“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~Karen Kaiser Clark
Life can be a persistent teacher.
When we fail to learn life’s lessons the first time around, life has a way of repeating them to foster understanding.
Over the last few years, my life was shaken up by dramatic circumstances. I resisted the impermanence of these events in my life and struggled with embracing change. When I resisted the lessons that change brought, a roller coaster of changes continued to materialize.
When I was seventeen years old, my immigrant parents’ small import-export business failed. From a comfortable life in …
“Freedom is instantaneous the moment we accept things as they are.” ~Karen Maezen Miller
Seemingly for months now, upon learning anything new, my seven-year-old daughter has asked me, “Is it good or bad?”
Not brushing at night—good or bad? One hundred degree temperatures—good or bad? Water leak in the furnace—good or bad?
Some things are more obvious than others, but it’s the stuff in the middle that requires a more subtle explanation, especially as I go through life with the stress and anxiety of trying to both deal with uncertainty and figure out life in the “new normal” called chaos.…
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” ~Elbert Hubbard
A while back, I was invited to attend the Asian Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd Annual Awards Gala. Focused on “The Spirit of Entrepreneurship,” the Asian Chamber of Commerce celebrated individuals who exemplified great leadership skills in the Houston community.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Lynda Chin, surprised me by talking about failure. A scientist, Dr. Chin is the first to admit medical mistakes. She talked about cancer-related pharmaceuticals having a 95 percent failure rate, because the medication needs to be tailor-made …
“You save yourself or remain unsaved.” ~Alice Sebold, Lucky
Last year was a year of great changes for me. I ended a three-and-a-half-year long toxic relationship, I started a new relationship (which fell apart six months later), I applied for a semester abroad, and started a full-time job while studying full-time, as well.
Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to survive this busy time, but I did, and in January 2012 I left for Stockholm.
It was the best six months of my life.
I met amazing people from all over the world and I found true friends among …
“Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.” ~Sri Chinmoy
A few years back, the husband of an acquaintance spoke curtly—dare I sound judgmental and say rudely—to his mother-in-law in front of me, his wife, his daughter, and a few others.
Each time I thought about what he said, a wave of judgmental thoughts came into my mind: How could he speak to her like that? How could he be so disrespectful? And, what a poor example he was setting for his daughter…
These negative thoughts stayed with me for …
“Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; give it to what you do or fail to do” ~Dhammapada
During the past couple of months I have been the recipient of some not so favorable reviews from a couple of music blogs regarding an album I recently released. In fact, two reviews in particular were not just critical but completely scathing.
Both reviews completely devoured me. I received the most recent one right before going to bed, and allowed it to completely disrupt my sleep. I woke up numerous times playing the words over and …
“Good enough is the new perfect.” ~Becky Beauprie Gillespie
I stand accused of being a perfectionist.
My plea? Not guilty, of course! “I’m not perfect enough to be a perfectionist!” I counter.
But the evidence is stacked against me. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Exhibit A:
My first year at University, our mid-term examination in literature. There was major building work going on outside, and concentration was nigh on impossible. As a result, our tutor added 10 percent on to everyone’s scores to make up for the disruption.
What did I get? 110 percent.
And what was …
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” ~Norman Cousins
Of all the things that scare us, loss can seem like the most terrifying. At times, I’ve thought about it with such dread that it’s felt overwhelming.
Whenever I quit a job I hated in that past, I felt stuck between two loss-related fears: the fear of losing my passion by staying, and the fear of losing my financial security if I walked away and didn’t find something else.
Whenever I considered leaving a bad relationship, I felt paralyzed …
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lao Tzu
I was around twelve years old as I sat in the career day presentation. I can’t remember one word that was said. It might as well have been the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons speaking in that esoteric adult language.
It was the day I made my first practical life decision. In seventh grade, I boldly decided I would be a dentist—for absolutely no meaningful reason. I chose because society was insisting upon it.
I held onto this idea for a decade before …
“The grass is always greener where you water it.” ~Unknown
For a while there, I was a little peeved with the world. I’ve just recently snapped out of it, and I just want to sing and dance and share this message with everyone: Stop waiting!
