“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” ~Marianne Williamson
I always had a hard time accepting all of me. As early as I can remember others defined me by saying “You are so weird.” Not in a malicious way but more in a “you don’t fit into our familiar box” sort of way.
I spent most of my teens and twenties attempting to conform to others or numbing myself to a point of not caring what they thought. If someone would have told me that forgiveness and compassion would lead me to …
“Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.” ~Mark Victor Hansen
This summer, after three years of dreaming, my daughter and I moved from the city I’ve lived in all my life to my dream city six hours north.
The season of summer is known as a time when plants fruit, grow, and bloom. In order to harvest new crops we have to have a clear field and clean soil to plant in, right?
Before we can grow new things, we need to look hard at what isn’t working for us, …
“I have done my best. That is all the philosophy of living one needs” ~Lin-yutang
Take a break and take a look in the mirror. Look at yourself and smile while you congratulate yourself for everything you have been through, good or bad, ups and downs.
It doesn’t matter whether you climbed Mount Everest, learned French in Paris, completed medical school, worked at the local grocery store, or “simply” lay on the sofa for far longer than you had planned in order to figure out your life’s purpose and goals.
The main point is that everything that you have been …
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~Anna Quindlen
Being yourself seems like it would be an easy thing, right? Just be! But when you’re someone who has lived their life seeking the approval of others constantly, it’s not such an easy thing.
You have to attempt to move past years of trying to appear this way, wondering if people will judge you if do that, or doing your best not to cause waves and avoid conflict.
When you don’t fully understand who your “self” …
“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant.” ~Paul Coelho
I spent my twenty-fifth birthday crying alone at the foot of a mountain. While I had always found solace in spending time by myself, in that moment, I did not recognize my “self.” Without my self, I had nothing.
I was utterly alone.
Three weeks earlier, a man was shot just feet away from my front door. My then-boyfriend and I performed CPR until an ambulance arrived, but the man had been killed on impact. The police left my home at 3 a.m.; …
“On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do.” ~Eckhart Tolle
For a long time I’ve had a bit of an obsession with coming home. Not my physical home, but Home with a capital H. Being with myself. Knowing who I was. Leaning back into me and having that “ah” feeling of being totally whole, and totally at peace.
I felt like there was something missing, and that I needed to find that missing piece to complete the puzzle.
I thought that if I found the right …
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I can’t believe I screwed this up again!”
“Why did I do that?”
“This is all my fault!”
The third grader ruminated as he walked away from the soccer field where his team had tied, two to two. It was their sixth tie in seven games.
The lone game that was not a tie was a loss. According to this young man, his team’s record was a direct reflection of his worth; therefore, verbal self-deprecation was the only response one should have after such failure.
“You yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha
I was tortured by self-hatred for most of my life.
There were aspects of myself that I had a hard time loving. I didn’t like that I am competitive, that I was not a blonde with blue eyes, that I am not good at math or managing money.
I did everything I could to hide these things. I was over-caring, over-helping, and over-accommodating others.
I think I did a pretty good job of not being myself. This created additional psychic pain in me. I …
“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.” ~Buddha
My morning bicycle ride had been uneventful until I spotted a small lump in the middle of the bike path. It wasn’t a twig, a dead mouse, or a smelly “gift” from a dog, which are some of the most common sightings during my rides.
It was a perfect, intact slice of bread.
In a nanosecond, my mind created several versions of how this piece of bread had ended up where it was.
I pictured a young mother pushing a stroller and her two-year-old tossing the …
“Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time.” ~Shunryu Suzuki
I blinked my eyes, wiggled my toes, and carefully heaved my right foot out from under me. It had gone completely numb after twenty minutes of meditation. I prodded it tentatively.
“The idea is to be able to meditate wherever you are,” our teacher said, pouring out some green tea as we stretched, “to be really present in whatever it is you are doing—cutting the lawn, doing the dishes, whatever it is. To simply breathe in…and out…and just be.”
