Think Simple Now — a moment of clarity

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The Cry of My Soul

Photo by Simón Pais-Thomas

We had a blissfully fun time in Hawaii, filled with sun, laughter, and relaxation. It was truly an occasion of celebration for love and life. But in life, the opposite extreme also exists within the same time and space continuum.

Shortly after returning from our honeymoon, while still wearing our ear-to-ear smiles, we got news that my grandpa Lozier passed away on the day of our flight home, at the age of 95.

I was deeply saddened by this news and spent the next three weeks in silent mourning. Suddenly, all the problems created by my imagination seemed insignificant and petty, and I began to ponder my own mortality.

I reviewed the previous week, and regretted fighting with my mom in Hawaii. I regretted making her sad and angry with my immature and occasionally lingering teenage ways. I regretted not spending more time with grandma and grandpa Lozier. I regretted not spending more quality time with my parents while in Hawaii. I regretted all the time I spent thinking hateful thoughts about things I had no control over. I wished I could take it all back. I felt sorrow at the realization of lost time, and that I could never get it back again.

This is a record of what I’ve learned over the past few weeks in my pondering of life, death and regret.

Living Enlightenment

Photo by Kevin Russ

I have not spoken about this publicly, but one of the most extraordinary things that has ever happened to me was meeting an enlightened guru from India, named Paramahamsa Nithyananda, we call him Swamiji (Pronounced “Swan-me-jee”). The clarity I gained through meeting and learning from him was responsible for many of the lessons and simplicities behind Think Simple Now.

He is currently in the US, and as I was writing personal emails to close friends encouraging them to check him out, I felt that I would be doing my readers a great disservice, if I did not share him with you.

My Story

The happiest period of time in my life occurred during a six month stretch, roughly two years ago. I lovingly refer to this time as my “spiritual awakening” period. Several things contributed towards my falling into and staying in this state of bliss:

Attending his intensives was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed, and has shaped much of the understanding and clarity I now have.

How to Find True Love

Photo by Stock Photo

While “How to Get Over a Breakup” was the number one requested article topic I’ve written on, it’s not surprising that a close second is the topic of How to Find True Love. Here’s an email from one reader:

I’ve realized that one of my main goals is to find a worthwhile and long term relationship. I noticed you have entries on how to keep a relationship and on how to end a relationship so would you consider writing an entry on what you perceive to be the best way to find a worthwhile relationship. How to avoid making the same mistakes, overcoming fears, keeping up motivation after failure etc.”
– Gary (Dublin, Ireland)

Regardless of our culture, our level of education or economic status, at the depth of all of us are the same desires- to love, to be loved, and to be happy.

Of course we could add other desires to this list, like money and wealth and fancy things, but when you drill into these things, the reason for wanting them is so that we can appear more desirable, and will hopefully be loved and accepted.


If love is something so fundamentally important to us, then why is it that we have so many issues and misunderstandings in the area of finding it? I think the answer is simple, that most of us have never been educated in this fundamental area of our development. Chances are, you didn’t grow up with parents who were relationship experts, and we certainly didn’t study relationships in our high school curriculums. For most of us, it’s been an adventure in trial and error and learning through pain and heart-break. But is there an easier way?

In light of Valentine’s Day approaching this week, I am going to touch on one of my favorite topics of all time: finding love.

How to Be Popular

Photo by Lucia Holm

Over the past few days, I’ve attended a few social gatherings at which my interactions with other people provided me with a few new revelations. During these interactions I started to notice a peculiar social pattern; that a significant percentage of people are not that good at being social.

After one particular dinner engagement with my partner and another couple, I went home feeling completely uninspired and insignificant. Even after having spent 2 hours with this couple, I am fairly certain they still don’t know anything about me aside from the obvious surface details; my name is Tina, I am Asian and I live in Seattle. They have no idea what I do for a living, what my expertise is, how I spend my time, or where I am from. They were either completely uninterested in me, or they just have underdeveloped social skills.