Last year, after living through some profound experiences—travelling extensively, soul searching, attending incredible life-changing events, shedding massive masks, overcoming huge obstacles, and deciding to change the course of my life completely—I came back to my life, to my home, and sat back and thought to myself, “This is what life is about!”
I was on …
“What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher.” ~Chuck Palahniuk
Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons. When there is something you need to learn, something that you need to work on, the same situation will continue to repeat itself until you either learn your lesson or find a healthy way of dealing with that particular issue.
Think of the movie Groundhog Day. It was one of my favorites. Once Bill Murray realized that he was living the same day over and over again, he …
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” ~Lao Tzu
Two years ago my life as I knew it changed forever. No, I was not diagnosed with a disease, nor did I lose someone special or have a near-death experience. I actually gained some pretty amazing things: a new house, two dogs, living with my partner, and the chance to be a full-time stepmom to his two children.
But I did not initially view this change in a truly positive light.
After the dissolution of a long-term relationship, I had spent several years …
“Be honest with yourself, and you will find the motivation to do what you advise others to do.” ~Vince Poscente
What if you could only tell—and more importantly, only believe—the truth? Not the half-truth, the white lies, or the other grey in between, but the pure, beautiful, and unadulterated truth.
If I had to pick one super power, it would be to know the liars from the truth-tellers. I would walk around in public places, eavesdrop on conversations, and know immediately if someone is lying or being honest.
I would go to social events and exercise my super power …
“All meaningful and lasting change starts on the inside and works its way out.” ~Anon
My life has been a journey of self-discovery—at times a very bumpy journey. I spent most of my life feeling angry with people and hurt because the way they treated me.
People would not always do what I expected of them, and this disappointed me. I used fear to get them to comply with my demands.
One day, my baby girl looked at me and said, “Dad, you don’t have to shout at me to make me love you.” My heart nearly exploded, and it …
“Our intention creates our reality.” ~Wayne Dyer
I got divorced a few years ago. It wasn’t pretty. We started out saying it would all happen amicably.
But we owned a business together. How much the business was worth at separation, we each contested. It dragged out. We finally got it done with after much pain and suffering.
And it just confirmed what I believed: Where money is involved, things get ugly.
I remember while I was living in Spain, it happened then too. I was living with a group of men and women who were working for social justice in …
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.” ~Buddhist saying
Moving to a new country as a kid can be traumatizing because of the challenges of fitting into a new culture and new social customs.
When I arrived in Northern California at the age of ten with my parents and younger two brothers, we were excited about being in America (home of Disneyland) but apprehensive about our how our classmates would react to us and how we would fit into the social environment of a school in a new country.
My earliest memories of …
“He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.” ~Proverb
As I start a new day, grateful that I am pain-free, healthy, and strong, I reflect on the true meaning of health and how I ended up in this wonderful place.
An outsider looking in might say I worked hard in the gym and spent thousands of dollars on treatments and services.
I would simply say that I believed and continue to believe—and that is all.
Four years ago, I was defeated by a diagnosis called Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. What this means is that abnormalities in …
“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” ~Pema Chodron
For the past three weeks, I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to move to Korea for a year. Some days I’ve completely made up my mind to take the trip. I get excited about teaching myself Korean and spend hours and hours online learning about the culture.
Other days, I’m an emotional wreck, terrified that I’m making the wrong decision.
What if I get homesick? What if I’m supposed to be doing something else? What if I don’t like kimchi? What if? What if? What …
Since Tiny Buddha launched in 2009, I’ve written hundreds of “Tiny Wisdom” blog posts. In the beginning, I kept these short and peripheral.
Over time, I started putting more of myself into them and giving them a lot more love and attention. Suddenly, these posts became far more popular than I ever thought they’d be.
They aren’t lengthy how-to posts with lists of action steps. They’re short reflections on the little things that make a huge difference in our daily lives. They’re reminders of what matters and how to embrace it, right now, instead of focusing on all the things …
“Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.” ~Walter Anderson
I recently ran across a chat site called “Why Grow Up?” Their tagline reads:
“Why Grow Up? Why be responsible? Why act mature?
Why play by rules? Why eat healthy? Why sleep early?
Why become a doctor? Why this? WHY ME? WHY WHY WHY?”
I laughed aloud when I read that remembering something I had said 18 years ago to my husband, Jake: “I just want to retire and garden.”
I was tired of …