This time of year sickness, depression, and lack of motivation can take over more than any other time of the year. Often, we fight against Winter ,which can make us all feel more miserable. What if you embrace this time of year instead? The holidays are over, we survived another year. Allow yourself time to sit in a warm cozy spot and reflect on what you have learned and how you have grown. Taking time to get things in order around your home on those long winter days when it is too cold to get outside. This is a time of preparation and self-care. Instead of wishing the remaining winter months away, embrace them. Allow yourself to rest and relax, this is not being lazy. Planning a garden for Spring, cleaning out closets and reorganizing, reading those books on your to be read list, learning a new skill while spending so many days indoors. Wintering is a time when nature is resting and preparing and we can learn from this process. Allowing ourselves time to slow down and be still in both mind and body. Cozy, calm, and quiet moments can be spent journaling or shared with family and friends over a hardy meal. Accepting that Winter is necessary for our minds and bodies give yourself this time to slow down and just be in the moment.

With love, happiness and health,



Everything that crosses our path in life can have an impact. A book, a song, a warm fire in the fireplace, a cozy blanket, a smile, a good meal….I could go on and on but I think you get the point. It has been about 6 months since my last entry. It was not by choice but more that life has just pulled me away from writing. I have missed coming here and sharing what I have learned about myself and the world around me. I have had many wonderful adventures in the last 6 months and had my share of personal struggles. Probably the biggest struggle came earlier this week. As a fairly new therapist I have navigated my internship, then my practicum but only been under my supervision as full time therapist for about a year now. In this first year I have experienced all types of counseling, from children to elderly and the full spectrum of diagnosis. I work with only the Medicaid population so I have had the opportunity to learn from people of all walks of life.

This last week I had a moment with a client that shook me. I am strong and have a pretty clear idea of my morals, values, and beliefs but when a person threatens you for the first time after months of working with them, it can cause you to question some things. When you watch a person literally become someone else in front of your eyes it is hard not to ask…is this controlled or uncontrolled, is this a choice or are they not aware of what is happening and what they are saying and doing, do I stay and sit in this moment or should I remove myself from this situation….I pride myself on my ability to stay calm, cool and collected under most circumstances. On the surface I was able to in this situation, but it did have an impact bigger than I even realized in that moment. I know these experiences in my first year as full time counselor will teach me many useful things moving forward in my career. Seeing up to 8 clients a day for an hour at a time and listening to trauma and sadness, and worries day after day can take a toll. I felt that toll to the fullest the day I was threatened in great verbal detail and watched a client talk and behave in a way he had not for the 6 months before. A deeper understanding and knowing was awakened within me. Knowing that I can help and I can guide and I can listen and we can prescribe all the right medications but if the individual does not want the help, guidance, listening ear or the medications we have to be willing to set boundaries and let them go. All choices have consequences.

Each event or situation will illicit a thought, with each thought there is an emotion, and with that emotion you have a choice on how to respond, and with your response comes a behavior. Often I see people responding from an emotional mind instead of a wise mind which can lead to saying and doing things we regret. We can easily identify the emotion or feeling and the automatic response but what happens when you start identifying the thought behind the feeling and what happens when we start evaluating alternative choices instead of automatic behaviors? This awareness is when change can begin. Unfortunately, there are times when other things must be factored in that go beyond unhealthy habitual responses. Mental Health is a vast and complicated subject that can take on so many forms. Mental health is unique to each one of us and I realize no matter how many clients I see, books I read or seminars I attend….I will never be able to understand or help everyone. Trusting my own gut instinct and setting my own healthy boundaries is me practicing what I preach to all my clients. Deciding to no longer see a client feels wise in some aspects and heartbreaking in another. Still learning and growing in my craft…

With love, health, happiness, and kindess

Stacy Byrd

Ask, Then Allow

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Many times in life we focus on what is right in front of us, which may include things we don’t want for ourselves. We become so focused on the misery of the moment that we lose sight of the bigger picture. The desired goal seems so far away. This is when we must be self-aware and remind ourselves that we are focusing too much on the negative and we must back away from the whole situation. Control seems to be a big issue with many of my clients. They want to know who, when, what, where, and how things will happen or change for them. This is not always possible. Learning to accept things in the moment and find something to be grateful for, (even if very small) is the best way to change the flow. Just tipping the scale to the positive side just to 51% is all it takes.

