Reawakening your Creative Life in the Absence of the Mouse

My new neighborhood is boring. There, I said it.  I have moved to Raleigh and I am dying of sheer, unadulterated monotony.

We relocated to NC because we thought Gabriel and Bastian deserved to grow up in a place that is a little slower. And, boy, have we gotten more than we bargained for on that count. Have you ever heard that saying about the sidewalks rolling up after 6 p.m.? Well, I’m pretty sure that the person who coined that phrase was looking for something to do in Raleigh that doesn’t involve a pub, collegiate sports, or must-see TV. Sweet mother of all that is good and holy, I am bored.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love NC because it is where I grew up, where my family is, and home to some of the nicest people on the face of this planet. Where else do your neighbors actually bring you a cake when you move into your new house? Where else do complete strangers come running up to you in the parking lot, frantic to help you put your cart away when you’re struggling to get a toddler and an infant into your polar bear-murdering lug of an SUV? Nowhere, that’s where. But, I’m still bored. I just moved here from Orlando, for Pete’s sake. We had annual passes to Disney, Sea World and Universal Studios. Please forgive me while I tone my expectations back a notch.

However, there is hope. One day when I was kicking around my neighborhood trying to find some trouble to get into, I stumbled upon the most fabulous used bookstore. My geek gene started humming softly in my ear, and my wallet flew out of my pocket and ran away through the front door. I’ll spare you the armfuls of other books that I adopted that day, but I want to tell you about one really good one that has gotten me thinking about what other things I could be doing with my Mickey Mouseless hours.

“This I Believe” is a book of essays that is about exactly what it sounds like. The book takes it name from a radio series that began in 1951, and highlights the core beliefs of all kinds of Americans. The essays are really short–a page or two–and cover everything from the belief in barbecue to a fundamental faith in kindness. (If you would like to write your own essay, which may be featured on NPR, you can go to

Anyway, the essay that I have been thinking about today focused on the secret creativity we all have inside us. Author Mel Rusnov is a civil engineer who, “makes a satisfying, comfortable living working quietly in my cubicle.” But, she is more than that. She is also an accomplished pianist, “bringing to life with my own hands, the genius of Bach, Mozart and Chopin.” Rusnov says that we are all narrowly defined by our predictable lives as worker bees and that we can be transformed by the beauty of the talents we allow to lie dormant within us. What should we do with these rich interior lives that cubicle nation has no use for? We should take them out, shine them up and reintegrate them into ourselves. In fact, I that I believe with all my heart.

I have seen friends, family members and clients remake their own lives into something more satisfying and real by giving themselves permission to participate in the creative pursuits that give them joy. This is meaningful to me these days because I have been contemplating picking up my cello again and getting back into music. Though NC isn’t filled with the kind of recreation I am used to, perhaps I can use this time to return to some parts of myself that have been neglected for too long.

What do you need to do to reclaim your secret creativity?

Your partner in healing,

Dr. Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in the Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at Visit me on the web at


What's your Life's Work?

You know, I’m kinda liking this unfettered blogging. Since we moved to NC, I have been seeing only a handful of my Florida clients via Skype. These are folks with whom I have been working for a long time, and for whom it would have been sort of messy and discouraging to change therapists. The good thing about this yawning cavern of free time  in my life is that I have extra moments lying about in spades to write, read and make endless amount of cookies with Gabe. However, I can’t help but feel a little at loose ends without sessions to attend and people to help. I mean, it’s what I do.

 Today I was pondering how you know that the work that you do, whatever it is, is what you’re supposed to be doing. And, honestly, I don’t think that you have to be slogging away at something fancy or world-saving to find meaning in your job. I was quickly disabused of that notion by my sweet friend Marta, who cleaned my house for me while I was a studying for my doctoral degree. I asked Marta once (like the arrogant know-it-all most clinical graduate students are) if cleaning houses had always been what she wanted to do with her life. You can see where I’ m going with this–it hadn’t occurred to me that someone would want to commit herself to that. I assumed she must have been trapped into this by dire circumstance. But Marta told me that ever since she was a child, she had taken great pleasure in putting things in order. She said that she views what she does for her clients as a something therapuetic for them. Marta loved to go home and know that we were walking back into homes that were organized, clean and healthy. And, she got to own her own business and make her own hours. In other words, Marta is probably doing people as much good in her profession as I am in mine. Seriously, if anybody in Ft. Lauderdale needs a house tender, Marta is your gal.

If I am fortunate in anything in my life, it is that I know what my life’s work is supposed to be. I love being a therapist, and the idea of doing absolutely anything else is strange and terrifying. Do you know what you’re supposed to be doing? Here’s some questions to ask yourself as you’re on the path to discovery:

1) What would be different about your life if you loved your work?

2) If you journeyed into the forbidden territory of your best hopes for your life (the ones we don’t dare let ourselves entertain because they sound too far-fetched) what would you unearth?

3) What emotions do you need to clear about yourself before you can think critically about your future? (Regret, anxiety, self-loathing)

4) How can you reframe that best hope so that it or some part of it is possible? For instance, I considered going to school to be an OBGYN. Since I am interested in women’s issues I do postpartum counseling.

5) What skills do you need to develop to trust yourself to make new goals for the future?

Your Partner in Healing,


Central Florida Pet Loss Support Group has Moved!

When I sign onto my blog, it gives me nifty updates about what people have been searching for when they turn up here. I am thrilled to see that those folks who have (or will have) experienced the loss of a pet are still reaching out for help. However, the Central Florida Pet Loss group has a new leader now.

Since I have moved, I have passed the torch on to Dr. Leslie Hamilton. She is lovely, and you’ll really like her a lot. For more information about dates and times for the Central Florida Pet Loss Support Group, please contact Leslie at:

Dr. Leslie Hamilton, Ph.D., LMFT
407 844-4587
425 W. New England Avenue
Suite 300
Winter Park, FL 32789

As always, if there’s any question that I can answer for you, (including book recommendations) I would be delighted to do so. I know that the group will continue to flourish and attract the kind of wonderful, kind loving individuals it always has. Drop Leslie a line or give her a ring if you’d like to talk further about if the group might be helpful for you.
Your Partner in Healing,