what a well-curated life really looks like on Instagram

what a well-curated life really looks like on Instagram

Social media is something I've grappled with both personally and professionally, in a variety of ways that probably sound familiar to you:

  • How much time on social media is too much? If I struggle with moderating, should I delete the apps from my phone? (But when I have, how long does that really last?) 
  • If I find myself compulsively picking up my phone to check Facebook, Instagram, or email and feeling itchy when I don't, do I need a serious digital detox? (Yes, but also, I-don't-wanna!)
  • Is it possible that I've actually rewired my brain and attention span through this stuff? (Methinks yes. Scary.)
  • Should I Snapchat? Why do I feel like I'm pretty tech-forward in most ways but when it comes to Snapchat I'm like the Grandma who signs her Facebook comments and uses all caps? LOVE, GRANDMA (Answer: I just don't.) 
  • How many posts a week should I make on Instagram, and how many stories? What actually makes for a fun or interesting story? Should I make this thing a story, or a post? 
  • How do I decide how much of my personal self/life to put into my more professionally-oriented social media accounts, especially in a field where being real/human is super important, but so are personal/professional boundaries? 
  • Why do I often take photos of stuff but rarely post them? (I want to take my phone out long enough to capture something, but don't want to take the time in the moment to craft the text or hashtags, so then it just collects digital dust on my phone until it no longer feels interesting or relevant!) 
  • What's the point of any of this godforsaken stuff anyway, if it creates this kind of stress?! I quit!

Yeaaah, welcome to the inside of my brain. As one of my clients jokes with me (and of course is no secret to all my friends), I'm a special kind of weird. But since that weirdness is part of what makes me ME, I embrace it and know that my people will find me, and people who don't appreciate it have plenty of other choices for friend, therapist, yoga teacher, etc! 

I digress. I know at least some of those are things you relate to, too, or you wouldn't still be reading this. I won't address every single point here (because you'd be reading for the next two hours), but there is one point that I really want to focus on:

A life that is actually well-curated probably looks a little 'meh' on Instagram. 

What do I mean by that?

I decided to take an impromptu walk through the woods a few weeks ago, and pulled into a beautiful little state park off the beaten path on the edge of Nashville. I wanted to leave my phone in the car so the walk felt more calming (as I do on walks in my neighborhood, which I haven't done in a while since it's cold AF). But then I thought — wouldn't this be a prime opportunity for a beautiful shot of some trees that I could post on Instagram? I'm nature-y, and my feed should reflect that, right? And I'm sure I could come up with some nice stuff to say about the healing power of being in the woods. 

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WholeYou #12: crown chakra / seventh chakra / sahasrara

This episode closes out our chakra series with a discussion about the crown chakra — we hope you've enjoyed this series as much as we have! See below for the show notes, listen to the show (stream or download) on the embedded SoundCloud box below, or find it on iTunes of your favorite podcast app. Thanks for listening! 

Seventh Chakra At a Glance:

  • Sanskrit Name: Sahasrara
  • Location: Crown of the head
  • Element: Thought
  • Color: Violet
  • Issues: Belief systems, meaning, higher power, union, consciousness
  • Basic Rights: To know and to learn

What we Discuss in Episode #11:

  • How to know if your crown chakra is out of balance
  • Signs of a deficient and excessive crown chakra
  • Thoughts on consciousness
  • Yoga and healing practices to  balance your crown chakra
  • How to move way from self-help obsessions and TOO much learning
  • Crown chakra affirmations

My co-host Lauren and I are really appreciate you taking the time to listen and share your comments. If you like the show, subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and please take 1 minute to leave us a review on iTunes  — it helps us to reach more people, and we'd be so grateful! 

Mentioned in this Episode:

“The act of individual consciousness reflecting upon its own immensity is the mystery of the crown chakra. To realize that consciousness flows through every quantum of life around us, and to behold the same presence within our consciousness, this is enlightenment… to become aware of our own consciousness is to witness a miracle."
"The separation of spirituality from the rest of life leaves us spiritually homeless. In reflection of the archetypal divorce between Earth Mother and Sky Father, we are taught to seek enlightenment by denying the basic nature of our biological existence. Denying our basic nature in order to achieve unity is a contradiction steeped in dualistic thinking, which will never lead to unity or wholeness. The seventh chakra is about merging with divine consciousness and realizing our true nature."



Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin, LMSW, is a Primary Therapist at The Ranch residential treatment center, where she works with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, and co-occurring mental health issues. Valerie focuses on a holistic treatment approach of mind + body integration, using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), somatic and bioenergetic therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), psychodrama, 12-step, and shame resilience. She is also a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT) Candidate. Valerie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Master of Science degree in Clinical Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin. She is an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville, and emphasizes spiritual exploration in her work with clients.