If you ask for what you want and then just sit there tapping your foot getting frustrated that it isn’t happening you are not helping the situation. Ask it, believe it is done, and then go on about your day doing things that bring you joy and don’t think about it again. I admit this has been a struggle for me and I am actually going through this process in my life right now. I am learning to just accept and allow and not have it all figured out. I am learning that the more I look for ways to find joy in my day the better my life will flow in my desired direction. I do my best not to talk about negative relationships of my past when I discuss dating with my friends. I do my best to only think of the things I enjoyed about each person and how I would like to have those things in a future relationship. I look for things I love, things I enjoy, people I care about, things that make me laugh and smile, and I just surround myself with feelings of comfort. Some days this is easier than others but when things do get hard I find that counting my blessings, no matter how small, that can tip the scale in my favor. From running water and indoor plumbing to my daughter and my pets, I am grateful for many things in my life.

We must learn to ask and then allow. Not try to force it, figure it out, and control it, and beg and plead, just have faith and allow it to flow to you. I often use the visualization technique called leaves on a stream. I picture myself walking down a beautiful hiking path and coming upon a stream. The colorful fall leaves float down from the trees and land on the stream. As thoughts of negativity try to creep into my mind I lay them on the leaves and watch them float away getting smaller and smaller. This helps diffuse my mind from the negativity of the moment and allows me to make room in my mind for more important and positive thoughts. Its accepting the thoughts and not trying to stop them but allowing yourself to have the thought and understanding that our thoughts are not facts and they do not define us. Acceptance and allowing life to flow while being flexible with your thoughts and feelings takes practice but in time you will start to realize that we are often making it much harder than it needs to be.

With love, health and happiness


To Know is To Love

When we think about sharing our lives with another person we must consider what we know about love as an individual. Think about the love you have with parents, grandparents, siblings and your siblings families, even the love you have shared with exes and maybe your own children. Then think about the love you know and share with your friends, coworkers, even your pets. Finally, think about the love you give to yourself. To truly have a strong and loving relationship with a significant other you must know what love is for you and be able to communicate it to the other person. Feeling and showing love is not the same for everyone, that is why there are books like, The Five Love Languages.

When you begin to truly know what you value and start dating, then you can be more aware of what you need to learn about the other person as well. What you find important in a relationship in order to feel love, respected and supported may not be obvious to someone else. I have friends who have learned that punctuality is important to me and I am also a bit of a planner. My love languages are words of affirmation and quality time. So discussing plans to get away for the weekend for some quality time with someone I love is super exciting for me. I have a very outgoing and humorous personality but I don’t necessarily like a man who is that way. I find myself often attracted to men who do have a great sense of humor but are more quiet and reserved types, at least out socially. The strong and serious, all business and authoritative mans man is what I find myself often attracted to. I find it special and sexy when a man has a certain side of himself that he only shares with me. I have certain things I reserve for only those most special to me as well.

As I have moved through life and become older and wiser, I often see my friends going through relationship issues or settling for a partner that isn’t quite what they want but “close enough”. I understand there may be certain compromises and exceptions made because nobody is perfect, but make sure you are being honest with yourself. Often we find ourselves making exceptions to things that we may only find slightly bothersome or annoying in the beginning stages when love is new, exciting and fun, only to realize once the new wears off, that little thing gets bigger. If you are truly accepting of someone who never makes plans until last minute or is consistently late or whatever the “thing” is, then understand…this will NEVER change so you cannot get pissed about it later. Part of dating is not just getting to know the other person, it is also letting others know who you are and in order to do that you have to know yourself and be honest.

We all know we cannot change people and we also need to admit, allowing love to grow with someone you want to change is not fair. Someone who is always late is not really an awful person who doesn’t deserve love. There are people out there that do not find constant lateness a deal breaker. It also does not mean that person disrespects everyone else in the world, maybe they are selfish assholes, or maybe they just struggle and truly want to do better. No matter which category they fall in, it is not your job to fix it. I have struggled in dating because I may encounter a guy that has many qualities I love but I realize there are things about him that really bother me. I try to rationalize and make excuses at first because he seems to fit so many aspects of what I love, but this is where we get ourselves into trouble. We must remember, the very beginning stages of dating is when we are supposed to be putting our best foot forward, so if this person is already doing things that raise flags then you have to know when to walk away.

