Invitation to “know thyself”

Three months ago I launched an online life-consulting practice: The Self-Curious Project. In this short time, I had at least 50 meaningful and honest conversations that taught me more than any academic program. So many questions worth exploring:

  • how do I not feel anxious about moving far from home?
  • how do I make friends and ease my social anxiety?
  • how do I stop nervous talking?
  • how do respond to “what will people say?”
  • how do not feel like a failure?
  • how do I live up to my parent’s expectations?
  • how do I get over a break up?
  • how do I deal with my grandmother’s death?
  • how do I adjust to grown-up children and their choices?
  • how do I feel more confident?
  • how do I like how I look?
  • how do I let go of my past hurt?
  • how do I move on and forward?
  • how do I………..

The answer depends on what each person brings with the question, in their mind, heart and body. My work with them involves making space for the uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and sensations. To make it safe to feel those feelings without judgement and with support.

My training in architecture, philosophy, social work and yoga perfectly align to this mission of supporting embodied self-curiosity. I can guide their conceptual understanding (philosophy), their awareness of inner-space within an outer world (architecture), their life circumstances and context (social work) and their moving shape (yoga). Having my own practice affords me time to explore the dynamic life of each person without rushing, without the pressure of insurance forms, without one-size-fits all conceptual impositions, without pathologizing functioning human experience. After each session, instead of notes, I write each client a summary email, recounting meaningful moments during the session, skills practiced, and yes, I give homework. There is always action. Learning without empowering action is a pointless waste of precious energy, time, space and connection. Self-acceptance requires a relentless practice of self-curiosity. It is not an event, a therapeutic breakthrough, a quick fix. Hence, the need for a witness, coach, consultant, counselor, or therapist.

Sitting with clients has taught me to slow down, to carefully listen for answers hidden in their own questions. Sometimes I feel like an archeologist, helping excavate hidden hopes and treasure. It is magical to see a person recognize themselves in their own fears and joys. I welcome the tears and I welcome the smiles. It is all the dazzling array of life examined, accepted, and thus worthy.

This blog is my self-curious playground. Thank you for reading, keeping me company and being my listener. The self-curious project is about you, fed by what I learn about myself here. It is the professional face of my personal inspirations. As readers of my private curiosities, I invite you to visit:

I offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation mostly because I enjoy connecting with people, and also so you can make an informed choice of whether self-exploration is worth your time and money. Signing up for a time-slot is easy. If not, email me.

Let’s have a architectural, embodied, philosophical and therapeutic conversation about what it’s like to be you. If I don’t see you there, no worries, hope to still see you here. I’m so thankful for your presence.

Stay in goodness. Stay in ease.


Food Poem: Breakfast by Joyce Sutphen

My father taught me how to eat breakfast
those mornings when it was my turn to help
him milk the cows. I loved rising up from

the darkness and coming quietly down
the stairs while the others were still sleeping.
I’d take a bowl from the cupboard, a spoon

from the drawer, and slip into the pantry
where he was already eating spoonfuls
of cornflakes covered with mashed strawberries

from our own strawberry fields forever.
Didn’t talk much—except to mention how
good the strawberries tasted or the way

those clouds hung over the hay barn roof.
Simple—that’s how we started up the day.

Joyce Sutphen, “Breakfast” from First Words, Red Dragonfly. from the Writer’s Almanac, Monday 9/13/21

A simple start to the day with a loved one is so comforting. What is your favorite morning ritual?

Anticipating Restriction

Anticipating the lean back
Photography by Nate Dale – New Adventure Production

You know the feeling when you wait for the person in front of you on an airplane to lean back and restrict you even further in to the the tight small seat?

You know that feeling, right? Wishing and hoping they won’t but at the same time realizing that they are perfectly right do so. Should I lean back too? Let the seat backs cascade down the aisle? This anticipation of discomfort to come is not the best feeling. (For a fuller account of airplane discomfort you can read, Inflight Therapy: For those traveling far and within on amazon kindle.)

For now the question is simple, how do you brace for impact, for being leaned into, for constriction, for discomfort?

