“To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” ~William Londen
We often focus on nourishing our bodies, with fitness and nutritious food, and forget that to function at our optimal level and experience overall well-being, it is equally important to nourish our minds.
Years ago I wasn’t doing either, and eventually I got stuck, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Physically, I had low energy; mentally, I was not growing; and emotionally, I was bored, resentful, and lost passion for life.
Life became a monotonous routine. I got lost in …
“Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgment of the facts of a situation, then deciding what you’re going to do about it.” ~Kathleen Casey Thiesen
I think many of us get caught in a vicious cycle of thinking that leads us to believe we can only be happy if we gain acceptance from others. We think to ourselves, “The only way I can ever love myself is if others do.”
This leads us down a path of self-deprecation and hopelessness. We end up making decisions purely for the sake of gaining approval and acceptance, when really we should make decisions …
“When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I meet with a lot of people who say things like, “Oh, I’ve tried meditation before but I’m just not good at it.” When asked to explain, the most common answer is, “I just can’t make my mind get quiet.”
I’ve heard responses like this so often that I’ve come to realize that this is the single greatest misunderstanding about meditation. In truth, meditation is not about calming our mind or achieving a state free …
“Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.” ~Julius Charles Hare
In a few months it will be the two and a half year anniversary of my mental breakdown.
I don’t really celebrate the date, partially because I don’t know it—it’s not the sort of thing that you remember to mark on your calendar—and partially because my entire life since then has been a celebration of what I began to learn that night.
I began to learn about myself.
It’s been a wild ride of healing, helplessness, forgetting, and remembering. Many times, I …
“What you think of yourself is much more important than what people think of you.” ~Seneca
I used to labor under the gross illusion that confidence was elusive, like a Sasquatch.
Or fleeting, like a shooting star.
It’s there for a moment, then poof! Gone.
Did I dream it?
To deepen this illusion, I believed that only a select few were anointed with confidence by an unseen hand upon their birth (this same mysterious hand also granted natural athletic ability), leaving the rest of us to muddle through, solely reliant on glancing blows of confidence that would hopefully show up …
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
“Yeah…Uh huh…Uh huh…Yeah…No way! Uh huh.”
This was the response I got when talking to a friend the other day. I could tell he wasn’t really listening, because he was browsing Facebook at the time.
Why was his smartphone more important than me? It didn’t used to be this way.
I know I’m at risk of sounding out-of-touch and technophobic. But I really do think this is a much bigger problem than we perceive.
We’re talking about our lives here. …
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~Marcus Aurelius
I remember attending a lecture by the Tibetan monk Sogyam Rimpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, in which, smiling all the while, he confessed, “So many people, they say, ‘I’m not afraid of death.’I tell you, they’re lying! Death? Very scary. Me? I’m very scared of death.”
And I thought to myself, “Phew, if he’s scared, then it’s certainly okay that I’m scared too.”
For many years after that, …
“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.” ~Joan Borysenko
After years and years of living with anxiety, I can’t tell you exactly what I have been anxious about.
Is it a pervasive thought about how my life will end? Is it a constant worry about my financial security? Is it simply that I’m nervous to give a speech in front of people? Or a combination of all of them?
Even thinking about anxiety causes more anxiety. Ahhh!
Anxiety is also really hard to define. It’s so subjective.
I don’t think my anxiety will ever truly …
“Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go.” ~Mooji
I once thought that the goal of meditation was to reach a state of constant positivity, a natural euphoria in which a person simply does not get angry or depressed.
I think that a lot of people begin practicing meditation thinking that their teacher has reached this euphoric state of being. I have learned, though, that these negative feelings are never permanently banished from anyone’s mind.
As someone that has been struggling with anxiety and depression disorders since early childhood, I turned to meditation as a teenager as a …
“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at anytime and be yourself.” ~Hermann Hesse
As a child, I hated when someone told me to sit still and be quiet, and rightly so. I was young and full of energy; every minute of being still and silent was a minute of missing out on this magnificent life.
