“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” ~Pema Chodron
In my twenties I had dreams that I could fly. Literally. In my mind’s eye, I had a vision of myself dancing in the air. I thought if I were an animal, I would be a graceful eagle soaring through the skies.
Never mind I am just shy of six feet tall and aerodynamically inept. I had a dream and I was going to follow it. Hence, I called the local circus teacher to pursue the hobby of aerial acrobatics.…
“The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” -~Pema Chodron
These past few years, I’ve focused on education and passing the required exams to get into university. I had my mind set on where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I didn’t do well on my exams, so that didn’t quite pan out, but I’m happy.
I’m now studying for a bachelor’s degree in biology with the hope of later furthering it into research. I’m also located just around the corner from where I originally wanted to be. So all in …
“Don’t wait for your feelings to change to take action. Take action and your feelings will change.” ~Barbara Baron
Paul and I had been acquaintances for eight years. When I opened the door to his office one afternoon to offer our usual casual hello, an alchemical change packed a walloping charge through my body.
When had my coworker become a handsome man with whom I suddenly wanted to share more than impersonal cafeteria trays in a crowd?
I’m not sure what flipped the switch for me, but I’d already cheered him when he ran two marathons, listened when his wife …
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” ~Helen Keller
My patient, John Done, rolled in by ambulance from his home in rural Oregon. As his story unfolded I understood why the nurses and ER doctors in the room were slack-jawed and shaking their heads, and I understood why I had been called to see what the nurse called a “DIY’er.”
I have been a surgeon for over ten years and had never been consulted for a case of do it yourself surgery. John had had a belly button hernia sticking out a couple of inches …
“Appreciation is an excellent thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us, as well.” ~Voltaire
Halloween is the coming attractions preview of the holidays. Those little witches, ghosts, and goblins will soon morph into angels, wise men, and reindeer, and the candy you gave in October will give way to more expensive gift-giving in December.
While the old proverb tells us it is better to give than receive, countless people bemoan the absence of grateful receivers. Thank you letters seem to be a relic of the past and expressions of gratitude are often drowned out in a …
“Growth begins when we begin to accept our weaknesses.” ~Jean Vanier
I went out with my mom this Sunday, a beautiful, sunny, fall day in San Francisco. As we sat on a bench looking out over the bay and ate our vegetarian spring rolls, she reminded me of an incident that happened when I was a teenager when she and I had traveled to the Grand Canyon.
In a nutshell, I had gotten irate over a family that was feeding the ground squirrels French fries right next to a sign that said “Don’t Feed the Squirrels.” I went up to …
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb
Two years ago, after hearing Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project, talk about setting up one’s own blog, I went home and did just that. It had been something I had thought of doing, one day, when I would get over my “fear” of technology and decide I can do this.
Her talk made it sound so easy that I sat down and went for it. And I did it; I set up my own …
“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 remember when I first read the pathology report on my patient, Mr. Jackson (name changed), my stomach flip-flopped. “Adenocarncinoma of the pancreas,” it said.
A week later, a CT scan revealed the cancer had already spread to his liver. Two months after that, following six rounds of chemotherapy, around-the-clock morphine for pain, a deep vein thrombosis, and pneumococcal pneumonia, he was dead.
His wife called me to tell me he’d died at home. I told her how …
“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown
Have you ever experienced times when you go through just one bad thing after another? When it seems like the world is out to get you? When things go wrong no matter what you do?
You are not alone. Bad things happen to all of us too, including me. I experienced a small set back recently which I want to share with you.
Not too long ago, I was working on my upcoming eBook. It was my #1 priority project at that time and I …
“Life is a choice.” ~Unknown
I’ve recently realized that life is a never-ending stream of choices, even when you think you don’t have many options.
Some look insignificant on their own but somehow manage to contribute to a massive whole. Others can feel overwhelming, and you don’t always realize when you make them what the consequences will be—how they’ll shape your life story.
