Tag Archives: Tracie Louise Photography

Following a Dream


In my blog and in my practice, I talk a lot about honoring our inner truth. My truth is this: I have a book inside of me that wants to come out. This won’t be my first book. (If you’re interested, you can find that here.) This second book will be about guilt and how to break free of its grip.

I’ve decided that now is the time to turn my creative energies in that direction. So, I may be posting less frequently, but when I do, the topic will most likely be related to guilt or what I playfully refer to as the guilt monster.

I have a personal history with the guilt monster. We go way back, starting with my childhood. Its impact was so significant, in fact, that it was a key factor in my decision to become a therapist. My life’s work has been to help people free themselves from that cage.

Guilt estranges us from ourselves.

Guilt causes us to wear masks and to go into hiding. Guilt blurs our vision, resulting in poor choices. It inhibits us. It destroys self-esteem. It cripples us from stating our truth. It stifles love for ourselves. It’s at the core of self-denial and self-condemnation.

Guilt drives so much dysfunction, and it creates so much misery . . . its effects are felt in all arenas of life. The longer I practice, the more people I talk to, the more I realize this book needs to be written!

I’ve already shared many of my views on guilt in some of my posts (Shed Those Unwanted Pounds . . . of Guilt, and Meet Your Roommate, to name just a few). The concepts I write about in those posts, and more, will be expanded upon in the book.

While on my journey, I want us to stay in touch. I will be posting pieces of the book here as I go along, and I would love to continue to hear from you. Wish me luck!

(Thanks, Tracie Louise, for letting me use another one of your wondrous photos!)


Filed under General Interest, Get Free

Don’t Settle for a Beige Life

Angel Wings

When we follow our dreams, we take up residence in a much larger part of ourselves . . . our soul.

“Be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.”

 – Rumi

That line could apply to many circumstances. It can apply to a person, an activity, a career or a dream we’re squelching. Kelly is a prime example. Her life lacks color because of derailed dreams.

For as long as she can remember, Kelly was thoroughly captivated by the thought of becoming a chef. Excitement tackled her to the ground every time she thought about it, so buoyant was she over the prospect. But something regrettable happened to her once she turned 18. Her dream was replaced by something more socially expected. Instead of obeying her passion, she obeyed a programmed directive that said she should get married and have a family. And unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what she did.

Since then, Kelly’s life has been reduced to a series of compromises—and not surprisingly, she’s a very unhappy woman today. Her life is marked with an undercurrent of sadness, grieving the life she failed to choose for herself. She lacks enthusiasm for her job, for her family—for life in general. Kelly’s life is beige.  Click here to continue reading Kelly’s story.

For another person’s take on this journey, read Tracie Louise’s blog here.  (I’ve never met Tracie but her beautiful spirit—who she is—shines through in her writing and in her breathtaking photography. I’m sure you’ll agree. By the way, the parrot above is one example of her art.) What she wrote a few days ago resonated with me.  Both Kelly and Tracie were weighed down by persistent unhappiness and dissatisfaction, clear signs that they were veering off course.

Only when we live life in accordance with our purest and deepest desires, do our lives take on the colors of contentment.  As Tracie Louise says, “You CAN NOT go against the power of your soul.”

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.


Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

Latest Wow: We Can’t Always Snap Out of It


Brad has suffered from clinical depression for many years. Therapy and medications have helped some, but not entirely and not consistently. There are days when all he wants to do is stay in bed. On other days—his good days—he’s active and highly involved with the world.

Would he like to feel that way every day? Of course. But he doesn’t … pure and simple. And because he feels like a failure and a burden to others, his depression is complicated with shame.

“When it comes to depression,” Brad says, “most the world says to snap out of it.”

Unfortunately, he’s right. The world isn’t very sympathetic toward sadness. We expect people, including ourselves, to be happy all the time.

In our therapy sessions, I try to help Brad be self-accepting—to look warmly at himself.  I remember telling him: “Depression isn’t something you wish upon yourself.” It helped him to hear that.

As for his family, when their best efforts to help fail to produce results, they can grow impatient. That’s normal. And it’s also normal to fall into the same trap of shame—being hard on themselves.

Not long ago, his 25-year-old daughter wowed me with this:

“As a family, we need to see him as having cancer. We wouldn’t get mad at him for that. He can’t help it.”

Depression can be a difficult and oftentimes life-long struggle. Shame is the last thing anyone—Brad or his family—needs as added weight.

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality. 

Another gorgeous photo, courtesy of Tracie Louise Photography.


Filed under General Interest, The Latest Wow!

Untuck Your Wings


This is one of my favorite quotes:

“O God, help me to believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is!”  

— Macrina Wiederkehr, author of Seasons Of Your Heart

Walking along a trail, you see an unusual and stunning butterfly. Perched on a small branch, its richly colored patterns and exquisite gracefulness invite you to pause and absorb the wonder before you. But suddenly something baffling and disturbing happens. The butterfly tucks its wings in tightly, concealing its beauty. Guessing the butterfly was frightened by your presence, you continue on your walk. Unable to put the strange butterfly out of your mind, you return to that same spot several minutes later. Your heart sinks at what you see. The butterfly still hasn’t untucked its wings. You walk away … sad. How many of us, like the butterfly, conceal our beauty—our true nature and worth?  (continue reading) You  just read about Claudia and Heath. A similar post— Don’t Spend Your Life Being Little is about Carrie, who found it challenging to stand up  for herself.

Limping, when fully capable of walking upright, is an act of self-betrayal. It’s felt at the soul level—a sickened feeling deep within.

The beautiful images in this post and the previous one, Something Would Be Missing, are courtesy of Tracie Louise Photography.  Her work can be viewed here.


Filed under General Interest, Get Free

Something Would Be Missing


I love this photograph for two reasons. For one, the beauty causes my spirit to go, “Ahhhhh.” Second, it tells me something about our value. Notice the dead tree sticking up out of the water . . . um, it’s hard not to notice, right? That tree was once vibrant with life. Had we known that tree back then, we may have admired its unique features and beauty. But alas, as is true of all living things, its life ended at some point.

But that tree left something behind—its beauty. The beauty has now taken another form, but nonetheless, it’s classified as beauty. Its graceful and random lines add aesthetic appeal to the totality of the scenery. The effect wouldn’t be quite the same without it. That tree—imperfect as it is—adds beauty to the world.

The same is true of each and every one of us.

We add something to the world when we are here, and we add something to the world when we leave.

Something would be missing had we never shown up.


Filed under Contemplations, General Interest