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Tiny Wisdom: The Heart in Our Homes

Before I found this Flickr image, I had never read this Irish blessing before. What a beautiful idea! I remember in college, I spent a semester abroad in the Netherlands. My school owned a castle there—a full-on castle with a moat and towers and everything. The school gave us all three-day weekends, and two full weeks off so we could maximize our Eurail passes. I didn’t bring as much money as other students did—I actually put a lot on my credit card and then worked extra to pay it off when I returned home—so I spent quite a few weekends

Tiny Wisdom: This Moment Is Worth Savoring

“The journey is the reward.” ~Chinese Proverb So much of our language about the things we enjoy in life revolves around getting ahead. We wonder where our relationships are going. We plan to move forward in our careers. We talk about maintaining momentum with new projects. None of these things are necessarily bad. We naturally crave growth to feel a sense of purpose and progress. But sometimes we put so much energy into pushing and striving that we miss out on the joy of being where we are. When we visualize ourselves taking a pause to fully absorb and appreciate

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Tiny Wisdom: The Pain of Fighting Our Feelings

“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.” ~Eckhart Tolle Have you ever exacerbated difficult feelings by responding to them with resistance? Although I made peace with my recent burglary shortly after it happened, I started feeling down and anxious at the end of last week. In retrospect, I think there was a connection between that and the painkillers my doctor prescribed when my surgical site started hurting again. But I suspect I was also feeling the residual effects of everything that’s happened over these past two months. At the time, I didn’t fully understand my feelings. I

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Tiny Wisdom: Share Your Beautiful Smile

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh The other day, while I was getting cash from an ATM, I smiled at an adorable toddler standing with her father at the machine next to me. She had this huge grin on her face, and she actually waved at me from two feet away, so I couldn’t help but smile in return. Just then, she pulled on her father’s leg and giggled the words, “Why does everyone like me?” He responded, “Because you’re a beautiful little girl!” It was a simple, heartwarming moment, because I could tell

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Tiny Wisdom: The Good That We Can Give

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill As someone whose profession requires me to spend a great deal of time alone, I’m always trying to strike a balance between solitude and connection; so yesterday I decided to write from this courtyard outside the activity center in my apartment community. I ended up sitting next to two men who I overheard discussing something that sounded personal. I didn’t stay for long, at the risk of being intrusive, but I quickly realized one of the men was coaching the other to

Tiny Wisdom: How We Are Valuable

“What we must decide is how we are valuable rather than how valuable we are.” ~ Edgar Z. Friedenberg Just now I saw an ad on the right-hand side of my Facebook page promoting a webcast about purpose. The message reads, “Are you meant for greater things?” This immediately caught my eye because it essentially appeals to our deep-seated need for significance. We all want to feel that we’re important—that our lives matter—and that often comes down to feeling that we’re doing something special. When I was younger, I wrapped my identity around singing and acting, and I hoped I’d

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Tiny Wisdom: Somewhere Right Now

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” ~Eckhart Tolle Somewhere right now, someone out there feels exactly like you do. Someone is thinking that things could be better and wondering if they’ll ever arrive. Someone is remembering how things were before and wondering if they’ll ever let go. Someone is missing someone they love and wondering why they had to know loss. Someone is radiating with hope and joy and wondering if it will last. Somewhere right now, someone is struggling in much the same way as you. Someone is

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Tiny Wisdom: Choosing to Create Happiness

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” ~Aristotle Yesterday I wrote at Starbucks for the first time since my surgery, after my doctor cleared me to walk. I felt an immense sense of relief to be outside my home, where I didn’t feel quite so isolated. And I was grateful for every nuance of that day—the fresh air, the feeling of life going around me, and the sense that somehow, I was part of it. But the walk wasn’t easy. I get winded pretty quickly right now, and I simply don’t have a lot of energy. I don’t yet feel like myself, mentally

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Tiny Wisdom: Believe That You Are Strong

“The human spirit is stronger than anything that could happen to it.” ~C. C. Scott During these past couple of weeks, while I’ve been recovering from my surgery, I’ve been watching a show called I Shouldn’t Be Alive, which has an entire season on Netflix. Each episode chronicles the experiences of a person or people who came close to death in an adventure gone wrong. One episode features two teenage boys who survived in a tiny boat, without food or water, for several days lost at sea. Another tells the story of an endurance athlete who survived two freezing nights

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Tiny Wisdom: Peace Is Accepting This Moment

“Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance.” ~Unknown Yesterday I felt frustrated. The night before, I’d overheard my boyfriend telling a friend he’d thought I’d be in less pain at that point, a week after my surgery. Suddenly I felt disappointed in myself—that I should be healing more quickly, or somehow doing more. Of course I know he didn’t intend for me to feel that way, especially since it was a conversation that didn’t involve me, but I created that meaning in my head, probably because I’d also expected that I’d feel better sooner. I had a bad headache

