Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Listen to Your Body

There are days, few thankfully, that I feel simply tired or bad.  On these days, I'm often reminded of
the stressors that are filling my life at an UN-ignorable decibel level.  When I feel bad, this is my body's way of saying, "hey, calm down.  You need to rest today and take care of yourself."  When I was younger, I just plowed through these signs and then got sick.  Now that I'm older, half the time I jump straight into unwell.

These times are not unique in my body being clear about sending me signs that are terrific warnings for me.  When my hair stands up on end, I know something is going on that requires more attention int the moment.  When I get a sensation in the pit of my stomach, I stop everything and listen.  When I want to be alone more than anything, I find a way to do that, even if in short spurts.  My body is loud when it signals to me.  I'm thankful, even when I don't want to listen. 

Today I have a burning in my throat and an ear infection.  I didn't listen soon enough and now I'm paying the price in pain.  Pain is the body's last resort to signal something needs to change in behavior.  Got it.

May your Spring be filled with signals you hear, your health be vigorous, and your laughter heal your heart.

Copyright 2018 Heather L. Corwin, Ph.D.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Go Blow Mr. Trump

Here I’m going to list the biggest points of what I find offensive and disgusting about Trump.   

I’ve been reeling since the election.  Most of why that is has to do with beliefs Trump demonstrates that I conflate with the people who voted for Trump.  Many friends have asked to talk with me about the election and why I’m devastated, but I could not have those conversations yet.  That the first woman who would have been an amazing president was not elected is NOT the issue.  That the public held Clinton in contempt makes me sad - and that she won the popular vote by millions of votes is also not the point.  Trump is the issue for me.

  • Trump is a self-admitted sexual predator.  If he treated any of my friends or friends’ daughter’s or relatives this way, I would support the women he assaulted without question and see that he pays for breaking the law.  That people simply overlook his treatment of women is staggering to me.  That the American public awarded him the highest office in the land rewards his atrocious behavior.
  • People have a problem with the rising costs of Obamacare.  Trump’s platform was to demolish Obamacare.  If I did not have access to Obamacare subsidies in conjunction with my health insurance supplied as a stage actor when my husband was out of work, I might still be paying for the costs associated with the birth of my child.  Though I understand costs are high, getting health care for the generalizable population of the United States has taken decades.  People who have pre-existing conditions have been denied in the past and that is not happening now.  I agree that changes have to be made to the current legislation, but annihilation would devastate many people’s lives and cost many lives.
  • Trump objectifies women.  His own daughter he talked about claiming that if he didn’t know her, he’d want to get with her.  That’s not troubling?  That’s supposed to be flattering?  Of 10-year-olds, said he'd be dating them in 10 years.  As a woman, I find the way he speaks about women offensive.  He veils his remarks under the idea of being sick of political correctness.  If his demeaning and dismissive behavior and words do not reveal respect for women, they are unfiltered misogyny. 
  • Trump promotes fear and hatred.  Trump’s idea to build a wall is ridiculous.  The areas of the U.S. border that have a wall have proven useless.  That Trump was arrogant enough to boast that the Mexicans would pay for it earned a “Fuck You” from their past president (that’s a quote).  He’s filled his cabinet with anti-Semitic (Jew haters), misogynistic (women haters), bigots (people of color haters and LGBTQ haters), to make his point.  Women’s rights to abortion are going to be attacked, just as Pence dedicated his time to doing in his state.   Why?  Why is hate the answer?  People who are educated and kind actually have a premonition that there’s going to be a civil war because of this man, and I’m not sure they’re wrong.
  • Trump is not interested in running the country.   He doesn’t attend daily briefings because he believes not that much can change in the world in a day.  Really?  You would think 9/11 would be enough to dismiss that way of thinking.  I can name several world disasters and attacks/wars that would merit attention daily.  But whatever.
  • Trump lies.  He makes up shit.  This is not an exaggeration.  I firmly believe he’s pathological (I do have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology so I can say this), but even if he’s not,his way of creating reality is dangerous and American Citizens will pay for his bullshit.  His bullshit is not charming, nor does his saying something enough make it true.  Regardless, people are buying it.  Those coal miners are going to be pissed in a year because there’s no way to stop economic trends and turn back time.  He’s not going to bring those jobs back – because he can’t.  I’m sure someone tried to bring back horseless carriages, but that didn’t work either, did it?
  • Trump is not consistent about anything.  Integrity is important to me.  Not all politicians have this attribute, but Trump doesn’t even know what the word means.  He’s put so many small businesses out of business due to his “brilliant” business practices BY NOT PAYING THEM FOR THE WORK THEY DID.  People think he’s smart because he’s got money.  His dad made the money and Trump hasn’t lost it.  Good for him.  But a man who continually changes his mind daily with no rationalization or explanation is simply not to be trusted.
I'm still not sure if I can talk about these issues without becoming angry, and I won't apologize for my feelings. However, some friends asked after a post on Facebook and here is my answer. In summation, I want a president who is curious and interested in the world as a whole, who wants to protect and celebrate the diversity that makes this country great, who stands up for the people who don't have a voice, and who is smart enough to understand that politics requires making difficult decisions that requires putting the best interests of the people before personal wishes. Go live in the White House and do your job Mr. President Elect.

