Category “change & challenges”

When Things Are Hard: Quit Quitting and Show Up Fully

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” ~Eckhart Tolle

I have spent the bulk of my life committing to what’s “easy,” things I am naturally “good” at, and avoiding challenge.

In eighth grade, I tried out for the school musical and discovered that I am not actually a very good singer. I got a small part, but I quit to join the softball team. The thing is, I wasn’t very good at softball either. So I quit that too.

In high school I got straight A’s until …

How Feeling My Pain Made Me Feel More Alive

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” ~Kenji Miyazawa

I used to run from pain.

My father died suddenly when I was six. For years I stuffed it down, never letting anyone know my emotions, how I was feeling, and I ran from situations that could cause me to lose, to feel pain.

My heart would jump and feel fear every time I received bad news or a “bad” email from a boss. I only wanted to feel good things. I stayed out of relationships for fear of the eventual loss and bad feelings, …

Seeing Beyond the Negative: It’s Better Than You Think

“Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.” ~Shirley MacLaine

When I first started teaching, I was really ambitious. I took a line from the Pokemon theme song to heart, “I want to be the very best, like no one ever was!”

I had the dream, but the fortitude wasn’t quite there yet.

An early mistake I made was how I measured my success: class participation.

The concept isn’t bad in itself, but the problem was my idea of class participation. To me, it meant one, all eyes were focused to the front; two, students would be highly engaged …

How to Find the Motivation to Change Your Life When You Don’t Feel Capable or Worthy

“Eventually you will come to realize that love heals everything, and love is all there is.” ~Gary Zukav

Following a path of personal development isn’t easy. Oh, it’s rewarding and can be life changing, but it can also be confusing, challenging, and scary.

What if you take the wrong path? How do you know which piece of advice is right? Can you still get the results you desperately want, even if you go against some of the assumed wisdom?

One such piece of wisdom is that people should make changes in their lives and their behavior for themselves, not for …

The Gains in Our Losses: Growing Through the Pain

“In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost.”  ~ Anne Sophie Swetchine

I’ve always been a “cat guy.” This was long before my Buddhist friends told me stories of how cats are true earthly masters, here on earth to show us the way. Or, to demonstrate the meditative perfection of the feline purr. Or, how the life of a cat is seen in some traditions as reward for good karma.

When I lived in rural Nova Scotia, the house was blessed with two cats named Midge and Mooch—tabby mixes, who would come …

What Would Happen If You Did? (And Other Questions That Can Change Your Life)

“If it’s still in your mind, it is worth taking the risk.” ~ Paulo Coelho

I felt stuck. Why could I never achieve anything? Why could I never do anything tangible?

Everyone else seemed to have no problem. You see, my friends could both work hard and grow themselves at the same time.

Not me.

I felt stuck.

Every day when I came home after work I was just exhausted. I had no energy whatsoever to study my Chinese Mandarin (a long-term project of mine) or to go for a jog in the nearby forest. All my energy had been …

Anyone Can Change If They Take It One Step at a Time

“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~Alan Watts

I used to be an insecure girl obsessed with her weight, stepping on the scales about twenty times a day.

I used to be a bulimic teenager struggling with depression and a way too controlling father, whom I never told, “I love you, Dad.”

I used to be a lonely woman who always fell for the wrong men because she had not yet learned that she deserved better.

I used to be co-dependent, fighting for everyone but myself.

I used to …

The One Thing You Need to Know to Overcome Perfectionism

 “You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle but you are worthy of love and belonging.” ~Brene Brown

There’s nothing perfect about me, and I’m okay with that… now. This wasn’t the case for most of my life, though. In fact, I’ve been a perfectionist for almost thirty years. I’m not counting the first five years of my life when I was free to be as messy and magical as I wanted.

In third grade I asked my mom to buy me a stack of lined notebooks and colored pens. I spent hours neatly labeling each notebook by class, date, and …

Change Your Life by Turning Shame into Courage

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” ~Nelson Mandela

Shame. A word that conjures up all kinds of emotions while equally keeping you silent.

Some have even said that shame should be classified as a deadly disease because of how it deeply affects the soul.

Then, there are researchers like Brené Brown who study it.

It wasn’t until I started working with my first speaking coach that I realized it was actually shame that had kept me “hiding out” and playing small earlier in life.  

Which is typical of women who have …

13 Ways to Change When Life Changes Around You

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.” ~Johann Von Goethe

When my first love died suddenly, my life changed dramatically and permanently. Barely twenty-two at the time, I had no coping skills and no support system. I couldn’t anticipate how deep sorrow would render me completely devastated and heartbroken.

As a result, I engaged in extremely self-destructive behavior. I believed I was going “with the flow,” but in truth I did so many reckless things that I’m surprised I survived. I didn’t know how to deal with my anguish in any other way.

