“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” ~Aeschylus
My twenty-sixth birthday was approaching, and I asked myself one question: “Do I want this year to look like the last one?”
The answer was an immediate and very solid no. I frantically began to analyze what I was doing with my life to get this reaction. I was unhappy for most of twenty-five, romantically, professionally, and socially.
I had been with my live-in boyfriend for about a year and a half, and there seemed to be a growing disconnect. Despite the lies, resulting in jealousy and insecurity, I stayed …
Update: The winners for this giveaway are:
If you’re a fan of uplifting, action-oriented blog posts, you may have stumbled upon Positively Present at some point in time.
I “met” the site’s founder, Dani DiPirro, around the time I started Tiny Buddha. Over time, I grew to admire her dedication, both to personal development and her blog.
Since 2009, she’s shared countless helpful, inspiring posts, empowering readers to live mindfully and positively in the face of life’s inevitable challenges.
Now she’s preparing to launch a new book, The Positively Present Guide to Life, which offers …
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama
We all have these personal voices.
There’s one voice that says you can achieve whatever you desire.
Then there’s this pesky little voice offering reasons why you can’t do what you want, and it’s often repetitive, resilient, and persistent.
How many times have you made a commitment only to have this voice chime in with one of these common excuses?
- I just don’t have enough time.
- I don’t feel comfortable.
- This won’t get me anywhere in life.
These excuses stem from one question: “What if?…
“Awaken; return to yourself” ~Marcus Aurelius
Darkness. Resentment. Detachment. Extreme discomfort.
Those are the words I would use to describe my internal experience during my adolescent years up to young adulthood.
Depression was something I was all too familiar with. Fear was running my life and I was exhausted. I now understand that a lot of it had to do with the dysfunctional family I grew up in and the pain that ensued.
Determined to break this unhealthy way of being, I’ve been on a road of healing and self-growth over the past few years.
However, my transition into a …
“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” ~Dale Carnegie
There was a time when I didn’t think I could ever be happy.
I felt alone. I felt confused. And I felt overwhelmed.
Luckily, that all began to change when I started looking inside. I discovered how I was the cause of my unhappiness.
And I discovered what stood between me and enjoying life.
Here are ten of the things I discovered:
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~Charlie Chaplin
Many people have told me throughout my life that I sound just like my mother when I laugh. I lost her to cancer when I was sixteen, over twenty years ago. I learned from her to laugh and laugh often, even through the toughest of times. “Happiness is a choice,” she always said.
Life has thrown a few curveballs my way over the past five years and tried to test my ability to choose happiness and laughter. My husband, Eric, and I had just started talking about having children when …
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it’s something you design for the present.” ~Jim Rohn
A few weeks ago I found myself having a bad day. The frustrating thing was that on the outside everything was okay, nothing had explicitly gone wrong, but inside everything was a mess. It was one of those days where you’re in a constant battle with yourself.
At the beginning of the year I saved up enough to be able to quit my job and focus on building my own online/writing career. But on this particular day I felt nothing but …
“Maybe it’s not about the happy ending. Maybe it’s about the story.” ~Unknown
For the longest ever time, I had no idea what my own story was.
Desperately uncomfortable in my skin as a child, I was equal parts pathologically shy with strangers and fearless with my sisters and brother, running wild over the boulder-strewn southern California land during summers.
As a young girl, I was also, more than once, the target for predators and perps.
The nameless elementary school janitor who invited me into his dark and dirty closet one day. The terrifying neighbor who stopped me in a …
“There is no need to reach high for the stars. They are already within you. Just reach deep into yourself!” ~Unknown
Bucket lists. One hundred things to do before you die. Twenty-five-before-twenty-five. Thirty-before-thirty. New Year’s resolutions.
You name a goal-setting list, I’ve written it.
In fact, I can remember writing a list of yearly goals in my journal as young as nine years old. (I can even remember what some of them were, but that’s a secret between me and my younger self, bless her heart.)
Universal wisdom teaches that one of the keys to a beautiful life is to …
“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos—the trees, the clouds, everything.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
It’s embarrassing, isn’t it?
You don’t want to make a fuss about tiny health annoyances.
But you feel lethargic for no apparent reason. You get constipated, especially when you travel. You have difficulty sleeping. And your hormones are all over the place. You hold onto that niggly five or ten pounds like your life depends on it.
