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How to Let Go and Embrace an Uncertain Future

“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

Stop Doing

“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 …

On Getting Started When You Don’t Feel Ready

“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 …

5 Pieces of Advice That Aren’t Cliches

“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

5 Ways to Let Go of Resistance

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently I was on a phone call with Brad Yates. Although I know this to be true, when he said it, it made me reflect again. He said (and I’m paraphrasing):

“To the extent that we are not living our lives exactly as we want—with the love and friendships we want, the abundance we want, and the happiness we are seeking—it’s to that extent we are resisting it.”

It’s that word again: resistance. What does it mean? What do we do

10 Tips to Balance Self-Interest & Sacrifice for a Wonderful Life

“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 …

Lessons on the Trapeze: the Art of Making Things Happen

“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 …

5 Ways to Make a Big Difference in Someone’s Day

“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 …

50 Ways to Show You Care Without Spending a Dime

“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 …

Blessings in Disguise

“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,

Start Late

“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

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Giving Up on Your Dream

“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.

Before …

Un-side for a While

“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 …

50+ Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues

“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

Connect Without Complaining

“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 …

Connecting with Friends: Faster Isn’t Always Better

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another and ourselves.” ~Jack Kornfield

In today’s virtual world, considering regular mail can feel rather absurd. Why would you send a postcard when you can instantly send an email or an e-card conveying your thoughts and good wishes, right?

But what happened to the charms of opening your mailbox and wondering what lies within? Hasn’t the walk back from the postbox become rather boring with only bills and flyers to expect?

Though the digital age has done a marvelous job at getting the

No Price Tag for Happiness

“Give yourself permission to immediately walk away from anything that gives you bad vibes.  There is no need to explain or make sense of it.  Just trust what you feel.” ~Unknown

Last year I graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Business Writing.

During my college career I created public relations material for both my Business Writing minor and the public relations firm where I interned. As I thoroughly enjoyed my minor and the internship, I decided to apply to more PR positions.

About a month into the job search, I was …

15 Ways to Change the World

“When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad and that is my religion.” ~Abraham Lincoln

It’s no secret that we live in a world that’s obsessed with wealth, fame, and celebrities. Some call it the “age of narcissism.” I’m not sure I want to label or judge our current circumstances. Instead, like Gandhi suggests, I’ll put my focus on being the change I wish to see in the world.

I’m planning to mix things up a bit for 2010, and I invite you to do the same. Instead of creating New Year’s Resolutions that …

Choose to Lose

“Being right is highly overrated. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” ~Unknown

We all know someone who always needs to be right.

She turns everything into an argument worthy of a courtroom, complete with counter arguments and below-the-belt accusations. She finds holes in everything you say, even if you were actually agreeing with her. And in the end she needs the last word, even if means belittling you or ignoring your feelings.

Not everyone acts this righteous all the time, but we’ve likely all tried to win in an argument at least once before.

Maybe it’s the

5 Rules for Life

When I first sat down to write this piece for 5 Rules for Life, I wrote “Live without rules” five times, each followed by a reason to keep your approach to life flexible.

The way you live is largely a reflection of where you’ve been, who you’ve been, and the beliefs you’ve formed. Who am I to create a cookie-cutter hard-and-fast code that makes sense for everyone?

That’s when I realized I’d need to make a sixth rule to introduce these ideas: judge my words, and anyone else’s, against your own reason and moral code.

Buddha said, “Believe …