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Workshop & Events

Create a Sadness Playlist


Most of the focus of my work is increasing happiness and joy in life with many clients.  And while often increasing happiness and redirecting attention to joy, inspiration and creativity is very important we cannot experience life fully if we don't also attune to our less comfortable emotions.

Glossing over negative emotions hurts us in two key ways.  First, it doesn't allow us to know our full self- only the parts we like best or feel most comfortable with- or believe other people will like best.  But most often when we let ourselves and others (who have earned our trust) see the complexity of our full emotions we can deepen relationships and trust.

Second, when we try to shut down, swallow, or hide negative emotions they still get stored somewhere.  They return to us in the form of nightmares, worries, or even more powerful emotions later on. Often they take the form of pain in our bodies (aching back, tense shoulders, tight jaw, headaches, upset stomach... etc).  Wherever we store them- they still exist.

I've written about paying attention to shadow emotions before.  But after watching Inside Out this evening paying attention to sadness is on my mind.   Sadness is critical to wellbeing.  Knowing our own sadness allows us empathy to share other people's sadness.  It gives space for healing and hope, resilience and triumph.

There are lots of ways to spend time with sadness.  One of the tools I ask clients to use is to create a sadness playlist. When we want to access sadness we can play certain songs or videos and allow sadness space in our lives.  We don't want any emotion to take up full residency- so we won't let sadness become us, but we feel in touch with sadness, notice it in our bodies and know it will pass.

Over the years, I have gotten a lot of great input from clients about their favorite sadness songs and videos.  I put together a list that might help you start your own.  

Here are a few of my favorite videos from my sadness playlist:


The Love Scene from the Pixar movie, Up

Keep Breathing, by Ingrid Michaelson

Hurt, by Nine Inch Nails, covered by Johnny Cash

Some of the Most Heartbreaking entries to Post Secret

234: Say Anything, Act One, This American Life

339: The Break Up, This American Life

What would you add to the list?

If you find you are getting stuck in sadness, and can't seem to find your way toward happiness working with a therapist may help.  Call me for a consultation, or check out for a provider in your area!

Awesome Summer Dates in Portland


I work with so many couples who are trying to reconnect.  They feel the fascination, romance, and desire is gone from their long term relationship.  The thing is, for most of them, they've stopped giving their relationship time and attention.  

If you want to reconnect, move spending quality time together back into focus.  Start a weekly date night ritual and spend a few hours without distraction, try something new, or experience your love without technological disconnection.  

Here are a few ideas to get you started in Portland this summer:

Summer Symphony in the Park

Grab your blanket and a few favorite snacks and get outside with your sweetie.  The Oregon Symphony and Portland Festival Symphony both do free concerts in the parks every summer in Portland and you are guaranteed a night of magic.  

Cathedral Park Jazz Festival

Okay, I may be biased because I live and work in St. Johns neighborhood- but this is one of the best festivals in Portland all summer.  Bring your travel chairs and a few friends and make a double date of it all weekend!

Outdoor Movies in Portland

Portland loves free summer events and these are super fun.  Check the link below for listings and bring your sweetie to a fun family film or cult classic.  Just remember to bring warm clothes for after the sun goes down!

Run, Jog, or Walk a 5K

Plenty of research shows, couples who exercise together stay together and are happier long term. The great thing about 5Ks are LOTS of people walk and hike them and many of them have silly themes in Portland.  There are even pizza and beer runs. Just remember, its not about competition- but shared fun and new experiences that make a shared run fun! 

Portland Sunday Parkways

If you live in Portland you probably have a bike.  Each neighborhood shuts down a few streets once a summer to let bikes and scooters have the right of way.  Spend a sunny day this summer cycling with your sweetheart!


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