Make an Appointment: 973-378-0931 |   [email protected]

  • banner image

    Lean Into Discomfort

    Every moment holds an opportunity to release suffering. With intentional practice we can remain present long enough to see our choices: run from the discomfort or walk through it.

    Exiting when discomfort arises reinforces our habitual emotional reaction. Leaning into the discomfort we can interrupt this old habit to fully embrace the experience with compassion.

    At Awakened Higher Self, together we can consciously become aware of each moment and explore sitting with what feels uncomfortable and makes us want to run the other way. Allowing emotions to be fully expressed liberates us from the chains of our triggers.

    Quote from: Taking the Leap By Pema Chödrön @anipemachodron

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    Friending Emotions

    In the process of friending our emotions, we open ourselves up to see all that is there. We sit with it, we see it, we talk to it, we write about it, we hear the stories it tells us, we see the ways it has it impacted us, and see the harm it caused. And then, when we are ready, we can look to it for wisdom. This process happens many times, each time seeing something different, learning something new.

    Quote: David Nichtern in Awakening From the Daydream Reimagining the Buddha’s Wheel of Life (page 125)

    *This post is for educational purposes only.


    Perhaps the most significant benefit of meditation is creating space to explore our inner landscape. When we pause, we enter a peaceful stillness that can only be found by turning inward. We are creating space for our innate wisdom and connection to our true being to be present. Here we can release attachment to our worldly thoughts and listen to our soul speak.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.


    The conditioned mind tricks us into believing the way out of discomfort is to control the situation. Our higher self asks us to be curious and compassionate when discomfort arises.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    Intention vs Expectation

    Intention is the link between our inner world and how we act or engage in the outer world.

    It is the attitude that guides the direction of our thoughts, actions, and speech. Intentions are not fixed, instead it is the essence that flows along our path. Intentions can be found in the current moment rather than an obtainment of a final goal.

    When we have an intention, we are open to the limitless expression of possibilities. We can explore and greet the present moment with curiosity and acceptance.

    Expectations are viewed as an attachment to a specific desire or outcome in the future. It is focused on a fixed goal in an impermanent reality. When we hold an expectation, we are focused on the future and not the present moment.

    The ego tells us what we need or what should happen to be satisfied. This may pull or move us to think or act in ways that are not aligned with our higher self.

    When focused on an expectation, the current moment is viewed through a small lens of our desired outcome. This creates judgment, blocks us from experiencing joy in the current moment, and limits possibilities.

    When our expectations are not met, it can lead to suffering, including disappointment and resentment towards ourselves and others.

    Goals are important, however how we hold and view our goals makes a difference in our emotional quality of daily living.

    Inspiration: Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    Get Creative with Affirmations

    Give your affirmations life by having fun with them!

    Affirmations don’t have to be chanted or spoken out loud to be effective. Any expression of thought is powerful. Try these creative ways to integrate affirmations into your daily practice.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.


    Denial is an unconscious form of self-protection. It is a defense mechanism to avoid the difficult emotions of reality.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.


    Every thought is an opportunity to teach our brain a new way of being. How we talk to ourselves can impact our emotions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Affirmations allow us to consciously choose words to create change. Over time, affirmations can help to reprogram our mind.

    Some ways to work with affirmations:

    *In a difficult moment, repeat a helpful phrase

    *Speak it out loud in front of a mirror

    *Sitting meditation with a mala bead

    *Visualize what you are affirming and imagine how it feels to embody the affirmation.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.


    Compassion: showing kindness and understanding to self and/or others.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    Boundaries and Self-Awareness

    The more we know ourselves the clearer we can set conscious and intentional boundaries.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.


    We are experiencing another collective trauma. It is okay to put yourself first. Pay attention to how your body, thoughts, and emotions respond to information. Be gentle with yourself. It is okay to create a space of safety by limiting social media content. Your mental health is worth it.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    5-4-3-2-1 Grounding

    Grounding is a way to focus on the present moment. It can be a helpful coping tool for anxiety, panic, high stress, intense emotions, or for calming and relaxation.

    5-4-3-2-1 grounding uses your five senses to bring the attention out of your internal world and into the here and now. It pulls your mental energy into the physical world, away from unpleasant thoughts, memories, worries, or flashbacks.

    5-4-3-2-1 grounding:-Can be repeated as many times as needed-No one has to know you are doing it -You can pick one to focus on in greater detail -Easy for kids and adults to remember -Can be paired with the breath -Can make it interactive

    If possible, it is helpful to say it out loud. If you cannot pin point a sensory item, name and visualize your favorite. For example, if you cannot name a taste, what is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Or it might helpful to create a sensory taste by chewing gum or a sour candy. You also can make it a game by finding different types of each sense; find a soft item or instead of naming five things you can see in front of you, try going to a different room or outside.

    5 things you can see (Ex: notebook, phone, card, door)

    4 things you can feel or touch with your body (Ex: chair, blanket, soft socks, cold fresh air)

    3 things you can hear (Ex: phone ring, cough, wind chime)

    2 things you can smell (Ex: flowers, candle, detergent)

    1 thing you can taste (Ex: drink, food, gum)

    *This post is for educational purposes only.


    Many hold the idea that they cannot endure the experience of suffering. Any time suffering arises, the antidote is to run in the opposite direction. But does that really stop suffering or are we just bouncing from experience to experience chasing an unrealistic view of happiness?

