“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” ~Unknown
Five months ago, I was sitting outside with a friend when a mosquito bit me under the arm. I went to scratch the bite and felt a lump on the side of my breast. My doctor sent me for a mammogram, ultrasound, and fine needle biopsy. I had breast cancer.
I am a 44-year-old single mother of two beautiful young girls with primary custody. I am also Director of a psychology practice and self-employed.
The day I was diagnosed was the day I lost the carefully …
“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Improv comedy is something I’ve always enjoyed. I thought it would be fun to try, so I eventually took a class. Countless classes and many laughs later, I’ve learned that improv is a lot like life. In fact, applying what you learn in improv can actually improve your life.
Showing up at an improv class for the first time might prove intimidating or anxiety provoking for some. I felt some nerves when taking my first class, …
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi
Most of us are so busy waiting for someone to love us that we’ve forgotten about the one person we need to love first—ourselves.
Ironically, it was when my ten-year marriage fizzled that I began the innermost process of self-discovery about love.
While discouraged and saddened at the crumbling of our relationship, I began to explore love more. How had it fizzled? Why had we stopped loving each other, and what had happened to …
“You must welcome change as the rule but not your ruler” ~Denis Waitley
My name is Hannah, and I find it hard to deal with change.
As much as I used to want to think of myself as flexible and easy-going, I struggle to live up to these ideals. I like to know where I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going, and to have my near future mapped out in lists, to-dos, and ideas. In short, I do whatever I can to minimize the level of uncertainty in my life.
My discomfort around uncertainty means I am usually …
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” ~Wayne Dyer
Everything in life is perception. How you perceive life depends on the things and people that have influenced you: school, society, friends, family, TV. So, you may think something is bad or good, but in reality it is neither. You were taught to perceive it the way you do.
One person might see money as the root of all evil, while another might see it as something wonderful that can be used to help others and create opportunities. Two different perceptions of …
“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Do I really love them, or am I simply afraid to be without them? Is my love an expression of freedom, or is it merely a mask that hides my insecurities? These are questions that haunted my awareness. What is love, if I am afraid to lose it?
It seemed that I was running in circles trying to catch something that was never there.
I felt as if my love was not love, but rather just a fear that saw myself as unlovable; …
“Good relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience and two people who truly want to be together.” ~JnK Davis
My husband and I were going through a difficult time a few years ago. It felt like a pivotal time in our relationship. People say that marriage isn’t easy and you have your ups and downs. Well, we were definitely experiencing a low point.
We had been together for several years; we had been high school sweethearts and were each other’s best friends.
During this time we had several issues going on in our life, one of which was my …
“Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me.” ~Isabel Allende
I am a recovering perfectionist.
Up until now, this is the only way I’ve known how to live. The thrilling burn of perfection invaded every aspect of my life to the point that I became paralyzed by fear. If I couldn’t do it right, I didn’t want to do it at all.
When I was younger, I allowed the desire for perfection to control all of my actions. In music, if I couldn’t sit first chair, I didn’t want to play …
“The lives we lead have everything to do with the questions we ask ourselves.” ~Lori Deschene
You lay in bed night after night, tossing and turning, eager to push forward but unable to shake off the onslaught of what-ifs.
What if I’m making a huge mistake? What if I fail utterly and miserably? What if I’m overestimating my ability to go through with this? What-if…? What-if…?
Yet, no matter how crazy your anxiety and fears seem right now, you can snap out of it and make that new start you so desperately desire.
How do I know?
Let me …
“Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman
I didn’t spend two years and $100,000 for a master’s degree in counseling from an Ivy League university so that I could be miserable and hate my life fifty hours a week, but that’s what happened.
After a few years in the trenches of the non-profit world, my job had become so emotionally draining that it was taking a vicious toll on my health and causing gripping anxiety attacks. I …
“The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” ~Viktor E. Frankl
For my livelihood, I lead workshops on how to let go of stress and experience deeper happiness. My occupation makes my occasional meltdowns all the more embarrassing. Fortunately, a meltdown I had last year led me to a question that completely changed how I view difficult situations in my life.
