“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ~Unknown
Maybe someone hurt you physically or emotionally. Maybe you’ve survived something else traumatic—a natural disaster, a fire, an armed robbery. Or maybe you’ve just come out of a trying situation, and though you know you’ll eventually recover, you still feel pain that seems unbearable.
Whatever the case may be, you’ve been scarred and you carry it with you through many of your days.
Most of us can relate on some level to that feeling. Even people who excel at taking personal responsibility have at least one story of having been hurt. Though some …
“The journey is the reward.” ~Chinese Proverb
We’ve probably all heard this famous piece of wisdom at one time or another.
I’ll be honest, there were a few years where I just plain blew it off.
Like, “Yeah, yeah, journey, reward, I got it. Cool. Now, when’s my ship coming in?”
Not that I was greedy. Just impatient to arrive at a place called Made It. It seemed that other people were already there and I was eager to join them.
I had seen the brochure for Made It and I knew then and there, it was my kind …
“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~Alan Watts
For a long time, I felt like I was standing on a riverbank just watching the water of life go by, too scared to jump in and play. I was waiting for the perfect current to come along that I could ride all the way to the completion of my intensely detailed life goals.
I didn’t want to move until I felt like success was guaranteed and I was certain it was the “right” thing. Life was flowing, and I wasn’t …
“Nothing reduces the odds against you like ignoring them.” ~Robert Brault
Do you ever wake up feeling like you’re battling yourself?
What’s worse is waking up in that battle and feeling like you’ve already lost before you’ve even started the day.
But think about that for a second: isn’t living this way crazy? We think it’s normal to be fighting ourselves. We’re taught we need to grind it out and make something of ourselves to be successful. We’re taught we need to become something.
And the underlying message is this: who we are right now isn’t good enough.
We’re starving …
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt
When you’re young, anything seems possible. Whether you want to become a school teacher, a ballerina, or an astronaut, it all feels within your reach.
And you so easily get excited by it.
You can visualize in vivid detail what it would be like to hold your roses at curtain call, or how proud you’ll feel when you save the day—as a fireman, a soldier, or maybe even a superhero. You pretend your way through different roles and stay …
“The world is full of a lot of fear and a lot of negativity, and a lot of judgment. I just think people need to start shifting into joy and happiness. As corny as it sounds, we need to make a shift.” ~Ellen DeGeneres
I’ve dealt with a lot of negativity in my life.
When I was only 20, my dad died of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Before that I had to watch him suffer from it for a couple of years as his body slowly lost its functions.
Also, when I was young I was bullied a lot…
“Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.” ~Richard Bach
There are times when nothing seems to move in the right direction. We either feel stuck or lost in chaos and confusion. Days follow nights as pages on the calendar turn into months, but you remain at the same place.
A few years back I suffered a miscarriage in the eighth month of pregnancy. I lost my baby and my dreams of motherhood. In the deep void I experienced both physical pain and mental agony.
At such times despite your efforts, the situation turns from bad to …
“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” ~Henry David Thoreau
Four years ago, I couldn’t relax to save my life. The ability to slow down completely eluded me. I could start a company, train a pit bull, or hike 12 miles, but I sucked at taking a day off.
Looking back, I now know that I was terrified. I was certain that if I slowed down I would never get going again. “My ‘to do’ list will fall apart! My friends and clients will be angry with me! My …
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” ~Rodin
When I was in college, I knew what to do and everything clicked along.
But as graduation approached, I got nervous.
I’d always assumed that some “good job” would turn up when I got out of school. But now it was in my face that I had no idea where I was going.
I took a career workshop where we figured out our favorite interests and best skills. What the class didn’t provide was any follow-up to help me actually find the dream job.
I didn’t know …
“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.” ~Ajahn Chah
I made it my New Year’s resolution to forgive someone for his past actions. Unfortunately, he’s not here to know.
My dad passed away from cancer last September. There are times I miss him a lot; other times, it’s nice to have peace in my life.
