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How Being Vulnerable Can Expand Your World

“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” ~Brene Brown

Vulnerability has never been my strong suit. It’s no wonder. In order to be vulnerable, you have to be okay with all of you. That’s the thing about vulnerability that no one tells you about.

Being vulnerable is not just about showing the parts of you that are shiny and pretty and fun. It’s about revealing what you deny or keep hidden from other people. We all do this to some extent. I bet you’ve never said to a friend, “Oh my god, I just love that I’m insecure.”

But …

2 Things You Need to Form a Strong Friendship

“To have a friend and be a friend is what makes life worthwhile.” ~Unknown

Extreme Makeover: Friendship Edition! That would be the best phrase to describe a year in the life of a cross-cultural friendship with my best friend Marisa.

This is the first deep and meaningful relationship I’ve ever had with someone who doesn’t speak a word in my own language.

My relationship with her has exposed and challenged many of my cultural beliefs and ideas about friendship.

There is nothing wrong with being influenced by culture. We all are.

But it’s good to recognize where some of our …

How to Be a Leader without Really Trying

“A leader leads by example whether he intends to or not.” ~Unknown

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to “be somebody.” For the majority of my life, I worked very hard at being whatever I thought I needed to be in order to be a great leader amongst my peers.

I wanted so deeply to inspire and move others, and to make a difference in a way that was unforgettable. I thought being a leader meant that I had to constantly prove that I was good enough to win the acknowledgment and appreciation of others.

For the …

How to Start a Gratitude Practice and Change Your Life

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

Somewhere in the distant past, out here in New Zealand, I recall someone saying to me “Be grateful for small mercies.”

Back in the 1950s, when I was a small girl, that meant being grateful for the simple things that made up the better part of my life.

As I grew, I forgot that piece of advice that someone, probably my beautiful grandmother, gave me way back then. But in 2010, I remembered it again.

Like so many people in the world in 2010, troubles …

3 Steps to Make a Bad Day Good

“To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” ~Chuang-Tzu

The beauty of life is that we constantly have the opportunity to change it.

We always have the power to recreate it. We can change our thoughts, remember how to live instead of planning each moment, forgive the past, be present for the now, slow down the speed, and push the reset button on a day that has escaped us.

I recently had one of those days.

This past Saturday was wonderful, or so I thought it would be when I woke up.

I’d been invited to a traditional …

5 Ways for Parents to Manage Anxiety

“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I thought I had relinquished anxiety after a few years of mindfulness and meditation. Then I had a baby. It is incredibly easy for us mothers to slide into permanent guilt and anxiety.

After a few minutes of watching my thoughts, I noticed they ran something like this:

“My baby is sleeping too much. Should I wake her? Oh no, she hasn’t slept enough and I woke her. I shouldn’t have woken her, I’ve ruined the day. How am I …

Zen Your Commute: How to Get Started with Bicycling

“I cannot make my days longer so I strive to make them better.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Every weekday morning, I set off from my back gate on my bicycle, pushing away from the safe shore of home and entering the unpredictable current of urban life. Every morning, I look forward to the adventure.

Over the course of the ride to work, I watch the city wake up. I feel the particular nuances of the day’s weather—perhaps humid, with a storm building over the mountains, or maybe a faintly warm breeze crosscuts the morning chill, carrying a hint of spring.

I …

7 Things That Influence Happiness That You Don’t Need to Have

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~Unknown

When someone asks, “Are you happy?” we tend to look around at our peers and see how they are living.

If we’re better off than our peers, it’s likely that we decide to be happy. Therefore, one of the tricks of being happy is to change the group we compare ourselves to.

Silicon Valley gossip columns enjoy pointing out that Oracle’s software titan Larry Ellison, whose $40 billion net worth makes him one of the top ten richest people in …

Forgive So That You Can Let Go

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” ~Paul Boese

I have been heart-broken far longer than I think anyone should ever be.  When my relationship ended, like a rock star, I blazed through the “mourning period” and bypassed the “become a new person” phase, then promptly got completely lost.

I kept busy; went out with friends, watched movies, learned to cook, and invested in retail therapy. But I never actually let go. I felt it was impossible to move on. It’s been three years.

At my worst, I’d remember moments with vivid intensity. …

5 Easy Ways to Get into Yoga this Spring

“Letting go isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a new life.” ~Unknown

As we welcomed the Spring Equinox on March 20th, with it came a sense of lightness in the air—in our bodies with healthier food options, in our minds as we flirt with the idea of summer on the horizon, and in our spirits as we are able to enjoy later sunsets with loved ones.

Spring also welcomes change and renewal, creating an opportunity to cleanse ourselves of hibernating winter habits and find inspiration in nature as wildflowers bloom all around us.

