COVID-19 Update

We remain open for all of current clients and welcome incoming clients that would like to schedule an intake appointment. Our appointments are virtual at this time, per the CDC recommendations. We will resume in-office appointments once we are able to, and you are welcome to transition into an in-office visit at that time. If you have insurance questions regarding telehealth, please give us a call, email, or text and we would be happy to look into your benefits; most major insurers are covering telehealth services as the pandemic continues.

Some of our incoming clients are interested in working through anxiety, sadness, and concerns about the personal and global impact of the pandemic. Others are seeking support in dealing with needs that were pre-exisiting. We are here to help support anyone seeking services, regardless of insurance status and needs. We truly believe we are all in this together and want to support the local and national efforts to work as a community. Please reach out if we can be of help and/or connect you to additional resources. We strive to respond to all inquiries as quickly as possible.

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melissa: kintsugi + wabi sabi

During times that feel (and are) particularly challenging, as has often been the case in the past couple of years, we are often left wondering how to continue to find hope, heal, and even thrive. One thought that usually comes to mind is the Japanese concept of kintsugi. “Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.”

In the West, the concept of kintsugi is often paired with the phrase wabi sabiLoosely translated, “wabi” is simplicity, whether elegant or rustic; “sabi” means the beauty of age and wear. While many academics have varying definitions of this phrase, they all often come back to a generalized concept of embracing that which is flawed, asymmetrical, unfinished, and imperfect. The etiology of these concepts trace back prior to the 14th century, when the phrases began to take a more “positive” feeling of noting the beauty in the imperfect and unfinished.  For Richard Powell, “Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”[6]

One can do a very deep research dive on kintsugi and wabi sabi and find some beautiful ceramics, theories, research, books, quotes, and so much more. As many of us tend to do, you can easily start your reading on Wikipedia, and take off from there, should you be so inclined. If you desire no further research or reading, simply imagine yourself as a ceramic pot with a few cracks and breaks, assembled back together with gold, with light shining through. That unfinished, asymmetrical, lopsided, beautiful piece of art work is you, and it can always be repaired when, inevitably, it has a tiny (or large) crack. That, surely, is an endless source of hope.

Copyright © 2022 Melissa A. Frey, LCSW. All rights reserved.

 

mindful moment

spring is like a perhaps hand

spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things, while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.

-e.e. cummings

melissa: free mindful apps

One of the questions we are often asked is regarding where to find useful mindfulness resources and apps for meditation and/or anxiety, sleep and mood. Look no further, mindful.org has compiled a list of free apps to consider and their descriptions. A list of those free mindful and meditation apps can be found here. Interested in books or journals? We’ve got our list here. If you’re looking for additional resources that are not listed here, let us know!

“Don’t search for anything except peace. Try to calm the mind. Everything else will come on its own.”

Baba Hari Das

Copyright ©Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2022. All rights reserved. 

 

mindful moment

There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life.

There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine.

O traveler, if you are in search of that, don’t look outside, look inside yourself and seek that.

-Rumi

melissa: joyscrolling

Amidst the ongoing stressful, often very sad news, and overall state of the world, it can be very challenging to find joy in the news. While it can be critically important not to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the world around us, it’s also crucial to find some small semblance of balance in our worlds. One writer describes the concept of joy scrolling versus doom scrolling. Want to know more? You can read the article here. One of my personal favorites is UpWorthy, which finds and shares “the best of humanity daily” via their website and social media.

“Life is a series of painful or joyful moments, which follow each other in an endless cycle. Whenever pain comes near us, our only salvation is to seek places of beauty, joy, and peace. Wherever there is joy, our souls can heal.” -unknown

Copyright ©Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2022. All rights reserved. 

 

mindful moment

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far beyond the road I have begun,
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has an inner light, even from a distance-

and changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave…
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

 

-Rainer Marie Rilke, “A Walk”

melissa: kind of coping

As 2022 marches on, I think we are all finding ourselves in the category of “kind of coping.”  We are looking for moments of peace, purpose, hope, and happiness and are managing to find it in small ways, in every day moments.  The New York Times has a good piece on How to Improve Your Mental Health in 2022, which you can access here. While there is no “one size fits all” bit of advice, there’s always something to point you in the right direction. The article outlines some tips on how to cope, and, dare I say, improve your mental health during even the toughest of times.

Copyright © Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2022. All rights reserved. 

The blossom will always grow.
The seasons will always change.
People come and go,
Their shadows comforting and strange.

The flowers will always bloom
Once the darkness subsides.
When every corner is filled with gloom,
Remember the sun just hides.

Brighter days will follow.
Earth will keep moving.
Look for the brighter color.
Help lift the darkness looming.

-Jessica Bryan

mindful moment

Hope abides; therefore I abide.
Countless frustrations have not cowed me.
I am still alive, vibrant with life.
The black cloud will disappear,
The morning sun will appear once again
In all its supernal glory.