The biggest decision I’ve made in the past six months is to return to university and complete the MA Creative Writing course I began two years ago. It’s almost a choice I never made—a life I never …
“Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.” ~Unknown
My friend Kayla and I ran a student organization together at our graduate school. One day, we were sitting at the local café, talking about plans for the organization. Kayla had an idea for a major creative project she would drive and lead.
The idea was fabulous, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the idea of her doing this fabulous thing, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Over our coffees, I shared this concern and that. It wasn’t in line with …
To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Many people I talk with feel that they have no joy in their life. They feel obligated to do so many things that they don’t have time for themselves and the things they really want to do.
As a result, they feel drained, anxious, and resentful. With so many outside forces competing for their time, energy, and financial resources, is it really any wonder they feel this way?
So what do we do? How can we remain …
“Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.” ~Unknown
For the past few days, I have been thinking about my orange tree. Every year, we ignore it completely, and it generously gives us bounteous amounts of sweet oranges. It is so very forgiving of our utter lack of support.
Yet this year, the oranges are bitter; even the squirrels toss them away.
Right now, the tree has oranges on the branches and fresh new blooms all over it, as well. I guess we should pick the oranges to make room for the new, but it hasn’t been on …
“Life is what happens while you are making other plans.” ~John Lennon
I am someone who enjoys doing a lot of different things, and yet I don’t always enjoy being busy. Sometimes when my schedule gets full, I feel almost as if I’ve lost a part of me.
Just like some people become codependent in relationships, I can be codependent with work. When it has my attention, everything else can easily fall to the wayside—my social life, my hobbies, you name it.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in a riptide of doing without ever evaluating what you’re …
“The person who lives life fully, glowing with life’s energy, is the person who lives a successful life.” ~Daisaku Ikeda
In everything we do, we seek happiness. Or at least what we think will bring happiness.
But this goal can often get us into trouble. It’s how you find yourself in a career that doesn’t represent you, consuming things lacking real value, and living a life that misses its impact on the world.
Most of the things we think create happiness don’t.
We get caught in a spiral and life suddenly becomes a race to be won instead of a …
“Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha
Thank you for this food we are about to eat.
Many of us grew up with families who began each meal with a blessing. These prayers followed people from generation to generation like an affectionate family member showing up when everyone sat down at the dinner table.
These days, this honoring ritual is largely absent as we pick up food in a bag at a drive-through window, eat from cartons taken directly from the refrigerator without bothering to put the food on a plate or …
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Up until my early twenties, I carried around a lot of anger toward someone in my life. I’d been hurt by a person I trusted, and for a long time in my adolescence I wanted to hurt them back.
I lived in painful stories and in visions of what could have been if I hadn’t been wronged. I blamed someone else for the life I didn’t have, and felt vindicated in the soul-sucking resentment I carried around from day to day.
I realize it makes less …
“Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.” ~Unknown
One of the most difficult parts of reaching your goals or making positive change is pushing through discomfort.
This is where a lot of people give up—when the process inspires all kinds of challenging feelings.
If you’ve quit your day job to pursue your passion and after six months you need to sell your car to keep going, a cubicle may appeal to your need for security.
If you’d like to get your masters degree but received rejection letters for the fall, your ego might tell you not to …
“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival” ~Rumi
Not more than half an hour ago, I was, in a very typical fashion, struggling and getting frustrated trying to gather my thoughts for this post. I could even feel the tension in my shoulders clawing its way up to my neck (over a blog?).
Even as I took a shower, I was scrubbing the shampoo into my hair so hard because I was in a rush and had so many other thoughts whizzing round in my head! I was well and truly unconscious, going through the …
“Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong–sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown
Today I’ve been thinking about fences, I guess as a metaphor for boundaries in life. There are many different kinds of fences, but that they all have the same purpose: creating a boundary.
Whether it’s a sweet white picket fence with roses or the electrified chain fencing at a federal prison, what it signifies is a line drawn in the sand. This is either a starting place or a stopping point, depending on your point of view.
Creating boundaries has always been a challenge for me. Until …