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Tiny Wisdom: Relaxing into Chaos

“In chaos, there is fertility.” ~Anais Nin I am someone who strives to maintain some sense of control amid chaos. One way I do that is by obsessively organizing my space. For example, there can only be four pairs of shoes left by the downstairs door, in a place where exactly four fit—and they need to be lined up neatly to look like tiny foot soldiers, standing at attention. During my third day recovering from surgery last week, while I lowered myself in a squat to pick up a fifth pair that didn’t belong, my mother reminded me how I

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Tiny Wisdom: What It Means to Live the Dream

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers Have you ever felt a sense of internal conflict about enjoying the present moment while also working toward your dreams? This is something I revisit over and over, because I know life happens now, and in order to fully live it, I need to accept what’s in front of me and experience it with complete awareness. Yet I also want to expand, spread my wings, and see just how far I can soar. A big part of that is visualizing

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Tiny Wisdom: When Relationships Are Messy

“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” ~Emily Kimbrough I just finished my second family visit for the year, and I have three more planned. For years after I first moved away a decade ago, I only came home around the holidays. I’d caused and dealt with so much drama that it felt easiest to hide with my pain and shame where I couldn’t hurt people or be hurt by them. I felt safest seeing my family in small doses, because there would be less time for me to

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Tiny Wisdom: Set Your Mind Free

“Would you rather be right or free?” ~Byron Katie Several months back, I saw a live taping of Oprah’s Life Class, which she hosted with Iyanla Vanzant, author of Peace from Broken Pieces and other self-help books. At one point during the episode, Iyanla discussed an exchange she’d had the week prior with a viewer who’d Skyped in. The young woman had called her family crazy, referencing Iyanla’s oft-quoted advice, “If you see crazy coming, cross the street.” But in this instance, Iyanla had scolded the woman for disrespecting her parents, regardless of how dysfunctional they may have been, because,

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Tiny Wisdom: What Stuff Are You Holding Onto and Why?

“Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!” ~Steve Mariboli While preparing today’s reader-submitted post about Spring-cleaning, I started to think about my collection of old journals, which I wrote from age 12 through 21. Many of these are depressing. They paint a picture of a sad, lost little girl who struggled with self-esteem, and chose a number of self-destructive habits to cope with overwhelming pain. On many occasions, I’ve considered burning these to symbolize transformation, but a part of me always resists. On some level, I see these as badges of honor. They’re reminders of who I

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Tiny Wisdom: When We Hurt People Because We’re Hurting

“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz  The other day I received a comment on an old blog post that started with, “You’re full of crap,” and ended with, “I don’t know, and idiots like you don’t help us figure it out.” Shortly after, I received an email from a new blogger who recently contributed to the site. She mentioned she’d received her first harsh comment, and she wanted to know if this is normal—and how she should deal with it. I told her she will likely engage

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Tiny Wisdom: We Are Here, We Are Loved

“Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel.” ~Unknown The other night I flew home to Massachusetts, after visiting just a couple months back to spend time with my sick grandmother. Since she was released from the hospital in February, she’s been staying with my parents, which means I’ll have plenty of opportunities to simply be with her during this trip—not for lunch or a specific activity, but simply to share space. Though I enjoy seeing her because I love her, I also appreciate how being in her company reminds me of what matters in life. As I write

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Tiny Wisdom: Follow Your Bliss

“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” ~Joseph Campbell Recently I’ve been feeling this need to grow and expand. I’ve been doing the same thing here for about three years now, and I’ve identified a long list of things I know I don’t want to do—but aside from writing my next book, I haven’t felt a strong pull in any other direction. Then this weekend I had an idea for a new creative project—something that has absolutely nothing to do with Tiny Buddha. In fact, it’s geared

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Tiny Wisdom: Choose to Enjoy Your Choices

“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.” -Marquis de Condorcet Last Saturday I decided to take a mid-day bath, just because I felt like it. I’d been working from home (since Monday starts my “weekend”) and I felt like I needed to take a break and recharge. Not two minutes into my relaxing soak, I heard loud fiesta music coming from somewhere outside. There’s a little park close to my apartment, and families frequently reserve the space for birthday parties, complete with barbecues and blow-up bouncy houses. Whenever I walk by one of these events, I

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Tiny Wisdom: This Moment is a Chance to Be Free

“Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.” ~Shirley Maclaine Have you ever felt like you were drowning in negativity? Maybe you were feeling down on yourself, but instead of pulling yourself up, you made yourself feel bad for struggling with yourself in this way. Or maybe you made a mistake, but instead of forgiving yourself, you beat yourself up over it, rehashing everything you should have done. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a cycle of negativity. Even if we practice yoga, meditate, or start our mornings with positive affirmations, we can fall down, and find

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