The Power of Letting Go

The Power of Letting Go

In a month where spring cleaning is often the focus, what are some things we need to let go? What are the emotions, thoughts, feelings are we holding onto that aren’t serving us? 

Often emotions that are weighing us down come in the form of shame and regret – close cousins of the same family to be sure. But what are they, exactly? Simply, regret is wishing things were different than the way they are and shame is the resulting feeling of humiliation. But more than that, “Regret is a negative emotion that hinges on counterfactual thinking. Counterfactual thinking essentially means that we look back and concoct imaginary scenarios to convince ourselves things could be better” (Social Psychologist, Dr. Neal Roese / 

This shame and regret and the corresponding thinking begs the question: Would things really be better? Can we absolutely know that? If the answer is no (as it likely is), how is it serving us to hold onto that belief?

In her work Loving What Is, Author Byron Katie encourages us to ask four questions when we are confronted with regretful beliefs:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react – how does it feel – when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without that thought? 

The next step in Katie’s “The Work” is to “Turn it around.” This process certainly requires some practice, but can be extremely effective in moving past these beliefs. Need an example? 

Regret Statement: I shouldn’t have ended that relationship.

Is it true? Yes, it feels true. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? No.

How does it feel when you believe that thought? It keeps me stuck in a situation; it makes me feel guilty and sad.

Who would you be without that thought? Someone who could open herself to new relationships and be free of old, toxic behaviors.

Turn it around: I should have ended that relationship because now I am open to more healthy connections that allow me to be a better person.

Learn more about Byron Katie’s “The Work” and this process here.

As we move further into spring there is a natural tendency to want to shed, to throw away, to remove extraneous items (both tangible and intangible) from our lives. If regret – and the shame that results from regretful beliefs are among those things you want to get rid of – check out some of the resources below. But remember too, regret is not always a bad thing; it can help us learn and grow as humans. It is toxic when we allow it to grow and remain.

Remember: As spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle said: “Sometimes letting go is an act of far greater power than hanging on.” 


Loving What Is by Byron Katie






The power of choice in social distancing

The power of choice in social distancing

by Michele Minehart, Community Educator


Last week our Governor announced that Ohio would be staying home from all school, play, and non-essential work until at least May 4. Many of our clients came to us with a similar question: How will I survive this for another month?

Therapist Holly Schweitzer Dunn, LISW, suggests we reframe this to view quarantine from an empowerment place rather than experiencing it only as a victim provides freedom and even a sense of autonomy where we once felt powerless. Try on one of these:

  • Instead of “I have to quarantine” try “I’m staying home to bring safety to myself, to spread safety and to love to the world.” 
  • Instead of “I have no other option” say to yourself, “I choose to follow these guidelines for the good of all.”
  • Rather than “I am helpless in this” remind yourself that “I have control over how I handle this.”

By viewing your actions as an empowered individual and keeping in view the larger goal – public health and personal safety – we can feel differently about our living conditions with all their restraints. You still might long for a leisurely trip to the mall or wish you could gather with friends for dinner, but shifting from “I can’t” to “I choose not to at this time” keeps you mentally in the driver’s seat.  

Judging Others, Judging Ourselves

Judging Others, Judging Ourselves

Judging Others, Judging Ourselves

by Michele Minehart, RYT & Community Educator

Last fall I drove through a subdivision and noticed a house with Christmas lights in full glory well before the societally-agreed-upon commencement date of Thanksgiving. I heard a voice in my mind say, “Ugh, seriously? Already? Can we not just have one holiday at a time?”

As I drew closer, I remembered that the family in that house had only recently moved in. My inner dialogue began to shift, as it said, “Oh, I bet they’re so excited to celebrate their first holiday season in their new home! I bet the anticipation is making this a fun time of  year for them.”

I recognized my judgmental tendencies, believing that others should act according to my own sense of Shoulds and Shouldn’ts, and then had a much more profound realization. As I drove outside their home, edifying opinions as to their exterior illumination schedules, the owners of the home felt none of it. Their day and their lives didn’t change based upon what I thought of their decisions. But mine had. I could feel the “clenchiness” of my judgment, almost as if my eyes narrowed and chin dropped as the negative energy arose. And then I felt my heart lift and my shoulders soften as I welcomed the warmer feelings of a first Christmas in a new home.

Sometimes the undertone of “do not judge” is a call to leave everyone alone to their decisions, or ways of living, and perhaps there’s room for more “live and let live.” But in my experience, making an effort of releasing judgmental thoughts changes me and allows me to live with a sense of freedom. I’m relieved of needing to carry the weight of the Shoulds of others – and, with practice, I learn to set down my own set of Shoulds. I can reroute the energy of judgment and spend it instead on inhabiting joy.

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The Heavily Meditated Teacher

The Heavily Meditated Teacher

The Heavily Meditated Teacher

When you come to the Mindful Educators retreat, one of the elements woven into the day is the importance of establishing a personal meditation practice. The elements of quieting the mind, noticing the breath and allowing thoughts to slide through awareness are essential to living and teaching mindfully.

It’s okay if you’re not ready to sit on your zafu pillow for an hour each morning! Taking a quiet 10-minute walk or spending the first 90 seconds in your classroom with eyes closed and breathing deeply are valuable forms of mindfulness. Small doses repeated through the day are powerful ways to keep your steady pace. 