Copyright 2016 Dr. Heather L. Corwin

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Grief jumbles up my soul inspiring me to cull out all behavior that exists for others and does not serve my heart.

The ache of my mother’s death echoes this new loss of love.
Strings of hurts entwine like a knotted necklace.   
Without patience, I try to fling the hurts away.


I will not be who I am not.   
Life demands my happiness.

even when I throb within the void acknowledging the hole left behind
even when I sob within the void
even when I …

Time marches onward making the void bigger and smaller.

I am lucky, love is beside me always. 
With love I am able to conquer fear.
With love I am able to soothe my soul.
With love, I will find what I need.
and I miss those who came and had to leave

Copyright 2016 Heather L. Corwin, Ph.D.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Losing Your Job

A dear friend of mine was recently laid off.  My first reaction was to jump on a plane, surround us with chocolate, and watch "I'm glad that's NOT me" themed films or historical romances. Since that's not possible, I went straight to the internet for inspirational stories around job loss.  These stories were mostly thank God I was forced to re-evaluate my life and now I'm happy!  And all I could think was, it's too soon to send this sort of stuff.

Loosing your job is a big deal.  People you spend the majority of your day with for years are people you will no longer see regularly.  What's more complicated is the idea that your boss, the person who may have cheered you on last week, is now the person telling you your services are no longer needed.  That hurts.  Betrayal and trust are often at the center of this event, which can erode confidence.

What brings little comfort is being let go was not a result of misuse of social media or lying on a resume, it was as simple and devastating as the company did not drive as much business as it once had, requiring down-sizing.  Facts do not help the heart feel better immediately, but they do soothe eventually.

What I do know is my friend needs me now: to listen, to laugh, to cry, to support grieving and recovery.  The truth is, life can offer us better opportunities than we can hope for when we are open to the possibility - which usually occurs when seeking work.  Here's to life healing the hurts and celebrating possibilities!!!

Copyright 2016 Heather L. Corwin, Ph.D.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Teaching Problem Students

Maybe I've been reading too much Brené Brown, but I'm going to dedicate this year to articulating my vulnerabilities.  Recently I've been thinking about what keeps me up at night.  As a teacher, what keeps me up most is when a student is not thriving or succeeding in my class.  My common go-to thought is, "I must not be enough."  I gently put that aside, awaken my curiosity around the students and situation, and see what I can bring to the equation that may evolve the situation in the direction of success. 

Allow me to introduce one of my undergraduate students who I will call "Jane."  Jane loved the teacher who instructed last year who had a totally different focus on the material.  That happens.  The student felt very loyal to that teacher.  I'm not sure where else she and I have challenges, but she stated that she doesn't believe I can teach her anything, which is a little mind boggling, especially since we've already spent a semester together.  Ego aside, I've been teaching a long time and this sort of problem has never occurred in my class - especially when I'm teaching majors.  This is usually when I have my biggest awareness epiphany's, in the face of challenge.  What I find interesting is this student also failed to complete substantial amounts of homework required of the class, which is no coincidence.  So is this blame game an attempt to assuage her guilt at not committing to the class or might she simply dislike the material... or me?  I'm always looking for logic.  I'm not into taking these challenges personally, but it's hard not to do so. 