    When we accept that suffering is a part of the human experience, we no longer have to run in the opposite direction clinging to temporary pleasure. Instead we can compassionately witness the suffering. Witnessing allows us to get up close in the face of suffering and see what is there. We can lean into the suffering, see what it is showing us, see where the roots are planted, and transform our relationship to it.

    Source: Inspired by Buddhist concepts of suffering and happiness.

    Quote: Sharon Salzberg from LovingKindness

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    Meeting Emotions

    This is the secret – meeting emotions with tenderness instead of resistance. Doing the opposite of what we have been conditioned to do.

    Rather than fleeing from the uncomfortable, we can pause and welcome it with curiosity. When we pause, we open ourselves to what is present.

    When we welcome what is, we become open and spacious. When we resist, we become tight and constricted. Repressing holds onto the very thing we have an aversion to. Openness creates space for it to pass. Emotions need space to move, transform, and leave the body.

    Curiosity shines a light on the unkown. When we shine a light in a dark room, suddenly the room isn’t so scary. We can look around, check under the bed, the closet and be curious about what we find. But when we tip toe around in the dark, anything can frighten us; even an empty room can be so scary that we run the other way.

    I invite us to be curious.

    Quote: Pema Chödrön from Taking the Leap (page 69)

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    Notice Your Breath

    Connecting with your breath is the first step in building a relationship with your internal world. When we slow down to notice the breath, we can become more conscious of our current state and present moment.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    Connecting With Your Breath

    What can your breath offer you right now, in this moment?

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    Take up Space

    How often do we hide who we are because we are afraid of being seen? What could shift if we took up space with our voice and body?

    *This post is for educational purposes only.


    Gratitude asks us to widen the lens of the moment to see all that is happening. A practice of gratitude does not ignore the messiness of life. Those things still exist and are real. Gratitude adds more input to the moment. A practice of gratitude says, “all these messy things are happening AND I am grateful for all these other things.” We are not trading in the “negative” for the “good” but identifying all that exist.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    It Makes Sense

    How we react in the moment is often a reflection of our past experiences. When we are activated, our nervous system is not only reacting to the current moment but previous similar emotional experiences. If our reactions are not proportionate to the current experience, our nervous system may be responding to previous threats. Unconsciously, we may also be playing out old conditioned patterns from earlier wounds.

    Together, in therapy, we can increase awareness, unpack the source of activation, speak to the wounded parts of us, learn how and why our body responds the way it does, and make conscious changes to safely be present in the moment.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    Stuck in a Cycle

    We get caught in cycles – behaviors, emotional activation, patterns, thoughts, relationships, whatever we keep doing or keeps happening that does not serve us.

    Each turn around the cycle offers an opportunity to be curious, create space to turn inward, gain awareness, and tend to our own needs. If the cycle continues, we can choose to see it as an invitation to go even deeper and learn even more about what the moment has to offer. Each time we do this, the cycle is never the same because we have changed.

    This process is an internal long game that is always shifting in some way. Even when we think we are stuck, behind the scenes our unconscious is evolving.

    We have much to gain when we witness, learn, and shift in a new way until we understand the purpose and feel safe to transform out of the cycle.

    The journey can be emotionally exhausting AND full of wisdom when we take a step back and see it with an inward perspective.

    Working together, we spend time exploring patterns and cycles, some that aren’t even yours to begin with.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.

    Increase Energy

    Mind-body practices have been around for thousands of years. Our mind and body can be used as a tool to harness natural energy.

    EFT Tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique stimulates certain meridian points on the face and body, which shift and balances energy flow in the body.

    Aligning your posture allows your body to function more efficiently which increases energy Mudras are certain hand and finger positions that influence and stimulate the flow of energy in the body.

    Breath or prana can increase or decrease energy by changing the depth and pace of the breath. In general, a slow breath decreases energy and deep or rapid breath can increase energy.

    Mantras, repeated syllables, words, or sounds produce vibrations that increase energy.

    Mindfulness changes our hormones and brain to decrease stress which helps the body relax and make better use of energy.

    Yoga channels the body’s energy through movement and breath.

    *This post is for educational purposes only. Engage in the practices at your own risk.

    Working With Teens

    1. It may take time to build rapport: A teenager may not warm up to their therapist or to therapy right away. This may be typical at first, but still explore if your teenager is comfortable with their therapist and in therapy. The relationship between therapist and client is the most important part of therapy. Just as with adults, every therapist is not a good fit for every client.

    2. I’m not blaming or judging you: Therapy is not about finding someone or something to blame. Therapy helps to understand what and why is happening and how to best support the client. Parents and teenagers are doing the best they can with their knowledge, resources, and emotional availability. Parents show up with their own beliefs, personality, and past. Teenagers also have a unique personality, needs, other social interactions and experiences outside of the family unit. Coming together to explore how all of these factors interact is part of therapy.

    3. Trust is important: Therapy can only happen if trust is present – trust between the client and their therapist and trust that the therapist will inform if there is something a parent needs to know. Even without knowing all the details shared in session, parents are an important part of the team. You can speak with the therapist about confidentiality and being involved in the therapy process.

    4. Your teenager is the client but the family is included: Teenagers exist in a family unit. A teen will thrive best if the family is open to the therapy process. The therapist may invite parents in session, speak with parents before or after, or request a parent session. You can also touch base with the therapist or schedule time to connect.

    *This post is for educational purposes only.