WholeYou #11: third eye chakra / sixth chakra / ajna

WholeYou #11: third eye chakra / sixth chakra / ajna

My lovely co-host Lauren and I finally sat down to record Episode #11 of the WholeYou podcast, and we're excited to share this one with you! The show notes are below, and you can listen to the episode (stream or download) on the embedded SoundCloud box below, or find it on iTunes of your favorite podcast app. 

Sixth Chakra At a Glance:

  • Sanskrit Name: Ajna
  • Location: In between eyebrows (third eye)
  • Element: Light
  • Color: Indigo
  • Issues: Image, intuition, imagination, visualization, insight, dreams, vision
  • Basic Rights: To see

What We Discuss in Episode #11:

  • How to know if your third eye chakra is out of balance
  • Signs of a deficient and excessive sixth chakra
  • How to switch your perspective and experience miracles daily!
  • Yoga poses, visualizations, and using drishti (gaze) to balance your sixth chakra
  • Other healing practices, including dreamwork, stories, art, 
  • How light can help support the third eye
  • Why beauty can be an overlooked spiritual value
  • Sixth chakra affirmations

We so appreciate you listening. If you like the show, subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and please take 1 minute to leave us a review on iTunes  — it helps us to reach more people — we <3 you! 

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the lasting impact of childhood emotional neglect

the lasting impact of childhood emotional neglect

At this point, hopefully most of us are on the same page that physical or sexual abuse of a child is wrong (read: as morally repugnant as it gets) and incredibly harmful to them long-term. If you're not yet familiar with the term "Adverse Childhood Experiences" (ACEs) or the landmark ACEs study done by CDC and Kaiser, taking a few minutes to explore these will help you understand the link between early childhood trauma and the majority of our societal and public health issues — like substance abuse, depression, and the cycles of poverty and violent crime, to name just a few.

While some people who enter into therapy know they have endured traumatic experiences (and might also know that these experiences are at the root of the other things they struggle with, like anxiety, an eating disorder, or relationship issues), many others have minimized their childhood experiences to an extent that they are not "connecting the dots" with how they are still being impacted by the things that happened (or should have happened and didn't) in their early years of life. 

The Risk of Overlooking Covert Trauma

Emotional abuse tends to be a particularly slippery issue. For instance, if someone is physically or sexually abused during childhood and doesn't know at the time that this was wrong and not "normal," often they learn this fairly early in adulthood. (Though due to the internalized shame of abuse, sometimes it takes increasing pain from dysfunctional coping behaviors before a person is ready to enter therapy for help.) Hopefully with this recognition, and the support of a skilled trauma therapist, the wounds they need to heal are fairly evident, and the path for healing, though not easy, is clear.

With emotional abuse and neglect, however, the experience is often more covert, and thus harder to identify as the root cause of whatever present-day issues someone is struggling with. Sure, some types of emotional abuse are more overt; but again, hopefully in these cases the person is aware that what was happening was not okay, and then has the opportunity to heal. But many times, the impact of more subtle forms of emotional abuse or neglect are like a rust that erodes a person's sense of self (healthy ego development) over time, until she takes on a world view that she is inadequate, does not matter, cannot trust others, will not be loved if others find out who she really is, and basically, better be able to figure things out on her own. She may not make the connection that the impact of a highly critical grandfather and workaholic mother is still impacting her beliefs about herself 25 years later. (And if no one ever helps her to make that connection and do the healing work, she will likely struggle with feeling like no amount of affirmations, anti-depressants, and cognitive behavioral therapy ever seems to help, so she must be right about herself that she's just fundamentally flawed.) 

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step-by-step guide for when you're feeling overwhelmed

step-by-step guide for when you're feeling overwhelmed

There are a lot of things that can and need to be done to prevent the dreaded state of #overwhelmed. To name just a few —

  • Setting boundaries (and saying "no" in general),
  • Sticking with a routine,
  • Staying organized,
  • Having good systems for task management,
  • Getting enough sleep

Some of those necessities are pretty lame (I love getting lots of sleep, but I don't love early bedtime), and others are kind of fun and interesting if you're a productivity and personal development dork like me.

But even when we have good practices in place, the truth is that there is no magic bullet of "if you do this, you'll never feel overwhelmed again!" 

Whether it's a new baby, a nasty virus, a family emergency, a nightmare co-worker, second trimester morning sickness, a big work deadline, or any other kind of unexpected curveball — shit happens that makes even the best laid Overwhelm Prevention Plans go to hell in a hand basket.

So if you're already in the thick of it, what do you do?

Of course, again there is no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all advice, but below are a few important tips and reminders when you find yourself feeling like you're in the weeds on a Saturday night in your first waitressing gig.

1. Take 5...

...breaths, that is. Before anything else, you need to get the oxygen flowing with 5 deep, slow breaths. Make sure to breathe into your belly, not just high up ion your chest, and try to match the length of your inhale with the length of the exhale, pausing briefly before each exhale. This will start to immediately regulate your nervous system so you can think more clearly about the next steps to take.

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