The Human Brain is Awesome. It’s Also Very Limited.

By Sarah Chauncey | April 24, 2017

Imagine a culture where people are valued and ranked based on their ability to smell. One in which those with larger noses and more sensitive nostrils, more olfactory receptors, are revered as superior to all others. In this culture, dogs are considered gods, and bloodhounds, with 300 million receptors, are worshipped above all others.

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We Don’t Know Anything, Really

By Sarah Chauncey | March 27, 2017

None of us really knows what we’re talking about. Not me, not you, not anybody else. I mean, we know some relative things about living on this planet, but in the big picture, the absolute? Nothing. 

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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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