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Tiny Wisdom Posts

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Tiny Wisdom: Do You Let Advice Cloud Your Judgment?

“A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows public opinion.” –Chinese Proverb As you may remember from a recent post, I’m planning to have surgery soon to remove benign uterine tumors, known as fibroids. Although I felt certain then that this is the right thing to do, I’ve vacillated quite a bit—mostly because I’ve been listening to too many other people. Some have advised me to try alternative methods to shrink the fibroids, including herbs and positive thinking. Others have reminded me this surgery could have undesirable complications and a rough recovery. And then there have been

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Tiny Wisdom: Creating Time for Fun

“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” ~Henry David Thoreau Last week my younger brother visited me for five days. To ensure I could spend as much time with as possible, I worked extra hard during the weekend before he arrived. It amazed me to realize how much I could accomplish when I had a strong motivation to be efficient. During the week, I put in a couple of hours in the mornings to handle pressing issues, and then spent the afternoons and evenings going out with him. Once

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Tiny Wisdom: The Most Powerful Words for Healing

“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” -Marianne Williamson Did you ever feel like there was a conversation you really wanted to have with someone, and yet a part of you felt it was unwise? This is a feeling I know all too well. When I was younger, I spent years fighting for an apology. It wasn’t until my whole world crashed down on me that I realized I’d become a tornado of anger and bitterness, destroying everything in my wake. I eventually realized I needed to let go of the victim

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Tiny Wisdom: Just Breathe

“Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time.” -Shunryu Suzuki When I was younger I frequently had mini panic attacks and feared that I might suffocate. It literally felt difficult to catch my breath; it almost felt like I was being smothered. When I felt this type of anxiety, people often told me, “Just breathe.” But that was the problem—it didn’t feel like I could. The missing piece of their advice was how. When we’re feeling frustrated, or panicked, or stressed, or scared, we tend to breathe rapid, shallow breaths, allowing minimal air

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Tiny Wisdom: How We Miss Out When We Judge

“Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.” -Wayne Dyer The other day I was writing at a community table at Starbucks when an older man asked if he could sit next to me. Since our chairs were backed up against a wall, I had to get up to facilitate this. I thought he was looking at me in a slightly strange way, but I put this out of my mind. We were sitting side by side in a confined space, not walking down a dark alley together—there was no reason to be alarmed. Several hours after

Tiny Wisdom: What Are You Feeding Your Heart and Mind?

“Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.” -Benjamin Disraeli The other day I read about an insightful Native American myth. A tribal elder tells his grandson that inside each of us, there is a black dog and a white dog doing battle. The black dog possesses qualities typically understood as negative, including envy, greed, sorrow, anger, resentment, and arrogance. The white dog possesses qualities understood as positive, including love, joy, kindness, empathy, compassion, humility, and peace. The grandson asks, “Which dog will win the fight?” And the elder responds, “Whichever one we feed.” What

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Tiny Wisdom: Who Do You Think You Are?

“It’s not who you are that holds you back; it’s who you think you’re not.” -Unknown I know this may seem obvious, but I recently realized I have the most confidence in the things that I do most frequently. For example, I write every day—and I have a lot of confidence in my ability to help people through my words. I identify myself as a writer, which goes a long way in motivating me to do this consistently and passionately. I feel less confident when it comes to the business side of things—negotiating the contract for my next book, for

Tiny Wisdom: Believe in What You Can Do

by Lori Deschene “When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find ways to do it.” -Dr. David Schwartz In 1957, Dr. Robert Merton introduced an idea known as the Galatea Effect, which suggests we tend to do what we expect we’ll do. If you think you can run a marathon, you’re more likely to push yourself through training and eventually cross the finish line. If you expect that you’ll make friends easily, you’ll likely be relaxed enough to make people around you feel at ease. It also works the other way around. If you believe

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Tiny Wisdom: Be Good to Yourself

“Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others.” -Lama Yeshe All too often we’re unforgiving and cruel to ourselves in a way we’d never treat our friends. We’d never look a friend in the eyes and tell her she’s not good enough. We’d never beat a friend up over one mistake he made years ago. We’d never expect a friend to move mountains when she’s exhausted and clearly needs a rest. Why do we sometimes do these things to ourselves? So often when we think about self-love, we think about the big picture—forgiving ourselves for

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Tiny Wisdom: Do You Talk Yourself Out of Doing Things You Want to Do?

