when the going gets weird, the weird get grateful

Let’s talk about what we’re grateful for. I invite you to do this with me because it has helped me breathe through the incomprehensible tragedies occurring throughout the country. The election is looming on the closer-than-we-think horizon. And people are dying and kids are terrified and people who are experiencing homelessness are being treated like they don’t matter. Yes, this moment is real. Yes, this moment is happening.

Take a break for a moment. Create a space for yourself to exist without the weight of confusing pain on your chest. For one second (couple of seconds… like 30 seconds tops if you don’t want to do longer than that). Walk into a place of gratitude. We don’t walk intentionally toward gratitude in an attempt to escape the shitty reality stuff forever. We intentionally walk toward gratitude so that we can return to the shitty reality stuff with a bit more of a light, with a bit more hope/joy/acceptance/whatever comforts you. By practicing grateful awareness regularly, what did seem unbearable becomes potentially tolerable.

Come here, to this moment, in a meaningful way. Invite gratitude to the center. Inhale deeply. Now exhale all at once, letting out a big sigh. Sigh with your whole body, relax as the fear releases you.

A mass shooting is generally thought to include at least four or more random people killed for no reason. We’ll sigh again in a second. In 2019 there have been over 250 mass shootings. So, things are not awesome. Life is a deep breath followed by moments that take our breath away.

Now exhale all at once, letting out a big sigh. Sigh with your whole body, relax as the fear releases you.

Life is finding breath in moments of loss. There is light everywhere, even when we cannot see it. Breathe through it. This is real. And look at you, still breathing. Keep breathing. Open your eyes when you’re ready. Breathe. Learn.

Every big inhale and moment of presence strengthens our ability to navigate the chaos with curiosity and patience. So, can we be grateful for a moment? Even half of a moment - half your brain on your breath and half your brain on what’s going to happen next.

What are you grateful for, my dear? Fill out this printable worksheet/check it out below and fill it out in your head.

There’s a lot of weird shit going on and I think it’s important to hold a space for that angst/ heartbreak/ confusion/ fury/ whatever you feel about all of the negative words/acts/feelings you encounter. Sit with the fear. Let your gratitude sit there, too. Gratitude doesn’t need to cancel out fear. That’s not what gratitude is here to do. It’s here to remind us that fear needs love, too. Fear is the ocean, gratitude is the lighthouse. Here you are, in the ocean. No immediate escape. There’s the light. Wait. There it is. Breathe. Here it is. Fill this out for thirty days (or check it out below). Or fill it out for one day. Or no days. Whatever is cool with you. Also edit it to your liking.

Do this (or something involving gratitude) for any amount of time, every day. The more we practice gratitude, the more grateful we feel.

and now a little note about my book

If You’re Freaking Out, Read This is available for pre-order now. On bookshelves in January 2020. Please don’t order it from amazon. Get it on a sliding scale and support and independent publisher at the same time. Grab some stickers and hoodies while you’re at it.

I’m putting this workbook out there because my feeling of “I must do it,” outweighs the thought, “I can’t do it” every single dang time. Let’s get weird. Let’s get grateful. Let’s stick around and see what happens during this incredible, insignificantly meaningful, significantly meaningless, beautiful life.

Other cool things from Microcosm Publishing:

From Chaos to Creativity Workbook: Building a Productivity System for Artists and Writers
Wellmania: Extreme Misadventures in the Search for Wellness
Unfuck Your Anger: Using Science to Understand Frustration, Rage, and Forgiveness
The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity

Simone DeAngelis
unidentified flying emotions

the frustrating inability to articulate experience

I was eight years old and asking some really big questions. 

  • Why do I have nice Nikes and the kids who made them might die of starvation today? That doesn’t seem fair. I still want to wear these Nikes, so I must be terrible.

  • Why do I exist? I don’t really like being alive. Why do I have to keep breathing? 

The inability to articulate these questions and the way they impacted me was devastating. So many big thoughts, and I had not learned the words to help me explain what I needed to process. Unable to use my limited vocabulary in order to communicate, I felt even more alone. Many confusing thoughts lead to feelings that I did not know were feelings, and I certainly did not have names for them. This feeling of wanting to speak and having no words for what I wanted to say made finding the meaning in life all the more difficult.

I share this piece of history because it is so representative of many growth periods in my life. Life-changing growth brings about new thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Different moments bring about unique versions of emotions I thought I knew very well until I came to know them in a new light. All eras of change in our lives prompt a need for new words (or new definitions of words) to describe the emotional lens through which we see and think about what we encounter mentally, physically, and spiritually. Sometimes it can tend to feel like we’re eight-years-old questioning the meaning of existence with quite a limited ability to articulate complex thought.

Identifying feelings and the experiences that go along with them can be a pretty weird quest. It can also be really cool, I swear. Developing this ability is crucial because it opens the door to a deeper understanding of self and self in relation to others. Finding a feeling word (or a few feeling words) is necessary in developing self-awareness and emotion regulation. By knowing the feeling, we can explore the caverns of its source and begin exploring the “why” in “why the fuck do I feel this way?” With an attitude of curiosity and self-compassion, we can begin to articulate our specific experience to others. This is when the magic of authentic human connection comes in. When we can know ourselves, we can show ourselves to others in a way that is genuine, secure, and intentional.

It’s important to note here that you can feel a bunch of emotions at once. You can feel grateful and angry, anxious and happy, angry and hurt. Whether they are contradicting or complementary, feelings can come in some confusing combinations. 

focus in on specific feelings

Below are some feeling words that can help in guiding the way toward understanding. No matter your current mood, try identifying three of these emotions that you feel in this very moment. I recommend spending at least just a moment each day identifying two or three feelings you feel in the moment (hint: “good” is not a feeling word). This will help you observe what different feelings feel like in various environments and it will help you strengthen your identification skills.

If you are having trouble pin-pointing specific feelings, you can check out the second image for some suggestions in developing those skills.

Click here to download a printable copy of the “feeling words” handout. Click here to download a copy of the “finding feelings” handout.

The experience of feeling uncomfortable emotions can be incredibly interesting and informative. As feelings are identified, where they came from can be explored. Get curious about what needs to be heard. Is this anger a result of fear? Is this feeling of insecurity so intense because of a long-ago hurt that has yet to be healed? 

As these questions are asked, many opportunities for growth begin to pop up. The willingness to see lessons is directly proportionate to how much learning will take place. A good place to start with getting curious is by asking the question, “what is this feeling bringing my attention to? What needs to be heard?” 

Difficulty in articulating what needs to be heard can be a major obstacle. It’s just not super easy to take very murky combinations of emotions and turn them into clear and productive sentences. It takes practice. I suggest writing in moments of reflection. By putting words outside of your brain, you can see feelings (and what triggered them) with a better view. This will also help to expand vocabulary and sentence structure so that when it comes time to verbally articulate an experience to someone else, it can be done with clarity and understanding. 

write through the messiness to gain clarity

Use the below suggestions to guide your writing. Start with totally unstructured writing before trying to get really organized. Your writing doesn’t need to make sense or sound impressive. No one needs to see this, you can even tear it up when you are done.

Start by applying general feeling words that stand out, even if they are just a little piece of the puzzle. Maybe you see the word “happy,” and you think that might be one, but you’ve never felt happiness in quite this way before. The word “sad,” you thought, meant tears and lack of energy, but what you are feeling now is quite a different type of sadness. You can use simple feeling words and then expand your thinking to really understand what this feeling word actually feels like.

this is what my feelings say

Once you allow your authentic experience to come to the surface, you can start working toward some clear understandings of what you are really saying (i.e, saying, “you are terrible” to a friend, might equal, “I am afraid that you think I’m terrible”). You can use these phrases to guide conversations that you need to have. Whether you are asking for help, respect, forgiveness, or whatever, you can get to what you really mean instead of holding up the walls you didn’t know were there. Look at the examples below to get some ideas.

unidentified flying emotions

Something that helps me when I am getting swept in confusion is saying, “oh, I must be strongly experiencing some emotions right now.” Even if I don’t know what they are quite yet, the knowledge that I am in it can help me begin to take pause. Awareness is the first step in understanding.

Once we gain some understanding, we can take responsibility for any unproductive behaviors that occur as a result of these emotions. By taking ownership, we can compassionately begin to shift those behaviors in the direction of connection and authenticity. Check out this previous blog post for ideas on how to get that started.

Simone DeAngelis
seven years

Seven years ago today, I walked through a door that locked behind me into a facility I never intended to enjoy. I was skeptical. I was there to check a box — “cool,” I thought, “when I die, at least my family will know they did everything they could.” 

Psychiatric hospitals don’t necessarily sound fun or fulfilling or wonderful. The hospital I attended was all of those things. I was surrounded by doctors and staff who worked very hard and learned quite a bit in order to be good at their jobs. They said, “you are here, you can tell us anything.” And I did. I did not think that sharing my thoughts would change anything about my decision to die. And then it did. 

So, that is how the first few weeks of six months in psychiatric care went. It has been seven years since that day. I have worked very hard. I continue to deepen the love I have for myself. More than ever, I am giving myself permission to be exactly who I am. 

I’m not cured. That’s not why I do the work. The whirlpool of doubt still sometimes consumes me. Attitudes come up that I thought were long gone. That’s just as wonderful as the good stuff. A lesson in every moment. I’m not here to conquer. I’m here to learn. I’m here to wonder. I’m here to dance and act silly. I’m here to casually thank my friends for not killing themselves. 

Here are just a few of the big pieces of my messy puzzle that have helped me feel absolutely wonderfully good about being alive. 


I think about the meaning of my life (to cultivate authentic connections with others in a way that lifts all of us up) and how I can fulfill it on a daily basis. I don’t always fulfill it, it’s just good to think about and work toward. It’s a good measuring stick that I use to check in with myself about the direction in which I am growing. Where do you find meaning in your life? What are you doing when you feel totally safe and invigorated? 


Living according to values is an Acceptance Commitment Therapy thing that has absolutely revolutionized a bunch of things about the way I live my life. Especially the way I make decisions. Like meaning, values are a good measuring stick. If I’m somewhere I don’t want to be, if I’ve been shitty, if I am having uncontrollable critical self-talk, I ask myself, “What values have I neglected that may be contributing to this state?” 


Gratitude is the best thing ever and that’s that. 

The word, “yes” 

The fear of social interactions (/rejection) has kept from making many wonderful potential friends. This year, I have said “yes” to new experiences, social situations, friends, ideas, dreams, and fears that stopped being fears as a result of my yes-ness. 

The word, “no” 

The fear of being left behind has kept me from a lot of self-care and self-advocacy. If I don’t want to, if I don’t feel comfortable, if I am annoyed — I can say “no.”

thanks, past sim

I am so grateful to be alive. My friends are grateful I’m alive, too. And I’m grateful they’re alive. In the last seven years, I have experienced heart shattering pain. I have faced the biggest waves, the most gripping undertows. I have felt such pure joy. I have gained a broader understanding of what it feels like to experience being-ness from my spot on the mountain. From this view, I see what I am willing to see. And I come to new levels of willingness all the time, expanding my view just a bit.

I love it here. I love being alive. It is cool. It is so weird. What an interesting experience this all is.

There is one more thing I must say. I have to tell you that if you have ever wanted to die, I am so glad you didn’t. You’re here and you’re reading this and you’re alive. Maybe life sucks and maybe it’s the coolest or maybe you just try not to think about it too much. Whatever. There is always joy in the darkness. It’s pretty fun to see.

Simone DeAngelis
practice change, make progress

I want to post this blog post because I am excited about the handwritten stuff I did for it. I also think you might find it helpful. The desire for healthy behavior changes has inspired me for nearly seven years. I’ve been looking at exactly how I begin new behaviors and I want to share a few ideas I have.

Change happens in a cycle. Our behaviors, or thoughts, and the lessons waiting awaiting us will continue to present themselves until we are willing to learn from them. The moment of change occurs at a fork in the road. The key is to come to awareness in the exact moment where an unhelpful behavior would usually take place. When the awareness in the moment of desired change occurs, the fork in the road is easier to see and you can try something new.

A new desired behavior is an opportunity to learn something. Get curious. If you have trouble getting cool with trying new stuff, you can simply imagine. Take a second to just imagine what it might be like if you were to practice something new. What would your life look like if you let go of the things that are holding you back? What would your life look like if you invited thoughts and actions that help you move forward?

Below is an image of the cycle I am going to cover in this post. I really want to give the most focus to the importance of noticing, because that is where it all begins. Once you are able to see yourself in the moment, you can move on to implementing new skills. I cover each part of this cycle in this post. If you don’t want to read all of it, you can check out the images and see what you want to learn more about.


In order to make a change, there needs to be awareness in the exact moment where you’d like the change to occur. There’s a fork in the road in that moment where you can choose a healthy behavior or slide into the unproductive behavior that has become so automatic there seems to be nothing you can do about it. The fork in the road is not there if you can’t see it. It becomes nearly impossible to produce a different outcome when you are not present to choose that different outcome. The situation comes up and autopilot initiates, leading us down the same unproductive road we keep wishing to avoid. Let’s figure out how to turn off autopilot.

Sometimes unhealthy behaviors and thought-loops consume us without our knowledge or permission. Maybe you’ve found yourself hours after an unwanted behavior realizing that you did the very thing you swore you would not do anymore. Perhaps the behavior you want to change is that you look at your phone too much, speak without listening, bite your nails incessantly, impulsively shop, or forget to use your blinker. Maybe you had a shitty reaction and yelled, threw stuff, texted impulsively, stormed off, hurt yourself, got really mean, or did whatever thing you wish you could just stop doing. Maybe you’re really working on pulling yourself out of intense self-loathing thought-storms that take you out of your day and drain your energy. All of this unwanted behavior and thinking needs to be seen. It needs to be acknowledged, “Yes, there that thing is, right there. I see that.” If it is not seen, it cannot be cared for, and nothing will grow.