Later, when I was analyzing the dinner engagement situation, I started to realize why I avoid spending time with certain people in my life, even some friends whom I like and respect. The answer is – they focus too much on themselves, and show a lack of interest in me.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? If someone doesn’t show any interest in you, why would you want to spend any of your precious time with them? I’m sure there are countless other things you would rather be doing.

I have a friend whom, despite her many outstanding qualities, will derail a social gathering by talking about herself the entire night without directing a single question to anyone else around the table. She dominates the table’s conversation by constantly initiating topics that revolve back to the theme of how brilliant she is. It actually is true, she really is brilliant. However, this gets annoying really quickly and obviously makes the others around the table very uncomfortable. It also has the net result of her getting left off of future engagement invites.

The interesting lesson here is that by observing how the behavior of others make us feel, we can tweak and improve our own social skill set. In this way, we can ensure that people leave their interactions with us feeling great, and looking forward to the next time we connect. Just imagine if all meetings ended like this, wouldn’t they also be more enjoyable for us?

How to Get Over a Break Up

Falling passionately in love with someone is one of the most exhilarating feelings, as if you had wings and you are flying high in the sky, feeling the wind romantically blowing through your hair. And usually, when love ends, it feels as if you’ve been dropped like a rock in mid-air. You scramble to grab a hold of something … anything, as you witness your body falling at great speeds, and then shattering on the earth below.

Whether we’re talking about breakups, or facing the reality of a one-sided romance, it is painful. So much so that it disrupts our normal flow of experiences, causing us to not function normally.

With so much emotion invested and our identities tied in with these experiences, it’s no wonder that this is the number one topic requested by readers. Over the past year, I have regularly received email from readers sharing their own takes on painful breakups; tales of guilt, of fear, of regret, and of resentment. Although the stories were different, the underlying message was universal and one in the same, “I am in so much pain from not being with this person – what can I do?

Sometimes, the pain of lost love is so intense that it can shake our beliefs about romance and relationships. When these emotional bruises are not understood and have not healed properly, they become invisible baggage that drag with us into the next relationship. This article focuses on the healing process from “love lost”.

Surrender to Emotional Pain

Photo by Sara Lando of Silvia. See more of her work on flickr.

We’ve all heard the popular eastern mantra: we create our own pain, in our minds. Yet, when it comes down to daily living, we still do that which contradicts what we say we want – we continue to willingly inflict pain upon ourselves.

Despite being an advocate and devoted “preacher” of this message, I too subject myself to this self-inflicted pain, and suffer from its fallout.

For the past few months, I have been drifting in-and-out of an unconscious and anxious state of mind over the anticipated conclusion of an unresolved situation. My mind dwelled on the uncertain nature of the situation, and would not let go of the self-depleting thoughts that were creating a lot of pain and negativity within my inner space – uneasiness, resentment, anger and hatred. Suffice it to say that my inner peace had been stirred up into an unpredictable storm.

I am happy to report that the event did finally come to a conclusion, and it ended in my favor. Now I’m struggling a little with the conflicting feelings of shame, for having been angry and spiteful, and feelings of gratitude for having experienced these emotions and learning from them.

While analyzing and extracting the lessons learned, I saw that pain and our reactions to it come to us in a familiar pattern. Unless we take some proactive measures to interrupt this pattern, we will forever be enslaved to the whim of some external circumstance that is beyond our control.

When faced with tough life situations, what can we do to handle them while minimizing any disturbances to our emotional wellbeing? This is the focus of discussion in this article.

Design Your Life

Photo by the incredible Tom Palumbo of Anne St. Marie, 1959.

Are you tired of setting New Year’s resolutions only to find yourself faced with the same resolutions a year later? Don’t you just hate that feeling of guilt rising in your stomach at the thought of lost time, lost opportunities and lack of self-discipline?

