Transition and EMDR: No such thing as a wrong turn.


By Khunkay (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Spring brings rebirth and color and joy. It also brings pollen, tornadoes, and allergies. My life transitions like the seasons, and even though it scares the crap out of me, I know it’s a good thing.

Something gets stale, stuck, or sour and I know it’s time to think differently. I get an urge to do something – an urge I ignore at my own peril. If I ignore my urge, the message of my higher self, I tend to get sick or depressed. EMDR helps me clear the cognitive clutter and make a change.

Maybe I need to:

Cut my hair

Nurture a child (fur baby or human)

Say yes to a trip

Leave a job

Leave a relationship

Lose my religion

Seek the company of a certain friend

Start a new venture

Get rid of things I’m not using

Change my behavior in relation to someone

Change my behavior in relation to myself

Get into therapy

Complete something I’ve postponed

Abandon a task I thought was essential

Trade couches with someone

Grieve and let go of an old belief that blocks me from growing

There’s always a reason for the urge. It comes from a place I can trust.

Over the years, I’ve learned these transitions always pay off in joy and growth and prosperity, even when it feels like I’m being shoved through a revolving door and lose my shoe. In fact, even when others disapprove of my change, I grow and my life gets better. I have no regrets for any of the detours or U-turns or shocking, hair-spiking, neon-sign-wearing changes I’ve made. Through EMDR, I’ve learned to pay closer attention to how my higher self talks to me, how transition shows up, and how I can allow it.

There’s no mistake, only my path. I welcome the change.

Read Wife Material

How to Know when it’s Time to Say Goodbye

The necessary edges between things.

Every creation requires sacrifice.

I have trouble letting go. Mostly when it comes to saying goodbye to unbalanced relationships. You know, the kind where you feel you should be helpful but no amount of help seems to make a difference? So here are some thoughts about change and letting go of what no longer serves us.

Change is constant. We learn and gain insight – so we’re not the same people we were last year. We have more skill, experience, and sense of our true selves. We see our goals more clearly. We crave new experiences and the company of people who have knowledge we need. This is normal and good.

But: One, how do we know when it’s the right thing to push ahead and say goodbye? And: Two, what does it mean to walk away from people or institutions that no longer help us grow? First, here are some signs it’s time to go.

  1. You feel resentful. The colleague or partner you’ve been with is a decent enough person. But you no longer feel positive feelings about the collaboration or relationship. You feel exploited or dragged down by it.
  2. You dread contact. The group or institution that once fed your spirit now makes you want to stay away.
  3. You feel guilty, sad, stuck….and more resentful. There’s a sense of obligation you have toward your partner/friend. It’s like feeling sorry for someone but also tied to them like a conjoined twin you can’t shake off. When you think of stepping away, you see yourself as a terrible, selfish, mean-spirited person. This is the Pity/Anger Paradox.
  4. You feel drained. Thinking about the person or group distracts you from creative work – it drains your productivity and energy. You get sick more often than normal. You have trouble exercising. You want to crawl into bed and stay there for a week or two. Your projects languish….

If any of these is familiar, consider talking or writing about your situation. Get your worst fears onto the page or spoken aloud to a trusted confidante. EMDR therapy can also help us let go of tired, old requirements that no longer serve us.

Does this make us selfish? Good question. Maybe it does. But I’m learning that if I don’t behave somewhat selfishly at times, I drown in other people’s needs. Just like some organism dies every time I eat (and I’m a vegetarian!). To survive and breathe, I have to say:






This kind of “selfish” work frees us to rest, create, and move forward with grace. I often use EMDR to help clients envision their true goals and desires, so they can achieve them. Sometimes this entails saying goodbye.

But Goodbye brings Hello. For all parties. Every time.

Contact me if you’d like to talk more about letting go of what you no longer need. The result will be good for everyone involved.


Leap of Faith, II: Trust your Gut & Try Something New


You wake to your alarm, grab the phone to shut it off, and groan. You feel sort of depressed, sort of sick. You’d pay someone a thousand dollars if you could just stay in bed without facing consequences later. You force your body upright and swing your feet to the floor. You trudge to the bathroom. You shuffle to the kitchen, switch on the coffee pot, stand there in gloom as it starts to rattle and drip. You feel as if you’re in a straightjacket. You ache to do something opposite what you “have to do.” The obligations on your list feel like torture: meetings, paperwork, bills, deadlines, concentration, endurance . . .

When this happens, I believe it’s a signal from our higher selves (call this the subconscious, the conscience, God, your higher power, etc.) that we NEED something different. Those stirrings of discontent mean we’re trying to grow into our true selves.

Do you recall the last time you enjoyed yourself so much you forgot to eat? When you lost yourself in a project that made you ignore the phone and the email? When you woke up excited, bounded out of bed, and jumped right back in without even brushing your teeth? This is all about spirituality.

Remember art class in the second grade? When you could do anything you wanted with construction paper and glue and scissors? Some kids cut animal shapes, others made flowers, and still others made snowflakes by folding and cutting patterns. You looked at their crafts and thought to yourself, “That’s okay, but . . .” Maybe you chopped your paper into tiny bits and created a mosaic. Or perhaps you folded your paper, cut it, and glued it in just the right way to create a three-dimensional structure: a house, a barn, a skyscraper. While you worked on your project, you got a rush of adrenaline. The rest of the world faded into the background. You were at one with your art.

That part of you – the voice inside that says, “I can do better than that,” or “I have a crazy idea!” – is a sacred part. It’s a part that deserves your attention and protection. It has your best interest in mind. This sacred part of yourself calls you to listen and begs you to break out of your routine and find joy.

Here’s an exercise to help you listen to your wise inner voice and discover something that makes you giddy with excitement.

1. Find a time when you have solitude and privacy. Get out your notebook and pen. Get comfortable at a desk or in a chair. Prop your feet up if you can. Get a cup of tea or coffee.

2. At the top of an empty page, write this line: Things I Would Do Today (or This Week) if I Didn’t Have to Be Responsible.

3. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Notice the images that begin to flicker across your mental movie screen.

4. Now fill the page as fast as you can, without lifting your pen. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, logic, or neatness. No one will see this but you. Keep writing . . .

5. When the page is full, read it silently. Then read it aloud.

What do you notice? What does your higher self-seem to be telling you about what you need? (Yes, NEED). To play the guitar? Learn to swing dance? Develop a web-based business? Run a marathon? Volunteer at your child’s school? Get out your paints and brushes and see what forms on the canvas? Get in your car and drive? Plant something in the backyard? Write a haiku?

Remember, these don’t have to make sense in the traditional way. These are beginning stages of alchemy. You are moving toward something good. Breaking out and finding joy . . . which sometimes leads to whole life change. Trust the process.