Maybe you feel like shit six hours after you impulsively said something super mean to someone you care about. It just happened, you wish you hadn’t, it was automatic, there was no other option, you lost yourself and you snapped, you didn’t even realize what you said until you said it. Instead of slipping into a pool of self-loathing and disappointment, you can say, “Oh, I acted on that behavior six hours ago” without judgment, without resistance, without excuses, without blaming others. Start by noticing. Inviting awareness will invite even more awareness. Over time, you will be able to bring your full attention to your behavior as it is happening, and then before it happens.

Notice. You will pause and you will study. You will spend time looking at parts of yourself you’d prefer to avoid until they magically aren’t there. Be careful not to fixate, however. This is not meant to become the only thing you see. It is simply one more thing you see. Obsession with negativity is never super helpful. Noticing these unproductive facets of yourself means you are expanding your view, not narrowing it.

When you become willing notice what you wish wasn’t there, you will notice that it is not scary. And then you’ll realize there is nothing weird about you. You’ll see yourself without hating what you soo. In fact, you’ll like seeing yourself, even when you’re looking at the annoying parts, because you’ll be looking for new lessons. And then you’ll gain a better understanding of yourself and how you want to express your experience of being alive. And then you’ll learn new interesting things about yourself and other people. You’ll grow in ways that bring you feelings of safety and confidence. First you need to notice.

To notice means to be mindful. When you start practicing mindfulness skills, you will strengthen your ability to notice specific things about yourself in specific situations where remaining present has been difficult.

One way to improve your noticing skills is to practice mindfulness intentionally throughout your day. Take time to practice some mindfulness skills in order to build a foundation of calm and stability. Spend five minutes each day exploring a specific mindfulness skill that feels right for you. Bring yourself back to the present moment as you are going about your day. Come back to oxygen, observe your surroundings, take a big inhale and sigh while releasing the tension in your body. While you are driving, while you are playing with a baby, while you are eating. The moment of awareness is true magic. When you come into the present, you are allowing yourself to exist peacefully.

Come up with a short phrase or mantra that will help you remember to come back to center. You can set this as a reminder on your phone a few times per day, or you can leave yourself notes on your desk, your planner, your mirror, whatever. The phrase I use is, “this is oxygen,” and I really like it for it’s simplicity and the fact that it reminds me to breathe. You can find yourself thinking of your phrase or word and remember, “Here I am, I see myself, I am in this moment, cool.” Taking three deep breaths at this time is also awesome. If you happen to be in a conversation or doing something else, simply try to come to an observation of yourself in the moment.


notice with intense honesty and deep compassion

When you notice that you are behaving in a way that does not serve you, it’s easy to fall into a big whirlpool of shitty self-talk. Please try not to do that. Shaming yourself for negative behaviors only increases shame and prevents a positive attitude while coming up with a solution. Speak kindly to yourself. Acknowledge yourself for your awareness and willingness.

If you could customize every reaction, behavior, and mood you have, you wouldn’t choose anything that emotionally or otherwise harms the people you love. We all know that. The shitty stuff that we do happens because we picked it up as an attempt to protect ourselves from something that made us feel unsafe, or we saw someone else do it and now it’s all we know. Understanding where our behaviors come from is important and helpful. Love yourself for that. Love your younger self for that. Love your future self for that. It is okay that this is where you are. It’s exactly where you need to be. Destructive behavior patterns are understandable and that does not mean they are excusable. Though it is not your fault that you picked up these things, it is your responsibility to put them down. That is not going to happen without self-compassion.

You can be determined and peaceful at the same time. You can be gentle and deeply committed to change. You can be self-compassionate and uncomfortably self-aware. If the unhelpful behavior happens and you feel like shit, you’re going to feel even worse if it happens again. Say, “okay, that happened, it was not helpful. I am learning and I am worthy of love. How can I learn from this and move forward with a broader awareness?”

If you act out and raise your voice, maybe you feel a bunch guilt and self-loathing. If this occurs again, the guilt and self-loathing is going to come back ten-fold. That self-loathing behavior cycle can happen over and over again. It can become unbearable. Like, this shit can cause suicidal thoughts, dude. Be kind to yourself, please.

When you are changing in an intentionally healthy direction, you are healing. Your efforts to change are amazing and something to be super proud of. I need you to know that healing takes time. You are going to grow at your own pace and that is wonderful. Grow with awareness. Grow with love. Please get a professional involved when needed.


If you are willing to learn about yourself, you will learn about yourself. Opening up to learning will provide clarity as you come up with realistic alternative behaviors that will move you forward instead of keep you stuck.

Behaving in a way that you do not want to behave does not mean you suck. The areas of yourself that you are not proud of are not to be angrily pushed away. The parts of your Self that bring you disappointment are really road signs signaling you toward the corners of your Self that need more love and acknowledgement. This is an opportunity to grow your connection and love for yourself.

Ask questions with self-awareness and answer them with humility. Look at your actions, emotions, and words to understand what you’re really trying to accomplish when you act against your values. When you can identify your needs, you will be better equipped to come up with a helpful behavior.

As you gain a deeper understanding of your behavior patterns, a well-informed alternative behavior can be practiced. You can use what you know about your inner-self to come up with some realistic behaviors to act upon in place of what you’re used to.

When you have come up with some new healthy ideas, you can start practicing them in your daily life both in and out of the situations that pull you into unproductive auto-pilot.


Once you have some new stuff to try out, put it to the test. You can practice new behaviors throughout your daily life where they might fit. And, try them in the moment when you notice that this might be a time where you would otherwise fall into your go-to negative behavior. When you notice with awareness that you in a space where you would typically engage in a negative behavior, take a breath. You are at the fork in the road. You can breathe. You can choose the helpful path and see what’s waiting in that direction.

Write down the new behavior you want to practice and keep it easily accessible. When you come to the fork in the road, you can reference it to help align you with the changes you want to make.

Do this, and repeat. Practice your replacement behavior and see how it is. Did it work? Did it feel weird? Could you edit it? Ask all sorts of questions so that you can customize your new behavior in a way that totally suits you.

The learning part of this cycle is super helpful when you are experimenting with new ways of being and thinking. This is all re-con. When things do not go the way you wish they would have, remember that you were just doing research. Now you have some more data. This can inform future research as you observe your behavior going forward.


Self-aware and self-compassionate observation will inevitably lead to growth. It just will. As you continue your growth, continue to check in with yourself. How does this feel? Ask yourself, “am I living in accordance with my values?” When you act out on behaviors that do not serve you or others, get curious instead of self-loathing. Ask yourself, “What am I trying to communicate? What needs to be heard?” You don’t have to reveal all of your underneath stuff, just get curious about how you can let that stuff be heard from a rational and mindful mindset.

Sometimes our negative behaviors are a distraction tactic. Like, we’d rather people see the negative behavior than the pain that is underneath. Someone saying, “You hurt me when you yelled at me,” might feel safer because they are looking at the yelling instead of at the vulnerable, sensitive piece that we’d rather keep secret. Maybe we’re distracting ourselves, too.

By looking at your vulnerabilities, you can find ways to let yourself be heard in a way that will actually help you feel heard. You can show yourself to others in ways that make you feel seen and safe. A lot of the stuff that scares us the most is the stuff we don’t know we’re not seeing. Opening up with willingness will provide a view with new binoculars.

Simone DeAngelis
all-consuming gratitude

On this lovely day, I want to remind you to take some extra time to sit down quietly, close your eyes, and give every bit of your attention to one or two special people, or things, or ideas for which you are grateful. This can be a five minute thing, or it can flow through your heart for thirty minutes or an hour or however long you want. A quiet space of all-consuming gratitude is a lovely place to be.

I suggest, at the minimum, making a gratitude list every day. During my mornings, I spend time interacting with at least three things that come to the forefront of my mind. Throughout the rest of my day, I express gratitude at every turn. Even if I just look at my dog for two seconds, I think (or say aloud), “I am so grateful for you.” In those moments, I do not spend a ton of time really bringing my full awareness to that moment. If I come across something I like, I am reminded of gratitude and I notice that gratitude and then keep on moving through my day. I think you’ll feel good when you make time to intentionally focus on gratitude. You can acknowledge gratitude in just a passing moment. Any attention to gratitude is excellent, you do not always have to make time in your schedule. Think about it, feel it, allow it into your life in any way it shows up.

As an extended practice, in order to actually schedule that gratitude, you can set aside meaningful time solely dedicated to how grateful you are. I want to remind you of the comfort and hope that arises when we really let our brains fire the good stuff that fires when we feel grateful and put ourselves and the things we are grateful for directly in the center of our minds. So often, negativity is the most commonly quick to consume us before we even notice. Today, practice letting gratitude be the mighty force that takes hold of your soul. The way negativity ripples through our behavior, so does gratitude. In addition to your quick gratitude list, try this exercise to let gratitude fuel the rest of your day.

All-Consuming Gratitude

  1. Get quiet

    Find a quiet moment in a space with minimal distractions. Put your phone on silent (with vibrate off, too) or leave it in the other room. Sit or lay down comfortably, in a position that won’t cause you pain or bring you away from your focus. Close your eyes or leave them quietly open, whatever feels most comforting for you.

  2. Fill your lungs with oxygen

    Take a deep breath, picture your lungs filling with oxygen and feel brain calming. Let yourself let go. While you exhale, pay attention to the weight that is lifted from your chest as you open and welcome the peace you are ready to feel. Do this a few times, inhaling longer for each inhale. Let your body release any tension — relax your jaw, drop your shoulders, unlock your knees.

  3. Whatever comes up, love that

    As you sit, feel the word gratitude and try to choose what comes to mind in the first few seconds of thought. You do not have to scroll through all of the things in your life in order to find something that is especially profound. I usually pick the very first thing that comes to mind. You can invite a person (your pre-school teacher, your best friend, the cashier at your coffee shop, anyone), you can think of any material object and not consider yourself shallow if you think it’s too fancy and ultimately doesn’t matter in the scheme of things (your very cool new shoes, your expensive watch, your favorite stuffed animal). You can focus on the things that tie you to your existence, such as your ability to read, your spiritual practice, how cool your hair is, the fact that you experience emotions.

  4. Hold it exactly as it is

    Put yourself in a spacious and quiet moment alone with what you chose, or let your memory bring you to an exact place where you felt the true joy associated with the specific gratitude. If you chose a person, picture their face and their smile and their perfect wrinkles that have developed as a result of their lifelong laughter. Think about how it feels to hug them or hear their voice or dance with them. Allow yourself to really be there. Whatever you are bringing your gratitude to, look at every detail of it. Study the stitching on the shoes that you love, bring yourself to the moment you picked them out and put them on. Remember how that felt? It was a spark that you listened to. You experienced a moment of connection with an object. You’re not shallow, you’re giving yourself nonjudgmental permission to enjoy the way look, to embrace the person you want to be, to appreciate the person you are. That is pretty cool. You thought, “These shoes are my style, they are the look I’m going for, they are the only cool pair of shoes I own.” Take yourself to these moments. Breathe.

  5. One thing at a time

    You can spend your time holding just one thing in your heart, or you can move on to one or two more things. If you move on to another item on your gratitude list, do so with a slow transition. There is no need to jump quickly from one thing to another, getting as many things done as you can. When you have completed expressing gratitude for one thing, say thank you to it, and let it float away as your welcome in the next thing. When you have completed this exercise, bring yourself back to your physical surroundings by taking some deep breaths and opening your eyes to the quiet around you. Slowly bring your body back by doing a body scan and relaxing each body part you notice as you uncross your legs and move up from the floor or your chair.

  6. Come back to gratitude

    As you go about your day, it is okay if you find yourself back in automatic thought loops and a high-intensity focus on your to-do list. Let yourself live the way you are used to without shaming yourself for not changing in the ways you want to. If the word gratitude comes into your mind at all, simply notice it and look for gratitude in exactly what you are doing, even if you are feeling frustrated or stressed or sad.

This practice is super helpful and over time it will naturally infiltrate the parts of your life that usually leave you in a tangled mess of frustration and loss of perspective. I hope you enjoy it and find ways to customize this idea in a way that is realistic and sustainable for you. Even if this doesn’t sound cool, try starting by making a quick gratitude list during any part of your day, whether you write it down or keep it in your head. Driving in the car is a great time to practice this, especially if you are stuck in traffic.

See how this feels, try it once, try it a few times. Use it when you are stuck in a whirlwind of stress. When anxiety consumes you, counter it with gratitude and see if that eases your racing thoughts.

Simone DeAngelis
this is what my love looks like

We planned to finalize our divorce in January. A huge step in accepting and moving through that for me was writing a blog post about it. I thought it would be cool to talk about my divorce openly because I know a lot of people who have been divorced and I just thought it would be a cool thing to share. It felt brave. I also thought it would be a cool way to honor my relationship and my growth. Writing is a tool I use to accept and come to terms with reality. Sharing my writing opens me up to new healing and makes big things feel less scary.

