The Innerwork of a Chrysalis

A recurring story in my life is one of metamorphosis.  I start out as a caterpillar, small, green, and insatiably hungry. I cannot leave the ground. I squirm around, eating everything in sight. Then I give myself over to a process I don't understand.

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Elizabeth Smartt
Sailing into Spirituality

My commute each day takes me across the Huguenot Bridge. In the winter, when the sun sets early, one sees some spectacular sunsets looking west up the river as you cross the bridge… carefully. That is, if one takes the time to notice and appreciate the sunset.

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Elizabeth Smartt
Does the River End?

Endings have always been a challenge for me. Saying goodbye at the airport. The last day of school. Children leaving for college. You know the feelings - a lump in the throat, an emptiness in the gut, a yearning heart. Perhaps such grieving at departures is just intrinsic to the human condition.

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Elizabeth Smartt
More PRO than ANTI

We’ve been talking about INNER WORK a lot these days, and what I mean by inner work is the deep introspection that gives you clarity about what matters most to you. I think the reason this definition is so appealing to me is that before I engaged in my own inner work, I used to try to do ALL. THE. THINGS.

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Elizabeth Smartt
A Life Well-Lived: The Sacred Journey

Finding myself in the second half of life, I am more deeply aware of the fragility of life, the sacredness of life, and the mystery of life. I’m breathing a little slower and allowing for an ever-deepening listening to myself and others. In that listening to self, my intention is to hear more completely the guidance from my mind, my body, and my soul.

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Elizabeth Smartt
The Gift of Chrysalis

Chrysalis was founded twenty-five years ago in Nancy Millner’s living room with her husband B and a small group of close friends. Celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary allows the opportunity to reflect on the gifts that Chrysalis has given me…and perhaps it does the same for you.

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Elizabeth Smartt
The Power of Self-Care

As a species, we humans have evolved along two paths: surviving and thriving. In any given moment, when a threat is present, surviving overwhelms thriving. In contemporary life, busyness, distractions, and demands are perceived as threats. This activates our nervous systems…

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Elizabeth Smartt
Begin Again

Like many people, I have a new year ritual that began when I was young. As far back as I can remember, I have spent part of New Year’s Day reflecting on the prior year and setting personal goals for the new year.

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Emma Peugh
The Cost of Chasing Money

I’ve worked in the financial services sector for most of my career. For big and small companies, from Wall Street to London to Richmond. The same theme emerges over and over again: Money is not about money – it’s about desire.

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Emma Peugh
The Journey Together

American culture seems perpetually obsessed with the destination. We thrive upon the voracious frenzy for the presumed prize at the end of our efforts. Emerson suggests a different orientation. A recent experience within Chrysalis accentuated a paradigm shift in my perception of what matters most in a collaborative community…

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Elizabeth Smartt
Not Pumpkin Spice

Pain froze you, for years—and fear—leaving scars. But now, as though miraculously, it seems, here you are walking easily across the ground, and into town as though you were floating on air. Which in part you are.

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Emma Peugh
Dancing Our Own Clock Dance

My wish is to slow my Clock Dance down before I’m gone with a pouf! I want to observe and experience my life. But how? Left to myself, I never think I do. Like Willa, I’m all awhirl, running, spinning. When I pause for meditation, at least my body is still.

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Elizabeth Smartt
Feeling Lonely? You're Not Alone.

Occasionally, I feel isolated and alone. I feel my “otherness” - that I am not like everyone else. I am different. I don’t belong. I’ve never thought of myself as a lonely person, but guess what? That’s the definition of loneliness.

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Emma Peugh
Fear Can Be A Real Bear

Some of us live in an almost perpetual state of stress and anxiety, which wreaks havoc on our bodies and souls. How do we find calm and ease, and know that we can return to these states when necessary?

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Emma Peugh
The More You Resist, The More It Hurts

In Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn shares seven pillars of a mindfulness practice: Non-judging, Patience, Beginners Mind, Trust, Non-striving, Acceptance, and Letting Go. Each of these pillars supported me throughout pregnancy and prepared me for the unexpected traumas of childbirth.

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Emma Peugh
Is There an Ideal Age?

I turned 74 years old last month. How did that happen? 

I recall a time someone asked me, “If you could be any age, what would it be?” I don't remember my answer but am relatively certain it was not 74. I remember wanting to be a different age....16 so I could get a driver’s license, 18 so I could graduate from high school, 22 so I could graduate from college and get on with life, and then 65 so I could retire…

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Elizabeth Smartt
Coming Home to Myself

At this time in my life, I'm feeling called to pay attention at a deeper level to “coming home to myself.” Coming home to oneself involves a consenting to be vulnerable, to be curious, to call forth the courage to risk exploration of the still unknown parts of ourselves.

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Emma Peugh
Right Speech: A Mindfulness Practice

Over the past ten years, I have attended eight 10-day Vipassana meditation retreats. Vipassana means to see things as they really are. One of the requirements for participants in the retreat is to remain in Noble Silence until the ninth day, when you are allowed to engage in what the teacher likes to call “Noble Chattering.”

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Elizabeth Smartt
Weighed Down by Habits

I didn’t realize until I got here how rigid I had become due to this habit of fixation. Now I’m forced to ask: what other habits am I carrying around? How much of my daily life is spent habitually, in ways that aren’t helpful, and perhaps haven’t been for many years?

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Emma Peugh
The Enduring Resonance of Being

I have realized that some of the most profound revelations in my life arose from observation of others’ actions rather than their eloquent dialogue or prose. There is just a different quality to the experience.

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Emma Peugh