“I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I don’t know about anyone else, but sometimes I can be a prisoner to my own thoughts and forget that I have the freedom to choose. Choose a different thought. Choose a different experience. Choose a different interpretation.
I remember having a coach that used to listen to me rant. I would be sure I was the victim of something that was happening to me, and I would tell her all about it expecting sympathy.
She would listen patiently and then say, “Yeah? And …
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lao Tzu
If you’d asked me about money five years ago, I would’ve said, “Oh I’m never going to have money.” On the surface, this sentiment didn’t bother me. I have a job I love and a great marriage, so who needs money?
Over the years I’ve realized, however, that everyone needs money. You have to have a place to live, food, clothes, and a chance to have fun.
So one day I decided that just enough wasn’t enough anymore. I wanted more money but I’d …
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ~Unknown
My daughter Nava suffered a medical crisis and was hospitalized for one year. She was in a drug-induced, paralyzed coma on a ventilator for three months, teetering on the seesaw of life and death, much closer to the death side.
Miraculously surviving, she moved on to a rehab hospital for the next nine months where she had to relearn each and every body and motor function. Two miracles occurred: one, she survived; and two, she had a complete recovery, with her life back as before.
Because I have my daughter back, whole and …
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Last night I did something I rarely do. Drum roll please…
…last night I cooked.
Okay, to be fair, I more prepped than cooked. But my willingness to participate in this domestic ritual, with my boyfriend at the helm, was certainly not the norm. Neurotic as I may be with organizing and cleaning, cooking has never been my thing.
For starters, I’m cheap with food. I’d rather spend money on books and pedicures than saffron and truffles. I realize I could channel my inner Rachael Ray and learn to make budget-friendly meals, …
“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” ~Pema Chodron
I’m arachnophobic. Last night, a large spider took up residence on the wall in my room. The shock of seeing its dark mass seated comfortably against the stark white of the paint made the blood drain from my head.
I have ways of dealing with my fears. Sometimes I ignore them and plunge in head-first without thinking; sometimes I avoid them altogether and run for the hills. When it comes to spiders though, I humanize the situation.
I gave Richie, as I named my new roommate, the …
“If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.” ~Bob Basso
A couple weeks back, my boyfriend and I went to our local county fair. I love—love—fairs.
Forget for a minute that adult-me now gets vertigo just looking at a roller coaster; and that my thirty-year-old digestive track nearly explodes when I catch a whiff of carnie food. When you factor in my increasing interest in crafts and farm animals, it somewhat evens out.
If you’re the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, thrill-seeker type, that might sound as exciting as watching paint dry. But I really do love petting furry little creatures …
“Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.” ~Unknown
A reader recently wrote to me:
“I struggle with making decisions and always second-guess myself… I recently had to make a decision about something and after giving it a lot of thought, I decided. Now, months later, my decision is eating me up and I can’t stop thinking I made the wrong decision. So I guess my point is once you decide, how do you stop yourself from second guessing?”
I know I’ve been there, having made a decision I not only second-guessed but wish I hadn’t made …
“The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Nine years ago my heart was in a million little pieces that formed the basis for a million regrets.
I had my first serious relationship in college, when all my insecurities came to a head. My ex-boyfriend had to juggle multiple roles, from therapist to cheerleader to babysitter.
The whole relationship revolved around holding me up. I realized this soon after it ended—that I’d spent three years expecting someone else to love me when I didn’t love myself. The …
“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” ~Proverb
Practice and patience are like inseparable twins that have the capacity to bring us great joy when in harmony, and great angst when they are not.
Consider the phrase: “Practice and all is coming….”
I didn’t realize the depth of this statement when I first read it in my Ashtanga yoga manual several years ago.
Sri K Pattabhi Jois was the Yogi who said it repeatedly to all his students. And it is perfectly reasonable for one to assume he was referring to the daily practice …
“See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” ~Dalai Lama
Even though I’m a yoga teacher, I still find it’s easy to fall prey to negative thinking. Having negative thoughts play out like a movie can only bring you pain, something that I’ve experienced many times throughout my life.
