Tag Archives: heart

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Parenting with Heart, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I (Stephen) was having a conversation with one of my sons and Heather in the kitchen. We were going round and round, and the conversation was precariously teetering on the verge of a blowup. My son looked me square in the eye and said, “You only listen when you’re talking.” I turned to Heather and said, “Is that true?” She said, “Yeah, it’s kind of true,” and we had a big ole laugh about it. His comment still hurt. It still stung. But he was right. The places our children can’t laugh with us are the places where we need to grow and heal.  

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Parenting with Heart

This is an excerpt from Parenting with Heart: How Imperfect Parents Can Raise Resilient, Loving, and Wise-Hearted Kids, by Stephen James and Chip Dodd  One of my sons (Chip's) and I went on a fly-fishing trip a few years ago. He was out of college, gone from our home, and moving out into the bigger world. Near the lodge where we were staying was a great place to sit and watch the stars come out in the big sky of the West. We sat talking and watching the moon rise and the stars come out. I have always loved him, and he cannot stop loving me,

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What does it mean to dream?

We are created to dream big. The moment we dream, we open ourselves up to feeling, desiring, aching, grieving, suffering, and celebrating. To dream means to be fully alive in a beautiful and tragic world. It means that we are willing to reach outside of ourselves, fully aware that we may not grasp what we long for. Part of the therapy process involves unearthing dreams that have been lost to trauma, addiction, depression, and anxiety. However, when we face the story of our life and begin to heal, we can risk dreaming again. I have spent a big portion of

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Getting to the Root of Depression

In my experience, depression has had two opposing effects: it protected me from feeling deep pain but, at the same time, robbed me of relationships and healing. Thirty-eight years ago today, my life was changed forever. What should have been a time of joy and celebration turned into sadness, despair, and a journey into depression. My two infant twin sons were born too early to survive. All the things that I had learned through my childhood about faith and never doubting God's plan began to fade. How could something that I thought was in God's plan go so terribly wrong?

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Connect With Your Whole Self This Year

A helpful way to understand ourselves is through the metaphor of an iceberg. In my psychology research, I once learned that up to 70% of an iceberg is below the surface. I’ve found the same is true with the human heart. What you see is not always the whole story. When it comes to the human heart, there is much more going on below the surface. Sheaths of ice (or layers of being) encase the human soul. Often, in the therapeutic process, you’re invited to peel back these layers, to feel your feelings, tell the truth, and trust the process.

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Getting Down to the Heart

When we look back on our lives, there are people who play significant roles in shaping us into the people we become: relatives, friends, coaches, mentors. For me, it was my middle school English teacher. I was raised in a small town and attended a private Christian school. I lived within what some may call a “bubble.” I don’t note this because I think it is bad necessarily, but instead to emphasize that I did not know that anything existed outside of that bubble. That bubble burst the day I sat down in Mr. Fletcher’s class. Even now Mr. Fletcher

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Leaning Into Your Imperfections

by Kathryn Defatta and Sarah Norris “I don’t have a full length mirror for a reason.” These were some of the first words spoken to me by a dear client of mine as she described the rule she created to keep herself safe from her eating disorder. “If I only look at my face in the mirror, I won’t get sad and angry at my eating disorder because I won’t be able to judge my body.” By choosing to do this, she shuts herself off from the rest of her being and she feels better — but only for a

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Allowing Yourself to Be Weak

A little over a year ago, I had the unfortunate experience of skiing knee first into a tree. In the days and weeks that followed, my body displayed the physical ramifications of this accident in ways I was unable to hide. The physical pain was terrible, but the internal dialogue I battled daily was just as harsh. The voice in my head was unrelenting in whispering cruel messages of self-doubt, shame and fear. That’s life though, isn’t it? Right when we feel as though we’ve found our groove and know how to masterfully navigate the path we’re on, we hit

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Regaining Ownership of Your Heart

We all have a story to tell. We were made to play the leading roles in our personal movies filled with tragedy, hope, heartache, loss, resilience, delight, honor, and betrayal. This array of feelings somehow make a good movie. When I look at a child, they don’t seem to doubt that they are the leading role.   They weep and wail, fight and play, and wish and ask with confidence. We all start in this place of trusting in life and ourselves, until one day...tragedy hits.   A tragedy is something too overwhelming to hold a narrative for or make

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The Genius in Not Being Normal

“There is no great genius without some touch of madness.” - Seneca  The more normal you try to be (or the more like others you try to parrot) the less of you we will see. You move away from your personal genius when you strive to be normal, to not have to risk your neck with some dream, idea, or stroke of genius. But “normal” is depressing. Normal is the path of no resistance. Not least resistance, no resistance. Yet more and more people are looking for the supposed feel-good nature of being “normal.” We let others define what normal

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