Ten days after publishing that blog post, I was in Jonny’s arms again. Neither of us were expecting it. The universe always conspires for my highest good. Whatever decision I make, the universe parts the way and presents the lessons I need. Hugging him felt different. I thought, “wow, I understand how serious this commitment is. I understand how important it is that I am in your arms.” We decided to do a take two on our marriage. I have delayed writing this blog post because I have come to a new understanding of how special and sacred our relationship is. I find that I do not want to publicly share how deep and true our love is. I do not want to illustrate how messy it is. I don’t need to. Maybe you can imagine… we filed for divorce, waited the required amount of time, and then stayed together. It is not super cute all the time. We are growing ourselves and taking action on our commitment by doing this work, by facing our individual and joint needs head on. It is uncomfortable. It is fun.

Making my divorce a big thing on social media made me sort of feel like I was displaying my life as though it were a soap opera. I just don’t want to do that anymore.

I am writing this follow-up blog post because I didn’t want to just delete the previous one, and I definitely want to give a status-update. We are grateful. We are committed. We have a new understanding of what it means to choose each other. There are a bunch of other feelings and conversations and lessons. And, even when we are processing big pain, we understand how beautiful it is to do so together. We have come to a new clarity of what it means to stay.

Here is how we think of it: Our souls have been searching for each other for thousands of years. We needed to understand the importance of the fact that we found each other. We needed to learn how to take our relationship very seriously, how to respect it, how to grow it.

No longer do I feel a need to write a page-long facebook status about how important Jonny is to me. I did that before because shouting facebook and instagram were the best ways I knew to shout my love from the mountain tops. I love sharing about my new experiences. Love has been the coolest new experience ever, and it is impossible to convey accurately.

When it comes to our relationship and displaying it on social media, I know now that I just don’t need to be so wordy. I will post pictures of Jonny because he is super hot and it makes me happy to have those memories on my feed. This is the most true and open and connected our love has ever been. In feeling that, I no longer feel a need to describe it to the whole world. It’s too special for words. If I post a bunch of words about it, I am presenting a true part of our relationship that just doesn’t honor our love in a well-rounded way. Even with every detail written out, there’s still more.

Jonny guides what I learn, he inspires what I teach, he sees my soul. I get to know deep in my bones that I am loved truly by another human. And I get to love him back. This partnership has been the strangest (in the very best and most confusing way) part of my existence.

When I decided not to kill myself in 2012, I signed up for all of the weirdness that life would bring me. I chose life because I knew there would be a lot of interesting stuff to feel. I chose life so that I could make weird decisions and go on long, unplanned road trips. I chose life so that I could get curious about every moment and watch everything get better, always. I spent a long time wanting to die. I spent a long time trying to be whatever I needed to be so that I could receive praise as evidence that I am worthy. Now, I just can’t help but be myself. I am here to be myself to the best of my ability. I am not here to deny myself the things that feel true to me. Jonny is one of the truest pillars of my existence. The universe will part the way.

I am grateful for all of it. I am exactly where I am supposed to be — looking at myself with honesty and letting go of ego, trying to listen more. We are exactly where we are supposed to be — holding hands, speaking truth, learning to create consistency by addressing disfunction. We are honoring each other as two very different people who have decided to do life together.

Here is a photo that was taken on May 19, 2014. This was the first time Jonny and I held hands.

May 19, 2014 - the first time we held hands

Simone DeAngelis
this is what flying looks like

At first, every thought was a racing one. For two months. Longer. Even still, some hours, some days. Everything was fine. Everything was fine. Everything was beautiful and fine. All of our social media posts and excitement about our love were so true. We were and still are so in love.

And in October, we saw it. Jonny and I were jolted into a huge and heartbreaking realization that our relationship no longer served either of us. We were holding each other back from our potential. As much as we love each other, our time learning together in this realm has come to an end.

I have had moments of the deepest despair I have ever experienced. It is harder to describe than love. Most of the time, this divorce doesn’t bring me relief. I sometimes think I made the biggest mistake of my life in doing this. Other times, I feel goodness moving through me and I am comforted.

I read the other day that “the free fall from illusion is a disturbing way to fly,” and it really helped me understand that sometimes this is what flying looks like.

Now, I remember something that Jonny and I frequently talked about during our 100 day camping adventure. We always saw the most beautiful things we’d ever seen. Every day, there was a new beautiful thing. We stopped on the side of the road to take the dogs out and we observed the beauty everywhere. At some stops, we stayed longer. Others, we moved through quickly. And we were always excited for the next beautiful thing. Rarely did we feel sad to leave a place, we were ready for the next.

There is so much beauty to be seen, let’s go see it.

There are forests and animals and people that I will remember and talk about for years and years. I saw beautiful things and I still remember what it felt like when I saw them. And maybe that’s how looking back on our time together will be. Marriage was the most grand adventure I have ever been on. The most beautiful sights I have ever seen, I saw with him. I got to experience what it feels like to show someone my soul and feel it be so loved.

With every phase of life come the best and worst things that ever happen to us. Some hold their spot as pillars in our hearts for decades to come. The other heartbreaks and successes get smaller over time while other events pull our attention away.

So, I will see more beautiful things. I always have hope.

I also need to feel what this pain feels like. I need to sit here and close my eyes for five minutes. I need to observe my body in this anxiety.

Sometimes I need to cry and I usually set a timer and cry a bunch and then walk around my apartment and do it again if I need to. Or I call a friend, which helps a lot when I’m in a mega cry mode and need some reality. When I can’t get out of bed, I take my dogs out. It is the worst and the best and it drives me crazy.

I get stuck in never-ending undertows of negative thought. Among the best parts of having a partner around was constantly having someone to reassure me and tell me that I am cool. So, I’m having to choose positive self-talk on a consistent basis and I need to pause multiple times a day to take a gratitude or self-compassion break. Constant positive affirmations.

It takes a huge effort to combat negative self-talk when I am alone in my apartment and my dogs aren’t in the mood to cuddle. I frequently phone (text) a friend, and it helps every time. It pulls me out of the undertow and gives me an opportunity to breathe so that I can provide security and love to myself, while being reminded that I am loved by others. I look in the mirror (making eye contact with myself) and I say, “I love you,” to myself at least twice a day.

I am beginning to laugh.

I have already created happy memories, and that feels weird sometimes. Sometimes I make people laugh and the only laugh that ever mattered isn’t there. I’m also having quite a bit of fun. I have been putting myself out there and saying yes to more things. I have surrounded myself with loving support and some great therapy.

Brene Brown talks about how joy is directly tied to gratitude. And she is the person who inspired my daily gratitude practice in 2014. I think she was right. She said, gratitude is directly tied to joy. It definitely is, because I still feel this light that just doesn’t go out. There’s just this steady glow, always in my heart, and I never had that before.

I take moments each day to acknowledge what I am grateful for. I make a gratitude list every morning. No matter what. When I am in a group of people and laughing and dancing, I let myself feel grateful. When I look over and see my dogs sleeping, I pause in gratitude. I am grateful for breath.

I think the same lesson will present itself to us until we are willing to learn it. I am doing my best to remain willing and I am so grateful for the opportunity to build a life according to my values.

Simone DeAngelis
a conscious effort to choose my thoughts

This post is focused on making choices about the thoughts you think and the behaviors you act upon. The catalyst for all of this practice has been closely tied to Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life.

For the last few months I have been working on really making conscious decisions about what thoughts I allow in and what thoughts I move on from. I have found a lot of relief in this and I am enjoying the results quite a bit. Sometimes I notice resistance to acceptance of my Self because my ego is having a hard time letting go of critical self-talk. That’s just another red flag telling me that I can make a choice.

Some benefits I have reaped from this practice include much less of shitty cringe-reel memories, less judgment of others, and more patience with myself.

I have a choice about the thoughts I think and I am noticing new ways in which I can make choices about my behavior. I have become more observant of how emotions play a giant role in decision-making. For everyone. So, thinking about choosing my behavior is directly tied to the energetic state of my thinking and feelings.

There are a few things you can do to recognize your power in each moment. I’ll go into it in further detail. First, here’s a quick run-down:

approaching thought

  • you do not have to repress your thoughts

  • when they are too strong to let go easily, that’s okay

  • approach your thoughts with compassion

  • name the feelings that come up

  • say, “sit with me, have tea”

  • have tea

  • release these thoughts with compassion, they no longer serve you

  • replace these thoughts with a positive affirmation or mantra

approaching behavior

  • take racing thoughts as a signal to slow down

  • “hey, your brain is whirling, let’s go take a break”

  • work through your thoughts and feelings

  • think about your values

  • “what would my authentic Self do in this situation?”

  • be kind

choosing thoughts

Practicing this shit just gives me more security in my life. At first, I was confused because sometimes saying things like, “I’m not going to think that right now,” sort of feels like pushing my thoughts away in a negative way.

having compassion for thoughts

I realized that when I am able to compassionately release thoughts, I have a stronger feeling of empowerment. I lovingly say, “this is not a thought that serves me.” It’s awesome. This is exactly what I do when I feel depressed, I approach it with as much compassion as I can. I have not previously followed through with the practice of doing this with my thoughts. It’s really hard. Depression is one big thing I can focus on. My thinking gets all over the place.

So, to get to a place of compassion with each of those thoughts, I imagine sitting with a whirlpool-looking thing and drinking tea. I allow all of my unproductive thought patterns to exist in that whirlpool. When one jumps out specifically, I replace it with a positive affirmation and I let it float away. The whirlpool slows down the more I let go.

I do the same thing with my feelings. I name the feeling. I breathe into it. I release it when I exhale. Sometimes I take ten breaths. Sometimes I take one. I release the emotion. I watch the whirlpool slow down.

replace negative thoughts with affirmations

The biggest thing I have noticed with this practice is how quickly my affirmations replace my negative thoughts. “I’m a shitty person” is interrupted by “I approve of my Self.” This is constant and comforting. Sometimes the negative thought breaks through the affirmation and that sucks.

When that happens, I slow down my breathing so that I can pay specific attention to my breath. I was taught that when I feel consumed by a thought, I can say, “I am currently having the thought that ________.” This creates a great separation between Self and thought. I get to choose what thoughts influence my behavior and my future.

Much of our critical self-talk is leftover from the way we learned to talk to our Selves as children. If you have a looping phrase, such as, “you are incapable of living up to expectations,” get in touch with the age you were when you really picked that up as a belief about your Self. If your inner seventeen-year-old was fucking up and feeling like a huge failure, think about how you can heal that part of your Self.

What does that seventeen-year-old need to hear now in order to begin shedding that belief? Come up with a phrase or a mantra that you can use to instantly replace that repetitive phrase.

choosing behavior

As soon as I feel my heart beginning to race, I know what to do. I have harnessed my ability to catch racing thoughts over years of practice. I started by noticing as soon as I could. Maybe you’re in a shit storm of negative thinking for like three hours before you remember to separate yourself from those thoughts. That’s a start.

The tricky part is actually choosing to pay attention to those red flags. I’ve found that I have a harder time doing it when my inner-child is emotionally distressed and I’m not paying attention to that suffering. Just like meditation, I non-judgmentally remind my Self to come back to breath, even if I can’t always follow-through with it. The power is in the moment of awareness.

Improving the ability to take a rest at these red flags takes consistency. It was a change that I was able to commit to because I became really observant of my thoughts when I was trying to adjust my negative self-talk. If you have a hard time catching your racing thoughts or making changes to them, simply start by observing them. I learned that from reading Kristin Neff.

focus on values

Choosing thoughts gives me the space I need to breathe and reflect on my values.

Values are life-changing and they were a huge part of what I learned in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I did not pay much attention to the section where we learned about values because I thought it was sort of lame for some reason. It didn’t sound as fun. I didn’t start consciously acting according to values until about three years ago.

What ultimately really inspired me to focus on values was the dedication my sister-in-law shows to this practice. It blows me away. I was hooked when I saw her consult her values so naturally and clearly. My values have been a driving force in all of my decisions ever since. So, I highly suggest thinking about what your values are and how they will dictate your behavior.

what would you do?

I’ve been digging on the idea of allowing my Self to come forward in the most authentic and kind way. I can only be the person I am meant to be by acting according to that person’s behavior. When I don’t know what to do, I try to pause and ask, “f I were following all of my values and considering my inner-child, what would I do in this situation?”

I feel inspired when I imagine what my life would be like if I were truly living according to my purpose at all times. I will never be perfect. That is not the goal for me. The goal is to learn the lesson in every moment and move from there. I learned that mostly from Pema Chodron.

being kind

I am absolutely convinced (at this point) that kindness is the key to the universe.

I come back to kindness and I breathe. This one is hard. I can be a real asshole. This occurs frequently when I am feeling misunderstood, when people are being rude, when I am disconnected from my inner child, or when I am late to something I meant to be on time to.

When I can be kind and breathe, I am better able to move through my unproductive thoughts relatively quickly. This is all about taking a pause to choose my thoughts. How can I feel this and adjust my thinking so that I can better reflect my Self?

If you don’t know what to do, be kind. Maybe that means staying silent, maybe that means speaking up. The goal is to decide what your next action will be before you act upon it. See what it feels like to focus on kindness for your Self and others.

allow the quiet

I struggle with letting my mind settle down when my thoughts are racing. I tend to have the desire to go from crisis to solution without taking a step back. Sometimes I think I know exactly what needs to happen in any given situation. Even if I feel like I am doing the absolute best thing, if I haven’t taken at least a moment to pause, I don’t feel as confident in my decision.

Mindfulness is magical for times such as these.

