Over the past few years I’ve come to the conclusion that talking about what’s bothering us is important but it’s not a revelation. In fact, it’s something that I’ve always known (and I think most of us know) but also something that I often avoid. Growing up, I took for granted that I’ve always had people to talk to if/when I needed to (thanks mom and dad). This blog is about a time in my life when ran from problems in the hopes that someone else will feel inspired to face theirs (see the lotus quote at the end if you feel like you’re stuck in the mud).


Without going too far into it, I had a rough start to graduate school (read more here). For an entire year, I felt like I was in a hole that I couldn’t crawl out of; every morning I woke up and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make myself feel any better. I spent hours each week walking around the streets of Philadelphia with my head down so that nobody would see that I was on the brink of tears.

It felt like I was stuck in mud.

Like most times in my life, my parents had sound advice: talk to someone (a therapist).

I rejected the idea hundreds of times it felt weak to me; this felt like something that I should have been able to overcome on my own. In the end, I decided to talk to a therapist and after the first session I left and never went back – I was ashamed (for no good reason). I was fortunate to begin dating my now wife who unknowingly at the time helped me climb out of the hole I was in. If it wasn’t for her and the faith that I found again, I don’t know where I would have been.

All that I know is that I needed help to get better and there’s no shame in that.

I’m writing this blog from a great place and in the hopes of reaching someone who feels alone; someone who’s been fighting the resistance to talk about what they’re struggling with. If you’re reading these words I want you to know that seeking help is a sign of strength and there are people who care about you (me included – here’s my number). Bottling things up is almost never a good idea and processing problems can happen in many different ways (taking, journaling, drawing, movement, etc.) – find what works best.


If we’re being honest, we all have things to talk about and the strongest relationships are built on shared vulnerability. Let’s stop living shallow lives on the surface and start going deeper into what matters most – our common, human condition. I’d like to end this blog with a longer excerpt about the lotus flower…

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.”

Goldie Hawn

Let’s talk about it.

Joe Rinaldi

IG: @joearinaldi

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