I was at the gym last night and was shocked to see 3 times as many people there than normal. Rushing out of a locker room filled, hip-to-hip, with half-clothed ladies I’ve never seen before, I hopped on the last of twelve treadmills and gazed around the room in amazement – nearly every machine was occupied, the personal trainers were fully engaged, and there were countless new faces.

This is what I call “New Year’s Resolution Syndrome”.

It is well-known that gyms will overbook annual memberships at the start of each year, banking on the fact that many people will not follow through and will eventually stop showing up. Over the next few weeks, the traffic will slowly die down and the gym will be back to its normal and quiet self again.

What’s the problem here? The problem is that resolutions do not work. Especially the socially coined, “New Year’s Resolutions”. It’s a cliché that only 12% of people actually take action on and resolve.

What we need is a different approach. We need a system of designing our lives to sustainably improve the quality of our daily experience.

This article details a step-by-step system that I personally use for creating and living a balanced and meaningful life. Throw away ‘them TO-DO lists, and resolutions, because they don’t work – at least, they don’t last long enough to make a sustainable impact. Let’s drill down and focus on what really matters.

A Time of Reflection

Christmas photo of Tommy, Tina and Blackie.

Happy Holidays to you and the ones you love! Thank you for being a part of the Think Simple Now community, and welcoming me into your lives.

Looking back on the year, didn’t it seem like it flew by in a blink? While it is easy to point out missed goals, time wasted, and many of life’s other disappointments, it is also just as easy to choose to see the beauty, the blessings, the gifts and the miracles we’ve received this year. If you find yourself at this crossing, choose happiness.

Let’s take this opportunity to take a few deep breaths and reflect on the year’s many gifts. Here’s a simple meditation I like to do:

13 Tips to Building Self Esteem

Photo by Kevin Russ
People with high self-esteem are the most desired, and desirable people in society. ~Brian Tracy

Can you recall the last time you were in an emotional slump, such that your beliefs in yourself and your abilities were slipping away? How can we maintain the beliefs we have in ourselves, such that we can live with less anxiety and more joy?

Just imagine the things we would accomplish if we had the belief that we could do absolutely anything, especially if we could maintain a level of self-esteem that no circumstance could shake. What would you be doing?

Self-esteem comes from positive self-imaging, and it is something that we proactively build for ourselves. Self-esteem doesn’t happen while we wait passively. When we leave it up to external factors, we build our self-esteem on sandy ground. What we want is a rock-solid foundation, and this only comes from building it within.

Throughout our daily routines, our minds are very good at picking up all the things we’ve done wrong, and it makes sure we are aware of them. With such a counter-productive force at work, we can benefit greatly by regularly working towards establishing and building our own self image.

I’ve learned that the way we view ourselves directly affects everything we do. People with high self-esteem get along easily with others, rarely get sick, and seem to have high energy reserves. Also, their high level of self-esteem corresponds with their high level of productivity, capacity of happiness and state of well-being.

Overcome Fear in the Economic Crisis

Photo by Lucia Holm

It seems that you can’t go even one day without hearing a comment, a remark, a report, or an article highlighting the current economic downturn.  How can we keep a positive attitude during these tough economic times?

It has become an unavoidable topic that comes up during business meetings, lunches, and social gatherings. A friend recently was forced to sell his house, and shared with me the tales of money lost and his many frustrations. Another friend jokingly remarked, “my 401K has turned into my 201k, I might as well have not worked for the past two years.”

I’ve done my best not to focus any energy on this topic, until I recently started receiving email from readers asking for advice on how to deal with the current economic situation, emotionally. Here is one such email from a generous reader that encapsulates the topic nicely:

“I am a recent graduate from a Masters program, have a very good job, but am constantly worried about what the future holds for me financially. Since most of the troubles in the world are out of my hands, how can I keep an upbeat attitude about life in general, during these tough times that are affecting so many hard working people.”
– James Richter

In this article, I will give my own perspective on this topic, and relay specific tips on dealing with fear during an economic downturn.

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