stopped feeling the message I was trying to share.

And here’s the magical turn of this story, you know that piece that kept me up at night, the one I couldn’t find the words for? It was exactly this: when we slow down and drop into the feelings and share our experiences with our trusted and dearest, the magic unfolds. The story reshapes itself.

You have to slow down and sit with yourself to feel.

Slowing down is what feeling the feelings is all about. Slowing down. Sitting with. Simply being. I know this, but I too get stuck. This process can’t be rushed or swept away in the flood of all the things you have to do.

Feelings aren’t something you do. They are what you are.

You have to make space to hold and feel. It will take time and attention. It’s a multi layered sensory experience. It’s all about seeing yourself. As you are. About accepting yourself and loving yourself. It’s about attending to and holding yourself. And in all that tending to, you uncover the medicine you need. Because without this self directed layer of attention you can’t take in love and attention from another.

You too can create a practice of slowing down, tuning in, sitting with and simply observing being you. And from the cultivation of that practice over time you create an inner dynamic that ripples out and creates an influx of Connectfulness in your life and relationships.

This topic is my emerging focus and it’s what we’re exploring on The Practice of Being Seen podcast that we are launching later this year.  I hope you’ll tune in and keep the discussion going with us!

Relationship Therapist Declares: Nobody's Got Time for Feelings.

 time for feelings

Do you wear your wedding ring everyday?

I’m asking because I just took mine off, while sitting here working, typing away. The house is pretty quiet, other than Pandora spitting out the most random array of tunes.  I stopped typing and started kind of wringing my hands (like when you put lotion on, ya know what I mean?) And it was like taking a ride back in time...

Suddenly, I was feeling  "this is what single Robyn's hands felt like" and I got all these flashes of my past. Of working in the advertising world 15 years ago in Las Vegas. I saw grad school, parties in downtown San Diego with the girls, kissing random strangers in bars (I was known as the makeout-bandit back in my day), and I almost could feel the “freedom” of being single. It was so strange. And fun. And that felt a little naughty. (FYI: Robyn-the-Rule-Follower does not do naughty).

The Therapist and the Wedding Ring Converse

As a rogue therapist turned relationship coach who specializes in working with couples, I notice that when people sit across from me - when they are in pain, agony or just confused - they tend to fidget with their rings. It's almost like their subconscious is attempting to reconnect them to their love for their partner. It’s like the ring screaming to them, but in a whisper:

"Hey, I know you're hurting, mad, broken, betrayed, tired, whatever - but hang in there! Look at the person who put this on your finger. They’re right next to you - even if you no longer recognize them as that person. REMEMBER. It wasn't always bad. It wasn't always like THIS. It was good once. It was lovely, and easy, and fun, and sexy, and delicious once. Go back to that place. Go back to that time. NEVER. FORGET."

Sometimes I think our rings try to scream out to us and reconnect us.

Tonight, my ring wanted a vacation of sorts - maybe to reconnect me with my Self. With the "Robyn-Before-Brandon" to remind me that I am fully capable of being this kick-ass human, independently of the phenomenal man I call my husband.

Feeling the Feelings

Removing my ring tonight, and being zapped into my past was an incredibly confusing, semi-exciting experience. I was feeling all the feelings.

Usually, my brain does not slow enough to focus on feelings. How sad is that? I am a psychotherapist. A relationship and lifestyle coach. “The Happy Couple Expert” for God’s sake! And yet, I don’t often slow down enough to FEEL or even acknowledge my own feelings. Makes me a bit human, I suppose. Right?

“Nobody's got time for feelings - fuck ‘em!” was my first thought when typing this out. Jokingly of course. But, sort of not. More like, “Nobody MAKES time for feelings.”

Do you ever slow down enough to feel? I mean really, really feel your feelings?  Yeah, me neither. It’s sort of boring. I mean, in this “if-it-doesn’t-feel-good-immediately-don’t-do-it” world we live in, when will we ever see the value in feeling stuff? And not just the good stuff.  

The gross stuff. The prickly, cold, heavy, crushing stuff. I don’t want to feel that shit, and I don’t think you do either.  But, without it, can we really truly feel what our bare hands feel like? Can you even recognize your hand without that ring -  after you’ve worn it for months, years, decades?

When you feel into your past you can develop a new relationship with the present

There are feelings that zap us back in time and enable us to relive life. You know, the freezing midnight dips in the ocean, the beat taking your breath away in an underground club, and the hot tears soaking your top as you watch your first Brene Brown Ted Talk. Those moments.

So, rather than saying “fuck ‘em” the next time feelings happen - what if you just said “Rad, bring it. Let’s do this!” What if you just welcomed them?

Huh … who would have thought all that magic would come from taking off my wedding ring, and letting my fingers explore my bare”Single Robyn” hands? Rad.

Editors’ note: Did Robyn’s perspective help illuminate the ways you do or don't make time for feelings, to feel them? Tell us about it in the comments and please share this post with your family, friends, and community.