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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 …

3 Things That Limit Your Potential and How to Overcome Them

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” ~George Sheehan

Here’s the routine: wake up, do my work, watch TV, and go to bed.

This was a regular day in my life not long ago. It was not too eventful and not overly challenging, and to be the honest, the less challenging it was, the less stress there was for me—at least that’s what I thought.

I had been working online for a few years, and my income was not up to where I wanted it to …

Find Your Calling: 5 Steps to Identify Your Purpose

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.” ~Rumi

When I was young, I fell in love with Africa. It was an unsophisticated and amorphous love, not directly related to anything in particular about that vast continent. I now see that the point of my love affair with Africa was to deliver my first calling to me.

Merriam-Webster defines a “calling” as: “…a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.”

My first calling was to connect with people who seemed very different from …

How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Using Affirmations

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~Buddha

I used to teach Adult Upgrading. My students were people who had never completed grade school and/or high school. For a variety of reasons, they were now ready to try it again.

New students would say, “I wasn’t ever any good at school.” “I can’t do math.” “I hate fractions.”

It’s my belief that our self-talk is programming ourselves for our statements to be true.

Those students thought they’d been stating the facts, not revealing programmed beliefs.…

6 ways to Deal with “I Should Be Better” Syndrome

“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~Lao Tzu

Pretty much everyone I know thinks they should be doing better in some way, at least sometimes.

Are you totally and completely satisfied with what you’ve done so far in life? No little part of you thinks, maybe I should have more money in the bank? Or maybe I should have a more professional wardrobe, or a book contract, or a dog that’s housebroken?

The word “should” isn’t exactly enlightened or peaceful, nor is the practice of judging yourself or believing that you’re not exactly …

Forgive and Set Yourself Free

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize that prisoner was you.” ~Lewis B. Smedes

We’ve all heard the saying “forgive and forget.”  It seems easy when you say it like that. The forgetting part can be daunting, though. I can say that when you let go, the memory dims. That’s a start.

I didn’t understand the importance of forgiveness until I was in my mid-forties. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve forgiven people over the years. I just never understood how it related to my own well-being.

Let’s face it, not forgiving someone for standing you up …

How to Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

From the time I was a little girl, people told me I was pretty, but I never believed them. Instead, I scrutinized myself in the mirror searching for ways to look better, not realizing that what I was really looking for was a way to be me and feel good about myself.

As I focused even more on my looks throughout my twenties, I became increasingly self-conscious and dependent on how others perceived me. If someone complimented …

Get Connected: How to Expand Your Offline Social Network

“Strangers are friends you have yet to meet.” ~Unknown

We are living in times of massive change.

Looking at some of the problems we are facing—the crumbling economy, environmental pollution, wars over scarce resources—sometimes the idea of moving far away to a remote mountain top seems very attractive. Or hiding in that small space behind the computer screen. Anything that helps us avoid real life and all its challenges.

But of course, if everybody thought that way, who would actually get up and do something about our situation? And is it enough to receive words of comfort through an email? …

Lifestyle Design: How to Create Your Life As You Want It

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Eliot

If you read a lot of blogs or are even remotely tech savvy, it’s highly likely you’ve heard the term “lifestyle design.” Perhaps you’re wondering just what the heck it means, and how you can do it, too, just because it sounds so enticing!

In a nutshell, lifestyle design embodies the attempt on your part to design a life of your choosing, whatever that looks like. It’s your life, your plan, and you call the shots.

Just because your parents lived in a small town, got married …

How to Enjoy Food More: 7 Tips to Savor Meals

“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” –Adelle Davis

As I mentioned before in my blog post about needing less money, I recently decided to offer barter advertising through Tiny Buddha—meaning I plan to promote products and services I support in exchange for things I need.

This week I started my first barter arrangement with L.O.V.E. Delivery, a company here in Los Angeles that delivers organic produce right to your door.

Before my first shipment arrived two days ago, …

How to Let Go of the Need for Approval to Start Thriving

“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing” ~Aristotle

The need for approval kills freedom.

Trust me, I know, because I spent my entire life seeking approval until I realized it was a waste of time and didn’t work anyway. The desire to get people to like me motivated the majority of my choices and actions in early life.

Queen of social chameleons, I mastered the art of telling people what they wanted to hear and being someone they would find impressive—all the while worrying incessantly about what others thought of me, fearing criticism,

The (Real) Secret to Staying Young

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” ~Benjamin Franklin

You know them well.

They pop out of every magazine you open and every billboard you drive by: skinny sixteen year-old models with blemish- and wrinkle-free skin staring blankly back at you. Like they own the place or something.

If you don’t have their complexion and shape you probably wince the same way I do when you see them splattered on that advertising campaign. Youth is where it’s at in the twenty first century.  We’re told it’s desirable and that we should want it—and inevitably, many of us do.

On any given …

Creative Types: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

“Just as much as we see in others, we have in ourselves.” ~William Hazlitt

Most days I am a dedicated writer and artist, focused and working away with my oh-so-happy hands.

Most days I feel inspired to share adventures and insights from living in Paris for over two years while going to graduate school. Or referencing the intense spiritual work and personal growth I’ve experienced in recent years. Or describing how I quit the unfulfilling rat-race to focus on my passion and my life dreams.

Most days I have confidence and pride in my personal creations and feel pretty darn …

Take a Chance: Seize That Opportunity in 4 Steps

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” ~Unknown

Have you ever paused at a podium, feeling your hands shake as you speak to the senators before you? Have you ever laced your skates, shuddering as you heard your name announced as the next skater to compete? Have you ever found out about an amazing opportunity (say, a chance to post on Tiny Buddha), only to realize that you’re terrified to try?

I’ve been in all these risky scenarios, so I know how intimidating they can be. By definition, risk-taking doesn’t guarantee …