“Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~Anais Nin
Five months ago, my partner Mike and I were offered jobs as English teachers in a school in China. Excitedly, we moved everything we owned into storage, organized our passports and visas, said farewell to our loved ones, and left our home in Melbourne within a month, not to be home again for a year.
We had just started to settle in …
“Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
After writing my last post for Tiny Buddha, 5 Steps to Accept your Weaknesses, I had an intense few days involving an extremely spiritually and emotionally significant relationship that has recently ended, or at least ended in one form.
I found myself sobbing so uncontrollably in my kitchen that I was choking. Each day, there seemed to be another upwelling of grief. When I saw that my beloved ex-partner was potentially interested in someone else, that grief broke through with renewed intensity. These feelings are all normal and to …
“Don’t let today’s disappointment cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dream.” ~Unknown
Have you ever looked back on your life, exactly a year ago, and felt amazed by how much has changed?
Last year at this time, I’d only just started this site and I was competing in a blogging contest. Ignite Social Media, the marketing company behind the mood supplement SAM-e, had come up with a clever crowdsourcing campaign to generate awareness for the product.
In the beginning of the fall, they advertised a contest to win a dream blogging job. The winner would get a six-month contract to write …
“Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me.” ~Isabel Allende
In life, we experience two kinds of fear: real fear and psychological fear. Or, as I prefer to think of the latter, ego-fear.
In the words of Immanuel Kant, the ego is “our precious little self.” Or as Eckhart Tolle calls it, “the voice in the head.” It isn’t who you really are, but the you that you think you are.
Each day, what you see in the mirror is the reflection of your physical being, and within, you may get glimpses …
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” ~Pema Chodron
In my twenties I had dreams that I could fly. Literally. In my mind’s eye, I had a vision of myself dancing in the air. I thought if I were an animal, I would be a graceful eagle soaring through the skies.
Never mind I am just shy of six feet tall and aerodynamically inept. I had a dream and I was going to follow it. Hence, I called the local circus teacher to pursue the hobby of aerial acrobatics.…
“The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” -~Pema Chodron
These past few years, I’ve focused on education and passing the required exams to get into university. I had my mind set on where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I didn’t do well on my exams, so that didn’t quite pan out, but I’m happy.
I’m now studying for a bachelor’s degree in biology with the hope of later furthering it into research. I’m also located just around the corner from where I originally wanted to be. So all in …
“Growth begins when we begin to accept our weaknesses.” ~Jean Vanier
I went out with my mom this Sunday, a beautiful, sunny, fall day in San Francisco. As we sat on a bench looking out over the bay and ate our vegetarian spring rolls, she reminded me of an incident that happened when I was a teenager when she and I had traveled to the Grand Canyon.
In a nutshell, I had gotten irate over a family that was feeding the ground squirrels French fries right next to a sign that said “Don’t Feed the Squirrels.” I went up to …
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb
Two years ago, after hearing Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project, talk about setting up one’s own blog, I went home and did just that. It had been something I had thought of doing, one day, when I would get over my “fear” of technology and decide I can do this.
Her talk made it sound so easy that I sat down and went for it. And I did it; I set up my own …
“It isn’t what happens to us that causes us to suffer; it’s what we say to ourselves about what happens.” ~Pema Chodron
I remember when I first read the pathology report on my patient, Mr. Jackson (name changed), my stomach flip-flopped. “Adenocarncinoma of the pancreas,” it said.
A week later, a CT scan revealed the cancer had already spread to his liver. Two months after that, following six rounds of chemotherapy, around-the-clock morphine for pain, a deep vein thrombosis, and pneumococcal pneumonia, he was dead.
His wife called me to tell me he’d died at home. I told her how …
“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown
Have you ever experienced times when you go through just one bad thing after another? When it seems like the world is out to get you? When things go wrong no matter what you do?
You are not alone. Bad things happen to all of us too, including me. I experienced a small set back recently which I want to share with you.
Not too long ago, I was working on my upcoming eBook. It was my #1 priority project at that time and I …
“Life is a choice.” ~Unknown
I’ve recently realized that life is a never-ending stream of choices, even when you think you don’t have many options.
Some look insignificant on their own but somehow manage to contribute to a massive whole. Others can feel overwhelming, and you don’t always realize when you make them what the consequences will be—how they’ll shape your life story.
The biggest decision I’ve made in the past six months is to return to university and complete the MA Creative Writing course I began two years ago. It’s almost a choice I never made—a life I never …
“Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.” ~Unknown
My friend Kayla and I ran a student organization together at our graduate school. One day, we were sitting at the local café, talking about plans for the organization. Kayla had an idea for a major creative project she would drive and lead.
The idea was fabulous, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the idea of her doing this fabulous thing, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Over our coffees, I shared this concern and that. It wasn’t in line with …
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Up until my early twenties, I carried around a lot of anger toward someone in my life. I’d been hurt by a person I trusted, and for a long time in my adolescence I wanted to hurt them back.
I lived in painful stories and in visions of what could have been if I hadn’t been wronged. I blamed someone else for the life I didn’t have, and felt vindicated in the soul-sucking resentment I carried around from day to day.
I realize it makes less …
“Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong–sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown
Today I’ve been thinking about fences, I guess as a metaphor for boundaries in life. There are many different kinds of fences, but that they all have the same purpose: creating a boundary.
Whether it’s a sweet white picket fence with roses or the electrified chain fencing at a federal prison, what it signifies is a line drawn in the sand. This is either a starting place or a stopping point, depending on your point of view.
Creating boundaries has always been a challenge for me. Until …
“To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.” ~Unknown
There are certain events that can rock us to the core: starting a new job, moving across the country, ending a relationship. Within the past three months, I’ve experienced all three of these things.
For someone who is resistant to change, it can be difficult when everywhere I look there’s a new sight to take in, new people to meet, and even a new industry to learn.
Type-A to the bone, I’ve always wanted control over a situation.
When I was seven years old I …
“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” ~C.C. Scott
A blueberry muffin, that’s the last thing we spoke about before she went under.
I didn’t know it then, but it was to be the final conversation my (middle) daughter and I would have for a very long time. I was trying to distract Nava by talking about food; in this case, the promise of the rest of her muffin when she came back from the bronchoscopy.
We were thrown a steep curve ball out of left field when Nava went for an exploratory procedure and …
“The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” ~Unknown
This is a phrase that had become a central theme in my life. One night, during one of my all too frequent bouts of insomnia, I sat at my computer and decided to write about my discontent, my middle aged angst.
I have no idea where the words came from, but once I typed the first sentence it was like a river overflowing its banks. Turns out, this was the key, the cure for my crisis. Yes, I am forty-two and a walking cliché, …
“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” ~Mandy Hale
We all get stuck: paralyzed about a decision, unsure what choice to make. Stuck in resentment or disappointment we can’t quite recover from. Stuck in a plan that’s not working as anticipated. Stuck in a destructive, repetitive dynamic with family members, coworkers, or friends.
When we’re stuck, things feel immovable, entrenched, even hopeless. The good news is, they aren’t.
We human beings are actually extremely adept at getting unstuck, at seeing the same thing in new ways, discovering new …
“Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” ~Joan Kerr
A year ago I lost my best friend of forty-eight years to a pulmonary embolism. It came quickly and unannounced, and it took him instantly.
I found out about his death on Twitter. Because of the length and depth of our friendship I had never known life without him. As often happens when we lose someone dear, I didn’t know how I would move forward.
We’re taught that peace and happiness come from embracing and living fully in the moment, but I often wonder what should we …