I allow the quiet by choosing to do something mindful and quiet. I sew, play with buttons, cuddle with my dogs, organize my books. Sometimes it’s tough to sit with shitty thoughts quietly, even if that quiet is an important part of the process. So, try doing a quiet mindfulness activity and then transition your focus to your new thought patterns and behaviors.

feel the change

I don’t know if taking this approach to your thoughts and behaviors will help you. It has given me new insight. I have not found just one way to master self-compassion and emotion regulation. I have found a shit ton of ways to master self-compassion and emotion regulation. I love exploring all of the different avenues we can take to uncover unconditional love for our Selves.

I see unproductive thoughts and I feel empowered when I can acknowledge them, release them, and choose to think differently. Each new thing I learn informs the practice I have been cultivating for the last six years. I see so many avenues to healing and there are so many I want to explore.

By truly implementing new practices, I am able to see what works for me at my current stage of development. Four years ago I read You Can Heal Your Life, and it never made a giant impact on me until I read it again three months ago. I now realize I wasn’t ready to take full responsibility for my thoughts. Now, I’m growing in that direction on a new level that feels meaningful and impactful.

Simone DeAngelis
trevs forevs


It has been five years since you left us. That feels like a really long time. I never pictured what life would look like five years later. When I think about how much my life has changed, I get so sad for you. Your life would look so different now. There is so much we could have helped you with. 

I am not at peace with what you did. 

When I think of you, I forget that you stopped getting older. 

I still have all of the same questions, and I've mostly given up hope on getting answers. I can't know what you were thinking, I can't send a message back in time to tell you how much you are loved. I can't show you that you didn't only kill yourself, Trev. You killed us, too. 

It's a difficult thing to let go completely.

My heart still hurts. I still cry when I sit down to write about you. I cry for the hurt you must have felt. That will never get easier to think about. 

I can miss you and still go about my day. Five years feels like a big one. I still have a really fun day planned. It's tough to allow both of those things to exist and feel good about it. The image of grieving I had in my head did not look like having a good day on a day like today. 

Your suicide impacts me in new ways all the time. It impacts me in ways I wish it didn't. You gave me a lot of fear. I get high anxiety about my friends. I have learned a lot. I have learned things I could have learned anyway, without you having to die. I never wanted any gifts from this. 

I can still imagine hugging you and I do it all the time. I never felt like I needed to explain anything to you. I told you I was sad and you knew exactly what I meant and I didn't feel alone and that is so much of why I am here now. I wish you were here now. 

I carry your smile everywhere I go. I think of you when I drive through the mountains, I think of you when I want to pick out a classy outfit, I think of you when I'm having late-night talks about the meaning of life. I wish you could hear what I think about the meaning of life now. It's so much cooler than we used to imagine. 

You are always with all of us, and we will always love you. 

Simone DeAngelis

I celebrated my birthday in California on August 30th. I had a wonderful birthday. I'm still young enough to give people the excuse not to take me seriously, and I'm old enough that people take me really seriously when I do stuff they don't like. I'm also old enough that I don't care about either of those things nearly as much as I did one year ago, or seven years ago, or 80 days ago. 

I am embracing my imperfection and my authenticity. Those goals coexist with the desire to please everyone and make everyone like me. That deep longing for love from all is getting quieter as my love for my Self gets louder. I approve of myself. So, when I play through my cringe reel or I start thinking about what I'm not enough of, I decide not to go there. I say, "I choose to approve of myself," and I say it over and over, all day long. I've noticed that over the last four weeks of doing this nearly constantly every day, I don't need to think of it as much because I'm disapproving of myself less. I still have a long way to go. 

"I approve of myself" has quickly become the very first thought I have when I notice critical self-talk. I've been exploring a bunch of avenues for self-compassion over the last six years. I also lost a lot of that self-compassion when I spent most of 2017 in a really dark spot. I blamed myself for my illness. I blamed myself for not knowing what was going on. I blamed myself for my (at the time) failing relationship. I blamed myself for the fact that it was too dangerous to keep going to work. Every moment felt like it sucked, and every one of those moments felt like they sucked because I was horrible. (to read more about that experience of being sick, read this post

When I began the process of self-forgiveness, I looked at 2017 as a perfect storm of all of the things I couldn't control. I couldn't control how my husband felt, I couldn't control what I thought other people were thinking, I couldn't control when I would go unconscious and fall to the floor. Everything was spinning for a solid five months. After that, it was all about rebuilding. 

In that process of rebuilding, I learned a shit ton of stuff. Over the course of 78 days of driving and 60 days of sleeping outside, I learned a shit ton of stuff. There are things I learned that I don't even realize yet. Four things I learned are four things I want to take with me as I walk into 27 with intention and curiosity. 

1. I am responsible for my thoughts

2017 wasn't my fault. And, I for sure played a role. I took on a bunch of work, I created unnecessary work for myself, I ignored my self-care practices, I completely neglected my marriage, I drifted away from my spirituality. I also thought a bunch of shitty thoughts. I sat in anger and resentment and I stayed there with no intention of being compassionate toward my Self. 

All I wanted was for everyone else to think I was good and worthy and not a liability. I tried to stay totally in control of my emotions and my reactions. It was all about image management. I really didn't want people I cared about to let me go, and I thought they'd let me go if I wasn't amazing. It turns out there's just a season for everything, I didn't stop being amazing. Life is change. 

I began to understand and allow change. While we were on our 78-day camping adventure, I came to know it even more. I began to want more change. I could feel myself growing and I felt my attitudes changing. We saw breath-taking views every day. We would stop and stare/cry/laugh/talk/sit in silence, and then we would move on. We didn't feel loss when we left these places, we felt excited about the beauty of every moment, and we knew they were constantly one after the other. We never worried that nothing beautiful was going to come if we kept going. I started to change my thinking. 

I can take responsibility for my thoughts. I've known that for years, lots of people have told me that. In response, my internal dialogue was, "okay but I can't control my thoughts. I must have really intense thoughts because I've tried and there is no way to control what crazy shit comes into my brain." There is. 

I thought so much horrible shit about myself. I was constantly berating myself. I had so much mean stuff to say, and no one to say it to, so I said it to myself. I invited negativity into my life by buying into negative thought patterns and allowing them to inform my behavior. Goodbye self-compassion. 

The entire time, I had a choice. I could decide what to think and what not to think. Initially, I didn't believe that. Then I slept outside for sixty days and did a lot of thinking and learned a lot about that thinking. Thoughts only have power if we give them power. That was hard for me to understand because they felt powerful as soon as I noticed them. I didn't notice a point where I could have had a choice. 

The choice happens the minute I notice the thought or have any reaction to it. Whether I'm five minutes into my cringe reel or five seconds, I can notice and then stop thinking about it by replacing those thoughts with positive affirmations. In the past, I added positive affirmations on top of my critical self-talk. I feel more empowered by thinking of positive affirmations as making a conscious decision to change the way my brain thinks. 

I am taking responsibility for my thoughts and making an enthusiastic effort to trust the outcome that thinking in a new way might bring me. I really do believe that this effort will change what kind of people, opportunities, and adventures I bring into my life. There's no way it couldn't. Changing thought patterns changes behavior, focus, and attitude. 

2. I am a badass woman

Until this birthday, I never felt much different when my birthday came around. I always considered myself young. Too young to be a credible source of what beauty life can bring with some patience and willingness. I thought I was too young to offer anything life-changing to anyone who was my age or older. 

The inner-child work that I have been practicing for almost three years has begun to permeate my life in new ways.  I am able to see myself as who I am today instead of who I was twenty years ago because I am able to hold different parts of me as separate from myself. 

"Oh, I really want this new thing because to my inner-five-year-old, getting new things feels a lot like love. It's not something I actually need right now." I can allow myself to want something, and then I can talk myself down from that and love myself in deeper and more intentional ways. I can come to a grown-up understanding that I don't need every material thing that I want, even if I really want it. 

As a result of this perspective, I am beginning to see myself in the way that I want to be seen. I have come to a new level of respect for myself. By dismissing myself as "just a kid," I lacked respect for the hard work I have done to grow each year. And I allowed other people to dismiss me as "too young," because I felt the same way they did. 

There are big concepts that I can only dive into as I get older. I know I will never be done with that. That doesn't mean I'm not a badass woman. I get to acknowledge my grown-ass-woman-ness and I don't have to follow that up with, "but I know I'm really young and don't know anything."

I have worked hard to understand what I am ready to understand at this phase in my life. I study topics I am interested in with curiosity and enthusiasm. I work hard and I dedicate myself to living a meaningful life. I am highly qualified for every opportunity that comes my way. I am proud of myself. 

When I am doubting myself, I ask, "What would my life look like if I let go of self-doubt?" 

3. My values guide me 

curiosity | humor | relationships | safety | kindness | authenticity 

I learned about values while I was learning the ins and outs of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) at the psych hospital. This practice is life-changing and important. If there is a decision to be made, the first thing I do is consult my values. 

Click here for a really good explanation of all of this.

The work on values comes when I use them to dictate my behavior. One thing that has really helped me with this was visualizing what each of these values looks like in action. Curiosity is taking risks to learn about new things. Safety is being considerate of dangerous situations, money, emotional security (creating a safe space for others to share their truth). Kindness is making eye contact with strangers, doing small and loving things for my husband, saying "I love you" in the mirror every day. I could go on and on. 

My values have changed over time, and I don't change them very often. It has been the most effective way I have found to do the "right" thing, even when I really don't want to. One small example is that I haven't no-called no-showed to a doctor's appointment in a long time because it's not in-line with my values of kindness and safety (I keep myself safe by going to the doctor). A bigger example is that I respect my relationships. I value relationships, so I try really hard to nurture community by giving careful attention to the personal relationships I have with anyone (this one is hard to keep up with). I also nurture my relationship with my spirituality, my Self, my world. 

A big part of the work Jonny and I have done on our relationship is around values. It has turned us into our own family, instead of two people who are married to each other, and with our parents at the core of our idea of family. We came together on our values and talked about what they look like in the way we treat each other, our dogs, and the way we function as a family. 

I cannot recommend this practice enough. It has been so powerful. I do my best to strictly adhere to my values. It gives me security, structure, motivation. I am not perfect at this. I am quite good at it. I think about my values all the time. I talk about them every day, it has become a normal part of conversation. 

4. Nature is an incredible teacher 

I want to stay immersed in nature. Whether it's by surfing or sitting on my balcony in the forest, I have to be around nature. It gives me breath, patience, space, compassion. The trees have been one of my best teachers. The ocean will never stop coming back to me. That's all I have to say about that, for now. 

Here goes 27 

I feel ready and confident. I have a deep feeling that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. My neighbors are so nice, we say hi to every person we see on the sidewalk, we have multiple genuinely kind interactions every day. It's wild! I'm so grateful. 

I want to be fearless. I am fearless. I am putting myself out there in new ways and I am learning how to navigate being a powerful lady.  

It has been almost one year since the last time I fell. The clarity and peace I have come to find came to me as a result of a really shitty year followed by a bunch of willingness and introspection. Every moment is a lesson, and I looked for every lesson I could find. I have learned more in the last year than I have in the previous six years of my healing journey. 

I'm just going to go with this happiness. I am going to trust that life is giving me what I need. No longer dress-rehearsing for tragedy. I choose to believe that it is getting easier for me to assume the best-case-scenario. 




Simone DeAngelis
78 days driving

I am writing this post from a balcony surrounded by the trees of the San Bernardino National Forest. Since June 8th, we have been to Marfa TX, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Lincoln National Forest, White Sands NM, Roswell NM, Santa Fe NM, Colorado Springs, Boulder CO, Rocky Mountain National Park CO, Arches National Park UT, Grand Canyon National Park AZ, Zion National Park UT, Las Vegas, King's Canyon National Park CA, Sequoia National Park CA, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe CA, Lassen Volcanic National Park CA, Redwood National and State Parks (twice!) CA, Crater Lake National Park OR, Willamette National Forest, Portland OR, Mt. Rainier National Park WA, Olympic National Park WA, Seattle, White Rock (British Columbia - Jonny's hometown!), Mt. Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park (The Canada One), Yoho National Park, Banff National Park, Kootenay National Park, Canmore (Alberta), Olympia WA, Siuslaw National Forest OR, Humbug Mountain State Park OR, Mill Beach OR, Jedediah Smith State Park CA, Salt Point State Park, Carmel, San Francisco, Big Sur CA, and Big Bear Lake. 

We traveled from Texas to Canada and back to California in 78 days. We slept outside for 60 nights. I'm trying to think of what to write to articulate how I feel. It did something to me, to my brain, to the way I think, to my personality. My core is changed, the way I see the world is different, the way I think about the meaning of my life is new and interesting. All I can do is smile and cry. 

When we left Austin and headed to California on June 8th, I don't know what I thought was going to happen. When we left California and headed to Canada on July 8th, I was so excited to see what else was going to happen. 

The time was very healing. I allowed my Self to feel a lot of pain that I hadn't had room to explore. We would be on these long drives, and I would just start crying and talking about a ten-year-old loss I'd never cried about. Every morning I woke up early and sat outside to write in my journal. I wrote over 200 pages of stream-of-consciousness thoughts. 

There was so much space. Space for anger and fear and guilt and sadness to exist and then plenty more space for feelings of happiness and gratitude and connectedness at the same time. I would sit in silence, staring at the trees, allowing myself to feel. Sometimes I was full of rage, feeling anger I'd never given myself permission to feel. From that came gratitude for these trees that kept me feeling safe to feel all the rage I was feeling.  All I could do was continue to sit there and look at the trees or write in my journal. Always with the intention to arrive at compassion. Sometimes it took me five minutes to feel through the anger, sometimes it took me five days. That process will continue for as long as I am a judgemental and resentful asshole (I'm also amazing and very kind, but come on). It doesn't matter, there is enough time. There is always enough time. 

texas to california

The trip from Texas to California felt like a lot of healing around feelings of loss and abandonment. Right before we left, OG died. That heartbreak brought to the surface every heartbreak I've ever felt of any kind. After his funeral, I didn't have to hit the ground running again. I got in a car and I drove and camped for a total of almost eighty days. So, every loss came up. Lost relationships, lives, opportunities, connections, even material things. 