What …

The Gift of Anxiety: 7 Ways to Get the Message and Find Peace

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

If there’s one thing that has led me the greatest amount of re-invention, it’s anxiety. By anxiety I don’t mean worry or concern. Anxiety is a different animal that grabs a hold of you and halts you in your tracks.

We tend to reject its milder forms and are really terrified by its intense moments, like with panic attacks. It’s difficult to see when we’re fighting with anxiety that it can have any benefit, but it does.

Anxiety comes with some great treasures hidden …

20 Ways to Overcome Doubts

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

Nine out of ten times when I feel paralyzed, it’s because I doubt myself.

Sometimes I doubt my knowledge—whether I truly know enough to move forward. Sometimes I doubt the choices I’ve already made, as if I can somehow find a sense of control in rehashing what I’ve done and deciding how to do it better in the future.

Other times I doubt my instincts. I think I know what’s right for me, but my mind decides to split …

4 Steps to Deal with Disappointment

“Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.” ~Unknown

For me, disappointment is one of life’s most uncomfortable feelings. It’s complex, containing a subset of other emotions like anger, hurt, sadness, and probably many others too subtle to identify.

Sometimes, those emotions by themselves are easier to deal with, but disappointment can leave me at a loose end.

I might not be sure whether I should feel angry, or just impatiently wish that I would hurry up and get over it. Disappointment can hover at the front of your mind and niggle at the back, bringing you …

How to Stop Gossiping and Creating Drama

“If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind” –Buddha

Last week my twenty-year-old friend, Dustin, called me out when I was talking negatively about someone to a group of people.

We were sitting around a dinner table at what should have been a really good planning meeting for an upcoming yoga workshop our group was holding.

While we were excited about the out-of-town teachers who were coming to share their incredible knowledge with us for a week, we were stuck on a topic that was both irrelevant and unproductive. That topic …

Let Go of Fear by Stopping the Stories in Your Head

“The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.” ~Eckhart Tolle

For a very long time fear has controlled me. It has paralyzed me, kept me living in desperate situations, and stopped me from living the life of my dreams.

It has only been with age and the practice of mindfulness these last few years that I have come to recognize the fear within me, having finally begun the process of facing it.

By facing fear, I don’t mean that I’ve started base-jumping, purposely trapped myself in elevators, or …

Why Sometimes It’s Good to Be a Loser

I love the word loser. I enjoy playing with it, feeling into it, and feeling my own gut reaction to the idea of allowing myself to be one. Some of the time.

Our culture is obsessed with winning.

At school we learn that we have to compete to get what we want. Many of us grow up internalizing this idea and subtly infusing it into our relationships, friendships, career, and even spiritual path.

If this is strong in us, there can be a pervading sense of alienation, disconnectedness, or even mistrust that we carry around.

In my early days as …

Be Part of the First Tiny Buddha YouTube Video

As you may have noticed, there’s been a Tiny Buddha YouTube channel up for months now. There have been nearly 3,000 views on the page but, thus far, there aren’t any videos on there.

Today is the day that changes!

Since I launched this website in the fall of 2009, Tiny Buddha has been all about community.

Each week, I publish 4 blog posts from Tiny Buddha readers. I’ve published nearly a dozen posts that incorporated wisdom from members of the Tiny Buddha Facebook page. I even included tweets from Tiny Buddha Twitter followers in my upcoming book (available …

3 Simple Tips to Push Yourself to Try Something New

“Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers.” ~Unknown

It was a few months into my semester abroad during my sophomore year in college when I realized how special the experience had become.

On the way to class, I strolled past the Pantheon and snacked on homemade gelato.

Preparing dinner consisted of purchasing fresh-picked produce and a fresh-cooked baguette. As my homemade pasta sauce slowly came to a pleasant boil, my roommates and I would sip the finest Chianti 5 euros could buy while eating salami and formaggio (cheese) so delicious it makes your mouth water just thinking about …

3 Steps to Stop Making Comparisons and Start Valuing Yourself

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E. Cummings

It seems like everywhere I look, I don’t measure up.

I was giving a presentation recently and noticed that several people seemed bored or distracted.  I looked around the room to gauge my audience’s response to something I said and found myself thinking, “Am I good enough?  Am I providing what this group needs?”

Suddenly, I felt sure that another, more talented presenter would have done a better job.

Later, with a friend, casually flipping through old photos, we both lamented that we were younger and …

Why Some Dreams Don’t Lead to Happiness

When I was 24 years old, I learned that some dreams are actually avoidance tactics, and some discouragement is a very good thing.

I was relatively new in New York City, and I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of failing if I tried to pursue my passions. I’d learned a lot about failure in the six years prior, and the only thing I knew for certain anymore was that I had to become someone important.

When I arrived at my interview for marketing job—as it was so descriptively advertised on Craigslist—I was surprised to find a room full of …