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13 Tips for Eating More Compassionately

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~Dalai Lama

As a child, I had no idea that such a concept as vegetarianism even existed, let alone veganism.

Since I grew up on a sheep farm, raising animals and eating them were just what we did.

The sheep, cows, and chickens from my childhood seemed to have pretty happy lives. There was grass to eat and water to drink and space to roam about. The only thing that used to worry me about them was that they’d freeze outside in the …

Overcoming the Power of Suggestion: Make Your Own Choices

“People who urge you to be realistic generally want you to accept their version of reality.” ~Unknown

I’m often open to suggestion. I like to gather opinions and feedback about my writing so that I can use it to improve the impact and make it a better read.

The thing I’ve learned about listening to other people’s thoughts on my writing is that sometimes what seems like good advice is little more than personal preference; changing an image or an entire scene to suit one person isn’t always the right path, especially if my gut is saying, “You know you …

How to Be Fully Awake Instead of Living on Autopilot

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”  ~Pema Chodron

It’s tempting. Staying in the nest means life feels safe and we are protected. If we get thrown out of the nest we either stretch our new wings and fly or plummet to the ground.

Flight poses new challenges. How do we embrace spaciousness when we desire solidity? How do we stay aloft and open?

A friend of mine recently showed me a nest of robin’s eggs. Beautiful, blue like the sky, and full of bright possibility, we admired the …

How to Reduce Stress by Doing Less and Doing It Slowly

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” ~Socrates

In April, NPR ran a story titled, “The Slow Internet Movement.” It reported that hipster cities, like Portland, Oregon, are sprouting Internet cafés that only offer dial-up access to the web.

These cafés give customers, “Slow pours and slow Internet. Here, you can order your coffee and spend four hours checking your email, all for $.99 an hour.”

“Wow,” I thought.” That’s just my speed!” (No pun intended.) But the story didn’t just run in April. It ran on April 1st and was NPR’s little April Fools joke at the expense …

6 Questions That Will Make You Feel Peaceful and Complete

“The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.” ~Swedish Proverb

When I was in my mid-twenties an unhealthy relationship with an unhealthy guy sent me packing off to the corner of New Mexico to find myself. In a new age, self-discovery kind of world—a hubbub of a town filled with people in transition—I was graced to meet many powerful healers, gurus, shamans, and teachers.

I became a workshop junkie. I went on Shamanic power journeys to spiritual centers around the world, chanted with Indian gurus, and became a certified yoga instructor and …

The Secret to Instant Self-Confidence

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama

Self-confidence is an interesting concept.

You see, we all have ways of feeling good, bad, low, light, and peaceful. We all have triggers that tell us when to experience these states.

The really interesting part is that you can challenge how you respond to those triggers and change the strategies you use.

There have been countless times in my life where I haven’t felt absolutely confident.

For example, I used to be very shy around people. I just didn’t believe I had anything to say, so …

51 Things That Will Make You Smile

Some days, it’s easy to smile. You wake up to the sounds of birds chirping, with the warm glow of the morning sun cradling your face. You take several deep, cleansing breaths standing beneath a perfectly cascading shower, just before drawing a smiley face on the steamed-up glass with your index finger.

Your roommate or significant other makes your coffee, just the way you like it. You hit every traffic light. You sing to your favorite tunes. And you arrive at work refreshed, excited, and anxious to create and collaborate.

But not every day starts this way. Sometimes you wake …

5 Immediate and Easy Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” ~William Shakespeare

I love to paint. I’m not a professional artist. I have no technique, and I am not trained. But I love how the brush feels as it dips into color and moves across a white page.

Painting allows me to be free, to have fun and play. It also does something else: It shows me how I judge myself and how I can get in my own way. It reveals what I believe about myself that stops me from creating whatever I want.

Even as I …

The Relief and Power of Accepting Your Struggles (and Finding Hidden Gifts)

“It isn’t what happens to us that causes us to suffer; it’s what we say to ourselves about what happens.” ~Pema Chodron

I love acceptance. Acts of surrender create forward momentum.

If we all pause for a moment and observe what we are fighting, right here and right now—maybe depression, anxiety, weight gain, low self-image, or financial stress—we’ll have an opportunity to accept then.

But that’s just the start.

Recently I accepted something I never thought I would. Reframing the way I thought about it changed my life.

I have moderate to severe OCD. Having OCD is basically like

Set Yourself Free: 3 Ideas to Become More Conscious

“I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I’m sitting on a straw bail at an unplugged rock concert that’s being held in Barrydale, South Africa, my current home and sanctuary. It’s a big deal for this small town, because nothing much ever really happens here.

Everyone from the area has arrived dressed to the hilt and ready to rumba—except me, that is. I’m sitting to the side (in an outfit that will scare away most normal people) staring forlornly off into the distance.

