His heart grew louder.

He used to hide his true self because he feared people wouldn’t like him, or would judge him for being too much this and not enough that. He found himself acting like everyone else, even though his heart wanted to express itself in ways that felt different than much of what he was seeing in the world. His heart grew louder, and he longed to taste a different kind of freedom, one his mind had worked hard to contain in order to keep him feeling safe. But that safety came with a price: his authenticity. Then it occurred to him, some people would judge him no matter who he was or what he did. And that if he was going to be judged anyway, he may as well live his life as authentically as possible and at least be judged for his truth. He also knew some people would love him no matter who he was or what he did, and how much better it would feel to be loved for being real. 

We are worth our time.

February Happiness Challenge - Day 5

I'm in a bit of a cloud today, the grey kind that settles in your head and leaves everything feeling a bit off. A bit somber. BUT...I fulfilled my happiness commitment and did my hour of yoga this morning. Doing the yoga didn't change my mood. I came out of it as somber as I went into it. And in a way, that was a wonderful thing for me to experience—that, even when I'm feeling down, I can make choices that serve my well-being. Usually, I just mope around and inhale chips and ice-cream.

My commitment to yoga this month is a commitment to take care of myself, no matter what. That's what I did today. It's not about trying to force happiness when that's not what I'm feeling. It's about understanding that we can still make positive choices for ourselves, no matter what we're feeling. My mind may not have felt the benefits of the yoga today, but my body surely did.

There will always be obstacles in our pursuit of a happier life. Our minds will be the most difficult of these obstacles to transcend. Difficult, but not at all impossible. Whatever it is we're feeling, we will always benefit from making conscious choices that serve our happiness and well-being. We may not feel the benefits in the moment (though often, we absolutely will) but they are there, and they're building within us, shifting our foundation away from fear, toward deeper and deeper love. Toward freedom.

Whatever positive action you're taking for yourself each day this month, stick with it. No matter what you're thinking or feeling. You are worth the time you're taking to create for yourself a happier life. I'm honored and grateful to be doing this with you.


The resilient warriors.

I’m in awe of the people who manage their difficult lives with little complaint, those who have suffered more than their fair share of pain, and understand things could have been much worse, those who take the time to be grateful for the important things, and who never give up on themselves or their lives. It's no easy feat to stay optimistic when life has shown you too much darkness, yet our world is filled with these steady, strong, resilient warriors of the light. From them, we have so much to learn.

Sometimes my mind goes dark.

Sometimes my mind goes dark, and every single part of my life goes dark with it. Any happiness I thought I knew gets replaced by a sadness so big it must be for the whole world. I convince myself that I have nothing to offer, and that nobody has anything to offer me, either. I commit to hopelessness. In these dark moments I remind myself, ( because I’d be too lost without the reminder) that what I'm feeling isn't the full truth of the world, not by miles, and that though I can't see it, nothing is as dire as the nightmare my mind conjures, and that i,  and the world, will be okay. In time, with hope. Slowly I come out of the darkness again. I reject my mind's devotion to misery and fear, and reroute myself on a path of acceptance and love. I focus on the beauty in our world, and in myself, and I remember that we are family, all of us, and we each matter. We each shine. Certainly.

She was a victim, until she decided she wasn't.

She was a victim, until she decided she wasn’t. Until she realized only she had the final say in her victimhood. That it was a choice. Her choice. Before then, she allowed the actions of others to define her. She allowed painful, unfair circumstances to dictate how she announced herself to the world. She gave up control of who she was, and who she wanted to be, at home—but lost—in a victim’s life. so she made the choice to find herself. She couldn’t take responsibility for everything that happened to her. Bad things happen to us all, even when we don't invite them. But, she could own her response to all of it. everything. The moment she chose to do so, she ignited a strength she’d long forgotten and saw, at last, new possibilitiess for her life. She opened the door to a deeper healing and to endless opportunities for real change. The very moment she chose to take responsibility for her life, she acknowledged her power like never before. And was, never again, a victim.

