“Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.” ~Aristotle
I’ve been mostly introverted for a majority of my life, often running away from issues that could cause a damaging conversation between me and another person.
Experience has taught me that when I get upset, I don’t naturally handle my hardship with grace.
I worked as a restaurant manager for some years, and it was just too easy to react to the frustration I felt when an employee disregarded my request that they stock the bathroom with paper towels or wash the front windows.
I would either explode or I would …
“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 …
“Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.” ~Unknown
I’m a woman in midlife who thought she was set after a long successful career and the promise of financial security. I supported my own way through most of my life, fending for myself and then my two children, even during a 15-year marriage that ended badly and another that never really began.
For a number of reasons my plans for an early and secure retirement ended a few years ago. The long story is for another time; the short story is health, burnout, spiritual …
“Pleasure can be supported by an illusion, but happiness rests upon truth.” ~Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort
In today’s world, we are bombarded day by day and moment by moment with images and messages of who we should be, what we should be doing, and exactly how we should be doing it.
The promises of happiness and fulfillment in those mirages of ultimate perfection are all too often shallow and elusive, constantly evading us and leading us time and time again to nothing more than dead ends and empty hopes.
With a natural craving for transcendence and supremacy, we grab our …
“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 …
“You must love in such a way that the other person feels free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Conventional notions of what it means to love are populated with expectations for reciprocity, which often gets us into trouble. I know this personally, because whenever I have “freely” given my love and it has not been rewarded with reciprocity, I have often come face to face with my resentment.
This has been especially true of my intimate relationships. I want the people who fall into this category, in particular, to reciprocate my love. I expect them to. But, as Thich Nhat Hanh points …
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest good intention.” ~Oscar Wilde
Three times in the last two months I have nearly been run over by a fellow shopper’s grocery cart. Each time the customer rushing closely behind me had to suddenly swerve and push past, clearly annoyed with the obstacle, which was me.
As unpleasant as this was, I can relate to that shopper’s sense of urgency. Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite tasks. I focus on my list, sometimes while talking on the phone, and get done as quickly as possible.
There has …
“When you are not honoring the present moment by allowing it to be, you are creating drama.” – Eckhart Tolle
One day several years ago, I was fraught with anxiety over with how to handle an uncomfortable personnel situation at work. I had an employee that was borderline explosive and insubordinate. I was a wreck over how to best handle the situation because before I was this employee’s manager, I was her friend.
I found myself wanting to fix the problem by delving deeper into her drama, wanting to know why she felt a certain way, what I had …
“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” ~Havelock Ellis
I would have done anything for my friends, until one of them nearly broke my heart and spirit. He was my best friend. We felt like platonic soul mates.
We had a standing lunch date every week, called each other terms of endearment, cried together, laughed together—the standard best friend things.
Then, tragedy struck him. Over and over.
His long-time partner left him. Then he lost his executive-level job. Next, he had a string of major medical issues that put him in …
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” ~Virginia Woolf
If you’ve ever listened to someone’s description or opinion of you and it sounded completely alien, you probably found yourself wondering where on earth they were coming from.
We are told that on a universal, spiritual level, the way you perceive someone is more than just an opinion; it’s actually a reflection of you being projected onto that person.
So if someone tells you that you’re beautiful, kind, or have a good heart, they can only do so because those qualities are …
“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” ~African Proverb
A young woman in my town died recently. The cause was a drug overdose, although the precise circumstances of her death were unclear. She was a recovering addict, and the rumor was that she had relapsed. There was even some conjecture that her death might have been deliberate.
In the end, no one was sure of anything except that she had died.
The town in general and my family in particular were sent reeling. This girl was young, pretty, sweet—a talented artist who was loved by …
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another-and ourselves.” ~Jack Kornfield
After planning the next three months of my life in my head, trying to focus on my breath and recounting the plans for tomorrow, I decided my battle with insomnia was going to win. I got up, careful not to wake my husband, and decided to start reading.
Nestling into the lines of my latest library book well after midnight, my phone began to beep.
Even in the most quiet of the night, are we ever really alone?
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” ~Elbert Hubbard
Tonight I am troubled because I have graduated college, and as I am looking back, I am hyperaware of my losses.
In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to make many friends and lose many friends, largely because of my inability to understand and articulate my bipolar disorder to others. I am ashamed at times because of the mood swings that others seem to dismiss as problems that are “all in my head.”
I have lost countless friends, …
“Celebrate endings, for they precede new beginnings.” ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
One day when I was a kid, my best friend and I decided that we were going to bury a time capsule in the backyard. We gathered an old shoebox, some glitter and paint, and then spent the whole afternoon decorating this box that was the symbol of our best friend status for life.
We filled it with some of our favorite items and pictures and then wandered around the yard in order to scope out the perfect location to bury our sacred box. We dug what we thought was …
“Change is inevitable. Growth is intentional.” ~Glenda Cloud
I got married three years ago right out of college. We had been together since freshman year, and lived together for two years. Still, we didn’t fully understand what was coming our way.
I remember my parents telling me, “You know, marriage is a lot of work. It requires effort.” I fervently assured them that I understood, because I thought I did. But understanding something conceptually and experiencing that thing are two different animals.
Our first year of marriage was fine. To be honest, I don’t remember too much about it. It …
“Love takes off the mask that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” ~James Arthur Baldwin
I sat silent on one end of the phone. I could hear my own breath and heart pounding in my ears. I was sitting on the precipice of greatness, and all I had to do was express what I was feeling. Sounds relatively straightforward, so why did I feel so anxious?
To say that I have worked hard at rediscovering my authentic self would be an understatement. I have been on this quest in one form or fashion since …
“Wherever you go, there you are.” ~Confucius
The sweat of my palms saturated our boarding tickets. Even as I stepped onto the plane, I still could not entirely believe we were doing it.
My husband and I finished our master’s degrees and instead of immediately securing jobs, buying a house, and starting a family, we decided to travel.
We thought escaping our lives was living on the wild side—rediscovering ourselves. Well, at least that’s what I thought.
I lived in Spain during my undergraduate degree ten yeas ago and had ceaselessly fixated on the idea about returning ever …
“The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others” ~Sonya Friedman
Love is a funny thing. According to modern day psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists alike, the consensus is that it is just as easy to become addicted to falling in love as it is to get hooked on street drugs. But I think maybe my favorite drug is love. I guess they’d call it my drug of choice.
The irony in that statement is beyond comprehension. Any one of us who has fallen in love, or struggled with addiction on some level, knows damn well that choice seems to …
“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~Alan Watts
After a few years of living through the betrayal and anger of my divorce, my friends decided it was time for me to start dating again.
They took me out to the bars, dressed me up, bought me drinks, and showed all the men how cute I was.
I didn’t feel cute. I felt like a fraud.
The bar scene was not for me. I felt like a piece of meat wrapped in cellophane on the shelf waiting for a man to …