Negative thoughts drain you of energy and keep you from being in the present moment. The more you give in to your negative thoughts, the stronger they become. I like the imagery of a small ball rolling along the ground, and as it rolls, it becomes bigger and faster.…
“Compassion and happiness are not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.” ~Dalai Lama
Showing compassion is one of the best ways to make the world a better place.
It isn’t always easy to have compassion for people, if they’ve hurt you, don’t see things the way you do, or seem to cause many of their own problems. It’s also easy to forget about certain people—people who live on the street, people who don’t have the voice to speak out, and sometimes even ourselves.
I freely admit that my compassion levels plummet in some of those cases, and …
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” -Lao Tzu
We’ve all been there. Even the things that normally make you happy begin to bring you down. Worst of all, you can’t seem to understand why.
So you give it time, let it take its course, and just when you think you’ve escaped the funk, something drags you back in. You know it’s happening but you can’t stop from slipping back under.
What’s happening here is simple. Something—be it your job, peers, or general lifestyle—is contaminating your mind. You’ve lost track of …
“Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” ~Hyman Schachtel
I have a chime with the words “Desire what you have” painted on the front of it. It hangs from the window to the left of my desk in the treehouse where I write. I bought it a few years ago as an epiphany purchase.
It was one of those times when I was sucked into the vortex of a boutique in Minneapolis, the wallet in my pocket a burning inferno. I saw this beautiful painted chime dangling from the ceiling and I was so struck …
“Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.” ~Steve Goodier
Sometimes my head is in the clouds on a massive scale.
This isn’t always a bad thing for me. When I am blissfully ignorant of reality, it can feel beautiful and exhilarating—shiny, I call it. It can be a welcome respite from the days when life feels dark and painfully uncertain.
But this can also be dangerous. When you’re not connected to your body and surrounding environment, you don’t have a strong sense of direction or purpose; you’re just floating. Also, the smallest thing can …
“If you’re happy, if you’re feeling good, then nothing else matters.” ~Robin Wright
I have this morning ritual: I sit in my living room and write down all the things I love about my life. It’s not really that elaborate. My list is usually quite simple.
This morning I wrote about how much I love my new accountant, how grateful I was that the sun came out today, how good it felt to be sore from the yoga class the day before, and how much I enjoy watching my dog play with her toy.
I do this because I know …
“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” ~Unknown
I was in a motorbike accident in 1987. The physician in the emergency room delivered the bad news and told me the right knee cap had cracked. That day changed my life forever.
How could I accept that I wouldn’t ever be able to run again?
The physical injury took years to heal, and a lot of time passed before I slowly started to accept my new situation. In the meantime, I got depressed.
Life Can Be Beautiful
That might seem like an ironic heading coming …
“Change is the only constant.” ~Heraclitus
Life can be a constant barrage of new and exciting experiences. Still, even the most savvy and confident of us can get thrown off balance during the unexpected changes life throws our way.
My husband’s job means that we move—a lot. I dislike moving, but every time there is an opportunity to move through the pain and find a new sense of peace.
There is nothing I could do, short of leaving my husband, to change that we move often. But I love him, and almost all other elements of our lives …
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to leave the world a better place; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
My father is my hero, and one of the most successful men in the world.
When I was a kid he worked two full-time blue-collar jobs to support me and my siblings. He didn’t have a college degree—he attended briefly on a golf scholarship and then got hurt—but he compensated with hard work.
Though many people …
“Begin at once to live and count each separate day as a separate life.” ~Seneca
At times, it’s seemed as though life contains an endless supply of days.
I thought this for sure when I was younger. It didn’t matter how long I held a grudge or how long I waited to do something I wanted—there would be an unlimited pool of other opportunities. At least, that’s what I thought back then.
Maybe it’s a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood, the moment when you realize life happens now and that’s all you’re guaranteed. It doesn’t really hit you …
“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” ~Unknown
We all do it or have done it at some point in our lives: We compare ourselves to others and gauge where we are based on what we observe them to be doing.
If this was simply an observation, that would be one thing. But in comparing ourselves to others, we often end up judging ourselves. There’s no one worse to judge!
If you have ever noticed, it doesn’t matter how many people are on your side, cheering …