“Out of difficulties grow miracles.” ~Jean dela Bruyere
The image in my mind is vivid, like an old photograph etched into my brain, where every facet is clearly discernible.
It was a frigid, blustery December night, right before my son’s seventh birthday. The heating unit had gone on the blitz, and the house was so freezing it seemed as though ice crystals would form on the inside of our windows.
Grabbing as many blankets as possible, I wanted to envelope my son with covers, hoping he would feel safe and warm in the cocoon. Time for bed, I reassured him …
“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” ~Marianne Williamson
I’ve been dreaming about dead bodies again—disposing of dead bodies. Given that I have never actually killed anyone it’s probably a little weird how often this crops up for me. My dream metaphors tend to be blatant and graphic. I think my subconscious mind really wants me to pay attention to them.
I don’t have recurrent dreams per se, but I do get recurring dream themes. Lately my subconscious has been knocking me over the head with …
“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” ~Sigmund Freud
If you’re anything like I was, you have an image of yourself that you want other people to adopt. You think people expect that of you or would like you better if that’s who you were, so you pretend to be that person.
Over time, you put on layers of protection to prevent people from seeing the imperfections that would undermine that perception. You refuse to admit to those imperfections. You may also blame others, the weather, or fate for any perceived failure—anything but yourself.
As a result, you can’t …
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~Jim Rohn
Busy doesn’t adequately describe my life over the past few years. Let’s say it was a hurricane of a schedule, with extra storms and a tsunami thrown in. Looking back from my current safe vantage point, I’m not sure how I survived.
The Stress Of A Busy Schedule
In 2011 I was working full time for the civil service and working part time trying to start up my own business. Early in the year I had my son, who turned out to be a non-sleeper …
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain
It occurred to me one day, while staring at my computer at work, that I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of having uncertainty in any area of my life.
I plan my schedule rigidly, including what social/extracurricular activities I’m going to do over the next week. I take very few risks, and when …
“Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.” ~Daphne Rose Kingma
Growing up, we’re told to follow our heart and make our dreams come true. Granted, there are some naysayers who tell us we won’t ever be able to make it happen and maybe it would be better to think of an alternative. But the people who love us and want us to find happiness, they believe in us and encourage us to follow our dreams.
I have amazing parents, friends, and family who always believed in me, who always …
“There are two ways of spreading light: be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” ~Edith Wharton
I tucked my boarding pass safely into my coat pocket, donned my eyeglasses, and searched for the overhead signs that would lead me to the correct gate. Thanksgiving would be here soon and the Orlando airport was bursting at the seams with travelers.
I turned the corner and jerked to a stop. Hundreds of people stood before me, bunched together in a space the size of a ballroom. I’d have to maneuver my way through them, I thought, to get to the …
“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.” ~Neil Gaiman
I discovered my spiritual path early. As a teenager I would read my mother’s self-help books. I spent most of my twenties actively pursuing self-development by studying, attending workshops, and going on retreats all over the world.
At the time, I thought I was searching for happiness and inner peace. I see now that I bought into a rigid idea of what a ‘spiritual person’ was and tried to live up to that.
My inner world was not happy or peaceful. The way I treated myself was far …
“If music be the food of love, play on.” ~William Shakespeare
This quote holds a very special place in my heart.
Growing up, I was always surrounded by classical music. My grandfather loved the arts, and the first song I ever sang was “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music.
I remember recognizing what it felt like to have a big voice come out of a tiny body, how powerful and scary that was.
Years passed, along with plenty of practicing and an expanded repertoire, and I found myself going to college to study vocal performance. This was where the …
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.” ~Lucille Ball
As I sat on my bedroom floor almost in tears that night, surrounded by all the clothes I’d just tried on before a night out with my friends, the same thoughts replayed through my mind. You’re fat, you’re ugly, and you’re disgusting for letting yourself get this way.
I still cringe when I think about that, and the way I used to speak to (and about) myself. I would never think that of another person, let alone talk to them like that, yet it was second nature to say …
“Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you your all.” ~Khalil Gibran
In my mid twenties I found out I had a mass on my pituitary. I was told it could be cancer, it could be benign, it could be a cyst—we wouldn’t know until my doctor performed a surgery to remove it. This surgery meant I could go blind, be on lifelong hormone replacement therapy, or even die.