To know yourself and what you find important in a relationship is the most important part of dating. Do not waiver or make exceptions unless you truly feel the compromise is worth it for the long haul. If you find it annoying that your new guy never puts his clothes in the hamper or dishes in the sink but he is fantastic at telling you how much he appreciates and loves you and he plans special dates with you, then maybe you can see yourself making the compromise. Only you know but you must be honest with yourself. Communication is key also, never sweep things under the rug, address the things that bug you in the beginning and give the other person a chance to think about it and take action to do better, if they continue then you will know this is something you will either have to accept or walk away from. You do not want to continue having the same conversation over and over about the same issues because those will turn to arguments and then resentment and it just never ends well. Either accept them and drop it or move on. You have to know yourself and as you get to know them, then you can decide if knowing them is really to love them.

With love, health, and happiness,


Trauma Response


As a student and provider of mental health counseling I am constantly learning more about myself and the world around me.  One of the things I know without a doubt is the vast difference in symptoms of how humans respond to trauma.  As a mental health provider it is my job to remove my personal values, beliefs, bias and opinions when counseling a client, unless of course there is harm being done in some way.  It is not a counselors job to give advice but instead to help guide a client to find the path that works best for them.  What I would choose for myself may not always be best for the client.  I understand with cultural and environmental differences, differing religious beliefs, morals and values in the world that not everyone may see the world the way I do.    Instead I choose to love and accept each individual that walks through my door and as I take their intake and do my assessments I want to learn their story and understand.  This human desire in my heart is why I chose the helping profession.

I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking and the power of the mind-body connection.  I counsel my clients through many methods that may seem a bit outside the box for some.  I love yoga, meditation, mindful breathing exercises, assessing a persons diet and physical state through practices like Ayurveda combined with my knowledge of biofeedback and neuroscience.  My years of practicing yoga, doing massage therapy, and working in Chiropractic give me a unique perspective as I have continued my education in counseling and therapy.  I combine it all with the understanding that there never is just one answer and at the end of the day we all have our own healing process.  We all respond to trauma and everyday life differently and that can be both scary and beautiful.  I am learning and growing everyday in my practice but I see how my very beginning efforts are already helping others.

In this big, crazy, yet beautiful world the healing response to trauma has always been there.  We all have our own way of processing the world around us.  The things we are seeing in the news now is a cycle we have seen for years.  My parents are in their late seventies and speak of a time not so very different from now and yet very different.  The truth is, the world and human species at its very core will always have negatives and positives, and as morbid as it may sound, we need both in order to fully appreciate life and grow.  When trauma occurs in my world I have a tendency to withdraw and reflect, but others may act out in a bigger way, and neither way is wrong or right.  Grief and trauma are two of the hardest, most heartbreaking, and emotionally draining experiences in life.   Sometimes it can sneak up on us with things that we may not even realize are affecting us on a deeper level.  Be easy on yourself and others when navigating this process.  I highly recommend counseling for everyone but find one that is the best fit for you…its an important relationship between client and counselor that cannot be forced.

With love, health, and happiness


Complete Release


Ever had those moments when all the self-work finally hits home and you get this complete sense of peace?  A conversation may happen or something as simple as watching a movie or reading a book or just taking a hike alone opens your heart and mind to the truth.  You feel this weight lifted off your shoulders because you basically just make an agreement with yourself that you finally get it.  You understand all the ups and downs in life brought you to this moment and you accept it, even if you don’t completely understand all the whys behind it.  You just completely release all the guilt, all the sadness, all the woulda-coulda-shoulda’s of life and just embrace the moment you are in.  You find a moment in life where the chaos in your head stops and you just cry, not necessarily tears of sadness or tears of joy…just relief.  Relief that you are enough, that you are amazing, that you have made shitty choices, good choices and a few things have happened that may have not been your choice at all, but all of it has brought you right to this moment.  You can choose to go to sleep tonight dwelling again on the lost moments of the past or the what-ifs of the future…OR…you can choose to release it all and just sleep well knowing you are exactly in the right place and ready for the next chapter in your story and oh…what an amazing story it is.