I practiced radical acceptance on new levels. "Yes, this is true, this happened. I'm not cool with it and that doesn't change this reality." We saw a lot of interesting geography and we got curious about that. We asked questions and we read everything at every visitor center so that we could understand the land and its history. It was really cool to touch the Double Arch and understand how it got there, and what a beautiful accident all of that is. 

california to canada

California to Canada was all about my Self. I worked on my "cringe reel." You know when you're walking to the kitchen to get an orange and you suddenly remember something really weird or embarrassing you did in front of someone fifteen years ago? And you start wondering what that other person thinks and if they remember it or if they told that other person and what those people must think of you now when they see you in their social media feed. That something is on your cringe reel. 

I have a lot of stuff on my cringe reel. I approve of myself. I started re-reading Lousie Hay's book, You Can Heal Your Life, and I put myself to work on it. When that cringe reel starts going, I say aloud "I approve of myself." And then my brain is like, "Okay, you approve of yourself? Get real, you suck." And in return, I say, "I choose to approve of myself." This is all Lousie Hay. She taught me about the power of my thoughts and you just have to read the book twice to get what I mean. 

My brain is changing. I repeat, "I approve of myself" hundreds of times a day and my brain is changing. Here's another thing I say (it's on page 88 of her book) and I want you to read this out loud if you can and see how you feel: 

I am willing to let go. I release. I let go. I release all tension. I release all fear. I release all anger. I release all sadness. I release all guilt. I let go of all old limitations. I let go, and I am at peace. I am at peace with myself. I am at peace with the process of life. I am safe.

In Portland, I got to meet with my publishers and talk about the format of my book. I want you all to enjoy it, I want it to introduce practices that are easy to understand and easy to apply. I want you to sit and read it while you're having a cup of coffee. I want you to feel like someone nice is talking to you, and I don't want to spend the entire book talking about myself. This book is about you. You'll get to read it in December of 2019, and it's different than you might expect. It's going to be fucking awesome and I can't wait for you to read it. I'm so grateful I'll get to give this book to you from the perspective I have gained from this adventure. I am overflowing with inspiration. I cannot wait to share this piece of my truth with you. 


Getting to Canada was a huge milestone of the trip. It was the furthest north we would go and I had never been to Canada. We spent two weeks camping there, and it was amazing. The sky was beautiful, the lakes were the most vibrant lakes I'd ever seen, and we'd just been to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon (super vibrant lake). We got to Banff and explored for nearly a week. It was clear and beautiful and amazing. 

I have scoliosis (the top of my back curves to the left at a 13-degree angle), and I started feeling a lot of pain when we started to head home from Canda. I think I knew I'd be getting back to my treatment and that idea brought awareness to the discomfort my back gives me. I don't have a doctor in California yet, and it may be a few weeks before I can get back to work on my back. I'm not one to pop ibuprofen consistently, and I needed to do something about the pain. So, I've been trying imaging (visualization). Basically, one million times a day I graphically visualize my back straightening and the pain dissipating. When I lay down, I put selenite (a great stone for scoliosis) on my back and I give a more focused effort to this practice. It eases the pain in the moment and I fall asleep without issue, so I'll take it. 

The willingness to change my thought patterns has helped so much. I have been reading these books about how our thoughts create our reality, and though I have agreed for many years, I have not been all-in on that idea. I've always had some reservations, and I still do. I love the quote "the universe always conspires for your highest good," though I've never bought into it with my whole heart. The universe is also random and meaningless, so, how can I trust it completely? What is there to trust? 

I decided to just try it. I'm just going to give it my all and see what happens. Making a decision to think positively isn't going to fuck up my life. Today I choose to believe that the universe loves me. My practice involves positive affirmations and visualizations all day long. When I start to get nervous about the future, I focus on three things I love about the present moment. If I feel uncomfortable in my body, I say "I feel comfortable and confident in my body."

I am thinking positively and changing the words strung together in my brain that make thoughts (thoughts that only have power if I choose to give them power). If thinking positively doesn't heal my back, it feels better than thinking about how much my back hurts. 

on the way home to california 

The way home to California was all about allowing the power of our adventure to sink in. There's still a lot to process. I'm the same person and I'm a totally different person. I'm more myself and I've become more of something else, too. More observant, patient, appreciative. Around every corner, we contemplated beauty. We talked about beauty all the time and we saw all forms of it. The Desert in the southwest, the giant trees in California, huge mountains in the pacific northwest, long stretches of a quiet fullness as we passed through abandoned towns, and we saw each other's beauty in new ways. Something crazy happens when you talk about beauty for hours on end every day for almost eighty days. 

We began to feel intense gratitude and excitement as we got closer and closer to our new home. In mid-September, we'll be settling into our place in Big Bear Lake, California. 

I was afraid we weren't going to find a place to live, so I repeated "I love my new home," a bunch of times during our drive home. There were two houses available for rent in the area where we want to live, and we didn't like either of them. We told our realtor that we didn't like those places, and they were pretty taken aback, assuring us that houses don't pop up too frequently. 24-hours later, we'd found the perfect house to rent and we got approved for it. I'm not saying we found our dream home solely because I kept saying that we'd already found it. However, my attitude about it all was totally different. It's the reason we waited, I decided to put this practice to the test and trust that the right home would become available. 

When I say, "I approve of myself," most of the time I'm in a place where I don't approve of myself. I have all these thoughts about the mistakes I've made, I play through my cringe reel, my thoughts manifest as self-doubt and disapproval. "I choose to approve of myself," I say, as I relax my shoulders and make a decision about what thoughts I'm going to think. My mind is my tool, it doesn't control me, I get to choose. When I say "I approve of myself," my behavior changes. I get closer to my values and I act according to them in new ways. More approval comes. 

growing forward

I'm 27 and I don't think of myself as a kid anymore. I acknowledge my youth and I try to be aware of the fact that there are concepts I can't understand yet. I am upping my inner-child work big time and I'll write more about that later. There are things I get upset about that I can understand as things that my inner-five-year-old really wants, even if intellectually I understand that I don't need them. That five-year-old doesn't understand that, so I go swing on a swing set or ask for a hug or read one of my favorite children's books. It makes me feel better and it changes my behavior.

What I have come to believe is that our spiritual beliefs work if we believe in them. If I give you amethyst but you see it as a meaningless rock, I don't think it will do much for you. If you believe that this crystal will bring you peace, healing, recovery, it will. I pull tarot cards in the morning to see what I could contemplate throughout the day. It helps me think about new things and see my future differently. It helps me take responsibility for my life and it helps me be honest with myself. That's where I am right now. 

There are thoughts that work for me that won't work for you. That doesn't mean you're wrong and it doesn't mean I'm wrong. Whatever brings you comfort and makes you feel good is what will help you on a personal spiritual level. 

I am curious about what the future holds and when I imagine the worst case scenario, I decide to think of something beautiful.  


Simone DeAngelis
life gets weird, and then it gets beautiful

One year ago this week, I left the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at a hospital in Austin, Texas. It was the end of one of the worst weeks I’d experienced thus far. I spent seven days sitting in a chair, by myself. I had some wonderful people visit me and it felt like I really did have friends, I don’t want to leave that out. Most of the time though, I was/felt alone. It wasn’t a bad thing that I spent time alone. In fact, it was wonderful. It was a terrible week that ultimately changed my life in a good way. I was in a lot of emotional pain and I felt very isolated. The only thing I could do was feel it. So, I cried a lot. I couldn’t get out of my chair without a nurse present in case of a fall. I had to lose sleep and get really intense lights flashed at me. There was a lot of distress. We were trying to induce a seizure. It turns out I don’t have epilepsy. It was very impactful.

A very cool thing is that a friend came to visit me and gave me a pin of a roadrunner. It was a very meaningful gift. What is so cool about it is that now, in the past month, I have seen probably one hundred road runners as I traveled through the Southwest. That pin became more meaningful. Roadrunners remind me of how much my life has changed in the last year. A big pink lotus sprouted from the mud. What a fucked up and amazing journey that year was. Something I can only appreciate as I revisit and continue to heal. The universe brought that to me as a little symbol of what was to come (something I like to believe when I feel like it). 

Being sick was terrible and so scary. Because I was giving so much of my attention to my relationship, I never really got to address my illness and heal from it independently of everything else. So, that’s what this month is really about. It’s about connecting to where I was on each day one year ago. I give myself the opportunity to feel the feelings I didn’t express at the time. I thought I was going to fall somewhere and I thought I was going to die from it, and there would never be an explanation.

Doctors didn’t know what was wrong, everyone was confused, I had weird symptoms one day and others the next, none of them related to each other. I was afraid I was going to die. It was not a fun thing. I had no idea what was wrong, and I tend to lean toward dress rehearsing for tragedy. All I could do was slow down. All I could do was keep breathing through the fear and imagine what type of floor pillows I would have in my meditation room.

(Sometimes when I’m really bummed out, I like to picture my dream meditation room. It makes me feel calm and optimistic about the future)

July of 2017 was the worst month of the worst year I’ve had since I began my healing journey six years ago. Jonny and I began talking about splitting up sometime right before or right at the beginning of July. I was falling/fainting/passing out/whatever about once a day. I got two or three concussions over the course of a month from losing consciousness and hitting my head on stuff. I fell down the stairs, I fell in the shower, I fell on our concrete floor. One of those falls turned half of my face black and blue. The emergency room staff got to know me very well in a short amount of time.

I started falling and it just got worse and worse as time went on without an answer. I spent about four months trying to figure out what was amiss. It was a lot of things. Primarily, anxiety. It knocked me off my feet. My body knew that there was a hole in my life before I did. My priorities were all over the place and praise had become something I was dependent on for motivation. I felt like I needed achievement in order to be worthy of love and attention. I needed to be irreplaceable.

I have since been reminded of something that my therapist told me when I was about sixteen-years-old. She said, “you are not disposable.” That phrase whispers in my ear when I feel shame or sadness about how things turned out. I ultimately left work.. I didn’t know what I was going to do. So, I figured it out. I worked really hard and I started freelancing. I took every job I could. I put myself out there. Now I’m a writer. (if you want to know more about this, I am happy to email you some tips).

Turning 26

The week I left my job, I turned 26, Jonny and I were sort of planning on not working out, and I had a 103-degree fever with a side of bronchitis. Ugh. What kept me moving forward was the understanding that my life would someday be more beautiful than I could imagine. The fear of death would come and I would remind myself that, as scary as the present moment was, all would be well. (All was already well, and I was not willing to believe that at the time). I thought, “yes, someday I will feel good. I feel horrible and out of control and heartbroken right now. And there will be another beautiful day, even though I don’t know when it will come.” Knowing that is how I never raised my voice at Jonny, and never gave him an ultimatum in the heat of the moment. I needed to have compassion for my best friend, and I did. He's always been my best friend. 


What really started to turn things around was my desire to feel a stronger connection with my inner self. I decided to go out and try to build better connections with current and future friends. I went on Bumble Bff dates with really fun women who also wanted to make friends. I went to parties by myself and talked to strangers. I went to the women’s march by myself and chatted with people the whole time. I got a mandolin (I have potential!). 

In September, after some serious therapy, both together and individually and some very long and serious conversations, Jonny and I decided to stay together. It felt like a bigger decision than when we decided to get married after a year and a half of dating, at 25-years-old. Now, we are stupid in love with each other. We realized how sacred our relationship is. He is who my soul started searching for thousands of years ago.

With our therapist, we started looking at our values and talking about what actions we could take to build the life we want. We learned how to argue (which we do when Jonny is hungry or when I am tired and haven’t had enough quiet time). We decided to move to California, and we wanted to take the long way. 

We spent three weeks on the road on our move to California. Cool freelance things were happening and once we were nearing the end of our trip, we decided to keep going. We asked, “What else do our inner-seventeen-year-olds want to see?” And we made a list. And here we are. Today we’ll explore Yosemite National Park. Tomorrow we head to Tahoe. And then every park in the Pacific Northwest, a few in Canada, and even more on the way back to California. I got to pick any park to spend my birthday in, and I chose Zion National Park, where we were only able to spend one day when we went a few weeks ago.

I have been exploring my femininity and drawing in the masculine to see how they can co-exist together. I have been diving into feelings of loss, gratitude, anger, and silliness. Sometimes on long drives, I just start crying. Whatever comes up is allowed in any moment. The word, “namo” has been echoing in my head since I listened to “Radical Self-Acceptance” by Tara Brach. It means “I bow.” The idea is to bow to everything. I allow it to exist, and I allow it to pass through on a beautiful leaf down a stream. I bow to my fears and I bow to the beauty around me. Sit with me, have tea.


I am so grateful today because I knew everything would be beautiful and it totally is beautiful. It is absolutely validating that my life is more beautiful than I ever could have planned, and I knew that day would come. Even on the worst days, the most despairing of days, I had hope. I’m not sure I’ve ever been through something like that and not lost hope. It’s really cool that, though I was a total wreck, I was able to observe myself in the moment more than I have in the past.

