When you think of the teachers who’ve had the greatest impact on your life, who comes to mind?
For me, it’s the calm, the humble, the patient—the people who not only imparted useful life lessons but also embodied their message with their grace and equanimity. People I was fortunate enough to know personally, like my grandmother, and others I never met that brought me clarity and peace from afar, like the inimitable Thich Nhat Hanh.
Thay, as his students called him, was a Vietnamese Zen monk, author, poet, peacemaker, and founder of the “engaged Buddhism” movement—the act of leveraging our …
“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
As a Lyft driver, I once spent significant time out on the road—a setting rife with provocations and stressors.
Driving can feel like a constant challenge to employ mindfulness instead of giving way to destructive emotions like impatience and frustration. Meditation can be difficult to practice when you’re navigating a vehicle (demanding as both activities are of your full attention)—try channeling all your senses into it, and you’ll likely plow over a pedestrian or end with your car in a ditch.
Navigating the road mindfully, though, doesn’t have to mean closing your …
“Sometimes, you need to be alone. Not to be lonely, but to enjoy your free time being yourself.” ~Unknown
First, let’s be clear, being alone is different than feeling lonely. The feeling of loneliness can arise even if you are not alone, or you can be alone and not feel lonely. It all comes down to the meaning your mind creates at that moment in time.
In my twenties being alone was something so triggering that I would find any distractions I could come up with to avoid it: partying, unhealthy relationships, constantly being on the go and busy… …
“Today I want you to think about all that you are instead of all that you are not.” ~Unknown
“Love the pinecones!”
This was a comment from a friend on one of my Facebook photos from a beautiful seaside hike filled with wildflowers and other natural wonders.
When I responded with “It was a puzzle figuring out how to best photograph them” (not what I originally planned to write), she wrote, “Gregg, that’s such a fun part, isn’t it?” That comment was the brightening of a bulb that had already been going off in my head. It led to deeper …
“You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” ~Marcus Aurelius
Every time I get back up from my lowest point, it seems as if negative thoughts will drag me down all over again.
Whether it’s the fear of actually being happy only to be sad once again or the self-doubt and self-judgment that pop up when things are going well and I’m healthy, negative thoughts seem to win every single time.
A while ago, I spent a few weeks battling constant negative thoughts about not being good enough, no matter how much I …
“Burnout is a sign that something needs to change.” ~Sarah Forgrave
Fifteen years ago, my doctor informed me I was in the early stages of adrenal exhaustion. In no uncertain terms, she warned that if I failed to address the stress I was under, my adrenals might not recover. This was hard to hear, but it forced me to face the fact that eating well, exercising religiously, and keeping up with the latest research on wellness was not enough.
I had to ask myself a defining question that day: Am I ready to go down with the ship?
At the …
“With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I am not a good friend to myself. This realization shook me as I was riding the bus home one day from the local university where I taught.
This realization had been building for some time, but it struck me powerfully that day. I was teaching a summer class on Asian philosophy, and we were reading the Sayings of Buddha. We had been discussing a passage about a monk watching his feelings.
The passage …
“Don’t believe everything you think.” ~Unknown
I am a self-confessed overthinker. I could spend hours thinking and going down the rabbit hole in my mind trying to find answers to all sorts of situations.
About ten years ago, I struggled with burnout. I was a nurse for about twenty-two years. All I knew was nursing, and I was defined by it. As they say, “A nurse is always a nurse.”
This makes leaving nursing something hard to do, even when it’s unhealthy.
I’ve always worked in high-stress areas like intensive care and trauma emergency rooms, but burnout made it …
Over the last thirteen years of running this site, I’ve read comments and emails from thousands of people with varied wants and struggles, but it seems to me it all boils down to the following two things:
We all want to feel good and avoid feeling bad, and we all need to connect with other people on a meaningful level and feel that we make a difference.
I can think of no better way to accomplish these goals than to meditate regularly and share the gift of meditation with others.
Whether you practice cross-legged or through a movement practice, like …
“Don’t let your emotions outweigh your intelligence.” ~Unknown
I jump to ridiculous conclusions when I’m emotional, and I’m like anyone else in that sometimes they get the best of me. And it’s pretty damn embarrassing in those moments, especially if I’ve been stupid enough to make any kind of decision.
Having the awareness to recognize your judgment is clouded by emotion is next to impossible at times. Many of us don’t know how to read the signals. Hence why we get swept away by our caveman instincts and find ourselves saying, “All I see is red when I’m angry.”…
“The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Where are you right now?
Maybe you are at your desk, scrolling through emails, trying to put off the morning’s work in hopes that it will go away if you don’t acknowledge it.
Maybe you are in your favorite chair with a cup of cheap coffee, enjoying the final moments of morning light.
Maybe you are walking through your school or office building trying to hurriedly read this from your phone before you bump into someone.
Wherever you …
“Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it—just as we have learned to live with storms.” ~Paulo Coelho
“Am I focusing too much on my anxiety?”
This very question weighed heavily on my mind as I found myself in yet another bout of anxiety. I was playing professional baseball at the time, and I just couldn’t seem to free myself from the constant and unending worrisome thoughts racing through my head.
A lot of these thoughts centered around how …
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
Balance is everything and is really what we are striving to find in life. Balancing work and play. Balancing food and exercise. Balancing a social life and solitude. Balancing being and doing. Finding balance is finding freedom.
Once I was truly able to comprehend this it was a game changer on my healing journey. Any suffering you experience in life can be attributed to a lack of balance.
What is balance? The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu speaks of The Dao, which …
I think I know you pretty well. I know I don’t know you, know you, but I’m guessing since you’re here, you’re a lot like me.
You want to be your best self. You want to make the most of your life. You want to be the best you can be, physically and mentally, for the people around you. And you quite possibly will take a little time today to think about what you should embrace or release in the year ahead to boost your happiness and make a positive impact on the world.
Maybe you’ll make a list …
“When the world feels like an emotional roller coaster, steady yourself with simple rituals. Do the dishes. Fold the laundry. Water the plants. Simplicity attracts wisdom.” ~Unknown
I’ve suffered from anxiety since my childhood, but it was only seven years ago that I was formally diagnosed.
My symptoms began to get worse after my long-term relationship ended and I felt like my world had collapsed around me.
I was suffering from extreme fatigue, having trouble concentrating, not sleeping well, and I was constantly worrying.
Over the next couple of years my mental health continued to deteriorate, and I had trouble …
“Understand that healing and growing can distance you from people who you once had a bond with, and it can also bring you closer to those who will heal and grow with you. The time in between can be difficult, but there is so much to learn in solitude.” ~ @themoontarot
There have been many occasions in my life where I’ve felt lonely. Some of these times I remember as incredibly painful; other times, I’ve relished in my solitude.
During some periods, I’ve even forced myself into seclusion, which comes easily to me as an introvert.
One thing all of …
“It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.” ~Hans Selye
I was driving home from work, minding my own business, when a car cut in front of me.
Pretty common in Sydney traffic, right? Normally, I would just brush it off.
But not today. For some reason I couldn’t explain, that simple event set me off. I got so irritated that I pressed both my hands on the horn and started shouting at the other driver—who just gave me the finger and continued on his merry way.
That’s when I lost it. How dare he do something …