“Have a little faith in your ability to handle whatever’s coming down the road. Believe that you have the strength and resourcefulness required to tackle whatever challenges come your way. And know that you always have the capacity to make the best of anything. Even if you didn’t want it or ask for it, even if it seems scary or hard or unfair, you can make something good of any loss or hardship. You can learn from it, grow from it, help others through it, and maybe even thrive because of it. The future is unknown, but you can know …
Category “change & challenges”
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” ~Shauna Niequist
Imagine if you had a tool that, with no effort or change on your part, could cast a glow around you, exposing hidden gems within your everyday life.
You do! It’s called gratitude.
It has the power to light your way through tough times. And it can multiply the good. Of the many tools I use daily, I love gratitude the most. It is so simple to implement and immediately effective. It’s a powerful way to change the world—through …
“Why don’t you get up and make the coffee, while I stay in my sleeping bag and plan our ascent route?” I half-heartedly ask my climbing partner Hank.
He just looks at me with that unassuming, “give-me-a-break Val Jon” look of his. It’s three o’clock in the morning, cold, dark, and damp, and neither of us wants to leave the comfort of our tent. But we’re committed to this climb, so we don our parkas and gloves and confront the bitter cold.
In silence, Hank and I gather up our gear and join the rest of our climb team assembled …
“Bent but never broken; down but never out.” ~Annetta Ribken
I lived for a long time thinking I was broken beyond repair.
Let me rephrase: I thought I was unloved, unworthy, scarred, and broken. What a package, right?
It started young, never feeling like I was good enough for anything I did. Being the youngest of the typical modern recomposed family in the eighties, I never knew on which foot to dance and always thought I needed to bend left and right to be seen and loved.
I carried this baggage under my badge of anxiety, feeling like …
“Be kind to past versions of yourself that didn’t know the things you know now.” ~Unknown
When I taught yoga classes in jails in Colorado and New Jersey, I would end class with the Metta Meditation:
May we all feel forgiveness.
May we all feel happiness.
May we all feel loved.
May all our sufferings be healed.
May we feel at peace.
The women, all clothed in light gray sweatpants, would be in a relaxed yoga posture, usually lying on their yoga mat with their legs up the wall. The fluorescent lights would be full blast, as they always are …
“It’s okay if you fall apart sometimes. Tacos fall apart, and we still love them.” ~Unknown
Do you often find yourself saying, “I just have to get through this week…” and then that turns into every week? I know I do.
Between work responsibilities, chores, and spending time with family and friends the calendar can start to fill up quickly. Unfortunately, there was a time in my life where I let those activities push self-care off my to-do list, leaving me constantly feeling exhausted and burned out.
Before this experience, I always thought burnout was predominantly mental, not necessarily physical. …
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ~Jon Kabat Zinn
In December of 2020, we noticed Mom’s speech seemed difficult. Like she had stuffed cotton balls in her mouth, and someone was restraining her jaw from moving. We asked her about it, she said it was nothing.
We hadn’t seen each other since we got together over the holidays. On New Year’s Day 2020, we clinked glasses filled with sparkling wine and shared bold predictions about how this was going to be our best year yet (spoiler alert, it wasn’t).
With every passing week and conversation, …
“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.” ~Robert Tew
Everyone has fears. It is not an emotion that is only for a chosen few. One’s fear may seem irrational to the outside world, but I guarantee to that person it is debilitating. So much so, that it shapes their perspective and how they see the world. My fear is of success.
I know what you’re thinking. “That doesn’t make sense at all. Who doesn’t want to be successful?” Well, let me explain what I mean.
You see, I am an …
“The master leads by weakening their ambition and toughening their resolve.” ~Tao Te Ching
How much of productivity advice is ableist? Sure, there are lots of good ideas and concepts in there, but most of it is healthy-body-focused.
“Be sure to exercise in the morning.”
“Get up early before anyone else.”
“Keep a consistent morning routine of meditation, journaling.”
“Set aside fixed times in the day to do deep work.”
“Get dressed and do your hair even if you work from home.”
“Set goals and stick to them.”
