Flow: Emotional Wisdom

heal, healing is in our hands, our lives are miracles, karyn shanks md

I have a problem with nice.

Do you know what I mean?

Those people who tell you what they think you want to hear? How your hair always looks great (even when you know it doesn’t), or how your food is always the most delicious they’ve ever had (even the peanut butter and jelly sandwich), or what you’ve written is awesome (when you know it’s crap).

I don’t need that. In fact, I hate that.

See, I…

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empowerment, self-love, self-healing, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD, Nine Domains of Healing

Yes, sadly, those were my own words.

Uttered as I caught a glimpse of myself in my husband’s photos of our magnificent hike in the Maui rainforest. We’d come upon a waterfall spilling into pristine waters below and couldn’t resist going in. But rather than seeing the magic of what was all around us or the completely relaxed posture I stood in (like no one was looking, like I really was

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karyn shanks, karyn shanks md, Big Energy, Nine Domains of Healing, feelings, feel, emotional healing,

One of the dangers of suffering is what happens when we distance ourselves from how we feel—when we numb the pain.

And it makes sense that we do this, right? We want to feel better. We need to feel better. We do whatever we can. What we know.

But with persistent suffering—the kind that comes with chronic pain, illness, depression, or trauma—(before we discover—and address—the root…

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happiness, you deserve to be happy, born to be happy, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD, Nine Domains of Healing, Big Energy

I had a wonderful conversation with a friend the other day… We were both explaining the ways we’d been slowing down the pace of our lives. Doing just one thing at a time. Doing less. Working less. Playing more. Loosening expectations. Letting go of obligations that no longer feel like a good fit.

We spoke of this as if it were radical. Not quite whispering, or confessing (but…

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healing, nine domains of healing, self-care, self-healing, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD

One of my greatest challenges as a physician is to get out of the way of my clients’ healing.

Inspired by wanting to help them feel better, to relieve their suffering, and achieve their goals, it’s tempting to try to “fix” things. To lock in on their pains and problems and employ every root cause-level magic bullet in the toolkit. When what they most need is for me to get out of their…

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wisdom, truth, wise, transformation, suffering, heal suffering, this too shall pass

In speaking to my son about the grind and muck of graduate school and the uncertainty and trials of putting the pieces of his dream together, I showed him a beautiful book I’m currently reading that I thought was relevant to his situation. Written by renowned Zen Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh, it’s called “No Mud, No Lotus.”

He looked at it, and before I had a chance to explain, he commented…

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brave. courage, empowerment, self-empowerment, we rise,

Dear Ones,

Try this one on:

“I’m not afraid. I was born to do this.”

-attributed to Joan of Arc

 Did you feel the way that washed over you? The way it sunk in and soothed the fear? Just a bit?

Me too.

 Her words make me feel brave. Like I can face the many things that shake me—like:

  • How my adult children, each time they leave, will be safe and return home to me (from time…

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empower, self-empowerment, courage, brave, don't make assumptions

I love this story my husband sent me from Reddit:

Nobody dared go near the tower. A fearsome dragon sat on its top.

Until one day, a knight rode up:

“Do you need help getting down?”

“Please.”

This is a story about assumptions—Big Assumptions. Assumptions made about how the dragon was to be feared, that he was dangerous, that he was a dragon.

This story reminds me of an angry client I once…

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questions, live the questions, live the questions now, Rilke, uncertainty, be brave, courage

I am no different than you—asking questions. Wanting answers. Needing to understand how it is all unfolding before me. Now. Impatient and occasionally impertinent when the answers do not arrive.

Then I think of Rilke’s quote, which I came across as a teenager. It gave me SO much comfort then, and it still washes over me warmly, soothing my pain for not knowing, reminding me that not knowing…

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soften, empowerment, relax, relieve anxiety, wisdom, self-healing, self healing

Softening: a simple practice to take the edge off what feels impossible.

What do you do when the overwhelm of life runneth over? Melt down? Succumb to worst-case-scenario thinking? (That is what our brains were designed to do, after all!)

And there’s a certain sensual satisfaction in a juicy meltdown, isn’t there? But I always regret it. It never leads to positive, constructive resolution.…

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faith, hope, empowerment, transformation, wisdom, empower yourself

I see many people in my consultation room who, like most of us at some time or another in our lives, have almost given up hope. I say “almost” because something inspired them to come see me. For some it is one last glimmer of possibility that they can heal.

Many of the folks I see have been sick for a very long time, have been to many doctors, and have yet to receive sustainable solutions for…

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all ready, empowerment, embrace uncertainty, be yourself, show up, do the work, commit to yourself

Every find yourself putting things off because you don’t feel All Ready?

Like that perfect time will come, your tool kit will be perfectly stocked and organized, your energy and enthusiasm will be robust, and you’ll dive in with the full support of the Universe all around you, humming and whistling as you go?

Me too.

And how does that work for you?

Things rarely happens that way for me. If what…

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wisdom, guidance, inner wisdom, inner guidance, the small voice within, intuition, trust your intuition, empowerment

I call it inner wisdom. Or inner guidance. Others refer to it as “the small quiet voice,” “intuition,” “gut feelings,” “inner knowing,” or, “the heartbeat of God.”

It’s the truth of what we know–truly know–deep within. A knowing that is innate to us all, that can guide us effortlessly once we learn to recognize it, listen to it, and trust it.

I believe we are all born with the capacity for…

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heal chronic fatigue syndrome

We all know how hard it is to get our New Year’s resolutions off the ground. Or harder still—sustain them for the long haul.

Why is that? Why is it so dang hard to create positive change in our lives? Change that we want? Change that we know will lead to better lives?

Maybe we start too big. We’re better at small changes—even the small things lead to big shifts in our lives.

Or maybe our…

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gratitude, happy thanksgiving, thanksgiving, thank you, give thanks, practice gratitude, I'm grateful, happiness, happy

A grateful life takes work, doesn’t it? Even in the face of so much to be grateful for.

The stresses and traumas of life can tether our focus to what upsets us, needs to be fixed, or has to be done. It’s how our brains were designed—to keep us alive. It’s so easy to forget what makes us blessed and lucky, though our lives are filled to the brim with these things when we look hard enough.

I am…

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hope, have hope, create hope, hopeful, karyn shanks md, empower yourself

Dear One,

Someone once told me that hope is just wishing that things could be different than they are. They didn’t want to have “false” hope after so many struggles and disappointments.

I hear this concern expressed by my clients—many have suffered greatly. Promises were made. The positive outcomes did not come through.

Someone else told me (essentially) that hope was for sissies. In their…

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peace, self-acceptance, self-love, love, jealous

Jealous–we ALL know the sting of it and have been smacked down by the shame of it, but it’s really a normal part of being humans who thrive on connection. In this article I demystify jealousy, look at it’s purposeful role in our lives (yep, you heard me right), and remove the burden of shame and indignity that always seems to go with it.

Jealous: We All Know it Well

Two recent conversations…

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