With love, happiness, and health,



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I have been through some serious changes since last Summer:  a breakup, starting grad school, and my one and only daughter going off to college have topped the list, and more recently the start of dating someone new.  As I near mid-terms in grad-school our professors often encourage the importance of self-care.  In the field of counseling we are inundated with client worries and concerns throughout our work day on top of navigating our own personal and professional stress.   This can quickly cause burnout in my career field but this can be true in many other career fields and life situations as well.  When we are experiencing a lot of changes it can be overwhelming even if they are positive changes.

I changed my job and started this new career path just within the last couple of years and even though it has mostly been rewarding, there have been times when I felt overwhelmed and unsure.  I love to read and have a bit of a magazine addiction, its one of my guilty pleasures and you can find stacks of magazines by my bed, bathtub, and couch.  Being a big fan of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, I love to receive my Yoga Journal magazine and as I was reading through one of the most recent issues I came across an article recommending a book by Tara Brach called Radical Compassion.  I am also a member of Audible and decided to use my monthly book credit to check it out.  I love to listen to audio books on my drive to work each morning and this one is definitely worth the read!

Self-compassion is a little different than self-care but I think both are required in order to truly take care of yourself.  I think most would agree that we are all our own worst critic in life and many of us overachievers focus constantly on what we should be or could be doing better and even shaming ourselves for our areas of struggle.  Monday I had a bad day, I felt like I was just going through the motions and basically not really accomplishing much of anything that day.  Then on Tuesday my day was better but my significant other was out of town on business and our evening conversation consisted of him relaying to me his extremely complicated day!  Here we are on Wednesday and we both have high hopes that it is only going to get better!  After my manic Monday I woke up determined to get my shit together and not let my Tuesday be a replay.  I often push myself to work through lunch and Tuesday I chose to have lunch with a friend and I even bought a plant in a beautiful container to put on my desk.  I allowed myself to just enjoy my lunch hour and not rush back to the office.  That afternoon I accomplished more than I would have if I had stayed through lunch and tried to push through.

Normally, I would have beat up on myself for taking time for myself after having such a non-productive day on Monday, but I have come to realize it is necessary to let go and just be every once in a while.  We were not put on this planet to trudge away with work, school, paying bills and raising kids day after day.  Having a wonderful job, furthering your education, being able to pay the bills, and raising a healthy happy family is all joyful but we all know there is more to life.  It is not selfish to have things that just bring you and only you, joy.  Allow yourself grace to have a bad day and allow yourself time to just be and do something you enjoy that only benefits you.  Recognize and train yourself to be self-aware when you feel stressful, hurt, and angry emotions and how those negative feelings feel in your body.  Accept & allow those feelings and understand they are normal.  Sit with those feelings for a bit, really allow yourself to feel them.  Investigate where those feelings come from, how they came about, and why they feel so strong in that moment.  Then nurture yourself by understanding the emotional ups and downs of life are not only normal but necessary.  This concept of  recognize, allow, investigate and nurture are known as RAIN and is more deeply explained in the book by Brach.  We need to be reminded what it is like to struggle and have a bad day every now and then because it helps us learn, grow, and truly appreciate the good days.

It may be hard to see it and believe it in some situations but even life at its worst is still a positive experience because there is opportunity for learning and growth through self-awareness; opportunity for acceptance and connection through self-compassion, and opportunity for moments of joy and freedom through self-care.  So as we move through the rest of this week and find ourselves getting closer to Spring remember better days are ahead and you don’t have to have it all figured out, all together, all the time.

With love, health, and happiness,


Finding Peace


True peace is different for all of us but there is no doubt the feeling is often the same.  Those moments in life when everything just seems to finally slow down and you feel calm in your mind, body, and soul.  Watching a beautiful sunset while sitting on the beach can be one of those peaceful and awe-inspiring moments in life.  I usually feel it with moments in nature but I have also come to appreciate a different kind of peace.  This new sense of peace has come from acceptance and fully embracing the present moment no matter where I am and what I am doing.

I have tried to make it a practice to list things I am thankful for in my life, to listen to audiobooks and podcasts that motivate me and help me create more positive habits in my life.  I try to eat healthy, stay active, make time for friends and family, work hard at improving myself in my education and career and also work in time for personal self-care.  I devote my time and money to paying off my debts, investing in my home and personal growth and all of these efforts are starting to show positive results in my life.