“Work harder than anyone else around you.”
I have built …
I’m sorry we ever met. Remind me where I made your acquaintance? Oh, yes—on my February trip to Death Valley, where I assumed long days of hiking had caused a rock bruise. Instead of healing, you got worse and jumped to the other foot, too.
Thanks for the reminder. It helps. Because I was there in the Valley to grieve my dead sweetheart, Tony, with rituals and tears and a personal funeral. I hate being forced to walk this earth without him. So I see you now for what you really are—grief and longing and fury that my …
“Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” ~Brené Brown
Sitting there watching The Greatest Showman, with tears pouring down my face, I asked myself why does this song, in fact this whole film, make me cry so much? Why does it evoke so much emotion in me?
“I am brave,
I am bruised,
I am who I’m meant to be.
This is ME.”
“Look out cos here I come,
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum,
I’m not scared to be seen,
I make no apologies.
This is ME.”
“It’s okay to let go of those who couldn’t love you. Those who didn’t know how to. Those who failed to even try. It’s okay to outgrow them, because that means you filled the empty space in you with self-love instead. You’re outgrowing them because you’re growing into you. And that’s more than okay, that’s something to celebrate.” ~Angelica Moone
Once upon a time, I met and fell in love with the man of my dreams. He was the most romantic, loving, amazing person I had ever met and for some reason, he wanted to be with me.
I was …
“Have a little faith in your ability to handle whatever’s coming down the road. Believe that you have the strength and resourcefulness required to tackle whatever challenges come your way. And know that you always have the capacity to make the best of anything. Even if you didn’t want it or ask for it, even if seems scary or hard or unfair, you can make something good of any loss or hardship. You can learn from it, grow from it, help others through it, and maybe even thrive because of it. The future is unknown, but you can know this …
“Beauty doesn’t come from physical perfection. It comes from the light in our eyes, the spark in our hearts, and the radiance we exude when we’re comfortable enough in our skin to focus less on how we look and more on how we love.” ~Lori Deschene
For as long as I can remember, my mom had long shiny silky black hair down to her knees. It was magical in the way that it attracted people and inspired curiosity and connection.
Everywhere we went, strangers approached her, usually timidly at first with a brief compliment, and then, after receiving her signature …
“I really believe in the philosophy that you create your own universe. I’m just trying to create a good one for myself.” ~Jim Carrey
If someone had told me years ago I’d one day be serving mushroom mafalda to a former VIP client, I’d have laughed in their face. Not an “I wouldn’t be caught dead doing this” type of cackle; more with an “I haven’t waited tables in twenty-five years, why would I start now?” kind of incredulity.
But it’s true. I’ve gone from defining myself as “Career Girl Sam”—toiling in an industry that was killing me—to a far …
“The way we treat our children directly impacts what they believe about themselves.” ~Ariadne Brill
Growing up, I always felt odd. I often wondered what was wrong with me. I compared myself to my friends and always thought they had a better life than me. They had both parents still together, went on family vacations. It was not that I was jealous or bitter, it was just that they seemed to be ‘normal’ and happy. Whatever that means.
I never remember my parents being together. My parents divorced when I was two. I lived with my mother and older …
“You are not too old and it is not too late.” ~Unknown
In less than a month, I’ll be hitting a major “milestone” birthday. I quit my full-time job six months ago, ending a twenty-plus year career in education, and have spent time thinking about what I want the next chapter of my life to look like. I found myself thinking back to a drawing exercise I did a few years ago that has made such an impact on my being willing to make major changes in my life.
Entering my mid-forties, I had come to a point where something …
“Sit with it. Sit with it. Sit with it. Sit with it. Even though you want to run. Even when it’s heavy and difficult. Even though you’re not quite sure of the way through. Healing happens by feeling.” ~Dr. Rebecca Ray
When my husband died from terminal brain cancer in 2014, I learned all about deep grief. The kind of grief that plunges you into a valley of pain so vast it takes years to claw your way out. In the beginning, I didn’t want to deal with grief because the pain was too intense. So, I dodged grief …