This is an incredible journey, there is so much inspiration to learn everything about every tree and every mountain and every person we see. I am observing my life changing and allowing myself to be whatever I need to be in the moment. There are sad days, and I allow them. There is resistance and insecurity and weirdness, and I do my best to allow those days. They are far and few between. I allow the beauty and the connection with others. I make hilarious (it depends who you ask) jokes, I run around with the dogs and try my best to train them, I breathe with Jonny every time we stop to explore something new. Allow it.

I continue to be curious about what each day will bring. I am slowly piecing together what might be a good balance for my spiritual and professional life. What pace of life do I want? Where do I want to live? How can I incorporate mindfulness and kindness into my professional voice? How can I fulfill my desire to work with others and create and lead, while staying in a place of stillness and calm?

Today is more beautiful than I could have planned. The love of my life is next to me and we have our sweet dogs. We are engaging with this earth, and we are so grateful. I was right, once again, life got beautiful. It will always get beautiful. I will remember that for as long as I can. Life gets weird, and then it gets beautiful. 

Simone DeAngelis
a letter to my suicidal friends

To those of you who want to die, 

I need to tell you something. I need to tell you to go outside. Find a forest. Sit in it. 

I have spent a lot of time outside over the last three weeks. Around every corner, there was something new. 

I spent hours looking at the stars as I sat under the Double Arch in Arches National Park with Jonny. I touched this giant arch, a result of hundreds of millions of years of movement and change. I nearly cried when I first put my hand to the sandstone. The moment I felt it, I heard, "this is what being alive feels like." 

I'm not telling you to go off the grid. I'm suggesting you take a short or long drive to a place that is alive with a quiet soul. Sit under a tree and really think about what it means to be made out of stardust, just like the plants around you. Allow the nurturing spirit of these trees to give you the feeling of comfort that you need. If this sounds weird, I want you to know that it's not. 

I sat under a huge sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park. Over 20 feet in diameter, over 200 feet tall. On the National Parks Service website, in regards to sequoia trees, they say, "The vast size of the sequoias is difficult to comprehend fully. It is so out of proportion to commonly recognized measurements of trees or other familiar objects that figures regarding size do not register a clear picture of its vastness." I sat under these trees I'd only seen pictures of. They sounded hollow, it was so weird. They were really soft. 

When I stood in oneness with these trees, I thought, "when you know everything, you become a tree." It was comforting. I have more to learn. I felt a mother's voice say, "Oh, my sweet baby, I am so glad you are here." 

Every day, I saw something I'd never imagined. Something so big, I was stunned. It felt physically a bit like fear, but it wasn't scary. It felt like I'd lost my breath. I want you to feel that, too. Don't die before you sit in the presence of giants on purpose. Give in and allow yourself to imagine what it might be like to truly feel this life in your bones. 

We were walking in the Grand Canyon when we met and spoke with a monk named Swami who gave us books about past lives and Buddhism. It was wonderful to share that moment with him. 

We stayed on a Navajo reservation in a male hogan. The largest reservation in the country. Our closest neighbor was 25 miles away. We spoke with the women there about their traditions and their history. We smiled and laughed with them. It was an unexpected late-night conversation. They gave us beautiful necklaces. 

I encourage you to talk to someone new. I know it's scary and weird at first. It doesn't take long to get comfortable if you try to remain in the present moment. Maybe it's meaningless. It feels good. It feels like connection and it feels so good. I want you to feel that. 

Maybe it doesn't seem feasible. And I've definitely seen a lot of the South West by taking a very scenic route to California. Not a ton of people are able to do that. We went to a small park in Marfa and played on the swings and felt that same sweet feeling we felt when we turned a corner and were welcomed by a mountain. It can be as simple as taking a walk. It's all about approaching it with an intentional wonder. Give yourself permission to try it. 

Ask your inner child what they need. "How can I honor you right now?" We would say, "What do our seventeen-year-olds feel like doing?" And then we would be silly and listen to hip-hop and do jumping jacks on the side of the road. We sprinted through White Sands National Monument with our dogs and laughed the whole time. 

Awaken your curiosity. Everywhere we went, we tried to take away at least one new lesson. With every interaction, we asked, "What can we learn from this? How could I have been more present? How did it feel (in an emotional and mindful way) to jump in that lake?" 

We spent twenty days in the car with our two dogs. (We put them in doggy daycare while we were in Las Vegas and Boulder... it was awesome). 

I went to a casino for the first time and I played the quarter slot machines. I lost $6 and moved on. There was a lot of interesting people-watching, and very interesting water features all over the place. All in the middle of the desert. 

We met other peers who were on the road, too. We came across a man our age traveling solo with his airstream.  

There were a lot of powerful conversations. There was a lot of healing. There are painful pieces of my life. There are relationships I wish I had, there are feelings of abandonment, mistrust, resentment, fear. I had to practice non-attachment to those feelings. I allowed them to come up. I spoke those feelings out loud, and I allowed them to pass. Acknowledge, have tea, let go, repeat as needed. This is not a practice I have perfected by any means. As my dear friend Liz says, "Day by day, in every way, I keep getting better and better. " 

A Zen master had a mantra that she repeated over and over. She said, "thank you for everything, I have no complaints whatsoever." I'm currently working through all the loopholes that negative Sim could come up with, and then I hope to adopt this mantra. Thank you for everything, I have no complaints whatsoever. Don't you wish you could say that? If you want to die, this might be pretty eye-rolly. Just... suspend disbelief for a second, okay? Imagine yourself saying it. Imagine yourself believing it. What would your life look like if you could say this mantra aloud and feel your heart open with acceptance? 

If you want to die, it is a red flag. It does not mean that something is wrong with you. It means that you need to reach out. At first, it's easy to be resistant. Embrace even the smallest feelings of willingness to make a change. Those feelings grow if you give them space. Breathe into it. Sometimes it feels like pain. You're growing. Allow. 

I have the word "allow" tattooed on my hand. I got it when Jonny and I were struggling big time and everything felt like it was falling apart. I wanted to allow that pain to flow through me. If we were going to part ways, I didn't want to do it in anger. (side note: we didn't part ways. He is my very best friend, my romantic sweetheart, and a human being I admire who encourages my spiritual growth on a new level). 

Now, when I see my hand, I remember to allow the happiness. I remember to allow the gratitude and the emotional reactions to these places. The fear, the uncertainty, the anger, the vast beauty, allow it. 

Continue your self-compassion practice as you embrace trust, love, vulnerability, fear of the unknown. Allow it. Chade-Meng Tan wrote, "Happiness is not something that you pursue, it is something that you allow." 

Give yourself breath. Sit next to a tree. Look at its leaves. That tree is where you get your oxygen. Allow yourself to be amazed by that, even if you don't want to. See what it's like to give yourself a moment of wonder. 

Look at a tree or a plant in your house or the grass outside. Imagine yourself seeing that connection. Isn't it amazing? It's the weirdest thing ever! Tap into that oneness, it is there. It is always there. You don't have to believe in anything to have a self-transcendental experience. 

This journey is not over yet. There is a lesson in every moment, a peace that exists in the root of your bones. Take a moment to feel it. There is a chance that you have had some experiences of conditional love. That doesn't mean unconditional love doesn't exist. Give it to yourself. 

Ask for help, because if you feel suicidal, you're having a hard time seeing the big picture. I always felt that I saw the big picture so much that I knew everything. Once I knew the truth that life is stupid, the only option was to kill myself. Let me tell you that despite how true it seems, you don't have to fucking do it. It's not the only way, it's not badass, it's not a jab at anyone, it's a stab. 

My best friend is still healing from the years she feared that I would kill myself. We met in sixth grade. For most of our friendship, she didn't know if I was going to make it. She is so happy I am happy, though that fear sometimes lingers. A professor once told me, "everyone is precious to someone." You are precious. I am precious. 

We are a young nation on an ancient land. Stay here. Be in it. Be a part of the ripple of life that began with the big bang and flows through your lungs. It moves when you smile. It grows when you hug. It comforts when you cry. Learn about the history of the rocks you see on the ground. What did the land where you live look like 450 million years ago? 

Go on a walk, go on a scenic drive, spend one night at a state park. Ask someone to join you if that feels comfortable. Definitely don't go alone if you're actively suicidal. You never know what opportunities for impulse could arise and you need to set yourself up for success. 

We were at King's River in King's Canyon National Park. I felt the water in my hands. It was new and fresh. Just like me, it had never been here before. Always new, allowing. Embrace feelings of healing that you feel, even if they are fleeting. 

I always thought nature was cool. I saw breathtaking beauty in my backyard as a child when deer would walk by and eat the flowers. However, I had never seen so many things that were so incomprehensibly big that they took my breath away. It changed my life. It is changing my life. 

To those of you who want to die, don't. You don't have to. You are made of the stars. You are just like the stars. Shining and burning and changing. You are precious because you exist. If you don't know that yet, you aren't done. 



Simone DeAngelis
halt! don't kill yourself!

When celebrities kill themselves, an increase in suicides tends to follow. In the months following Robin Williams' suicide, suicide rates increased by around 10%. 

Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are not two people I ever thought I'd mention in the same sentence. They seem to have nearly nothing in common. They were both struggling with darkness in a big way. And they killed themselves in the same week. 

Suicide makes me terribly sad. I feel a deep connection to suicide because I had such an intense infatuation with it for over a decade. I know that beast quite well. The idea of it taking someone's life makes me cry and it makes me angry. 

Suicide is preventable. It's a really scary thing to prevent, though. You can't prevent your suicide if you're unwilling to give anyone any kind of subtle hint that something might be amiss. A ton of people have no interest in speaking to someone about their sadness. 

When I was suicidal, I had a lot of dialogue that went like this: "If I tell her I want to kill myself, she's going to call the authorities and it's going to fuck up my whole plan. I've already made my decision. It will only break people's hearts if I tell them what's on my mind. They know something is up, they just don't care about me. If anybody actually knew the real me, they would want me to die." 

I survived through my suicidal years, and it's not because I reached out. I didn't go to someone and tell them all this shit was on my mind, the way I really hope others will. I blacked out on xanax and white wine and screamed it at my dad, and then found myself in a psychiatric hospital. I was a sloppy drunk with access to fantastic mental health care. 

It was while I was in care that I learned how to prevent any future suicidal tendencies. There are a lot of ways to cope with emotions in a way that allows you to feel them appropriately while addressing the bigger picture and your role in it. 

this is not a fight

Stop thinking of it as a battle. I am not at war. I am mostly a little bit depressed most days. At least, right when I wake up. If I follow my morning routine and things are generally consistent, I stop noticing my depression after a few hours. I am not battling mental illness. I am sitting with it. I drink tea with it. I ask my depression what it needs and I am gentle. 

I fought really hard for a long time. Being on the front lines is exhausting. In any war, years of taking bullets and trying to heal them while still taking more bullets would lead any soldier to prefer death. I had to get off the battlefield and go rest. That's why I'm alive today. 

I haven't wanted to kill myself in six years. I think about suicide all the time. I have thoughts that flow through and say, "ugh, that was stupid. Kill yourself." And then the thought passes, just like every other thought. If I get a lot of them in one day, I write myself a note and I let someone know, "man, I had a lot of intrusive thoughts today, it really bummed me out." 

I was speaking with a friend about my six years on this journey. I said, "I wake up every day and I choose life." I've been thinking about that and I think I would reword that sentence. I don't choose life. I chose life six years ago. The door to that decision is closed, I already picked which one I want. When thoughts come up that contradict my decision, I know they are not the thoughts I need to be listening to. You do not have to fight. 

pick your favorite coping skills, make them small  

I got stuck in an undertow about three months ago and it was really scary. I was sucked into an extreme darkness for about three hours. An undertow is what I call the moments when my critical talk takes over and beats the shit out of me. This doesn't happen very often, because I have a really solid compassion practice. It feels like someone else is screaming at me. It's the pissed off part of my ego. It is mostly triggered when I feel like I have accomplished nothing in my life. 

On the second hour, I told myself that I was going to do three things, and if those three things didn't work, I would call a professional and follow their recommendations for what to do next. I wasn't feeling suicidal, I just felt like I couldn't breathe and I was in a lot of pain. What's really cool about that is that the three coping skills I tried worked just the way they usually do, and I was feeling better within an hour of trying them. I was also exhausted and slept for ten hours that night. I felt like I had just taken a beating, and I needed to take some deep breaths. 

Here are the three coping skills I tried: I made a list of three things I'm grateful for, I did three nice things for myself (brushed my teeth, wrote myself a note, asked Jonny for a hug), and I decided to reach out to three people. Two of the people I texted were in the car together and they were at my house twenty minutes later. 

It is really important to prepare future you for the shit storm. You know how you get. Try to write a short note to freaking out you and give yourself a piece of advice you think you would actually follow in that moment. Start seeing what might work for you by practicing new skills when you're feeling good. If you know how to do something and it's easy, you're more likely to actually do it when you're in a shitty spot.  


The suicide hotline is the fucking best and I think everyone reading this should call it, just to practice. I called the suicide hotline every day for thirty days and all I said was, "I won't keep you long, I just wanted to practice calling because sometimes I get suicidal and I want to know how all this works." 

I have called the suicide hotline during four times of crisis in the last six years. It's my backup number for when I am convinced that none of my friends want to hear about my problems. I don't call it regularly, but because I know how it works and I know everyone there is super nice, I always have it in my back pocket. 

The suicide hotline is awesome because you don't need to tell anyone in your real life what is going on. You can call and talk and get some clarity. You can ask questions and get some guidance. You can also call just to have someone listen and validate and care about you. You don't have to have a gun in your hand in order to qualify for the suicide hotline. You don't even have to have tears in your eyes. 

