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Tiny Wisdom Posts

Tiny Wisdom: Defining Valuable for Ourselves

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” -Theophrastus There are certain things I don’t want to do that I sometimes feel I should. Case in point: A lot of people who run blogs similar to Tiny Buddha eventually begin coaching, running seminars, and offering eCourses on personal development. Many of them email me with opportunities for partnerships. I respect and admire them. They’re insightful, well-intentioned individuals who are sharing what they’ve learned to make a difference and make a living. But the reality is I have no interest in following their lead. I run this site because

Tiny Wisdom: Someone Has to Open Up First

“Love is not love until love’s vulnerable.” -Theodore Roethke Sometimes people submit posts and I swear I could have written them myself. In reading their stories—learning about the emotions they’re feeling and the pain they’re healing—I feel close to them; and I also develop a better understanding of myself and what I need to do to keep growing. Other times, I can’t relate to their experiences, but suddenly I feel compassion for behaviors I may formerly have misunderstood. This, I believe is the power of vulnerability. When we open up to each other, we invite people to understand us, and

Tiny Wisdom: Asking Ourselves the Right Questions

“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.” -Nancy Willard A friend of mine once told me she frequently asked herself, “When is the other shoe going to drop?” Whenever things were going well for her, she braced herself for an impending fall so that it wouldn’t be too devastating when things changed, as they often do. Despite her intentions, this didn’t protect her from pain; it just kept her from fully enjoying what might have been some of the most fulfilling experiences of her life. I realized then that I was also living my life around fearful, defeatist questions. What

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Tiny Wisdom: What You Need to Give Yourself

“Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.” -Zen Proverb I’ve recognized that I come to my computer to write for one of two reasons: Either I feel the need to explore something that’s relevant to my life, and in doing so, start a conversation about it; or there’s something bothering me that I haven’t fully addressed, and I’m hoping the conversation will make me feel better about it. Last week an old friend wrote to congratulate me on my book. She started the email by joking that she wouldn’t “sell my secrets if the tabloids called.”

Tiny Wisdom: It Starts with Believing

“Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.” -Mark Victor Hansen In my early 20s, I got involved with a pyramid scheme that I mistook for an ethical company. I didn’t realize it at first, but most people were only pretending to make money because they believed they eventually would. Since the revenue came mostly from attracting new recruits, the head of my young team had rented out an office suite, largely to establish a sense of credibility. This made it look less like a risky network marketing business, and more

Tiny Wisdom: Learning from Pain from the Past

“Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.” –Robert Gary Lee In a college acting class, my teacher had my peers surround me in a circle so that I could toss my body in various directions, while improvising a scene based on my past. She did this because I had no access to my feelings about certain events. I could recount the most painful events in my life without a shred of actual emotion—which meant that I was often play-acting when I got into another character’s head, because in many ways, I was shut down. When I’d thrust myself at another

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Tiny Wisdom: When Enough Is Better Than More

“If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” -Oprah Winfrey When I’m not working on Tiny Buddha, I write for ‘tween girls, both as a contributor for a magazine and a ghost writer for a website. Recently, I wrote several blog posts about the holiday season. One girl commented that she was excited to have received a $50 gift card and a few clothing items. Everything changed for her when she read that another girl received a $500 gift card and an iPad, among other presents. Suddenly her gifts seemed completely inadequate. While there’s

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Tiny Wisdom: The Fear of Spending Too Much Money

“The use of money is all the advantage there is in having it.” –Benjamin Franklin I just came back from the dentist where I learned I need $1,400 worth of dental work, and it’s largely because I failed to make a $100 investment last year. My former dentist had informed me my teeth were worn down from me grinding them in my sleep. She’d suggested I purchase a customized mouth guard, which would run from $100–500, depending on the quality. I decided to spend $30 at CVS instead, because I enjoy spending as little as possible and, as a result,

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Tiny Wisdom: Creating Perfect Plans

“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” -Denis Waitley The other day I was watching reruns of a show I’ve recently found and now love. In one scene, the main character talked about the “perfect moment” that never came to be—an isolated point in time when things would have worked exactly as he imagined they would, and as a result, there would only be positive consequences to his choices. This got me thinking about my own instinct to create perfect moments according to what I’ve visualized—and also the times when I’ve been part of other

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Tiny Wisdom: What Unmet Expectations Mean

“Anger always comes from frustrated expectations.” -Elliott Larson Before I left for my two-week holiday family visit, I asked my boyfriend to wash our sheets before I returned. I hoped to come home to a clean, organized apartment, with everything as I left it. That is not, however, how things panned out. Instead, I came home to a somewhat disorganized space and a pile of dirty towels—along with an empty refrigerator. My boyfriend told me he’d been busy, and he didn’t have time to do all the laundry or go food shopping. I translated “I didn’t have time” to mean

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Tiny Wisdom: Thanking Your Former Self