– Sri Chinmoy

melissa: as the world keeps turning

During particularly hard and long news/pandemic weeks, I always find it a bit challenging to articulate in a small blog post what I think might be helpful for our clients to hear or read. One thing we are hearing across the board in sessions is that everyone is feeling a bit heavy this week with the current events occurring both in the US and around the world. To that end, I think we can all relate.

While there truly is no “one size fits all” bit of advice or checklist for how to survive and cope with during difficult times, we always like to offer some ideas outside of session that are a bit more generalizable. There are some good tips for how to cope with stressful news and current events here and here. Sometimes, we just have to take time as it comes- one day at a time- as we move forever forward.

Copyright ©Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2022. All rights reserved. 

mindful moment

Sorrow prepares you for joy.
It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter.

It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.

It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow.
Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their
place.

…Moonlight floods the whole sky from horizon to horizon;
How much it can fill your room depends on its windows.

-Rumi

melissa: changes

Change, it seems, is in the air. And while there’s, as it also seems, a lot of feelings on all sides of these changes- one thing remains true: change is inevitable. Learning to let go of things we cannot change and the strength to advocate for the things we can change is a lifelong evaluation process and balancing act. No matter where you stand in the face of the constant change we are in, know that you will find a path that works for you. Decision fatigue is as real as physical fatigue, and we are in the thick of it. With these changes, I hope we can shortly say goodbye to winter, and hello to some sunshine- both metaphorical and literal.

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy.” C. JoyBell C.

We’ve made it this far and we will continue on forever forward.

Copyright © Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2022. All rights reserved. 

mindful moment

The Rainy Day

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

melissa: breathing, meditation, and mindfulness

Lately, we’ve gotten quite a few requests for a better understanding on how to begin mindfulness exercises (mindful movement, generally quieting the mind, journaling, meditation, etc). Mindfulness is one of the most accessible tools we can easily access for managing the stressors or daily life, as well as the bigger obstacles and problems we face.

To get you started, I’ve listed some resources below. Top tip: even taking a minute to mindfully breathe can make big differences in our lives. Science has told us this many times over! If you’re intimated by taking on a new task, know that this one can truly take just minutes. Take a deep breath, and give it a go!

Here are some basics about meditation and mindfulness from Mindful.org.

From Berkeley University Great Good Science Center, try a five minute exercise (you can read it or listen to the recording). There are also additional guided exercises from the Berkeley Center here.

Copyright ©Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2022. All rights reserved. 

 

mindful moment

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low but the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit…
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many failures turn about
When we might have won had we stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow…
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out…
And you can never tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Edgar A. Guest

all of us: gratitude

As we approach the closing of this year, and the opening of a new year, we are reflecting on 2021. So much has changed, and yet so much has also stayed the same. While we are facing uncertainty at the closure of this year, we are also welcoming in hope and peace. We are endlessly grateful for the hours we’ve spent alongside our clients this year- as we have felt in every year that goes by. We have had so many moments of laughter, knowing and understanding, holding of space, and peace, along with the difficult moments we shared together as well. It is our honor to welcome in another year of changes and connection with our clients; knowing, in so many ways, that we face this next horizon together.

from all of us at frey & associates with gratitude: cheers to another year

 

Copyright ©Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2021. All rights reserved. 

mindful moment

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.

-Maya Angelou

 

melissa: holidaze

The holiday season is upon us, and as a new year comes within reach, many people find themselves in a holidaze. If you, too, are in a holidaze, there are some wonderful coping strategies and words of wisdom here. Particularly this year, I think we all recognize the importance of setting boundaries and holding empathy for those around us, which is well put and outlined in the article. If you find yourself slogging through the month a bit, I highly recommend reading that article, as well as finding some comforting rituals to get you through the days. While this holiday season and new year may again look different than those of the past, there are, undoubtedly, many bright days ahead.

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all. -Emily Dickinson

Copyright © Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2021. All rights reserved.

mindful moment

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

– Albert Camus

melissa: welcome december

December has arrived and with it, the last days of the year. I particularly like to spend time in December reflecting on the year that is nearly behind us, even amidst the ever-growing to-do list and holiday bustling. In my reflections today, I came across the poem below that summed up some of those reflection thoughts well. Welcome December and all of our musings; may we find some moments of peace and joy in the mix of the busy-ness that is our daily life.

“I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December.

A magical thing

And sweet to remember.

‘We are nearer to Spring

Than we were in September,’

I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December.”

— Oliver Herford

 

Copyright ©Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2021. All rights reserved. 

mindful moment

You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.

Deep down in the human spirit, there is a reservoir of courage.

It is always available, always waiting to be discovered.

Just where you are; that’s the place to start.

-Pema Chödrön