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Tiny Wisdom Posts

Tiny Wisdom: Fear Is a Challenge to Be Brave

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” -Nelson Mandela Yesterday, after months of anticipation that included procuring pre-existing condition health insurance and finding the right doctor, I finally met with a physician who will soon schedule me for surgery. Though I’ve had procedures before, this will be my first major operation. Starting when I was 18, I got my belly button pierced on three separate occasions only to take it out shortly after each time. I loved the idea of it, but I felt a little nauseous when I thought about having

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Tiny Wisdom: Cling Less, Enjoy More

“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” ~Dalai Lama My boyfriend and I spent a couple of days in Las Vegas for Valentine’s Day. These days I get excited about the buffets and shows, but formerly, I found the city a little depressing. First, I felt sad for the people who seemed a little lost, either for having lost vast quantities of money, or for having lost a part of themselves (something I know all too well). Secondly, I felt the inevitable crash that follows overstimulation

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Tiny Wisdom: The Art of Appreciating What You Get

“Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” -Estonian Proverb Recently I’ve felt frustrated because someone I asked to help me has done less than I hoped he would. At first I felt this was unfair, because I’ve been supportive of him. Then I realized I was overlooking what he did do for me while dwelling on what he didn’t. This made me think of some research I referenced in my book (which I originally found in a book called Sway.) In a German research study, strangers were “partnered up,” though anonymously and kept in separate rooms

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Tiny Wisdom: What Love Isn’t

“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun, like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” –Fred Rogers Over the years, we form a lot of ideas about what love is, oftentimes based on unrealistic hopes and standards. We learn what we think it’s supposed to look like, and we may find ourselves frustrated when reality falls short. It often does. Love can be messy, confusing, and imperfect, just like us, and life itself. What Hallmark cards don’t always tell us

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Tiny Wisdom: Keep Your Head Clear

“Keep your head clear. It doesn’t matter how bright the path is if your head is always cloudy.” -Unknown Some days seem to start with a proverbial rain cloud dripping above our beds. I had one of those days on Sunday. I didn’t sleep well on Friday or Saturday because I have a medical condition that sometimes wakes me in the middle of the night, so I woke up on Sunday feeling irritable and grouchy. My boyfriend’s voice sounded like nails down a chalkboard. To be clear, I love him dearly, and I also love the sound of birds chirping.

Tiny Wisdom: What Else Could It Be?

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” -John Allen Paulos Sometimes it’s tempting to jump to conclusions that support our worst fears. Maybe you didn’t hear back from an interviewer yet, so you assume you did something to mess it up. Or your friend hasn’t responded to an email, so you assume there’s something on her mind that she’s not telling you. I’ve done this many times before, in large part because I often forget that not everything is about me—that sometimes people are slow to respond because of

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Tiny Wisdom: Your Feelings Are Real and Valid

“Feelings are real and legitimate.” -Unknown One of the most frustrating things in the world is feeling something painful and having other people tell you that you shouldn’t be upset. That it’s no big deal that relationship didn’t work out, or that opportunity didn’t pan out—that it’s all in your head, so you should let it go, suck it up, and move on. A while back, a friend of mine got fired from a new job after her first day. We were out in a group when she got the call, and several of us watched her emotions slowly build

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Tiny Wisdom: Happiness Is the Way

“There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” -Thich Nhat Hanh I am writing this from a plane, much like a post I wrote last week. I’ve come to believe some of life’s most joyful moments happen when we least expected they would. Just now one of the flight attendants came onto the loud speaker to announce there’s someone with a birthday today. After many of us sang to a man we couldn’t see, one guy yelled “Stand up!” and another hollered, “Speech!” And then we all started giggling, somehow conveying a Boston accent without uttering a single

Tiny Wisdom: What Are You Passionate About?

“Enthusiasm is contagious. You can start an epidemic.” –Unknown Do you ever downplay your passions and ambitions when someone asks you about your work? Someone asked me if I do this a while back, and at first, I said that I don’t. To know me is to know Tiny Buddha—and to hear about it often. I’ve recognized, however, that I can be somewhat reserved in describing what I do when I first someone new—especially if I meet them in a context that does not confirm they have an interest in personal development. Of course, this means I’m making assumptions. Just

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Tiny Wisdom: Life May Never Be Simple

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” -Theodore I. Rubin There are times when things get complicated and it has nothing to do with the choices we’ve made. Sometimes everyone around us needs us for different things, right as our work is becoming more challenging, and we’re feeling confused about what we actually want to do with our lives. Sometimes we receive medical or psychiatric diagnoses—and possibly both at the same time—right after being laid off and losing our health insurance. Sometimes we feel we’ve made