“You don’t have …
“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
It’s Sunday night. A steaming plate of spaghetti is set in front of me. Salivating with wide eyes I grab my fork and prepare to dive in. We know how this will end. I will say to my husband while patting my tummy and undoing my top button, “Tomorrow we will start our healthy eating plans.”
This scene raises a number of questions:
Why can’t I resist the urge to inhale my meal like an out of control Scooby Doo bingeing on Scooby snacks? Even when my body is screaming “Enough—you’re …
“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.” ~Sonia Ricotti
I hate my life! It’s a phrase that’s used by teenagers and adults alike. Sometimes we use it for dramatic effect and sometimes we mean this literally.
When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder two years ago and said “I hate my life!” I meant every word. I hated it so much that there were times I didn’t think it was worth living.
The depression was incapacitating. The hypomania disguised itself as extreme anxiety and irrational fears.
In order to stay alive, I …
“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” ~William S. Burroughs
Patience can be a struggle.
I know this firsthand. My experience with impatience used to be confined to overusing the microwave or skipping to the end of a long novel.
Back then, when waiting at a traffic light for more than two minutes seemed like an eternity, I didn’t know that life would teach me several advanced lessons in patience.
Shortly after finishing my morning bike ride I started feeling queasy. I wondered what was happening, but tried to ignore the …
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~Buddha
A few nights ago I did a search on Google Ad Words to compare the words “self-esteem” and “happy.” I discovered that over fifty-five million people search for the word “happy” every month, whereas just 800,000+ people search for “self-esteem.”
Okay, I get it; we just want to be happy. But in order to be happy we need the foundation first, and the key ingredient is a healthy self-esteem. Once we increase our self-esteem, happiness comes with it.…
“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” ~ Albert Einstein
An anxious mind is a hard burden to bear. In fact, if you suffer from an anxious mind it can truly feel like a curse.
The racing thoughts. The daily tirade of “what ifs.” The relentless voice of your inner critic constantly nagging you and deriding your every move.
And the worst part is that the mental chatter feels uncontrollable. Truly, there were times when I struggled in vain to quiet my mind.
It was like there was some hub or center in my …
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” ~Charles Swindoll
I found Tiny Buddha because I have never dealt with stress and anxiety all that well, and once I became a full-time working mum of two, this had become a real issue affecting my quality of life.
It was one day earlier this year when I was battling yet another bout of the flu, and I’d just learned about something out of my control at work that would make life even harder, that I went rushing by a group of my friends, not even …
“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” ~Eckhart Tolle
I have spent the bulk of my life committing to what’s “easy,” things I am naturally “good” at, and avoiding challenge.
In eighth grade, I tried out for the school musical and discovered that I am not actually a very good singer. I got a small part, but I quit to join the softball team. The thing is, I wasn’t very good at softball either. So I quit that too.
In high school I got straight A’s until …
“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
For a long time I have struggled with episodes of anxiety. At times, I’ve gotten a feeling of crushing fear that occurs even in situations that most people consider to be safe.
The first episodes I remember were from my early childhood, when I was so frightened that I used to cry all the way from home to kindergarten because I didn’t want to go, although I apparently had no reason.
As I grew up I learned to hide …
“In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost.” ~ Anne Sophie Swetchine
I’ve always been a “cat guy.” This was long before my Buddhist friends told me stories of how cats are true earthly masters, here on earth to show us the way. Or, to demonstrate the meditative perfection of the feline purr. Or, how the life of a cat is seen in some traditions as reward for good karma.
When I lived in rural Nova Scotia, the house was blessed with two cats named Midge and Mooch—tabby mixes, who would come …
This is second week of a month-long promotion for Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself, a book about taming your inner critic that features 40 stories from Tiny Buddha contributors.
Over the next month, you’ll have a chance to meet some of them through daily interviews here on the blog.
Today’s featured contributor is education technician Charlie Tranchemontagne.
His contribution for the book focuses on taking off our masks so we can be more authentic in our relationships.
A little more about Charlie…
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your self-love journey.
My self-love journey didn’t really …