In life we often get so busy trying to make time for all of these goals and different areas of our lives that we end up not fully appreciating the moments when we are in them.  We may be in the car only partially listening to the audiobook or podcast.  We may be spending time with friends or family and thinking about something else we should be doing at home, work, or in school.  These distractions away from the present moment will keep our minds and bodies in a constant state of stress.  Always wanting to be somewhere else, or at least thinking we need to be.  Always feeling we need to be working towards something or doing something creates a feeling of pressure within us that we are never doing or being enough.

Basically, our minds, bodies and souls are never really in a state of peace.  Those little window moments of actual peace become few and far between and are usually only inspired when we encounter some place new, like on a vacation or during a special occasion.  Now is a time to start making a shift in our lives.  This shift can already been seen in the fact that yoga and meditation are becoming more popular and mindfulness techniques are even being taught to school children.  This shift is needed in order for our chaotic world to start finding more peace.  When in a moment of doing anything, even as simple as petting your cat or washing your hands, allow yourself to just stop the incessant thinking and allow yourself to be. Take in all the sensory perceptions around you in the moment and allow peace and joy to just sweep over you.

You do not have to be in the majestic mountains or standing on the beach overlooking the vast ocean in order to find peace each day.  The simplicity of watching leaves fall from the trees outside your kitchen window as you wash the dishes and smell the coffee brewing in the morning can be just as beautiful and calming.  Watching your children or a pet sleep while sitting quietly, reading a book can be a point of peace.  Over-thinking, over-analyzing and basically, over-doing anything is just not good for the mind, body, or soul.  Allow yourself to fully accept where you are in this moment and fully embrace it.  Find peace in where you are and who you are without any thought to what was, or what will be, what should, could or would be…Just smile and know this is the only time that matters and you can let the rest of it go.  You will find in the simple act of letting it all go is the true path to peace.

With love, health, and happiness,


Revisiting the Past for Inspiration


About four years ago I had just started the relationship that has recently ended.  We came into each others lives when we already had full lives and plans made as single individuals.   So that summer he went with friends to California while I visited one of my closest friends in Florida.  During that time I felt amazing.  I was working a full time and part time job and had not started back to school yet but I was seriously thinking about it.  Thinking back to that time in my life, just four short years ago, I realize how much I loved about myself and how much I have grown and accomplished.  I completed my bachelors degree, started my masters degree, changed jobs, paid off my car and other debt and so many other adventures have occurred along the way.  It is easy to feel sad and focus on the things that went wrong or we could have done better in a relationship once it ends but in order to really appreciate life and move forward in a healthy way it is better to really focus on the good.

Looking back I truly thought I had found a guy that had a healthy life and full life of his own, like I did, and we could come together in a way that would allow us to maintain those lives while adding to each others.  I had found an honorable and trustworthy man that I did not have to challenge and check-up on because he seemed to constantly challenge himself in life to constantly grow and be a better man in every aspect.  I thought I had found my equal, a man who saw the world not exactly like me but was on a similar path and a few steps ahead of me to offer support and guidance in my goals while I supported him in his already established business.  It was an exciting time and it felt like a relationship full of potential and promise.  Considering where things are now I realize that my perspective was not exactly in alignment with his and maybe it never was.  I will probably never know what his thoughts were at that time or at any specific time in the relationship.  All I know is,  my intentions were good from the beginning and I loved him to the fullest and after it is all said and done I feel he did love me too.

As I move forward I have discovered the process of grief covers many emotions and sorting through the past is necessary.  Once we get through the shock, heartbreak, sadness, anger and forgiveness of self and the other person we finally come to a place of acceptance.  In that moment we can hopefully look back at the time spent with the other person and appreciate the good, the bad, and the ugly, as part of the journey to who we are today.  I am inspired by that little bit thinner, much more tanned, longer hair version of myself four years ago.  She was full of hope and joy for so many things and four years later she has accomplished many of them!  So now is a time to set some new hopes and dreams and see what the next four years will bring!  Lets get inspired this holiday season as the year comes to an end…inspired by our past courage, faith, motivation, endurance, and grit to keep finding the positive, learning and growing with every experience life throws our way!