Sound familiar? I’ve been there too.
I was working at a dream job and living on the French Riveria. I was paid …
“I define depression as a comparison of your current reality to a fantasy about how you wish your life would be.” ~Dr. John Demartini
I always wanted to do things “right.” I was the little kid at the front of the room, raising her hand for every question. I was great at pushing myself to succeed and please.
My drive to be perfect was an asset through college and law school. I rocked high grades and landed a big firm job right out of school. But that same drive drove me right into a therapist’s office at twenty-five, where I …
Update: The winners for this giveaway have already been chosen:
Be inspired. Be strong. Be happy.
These words pop from the peaceful imagery on the back cover of Dodinsky’s In the Garden of Happiness, nicely summarizing the benefits of perusing this uplifting illustrated book.
If you’ve read his first book, In the Garden of Thoughts, you know what to expect from this bestselling author: whimsical imagery and powerful wisdom in a deceptively tiny package.
His work provides encouragement when you’re feeling hopeless or helpless; reassurance when you’re feeling insecure or insignificant; and comfort when you’re …
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
Balance has become an ever-elusive thing these days. The onslaught of technological breakthroughs, aimed at making life easier, has given way to a societal expectation that we are available around the clock.
This has bled into our careers, where our employers have ever increasing expectations that we can do more in less time. We have 168 hours in our week to sleep, work, rest, be with our loved ones, and pursue personal interests.
Unfortunately, the majority of people in the world today …
“In chaos, there is fertility.” ~Anaïs Nin
Are you a calm creature in your yoga class, then you get home and yell at your kids?
Do you ever read a really inspirational book or blog and think, “Yes! That makes total sense, and I’m going to start doing that!” Then life gets busy and it never quite happens?
Do you ever feel like you’re two different people living in the same body? Saying one thing, doing another?
For the past fifteen years I’ve been a self-development junkie.
I’ve read tons of books and I’ve attended courses and …
“The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” ~Pema Chodron
When I was twenty-seven, a wave of dread swept over my life.
As I looked to the future, all I could see was the beginning of the end. Pretty soon, it would all be downhill.
Why the doom and gloom? I was approaching thirty!
Like many young people in their teens and twenties, I regarded “The Big 3-0” as the end of the party.
I would become uncool (or perhaps more accurately, even less cool than I already was). I feared turning into my parents.…
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~Buddha
For the longest time I lived in the future.
I had a grand list of all the big things I wanted to do…
Build a multinational company, become a philanthropist, go on long vacations all over the world with my wife, have a big house with a lovely garden…the list goes on!
It’s great to be ambitious, I still believe that.
However, the more I made plans and worked toward my ambitions, the more I reinforced a concept within …
“Wherever you go, there you are.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
On June 24th I got in a cab at the corner of 72nd and Broadway headed to JFK, hauling two huge suitcases full of medications, bug spray, sunscreen, gluten-free foods, a bug tent (really), and cheap cotton clothing.
I checked in, made my way to the gate, and embarked on a twenty-four-hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Months of confusion and identity crisis brought me here.
Almost a full year ago, after returning from performing with a national tour that ended up being a lot less fun than …
“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” ~Unknown
From time to time during my schooling years I’d be asked to identify my role models. I always chose someone who’d changed the world in a big way—Martin Luther King Jnr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi.
I never looked within my own life for role models. I had lovely parents and great teachers, and still, I was always looking well beyond what was right in front of me. I was always striving for something more, out there, beyond my own …
“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
It was one of those weeks that felt like I was dragging my feet through mud. Everything seemed like an effort and nothing seemed to be flowing.
I was caught up in conflicts from the past—a miscommunication with my boyfriend, which resulted in hurt feelings on both sides, and a professional crisis that plunged me into fear and self-doubt.
In an attempt to calm my mind and become more present, I meditated and chanted mantras, but the tape of negative self-talk continued to play in my head. …
“We first make our habits, then our habits make us.” ~John Dryden
This may look good, sound good, and maybe even feel good at first, but it’s not serving you well in the end!
I’d hear this thought in my head over and over and still not believe it. But it had persisted ever since I started questioning the status quo in my life. And I don’t mean a loud, in-your-face, obnoxious line of questioning, but rather, a gentle curious whisper that asks: Well, why does it have to be this way, if I may ask?
Questioning the status quo …