Flow: Emotional Wisdom

The Not-So-Nice Side of Nice

love, empathy, kindness

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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Ugh, is that ME?

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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She Reclaimed Her Feelings (and Discovered Her Power)

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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My Happiness Meter

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 close)—capturing…

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Get Out of the Way of Healing

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 way.

What…

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“Suffering is Annoying… “

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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I Was Born to Do This

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 to time).
  • I can offer…

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Nobody dared go near the tower…

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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Live the Questions

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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Softening

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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