Also! There's a text line that I have not tried! CRISIS TEXT LINE! Text "home" to 741741


Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were game changers in their respective fields. They were also friends and family members and they were so special to the people who loved them. Everyone is special to someone. 

For some, these very public deaths will be further motivation for suicide. For those suicidal folks, I have one thing to say -- this is your story. You do not need to die. You can choose where this goes. I know, I know, it doesn't feel like it. Call that number, text that friend, look up that therapist you heard about. Speak this out loud. This is a story that only you can tell. This is your story. Cherish it. 

If your friends are struggling, give them the opportunities they need to talk. It is never your fault if your friend commits suicide (I almost didn't type that because sometimes I feel like I could have prevented Trevor's suicide if I'd just been a bit more annoying). However, as a friend, you have an awesome opportunity to be a listener. 

Talking about suicide does not automatically enroll you in the nearest state-run acute care hospital. You can talk about suicide openly and without judgment. 

You can validate and give love and hugs. As a friend of a person struggling with mental illness, you will need patience and understanding. Willingness to have the same conversation as many times as necessary. Willingness to have no answers. And if your friend is struggling in a way that you think needs more attention, you are not shitty for calling a professional. If you're not sure where to start, you can start by calling the suicide hotline and asking them what you can do to help your friend. 



Simone DeAngelis
six years ago

Six years ago today, I begrudgingly took the first step in my healing journey by entering inpatient psychiatric care. It was a Thursday.

Since my stay in care, I have not attempted or planned a suicide attempt. I have not written a suicide note in six years. Sometimes I forget what a huge deal that is. I know how to avoid killing myself today. I don't need alcohol or cocaine to make me feel better. I love nourishing my body with healthy food and pizza. 

Year six was a tough one, folks. It started with being sick and my marriage sucking, and ended with OG's heartbreaking death. Though it was easily the most tumultuous year I've had since 2012, it was also the most beautiful. There was a giant puddle of mud, and out of it, a fucking garden of lotus flowers grew. No mud, no lotus. 


Being alive is very cool and sometimes quite painful. That's part of it. Pain is simply a passing moment. It's been easier to buy into that as I have begun observing my pain in a new way. I spent time in both physical and emotional pain this year. I felt it. I can't tell you how grateful I am that I felt every minute of it. 

I felt angry when I needed to feel angry. And feeling angry did not mean sounding aggressive. Jonny and I had a lot of long talks about whether or not we wanted to be married. I had to take a few five-minute breaks so that I could go break pencils and cry for a moment before returning to the conversation with a rational mind. We did not raise our voices or stand up during any of our conversations. We were sitting down, facing each other, even if we couldn't yet look at each other. I was pissed. Our only rule was: always come home. I texted my brother every other day to ask him if I could come stay with him. But we always came home. I'm so grateful and so proud of us. It was really hard. 

I meditated, I played with buttons, I screamed in my car. I went to therapy and just cried and yelled. I ate a lot of donuts and really started leaning into food to change the way I felt. I read my book a bunch of times (I can't wait for you to read it, too!). 

In July I spent seven days in the hospital because we thought I had epilepsy. I don't. I had a deep underlying anxiety that I was not willing to look at. I had other things to focus on and I just forgot that I had a lot of shit that I didn't feel like dealing with. It took us five months to really know what was going on. I got concussions, made trips to the ER, hurt myself falling down the stairs. I was just passing out fucking everywhere. That brought me a lot of pain. I couldn't go to work, drive, walk upstairs when no one was home. It was weird, to say the least. 

I am so grateful for that experience. It's been nine months since I last fell. I hadn't counted out the months until I just went to type that, so now I'm crying. It was not a cool time. It was also totally amazing. I read a shit ton of books, I wrote a lot, I asked people for help. I couldn't hide this. There wasn't anything I could do about it yet and I was a liability everywhere I went. So I had to fucking own it. Not easy. I cried and screamed and yelled about that, too. 

Existential angst is in the DNA of my everyday. I got curious about my spirituality in new ways. I played with it like I was solving a rubix cube. I was so mad at the world. I thought I was doing everything right. Praying was a regular thing. I just needed to be really mad at someone. So I got really mad at source/universe/oneness, and I had a thing or two to say about this bullshit. Yelling at the universe felt good. I'm not into the idea that anyone is listening. It's just about the energy I feel when I say it out loud, directly to the grander scheme of things. 


September and October were two huge months of catching my breath. I had done everything right. I graduated from college, got a job, got a house, got married, got promoted. I was doing all of the things and I was loving it. It felt so good. There was never a moment that I didn't love it. 

And then I got sick and things took a turn. I was really sad all the time and I lost some of my light. Completely out of nowhere. For no reason. Though my life is beautiful beyond belief today, this shit was not fate. 

I rested in September and I began coming to my senses in October. As soon as Jonny and I had our first shitty relationship talk, we emailed the therapist we'd gone to for premarital counseling (we came up with a d-word action plan before we got married - 3 months of therapy). 

Jonny is getting better at self-compassion and mindfulness than I am. We have had amazing conversations and we talk about parts of the future that we are worried about. We respect each other as individuals. We remind each other to come back to breath, and we communicate our needs instead of trying to read each other's minds. His journey through this year has been admirable and inspiring. He embraced his own community, he cried, he asked for help. I asked him to write about it for me so that I can share it with all of you. 

Friends started coming into my life as soon as I opened my heart to community. I'd been pretty isolated while I was sick. No one understood what was going on. I didn't understand, doctors didn't understand, it was so confusing. There was so much going on I couldn't keep everyone on the same page. I was tired of telling six people the same story every day. There were two women that really held me through that process and kept me from going totally crazy, even when I didn't want to see anyone. 

New opportunities to put myself out there started presenting themselves. In therapy, Jonny and I were asked to really think about what we want our lives to look like. We got really clear on our values. One of those values is relationships. We take our values very seriously, so I had no choice but to start focusing on relationships. 

I want to be around people I want to be like. So I started surrounding myself with those people. I asked my friends to invite me to parties/rallies/talks so I could meet people. And I met a lot of people! I am surrounded by powerful women and I am a powerful woman. It is amazing how much pretending to be confident can accomplish. It helps me actually feel confident! I forget that I'm pretending.

I went on a very healing women's retreat, and I'm going on another one soon. I am allowing myself to be seen by women. Discussing spirituality and truth with people I love makes my heart beat stronger. My dear friend and fountain of inspiration (Liz, thank you for sharing your healing with me) gave me the gift of my mantra for this coming year. I am worthy. This is what I need. 

My long-held truth that life is meaningless and insignificant has begun to make yet another evolution. I am connecting with the things that tether me to my existence and make me feel good. This journey has led me towards a path of exploring the metaphysical with an open and willing heart. I can't wait to tell you more about it. 


I experienced emotions and energy in a way I never have. As a result, I have discovered on a new level just how fucking powerful and resilient I am. Using the tools I have gathered from brilliant people over the last six years, I walked through this storm with certainty. I was absolutely certain that I would get through it.

I had no doubt that my life would feel lighter, and it does. Today is a big day, and I am full of gratitude. Six years ago, I wished my dad a happy birthday (happy birthday, pops!!), and I walked through the doors of a psychiatric hospital. That twenty-year-old girl was skeptical and pissed off. I am honoring her today by getting all of the hugs she was too afraid to ask for. Sweet, precious, beautiful girl, you do not have to end your life to finally breathe. 






Simone DeAngelis
can't go under it, can't go over it.

There is no way around pain. Though this may seem obvious, it's something I really came to understand within the last 48 hours. I can't get around it, I have to go through it. 

I was sitting outside with Jonny, watching the dogs play before we went to bed. I started feeling really sick as I was thinking about the death of a wonderful man and the plight of addiction. I will say his name for the rest of my life. O.G., my dear, I will love you forever. I felt physically uncomfortable, I couldn't sit still, my mind was racing. I figured he'd be around forever. 

I tried to pause, I tried to get still. I did a quick body scan, and I felt so many places where I felt really tense. My chest was tight, for some reason my ears felt really weird, my calves were tense. I was shivering. I tried to pause again. I was feeling all of this pent up energy in my body. 

So, I decided to stretch it out. I opened my arms, I shook my legs, I sighed really loud a bunch of times. I cried, I cursed a lot, I said "ughhhhhhhh" really loud. I needed to let the emotional pain I was feeling move through me. There is no way around pain. Screaming in cars is cathartic. 

I was feeling so angry about this fucking opioid epidemic, dude. It sucks. I have to let myself cry. I cry for the devastated families and the significant others and the best friends. I replay every hug and every philosophical conversation. I think, "I could have reached out more, I could have been a better friend, it's been eight years since I saw him every day, why didn't we stay close? I could have, I could have, I could have." Though that wormhole of regret is not productive, it's so easy to get stuck there. I wasn't around for him. I thought we were all done dying. 

Really tight hugs feel really good. It's okay to have the same conversation over and over and over again. This blog post is really hard to write. Writing helps. It's so important to move the energy/feelings through your body and heart. 

It will be painful. It will be so painful. There isn't a way around it. Avoiding pain does not mean it's gone. In my experience, feeling it is the only way to heal. 

Here are some things you can do 

  • let your community take care of you 
  • cry 
  • scream 
  • do yoga 
  • go on a run 
  • play with your dogs 
  • ask for a hug
  • write 
  • take care of yourself 
  • say his name 
  • write letters 
  • go on a long drive 
  • listen to music 
  • dance 
  • shake 

miss you 

I will miss O.G. every day. As I feel the pain of this loss, the pain of all of the other losses rises to the surface. I have to look at this as a new opportunity to learn. This loss changes my life. It changes my worldview. I'll give tighter hugs now. I'll listen to his favorite music. 


Simone DeAngelis
hurt people hurt feelings

Kindness is magic. When I feel myself getting frustrated, I remember that kindness is magic. It doesn't make me feel better. It reminds me how I want to handle feelings of resentment, fear, jealousy, annoyance, or anger. 

Shitty feelings feel shitty. That's the nature of them. It sucks when those shitty feelings involve other people being assholes. There's this feeling of injustice that needs to be corrected. The way I choose to go about that feeling is to not do anything. At least, I try to not do anything. Yet.

If someone has just done something that really pissed me off, it's best I don't say anything. I risk saying too much or not getting my point across. It frequently causes even more of a mix up. I find myself thinking, "it's not fair that they said that to me. My feelings are hurt, obviously they're in the wrong." 

Instead of reacting to that thought, I say, "kindness is magic." It gives me a pause. It buys me some time so I can take a step back. The fact that I'm sad doesn't always mean that other people are wrong. It feels like they're wrong. It feels like I have been wronged. I think, "well, if they knew they hurt my feelings maybe they would stop doing that." That's totally true. It's also sometimes just a personality trait. 

When I've been hurt by someone, I have to consider whether I've hurt them. It doesn't make their behavior okay. It does help me understand and empathize with their behavior. Every situation is 90/10. That means that 90% of the current situation is based on your entire history with the person you're talking to. 10% of it actually has to do with the present moment. 

So, when someone is shitty, I have to consider their side of their history with me. And, I have to consider my side of that history. Maybe I'm especially pissed because I'm actually still pissed about something that happened months ago. Maybe the same is true for that person. 

My teacher taught me that when someone triggers you, it's a red flag that you need to take a closer look at yourself. Is this person triggering a deep insecurity that you're afraid is true? Get curious about it. 

what to do 


If you're feeling that blood boil feeling that totally sucks, try to slow down by taking a few deep breaths. You can try square breathing by following this illustration. Try doing this exercise three times and see how you feel. Increasing oxygen to your brain helps you feel calm. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 2.25.06 AM.png


It's so easy to stay pissed off. The more you think about how you have been wronged, the angrier you may begin to feel. Writing can help because it helps you see this issue outside of yourself. Thinking about your feelings and your relationships can be really productive. It's not going to be super productive if you're super fired up the whole time.  

In order to get to a space where you can think about the situation objectively, you can write out your frustration. Try to see what might be important to look at and what you can leave behind. 


First, talk to a friend or a mentor. It can be so easy to have tunnel vision when you're deeply enmeshed in a frustration. Having someone to talk to can help you gain a clearer perspective. Then you can decide whether or not you want to talk to the person who has hurt your feelings. 

It isn't always necessary to have a conversation. Maybe you learned what you needed to and you don't feel like you need to talk this out with the person you were frustrated with. Maybe you do. 

When you go to have a direct conversation with someone, make sure you have an outline of what you want to say. Talking about feelings is a vulnerable thing to do and it can be easy to get defensive and angry. Breathe your way through it. Be kind to yourself and to others. 

kindness is magic 

When you don't know what to do, do the kind thing. If you don't know what to say, don't say anything. We can't know the whole situation. We can't know the whole story, even if we were there and paying attention. You feel your heart pounding in your ears and your palms start sweating. Pause. 

healing women healing women
Photo by Paige Newton (instagram: @paigenphoto)

Photo by Paige Newton (instagram: @paigenphoto)

I recently learned something I already knew, but had never experienced on such a deep level. I learned how to let myself be seen.  

I signed up for something based on my interests and curiosities. I signed up for something because a badass woman I have a total friend crush on suggested it. I hung out with 8 women I'd never met, and had the most fulfilling weekend I've had in years (aside from my wedding, and that was a different kind of energy). 

It was a weekend of yoga, meditation, and laughter. It was amazing. I processed pain, I gave encouragement, I got so many hugs. We had an amazing dance party. There was delicious food. It was just everything. I went into it with an open mind and a deep intention to remain authentic. 

