“We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what’s wrong in our life, or we can focus on what’s right.” ~Marianne Williamson
I was down in the dumps the other day and was feeling sorry for myself.
For some reason everything was just off. You know when you have one of those days when nothing seems to go right? And you get easily irritated and extra sensitive with everything?
It all began the night before. I was expecting a call from a guy who I’ve been getting to know. He said he was going to call …
“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” ~Unknown
On the evening of my high school graduation it hit me—the familiar faces and places I’d grown so accustomed to over the last twelve years would soon be changing.
The anxiety of that reality had started to creep into my psyche weeks ago, when I was being fitted for my cap and gown. Standing there looking in the mirror, I remember thinking to myself, “How did I get here?”
Somehow I had gone from a seven-year-old schoolboy to an eighteen-year-old teenager, and I …
“The minute you think of giving up, think of the reason why you held on so long.” ~Unknown
I was a serial “giver upper” for so much of my youth.
I tried gymnastics when I was about six until I discovered the teacher smoked. I’m not sure why I had an aversion to smoking at the time, but I can remember frowning and stamping my foot a lot about it.
I tried tap and ballet until I realized that the teacher was some kind of Roald Dahl headmistress. She would thump around the classroom scaring the crap out of us, …
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I lay in bed staring into the darkness feeling physically ill with an acute sense of anxiety the like of which I hadn’t experienced in quite some time.
It felt like I had a soccer ball sized, black, …
“Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.” ~William Shakespeare
It’s hard for me to write about this. I suppose it stems from being a mutt of Italian and Irish ancestry, two cultures famous for intense pride and keeping personal things “in the family.”
I wonder if my parents ever loved each other.
By the time I was eight years old, it was clear they did not get along. I never witnessed them getting along, or even being affectionate toward one another. But I always felt …
“To be awake is to be alive.” ~Henry David Thoreau
I am back to reality and civilization after a ten-day silent meditation in nature.
No talking. No cell phones. No technology of any kind. It was so peaceful. Exactly what I needed.
Last year was one of the hardest years I’ve ever experienced. I lost everything, including myself.
I take full responsibility for my actions and decisions during that difficult time of my life. I chose to stay in a relationship fully knowing that it no longer served me. In fact, it had become toxic.
I didn’t leave sooner because …
“Losing all hope was freedom.” ~Edward Norton in Fight Club
We naturally think of hope as a positive thing, as we do freedom, but this quote says that losing hope brings freedom. It may seem contradictory, but losing hope has been my most unexpected lifesaver.
My Mental Breakdown
I struggled with severe anxiety four years ago. The onset was abrupt.
Until I was twenty-five, I was the healthiest person I knew. I never got sick, would play basketball six hours straight, and always felt great. That changed suddenly in 2011.
I woke up one morning with an itchy spot on …
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” ~Winston Churchill
The day started out beautifully. My friends Shaun, Tina, and I decided to take advantage of a sunny Saturday afternoon with a hike along Ontario’s Bruce Trail. We parked our cars at the trail access, laced up our boots, and headed out for a day of wandering through sun-dappled fields and forests.
A couple hours later, we agreed we had probably gone far enough and turned around to head back.
That’s when the weather changed. Fast. Ominous clouds rolled in, blotting out the blue skies we had been enjoying. The trees …
“Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days ahead.” ~Kris Carr
Around this time four years ago, my life was a mess.
Work-wise, I felt like I had hit a wall. The relationship I was in (or so I thought I was) was turning out to be a one-way street on which I was being taken for a long, long, painful ride.
Taking care of myself was something I did only when I remembered to, or during unpredictable moments of clarity or calm within the little emotional tornado I was spinning around and around in.
“Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” ~William Shakespeare
Like many women, I feared my own voice.
I feared what would happen if I acknowledged my feelings and I feared what would happen if I expressed them.
Above all, I feared that people would leave me if I ever communicated as my true self.
In my family and culture, feelings are things that are best when denied. I was taught they are a liability that, if embraced, would lead to fights, pain, and loneliness. I was encouraged to ignore, avoid, and push them down into …
“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.” ~Pema Chodron
I was nineteen weeks pregnant when my husband and I went for a routine ultrasound. We were to confirm that our child’s anatomy was as it should be, and we were to discover our child’s sex.
We were choosing names in the waiting room. We ran into the receptionist at the fertility clinic and exchanged hugs. We had graduated from the clinic. The tuition was expensive and the education detailed and grueling. But we were a …
“It’s okay to not be okay.” ~Unknown
I’ve been depressed before in my life; very depressed.
When I was at my worst (more than once), it felt as though I was locked in a dark cave with no visible way out. Every way I turned led me to another cold rock wall that stopped me from moving ahead.
And then the exhaustion… how can you make it out alive when you don’t even have the energy to find a way out? I would curl up in a ball in my little cave and sleep for hours, so as not …
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha
One day, I’d had enough.
I heated up my yoga studio, rolled out my mat, and prepared to change this voice that I am embarrassed to admit torments me every day.
I stood at the top of my mat, closed my eyes, and tuned into my inner voice.
“I am tired.”
“I should …
“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” ~Dorothy Thompson
Australia is full of biting, pecking, threatening animals.
Swarms of mosquitos puncture our skin every summer, flies are everywhere, we’ve got spiders bigger than my hand, our magpie birds swoop and peck at our heads during spring, and don’t get me started on the sharks and crocodiles and those mighty big bites.
I am most scared of the snakes. Australia has twenty of the top twenty-five most venomous species of snakes in the world. We have a hundred and forty species of land snakes and thirty-two …
“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy.” ~Proverb
Ever been in a bad money situation?
Life might have been cushy before, but all of a sudden you find yourself having to carefully watch your spending. You start worrying about how to make ends meet.
You’re unable to afford the luxuries you’ve grown accustomed to—the ones you used to take for granted, like a Starbucks coffee or a meal at a restaurant.
I found myself in such a situation not too long ago.
I used to have a well-paid corporate job that …
“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Would you describe yourself as emotional?
Do you feel like your mood can change instantly according to what happens in your day?
Then you may be a slave to your emotions.
Being an emotional person and leading with the heart can both be great qualities. Leaning into our feelings allows us to be more self-aware and helps connect us to others. But if we allow our emotions to dictate how we live our lives, …
“If you are what you should be you will set the whole world ablaze.” ~St. Catherine of Siena
My usual morning routine consists of arriving at work, making a cup of tea, reading a daily inspirational quote, and then getting started with the days’ assignments.
Every thirty minutes or so, my brain snaps away from the task at hand into a deep craving for advice. It’s the reason I read a daily quote and the reason I get my daily Tiny Buddha articles. It’s what I spend the majority of my free time exploring.
So, every thirty minutes or …
“If you get up one more time than you fall, you will make it through.” ~Chinese Proverb
My niece is three years old. I get to video chat with her daily. During our interactions, she loves to show me, with tremendous happiness and pride, her new toys, her new dresses, and the various sounds her scooter is capable of making.
One day, a few months ago, as she was enthusiastically getting her scooter near the screen, she tripped and fell, albeit with no serious consequences. What I learned from this event has been gratifying.
After she fell, she sat there …
“Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
There is an elderly lady—I’ll call her Ms. A—living in my mum’s village. She regularly shouts at people as they pass by her house walking their dogs.
She can be quite intimidating really. She even followed my mother up the road on one occasion, much to Mum’s alarm. My mum, unlike me, now avoids walking past her house, even though it’s a good route for her to take when walking her dog.