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake.” –Francis Bacon, Sr. The other day I planned to work out in my apartment community’s fitness center after I finished writing. But when I left the coffee shop, and walked straight into a bright, sunny day, I felt the last thing I wanted to do was stare at a magazine on an elliptical machine. What I really wanted to do was pull out my bike from where it had been

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Tiny Wisdom: Act and Create New Possibilities

“The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.” –George Bernard Shaw As you may have noticed, I’m a huge movie buff. It’s largely because most films chronicle a hero’s journey, taking a character through all stages of transformation. There’s recognition of the need to change, there’s fear, there’s resistance, there’s encouragement, there’s struggle, there’s redemption, and in the end, there’s rebirth, and a sense that things will keep getting better. Recently I noticed something about the way I experience movies: I generally end a film with a strong desire to do what the main character has

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Tiny Wisdom: The Same, But Different

“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” -Unknown My boyfriend, who is an aspiring screenwriter, has told me that the film industry and moviegoers essentially want “the same, but different.” We want the same themes, but with different people; the same humor, but in different circumstances. We want to see good rewarded, and for love to conquer all; we want the hero to change for the better, and the villain to reap what he sows. We want action, excitement, adventure, and romance; we want to feel terrified and then relieved;

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Tiny Wisdom: When Less Is More

“Don’t use a lot where a little will do.” -Proverb I recently saw a reality show about reviving struggling restaurants. The premise is that an expert comes in to help save a family business—and in the process helps the owners rebuild their relationships and their lives. In the beginning, the expert suggested the family reduce their menu from multiple pages to just one. They originally created a massive list of selections because they assumed this created more value. In all reality, it was overwhelming. In many instances, less is more. This is a big part of the philosophy behind Tiny

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Tiny Wisdom: Choose to Be Here

“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.”‘ -Eckhart Tolle There is little in life that is more stressful than thinking you need be somewhere else but feeling powerless to get there. There’s this dream I used to have over and over again. I’d want to get somewhere, but my body wouldn’t move. I’d start running, but I would essentially be jogging in place, like Wile Coyote when he was pushed off a cliff but he’d continue moving his legs while suspended in mid-air. No matter how much energy I expelled, I was immobile; but I always

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Tiny Wisdom: Do You Recognize and Receive Love?

“Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi After I wrote yesterday’s post about giving and receiving love, I started to think about the many times in the past when I felt love-deprived. It’s easy to feel that way when we’ve been hurt or we think we’re alone—as if there aren’t any people who are really looking out for us. In retrospect, I realize that when I felt this way, it wasn’t that no one loved me. It was that I was too

Tiny Wisdom: Love Heals

“Eventually you will come to realize that love heals everything, and love is all there is.” -Gary Zukav The end of last week was a little tough for me. I was waiting to be scheduled for surgery, knowing it could fall anywhere within the next three months. I was realizing I will soon have thousands of dollars in medical and dental bills, between that, a recent mammogram to test another suspicious lump, and my eight cavity fillings. I was worrying about disappointing my engaged sister who is expecting me to fly home soon for dress shopping, while also feeling overwhelmed

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Tiny Wisdom: Using the Hours We Have

“The whole life of a man is but a point in time; let us enjoy it.” -Plutarch There are certain motivational quotes that I find to be a double-edged sword, in that they can both motivate us and lead to guilt and pressure, depending on how we interpret them. One such quote reads, “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” To me, this quote implies using our time well means doing something

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Tiny Wisdom: Challenging the Need for Approval

“Lean too much on other people’s approval and it becomes a bed of thorns.” -Tehyi Hsieh “Oh no, I said something wrong.” If I had a top-10 list of defeatist thoughts that I’ve entertained most frequently over the course of my life, this would certainly make the cut. I’ve thought this when I’ve met new people and wanted to make a good first impression. I’ve thought this with men I’ve dated, when I felt insecure and neurotic about whether or not I seemed confident and charming enough. I’ve thought this during job interviews; when networking with people in my field;

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Tiny Wisdom: Every Request Contains an Offer

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson There was a time when I met every request with two instinctively defensive thoughts: “What are you trying to take from me?” And “What’s in it for me?” Of course I didn’t say these things out loud. I either denied the request without really considering it, or passively aggressively tried to elicit some type of reciprocal offer. In retrospect, I don’t think I did these things because I was selfish and heartless (though I know

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Tiny Wisdom: It’s Good Enough

“Good enough is the new perfect.” -Becky Beaupre Gillespie Sometimes we hone in on everything we think we’re lacking or doing wrong, and wonder what we need to fix or change to measure up. Then we judge ourselves at each step of the way, questioning whether or not we’re doing everything we should. This has been true for me, and sometimes it still is. Whenever I feel stressed out, it’s usually because I’m worrying about something I did or have to do, convincing myself I could have done better or I won’t do enough. It’s a mental soundtrack I know

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