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Lessons from Almost Dying: How to Appreciate the Everyday Awesome

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” ~Bill Watterson

“Rare as hell.” That’s how my doctor described my leukemia.

The cancer had gotten real aggressive, real quick, and I’d need some heavy-duty chemo and a risky bone marrow transplant if I had any chance of surviving. How good a chance? “Forty to fifty percent,” said my doctor.

Oof.

As an otherwise healthy twenty-seven-year-old, cancer had been the furthest thing from my mind. Now, every waking thought was consumed by it. But I wasn’t ready to die. …

The Art of Pain: Why the Dark Times Make Life Beautiful

“In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice… No one can live in the light all the time.” ~Libba Bray

Happiness, and the quest for it, is not all it’s cracked up to be. What I mean is that I think we’re making a mistake in reaching only for happiness, lightness, good days, and good moods.

I think that we’re restricting ourselves.

We’re fishing in an ocean of emotions, looking to only reel in one or two kinds, throwing back the ones we don’t want without even noticing …

Pearls of Puppy Wisdom: 7 Lessons from a Furry Little Sage

“Buy a pup and your money will buy love unflinching.” ~Rudyard Kipling

I didn’t even want a puppy really. Puppies are synonymous with poop and pee. Everywhere. At least until they’re trained, and that takes time.

Of course, they’re also synonymous with love and affection, puppy breath, and lots and lots of wet kisses. (I’ve learned to keep a towel handy around my little Bella.)

Certain things I sort of expected when we got our little girl.

I expected to lose some sleep for a bit.

I was prepared to sacrifice the cleanliness of our home for a while. (Puppies …

The Power of Presence : A Few Simple Ways to Enjoy Life More Now

“All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.” ~Martha Graham

I am someone who is always focusing on the next step rather than the step I am currently taking. I am always longing for the next thing in life.

Looking forward to the future isn’t a bad thing, but when it consumes 90% of your daily thoughts, it becomes a bit exhausting.

My energy has always been restless. I get bored easily, crave change constantly, and yearn for immediate fulfillment. At …

When You’re Busy Looking for Happiness in the Future

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop. Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot. Seek the path that demands your whole being.” ~Rumi

It seems like there is so much busyness in the world today. When was the last time you stopped to focus on your breath and to truly settle into the moment?

When we’re busy, we don’t always prioritize these precious moments of full presence with our own aliveness.

Being busy can become like an addiction, an urge that drives us compulsively. But what are we really looking

We Are All the Same, So There’s No Reason to Hide

“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.” ~Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

It’s taken a long time for me to be comfortable with being completely myself.

Most people who meet me now see a strong and confident woman. Yet, underneath that confidence there is still a little girl in me that is scared. I’ve accepted that she is always going to be a part of me; however, …

Broken Hearts Can Lead to Awakened Souls

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” ~Cynthia Occelli

There are no two ways about it.

Heartbreak squeezes you as though you were an orange, crushes you as though it were a tractor, and cuts sharply as a razor blade.

Breaking up with my former wife was the most crushing event in my life. It made me see myself as a failure, hide in embarrassment, and cry myself to sleep for months.…

A Powerful Way to Motivate Yourself to Pursue What You Want

“See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” ~Dalai Lama

Until fairly recently, I was somewhat afraid of talking to girls.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I was afraid of talking to girls if I had a romantic intent. If it was an innocuous conversation, I could be cool as a cucumber.

As you can imagine, this stifled my romantic life somewhat. If I met someone and things were going well, once I realized that she liked me a little and I could move things forward, I would freeze up. Self-sabotage.

This was very frustrating to me, …

4 Tips to Help You Choose When You Have a Lot of Passions

“Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.” ~Unknown

When I first quit my office job in 2012, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with my life. My idea bank was at zero.

But for a full year after leaving my job, I committed myself to exploring and doing the things I’d always been too scared to do.

I took acting classes, traveled, volunteered on farms, started a blog, learned about a more sustainable lifestyle, and was initiated into Reiki.

After a while I realized my problem had spun a complete 360. My idea …

3 Steps To Embrace Your Beauty and Smile More Every Day

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Is there anything more beautiful than a person smiling, or better yet, laughing? I don’t think so. It’s almost contagious.

You’ve likely seen the YouTube videos of babies laughing and couldn’t help but smile.

And there’s probably a special person in your life that only needs to smile and you feel your heart lift. Maybe it doesn’t even need to be someone you know. I’ve had this happen to me with a complete stranger.

When you see someone smiling from ear to ear, filled with joy, you can’t …

The Path to Freedom: Facing Painful Thoughts and Feelings

“Life is an endless process of self-discovery.” ~James Gardner

My thoughts lately have been so hurtful.

