“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” -Unknown
My boyfriend, who is an aspiring screenwriter, has told me that the film industry and moviegoers essentially want “the same, but different.”
We want the same themes, but with different people; the same humor, but in different circumstances.
We want to see good rewarded, and for love to conquer all; we want the hero to change for the better, and the villain to reap what he sows.
We want action, excitement, adventure, and romance; we want to feel terrified and then relieved; …
“The grass is always greener where you water it.” –Unknown
The first time I heard the phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side,” I was 12 years old—and I heard it in song.
I didn’t know at the time that this was from the play Woman of the Year, because two women in my theater group sang it as part of a musical review. Still, it made a deep impression on me.
One of the characters is a housewife, and the other is a famous TV news personality—and yet they both feel certain they’re missing out …
“Many fine things can be done in a day if you don’t always make that day tomorrow.” -Unknown
When I was younger, an adult I was staying with told me, “The diet starts tomorrow. Let’s eat everything we can before midnight.”
So we did. We ate grilled cheeses, leftover Chinese food, Twinkies, and anything else that called to us from her cabinets.
It was then or never, that was the message, and tomorrow would be different—which of course it wasn’t.
For years, I started each morning intending to make healthy choices, and then after failing to meet my perfectionist standards, …
“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.” -Unknown
Though I write a lot about mindfulness, focusing on here and now, I think there’s something empowering about looking back and realizing how far we’ve come. I’m not just talking about our big accomplishments. I’m referring to the many tiny personal victories we often achieve without taking time to honor them.
The other day, after I arrived at my local coffee shop to work, my computer died. No battery, no power from the cord, no explanation—and no backed up files.
I have an …
“Celebrate endings, for they precede new beginnings.” -Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Yesterday I spent more than an hour writing something I intended to publish today—and then I lost it. Since I hadn’t slept much the night before, I wasn’t completely attentive and somehow, I must have closed out the Word document before I titled or saved it.
That same exhaustion made it somewhat difficult to communicate my thoughts clearly when writing. But I did—after an hour, I’d expressed everything I wanted to share. Then it was gone.
Initially, I considered rewriting the post, and trying to remember exactly what I’d written …
“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.” -William James
“I don’t know—what do you think?”
Recently I find myself asking this when my boyfriend asks what I want to do—what movie I want to see, where I want to eat, or how I’d like to spend an off-day.
At first I thought this was just a residual people-pleasing tendency from a time when I measured my worth in approval. But when I look at this more closely, I realize it’s actually about relinquishing the tiny decisions, since inevitably there are …
“Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” -Anais Nin
It’s a seductive image—the idea of when you “get there.” What you’ll look like when you lose the weight. How your life will change when you achieve success. How everything will improve when you’re finally happy.
I first began chasing “after pictures” when I was a chubby 12 year old kid. I was convinced that slim felt like peace, and I found …
“In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost.” -Anne Sophie Swetchine
I used to make a wish whenever it turned 11:11. It was something I started doing with friends in high school, and I kept doing it in college, a time when I depended on magical thinking to get me through difficult days.
I remember when my first long-term relationship ended, after three tumultuous years. I felt like I lost a part of me—the best part, to be more specific. My saving grace was the hope that we’d eventually get back together, if …
“You change your life by changing your heart.” -John Porter
I’m addicted to new and different.
I’ve been like this all my life. In my mid-20s, I toured the United States with marketing companies, in large part because everything was always new.
New cities. New work venues. New yoga studios. New restaurants. New hotels. New beds. New people. And I thought, a new me in each new environment.
It felt much easier to be present in my daily life when my surroundings and circumstances were constantly changing.
If ever there was something that weighed on me, I could metaphorically leave …
“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” -Gandhi
This past weekend, I took a break from writing at Starbucks to visit the nearby Fall Festival, which featured a petting zoo, face painting, and food samples.
This is one of my favorite events because it encompasses many things I love, including farm animals, giddy children, and food on toothpicks (yes, that’s in my list of favorite things).
