Refuge. Sanctuary. Love.
Gretchen Schmelzer | Blog/The Trail Guide
by Gretchen Schmelzer
5d ago
“That vague sweetness/ made my heart ache with longing/ and it seemed to me/ that is was the eager breath of the summer/ seeking for its completion./ I knew not then that it was so near,/ that it was mine,/ and that this perfect sweetness had blossomed/ in the depth of my own heart” — Tagore Refuge is the end of the trauma—a place where the active part of trauma is over. But it is not the end. It is a beginning. Refuge is the beginning of healing. It is a place where the possibility of healing exists. Refuge is the minimal requisite environment for healing, but it is not the healing itself. R ..read more
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The Whispered Prayer of Enough
Gretchen Schmelzer | Blog/The Trail Guide
by Gretchen Schmelzer
1w ago
“We have forgotten the virtue of sitting, watching, observing. Nothing much happens. This is the way of nature. We breathe together. Simply this. For long periods of time, the meadow is still. We watch. We wait. We wonder. Our eyes find a resting place. And then the slightest of breezes move the grass. It can be heard as a whispered prayer. ” — Terry Tempest Williams For most of my life, the word enough had no meaning at all. I know it had a meaning in an academic sense. For me it was an abstraction—an idea. I had no actual idea of what the word enough felt like. To understand the word enough ..read more
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In Praise of Distraction
Gretchen Schmelzer | Blog/The Trail Guide
by Gretchen Schmelzer
1w ago
Distraction has gotten a bad rap. Dealing with your problems head on, figuring out why you feel that way, changing your thoughts. These are the strategies most employed by self-help books. But sometimes when you are stuck or overwhelmed or just need a break from the hard work of healing, distraction can be the best medicine. There is a Calvinist thread that runs through the fabric of all healing and development: work harder. And if you knew me, you would know I am not against hard work. But as I have mentioned before, healing isn’t always about effort. When you break a bone, you don’t work ha ..read more
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Having new conversations with our old demons
Gretchen Schmelzer | Blog/The Trail Guide
by Gretchen Schmelzer
3w ago
I have spent the last decade or so trying to help people understand the cyclic nature of healing. To understand that healing happens in cycles and not a straight line—that you heal in layers and not some made-for-tv movie version of ‘before’ and ‘after.’ But there is such pull to the fantasy of ‘cure. ’ And there is such power in the belief that once we understand something or talk about something we are ‘done.’ So many of my clients have come in to therapy or coaching and said, ‘But I’ve already dealt with that—I shouldn’t need to talk about it again...’ And I’ve complained to my therapist ..read more
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Become Sea Glass: Brave the Waves this Year!
Gretchen Schmelzer | Blog/The Trail Guide
by Gretchen Schmelzer
3w ago
Many years ago when I was training in psychology, I had the idea that as the years went by I would get better at what I did and it would all feel more polished, more perfect, more decisive. I had a picture of myself finishing my training all bright and shiny. But that’s not what happened. Instead of bright and shiny —I became more and more like sea glass. Sea glass is beautiful. Everyone loves sea glass, and everyone wants to find sea glass, but no one wants to become sea glass. It is worn and shaped by the forces around it. It is beautiful because of what it has endured. The original colors ..read more
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Be the light you wish to see...
Gretchen Schmelzer | Blog/The Trail Guide
by Gretchen Schmelzer
1M ago
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it ” — Edith Wharton The season of lights. The festival of light. How light gives us hope in darkness! All it takes is one lit candle to change the feel of loss into hope, of dark into light. Just one candle can make all the difference. As someone who was not raised Jewish, I have often wished that the Hanukkah story had become more secularized—so that we all could have borrowed the faith and devotion and hope from the story of the oil and light lasting the eight days. There is such power in them: faith ..read more
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The Healing Power of the Container: The Frame as Art
Gretchen Schmelzer | Blog/The Trail Guide
by Gretchen Schmelzer
2M ago
In one of my very first blog posts I wrote about an art class I took in college—called Methods and Materials. For my final project I ended up doing giant watercolors of old family pictures—and our class got to have a show of our work in the art building. I had two whole walls. Over the course of the class I became enamored with Chinese hanging scrolls—not so much what was on the inside of the scrolls, but with the outside—the patterns and color block that made the framework for the picture. I thought the frames were beautiful, sometimes more beautiful, than the picture. I made collages of the ..read more
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Mindful Mondays: Mindful Hellos
Gretchen Schmelzer | Blog/The Trail Guide
by Gretchen Schmelzer
2M ago
Hello. It’s one of the most common greetings. Most of us even know how to say it in at least one other language. Hello. It is the action of giving a sign of welcome or recognition. It is the action of placing our attention on someone. Or something. Today we are going to look at how we can bring more mindfulness to our day through being more mindful of our hellos. Hellos are a beginning. A fresh start, or a re-start. A chance to see whatever or whomever you are greeting with fresh eyes and a warm heart. A chance to see something for the first time again.  There are parts of the world wher ..read more
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Gratitude in Action: Send a note of thanks this Thanksgiving
Gretchen Schmelzer | Blog/The Trail Guide
by Gretchen Schmelzer
2M ago
“Recognizing abundance rather than scarcity undermines an economy that thrives by creating unmet desires. Gratitude cultivates an ethic of fullness, but the economy needs emptiness….it reminds you every day that you have enough…more than enough. Everything needed to sustain life is already here. When we do this, every day, it leads us to an outlook of contentment and respect for all of creation.” — Robin Wall Kimmer Thanksgiving has always been first and foremost a harvest feast—for which we give thanks—but what if we made the act of gratitude and thanks the most figural part of the holiday ..read more
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A Natural History of Beauty and Loss
Gretchen Schmelzer | Blog/The Trail Guide
by Gretchen Schmelzer
2M ago
“...for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing; though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness” — Galway Kinnell I have been thinking a lot about moments of beauty in hardship. Maybe it’s because this week –in a week of November cold and grey—in a week of rain—there have been amazing glimpses of beauty—of blossoms. Earlier this week on my walk I saw an azalea – a shrub that blooms in May—covered in pink flowers. Yesterday a white rose in full bloom still held its June fragrance. And today, a bright yellow forsythia blossom shined its April radiance on a cold aft ..read more
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