“More powerful than the will to win is the courage to begin.” ~Unknown
I’ve spoken with a number of people recently who are doing something that is “just okay” with their lives but who really want to be doing something else. They feel an urgency to break free and go for it, even though they haven’t defined “it.”
I think a lot of people, if not currently there, understand this. It’s in our nature to move toward greater expression. When we’re not moving in a forward direction, we question ourselves, wondering what we’re doing with our lives—and what we’re waiting …
“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for a minute?” ~Henry David Thoreau
You’re riding on the subway, immersed in a book. You’re running in the park, lost in your iPod. You’re waiting in line at Starbucks, fixated on the menu.
Sometimes we act like we’re completely alone, even when surrounded by lots of people. It’s like we’re following an unspoken rule that suggests we shouldn’t look at each other, at least not for too long.
It happens all the time…
You suddenly make eye contact with someone you don’t know and …
“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” ~Kimberly Howard
As a kid I was quite often “långsur.” Långsur is a Swedish expression for being grumpy for a long time. Every time someone was mean to me, I sulked for hours, even days. This became quite tedious at times, especially since as soon as I became happy again, some new event triggered me to sulk again.
You get the picture.
I simply had such a hard time forgiving people.
It went the other way too. I found it hard to admit that something was my fault. At least out loud. Inside, …
“Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.” ~Unknown
I fell apart a couple of years ago, unable to cope with the strain I was under—a change in my lifestyle, loss of job security, a less-than-perfect relationship with a parent, bereavement, a painful physical injury, and slowly, through all of that, the blossoming of serious mental illness.
All the while, right up until this month in fact, I’ve been thinking and wishing: “I want all of this to go away, to have never been.”
I shut myself away—terrified of people’s …
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” -Charles Swindoll
One day everything seems great in your world—maybe not perfect, but overall things are going to plan. And then something happens.
You lose your job, or someone you love, or your home, or maybe even your health.
It isn’t fair. You don’t deserve it. You didn’t see it coming. You didn’t plan for it. You have so many feelings and frustrations you don’t know what to do first, or if you want to do anything at all.
It would be easier to sit around …
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos
I used to love uncertainty. I wandered my way all around this country with little more than a suitcase and a journal. Committing to anything felt limiting, suffocating even.
One day I realized it wasn’t enlightenment that pushed me to embrace the unknown; it was a paralyzing fear of creating something certain. You can’t disappoint people when you don’t form relationships with them, and you can’t fail when you never start.
One day I decided to do the scariest …
“The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” ~Robert M. Persig
We live in a fast-paced, achievement-oriented society. At the end of a busy, to-do-list-focused day, we often find ourselves mentally and physically exhausted and uncertain whether we’re actually moving in the right direction in “the pursuit of happiness.”
Perhaps this explains our fascination with all things Zen. It’s become a buzzword in pop culture, branding products that have little to do with peace and enlightenment—and oftentimes, represent ideas that are diametrically opposed.
Zen Dharma Teacher Rev. Lynn “Jnana” Sipe takes an …
“Don’t wait for your feelings to change to take the action. Take the action and your feelings will change.” ~Barbara Baron
A few months ago I challenged myself with Adventure Boot Camp. I thought, “What would be more challenging than waking up at five in the morning and working out with a group of ladies for an hour, four days a week?”
And I have to say, it was tough! I couldn’t walk for three days.
But as the days progressed and my muscles acclimated, it occurred to me: I’m someone who can roll out of bed at five in …
“It is easy when we are in prosperity to give advice to the afflicted.” ~Aeschylus
Earlier this year I got some feedback from the ‘tween magazine I wrote for: “It sounds like good advice, but kids probably won’t do any of that.”
In my head it all sounded logical but I didn’t consider whether I’d have taken that advice as a kid. Or now, for that matter.
People do it all the time: look at a situation from a removed, non-emotional place and hurl suggestions that are far easier said than done. And sometimes, just plain unrealistic.
I’ve listed five …
“It’s really important to be able to receive love and receive compassion. It is as important as being able to give it.” ~Pema Chodron
Yesterday morning two of the correspondents on the news in Boston (where I’m home for the holidays) had an interesting conversation about the classic It’s a Wonderful Life.
One of them said he’s not a big fan of the movie, which instilled a sense of complete outrage in me.
