“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” ~Robert M. Pirsig
I know meditation is good for me. I know it can do wonders for my mind, body, and spirit. I deeply desire having a daily meditation practice. Yet I can go months without meditating. I’ll think randomly, “I should really meditate sometime,” but when it comes down to it, I don’t.
My thing is this: I know meditating is good for me, and yet I don’t do it. I suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way.
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
As a Libra, my sign is the scale, which signifies balance. I’m not sure how much my “signage” plays into my desire to live a balanced life, but I do know that the more balanced I feel, the more free I feel.
In my work I am often reminded that what works for some people does not necessarily work for others, and that one person’s idea of balance may not constitute anything remotely balanced from another person’s perspective.
So I wanted to address the …
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~Oscar Wilde”
I have the amazing privilege and overwhelming responsibility of raising three daughters. I’m deliberate in the personal choices I make, knowing I set an example of what a strong, independent woman of integrity looks like.
I don’t always succeed.
As hard as I try to parent gently and with smart guidance, I’m imperfect and sometimes I get it wrong.
All relationships go hand in hand with feelings of regret and disappointment, and a sense we haven’t given our best at some point. Here are a few ways I have learned to …
“When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.” ~Buddha
It’s sometimes difficult to give the principles we wish to uphold practical expression in our lives. That’s because we don’t know what they truly look like in the real world.
A good way to overcome this obstacle is to incorporate mindful expressions into your daily vocabulary. This will help you become aware of your principles and apply them to everyday challenges.
I find the following five expressions extremely valuable in adding more meaning and mindfulness into my life, and I hope they will have a similar effect …
“Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.” ~Buddha
It seems like the vast majority of people compartmentalize themselves.
There are the people they show to family and friends, built upon authenticity and genuine passions, and the people who wear work-appropriate masks to make a living from day to day.
I understand how this happens. It’s not easy to identify the work that would feel meaningful for you, discover how you can get on that path, and then consistently take action to create the life you visualize.
Recognizing what you want to do can …
“Don’t wait for people to be friendly. Show them how.” ~Unknown
The other night I called an old friend I hadn’t talked to in a while. As we caught up, shared stories, and laughed over private jokes that would sound ridiculous had the phone been tapped, I wondered why I let so much time go by since I’d last given her a call.
We don’t live close to each other, so grabbing a drink or hitting up a yoga class isn’t an option. But really connecting with her, sharing pieces of my life and receiving the pieces she wants to …
We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ~Pema Chodron
Don’t run away from your fear, Pema says. Lean into it. This is her message.
It’s not the most popular or good feeling practice. Our natural tendency is to fight, flee, …
“We must never forget that it is through our actions, words, and thoughts that we have a choice.” ~Sogyal Rinpoche
I grew up deep in the “Bible Belt” in Texas, and along with that came the teaching that certain beliefs were never to be questioned. This kept life simple and reduced choices, but it also left me with the baggage of dogmas I no longer accept.
One of the mainstay beliefs was “It is better to give than to receive.”
Somehow, this one has held on in my head, in my heart, deep in my innermost belief system. Never mind …
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” ~Lao Tzu
In my quest for personal development, I’ve done a ton of processing, meditating, reading, praying, exercising, eating well, and helping other people. All of these things are amazing, and I still do them regularly, but none of it matters if I don’t guard my thoughts as though my life depends on it.
The quality of my life literally depends on my thoughts.
I never thought of myself as a negative person, and most people who know me will tell you I’m a bubbly, outgoing, …
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” ~Proverb
It’s been a year since I stumbled upon Tiny Buddha. At the time I was in a difficult place, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
I felt as if life was pointless and that there was nothing for me in the world: no room, no hope, no opportunity, no relief from the chronic tiredness and pain, and no love. I’d given up.
I spent my days staring at the walls and at my computer, trying to find something to make me feel better, to …
“Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it.” ~Eckhart Tolle
The most common conversation I have with other people includes the blame game.
