Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been curious about meaning. What do things mean? What does Life mean? How do we make meaning of tragedy?
I am an emerging scholar, a Ph.D. student in the Transformative Inquiry Department at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. My research is on what I’m calling Self-Compassion Narratives. I’m interested in narrative meaning-making and the power of self-compassion as defined by Kristin Neff: self-kindness, mindfulness, and common humanity. How might a Self-Compassion Narrative create growth-oriented meaning after a disruptive event? I’m looking at this from a transdisciplinary perspective and researching narrative psychology, posttraumatic growth, humanistic existential psychology, positive psychology, transformative learning, social constructivism and constructionism, and more.
My dissertation inquiry is in many ways personal. In my first book coming out in May 2020, Out of Love: Finding Your Way Back to Self-Compassion, I write about my personal journey from harsh self-criticism to self-compassion via breast cancer and the suicide loss of my first husband. How was I to make sense of these tragic events? By breaking my heart open even more to life and choosing compassionate storytelling. We all tell ourselves stories about who we are. Many of these stories are self-critical and disempowering. Through the practice of self-compassion, we can rewrite these stories and become more authentic and powerful versions of ourselves—transforming not only our own lives but also the lives of those around us. My hope is that my story, as well as my academic research, will inspire others to unlearn self-critical patterns in their own lives and live happier, more courageous lives.
I consider myself a lucky Danish/Norwegian American writer who gets to call the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area home. Here, I live with my second husband and stepson, and practice my religion of compassion, for myself and others, for we are all, imperfectly, in this together.
I’m excited to be part of INPM and learn from esteemed scholars on meaning. I’m hoping to attend the next meaning conference and meet some of you in person!