As I was checking in at the airport a few months ago, I was told I did not have a ticket for my cross-country flight. Fortunately, I had my confirmation number with …
“He who deliberates fully before taking a step will spend his entire life on one leg.” ~Chinese Proverb
Here’s the thing: I don’t know what to do.
About this thing, about that thing. About big things and small things.
Actually, to be honest, even the smallest thing seems big when I don’t know what to do about it. The state of “not knowing what to do” is like some kind of Miracle Grow for small things in my mind.
This is not a new thing. Not knowing what to do is a particular and well-honed talent of mine. …
“Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.” ~Proverb
As a child, I was obsessed with other worlds—reading about alien planets, writing fantasy stories, or just playing video games. As a teenager, I longed to know as much as possible— who we were, why we are here, the meaning of life.
Later on, I started traveling. There was so much to see, so much to do, so many ways to look at the world. I wanted to see it all, touch it all, experience it all.
This need for …
“Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed by the fire of enthusiasm.” ~Norman Vincent Peale
“Something just doesn’t feel right,” I thought to myself as I walked into my house after a long commute from work, being greeted by my exhausted spouse, who was trying to manage the kids after putting in a long day at her own job.
Work hard, save money, buy a house, and live happily ever after. The formula I grew up with didn’t seem all that great anymore. Was it broken? I mean, I worked at a good job but felt …
“If you learn from a loss you have not lost.” ~Austin O’Malley
Every experience, including every loss, has something to teach us even when we are not up for a lesson.
Losing one of my pets has been a chance for me to reflect on the value of the present, and has strengthened my commitment to engaging in each moment and not letting my worries and anticipation erode the possibilities of the now.
In December, my fourteen-year-old golden retriever passed away. Ripley was an incredible companion who saw me through several jobs, moved with me five times, and outlasted my …
“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” ~Thich Nhat Han
My dad had been ill, in and out of the hospital for a couple of weeks, when my mother called with news that he had been airlifted from their local hospital to a larger regional medical center. My dad suffered from Crohn’s Disease for nearly fifty years at that point and was experiencing severe abdominal pain believed to be from a perforation of his bowel.
We would learn over the next few hours that even surgery to remove a malignant …
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
I’m not someone who enjoys busyness or sees it as a sign of importance. In fact, I’ve often sacrificed money and opportunities to have more time to watch movies, roam around my neighborhood, and generally live life at a slow pace.
This is the way I most enjoy experiencing my days—by creating space to just be. And I find this supports my passion as a writer, since it allows me abundant opportunities to play, explore, and expand my understanding of the world and …
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” ~Lao Tzu
I recently took seven weeks off of work and rented a place in Laguna Beach.
The trip was meant to be a relaxing vacation and possibly a change of residence; it turned out to be a wakeup call.
I started the trip out by going on my first date since 2010. The pollen count was high, and my sinuses were none too happy. I’m still not sure if it was being on a date or the medication that triggered so much anxiety…
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” ~Lao Tzu
For most of my life I had the overwhelming feeling that I was lacking something. I felt like I was not good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough.
I was nothing but an unattractive, chubby girl of little worth. In my late twenties I formed a huge crush that changed my life, for the worse, or so I thought. Against my will, I developed an unbelievable attraction to women. I was horrified!
Being gay was the cherry on top of my pile of …
“Letting go give us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I stood alone in what had been my childhood bedroom, staring at the dresser with a familiar discomfort. My fingers clutched at the handle of the second drawer from the top and pulled hard, straining from the weight of its contents.
I reached in with both hands, the drawer with its quarter inch plywood base teetering dangerously on the edge of the frame, and lifted them out, one by one.
Unicorns, fairies, rainbows, mystical maidens, all disappeared as I placed the journals into the …