The one where your job, your wife, your dog, your mother-in-law, your neighbor six doors down, the media, the government, the receptionist at your doctor’s office, or the dressmaker who measured you wrong is somehow responsible for the problems you’re having.
I too played the blame game.
I intentionally left a marriage that I was very unhappy in and then blamed him for everything. My finances, my unhappiness, my fluctuating weight, …
“The moment in between what you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place.” ~Barbara De Angelis
When we were kids, my dad used to measure us as we grew taller. On the back of the door of the laundry chute, he would keep track of me and my two sisters.
Every six months or so, he’d take out the ruler and lay it right on the top of our heads and mark the door. When we’d step away, we’d notice that we grew a few inches since the last time. …
“The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.” ~Tom Ford
Three years ago I was living in the Bay Area, working for a start-up website as a community and content and manager. Every day, I signed online and wrote for hours about a topic that meant absolutely nothing to me.
I accepted the position because it was a dramatic pay increase from my previous temp and freelance lifestyle, and it afforded me my first solo apartment. I’d held dozens of different jobs in my time as I searched for meaningful work, and I certainly …
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault
As a fairly recent grad student at the time, it was painful when I had to pay for things that were out of my control.
While in Tahoe one weekend, I found my parked car without a right side view mirror. Someone had knocked it off! It was an important mirror—the one that assisted you with seeing a reasonable amount of blind spots.
I knew it would be extra difficult for me to switch lanes and park my car without …
“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown
Like so many others living in Florida, my family was deeply affected by hurricane Charlie in August of 2004. We have completely recovered financially some years later, but the gravity of the situation leaves feelings close to the surface.
Our particular community was heavily hit by what were called spin-off tornadoes. Most people in Orlando did not believe the storm was coming our way. We had little notice that the storm path had changed from the forecaster’s prediction.
A friend from Jacksonville called and said, …
“Be bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold.” ~Herbert Spencer
I’m actually much more of a proponent of “going with the flow” then going against it. And sometimes forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do can be considered going against the flow.
But I do that for a different reason, and not everyone would agree.
I have two schools of thought. On the one hand, expansion is inevitable. We’re always called to become more than we are in life. It’s the nature of being human.
On the other hand, there’s something called “homeostasis.” Like a thermostat that’s …
“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” ~Robert Pirsig
The other evening I was I was lying in the bath following yet another hectic day in the office. As I sat there in the bubbles, I could feel my tension rising. I tried my hardest to block out the banging of the washing machine in the next room and the great stomping footsteps from the flat above.
All of a sudden, this peaceful treat was starting to feel more like a battle of wills—me against the world.
This made me …
“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” ~Unknown
The idea of loving yourself often seems cliché. We throw around the phrase, but do we really understand what it means? Do we actually know how to love ourselves? Or what the process of self love even looks like?
I really believe that everything in our lives is directly affected by how much we love ourselves, but I’m often at a loss for words when trying to articulate what is really all about. In my attempts to …
“Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax. If you relax, it comes. If you relax, it is there. If you relax, you start vibrating with it.” ~Osho
As I drove home today, I embarked on a familiar exercise: planning out, in ridiculous detail, the next week, month, and year of my life.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that planning is bad. In my world, a complete lack of planning would be anarchy. And anarchy equals anxiety. So I try to avoid it—both the anarchy and the anxiety.
But, historically speaking, I plan to a …
“As for the future, your task is not to foresee it but to enable it.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Have you ever heard the expression everyone loves a cheerful giver? While there’s a great deal of truth in the philosophy of offering without hopes attached, what about the flip side?
Sometimes we become so focused on providing antidotes or anticipating what we perceive to be the other person’s needs that we steamroll a conversation, taking center stage in our interactions.
In my own day-to-day life, pauses and hesitations in conversation used to make me uncomfortable or even anxious. I would …