Then, as I grew older and entered into teenage and young adult years, it grew into a fear with a capital “F” of being still and silent; for as soon as I was quiet and still, the …
“All great achievements require time.” ~Maya Angelou
We all have a picture of what we want in our heads.
We get attached to a timeline for achieving it. We fantasize about the results and how it will bring us happiness.
We begin to work hard to attain it.
But when we don’t get it right away, we get frustrated. We want things to move as quickly as possible.
If we want a relationship, we want to find our perfect partner as soon as we can. If we’re building a career or a business, we want success in months. If we …
“Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha
On any given day you can find me perched on the edge of my chair, staring at a computer screen. My setup is most definitely ergonomically incorrect, and my posture would make any yoga teacher cringe.
I type and click my mouse and do my work. I occasionally look up and out my windows to a lucky view of ferns, palms, and a few unidentified trees rising up over a blue-green pool. A southern California sky caps the scene.
My brain buzzes with ideas, answers, …
“While I dance I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole. This is why I dance.” ~Hans Bos
I am not a dancer. I was kicked out jazz ballet, and I am so clumsy that I once broke the mirror in an aerobics class. I don’t dance at parties, either, because to be honest I don’t enjoy it.
But turns out, just like everyone else, I am also a dancer.
A year and a half ago I was volunteering in the Turkish mountains, and after a rather upsetting situation …
“By living deeply in the present moment we can understand the past better and we can prepare for a better future.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
When I was in high school, a hit-and-run car accident changed my world. My boyfriend at the time lost his nineteen-year-old brother to the accident. I had never met his brother, but it didn’t matter; a dark veil had been cast over my life.
In the days, weeks, months, and years following the accident, I sank into a deeper and deeper depression. I started to have panic attacks and I cut myself daily, trying to feel …
“Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it.”~ Eckhart Tolle
For much of my life, I was ashamed of how my classmates perceived me in my youth.
My chagrin and regret began in the spring of my senior year in high school when I opened our yearbook for the first time.
The seniors got center stage in the yearbook, as usual, with a big picture of each of us along with a four-year list of our activities and awards. I was proud of my list of five sports, especially my letters in wrestling and …
“Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.’” ~Marianne Williamson
Have you ever felt that something was missing in your life?
Who am I kidding, everyone has.
I used to be unhappy. But not just unhappy—miserable.
I’d look at other people and wonder what they had that I didn’t. I was sick of living my life. And being sick of it was the tipping point that changed it all. It’s what got me moving in the direction of what made my heart sing.
As I moved …
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” ~Buddha
My final exam is tomorrow.
It’s a big one—one that covers a lot of material with a major grade component—and my body is clenched with anxiety.
I pick up my book, flick through my notes, and scan a few scribbles. The anxiety builds like a wave. Cresting on top of that wave? Negative, self-critical thoughts.
I’m never going to retain all this material during the exam. I won’t be able to answer the questions fast enough. I have to be a lot smarter to pass…
“Use what language you will, you can never say anything but what you are.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Imagine using a new language that prevents you from blaming others, being reactive, manipulating, fearing anything in the outside world, needing social approval, being offended by others, and being controlled or controlling others.
Imagine that these problems were simply eliminated from your life because your new language makes them impossible. Welcome to Perceptual Language.
Refined by Jake and Hannah Eagle of Reology, Perceptual Language represents a major development in psychology, perhaps the greatest breakthrough since the days of Freud.
When you learn …
“If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” ~Unknown
If you’re like me, you’re hard on yourself—and I mean hard.
You analyze your decisions and try to somehow calculate the results of your actions to feel a sense of certainty. Little did you know that searching for the certainty causes all of your insides to do flips and only causes more uneasiness.
What I always wonder is where did the need to know come from? I remember being a free spirit with no worries as a child (as …
“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” ~Thích Nhat Hạnh
My husband and I bought our first house two years ago. Expecting a child and excited to move on to the next stage in our lives, we listed all of the ways we would make the house perfect.
As first-time homeowners and parents, we assumed this list was manageable. Surely the house could be painted in a weekend! Of course we can get work done while the baby naps!
Indeed, it seemed manageable and, therefore, (to me) mandatory.