A single candle.

How can we expect the world to change if we are unwilling to change ourselves? We hate the haters, judge the judgers, and refuse to forgive the supposed unforgivable. We are hypocrites, most of us, comfortable condemning others for the same things we do. Like sheep we follow, like wolves we attack, like fools we listen to the loudest voices, even when they scream nothing but hate. We are lost in our desire to be like everyone else, and paralyzed in our fear to be ourselves. We are desperate to feel safe amidst our cries for retaliation and more wars. Where is the common sense? If we want to end war, then be peaceful. If we want to know love, then stop hating. if we want to find happiness, then let go of negativity, and befriend gratitude. real change isn’t born from making the same choices over and over, especially choices muddied with insecurity and fear.  we can’t wrest ourselves from darkness by turning out our light. everything just gets darker then. Let's worry less about changing the world and more about changing ourselves. That, we can do, each one of us. With commitment and work. And a single candle does wonders in even the darkest of nights. 

Happy New Year.

Friends...as we head into a new year, please remember that you are not your past. You are not all the labels others have given you or even the ones you've given yourself. As with each new moment, this new year offers you another chance at life, at living a life that is more aligned with the longings of your spirit.

Let this past year go. Breathe into what worked and consider doing more of the same moving forward. Breathe into what didn't work and forgive yourself and everyone else involved in those misjudgments. Learn from this past year, whatever you can, and then let it go. All of it.

Clear space for this new year, for a life transformed. Marvel at what an open mind and heart will invite into your life. Dance into a reality that only kindness and compassion can create.

Don't stop looking until your find your freedom.

And by all means, with everything you've got, love yourself madly through it all.

Happy New Year. 

I Love You.

What are you looking at?

Sitting at the airport. CNN is on the TV...lots of gloom and doom and Trump and doom. So I got up and moved away from the TV, and here's what I'm watching now...

* A thirty-something woman holding the hand of what appears to be her mother, sharing some story that has them both laughing.

* A determined little boy pushing his mom's carryon bag in circles, like a dog chasing after his tail.

* An older man, in a suit, with earphones on, bouncing both knees to the beat of the music.

These people make me feel happy and connected.

CNN makes me feel fearful and irritated.

And I'm reminded again to turn off the news and set my focus on all the humanity that lives and breathes and laughs and loves all around me.

The good is everywhere.

Not fearless, but brave just the same.

Friends...rest assured some will not jive with who you are and what you have to say. Some will misunderstand you, while others may understand you perfectly well and simply not like you, for whatever reason. Please remember that all of this has nothing to do with you, not really. We can never own another person's response to our truth. We can only own our willingness to express ourselves honestly, and to do so with as much courage and love as possible.

Please try not to limit yourself - your authentic expression - because of fear of being judged or criticized or made fun of. We are judged and criticized and made fun of no matter how we choose to present ourselves to the world. That's one of the less fun parts of being human. And yes, it's true that if you keep quiet and blend in or hide yourself completely, you won't attract as much attention or judgment from others. (People are always more comfortable with those who stay silent.) But...and this is a big BUT...when you hide yourself behind your fears, when you live in a whisper when you were born to sing, you don't begin to invite the same kinds of possibilities, or the same incredible wonders that come with living your life out loud. Not fearless, but brave just the same. So committed to being yourself that you forget how to be anyone else. More than anything, Free.

Love more. Love harder. Love everyone.

Don’t let the world's violence turn you against humanity. Don't let your fear dictate how you relate to others. These are terrifying times, sure. We all feel it. Feeding the hate only makes things scarier.  Condemning each other only fuels the wars. It’s love that changes things for the better,  that diffuses the hate and dismantles the violence. In time. Feel whatever fear you need to feel, and continue to act from love despite the fear. Commit yourself to kindness, and compassion. Forgive and accept and forgive again. Love more. Love harder. Love everyone. That's how we heal our world.