Home

  •  Are you living with passion and purpose?
  • Have the strains of loss, stress, or conflict sapped the joy from your life?

Ashley Davis Bush can help you.   She offers articles, videos, books, and one-on-one counseling (via phone, Skype, or in-person) to help you experience a deeper, more satisfying life.

Ashley is a psychotherapist, Huffington Post blogger, a self-help author, and radio personality with over 25 years of professional experience. Ashley believes that each of life’s challenges offers us opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.  Ashley is passionate about providing simple, specific tools to help deepen and enrich your life, starting today.  Latest Blog Posts:

Win a free copy of “The Little Book of Inner Peace”!

Go to Goodreads.com to register to win free signed copy of my latest book

The Little Book of Inner Peace

Everything’s Coming up Roses

The flight took 10 hours.  That would have been terrific if I had been flying to India, but we took off at lunch and were expected to land within 3 hours.  I had plans for dinner!  But life had other plans:  7 hours of stuck-on-the-tarmac-delay, no food, crying babies, and thunderstorms all around.

I always ready myself for the opportunity to practice patience and acceptance when I board an airplane, but this tested even my limits.  Breathing deeply, I pulled out a tried-and-true gratitude restart:  the Glad Game.

I started with a few ground balls: “I’m glad I have water”, “I’m glad I’m not throwing up”, “I’m glad I’m not in a middle seat”.   And then knocked it into left field,  “I’m glad I’m not in pain”, “I’m glad I’m not trapped in turbulence”, “I’m glad we’re not making an emergency crash landing.”

In any challenging situation, we always have a choice:  focus on the weeds or focus on the flowers.   A little perspective does wonders when life throws a curveball.  I wasn’t happy to be delayed by 7 hours, but I sure was glad to be safe and alive.   

When you notice you’re not pushing up daisies, everything comes up roses.    

Peace, Ashley

www.ashleydavisbush.com

The Secret to Inner Peace

Amazingly, 2017 marks 20 years of my life in New Hampshire.  Why is this amazing?  Because I don’t like cold winters. I don’t ski, snow shoe, ice skate, drive, or even walk when there is snow about – I simply hibernate … and complain.

In spite of my efforts toward joyful living, I have complained for 19 of my 20 winters.  I’ve known that my own resistance fuels my discontent but when my body gets cold, I simply feel trapped in a frigid world.  Like there is no way out but south.

But this year things shifted for me, I lightened up and I just accepted the cold.  Maybe I was stock out of complaints, maybe no one listened to me anymore.   Maybe I was tired of hearing my own inner grumbles.  So, I simply accepted it — not grudgingly or resentfully — but with a full-on acceptance of the reality of a northern winter.

And therein lies the lesson that I learn over and again, the ultimate secret and key to inner peace: relaxed acceptance.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hit the slopes or play in the snow.  And I did spend 2 weeks in a warm climate, which helped a lot.  But there were still many months of cold for me to manage.  This year, I accepted winter and didn’t worry about it.  Then, ironically, I noticed happiness creeping in to even the coldest of days. Snow in April?  No worries.  Plus, I know that spring is on the horizon.

Ashley Davis Bush

www.ashleydavisbush.com

Three Simple Steps to Self-Compassion

If you’re feeling more Grinch than Santa, more Scrooge than Elf, then you may need a little extra dose of tender loving care.  And guess who is the best person to provide this TLC?  YOU are.

Self-compassion practices are remarkably effective in helping you feel supported and understood.  You come to internalize that YOU have your own back.  You validate your own experience.  Here’s how it works, in 3 easy steps:

  1. Name your suffering
  2. Universalize it
  3. Apply loving kindness

Sounds simple, right?  But how do you actually do it?  Your script might be something like this . . .

  1. I notice that I’m feeling really grumpy this holiday season.  I don’t like the darkness or the cold.  I hate the pressure to spend more than I have and give the perfect gift to my family members.  I feel (fill in the blank): lonely, sad, depressed, stressed, grief-stricken, hopeless, bored, defeated.
  2. I know that I am not the only person to feel this way, not at the holidays and not ever.  There are millions of people around the world who know what this particular experience feels like.  I am not alone.
  3. (Holding your hand over your heart).  I’m going to be ok.  In fact, I am ok.  I can get through this.  May I know some peace.  May I know some happiness.  May I open my heart to myself.  May I rest in serenity and love.

That’s it.  Use this practice every day, several times a day.  And know that this season will pass, just as all the others eventually do.

www.ashleydavisbush.com

Practicing Self Compassion

Having had the honor of listening to clients for over 28 years, I know that it’s very easy for people to fall into patterns of self-judgement, self-criticism, and even self-harm.  In fact, depression, anxiety, and relationship conflict are often exacerbated by self- judgment:  “What’s wrong with me?”  “Why am I such an idiot?”  “I’m a loser.”

In my own life, a pattern of self-criticism has arisen around my need for sleep. I need an extraordinary amount of sleep – always have.  And if I don’t get my requisite nine hours, I cannot function well.

Recently, I was in a community theater production of “Oliver”.  After three months of rehearsals and performances I needed sleep, sleep and extra sleep.  I found myself conserving energy by saying no to friends for lunch, skipping family functions, and avoiding evening engagements.  Suddenly, the old nagging voice was heard:  “Why do you need so much sleep?  What’s wrong with you?”

I knew it was time for self-compassion. When I first became aware of the critical voice, I reminded myself that everyone’s body is different.  I sympathized with myself that it’s challenging (and humbling) to feel one’s physical limitations.  And then I was able to be grateful for all that my body is capable of.  With this foundation of self-compassion, I was able to better care for myself:  trust my body, get to bed early, and be grateful for sleep.

Self compassion is your best self-care.

www.ashleydavisbush.com