Things like: I’m not a good writer. I’m ugly. I’m stupid.

I’m not funny. I can’t carry a meaningful conversation. I’ll never be special.

The world is out to get me. People take advantage of me. I’m boring and don’t matter.

Like I said, hurtful. Crippling, demoralizing thoughts. One not-so-nice thing after another, and it makes me want to cry.

Why the pain? Why the negative thoughts? Well, recently I spent two weeks playing a video game.   From the time I walked through …

Remember This Before Judging Someone Who Annoys You

“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior.” ~Stephen Covey

It happened again! A different place, a different person. But again, I was outraged! How could I let it go this time?

I was driving home from work, excited about the weekend. As I looked in the rear-view mirror, a bulky four-wheel drive gradually came closer. Next minute, it was right behind me. Another tailgater!

I sped up to shake it off. It stayed with me. I tapped the brake to tell the driver to back off. He came closer!

I was beginning to fume. As I …

What Would Your Future Look Like If You Took a Leap of Faith?

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make. ” ~Unknown

Have you ever thought about making a big change in your life?

Chances are, just that very idea produces a mild sense of anxiety and discomfort. But what if you were to actually go ahead and make that change? What would that look like, what would that feel like?

A rhetorical question, I realize. You only know if you go through with it. If you don’t, you will never know. It’s a …

How to Change Your Habits and Your Life in 5 Steps

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” ~Frederick Douglass

We all experience struggles. Some are seemingly insurmountable. Others, like mine, are comparatively small. Regardless of their scale, it’s what we learn from our struggles that counts.

Mine began while at university in London. Originally from a small town in the Welsh valleys, the move to the big city was a scary one for me.

A mum’s boy at heart, I didn’t deal well with being so far away from home. I’m also an introvert who didn’t embrace the uni lifestyle of drinking to failure, so I didn’t make …

10 Things Happy People Do to Stay Happy

“Here’s a little song I wrote. You might want to sing it note for note. Don’t worry, be happy.” ~Bobby McFerrin 

I was one of those people that when asked what they want in life, would say, “I just want to be happy…”

In my past, I suffered from debilitating depression. There was a period when getting the dry-cleaning and buying toilet paper was difficult enough.

So, I made it my mission to study what happy people do to stay happy, then I started doing what they were doing. And my happiness increased until I became one of those …

Giving in Relationships Without Losing Yourself or Sacrificing Your Needs

“Relationships are about two individuals who maintain their own lives and create another one together.” ~Unknown

When I am in relationship I put all of myself into it, and can sometimes neglect my own needs as a result.

I’ve recognized that I’m doing this in my current relationship, and I’ve realized that while it is wonderful to be truly committed, it is important not to lose oneself. This is where healthy boundaries come into play.

A healing practitioner recently reminded me that relationships are excellent opportunities for personal growth.

As someone who was single for almost a decade and has …

When You Love an Addict: Stop Enabling and Help Yourself

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” ~Ann Landers

I fell in love for better or worse. First came the better and then the worst.

My prince charming, over time, became a raging alcoholic. I watched an amazing man become, well less amazing.

There are endless books and information you can read about addiction, but I am going to break the rule, skip to the end of those books, and tell you the …

5 Crippling Lies About Forgiveness (and the Truths That Set You Free)

“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim.” ~C.R. Strahan

It’s not fair, is it?

Getting hurt. All over again.

It wasn’t so bad forgiving them the first time. You rose to the occasion. You became the bigger person. You tried to move on.

You thought you had to. After all, they did ask nicely.

You just knew you’d be BFFs again and go right back to, “Let’s go for Jamba Juice!”

But it didn’t go down like that, did it?…

A Guide for Poor Sleepers with Overactive Minds (and a Giveaway!)

Note: The winners for this giveaway have already been chosen:

  • Siri Sims
  • Monterrey

As a kid, I often played movies in mind when I was trying to fall asleep.

I’d start from the opening scene, as if I’d popped a tape into my VCR (because that’s just how old I am), and I’d mentally watch as much as I could before drifting off into slumber.

As an adult, it amazes me that I was able to relax and focus my mind in this way back then, as I’ve spent much of my older life overthinking and tossing and turning in …

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia

In 2009 I traveled to Perth, Western Australia, to further my education. Little did I know how much my life would change.

I befriended lots of people and met a tall, gorgeous man from South Asia. He was not the type of guy I normally dated, but I fell for him anyway.

It was our happy fun time in 2010. Then, in early 2011, I sensed a change.

It’s funny when you’re in a