How dare he take George Bailey’s name in vain! It’s such an inspirational film! From saving Harry’s life to finding Zuzu’s petals, every scene gets my …
“Never ignore a gut feeling. But never believe it’s enough.” ~Robert Heller
A couple months ago, when I was almost done producing a teleseminar and spending way too much time hunched over at the computer, I decided to do something different. Something that would bring me joy, that would get take me out of my normal environment and actually excite me.
So, I did what had been on my list to do for a long time: I went flying.
I didn’t know what to expect making the forty-five minute trek out to the Sonoma County hills to fly on a …
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~William James
There’s this saying I used to love that doesn’t resonate with me anymore:
“Go big or go home.”
I understand the allure of doing big things.
Life seems more meaningful when you’re pursuing a passion that could feasibly improve life for masses of people; and at the end of the day, most of us want to create a legacy—something that lives on beyond our own ripple-in-the-ocean life spans.
I’m not arguing the benefits of going big if that’s what you want to do, especially since I have …
“Friendship isn’t a big thing. It’s a million little things.” ~Unknown
This hasn’t been an extravagant holiday season for me. Like everyone and their mother, I lost a lot of income last year and I just don’t have the means to give expensive presents.
Yet I feel I’ve received a lot of gifts this year. Most notably, I’ve realized how many of the people in my life mean more to me than any of the things I’m trying to accomplish.
The friends and family members whose love and support far eclipse the achievement of any goals I set. The people …
“An obstacle may be either a stepping stone or a stumbling block.” ~Unknown
The first twenty some years of my life were rooted in intense emotional pain. My childhood was filled with one painful event after another.
I grew up in a neighborhood where I was the first ethnic kid, and to make matters even more complicated, I had a birth defect that made my head look like it was on crooked. This only brought more ridicule and torment from fellow classmates.
When I was nine, my birth defect was corrected and for the first time in my young life, …
“It is never too late. Even if you are going to die tomorrow, keep yourself straight and clear and be a happy human being today.” ~Lama Yeshe
There’s a common misconception that there comes a point when it’s too late to do things you want to do. Maybe one of these statements sounds familiar to you:
“I can’t become a designer. I’m far too old to change my career path.”
“I’ll never get married. It’s too late in the game for that.”
“I couldn’t possibly start yoga. That’s for people much younger than me.”
We choose arbitrary windows of time …
“Commitment in the face of conflict produces character.” ~Unknown
We all face obstacles in pursuing our goals, whether they’re professional or personal.
We think we’re on the right track but realize we’ve chosen the wrong approach. We’re enthusiastic and hard-working, but our support system disintegrates when we need them the most. We’re just about to make significant progress when we run out of time or funding.
Tenacious as we may be, we all have our breaking points—that moment when the potential rewards stop justifying the effort. Usually, that’s the hump that separates your best shot and your best reality.
“When you live on a round planet, there’s no choosing sides.” ~Wayne Dyer
Research shows that rooting for a team, identifying with a group and enjoying the camaraderie you feel with other fans, can increase your sense of personal happiness.
While it’s satisfying to feel a sense of belonging, it can be dangerous to carry this us-against-them philosophy into other areas of your life. We do it all the time.
A man connects so deeply to his heritage that he puts up walls with people from different backgrounds.
Or a woman believes something with so much conviction that people who …
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama
It’s a well-known fact that the holidays bring on the blues. According to the National Mental Health Association, reasons for feeling blue around the holidays range from fatigue to financial limitations to tensions in personal relationships.
As for me, I’m generally a happy person. I don’t dwell on things I can’t control, I have realistic expectations, I’ve learned overtime that trying to change people is futile, and I’ve even come to appreciate some of my flaws.
But sometimes, melancholy finds me. Like a thick fog …
“Instead of complaining the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.”~Proverb
Complaining can be a bonding experience.
You meet up with your friends after work and immediately start rehashing frustrations with your boss. You have dinner with your siblings and commiserate about confrontations with your black-sheep uncle. Or you release tension on a blind date by noticing the wait staff’s shortcomings.
Commiserating is a great way to immediately establish rapport. In that moment you feel connected—you both have grievances, problems, and wishes for a better world.
It’s even easier to do in a challenging …