A meditation practice puts space into your day and into the way your brain functions. As the training ground for patience and peacefulness, it’s a way to practice slowing down our reactions. Much of the hurried day, we have a thought that we automatically believe. A mindfulness practice teaches us to notice first that a thought has arisen, and then gives us the opportunity to decide if it’s true. From that moment, you move from reacting to responding. Ideally, mindfulness gives us permission to allow the thought to pass without response.  We become less automatic in our need to do something about the thought. It is just a thought.

Mindfulness is the space that allows you to breathe through your day. It’s this space that allows you to thrive in your work and can prevent burnout by allowing the emotions and the thoughts to move through you, rather than overcome you.  

So what does this actually look like? A heavily meditated teacher is one who likely: 

  • Responds rather than reacts
  • Draws emotional boundaries to keep from over-personalizing others’ behaviors
  • Feels a connection with students that goes beyond academics
  • Changes the pace of the day and activity to best suit student (and teacher) needs
  • Feels the freedom to be creative in their unique art of teaching- even within the confines of traditional educational expectations
  • Has a peace corner or quiet zone in the classroom that anyone can use at any time
  • Understands his/her energy drives the energy of the classroom and self-regulates accordingly
  • Exudes joyfulness and contentment
  • Refuels the passion that drives their work

With cramped classrooms and schedules filled to the hilt, teachers are the first to recognize a need for space and time. But as one teacher has said, “you will never find time, you can only make time.”  Creating space in your life to breathe and move mindfully might be one of the best and healthiest adjustments to your lesson plans you make this year.


“Marie Kondo” your behaviors, not just your closet

“Marie Kondo” your behaviors, not just your closet

“Marie Kondo” your behaviors, not just your closet

If you caught the Netflix miniseries Tidying Up, you’ve watched the ways in which she’s instructed families to sift through their belongings and release them back to the world when they no longer “spark joy.” In our office, we’ve discussed Marie’s wisdom and what it can offer to our clients and our own sense of well-being.

Her first step is to bring out into the open everything you own in a particular category. We often don’t know what all we have hidden away until we’ve taken it from hiding places. When faced with our large quantities, we can fully grasp the extent of what we have, what we’ve been hanging onto and put it into perspective.

Next, she suggests we hold an item in our hands to feel its weight. We let ourselves not just think about it, but have a physical experience of its presence in our life. And then we ask a crucial question: does it spark joy? Or perhaps, is it a conduit for joy? If it does “spark joy”, then it can find a proper home. But if not? Then we take a moment to thank the item for its service in our life, and we pass it along to be given away or discarded completely.

This process, which often leads to much purging through the home, can be helpful in our mental and emotional lives as well. Our EMDR-based philosophy recognizes that particular behaviors have been adapted because they served a purpose: to keep an individual alive and functioning during or after a point of trauma. It’s an old solution that no longer works.

We can actually be grateful to our survival mechanisms because they served a purpose, for a period of time. But just like that tattered college-years hoodie, it doesn’t serve the same purpose anymore. With the help of your treatment provider, you can acknowledge these behaviors, thank them for their service, and then be done with them. With the new spaciousness, you’ll find freedom to adapt lifestyles more congruent with your present instead of your past.

But what about sentimentality? How can we get rid of the mementos and reminders of our history? Holly Schweitzer-Dunn, LISW, reminds us that we can respect and honor our past without keeping it right in front of us. Letting go doesn’t diminish its history, but hanging on may diminish the future.

Surfing Why you should Marie Kondo Your Relationships

Reading Real Love: The art of mindful connection by Sharon Salzburg; The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr; Mothers, Daughters and Body Image by Hilary McBride; Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

Listening The Robcast: Kristen Bell on Anxiety, Part 1 and Part 2; Another Name For Every Thing

Watching One Strange Rock on Netflix

Visiting Sunny Florida! Nicole, Michele and the Schweitzer-Dunn family made recent trips.

Eating Holly recently dug out the greens for a fresh pesto!

Moving NeuroMovement- Learn more from Jill Bolte Taylor and Anat Baniel

Hancock County Park District is sponsoring a free Take a Walk in the Park day on March 30. And Aqua Zumba meets Holly’s need for a little bit of silliness and fun in a workout.

Registering The 3rd Annual Jenelle Hohman Color Me Happy 5k Run/Walk to support Hancock County NAMI is coming up May 18

Leading Andrea led a workshop on the Enneagram at the Findlay MOPS group and our office will be conducting a breakout session at the University of Findlay’s upcoming conference on Trauma and Addiction.

Creating Planning an herb and vegetable garden to be planted soon!

Resting A trip to Miami for family R&R

The 5 Senses Check-in: Spring addition

The 5 Senses Check-in: Spring addition

The 5 Senses Check-in: Spring addition

  1. Make note of the color that is quickly changing across the landscape – greener grass, bright crocuses, and longer hours of daylight.
  2. Sniff out the earth’s work – even the smell of mud and earth carry with it a promise of something new.
  3. Listen for new hope – baby birds in the morning makes it a more pleasant way to wake up.
  4. Get a taste for the greens – our early asparagus, kale, and arugula help us connect with the brightness and lightness that await our days.
  5. Walk (barefoot!) – notice the texture of the ground beneath you as you take a brief walk, making connection with all the changes underfoot.

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