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” –Hausa Proverb Last year, someone asked me in an interview what I’d say to myself, from 10 years ago, if I could meet that person now. I said something along the lines of, “Be good to yourself—you’re doing the best you can.” She then asked what I’d say to myself 50 years in the future, if I could meet that version of me now. I answered that, to that Lori, I would say, “Thank you.” I realized after the fact that I thanked my 80 year old self because

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Tiny Wisdom: Avoiding the Urge to Numb Pain

“Suffering is not caused by pain but by resisting pain.” -Unknown The other day I was watching TV when one of those pharmaceutical commercials came on. You know, the kind that shows a blissful looking woman running through a field of flowers while a voiceover extols the virtues of some drug—and then concludes with a list of possible side effects, including tremors, agitation, drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, hair loss, blurred vision, night sweats, blood clot, stroke, and in some cases, death. It might have been for psoriasis or restless syndrome; regardless, I found myself wondering if solving one of these unpleasant

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Tiny Wisdom: When It’s Best to Stay Out of It

“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what’s right.”  -Isaac Asimov Last week a woman emailed me to let me know she holds the copyright for a photo someone submitted for the Life’s Hard Questions contest. She told me she took the picture of an ex-friend, who we’ll call Tina, using Tina’s camera when they were on vacation, before they had a falling out—and now she wants the photo removed and Tina disqualified from the contest. She also let me know her computer crashed, so she no longer has the original file. Still, she demanded I take

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Tiny Wisdom: Peacefully Imperfect

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” -Voltaire Last week I got sick. Really sick. Head-spinning, stomach-retching, body-trembling sick, and just before the holidays, while visiting my family. I completed a radio interview for my book through a brain fog so thick my thoughts felt trapped in quick sand. Needless to say, I got behind with freelance work, and come Christmas Eve, I hadn’t yet prepared anything for this week on the site. Since I knew the next several days would be busy, with holiday festivities, wedding dress shopping with my engaged sister, and last-minute get-togethers with

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Tiny Wisdom: The Urge to Make Other People Wrong

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche Recently, a blogger I admire wrote a long note on a social media site identifying blogging practices he finds annoying—and referring to bloggers who utilize them as “fundamentally wrong.” Some of them are things I also choose not to do, but not all of them. As I read through his list of “blogging mistakes,” recognizing some of them here, I found myself getting defensive. I thought it was wrong of him to call other

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Tiny Wisdom: Why We Harshly Label People

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.” ~Carl Jung The other day someone I love, who we’ll call Tania, got in a massive fight with her boyfriend. She called me to explain the situation, and ultimately got frustrated because I wouldn’t agree that he was not only wrong, but also a jerk. The next day, she and I had a disagreement that ended with her yelling at me. When I discussed this with someone else who loves us both but frequently clashes with Tania (not my finest decision), she quickly turned on

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Tiny Wisdom: All the Fun You Missed

“Don’t let the past hold you back; you’re missing the good stuff.” -Unknown There have been times when I’ve regretted that I missed out on so much when I was younger. Because I held onto pain so tightly, I missed out on countless opportunities for fun while sitting alone and feeling bad for myself. Because I felt so insecure for so long, I missed out on the chance to make strong friendships while shutting down and assuming people would hurt me. And because I was afraid of failing, I missed out on all kinds of professional opportunities while doing what

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Tiny Wisdom: The Ideal Time to Appreciate Each Other

“Before someone’s tomorrow has been taken away, cherish those you love, appreciate them today.” -Michelle C. Ustaszeski Familiarity can sometimes seem like permanence. Oftentimes the more comfortable we are with someone, the less effort we put into our time with them. As I’ve mentioned before, I visit my family on the east coast several times each year for two weeks at a time. Every time I leave California, it’s bittersweet because I’m leaving my boyfriend Ehren to go see people I love. And every time I leave Massachusetts, I’m leaving my family for even longer to resume my life with

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Tiny Wisdom: Little Everyday Challenges

“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” –Winston Churchill Have you ever purposely chosen to do something you felt resistant to doing? I do this occasionally because I recognize I sometimes limit myself by being inflexible. I can be a creature of habit, particularly when it comes to situations that make me feel in control. For example, I have one specific spot where I like to sit when I work in the Starbucks near my apartment. It’s right by the window and sufficiently removed from the chaos of the line. It’s the best lit spot, and it’s both

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Tiny Wisdom: We Can Choose Right Now

“You are your choices.” -Seneca It sounds like such a cliché to say that most of what we’re seeking is already within us, but nonetheless, it’s true. Happiness doesn’t only exist in some perfect tomorrow when our circumstances look ideal. It’s a moment-to-moment choice that has to do with how we perceive and respond to what’s in front of us. We can choose happiness right now. Peace doesn’t only exist in some time without obstacles or troubles. It’s something we can feel by accepting what is, doing our best, and believing that’s good enough. We can choose peace right now.

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