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Flowing Through Life: The Fluid Wisdom of Shanna Willner

Busy Therapy Austin counselor Shanna Wilner took a moment out of her day to share a piece of herself with me, and I'm so thrilled to share her voice of peace with the therapy-verse. Take a minute and check in with one of TA's masters of mindfulness!

What's  one of your FAVORITE moments in the therapeutic process?

Therapy feels to me like the beautiful book, The Universe in a Single Atom.  Every experience, thought, or feeling that’s been had is a contender to show-up in a session.  For me, this concept appears when a client is expressing a deep pain, a bad memory, a daunting fear, and then one of us will say something unintentionally funny and out of nowhere, we start laughing.   It’s the fast unfettered laughter that comes with emotional freedom. 

Shanna before class at a favorite local yoga studio, prepping to get her zen on!

 I love it.  You never know when it will happen, and it happens more often than one might guess.  That shared moment of pain followed by genuine humor makes me feel connected to something vital.   

What's your go to self-care routine?

The big things:  I actively work to get good sleep and I meditate before bed to wind down from the day.  Next, I am deeply committed to positive self-talk; I am respectful to myself, I encourage myself to take it easy and rest, I make jokes but I don’t make fun.  Finally, I am recently focused on a frequent grocery shop so I have good food in my house and I feel more intentional with my finances.  Without any of these pieces, things get ugly, fast. 

 The little things:  I keep almonds and water in my purse.  When I get tense, I look at funny animal pictures on Reddit for 5 minutes (the Aww section on  When I don’t have time for a lot of exercise, I get a little bit here and there by taking a walk around the block, doing a wall-sit, or stretching between clients.   If I’m mopey, I put on Pandora and have a 5 or 10 minute dance party.  Literally.  I close the door and have a solo dance party, and I feel great afterwards.   I think healing and self-care are incremental, so I weave together a lot of small behaviors.  For me, it works.  Doing small things also prevents me from getting overwhelmed. 

If you could be one animal for a day, what would you be?

If I could be one animal for a day, it would be a blue whale.  I picture this enormous creature flowing through a cool, colorful universe with total ease, as if there was no other way to live but in peace.  I don’t know if its true, but that’s how I picture it. 

I also just think they’re cool.  The blue whale is the largest animal ever known to live on the planet, bigger than the biggest dinosaur.   The heartbeat of the blue whale can be detected from two miles away and a human can fit in its arteries.  Blue whales produce very low frequency sounds at 20Hz, meaning that slow and low, that is their tempo.  They freely take up huge areas of space within the vast depth below, while all the air above the surface is also at their access.  They're like oceanic road-trippers, cruising around the deep blue.   They come up to the surface, then take a deep dive.   

This is how I feel on my best days; flowing through my life with my body, big heart, and mind all aligned in peace, so at ease with my existence that I don’t need to question, just be. 


To read more about Shanna, and request an appointment with her, head over to our Bio section, and check out her wonderful knowledge of breathing practices, meditation and compassion within the therapy process.