I don’t want you to wait until something bad happens to dedicate time to things you love.
Countless people I meet …
“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever; you just have to live.” ~Natalie Babbitt
Recently I was searching for information online about a friend of mine who I lost touch with about a decade ago.
Pam and I went to psychology graduate school together in the early nineties and stayed in touch for a few years after that. But in those pre-Facebook days it was easy to lose touch with people, and Pam and I eventually drifted apart.
Curious about what my friend was up to, I typed her name …
“Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be.” ~Abraham Lincoln
Have you ever wondered, “How is that guy always so laid back and freaking happy all the time, no matter what is going on around him?”
It might be a co-worker, a friend, or a family member, but almost everyone has somebody whose baseline level of happiness is just higher than almost everyone else.
I certainly do. Although I have known a few people that fall into this category, the one that stands out most is a friend I met my freshman year in college …
“Happiness is a direction, not a place.” ~Sydney J. Harris
Cars played a big part in my life growing up in Southern California. As a kid, there was a succession of crappy old station wagons that routinely broke down on the highway because we couldn’t afford anything better.
I remember Dad standing helplessly outside in traffic as drivers slowed down to gawk at us, then sped up as they drove on into their lives.
And the rusted green ’42 Chevy pickup truck my grandfather taught me to drive years before it was legal to do so, gears grinding when I …
“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.” ~Goethe
Nine years ago after I had my twins, I was eager to get back into a routine of a weekly yoga class and daily home practice. However, I didn’t account for the soul-sapping fatigue I felt as a new sleep-deprived mum!
I simply did not have the energy or ability to leave the house for a satisfying active class. And truly, I did not want to venture far from my precious babes.
That’s when I discovered a soothing style of yoga that met me exactly where I was. I …
“Not what we have but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.” ~John Petit-Senn
I love the tiny house movement because it embraces simple living and diminishes the spiritual and financial burdens of materialism. However, I don’t really want to trade in the 1,700 square foot house I love for something that’s 200 square feet!
If you’re like me, you may have felt the same pleasure watching shows like Tiny House Nation, but not known how to apply the ideas they present to life in your larger house.
Well, I’ve found you really can “live tiny” in a not-so-literal way, …
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of rewards, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” ~Princess Diana
Recently I was reminded of the importance of kindness, particularly kindness to strangers.
I was given the opportunity to film the wedding of a family friend. As a videographer, I’m always looking for ways to build my client base and enhance my professional experience, so naturally, I agreed.
Most of the guests at this wedding were friends of my parents, many of whom I hadn’t seen in years. Although I recognized a …
“At some point you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart, but not in your life.” ~Unknown
I was filled with excitement and nerves as I stood waiting to meet him for the first time in Paddington station.
It was one of the wettest days I’d seen in London, and the rain dripped steadily from the peaked hood of my blue rain jacket. Zipped up to my chin and the hood pulled tight over my head, only my eyes peered out, searching for him amongst the crowds and falling rain.
Months later, he told me that …
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~The Dalai Lama
A while back my sister arrived for a family get-together and remarked, “Your mad laughter is missing. What’s happening?”
My mind trailed back to my childhood and teenage years and showed me images of a girl who could laugh easily, loudly, and madly.
Somewhere along the line I had lost my ability to laugh—truly laugh, with wonder and without worry.
At first I brushed it off because I didn’t even notice myself changing. The change was gradual, imperceptible.
I had come to take life too …
“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” ~Gena Showalter
So you want to meditate.
You can’t help but notice the benefits touted everywhere: clearer mind, more focus, better sleep, better health and happiness. What’s not to want?
But then you try it out. And dang, it’s not easy.
When you sit down on that cushion or chair, your previously normal human brain has turned into a crazy swirl of thoughts.
Did you have this many thoughts before? Isn’t this meditation thing supposed to be about clearing your mind and getting focused?
The next thought that comes to …