Tranquilosophy: Our Evolution

Not in his goals but in his transitions man is great.—Ralph Waldo Emerson

I recently snapped this photo in my new therapy room. Being among the blues, grays, and neutrals of this sweet space encourages an exhale. This journey to private practice has been an interesting, winding one and here’s how it all began . . .

In 2009 Tranquil Space was turning 10, so I planned to take a month off in the fall to celebrate and contemplate. What did I want the next 10 years to represent, I wondered? I planned 10 days in Paris—a city I hadn’t visited since backpacking post-college—and the rest of the month deliberating.

While on a break from leading a Costa Rica retreat that same year, I was lying in a hammock between two shady trees sipping a coconut and reading Paris in Mind. I kept stumbling upon references to Sarte, DeBeauvior, and Camus’ concept of existentialism. Although I understood it to be what we make of ourselves is our responsibility, I wasn’t clear on the full picture.

Kristin, a retreat participant still in yoga clothes, came to the cabana where I was hammocking and sat onto the pink, blue, and yellow striped one next to me. I looked up from the book, ready to rest my mind from the deep reading. We exchanged banter about the weather and the morning’s class. As the conversation lulled, I laid my book onto my chest and asked, “Do you understand existentialism?”

She shared her interpretation. An hour later I was unaware of anything else around us—birds, tropical foliage, other retreaters—they all blended into a muted background as I found myself more and more intrigued. Not just with existentialism, but the workings of the mind and the numerous theories to help better understand it and ourselves. This exchange reminded me why I studied psychology in undergrad and started a business focused on helping others.

As Kristin and I continued to talk, we learned that we’d both been considering a return to school to become therapists—a career I’d planned since junior high. In between yoga classes, massages, and meals, we spent time researching social work and counseling programs in the D.C. area. I felt my future unfolding from a simple question, asked of the right person, at a ripe time.

Over breaks we’d share our research results: programs, tuition, application deadlines. The rest of the retreat was a mixture of excitement about my new 10-year plan and anxiety about returning to years of academia, internships, clinical hours, and licensing exams. Kristin and I chose different schools, yet packed our bags to become students again that fall.

I’m often asked, “Why social work?,” so I penned a blog post about it in 2012. Another question I get is, “How long did it take?” Ah, I answered that one in a recent podcast. Three months ago I took a grueling four-hour licensing exam and shook as I pushed the “finish” button. When it read “pass,” I felt my body relax for the first time in weeks.

Nearly eight years later, we’re both yogis in private practice and I’m so grateful for this journey. It began with a coconut in one hand and a book about Paris in the other. Our lives are an ongoing evolution. One foot in front of the other. Bisous. x

26 Ways to Celebrate Spring

I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.—Anne Lamott

Happy first day of spring! Although it’s still fairly chilly in DC, warmer temps and peak cherry blossoms are on the horizon.

As we leave winter’s hibernation, I like to take a moment to review its lessons, highlights, and challenges. Then I can make space for what’s to come in this brand new season by penning a spring wish list into my Daybook and many items are below.

May your transition into this spring be smooth, mindful, and full of ease. Bisous. x

  1. Pack a picnic
  2. Plan a hike
  3. Sit outside at your favorite restaurant
  4. Wear open-toed shoes
  5. Spring clean
  6. See the cherry blossoms
  7. Repot plants
  8. Visit an animal sanctuary
  9. Plant impatiens in your garden
  10. Pick up succulent fruit at the farmers’ market
  11. Go berry picking
  12. Visit a winery and sip into the afternoon
  13. Snap photos of blooming trees and flowers
  14. Savor the sunshine on your skin (hello, vitamin D)
  15. Add pops of color to your desk and home with tulips and daffodils
  16. Go camping
  17. Cultivate a garden (windowsills count)
  18. Line dry your clothes
  19. Hit the beach
  20. Ride a bike
  21. Create a bird feeder
  22. Grow fresh mint for your tea
  23. Pack up your heavy winter gear
  24. Practice yoga outside
  25. Host a mini cocktail party
  26. Fill out the Wheel of Life in your Daybook

Tranquility du Jour #392: The Bee Cottage Story

The Bee Cottage Story with Frances Schultz. We talk about her House Beautiful magazine series on the makeover of her house, Bee Cottage, that turned into a book, what she learned and how she changed during this emotional process.

Tranquility du Jour #392: The Bee Cottage Story


Direct download: Tranquility du Jour #392: The Bee Cottage Story


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Upcoming Events


Tranquility du Jour Live: March 30

Yoga + Art in West Virginia: May 19-21

Writing in the Woods in West Virginia: October 20-22

Featured guest:

Writer, artist, traveler, and tastemaker, Frances Schultz is a contributing editor for House Beautiful magazine and writes also Veranda,Indagare, The Wall Street Journal and others. Former on-air host of the cable show Southern Living Presents, She is author and co-author of several books on design and entertaining. Her latest, The Bee Cottage Story—How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness is now in its sixth printing.

Frances was the 2015 recipient of the Horticultural Society of New York’s Award of Excellence and was named one of the Southeastern Horticultural Society’s Visionaries of Design. She is on the boards of the Horticultural Society of New York and of Empowers Africa. A North Carolina native and UVa graduate, she lives with her husband Tom Dittmer on a ranch in Los Olivos, California, with frequent forays to New York and East Hampton. You can follow her at

photo by Trevor Tondro

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