“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” -Pema Chodron
Many people go through their days collecting moments that annoyed them. How another driver turns without signaling. How your coffee barista moves at a glacial pace—so slow she has to ask twice what you ordered. The way a coworker talks loudly on her cell phone, even though you practically share the same cubicle.
Things like this happen all the time. We live, work, and play on top of each other—people we know, don’t know, want to know, and don’t …
“Don’t wait for people to be friendly. Show them how.” -Unknown
From what I can tell, my next door neighbor doesn’t make eye contact with anyone. For a while I thought she was just avoiding me, but I’ve observed that she’s like this with all of our neighbors. By keeping her eyes fixed on her feet, she never has to exchange pleasantries or smiles, let alone get into full-fledged conversations.
She always seems withdrawn and lethargic, and this makes me feel sad for her. I’ve been in that place before–and if she’s feeling anything like I did then, I know …
“What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.” -Carl Rogers
When I was in high school, it was trendy to be “alternative.” It was a time of Green Day, grunge, and wallet chains, and everyone and their brother did their best to blend in by pledging nonconformity.
It was an ironic time for self-expression–we were unified by our mutual declaration of individuality, underscored by an unspoken need to belong.
Though it’s been a long time since I wore a thermal shirt with self-cut thumb holes, I still feel tempted on occasion to shapeshift to please …
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Someone wronged you. Maybe they treated you thoughtlessly without your feelings or best interests in mind. Or maybe they hurt you with full awareness in a moment of anger orfrustration.
Your pride’s bruised, and your expectations destroyed. Why should you extend compassion to them when they didn’t offer you the same? Why should you reach out to them when you’re not the one who was wrong?
You could easily come up with a laundry list of excuses to stay righteous and unyielding. Unfortunately, no one benefits …
“We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.” -Unknown
Have you ever cut yourself off right in the middle of imagining a possibility? I did it to myself earlier today. As I wrote in my recent blog post about needing less money, I am happiest when I have enough, but don’t devote countless hours to the pursuit of abundance.
Today I was thinking about a world where I could take care of all of my needs through barter, when suddenly I stopped short and thought, “All is a little unrealistic.” I then started making a …
“The poor man is not he who is without a cent, but he who is without a dream.” -Harry Kemp
A while back, I found a research study that revealed a lot of trust fund babies end up struggling with depression. Since they don’t need to work to earn a living, many of them feel a sense of emptiness and purposelessness.
Even with all the money they could ever need, they often feel that their lives are lacking.
I’m sure most of us wouldn’t mind a little extra money to play with, but there is no wealth like the joy …
“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.” -Jesse Jackson
I’ve always believed that there is a fundamental difference between compassion and pity: Compassion stands beside someone; pity stands above.
Sometimes it’s tempting to stand in that place, and not just because we’re being judgmental or cruel. Oftentimes, it feels safer up there. You don’t need to understand that person, or what they’re dealing with.
You also don’t need to get too close. You can simply remove yourself without getting too invested or involved, knowing that you feel bad, but there’s nothing you can do.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Last weekend, I had a difficult day. My brother had just flown 3,000 miles across the country after visiting me, which reignited an internal conflict about living so far from my family.
I always feel a familiar emptiness when I deal with that conflict. It’s my instinctive resistance to the undeniable truth that everything in life is a trade off. I can’t simultaneously follow my instinct to be in LA and my instinct to be near my …
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.” ~Chinese proverb
As Tiny Buddha grows larger, I find there are a lot more people emailing me with requests. The people-pleaser in me wants to say yes to everyone, but the reality is that there is only so much time in the day—and we all have a right to allocate our time as best supports our intentions, needs, and goals.
Recently someone contacted me with a request that I was unable to honor. After I communicated that, he made a sweeping judgment about …
“Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.” -Winston Churchill
If you’re anything like me, you probably noticed at some point in your life that you’re not the best at everything.
Maybe it was when you were pushing yourself to accomplish something, or maybe you noticed someone else’s achievements and started making comparisons. However it looked in your experience, you probably recognized that there are people who are smarter, better educated, and more talented than you are.
Maybe this slowed you down in pursuing the things that matter to you. If other smarter, more knowledgeable, more gifted …
“It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.” -Lena Horne
We often think that admitting struggle is a sign of weakness, but we all struggle sometimes. We all get overwhelmed sometimes. We all need help sometimes. Acknowledging this is not a sign of weakness, but struggling alone is a choice to grow weak.
We all need each other. No one is an island. The good news is that people really do care. Think about it. If someone you know was hurting, would you offer your support? If someone you know got into a tough …
“It pays to be honest, but it’s slow pay.” ~Proverb
There are two types of rewards we can enjoy in this life: the kind that appear to come immediately, and the kind that we generally don’t realize are accumulating over time.
When you say what people want to hear instead of speaking your mind, you may receive their validation; but in the long run, it won’t be nearly as satisfying as knowing you’re a person who operates with integrity.
When you lie about who you are to avoid the discomfort of being rejected, you may receive other people’s approval; but …
“Prosperity depends more on wanting what you have than having what you want.” -Geoffrey F. Abert
No matter what you have, you can always identify something that is lacking. If you have a great relationship, you might ascertain that you’ve lost touch with a hobby you once loved. If you earn plenty of money, you can probably identify tons of people who earn more–and with less effort than you expel.
It’s just not possible to feel like you have it all because you can’t possibly have everything at once. And no matter how much you gain, there will always be …
“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” -Spencer Johnson
Only you know if you’ve been lying to yourself. Other people may think they know what’s going on in your head and what’s right for you. But only you know what you need to do and whether or not you’re doing it.
Only you know what you believe and whether or not you’re honoring it.
Only you know what your values are and whether or not you’re upholding them.
Only you know if you’re projecting onto other people to avoid taking responsibility for …
“We work on ourselves in order to help others, but also we help others in order to work on ourselves.” ~Pema Chodron
Recently I got into a hypothetical conversation with someone who very quickly turned hostile and accusatory. Let’s call her Jane. My first instinct was to get defensive, but then I realized this subject was quite raw for Jane, and there was likely something going on below the surface.
Usually when people are combative seemingly without cause, there’s some underlying pain fueling it.
As we got to the root of things, I learned that Jane was holding onto anger …
“What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.” -Buddha
We all have goals–things we’d like to accomplish and ideas of who we’d like to become through the process. But sometimes we get so bogged down in fears and self-doubt that it’s hard to commit to the changes we want to create and then work toward them consistently.
It’s not easy to do. When you’re faced with obstacles, you might get stuck. When you feel unmotivated or unsure, you might get stuck. When your goal seems too far out of reach, you might …
“Strangers are friends you have yet to meet.” -Unknown
Since I live in LA and my family lives in Boston, I take long flights several times a year. During many of these flights, I read a book or watch a movie and disappear into my own little world of self-entertainment.
When I was returning from a recent visit, I found myself looking around at all the different people who I would likely not talk to during the flight, and then never see again.
We’d all share an experience together–and yet apart–and then move on with our lives, without …