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This year’s attempt at a holiday photo seems fitting for the year 2020. Amidst a far from ideal scenario for picture taking, we all sort of fell apart. True to the photo, we each succumbed to our typical coping mechanisms under stress — my 17 year old son, Vali, tried his best to manage the situation; his younger brother, Sam, could only take so much before escaping; Chester the dog was more interested in the flock of birds across the field; and I couldn’t help but laugh and cry at the same time, feeling overwhelmed by it all. …

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I feel unsure of what to do and even of who I am, and I am grieving the Me I knew and the hopes and dreams I had for myself. Photo: Author

As we navigate the challenging days of this pandemic, I cannot help but feel like I am inhabiting a threshold space — that place where much has been lost, yet much is yet to be revealed. I am left feeling unsure of what to do and even of who I am, and grieving the Me I knew and the hopes and dreams I had for myself.

I am reminded of the way I feel when I am looking out over a vast body of water, coddled by the firm and familiar shoreline, yet drawn to dive into the depths or…

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While the remote learning curriculum provides some structure, inviting our teens to set a few daily intentions for themselves is a skill that will pay forward.

My 17 year-old son has been trying to tackle an essay on Henry James’ 18th century novella, The Turn of the Screw, for his English class during this season of remote learning. The book is about a young governess who cares for two peculiar children during the Victorian era. Amidst contexts of isolation, ambiguity and repression, the three main characters are either seeing ghosts or going mad… It’s up to the reader to choose. All I know is that this story feels like an ironic selection for these crazy times that make us all feel like we are going a…

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“Nature reminds me to sink into my skin and find my home there.” Photo: Gretchen TenBrook

During this challenging time of social distancing, it is easy to think that our only connection to life is with people. While nurturing those relationships — in person and online — is extremely important, let us not forget that the natural world is also a trustworthy and healing source of companionship.

If you’re like me, you have been frequenting parks, beaches, reservations, and other open spaces — even a walk around the block — in order to get out of the house and find some safe air to breathe. Maybe you have also noticed how much better you feel afterward…

Me, My Body and The Path Before Me

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“Running strips me down to my barest self in a way that is empowering. It’s just me, my body, the path before me, and some sort of energy that feels more given than acquired. I am propelled, step by step, mile by mile.” Photo by Gretchen TenBrook

I recently completed my 8th marathon — another marker of my passion for running that has faithfully carried me through the last decade of my life. Each race in itself, from marathon to 5k, has been a journey that started long before the finish line. In fact, when I think about all of the miles involved in training, I have probably run more marathons than I can count. …

Six tips for navigating your social life as an HSP

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“What am I doing here?”

If you are an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), or an empath or extreme introvert, these words probably resonate with you. They make you laugh, but they also sting because they are painfully true. You have felt them hovering on your lips as you slip quietly into that social gathering that you so much want to be a part of, but ultimately find to be more exhausting than enlivening.

But of course, your words remain unspoken… After all, you don’t want to be a burden, to call attention to yourself, or…

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Me running The 2013 Boston Marathon, less than two hours before the bombing.

It is pouring down rain in Boston this morning, topped off with thunder, lightning and 20 mph winds. I am imagining the thousands of runners hovering under the tents in Hopkinton, awaiting their starting times, many of which are hours later. Ugh. I’m not sure which is harder: the waiting or the marathon itself!

It is a ritual I have experienced myself four times, the first being exactly six years ago — April 15, 2013, the year of the bombing that killed three, injured over 260, and traumatized the city and entire world. …

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Yesterday as I was riding my bike, I strolled past a woman with anorexia. “How do you know?” you ask. I know in that way that you know because you’ve been there, that, her…

It was in her walk: those fragile toothpick legs, marching with an ever-determined authority.

This woman mirrored a part of myself in the deep recesses of my mind, like glancing at a hauntingly familiar car in the rearview mirror that makes you want to step on the gas.

I’m not sure exactly when Ana entered my life. She was a person as much as a disorder…

Gretchen Marie

Seeker of goodness; practicer of presence; HSP

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