With love, health, and happiness,








Grief Recovery


As I move forward in my mental health counseling graduate school I realize that I have a passion for working with couples and grief counseling.  My ultimate goal is to combine my 15 years of working in holistic wellness with my counseling practice.  This will include yoga, mindfulness, meditations, visualizations, Ayurveda, and neuroscience and many other processes to help individuals have a full and healthy life in body, mind, and spirit.  As I move forward in my education, while working full time, I often feel extra stress and I usually manage it really well.  However, I have realized with my recent loss of a relationship combined with my daily stresses has resulted in sickness.  So, as I sit here in my bed on day two of no work I realize my mental process is now negatively affecting my physical and my immune system has finally relented.  Grief affects us all, whether it be loss through death or loss through divorce or a breakup, it will have an affect on a deeper level than we realize.  Not allowing yourself to grieve is a recipe for disaster.  If you push it away now it will find a way to resurface later.

Grief often works in cycles but it doesn’t mean that once you move through one cycle that it is done.  Often we can cycle back more than once through the sadness or anger if we do not properly process or we encounter a situation that brings up memories.  Even with all my knowledge of different methods I have still allowed my mind and body to absorb and hold on to some negativity.  Yesterday I spent most of the day in bed.  Body aches, exhaustion, tension throughout my body, nausea and just an overwhelming feeling of sadness and anger had taken over my body.  In the process of doing a body scan I realized my solar plexus area was, and still is, extremely sore.  This area of the body is connected to our self-esteem.  When it is blocked it will not only create all the symptoms I was physically having, it is also directly tied to self-esteem, and mine has recently taken a hard hit.  Self-love, self-acceptance and knowing your self-worth are all vital to the health and balance of your solar plexus chakra.  So how do I get myself out of this negative place, get myself back in balance, restore my mind, body, and spirit back to health?

The first big step is to move passed the feelings of loss and get myself on the path of acceptance in the grief process.  The relationship whys and what ifs no longer matter, let it go and stop talking about the other person and the relationship and change the focus to yourself and the future.  After a relationship ends we feel rejected or maybe guilty, depending on the circumstances, and this can lead to negative thoughts and feelings towards ourselves.  So the second big step for me in home care is to focus on building myself back up, understanding this was not about me not being enough or not being worthy, we were just not in alignment and no longer on the same path.  I can work towards building my self-esteem and self-worth with EFT and positive affirmations.  Caring for the nausea and body tension can include herbal tea, healthy food choices and a little yoga and meditation.  When a specific area of the body is ill and suffering I also find visualization is a great tool in the healing process.

I picture my stomach area red and irritated with a bunch of knots tied in a rope and the redness is pulsing.  Then I picture the redness fading to a lighter pink, then purple and a calming cool blue and all the knots in the rope slowly coming loose and floating freely.  This process helps relax my stomach and ease the nausea along with a nice ginger tea and maybe even a warm bath with some essential oils.  With tea and toast I can build my strength to do some light yoga and stretching.  All of this process combined with rest can help reclaim my positive energy and overall well-being.  It is also good to remember that what we are taking in through all of our senses can affect us, so watching sad or negative shows on television, talking with friends and family about the negative situation, or even listening to sad music can magnify the grief and cause you to cycle back through a process over and over again.  The goal is to plan for the future. What is your new game plan?  Your life is changing and what new goals are you setting for yourself?  The focus needs to change from then to now and looking forward.  Take time to write down things you would like to do differently or goals that you want to work towards.

This is also a good time to reflect on what you have learned that was good, but do not let yourself get caught up in the negative in an effort to find the positive.  Desires for what you want in a future relationship should be more clear as well as desires for yourself, like boundaries you may need to make more clear for yourself moving forward.  The grief process does not have to be all bad.  I have often said perspective is everything and the ability to take joy in knowing that you are moving forward in a positive way with new growth and a clearer vision of what you want in life is empowering.  Remove the memories, stop replaying conversations and move towards acceptance.  Accept the relationship as a learning process and now it is over and time to move on to a new lesson in life is the best.  Be gentle with yourself and understand you must love yourself first and foremost.

With love, health, and happiness,