Self-Care Houston, Episode 9: Kathleen Straker joins Jennifer in a conversation about a process of decision making that brings joy to life in a way that aligns with your values. Kathleen works with students from around the globe through her learning strategies workshops and individual academic coaching sessions. She has also coauthored three books for students in the health sciences. You can find Kathleen at Vital Study Skills. Subscribe in iTunes.
Resources from this episode:
- Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life, by
- Discernment: The Art of Choosing Well, by
- Podcast about simplifying your life with the exercise on life priorities by Monica Ricci. It begins on March 27, 2007 and ends on July 23rd.
- Study Without Stress: Mastering Medical Sciences (Surviving Medical School Series), by Kathleen Straker and Eugenia Kelman
- Six Steps to College Success: Learning Strategies for STEM Students, by Kathleen Straker and Eugenia Kelman
- Vital Skills, by Kathleen Straker and Eugenia Kelman
- Why Lawyers Should Embrace Compassion
- Finding Meaning in Medicine
Self-Care Houston, Episode 7: Elizabeth Haberer joins Jennifer in a conversation about Thrive Trauma Informed Yoga. Trauma Informed Yoga can increase connection with the breath, enabling the brain to become less aroused, and relaxation to begin. A yoga practice partners beautifully with specialized trauma therapies such as EMDR, Emotional Dysregulation, Compassion Focused, etc. Elizabeth Haberer is an LCSW, Psychotherapist, and a yoga instructor. Subscribe in iTunes.
Resources from Episode:
- Elizabeth Haberer’s Thrive Trauma Informed Yoga Classes
- How Yoga Helps Survivors of Trauma
- The Role of Yoga in Healing Trauma
- Krista Tippet’s interview with Bessel van der Kolk about how bodywork like yoga or eye movement therapy can restore a sense of goodness and safety.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
Self-Care Houston, Episode 6: Daniel Scholl joins Jennifer Christian in a conversation about empowering individuals, couples, and families to sustain ongoing financial stability. Daniel also shares how we can overcome obstacles that get in the way of achieving our financial goals. Daniel is the program manager for financial coaching at Family Houston. Subscribe in iTunes.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Self-Care Houston, Episode 5: Virgil Fry joins Jennifer in a conversation about the needs and challenges of self-care for caregivers. Virgil is the Executive Director at Lifeline Chaplaincy. Subscribe in iTunes.
Resources for Caregivers
- Lifeline Chaplaincy
- Compassionate Touch Ministry
- Virgil Fry, Disrupted: Finding God in Illness and Loss, 2007
- Virgil Fry, Rekindled: Warmed by the Fires of Hope, 2007
- Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, 2015
- Frontline Episode: Atul Gawande, Being Mortal
- Caregiver Stress and Burnout: Tips for Regaining Your Energy, Optimism, and Hope
- Minimum Self-Care Requirements, By Jennifer Louden
Self-Care Houston, Episode 3: Kim Fredrickson joins Jennifer in a conversation about being a compassionate friend to yourself when you go through difficult times. Kim is a retired marriage and family therapist and the author of “Give Yourself A Break: Turning Your Inner Critic Into a Compassionate Friend.” Subscribe in iTunes.
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- Kim Fredrickson’s Website
- Facebook Group: The Self-Compassion Club
- Kim Fredrickson’s Youtube Channel
- 2 Self-Compassion Recordings: Compassionate Self-Statements and Self-Soothing Exercises and
Kind Words to Soothe Your Soul
- Article in the Pulmonary Fibrosis Support Newsletter: The Day I Found Out I Needed Supplemental Oxygen
- Public Kindness Facebook Community: A Word Imagined
Self-Care Houston, Episode 1: Shannon McLain joins Jennifer in a conversation about the practice of Self-Compassion. Shannon is a mind-body medicine practitioner and certified health and wellness coach at The Center for Intentional Healing.
Subscribe in iTunes.
Loving Kindness Meditation with Shannon McLain
Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend, by Kim Fredrickson
As a part of the celebration, Shannon McClain and I are teaching our workshop on Self-Compassion at the Healing Space. We would love for you to join us. Be sure to RSVP. Space is limited. (713) 520-6800, email@example.com.
- Date: May 11
- Time: 6:30-8:00
I am thrilled to have another contribution as part of the conversation going on in the Kindness Community, A Word Imagined, from Diana Walla, a seasoned marriage and family therapist, recently relocated in Austin, Texas. She discusses the opportunity for us to look for the potential gifts in disorienting experiences. She explores the opportunity to sift through the struggle to learn what is most important and meaningful both individually and collectively. Thank you, Diana, for your hopeful insights:
We live in uncertain times. Long-held traditions and definitions of decency are under attack from all sides. Families and friends are divided along political and religious lines, and we seem to have forgotten our way back to one another.
