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February 10, 2019

Dear ones,

An open letter to my community...

It has been over two years since I published any of my thoughts or ideas on mental health and wellness. TWO YEARS! Truth be told, I became embroiled in a common conflict endured when desiring to put one's voice out into the open for others to see and hear. Yes, that's right...FEAR.

Yes, yes...I know! Therapists are supposed to have it all together and figured out right! As much as I would love to embrace the mantel of perfection, fear and doubt have long been bosom companions of my mind. Over the course of the last several years, I have received wise and wonderful advice in the service of nurturing my private practice and voice in wellness. These gentle, sometimes frustrated, helpers h...

February 2, 2017

Today, February 2nd, is the festival of Imbolc, also known as Brighid's Day. Today marks the half-way point between the beginning of Winter and the Vernal Equinox, announcing the return of Spring and ever more present daylight. We are almost there!

In my last Metta's Mind post, I discussed the literal, figurative and spiritual darkness that Winter inherently brings forth. Today is a day for celebrating the unknown and the return to lightness. "Unknown" you say? Imbolc is a time of year when hope begins to arise. The harshest days of winter have passed and the natural world is gearing up for rebirth. Trees, animals and plants are beginning to transform the energy saved throughout the cold months into new roots, intentions and li...

December 22, 2016

“Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again.” The words of Paul Simon came to my ears during a particularly difficult few weeks in which my heart realized that the growing darkness of winter was creeping too close.  I also sensed that I was not alone in this feeling of weight growing in souls. A number of people have expressed a sense of impending struggle in their lives or in the greater consciousness that has brought on feelings of sadness. I pondered, “How do we move through the darkness without being swallowed by it? As the song suggests, can we learn to befriend natural and personal darkness?”

Darkness, metaphorically and literally, is misunderstood. Today is the winter solstice. The darkest night of t...

November 14, 2016

I began writing this post two days ago but realized that I was not yet in a place where my anger and frustration over the events of this past week could not be expressed without the corresponding vitriol. I have taken in the words of my meditation teachers, Buddhist teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh (who survived the Vietnam War as a peacekeeper) and people in my life whose wisdom I admire and would like to share some words of self-care and composure for the coming times.

It is often said there are two things you never, ever discuss with therapy clients...politics and religion. Well, those of you who know me well are aware that I do not abide by those rules. One...because they are too important to our individual world views to not...

July 27, 2016

I had contemplated writing this long overdue post about the suffering so apparent and overwhelmingly present in the world today. But, sitting in the park, listening to an African ensemble practice, watching a little girl blissfully dance like the gods have possessed her, I change my focus to those things in life that keep the human spirit alive in joy and love.

2016 has not been kind to my mind and heart thus far and the same can be said for the world-at-large, especially if you are an international news addict like myself. But, how is it that horror and tragedy can fill our newspapers, TVs and inboxes yet we continually persevere as a species and society manages to find a way to continue producing great works of art, we contin...

March 29, 2016

We have all heard the old saying, “Timing is everything,” but I have been pondering the meaning of “good” timing or spending “quality time” a lot these days. I think I have always assumed it to mean it is time to DO something. Lately, I am feeling the opposite is quite necessary. How about we DON’T do something.  In today’s demanding and often overwhelming societal structure, it feels as if we are trained to think that if we are not consistently busy with something “productive” then we are not giving appropriately to society or our families. Maybe now is the time to stop doing things, simplify, eliminate that which does not truly feed our souls and slow down.

A consistent presence in conversations with family, friends and clien...

February 2, 2016

Feeling vulnerable in the world today can often seem as if your skin is burned and you cannot escape the sun. This sense of rawness is compounded if the vulnerability stems from grief, loss and/or significant changes in life.

Over the past few months, I have noticed a large portion of my practice and personal life focusing on coping with loss and fluctuations in life’s stability; emotional, financial, professional, social, spiritual or otherwise. Whether this change is brought on by the passing of a loved one, realizations that life as we know it is unsatisfactory, relationship struggles or unmanageable mountains of stress, the vulnerability experienced has a familiar tone no matter the individual experiencing it. Most people h...

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       Melissa Schleicher-Park, LCPC, BC-DMT                                     1818 Dempster Street, Evanston, IL                                            melissa@mettacounselingchicago.com      

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