“Waiting is not mere empty hoping. It has the inner certainty of reaching the goal.” ~I Ching
Waiting has a bad rap in modern Western society. It’s not surprising that I had to look to an ancient Chinese text (the I Ching) in order to find a suitable quote to begin this article. We don’t like to wait! It’s far easier to find quotes on the Internet about “seizing the day” and making something happen.
I’ve been an impatient person for much of my life. I wanted things to happen to me! I had a definite agenda in my …
“If I had the chance I’d ask the world to dance, but I’d be dancing with myself.” ~Billy idol
Spending long periods of time alone—as I’ve done while traveling solo over the past year—is an eye-opening experience.
Without the distractions of my normal routine and relationships, I’ve been able to take a good look around inside my very own head. And the more I do this, the more I realize that what I experience as my world is just a reflection of my own psyche. In reality, I’m dancing with myself all the time.
This crucial awareness is usually hidden …
“Integrity isn’t a morality issue; it’s an energy issue.” ~Gay Hendricks
One of the biggest questions I, and many other people I know, face as we go about our days is this: When is it worthwhile to speak our minds, and when should we keep our thoughts to ourselves?
There are usually both good reasons and bad reasons for speaking out or remaining silent, so how do we know which is which? It all comes down to our own energy, and that is something we can learn how to discern.
Integrity means a feeling of wholeness, or being of one …
“Remember then: there is only one time that is important and it is now! The present moment is the only time when we have any power.” ~Tolstoy
Stop for a second and tell me: What were you thinking about just now? Chances are very good that you were thinking about something either in the past or in the future.
Of course, some of that thinking is necessary. For instance, we think about what we need to get at the store to make dinner tonight, or what we saw on the news yesterday to consider where we stand and what to …
“The cry we hear from deep in our hearts comes from the wounded child within. Healing this inner child’s pain is the key to transforming anger, sadness, and fear.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
We all have a wounded inner child. Recently, my wounded child was hurt that my sister hadn’t called or texted me for several weeks. It seems like I’m always the one who has to reach out to her, and my wounded child feels like she doesn’t really care about me.
My wounded child was also scared the other day, because I didn’t have a lot of work in …
“Keep your attention focused entirely on what is truly your own concern, and be clear that what belongs to others is their business and none of yours.” ~Epictetus
Are you addicted to drama? I was, but I didn’t know it. I thought I was just responding to life, to what was happening. I really didn’t think I had a choice! The drama triangle is so pervasive, and can be so subtle, that it just seems normal. But it’s not, and there’s a much saner way to live, I found.
Dr. Stephen Karpman first described the drama triangle in the …
“We are not responsible for what our eyes are seeing. We are responsible for how we perceive what we are seeing.” ~Gabrielle Bernstein
One of the things I love about this journey of personal growth is that we get to learn the same lessons over and over again, until they finally sink in on a visceral level. I love it when I hear or read the same insights repeatedly, from various sources and at different stages along my own path.
Recently, at a low point in my life, I re-encountered this fundamental teaching in Gabrielle Bernstein’s book The Universe Has …
“We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb.” ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
From an early age, most of us get the message that we should be happy—from well-meaning parents, teachers, and even perfect strangers. “Smile!” we are told. “Why the long face?” we are asked. It’s no wonder we grow up with the idea that feeling anything less than sunny 24/7 is somehow wrong.
We’re ashamed to admit, even to ourselves, that sometimes we feel down. It seems …
“A mind at peace does not engender wars.” ~Sophocles
There’s a classic Buddhist story about two monks who come upon a woman at the edge of a river. One of the monks carries her across and they continue on their way. Several miles on, the other monk turns to the first and says, “How could you do that? We have made vows never to touch a woman!” The first looks serenely at him. “Are you still carrying her? I set her down at the edge of the river.”
This is exactly what our minds do, if we aren’t careful: We …
“The don’t-know mind… doesn’t fear, has no wish to control or foresee, steps off the cliff of the moment with absolute trust that the next step will land somewhere, and the next step somewhere else, and the feet will take us wherever we need to go.” ~Byron Katie
I am fifty-five years old. I’ve raised a family, been through two divorces, bought and sold four houses, and had a successful professional career. And right now I’m doing one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, which is learning to host in a busy restaurant.
My coworkers range from mid-twenties to …
“This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” ~William Shakespeare
A little while ago, a friend gave me a compliment that stopped me in my tracks. “I really admire how loyal you are to yourself.”
In time-honored self-questioning mode, I immediately thought, “Oh my gosh, what does that mean? Does she think I’m selfish?” But once I decided not to go down that road, I started pondering what it might mean to be loyal to one’s self, and how it truly is …
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” ~Rick Warren
Regret—whether for things that you have done or things that you had no control over—can keep you frozen in the past, unable to move forward. Sadly, there are no magic wands that can turn back the hands of time and change what has happened, but despite this I believe we’re not entirely powerless to affect the past, after all.
I first began thinking of this subject when my daughter was young and having serious ongoing problems with fear. She wasn’t able to go …
“The ego is the false self—born out of fear and defensiveness.” ~John O’Donohue
“The soul is like a wild animal—tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy.” ~Parker Palmer
Does it sometimes seem like the world is just a little too much for you? Do you feel that you need to protect yourself from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? (Thank you, Hamlet.) Are you a fragile flower being buffeted by life’s storms?
Then I think you’ve been listening to your ego too much. I understand all of those feelings very well, but I’ve recently discovered something life-changing…
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver
I’ve recently discovered that for fifty-odd years I’ve been asking myself the wrong questions. Uh-oh.
Maybe you are too.
The questions we ask ourselves habitually—even when the process is totally unconscious—guide our lives in a very profound way. For me, the two questions that dominated my thinking had very different, but equally pernicious results. They are: What am I supposed to be doing? And What do I feel like doing?
The first question is all about hitting the numbers. What looks good …
“One should always be on the trail of one’s own deepest nature.” ~Henry David Thoreau
I am watching my beautiful eighteen-year-old daughter begin to navigate life as a young adult. Dating, friends, work, school, future plans: the perennial Big Five in terms of potential landmines.
I am projecting like mad, reliving my own traumas, and hoping she will be more successful, more lucky, more savvy by a long shot than I ever was.
And mostly, I find myself on the sidelines silently urging her (okay, not always silently) to choose herself.
Choose herself when the friend who only wants …