It is uncomfortable, to be sure. We humans would like life to be served up in predictable nuggets, thank you very much. The unprecedented uncertainty of these times keeps us awake at night, creates anxiety, and encourages us to circle the wagons and protect everything we can from everything and everyone we fear, whether that fear is based in reality, or is just a product of incorrect information that leapfrogs across the internet and onto our social media feeds.
The truth is, our attempts at protection during this uncertain, messy time might just rob us of the opportunity to be our best selves. Throughout history, spiritual mothers and fathers of major faith traditions have observed the potential for personal or spiritual growth in dark or uncertain times. It far outstrips the level of growth that occurs when times are good or smooth.
Theologian, author and preacher Barbara Brown Taylor sums it up:
“We are all so busy constructing zones of safety that keep breaking down, that we hardly notice where all the suffering is coming from. We keep thinking that the problem is out there, in the things that scare us: dark nights, dark thoughts, dark guests, dark emotions. If we could just defend ourselves better against those things, we think, then surely we would feel more solid and secure. But of course we are wrong about that, as experience proves again and again. The real problem has far less to do with what is really out there than it does with our resistance to finding out what is really out there. The suffering comes from our own reluctance to learn to walk in the dark.” ~From Learning to Walk in the Dark
As difficult as it is, we have an opportunity to look not to the “other” in fear, but within ourselves in courage and curiosity. We could wonder what opportunities will present themselves, opportunities for our own growth. Would we ask for this tough time? Surely that would be masochistic. But since it is upon us, we can look for the chance to grow, to push beyond what is comfortable, to reach out to others, to create peace and show mercy and kindness.
As cliché as it sounds, these are the times in life that define us, individually and as a culture. It is time to dig deep, to practice mercy, which writer Anne Lamott defines as “radical kindness.” Kindness shown in difficult times packs a powerful effect. Love that reaches beyond fear is muscular and strong. People do not forget what others do for them, especially when the kindness comes at some cost. Perhaps that cost is a stepping beyond what is most comfortable, a willingness to find the gifts of personal and spiritual growth seeded in these strange and uncertain days.
Join Our Kindness Community:
We can all share great ideas on how to build more positivity into our society. Join the conversation on our public Facebook group, A Word Imagined, to share ideas.
I am thrilled to have another contribution as part of the conversation going on in the Kindness Community, A Word Imagined, from Dr. Jeff M. Christian about how we can all grow a healthier discourse in our online communities. His thoughts offer some creative ways to cultivate a kinder experience that makes space for a healthier, healing discourse in our society. Thank you, Jeff, for your insights:
The New Dinner Table
Only about an hour before company arrives. The smells of onions and garlic are starting to permeate the rest of the house beyond the kitchen, smells that will hit the guests the minute they cross the threshold of the front door. By that time, the food will have magically transformed from separate ingredients into whole courses.
The table is set. You went through the stacks in the cabinet to make sure that you did not bring out one of the chipped plates. The glasses, forks, knives, spoons. The bread in the oven will not finish baking until five minutes after the guests arrive. That is on purpose. Everything is in its right place.
The guests arrive. You shake hands, perhaps a cordial hug shared among those who do not know one another quite well enough to embrace. These are not the kinds of guests like family where you let down your guard. These guests have never seen you on a bad day. They do not know about some of the pain you carry down deep. For now, handshakes and side hugs will do.
A Season of Handshakes and Side Hugs
I am wondering these days if a season of handshakes and side hugs might be in order, in some sort of general sense. The tone of voice with one another online, for instance, is more like that of a dysfunctional family forced to eat Thanksgiving dinner together when no one actually wants to be there. Comments sections of online news stories are filled with drunk uncles who yell more and more as the night wears on. Raised voices fly above the table cloth only a few inches above the appropriately placed fall colors and side dishes. Grandma makes a passing comment about the price of her prescription medication and three-sheets-to-the-wind-uncle verbally pounces on her for saying something that may have the potential to undermine all of western democracy.
I know things are strange. In no way do I suggest that we bury our heads in the sand. On the contrary, past civilizations thrived in times of healthy debate. When people think critically together, lights come on where people wind up saying things like, “Well, I never thought of it that way.” Civil discourse is not only necessary; it is good. It is healthy. It is, well, civil.
The only way to resurrect the corpse of civil discourse is to hit the pause button on the entire project and practice some recently forgotten virtues. We need to welcome one another like acquaintances spending time together for the first time, like people who will take the time to actually get to know one another. We need to set our tables assuming the best in others, rather than holding those who might potentially disagree with me in suspicious contempt.
Most of all, we need to listen to one another.