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Laura Horton-Ludwig

Two women looking thoughtful

Does it ever feel scary to be honest about what you need?

Recently I was working with a client I’ll call Maya. (I’ve changed all the details to protect her privacy.) Maya told me she was looking forward to seeing an old friend soon. They’d met back in high school and stayed close in the decades since. Though it had been years since they’d lived in the same city, they’d visited back and forth many times.
Now Maya was planning another trip to stay with her friend for the weekend. She told me she was excited to see her friend, but also oddly anxious about it. They hadn’t been fighting or anything like that. Why was she feeling so uneasy about visiting one of her closest friends in the world?
I invited Maya to sit with that feeling of uneasiness for a while, just inviting it to reveal whatever was ready to be revealed.
After a minute or so, Maya took a deep breath and said, “I think I know what’s going on. I love my friend, but I always feel like I can’t get enough alone-time when I’m there. We spend hours talking, and I love that, but I also need my quiet time to be alone and read or just think or whatever.”
Maya paused and thought some more. “It might not sound like such a big deal, but I think it might actually be part of something bigger. I have this weird feeling like I can’t ask for what I need, because it would be rude, or maybe she would think I didn’t care about spending time with her. And I do want to spend time with her—it’s so good to see her! I just need some down time too. So I end up feeling like I’m sort of fighting myself and hiding what I’m really thinking, and it all feels weird and messed up.”

Taylor

How to get clear when you’re struggling with a tough decision

What about the big, important decisions that matter a lot, but you just can’t figure out what to do?
Clients often arrive struggling with decisions like this. Like whether to leave a job or a relationship that’s grown painfully difficult. Or whether to keep working toward something really important—a project, a dream—when it just doesn’t seem to be working.
At times like these, it can be really hard to decide what to do. There may be a lot at stake. You can’t know what the future will bring. And yet, you know it’s important to make a decision and move forward, one way or the other.
In those moments, a simple embodied practice I use with clients may help you gain clarity on what path really feels best for you….

Woman looking anxiously at man occupied with cell phone

Feeling jealous? Here’s a simple trick to transform your jealousy into joy.

On the first day of a new class, I walked into the room and found a seat. Looking around at the other participants, my eyes were drawn to a woman on the other side of the circle. She sat calmly, comfortable in her own skin, self-contained and poised.

Meanwhile, I was feeling anxious inside. Questions rattled around my busy brain: would anyone like me? Would I like them? Did I forget to bring anything I needed? When would lunch be?

I glanced again at the woman across the circle, so calm and relaxed. A jolt of jealousy hit me. I wanted to be that person who was calm, confident, untroubled by anxious worryings. But I wasn’t that person.

Or was I?

Slice of cake and vase of flowers

Stop feeling guilty about “guilty pleasures”

So many times, I’ve seen clients show up for a session feeling bashful, because the thing that’s on their mind that day seems really small and silly. Maybe a guilty pleasure they’re embarrassed about but can’t seem to set down.

Take Jean (her name and all identifying details have been changed). Jean showed up one day feeling guilty because she’d been obsessing about redecorating her living room & had spent hours that week on the search for just the right throw pillow.

Jean had plenty of things on her plate. She was a professional with serious responsibilities at work. Her family also needed a lot of her attention. And she cared a lot about the state of our society and our planet. With so many urgent issues clamoring for her time and energy, how could she be wasting time shopping for throw pillows?

Outdoor coffee brewing

Getting past shame when you’re learning something new

A few years ago, I took the opportunity to learn about a new-to-me approach to writing sermons. I’d been preaching for years, but I’d been feeling a little stale in my approach, hungry for some fresh ideas. So I was excited to sign up for a workshop led by a fantastic preaching professor. Over three days, he taught us a structure for sermon-writing that made logical sense, touched my heart, and left me feeling excited and hopeful. It was just what I needed!
After I got home, I started working through the exercises in the workbook he’d given us so that we could follow his method.
That’s where the trouble started.
About an hour into it, the initial excitement I’d felt had melted away. In its place, a queasy mixture of overwhelm, frustration, and shame boiled up.

Today, I’m so much better at catching and tending to those spikes of shame, and even finding the positive gift in them.

Here are the two insights that helped me get there….

Youth jumping cropped

Are you tired of forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do?

Imagine you’re sitting at the kitchen table, trying to motivate yourself to put on your workout clothes, unroll your mat, and do a yoga class on Youtube. It’s been a couple of weeks since your last workout and you’ve been feeling pretty low-energy.

You know a good class would leave your body, mind, and spirit feeling so much better. It always has in the past. But lately, you just can’t seem to make yourself do it…..

So many people try to force themselves to do things they think would be good for them, whether it’s that yoga class or something else they think would be a healthy choice for them….

But if the forcing isn’t working, and you still can’t seem to do the thing you intend to do, maybe it’s time to get curious about the resistance you’re experiencing, and show it some love and respect. Befriend it, even.

Bird nest in rosemary planter

What needs sheltering in you?

Yesterday morning, my husband and I were about to prune the potted rosemary on the deck, partially dead after the cold snap this past winter. Then we saw the two little brown birds flying back and forth, perching on the edge of the planter, holding bits of bark in their beaks. Then one of them fluttered into a small hole in the moss growing along one side of the planter, a tiny little cave-tunnel we hadn’t even noticed. The birds were building a nest!

Now we saw how the dead rosemary branches served as a sort of thicket, protecting the vulnerable nest from the hawks and owls who also live on this land. We agreed the pruning would have to wait. Instead, we would offer shelter to these little birds and the nest they had excavated within the softness of the moss.

Sometimes the new life in our soul needs shelter too. A safe place to grow until it’s ready to spread its wings.

Hands cradling glowing sphere

Will you imagine with me?

What if you could be alive and joyful, 
connected to Spirit, 
rooted in who you really are, 
& growing towards your wildest, tenderest dreams 
for yourself and for our world? 

Does that sound unrealistic?
Impractical, too much to hope for?
Impossible, even?

I believe it’s possible for you, and for everyone.

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