We never got along. My mother and others told me it was because we were too much alike, but I knew that was not the case.
“Happiness is really a deep inner satisfaction and approval” ~Francis Wiltshire
At the start of the year many of us make resolutions about what we want to give up, what we need to let go—from quitting smoking (did that 20+ years ago), to cutting back on alcohol (a work in progress), to cutting back on not-so-healthy foods (also in progress), to letting go of past “demons.”
There’s a lot to be gained by letting go of past pain, by breaking bad habits. But what if we thought more in terms of what we might welcome into our lives—what we …
“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Recently, I had one of those flashes of insight that burn away the illusions I learned as a child in a dysfunctional family and help me see myself in a new light. I saw through an invisible belief that I’ve held for a very long time—the belief that I am not in control of my life.
Standing in line in the grocery store and twiddling my thumbs, my monkey mind ran through the list of what I could be …
“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” ~Theophrastus
Don’t we all wish we had more time? Time to spend with loved ones. Time to finish solving a problem. Time to eat, pray, love. Time to exercise more. Time to travel to all the continents on the globe.
Time to finish that project. Time to take that diving course, yoga class, or self-improvement seminar. Time to chat with our grandparents. Time to visit an old friend.
Time to aid the poor. Time to listen to the news. Time to challenge yourself. Time to meditate. Time to do volunteer …
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy.” ~Leo Buscaglia
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the worrywart extraordinaire.
Worry: verb: To give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
Fret, be anxious, brood, stress, panic.
If worry came with a degree, mine would be a PhD.
As a child I worried about my schoolwork. I worried if other kids would laugh, or not, as the case may be. I worried if I’d pass the test, miss the bus, make the team, or fall …
“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” ~Eckhart Tolle
My partner, Ruth, and I were not happy.
The inside of her mouth was covered in sores, she couldn’t swallow well, and she was exhausted. The chemotherapy was ravaging her body. Something had to be done.
When her oncologist, Dr. Patel, came into the room, he perched on his little rolling stool and looked up at her Ruth where she sat on the exam table with her legs dangling.
She railed against the chemotherapy and what it was …
“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.” ~James Allen
I know now that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t even have to try to be perfect. I used to think that things did not come to me because I did not try hard enough. Not true!
The truth was, I was sabotaging myself.
In college in Switzerland, instead of going to that school event or even answering the people who tried to talk to me, I shut myself down and ignored people.
I was afraid of being rejected …
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel” ~Steve Furtick
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had issues with the way I look. Back when I was at school, I stood out, being one of the only Asian students in a small English village. This heightened my awareness of how different I looked in relation to my peers and started my obsession of comparing myself with others.
It is often stated that adolescence can be a painful period in everyone’s life, and mine was no exception. By …
“If you surrender completely to the moment as they pass, you live more richly those moments.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Last week on Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend Ehren and I had a meeting we’d both spent months working toward.
After writing and rewriting a romantic comedy screenplay for over a year, and consulting with a screenwriter friend to improve it, we’d finally secured a meeting with an agent—her agent. At one of the largest agencies in Hollywood. Presumably to represent us.
We couldn’t have been more thrilled to know our project might have a real future, and the timing …
“I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Stress, strain, tension, worry, overwhelm, nerves, feeling wound up, freaking out. Whatever we call it, the effects are universal.
Our adrenals rev up, uneasy thoughts cycle on the brain’s hamster wheel, butterflies flitter in the stomach, our moods swing. There are many different ways that stress manifests, and none of them are particularly enjoyable.
Stress is basically an emotion. It’s the way we feel when things aren’t going our way. “Things” can be as insignificant as feeling annoyed because we woke up two minutes …
“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” ~Buddha
I’d like you to meet someone. He’s me and he’s not me. What I mean is, he’s inside me—a part of me.
His story goes something like this: “I need to be the best at whatever I do, but no matter how hard I work, I will never be the best because the world is unfair.”
For most of my life he’s been carrying around this impossible task, and it has really weighed me down. He’s caused me a lot of pain and anxiety, and …