Happiness is really a deep harmonious inner satisfaction and approval.~Francis Wilshire
As humans, interconnected in more ways than we realize, we place a great deal of pressure on each other to act in a certain way. The belief is that if other people act in a way that better suits us and our needs, it’ll be easier to find peace and happiness.
When I was in high school and entirely consumed by my relationships with my peers, any type of conflict — especially the kind that made me believe someone else was in control — shook me to my core.
So when a ten-year friendship hit rocky ground over a difference in opinion about my boyfriend (something I can’t help but laugh about now), I was devastated. I always wanted others to agree with my actions and decisions, and when they didn’t, I searched for ways to convince them that I was right.
I remember brooding over this particular fight for hours, recounting the details to anyone willing to listen, and impatiently waiting for the apology phone call. I thought, If she just calls and admits she was wrong, I can stop thinking about this and move on. But if she doesn’t, our friendship won’t recover.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.~Mahatma Gandhi
A few years ago I was walking to the car, about to jump in the passenger’s side so my husband could drop me off at my job on his way to work. Suddenly my stomach was in knots; my esophagus felt like it was on fire.
This had been happening regularly for a few months, but we’d just gotten back from two weeks of blissful vacation, road tripping up the Pacific Northwest coastline. I had sort of forgotten this misery … until I returned to my job.
The cause and effect were so clear to me at that moment. How could I continue working somewhere that caused me physical pain?
It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are the most important.~Arthur Conan Doyle
I have always been wary of the little things in life. The little things can steal my serenity, rob me of peace of mind and kill my joy.
At the same time, I have been aware of the little things in my life:
The smell of freshly brewed coffee
The overheard laughter of a stranger
A spider web glistening with morning dew
How can I be defeated by little things or more likely, how can I LET little things defeat me? I identify with the concept of Chinese Water Torture as a method of ultimate despair — the premise being that drops of water fall onto the forehead of a restrained individual and ultimately render them insane.
I was constantly requesting change but viewing everything with the same lens and mindset that had created what I didn’t want in the first place.
I was blind to the changes that had occurred and were constantly occurring, caught in a battle between the reality I perceived and the reality that actually existed.
Often times this is how we handle our relationships — we spend an exorbitant amount of time pushing for positive change, but our attention has been stuck for so long on what’s wrong that we don’t adjust when things begin shifting and moving in a different direction.
We may be living and breathing in the current moment, but we are constantly reacting to past circumstances, past hurts and past disappointments. And despite how fluid and constantly changing things are — and we’ve all been witness to this — we don’t operate from a place that recognizes this fact of life.
Often I am woken up by the songs of coyotes howling in the predawn. It might be a single, mournful wail, but more often the entire desert hillside comes alive with the yipping chorus.
It’s a beautiful, eerie song that evokes something ancient and primal, almost like a genetic memory stretching back to the beginning of time.
As well as hear them, I also see them frequently. Wild and furtive, a coyote darts across the path during my morning walk, where I see her hiding among the sage and bitter brush watching me with wary eyes.
I wonder what she thinks. If it’s pure survival instinct, why doesn’t she run? Has the pack come to recognize me over the past two years as I walk several times a week along Rattlesnake Trail that winds up the hill by a cattle ranch, the same territory they occupy?
To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.~Thich Nhat Hanh
I’ll never forget the first time I allowed myself to say, “I hate him.” I discovered the feeling during my meditation time. Seeing it there in front of me made me realize I needed to stop pretending it wasn’t true.
My dearest friend heard it first.
“I hate him,” I said with a smile. Not exactly the hateful expression you’d expect, but it was the most liberating statement I’d ever made, and I was so happy about it!
Always before I’d tried to reconcile myself to his presence. To be the bigger person, and not harbor hate in my heart. But through all my striving, I hated him still, and I’d just been lying to myself about it.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.~Arthur Ashe
Several years ago, my good friend and I shared an apartment. We both just started our first “real jobs” and weren’t making a ton of money. We took turns cooking dinner, and we came up with a plan to use everything in our fridge before we went grocery shopping.
We didn’t waste food and saved serious cash at a time when we needed to most. It also forced us to be ridiculously creative.
Apples and tofu were the only thing in the fridge? Check out the pantry. We’ve got some walnuts, honey and a lone red onion. Suddenly we went from scrounging to gourmet cooking.
We called this using what you have, and we applied it all over the place. I just used it while shopping yesterday.