Anyone can benefit from these gentle reminders

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

I love my therapist. She’s bold without being obnoxious, kind without being sickly sweet. I respect her, and I try to emulate her. During our sessions, sometimes she will say a phrase that stays with me.

In my list of five phrases, she says number three a lot: Nice breath. I think about my therapist during difficult moments, and I wonder, how would she handle this situation?

If I take in a deep breath, I often hear my therapist’s voice in my head say, “Nice breath.”

Other voices in my head are less compassionate: echoes from people telling me to…


When someone has faith, they believe that something good will happen. A fearful person expects the opposite; they believe something bad might happen.

Both fear and faith operate on a belief system. Positive. Negative. Hopeful. Doubtful. Excited. Scared. Optimistic. Pessimistic.

Neither outlook is true, but those with faith have a different experience than those with fear.

The faithful have a wider view — looking for evidence to support their expectations of prosperity, success, gratification, accomplishment, fulfillment.

The fearful have a narrow view — paying attention to their immediate surroundings, anticipating danger, while remaining acutely aware of possible misfortune. Possible failure.


I dislike how I feel right now. Moody. Unsure. Unable to picture a clear future. Everything seems hazy, and the haze is uncomfortable.

It’s possible that these feelings are closely linked with my menstrual cycle. However, my therapist tells me that the feelings which arise during this time might also be indicative of something deeper, something habitual.

Right now, it feels like I can’t do anything right. I can’t think clearly, and I can’t embrace these uncomfortable feelings. I just want them to go away.

Part of my anxiety has to do with money. I feel financially insecure, and this…


I was listening to a podcast the other day, and one of the guests on the podcast was introduced as a prolific creator online.

The guest said, “I also have a lot of content offline.”

The host said, “Oh, really?”

The guest said, “Yeah, I think that’s the secret. Knowing what not to post.”

I can’t stop thinking about this concept: knowing what NOT to post. The idea is complicated. If you have the freedom to self-publish, that freedom can represent itself as a double-edged sword. You can become emboldened to express yourself — without needing permission from a gatekeeper…


I sat on a park bench today, admiring the flowering trees, just now beginning to bloom. I had been walking for a while, not thinking about anything in particular. Just noticing the colors. Yellow, white, pink, red, and of course, green.

As I sat on the park bench, a young couple walked by. A man and a woman. They were both talking, seemingly at once, and I didn’t hear the subject of their conversation. I only heard one remark. The man said to the woman, “You’re always focusing on the negative.”

The woman protested, but I didn’t hear exactly what…


My friend sent me a two-toned text message yesterday. The first tone was inquiry: Have I told you…? The second tone was conclusive: I’m reaching out because I want to feel the goodness of our connection.

The goodness of our connection. My friend said she was feeling the “ick,” after a rough social situation. She said she felt misunderstood. I was glad she thought of me as a source to dispel these feelings, but she didn’t give me any details about the social situation that made her uncomfortable. …


I had this idea the other night. The idea was: a wastebasket, but a virtual one. I was picturing a movie scene where a writer sits at a typewriter, and then they yank out the page, crumple it up, toss it to the floor, or possibly into a receptacle. And I thought, “We need an app like that.” Like a trash can app. And then I thought, “Wait, there’s already a trash function built into most operating systems.”

Then I wondered, “What appealed to me about the virtual wastebasket idea?” …


Bobby Burgess had a popular Diaryland account in the late ’90s, early aughts. He once wrote about his love of the dictionary. At some point, he began to travel across the United States, although, I can’t remember where he was originally from. Maybe the Midwest or maybe the East Coast. He spent some time in Hawaii, and then he ended up meeting a girl in California. They became involved, and once, Burgess posted a photo of his new girlfriend on a bridge. Her long hair flapped in the wind. No doubt, he thought she was beautiful. …


History, as we know it, relies on the written word. The Egyptians, 5,000 years ago, recorded language. Their records survived. But prehistory is not completely unknown. There are objects from the past. Physical relics of what the world once was. Shaped pieces tell us, “People did this. People existed without a written language.” It’s just that, with writing, humanity began to accelerate. The expression “ancient history” is somewhat of an oxymoron. Because really, history is not very old.

Prehistory can still be applied to events happening today. Two lovers meet, become entwined, but their history doesn’t begin until the first…


Read an old book that you’ve never read before

Photo by Danica Tanjutco on Unsplash

Emily Temple of Literary Hub has a great suggestion for feeling better: read a book. But, she clarifies, “I don’t mean just any book. It must be old — at least 15 years old, if not older. And, crucially, it must also be new — to you.”

To this advice, I would add, go support your local bookstore. Or, if you have access, find the title at your library. The third option would be to follow the links below, leading you to my Bookshop shelf. …

ottilie max

dreamer, poet, philosopher, writer

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