Sometimes, as a teacher, the answer after you've exhausted all teaching angles is, "this student is not interested in engaging in this class for whatever reason."  That is a last resort thought for me.  Plus, there's always a reason the student does not want to engage.  However, discovering what is holding the student back can shed light on a multitude of blocks the student may have, which will allow the student to soar in her academics as well as in her life.  Most important, teaching requires both parties to engage.  If a student chooses not to, I have little recourse other than a grade reflection, which is lame.  Learning isn't happening.  Well, not the learning I have in mind anyway.

I'm not the perfect teacher for everyone, that's not possible.  So 2% of all of my students who do not connect to what or how I teach is a pretty good average.  Sadly, that doesn't salve me.  Logic doesn't ease my heart when spreading love of acting is what drives me.  I don't even care if a students does not have enthusiasm for the material, the assignments still have to be done.  Engaging is required of adults who do more than survive in the world.  Clearly, I'm more than a survivor.  Can I lead by example and hope that's enough?  We will find out.

Copyright 2016 Heather Corwin

Monday, July 27, 2015

Relocating Can be a Bitch

You know where your coffee place is, your dentist, your favorite breakfast place, where your friends like to hang out, your favorite romantic restaurant, etc.  But now you're half way across the country and none of those people, things or places are the same.  You don't even have the same bank because it's going to be another branch.  Life is full of details.

Details make up my life.  Now they're ALL different.

I can thank my lucky stars that the sameness is in my marriage partner - Doug.  Through the constant changes, we have each other - and will soon have other friends again as well.  Thankfully, I have friends in the area, but it's not the same... yet.  There's a loneliness that hits when moving to a place that's new because the older people get, the harder it is to establish new relationships.  I now have the opportunity to rekindle some friendships that I enjoyed years ago, and I'm delighted that many of those friends are interested in doing so! 

Now I just have to have patience and grieve the loss of the life I had in Pasadena.  Those people are not dead to me, I just won't have an every day interaction with them.  I look forward to visits!!!

Copyright 2015 Heather L. Corwin

Friday, January 23, 2015

To Cassandra... About Dying and Living

Dear Cassandra,

Elsa (left), Cassandra (middle), Anna (Right)
You can't read this, you're only 4.  But I wanted you to know that I have always felt fortunate in that I really love my life.  I've chosen some hard paths, but they were ones that I wanted and fought hard to stay on to live the life I imagine and dream for myself.  I hope you follow your heart and allow yourself to be happy.

I always wanted you.  Ever since I was a little girl, I had conversations with myself about what I would do with you and how well I would treat you when you came into my life.  That might sound funny to you because I'm sure you think of rules as unfair sometimes.  Still, I'm using every bit of knowledge and wisdom I can muster to be the best mom I know how to be because you're very important to me.

If there's one thing the I wish for you is that you could inherit my optimism.  Sometimes the sheer force of it is stunning, because I really have lived a charmed life that supports that optimism.  From your father, I hope you inherit his kindness (and his intelligence), but the kindness never ceases to baffle me- because your dad's heart is bigger than Jupiter and is so beautiful.

We all get hurt at times in our lives.  I know you will and I hope to be there to help you through.  I wish all hurts were as simple as you cutting your finger on the scissors when you weren't looking like the other night when my heart stopped, but that's not realistic.  And that scared me to death.  When your heart hurts, know that you can grieve.  Then take the time to feel into the wonderful things in your life.  Call your friends and spend time laughing and sitting quietly together sipping tea and just being.  Healing happens in the connections we make with people, even when much of grief occurs when others sever those connections.

Know that all of who I am is thilled that you are mine and I am yours.  I'm so happy that you chose me to be your mom!

All my love,
Copyright 2015 Dr. Heather Corwin