An objective look at alcohol forced an objective look at myself.

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At just over ten weeks sober, I recognize that I am highly unqualified to discuss long-term sobriety. Yet, over the past couple of months, while hitting the La Croix really hard and taking a deep dive into the world of loose leaf teas, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my relationship with alcohol over the past 15-ish years.

My turning point did not come after attempting to interview a potential new hire while violently hungover at my old job or risking a highly valued friendship by drunkenly hooking up with a close friend’s ex, or the many times…

To get the benefits of this mindfulness practice, you need to dig deeper below the surface

A person holds up a flower.
A person holds up a flower.
Image credit: Hakase_.

During my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a village in Guinea, West Africa, one of my greatest sources of happiness was the accessibility of gratitude. Without the constant stimulation and convenience of life in the states, I found that I was much more easily satisfied and appreciative.

When I found fresh bread in my village, or my phone service was strong enough to have a complete phone call with a friend, I felt elated with appreciation. I also noticed that I was grateful for the time I got to spend with my host family and friends a lot…

But don’t let them make you abandon spiritual pursuits

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Over the past few years, widely reported accounts of spiritual leaders who have utilized their power to take advantage of followers have brought the prevalence of “predatory gurus” to light. Empires and movements within which many come to define themselves have been built upon sexual abuses and other unethical practices. How these leaders have attained widespread reverence and devotion while profoundly exploiting the trust and vulnerability of their students and followers is truly horrific.

Many cases of abuse are also alleged toward spiritual leaders with much smaller platforms than those who have been featured in documentaries and international news stories…

Focus on what is within your power.

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Anxiety can be painful and debilitating. In times of peak anxiety, I feel a kind of deeply unsettling weight on my chest. I’ve often felt anxiety about past, current, and future social situations, about how my life or career will turn out, and about the myriad obstacles that could present themselves at any time.

This anxiety has also often led to a kind of loop of negativity, feeling resentful of the anxiety and blaming myself for the feelings, all the while remaining in a state of semi-panicked dread.

Although it can be extremely challenging to manage, anxiety is essentially a…

Four strategies to prime yourself for a peaceful farewell.

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While no friendship is ever perfect and everyone goes through phases of being less than their best selves, when a friendship is truly damaging your well-being, it’s often best to let it go.

I recently came to this realization with a friend who I have known for almost ten years. The moment came in the form of an email — and it wasn’t what she said, but the way that she said it. With her words and tone, she clearly positioned herself as someone morally and intellectually superior to me, and seemed to take great delight in doing so.


Learning to value your own opinion the most.

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I recently watched a clip of an interview of Lena Dunham by Drew Barrymore. In typical Drew fashion, she asks Lena “When do you feel most beautiful?” Lena has a pretty thoughtful response, that she feels most beautiful when she is directing film or tv and feels like she’s in charge but also like a facilitator of the creative processes of others.

I asked myself this question and came to a pretty disappointing answer. I felt most beautiful when being told that I was beautiful by someone else.

This someone else could…

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“So, what is the self?”

This question has been extensively considered at every spiritual retreat and discussion I have ever attended (which I should say is a modest number.)

If you ask Eckhart Tolle, the self can be an attachment to the ego and is essentially an illusion, but can also be a deeper sense of self, or the essence underneath the surface level noise of the human mind. If you ask the Dalai Lama, a defined “self” is illusory as it is based on a combination of myriad impermanent components.

If you can’t say I love you, write it instead

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My first attempt at a love letter didn’t go the way that I had hoped. In seventh grade, I wrote a letter to a boy with whom I had been “going out” for three full days. I was proud of my obvious precocious poetic gifts, in particular, the line “Your eyes are like the ocean.”

After I had anxiously awaited his reaction for all of sixth period, he walked up to me at my locker and asked, “Is that because the ocean is polluted?” It turns out that his eyes were brown, not blue like I had thought.

After this…

Building material items, skills, and habits to fake it until I make it.

When I returned home at age 27 after yet another stint of volunteer work abroad, I more or less had a vision of what I “needed” to do. In my mind, it was time to get a “real” job and a “real” boyfriend, and to start behaving like my vision of an adult woman.

I would finally replace the Juicy Couture purse that I found on sale at Nordstrom Rack in 10th grade with an adult woman handbag large enough to contain the important documents that I would need to transport. I would purchase glass Tupperware to contain my raw…

And how to do it safely.

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A friend recently texted me “I listened to an episode of the podcast you recommended, and I loved it!”

“Yes, he’s amazing!” I responded, referring to the podcast host. I immediately followed up with “But, I don’t agree with everything he’s said.”

My very wise friend responded “I feel like it would be weird if we always agreed with everything that someone else says/believes, right? I hope we can get to a place in society where it’s okay to like someone but not agree with everything they say/believe. And vice versa! …

Katie Deveney

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