I thought, "I don't know anyone, I can just be completely myself and see what happens. If it doesn't work out, Jonny will pick me up and I will move on from this." I went into it sort of like an experiment. What happens when I put the true, authentic Sim in house for a weekend with a group of people she's never met? I went into it with a curious mind. 

I was definitely nervous. I want to say I was terrified, because that's typically what I would feel. I wasn't terrified. I didn't try to get out of it at the last minute. I thought about it, and I really wanted to follow through. Two of my values are community and relationships. If I canceled, I would not be following through on my values. 

magic happens 

At first, I thought these women were so cool they were out of my league. By the end of the weekend, I realized that they are my peers and my sisters and my soulmates. I didn't think I was worthy of friendship from women as open and expressive and honest as these women. 

I am worthy of everything I want. You are, too. You are worthy of everything you want. Say it out loud. Say it again. You are worthy of everything you want. Look in the mirror and tell yourself. I need you to know it. 


By listening to these intelligent, spiritual, and wondrous women, I started looking at my world differently. It was 48 hours, and it changed me. 

I haven't consciously sucked in my stomach since the retreat. I'm like, "fuck it, y'all, I just ate a lot. Deal with it." Owning my body. Feeling myself in my body. Loving my body. Healing my body. 

By taking care of my body and paying attention to what it needs, I can process the emotion I have held on to. When I did yoga (not a super yoga expert by any means), I felt tension released and I felt lighter. 

When I meditated with crystals, I held my emotion separate from me and I gave it to these beautiful stones. Whether you're into that shit or not, it's a cool practice and a way to hold a tangible object that can represent whatever you want it to. For example, I use crystals as reminders. I keep one in my pocket and when I feel it, it reminds me to take a deep breath and check the present moment. I really like crystals. 


I'm still on cloud nine because eight women who are just total badasses became some near and dear friends. I talked about books that changed my life and they had read them, too. I talked about things I've learned in therapy that might be a little "woo woo," and they knew exactly what I was talking about. They taught me even more. They broadened my horizons, they showed me new worlds. 

They taught me things that I never thought to know. It was cool to be on the exact same wave length with so many people. We all felt it. There were tears. It was really impactful. 


Positive action invites positive growth. That's not mystical shit, that's just the way things work. When you take forward action toward something you are interested in, you will learn something. Even if things get weird, you will learn something. 

I want to be the person I want to be. That's what I'm all about right now. In order to do that, I have to put myself in some uncomfortable situations. That's really easy to do, because a lot of social situations make me nervous. 

I'm not saying I like throwing myself in shark tanks holding bait. It's all about easing into it. Give yourself what you need to feel comfortable as you venture into new territory in order to experience the growth you need to become the person you want to be. 

healing women healing women 

We healed each other a little bit more. We gave each other unconditional love and we learned a lot. I made some of the closest friends who know me in a different way than anyone else does. I may not see them often, I may not see them. That's not the point. 

Being surrounded by that feminine power was exactly what I needed as I venture down the path of defining my own womanhood. 

I am powerful beyond belief and I am a fucking badass. I've been telling myself that for years and believing it (off and on) for about five. I learned it on a deeper level over the course of the retreat. I am so grateful. 

The next few blog posts coming your way have to do with completely different topics than this eye-opening retreat. However, they are connections I have made in my life as a result of the after effects of this time. This retreat was a pebble in the pond that made a ripple through my being. 

this is the point

Get yourself out of your comfort zone while remaining authentic. Usually, when I'm out of my comfort zone, I'm a chameleon. I adapt to whatever the situation calls for in order to avoid rejection at all costs. 

I didn't do that with this retreat. I don't know what was different this time. I was totally free. Those badass babes made my heartbeat stronger and my determination clearer. I will thank them forever. 


Simone DeAngelis

the root of everything is kindness

As a result of some serious breakthroughs and epiphanies over an incredibly authentic and treasured weekend (more on that magic later), I have come to a new level of understanding about the way I see my world. I want to share it with you. I love sharing my truth with you

I frequently explain that nothing truly matters in the grand scheme of things. I talk about how life is meaningless. It makes me feel peaceful. On the other hand, I do feel that life has meaning. And I see it in the lives of others. So, what do I mean when I say, "life is meaningless, everything is insignificant"? This is my biggest contradiction.

There are lessons we must learn in life, and I believe the force that holds it all together is truth. Sit in the moment. Let go of ego. Let go of material. Be here. Breathe. 

be kind in the dark

I have been through plenty of fucked up shit, I don't need to qualify. Neither do you. I have found, through all of the mud, that a lotus always grows. Always. It does. Because in the moment, you are breathing. You are here. This is the truth. 

Sometimes it is horrible. It is painful and it feels like it's never going to end. I know. That is when you breathe. That is when you feel it. Allow it to flow through you. The energy must come out. You do not have to self-destruct. You do not have to cause harm to yourself or others in order to move through the pain. 

Scream in your car on the way home, break pencils, play with buttons. Feel it all, you are in the moment. Be there, and then breathe there. Breathe. I know it's hard. I know you think you can't. You can. 

come back to kindness 

Always come back to kindness. That is the root of everything for me. Everything. In 50 years, in 10 years, in 200 years, at any point, nothing you have done or ever will do really actually matters. Nothing. That's not what this is about. It's kindness. 

You don't need to worry about whether you will be remembered. You will be. The tiny energy and the emotion and the compassion and the kindness you place in motion will continue, it will continue beyond anything you could imagine. It is tiny, and it matters. It matters because the ties that bind us together are made of the kindness we share with each other and with our planet. We have to let it flow through us. It feels good. It can be passionate, peaceful, determined. Discoveries and progress, new innovations. 

The energy put into forward motion must be kind. If there is not kindness, there will not be peace. Whatever energy is emitted is what will continue forward. 

be kind

What you do doesn't matter. Be kind. I don't understand why we go to the grocery store and see all these people and avoid eye contact and pretend they don't exist. It's weird. And when I say, "we," I'm including myself. I fucking hate going to the grocery store. I'm just saying, it's weird that we actively ignore each other. 

You are constantly unsure. Constantly doubting yourself. That's when you can get quiet. Sit with yourself. It's hard to sit still. It's hard to drive in the car with the music off. It's okay. You're okay. There is no wrong way to begin. Go on a quiet walk. Sit in a quiet room. Smell a good candle. Listen to that song. Pause. Observe. Breathe. Kindness will come to you when you ask for it. You'll know what to do. 

take care of yourself

Be kind to yourself. You are a small being with a huge heart and you truly are doing your best. Even when you stay in bed all day, you are doing your best. Be kind to yourself. Connect with others authentically and treat yourself to truth and peace. Take a bath. Watch your favorite movie. Be kind. 

Kindness is not a personality trait, it is a plane of existence. You do not know what to do next. Perhaps you think you know, or you have a vague idea. You don't know. Take the kind action. 

Look to your values and ask your inner child. Ask the universe. Ask your friends. When you misstep, there is nothing wrong with you. You learned something new. Celebrate.

You are doing life every day with no roadmap or idea of the future. That sucks. It's scary. You have a job interview tomorrow. You're preparing. Imagining. You think you're going to get the job. You're afraid you're going to get the job. What if you don't? What if it goes terribly? What if you're not enough

And then you go, and the interview is great, and you do get the job. Or, you go, and the interview is great, and you don't get the job. Or, you go, and you make a fool of yourself and you are shamed until the next decade. Anything will happen. 

Be kind to yourself, you cannot tell the future. 

life is meaningless 

Life is meaningless! On an individual, ego-to-ego level, there is no such thing as you. Your sense of separateness that you have from others doesn't matter. Your individuality, the way you dress, how you talk, your mannerisms. Those are all results of the lessons you have learned and the experiences you have had while you have been here. Those details are precious and beautiful, they help you determine what kindness path you are going to take. 

Also, this isn't about you. It's not about anyone. You're an atom in a living organism. You don't have a say about what that huge living organism does. What you do have a say in, is its health. And its overall health determines what it does. 

You are here right now. That's just the way it unfolded. The fact that you are here is really important. You are here and you need to learn and open as much as you can because the health of this huge organism depends on it. 

You can do and be whatever you want. You can be a computer programmer. You can value luxury and buy cars. You can work at a non-profit organization. You can drive the city bus or sing for stadiums full of people. You can do all of those things at the same time. Whatever the fuck there is to do, you can do that. 

Do it in kindness. You know what kindness is. You can't, like, kill someone in the name of kindness. You don't speed in a school zone because you like it and you think that means you're being kind to yourself. You know what kindness is. 

Suicide isn't kind (I'm also not saying it's mean, though).I always thought it was a super loving thing to do because I would be letting my whole family off the hook. Making decisions from a poor mental health state is not kind. (suicide is also unkind for one million other reasons). 

you are worthy 

Kindness also happens to feel really, really good. When you open yourself up, you are allowing love, vulnerability, connection. Give that gift to yourself. You deserve it. Feel good.

You matter (you are matter), your ego doesn't matter. You are here and you need love in order to give love. You deserve love. Others deserve love. Love feels good. You don't need to shy away from that anymore. 

None of these material things or achievements really mean anything. As a part of the world we live in, there are social contracts we have to follow. That does not have to be as restricting as it sometimes feels. Meditate. Stretch. Breathe. Be kind. 

Nothing matters, be kind.  

Simone DeAngelis
anxiety blocks

You know when you have so much to do, you just can't do any of it? Is that a normal thing that happens? It happens to me all the time. If I let my email inbox pile up, I stop checking it. I get super nervous out of nowhere and I get to this weird place where I just can't bring myself to open my email. 

I'll type in "gmail.com" and then close out that tab before it even loads. I just get so overwhelmed so quickly. This happens when my to-do list gets unreasonably long or when I accidentally take on too many clients. I just sort of shut down. 

Over time, I have figured out a few ways to get through that block. 

begin it 

The hardest part is getting started. You need to let that email inbox load without closing it out. For some reason, I find it easier to do this in a public place rather than at home in my office. I think this is because if I'm at home, I'm more likely to stall even longer.

Usually, stressful emails don't show up. But I'm braced for it and it's not a fun feeling. When I'm at home, I let myself off the hook. I stand up and I go do laundry, I take the dogs out, I clean my desk. Anything but check that email. 

By going down the street to a coffee shop, I make a smooth transition into grown-up work mode. I can talk to my inner child and say, "hey, grown-up Sim is going to deal with this and you don't have to worry about anything scary."

put on your grown-up hat 

I know that most of my anxiety is my inner child freaking out. I speak to myself in a kind way (usually in response to a bunch of intrusive and rude self-talk). I also hold myself accountable. Yeah, it's totally okay that this is happening and there is nothing wrong with you. It doesn't say anything about what quality of a person you are. 

Also, though, it's not cool to skimp on responsibilities. Yes, for sure, anxiety happens and it slows things down. Be patient with yourself, definitely. Also, do what you need to do to cope with the fact that you need to take care of things -- doctor's appointments, meetings with clients, sitting down and actually writing. 

Getting to that coffee shop or making phone calls to grown-ups who are way more grown-up than I am can be intimidating. What helps me speak to myself in a reasonable and motivating way is reminding myself of my values. 

look to values 

Is my procrastination affecting other people? It's definitely not helpful to me. Is that in line with my values? Definitely not. 

It's not kind, it's not focused on connection, and it doesn't align with how much I value work ethic. I want to be the person I want to be. So, objectively asking myself if my behavior is within my values helps a lot to move me forward. 

don't hold on to shame 

Getting into anxiety blocks where I just can't focus on anything makes me feel like shit. All of the things lead to all of the thoughts. Shame creeps in when I know I'm not living according to my values. I talk shit to myself because if I could just pick up that phone or check that email or go to the grocery store, everything would be fine. 

I find myself frustrated because these are such simple things to do, and I somehow can't do them. It's like there's this invisible force of anxiety keeping me from moving. 

When I notice negative thoughts, I do my best to let them pass. I put them on a leaf in a stream in my head and I let these shitty thoughts float by. 

feel good

Remember how good it feels when everything is done and taken care of? Start by focusing on one tiny thing, instead of all of the things. Focus on the inbox, focus on the errands, focus on the phone calls. One at a time. Start with making your bed. 

The more you can get those feelings of success from performing responsibilities the more you will accomplish. Allow yourself to feel good when you complete one thing, even if you have a bunch more to do. This helps build confidence and creates momentum to keep going down the to-do list. 

anxiety blocks 

In order to best overcome anxiety blocks, look to what has worked in the past. Do you need to let other people know? Do you need an accountabilibuddy? Maybe you need someone to sit with you when you check your email. 

Get curious about what causes this anxiety. Is it fear of the unknown? Fear that people are angry with you? Are you trying to self-sabotage out of fear of success or fear of failure? Are you just sick of everything and want to run away? 

Ask yourself what you need. This stuff is going to get done, you're going to check your email at some point again. You'll get through the anxiety. It doesn't always feel like it, but it is possible to reach out and ask for help at any point in an anxiety block. 

How long do you want to go through this anxiety? What have you tried so far? Can you take a step back and come up with a reasonable plan of action? What support do you need? 

By doing these things (after years of trial and error), I've found those anxiety blocks to move through me quickly. I've developed my ability to ask for help (from compassionate and hard working people I trust) to the point that it doesn't feel uncomfortable (even if I'm embarrassed that I need help doing something as simple as dialing a phone number). 

forgive yourself, ask for help, move through it, feel better, repeat. 

Simone DeAngelis