Much to my excitement, I saw there was also a large makeover event set up in the vicinity. Since I had time, …
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb
Sometimes it can be challenging to operate with complete integrity in business—particularly because bigger and faster can be seductive.
Case in point: I have a strong aversion to many traditional marketing methods, as I find much of it to be psychologically manipulative.
I feel it’s wrong to sell people things by playing to their deepest fears and insecurities, and implying my book or product will be the magic bullet they’ve been waiting for all their lives.…
“The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” -Pema Chodron
A while back, a reader commented that it’s easy for me to suggest tomorrow is full of possibilities, since I am relatively young. An older woman, she believed her options were far more limited, and that even if she could do the things she wanted to do, they wouldn’t count–not at her age.
My first instinct was to start a conversation about mindfulness, since no one is ever guaranteed more than the present. Even young people don’t know for certain that they have decades more …
“Change is not a process for the impatient.” -Barbara Reinhold
A while back, a Tiny Buddha contributor commented that she was feeling like a fraud for struggling to take advice she’d offered in an article. I told her I could relate. I’ve written more than 600 wisdom-themed blog posts over the past few years, meaning there is abundant potential for me to contradict something I’ve previously explored in my writing.
Sometimes when I am not mindful, or kind, or stress-free, or clearly happier and more peaceful than I once was, I start to wonder if I’ve even changed at all. …
“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” -Mary Engelbreit
In a recent response to my blog post about dealing with difficult people, an anonymous commenter mentioned that she has a negative team member, an irrational supervisor, and an ineffective HR manager. Since she feels that leaving her job isn’t an option, she asked for advice about what she should do.
I could relate to that feeling of being stuck–when you’re in a situation you don’t like, but you feel powerless to change it.
When I’ve been in …
“To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.” -Unknown
There’s a reason we often take the path most traveled: Seeing all the footprints on the well-trodden road creates the illusion of certainty, especially when many are your own.
When it’s familiar, it feels safe. You know what’s at the end; you’ve been there before. You know how to get there, so you don’t need to pay too much attention to your steps or the details along the way. You can just kind of put yourself on auto-pilot and go.
But there’s something kind of …
“The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.” ~Swedish Proverb
Helping yourself is telling people what you need, even though you’re afraid to acknowledge it.
It’s forgiving yourself for your mistakes, even though you feel like dwelling.
It’s taking responsibility for your problems, even though someone else may have played a large part in them.
It’s breaking a problem into tiny, manageable pieces, even though you feel overwhelmed.
It’s living in accordance with your values, even when they stand in the way of something you think you want.
It’s allowing yourself to …
“What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.” -Buddha
We all have goals–things we’d like to accomplish and ideas of who we’d like to become through the process. But sometimes we get so bogged down in fears and self-doubt that it’s hard to commit to the changes we want to create and then work toward them consistently.
It’s not easy to do. When you’re faced with obstacles, you might get stuck. When you feel unmotivated or unsure, you might get stuck. When your goal seems too far out of reach, you might …
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” -Benjamin Franklin
A few years back, I reconnected with an old friend from high school. Years after we met, we both struggled with depression and dealt with messy, public recoveries.
He said that seeing me was disheartening because I seemed like an after picture, whereas he felt like he had so much more work to do.
While I recognized that I had come a long way, I knew he formed this conclusion partly because he wasn’t seeing a complete picture. He was seeing confidence and a smile within an isolated moment in time and …
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Eliot
I’ve talked to a lot of people who say that this is a lot easier to believe when you’re young–that it’s near impossible to believe anything is possible when there appears to be a lot less time left.
But do we ever really know how much time we have? When we’re young, we’re not as conscious of our mortality and the unpredictability of life, but that doesn’t mean we’re immune from unexpected hardships. It just means that we don’t yet know to focus on them.
“You change for two reasons: Either you learn enough that you want to, or you’ve been hurt enough that you have to.” -Unknown
What are you waiting for?
Photo by Mary Sherman