My buddy Sean sits next to me with …

8 Tips to Help Create a Positive Mental Attitude

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

For years I lived an uneventful existence. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t unhappy either. I was just sort of stuck.

I had a good career, earned lots of money, and I had great friends and a loving family. You would think that this doesn’t sound too bad, but I felt unfulfilled and unmotivated. I repeatedly lived each day like the one before.

I looked around me and saw that everybody within my own circle of friends, relatives, and immediate family were no different. They too seemed stuck. They …

Simple Happiness: Choose, Practice, Repeat

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” ~Denis Waitley

I just spent the past 17 months of my life trying to find, travel to, or somehow earn happiness.

I had just given birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. I had a loving husband, a home, good friends, and a supportive family. I was supposed to be happy. But I wasn’t. I couldn’t explain why, even to myself.

This led to more anxiety and major guilt. I felt like I had tripped into …

Beat Procrastination: How to Want to Tackle Your To-Do List

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you won’t do anything with it.” ~ M. Scott Peck

Ten years ago, I stopped procrastinating. Lots of procrastination, then zero—overnight. Cold turkey worked for me. Now I hardly ever procrastinate.

Why the sudden change? How did I do it?

Lists and Procrastination

Like many people, I make lists, including to-do lists, reminders, shopping lists, wish lists, and my what-to-do-when-bored list. I completely rely on my lists to keep my life moving along.

My Dad purposefully decided not to make lists. He believed he could maintain …

How to Find Happiness at Work in 6 Steps

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama

A few years back, I worked in a medical practice.

I’d always been fascinated with medicine, and the position allowed me virtually free reign within the practice. I was able to sit in at the operating room during procedures, learn about the medical billing process, chat with patients in the physical therapy unit, and much more.

Basically, the position was a great fit for me, but I still wasn’t happy at work.

Even though I had exposure to many areas, I was rarely given the responsibility …

Lose Control to Find Closeness in Your Relationships

“Always be mindful of the kindness and not the faults of others” ~Buddha

In these hectic and often chaotic times, for most people (controllers included), the need for intimate, close bonds with friends and family is more important than ever for their overall well-being.

Yet, most controllers are unaware of how much their controlling actions prevent intimacy.

Losing Intimacy with My Son

Twenty years ago I was a massive, obsessive controller. I firmly believed that the best way to satisfy my needs and achieve what I wanted in life was by controlling everything and everyone. At home, Father truly knew …

This Moment Does Not Define You

“Things and conditions can give you pleasure but they cannot give you joy—joy arises from within.” ~Eckhart Tolle

I struggled with anorexia for four years before I went to rehab. Rehab saved my life, and although I am not “completely recovered,” I am in recovery. I am coping. I am living again.

One of the biggest sources of fuel for my eating disorder was my hyper-focus on the physical and transitory aspects of life.

In my mind, I over-emphasized the importance of my body. I put the appearance of my body, and how I felt about my body, above …

Be Stress-Free: Eliminate 5 Common, Unnecessary Stressors

“Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong – sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown

The human mind loves to find things to stress about.

There seems to constantly be something in our lives that causes us to worry. And when the thing that caused the worry disappears, we feel happy, but only for a short period of time until we find something else to stress about.

I’ve witnessed this pattern many times in my own life. As soon as I was able to solve one of my problems, my mind found me a new one.

Compared to other …

Renovate Your Life: 5 Key Truths About Creating Change

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” ~Pema Chodron

We are currently in the midst of home improvement—what we thought would be a small “touch-up.”  Nothing seemed too threatening on the surface, just a scratch here, a nick there. It would be a simple fix.

But when we began the project and uncovered the areas we were going to address, we saw there was much more than met the eye, as often happens in life. We could no longer ignore what we had sealed over and painted, covered with lovely flowers, and ignored …

10 Simple Tips to Live Happy, Wild, and Free

“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.” -Morris West

In the past I was not known as a happy, wild, and free person. (Okay, maybe wild. I had my moments…) In stuck phases peppered with depression, darkness, and hopelessness, I often wondered what it would be like to feel happy, wild, and free.

I fantasized about living in Europe, writing in cafes like Hemingway, having wild crazy affairs with sexy men, or even moving to Hawaii and wearing nothing but sarongs and flip flops all day. But in truth, these fantasies were …

How the Differences in Your Relationship Can Be Gifts

“We need not think alike to love alike.” ~Ferenc David

Our commonalities were small, insignificant perhaps, but being in high school, we were both uninterested in comparing notes on religious beliefs or political affiliation. I appreciated his humor and he my smile, and that was the end of that—until we became bona fide adults, that is.

After a year of bliss and a few declarations of, “no, we don’t fight at all!” we began to notice the things that set us apart and the experiences that shaped us in vastly different ways.

He came from a broken family while mine …