As Thanksgiving travel and associated anxiety approaches in a few months, what are your strategies for coping? Music, breathing exercises, reading, meditating? Anticipating and thinking of coping skills ahead of time can reduce our anxiety response. Accepting and addressing the discomfort to come helps ironically ease it. Just recognizing discomfort without a related alleviation attempt, I imagine would increase anxiety. So, it might be worth taking the time to think ahead to this moment and find your empowered coping strategy. Resist the lean, at least emotionally 🙂

Wishing you ease,


Take your emotional temperature

Just like a fever indicates a medical concern, anxiety indicates an emotional concern. What is your anxiety telling you?

Anxiety indicates that a conflict is ensuing, and so long as there is conflict a positive solution is within the realm of possibility. In this respect anxiety has been likened to the prognostic value of fever: it is a sign of struggle within the personality and an indication, speaking in psychopathological terms, that serious disintegration has not yet occurred (Yaskin).

May Ph.D., Rollo. The Meaning Of Anxiety . Hauraki Publishing. Kindle Edition.

As a sign of struggle normal anxiety focuses us on the present conflict by exposing the emotional temperature. Anxiety surrounding an exam, public speaking, presentation, meeting new people etc. simply points to caring. This is important to me, anxiety reminds us. It need to overwhelm the event in a negative, fearful and blinding light. Just as a fever tells us to rest, cover and care, a rise in anxiety does the same. Of course, in a hospital a fever is treated differently, and with alarm. This medical and emotional history maybe the difference between neurotic anxiety and normal anxiety.

To be sure, neurotic anxiety is the result of unfortunate learning in the respect that the individual was forced to deal with threatening situations at a period—usually in early childhood—when he was incapable of coping directly or constructively with such experiences. In this respect, neurotic anxiety is the result of the failure to cope with the previous anxiety situations in one’s experiences. But normal anxiety is not the result of unfortunate learning; it arises rather from a realistic appraisal of one’s situation of danger. To the extent that a person can succeed in constructively meeting the normal day-to-day anxiety experiences as they arise, he avoids the repression and retrenchment which make for later neurotic anxiety.

May Ph.D., Rollo. The Meaning Of Anxiety . Hauraki Publishing. Kindle Edition.

In order to confront anxiety, we need to recognize the rise in our emotional temperature. This is why mindfulness can help ease anxiety. We practice looking inward and measuring the emotional temperature of the moment. How can we avoid repression and retrenchment unless we recognize that we are simply appraising an experience? How can I succeed in constructively meeting day-to-day anxiety unless I mindfully engage it? Self-aware ease requires courage to confront discomfort and most importantly consistent practice.

What experiences raise your emotional temperature? How do you treat it?

Wishing you meaningful anxiety,


Rest, retreat, remove anxiety?
Photography by Nate Dale – New Adventure Production

Cooking is my coping skill

Like you, Hungyphil has many dimensions and manifestations: Wobblyogi and now Angstytherapist. This blog started as a way to retain and share food experiences, it grew to add yoga and mindfulness, and now counseling and therapy. Like the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Hungry Philosopher is munching away at life one leaf at a time. Not sure if a butterfly will ever emerge through these efforts but it sure is fun to try.


So, how am I going to combine food, mindfulness, AND therapy? Here is my first attempt.

The last four months I did my internship at a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for kids between the ages of 8-18. I’ll be sharing more from that experience in the coming weeks. All sorts of sad and hurt ranging from homicidal thoughts, incest, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, anxiety,  depression and trauma brought these kids to the programs. One of the main tasks of the programs were helping them develop distress tolerance and coping skills that could would work for them individually.

Here is a sample list of coping skills from


Number 59 is Blog. I also use eating, cooking, reading, writing, yoga, meditation and drawing. Coping skills sounds very much like general and generic things I just like to do.

They are.

So how can things I just like to do help me ease anxiety and depression?

Its a simple principle.

When life tastes bitter, add activities, tastes, sights and smells that you love. Change the recipe.

Easier said than done. Let’s talk more about it. For now,

What are your coping skills?

Wishing you self-aware ease,