Tiny Wisdom: Plant Tiny Seeds for Joy

“The grass is always greener where you water it.” –Unknown The first time I heard the phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side,” I was 12 years old—and I heard it in song. I didn’t know at the time that this was from the play Woman of the Year, because two women in my theater group sang it as part of a musical review. Still, it made a deep impression on me. One of the characters is a housewife, and the other is a famous TV news personality—and yet they both feel certain they’re missing out on

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Tiny Wisdom: Challenging the Fear of Criticism

“The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.” -Elbert Hubbard Sometimes criticism can feel like a ticking bomb that needs to be disposed. Case in point: I receive emails about every comment left on the site. While I’ll glance at them peripherally to be sure they’re not spam that made it through the filter, I generally let them accumulate so I can respond to many all at once. But sometimes, I’ll notice a harsh criticism, and suddenly feel this need to respond to it right now. I’m not sure if it’s because I feel

Tiny Wisdom: Who Do You Love?

“Once you have learned to love, you will have learned to live.” -Unknown My high school vocal teacher said that “love” is the most beautiful word in the English language, so I should let it roll off my tongue like honey to make it thick, sweet and poignant. So I did. I sang it deeply, slowly, and soulfully, though I never spoke the word. I came from a family that didn’t really express emotion, so I filed it away with all the things I wanted to say but didn’t. When I started dating, I couldn’t wait to profess my love,

Tiny Wisdom: Make Your Moments Count

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” –Michael Altshuler I am writing this from a plane with plans to publish it later. I decided less than 3 days ago to make the 3,000-mile trip home. At first, my mother questioned if it was necessary—after all, my grandmother will be okay, despite her recent hospitalization. My brother said it was awesome and sort of surreal to learn I’d be visiting in just a few days—not in a matter of months, as is usually the case. This is a big part of why I’m coming back

Tiny Wisdom: Take a Deep Breath and Remember

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge.” -Charles H. Spurgeon Someone recently asked me in an interview why I choose to revisit ancient wisdom in my writing. I responded that there is very little new wisdom; there are just new ways of understanding and applying what we already know. That’s not always so easy to do. We have an amazing ability to drown out our inner guidance with worries, stresses, fears, and judgments. If you find yourself doing that today, take a deep breath and remember: It’s okay to be down sometimes. Once we accept and understand how we feel,

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Tiny Wisdom: Be Curious, Be Amazed

“Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.” -Bryant H. McGill The other day, as I walking to the activities center in my apartment community to write, I saw a team of men cutting down dead tree branches using truck-mounted lifts. They were tossing them into a wood chipper which shred each one in a matter of seconds. I’m sure this is a common practice, but it was the first time I’d ever seen this, so I decided to sit on the sidewalk and watch, even though I was on a tight schedule. I felt mesmerized by this mass-pruning,

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Tiny Wisdom: Take This Moment and Start Anew

“Many fine things can be done in a day if you don’t always make that day tomorrow.” -Unknown When I was younger, an adult I was staying with told me, “The diet starts tomorrow. Let’s eat everything we can before midnight.” So we did. We ate grilled cheeses, leftover Chinese food, Twinkies, and anything else that called to us from her cabinets. It was then or never, that was the message, and tomorrow would be different—which of course it wasn’t. For years, I started each morning intending to make healthy choices, and then after failing to meet my perfectionist standards,

Tiny Wisdom: The Tiny Wonders We Take for Granted

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle, or you can live as if everything is a miracle.” –Albert Einstein The other day I started writing in a gratitude journal again, right as I was overcoming a cold. After I wrote my boyfriend’s name, my family, and Tiny Buddha, I wrote “breathing through both nostrils.” A few days prior, when my right side was all stuffed up, I wasn’t doing that so well. It occurred to me then that when I’d kept a gratitude journal before, I never once expressed by appreciation for

Tiny Wisdom: When Healthy Crutches Hold Us Back

“Happiness can only be found if you free yourself from all other distractions.” -Saul Bellow I have had a long-standing love affair with bath tubs. I stayed in numerous hostels while completing a semester in Europe; I stayed in hotels in nearly all of the 50 states while touring for work; and I lived in a dozen different apartments in Spokane, Washington, NYC, and the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Los Angeles last year. Through all of my travels, I had the world I dreamed of right outside my door, and yet I was often terrified of exploring

Tiny Wisdom: Our Mistakes May as Well Be Our Own

“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.”  -Billy Wilder A few months ago, when I was creating my book marketing plan, an associate advised me to allocate resources to something that I felt certain was not a smart idea. He offered a detailed explanation for why I should do it, but I felt strongly that it wasn’t necessary. I eventually did as he recommended because he was adamant that I should. Essentially, I decided his instincts were smarter than mine—even though this was new territory for both of us—and simply followed his

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