Because life was obviously

Why We Don’t Always Get What We Want

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~Dalai Lama

It’s probably happened to you. In all likelihood, it has happened multiple times in your life thus far.

You don’t understand why it happens. And when it does, it can throw you into the deepest valleys of despair.

Perhaps you cry out to a higher power to make things better. Maybe you just stare into the cosmos, wondering what the meaning of life is and why things get tough.

I’ve been there. Many times. For all sorts of reasons.

Breakups, career problems, dealing …

When Things Fall Apart: Breakdowns Can Create Breakthroughs

“Breakdowns can create breakthroughs. Things fall apart so things can fall together.” ~Unknown

“I’m sorry,” the email said, “but our phone call left me feeling uncomfortable, and we’ve decided to work with someone else.”

I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. Even though I saw it coming. Even though I’d brought it on myself.

It was February 2010, and I didn’t have the money to pay my mortgage. My savings were gone, burned through in a misguided attempt to breathe life back into my ailing business by “throwing money at the problem.”

As a ketubah artist—a maker of …

5 Ways to Thrive When Life Feels Chaotic and Uncertain

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” ~Deepak Chopra

A personal tempest blew through the doors and windows of my life, and I am forever changed. Think major upheaval in every area of your life. Conjure Dorothy Gale, Robinson Crusoe, Job, yeah them.

In the process, I’ve learned that the disorienting storms of life are not just about survival but of learning to thrive. It is not in spite of daunting circumstances that we grow but because of them.

For three years, painful and unexpected events descended all at once. My long-term marriage, often filled with anger, hurt, mistrust, …

5 Steps to Overcome Fear and Meet Your Goals

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” ~Nelson Mandela

The world can be a scary place.

As we go through our daily lives, we face many challenges, and often these challenges can bring about fear. We may fear the loss of something, or perhaps the lack of fulfillment. We may experience fear when going on a job interview or a first date.

The greatest challenge with fear is that it can hold us back from achieving our goals, but it doesn’t have to.

Over the past six months I have let one

5 Steps to Learn from Anger

“Don’t wait for your feelings to change to take the action. Take the action and your feelings will change.” ~Barbara Baron

How do you feel about anger? Growing up, I always felt that anger was “bad.” In school and at home I learned that anger made people do “bad” things, and anger was a source of “evil” in the world.

I didn’t want any part of that! So, when things happened that made me angry (for example, getting bullied at school), I’d ignore the feelings of anger until they “went away.” I’d go home and cry, feeling these emotions …

Your Loving Presence Is Enough: Helping Someone Who’s Hurting

“Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.” ~Robert Gary Lee

As the only child of a single parent, my family of two was small and our relationship could be intense.

My southern belle mom, with her stories and easy laugh, her quick wit, and her love of all things literary was the mom who all my high school friends adored and loved—the one who my teenage friends could talk to when they were too angry or irritated with their own mother.

I loved her too, but I also worried about her. A lot. Because I knew a secret about her

The Power of Poise: How to Stop Losing Your Cool

“Poise is an unseen power, and this unseen power is always ready to come to the aid of the outer action.” ~Sri Chinmoy

Poise is the seeker’s goal because poise is our highest state of consciousness. Poised, we are in a state of balance, composure, and equanimity, all of our powers at our disposal.

When I am able to achieve poise, I am present, connected, grateful, creative, and light-hearted. Poised, my love flows.

Like most of us, I have been poised much of the time, especially when life was easy, absent any major challenge. But I have also lost …

Dealing with Dark Days: Help for When You Don’t Feel Your Best

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” ~Theodore I. Rubin

I live in a rainy city. For most of the winter it’s endless grey, weeks in which you’re lucky to get a glimpse of the sun at all.

It might be drizzling, it might be pouring, or it might be merely fog. It is certainly wet.

For me and a lot of the people who live here, it’s almost a deal breaker. When I first arrived, I spent a lot of time complaining that it was …

5 Tips to Stop Making Comparisons and Feeling Bad About Yourself

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ~Steve Furtick

I remember one day when I was around six years old, my older brother came home from school with one of those star-shaped highlighters that had a different color on each point. I laid my eyes on it and in that moment I wanted nothing more than I wanted that highlighter.

It didn’t matter that as a six year old, I had less use for it than paper shoes in rainy weather; I just simply had to have it.

Being the …

3 Lessons to Help You Find Peace When Fighting a Hard Battle

“He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.” ~Proverb

August 3, 2001. I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was around six o’clock in the evening when she sat us down. Luther Vandross was singing in the background on the radio: “And it’s so amazing and amazing, I can stay forever and forever. Here in love and no, leave you never.”

Quite ironic when you think about the news I would soon receive.

I had just finished summer school and my sister had just returned from an internship on the East Coast. My …