The Lifespan of an Emotion

By Sarah Chauncey | March 6, 2017

In neuroscientist Jill Bolte-Taylor’s memoir, My Stroke of Insight, she notes that the physiological lifespan of an emotion in the body and brain is 90 seconds. The sensations—adrenalin, heat in the face, tightness in the throat, rapid heartbeat—arise, peak and dissipate on their own. When was the last time you experienced an emotion for only…

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How to Separate Facts from Stories

By Sarah Chauncey | March 5, 2017

We humans are story-making machines. Yet our minds don’t limit story-making to those times when it’s helpful for us. We all tell ourselves and others stories all the time. Often, those stories create pain—and they’re not rooted in fact.

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Snowstorms as a Metaphor for Life’s Challenges

By Sarah Chauncey | February 10, 2017

The accumulated snow from the past two weeks finally began melting today, as temperatures moved slightly above freezing for the first time in…what seems like a very long time. As I was walking, I passed the juniper bush in the photo above. It’s right around the corner from my apartment, and I pass by it at…

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Labels are for Jars

Labels are for Jars, Not People

By Sarah Chauncey | February 9, 2017

The very first thing I did, on my path to healing, was to stop labeling my brain. This was a huge shift. Labels had been my crutch for years. I’d been an active and eager participant in finding external reasons why I was the way I was. I’d had 12 labels—diagnoses—placed on my brain over…

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There is Nothing Wrong With You

By Sarah Chauncey | February 8, 2017

We live in a culture that sells the promise of 24/7 productivity (without even asking if that’s desirable), constant giddy happiness, creativity that never gets blocked, financial wealth and endless sexual vitality. Oh, and perfect pores. That’s not life. That’s what we tend to label ‘mania.’ (Except the wealth and pores parts).

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The Benefits of Inner and Outer Silence

By Sarah Chauncey | February 7, 2017

I wrote this post more than three years ago, long before COVID-19. Today, many people are dealing with silence and solitude on a level they never expected (or wanted). I’m feeling powerless to help, so I’m sharing my experiences in dealing with solitude and uncertainty.

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Learning How to Observe Thoughts

By Sarah Chauncey | January 25, 2017

One of the foundations of inner peace for me is realizing that I am not my thoughts. In order to do that, though—and this is pretty much the core of everything I practice and write about—I had to learn to observe my thoughts, to recognize that the thoughts exist on their own plane, and that thoughts weren’t…

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My Word for 2017: Allow

By Sarah Chauncey | December 31, 2016

I don’t have any particular New Year’s traditions any more. Through my 20s and 30s, I grew tired of resolutions, then commitments and goals—all things that ultimately made me feel bad about myself (usually within about six weeks). In my early 40s, I decided to focus on how I wanted to grow, and then I released…

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© Emma Simpson / Unsplash

6 Benefits of Slowing Down

By Sarah Chauncey | October 28, 2016

We all want to matter to others. The mistake is in believing that busyness is a sign of our value as human beings. There’s a saner way to live.

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Tree Portrait 16-Oct-23

By Sarah Chauncey | October 23, 2016

From a distance, these trees look uniformly bright pink. Up close, the colors are much more intricate.  

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How to Cope with Really Big Challenges

By Sarah Chauncey | September 11, 2016

It is possible to find inner peace even when you’re dealing with survival-level issues. In my experience, though, it takes significant time and intense focus.

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50 Thoughts on Turning 50

By Sarah Chauncey | June 17, 2016

On the last day of my 40s, I’m writing a list of things I’ve learned so far. (I know, it’s not exactly original, but it is mine.) Without children, a marriage or a traditional career milestones, this birthday has snuck up on me. In some ways, I feel blindsided. And yet, here I am. Arguing…

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An Open Letter to Those Going off Medication

By Sarah Chauncey | May 19, 2016

Going off meds is a very personal decision, not one that should be imposed on anyone…nor should anyone be coerced into staying on them.

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How to Experience Music as a Spiritual Teaching

By Sarah Chauncey | February 18, 2016

I love music—who doesn’t?—yet it had never occurred to me that music itself could be a teaching, that it could bring people to the place, the experience, that spiritual teachers’ words point to, the transcendence that’s sometimes found in meditation (and often isn’t). But that’s exactly what one song did.  As Martin Mull famously said, writing about…

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What an MRI Machine Taught Me About Mindfulness

By Sarah Chauncey | February 5, 2016

Note: A friend expressed concern and mentioned that, in the U.S., people only have MRIs if something is seriously wrong. In Canada, MRI is sometimes used in place of other screening technologies; this was just a checkup. Ok, I admit, this is a bit of a departure from the whole nature and walking thing. Bear with…

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There is Only One Teaching (Eckhart Tolle essay)

By Sarah Chauncey | January 19, 2016

In 2013, Eckhart Tolle’s website put out a call for essays about how his teachings. I spent the next year writing and revising this essay, which was published on his site in January 2016. The page no longer exists, so I decided to share it here.

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An Update on the Freelance Feast or Famine Cycle

By Sarah Chauncey | January 8, 2016

Every freelancer goes through feast or famine, but I have to say that I think I’ve hit some extremes on both ends. After two years of significant financial challenges, last year I earned twice the highest amount I’ve ever earned in a calendar year…thanks to a single contract.

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The Requisite Year in Review Post (2015)

By Sarah Chauncey | December 30, 2015

  I’m not all that keen on New Year’s as a “fresh start,” since pretty much any moment is a fresh start. But there’s something about the collective energy of a fresh start (i.e., everyone else’s New Year’s posts), and also… I wrote about the challenging times last year, so now it’s time to write…

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