“Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong – sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown
The human mind loves to find things to stress about.
There seems to constantly be something in our lives that causes us to worry. And when the thing that caused the worry disappears, we feel happy, but only for a short period of time until we find something else to stress about.
I’ve witnessed this pattern many times in my own life. As soon as I was able to solve one of my problems, my mind found me a new one.
Compared to other …
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
From the time I was a little girl, people told me I was pretty, but I never believed them. Instead, I scrutinized myself in the mirror searching for ways to look better, not realizing that what I was really looking for was a way to be me and feel good about myself.
As I focused even more on my looks throughout my twenties, I became increasingly self-conscious and dependent on how others perceived me. If someone complimented …
“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” –Adelle Davis
As I mentioned before in my blog post about needing less money, I recently decided to offer barter advertising through Tiny Buddha—meaning I plan to promote products and services I support in exchange for things I need.
This week I started my first barter arrangement with L.O.V.E. Delivery, a company here in Los Angeles that delivers organic produce right to your door.
Before my first shipment arrived two days ago, …
“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing” ~Aristotle
The need for approval kills freedom.
Trust me, I know, because I spent my entire life seeking approval until I realized it was a waste of time and didn’t work anyway. The desire to get people to like me motivated the majority of my choices and actions in early life.
Queen of social chameleons, I mastered the art of telling people what they wanted to hear and being someone they would find impressive—all the while worrying incessantly about what others thought of me, fearing criticism, …
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~Henry David Thoreau
A friend of mine likes to joke that dying will be a relief because it will put an end to the “heavy burden of judging,” as she calls it. She envisions herself lying in a hospital bed and, moments before death, noticing the ceiling and thinking, “What a hideous green.”
Here’s a modest proposal: Vow that for the rest of the day, you won’t judge your friends and you won’t judge any strangers you happen to see. This would include a friend who’s a non-stop …
“Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.” ~Unknown
Mindfulness has allowed me to become more aware of my thoughts and reach a sense of inner peace.
As my awareness has increased, so has the peace and joy in my life. The more familiar I have become with the inner workings of my mind, the better I have started to feel.
I came onto the path of mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality when I was sixteen years old. I saw the TV-series Ed, where the main character started experimenting with …
“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I’ve done a lot of stripping lately. It’s been liberating. I’ve been peeling away layers of the ego—all the accumulated stuff—to find who I am at the core.
It wasn’t too long ago when I noticed how quickly my life would go from an extreme high to an extreme low—how one moment could seem so perfect and wonderful, and then suddenly something would happen and it would turn into a less appealing scene.
The story went something like this: “Life is good. No …
“No yesterdays are ever wasted for those who give themselves to today.” ~Brendan Francis
Anyone can be mindful for a moment or two, but developing your mindfulness muscle means that you have to take things to a higher level.
In today’s world it’s all too easy to get distracted from what’s truly important. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you see messages designed to get you to perform a specific action and distract you from the fact that you are already whole.
There are no reminders to be mindful unless we create them.
The responsibility is in your hands. …
“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” ~Pema Chodron
Every person you meet has something special to give you—that is, if you are open to receiving it.
Each encounter offers you the gift of greater self-awareness by illustrating what you do and don’t accept about yourself. An honest look will show you that the reactions you have to others give you more information about yourself than about them.
You can never know for sure what motivates other people, but you can learn what you are accepting or judging …
Update: The winners have been chosen! If you didn’t win, you can purchase a copy of And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road on Amazon.
I recently received a copy of Margaret Roach’sbook And I Shall Have Some Peace There.
I was not previously familiar with Margaret’s wildly popular garden blog, A Way to Garden, but I was fascinated to learn about her transition from editorial director of Martha Stewart Omnimedia to full-time gardener at her country house in upstate New York.
I know a lot of people …
“He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.” ~Proverb
In the spring of 2006, I was training for the MS 150, a cycling event to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I was hopeful that I could contribute to MS research and support. Someone close to me has MS and I wanted to help.
About a month into my spin classes and outdoor training, I started to feel bad. I was tired, weak, and having some balance issues.
I never got to participate in the ride. In fact, shortly after the event date, …
“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I thought I had relinquished anxiety after a few years of mindfulness and meditation. Then I had a baby. It is incredibly easy for us mothers to slide into permanent guilt and anxiety.
After a few minutes of watching my thoughts, I noticed they ran something like this:
“My baby is sleeping too much. Should I wake her? Oh no, she hasn’t slept enough and I woke her. I shouldn’t have woken her, I’ve ruined the day. How am I …
“I cannot make my days longer so I strive to make them better.” ~Henry David Thoreau
Every weekday morning, I set off from my back gate on my bicycle, pushing away from the safe shore of home and entering the unpredictable current of urban life. Every morning, I look forward to the adventure.
Over the course of the ride to work, I watch the city wake up. I feel the particular nuances of the day’s weather—perhaps humid, with a storm building over the mountains, or maybe a faintly warm breeze crosscuts the morning chill, carrying a hint of spring.
“Letting go isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a new life.” ~Unknown
As we welcomed the Spring Equinox on March 20th, with it came a sense of lightness in the air—in our bodies with healthier food options, in our minds as we flirt with the idea of summer on the horizon, and in our spirits as we are able to enjoy later sunsets with loved ones.
Spring also welcomes change and renewal, creating an opportunity to cleanse ourselves of hibernating winter habits and find inspiration in nature as wildflowers bloom all around us.
“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” ~Pema Chodron
If there’s one thing that has led me the greatest amount of re-invention, it’s anxiety. By anxiety I don’t mean worry or concern. Anxiety is a different animal that grabs a hold of you and halts you in your tracks.
We tend to reject its milder forms and are really terrified by its intense moments, like with panic attacks. It’s difficult to see when we’re fighting with anxiety that it can have any benefit, but it does.
Anxiety comes with some great treasures hidden …
I love the word loser. I enjoy playing with it, feeling into it, and feeling my own gut reaction to the idea of allowing myself to be one. Some of the time.
Our culture is obsessed with winning.
At school we learn that we have to compete to get what we want. Many of us grow up internalizing this idea and subtly infusing it into our relationships, friendships, career, and even spiritual path.
If this is strong in us, there can be a pervading sense of alienation, disconnectedness, or even mistrust that we carry around.
In my early days as …
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E. Cummings
It seems like everywhere I look, I don’t measure up.
I was giving a presentation recently and noticed that several people seemed bored or distracted. I looked around the room to gauge my audience’s response to something I said and found myself thinking, “Am I good enough? Am I providing what this group needs?”
Suddenly, I felt sure that another, more talented presenter would have done a better job.
Later, with a friend, casually flipping through old photos, we both lamented that we were younger and …
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
“If you have aspirin, please take it now. It might be bitter, but if you’re having a heart attack, it will help.”
If I wasn’t already anxious, hearing this advice the nurse gave me certainly didn’t help. Fifteen minutes later, I was in the emergency room—a 34-year-old, physically-fit, overachieving, workaholic, enabling control freak—having the classic symptoms of a heart attack.
As I sat on the hospital bed, breathing as deeply as I could into what was happening, my mind started to race: Was …
“Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries.” ~Astrid Alauda
I don’t believe in the mind/body divide. I can see the gap between them, the one that we put there, but I have little faith in it. In the past month, I’ve learned that in order to live fully, I need to overcome that self-imposed gap.
We all have different mental, emotional, and physical capacities. You could probably run a 5k race, but I’d struggle to even walk it. I know I can work through some of the most difficult decisions, …