Monday, January 21, 2013

I Have A Dream...

-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Today is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the life of a true visionary, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He was bold enough to shout out his dreams for his future and ours and insist upon change through love rather than hate, to demand change through peace rather than war.

Pause long enough today to honor his words and let them work in your own life.  Dare to discover what you really want in your life, challenge yourself and allow creative genius to fill your senses.  You can't achieve your dreams unless you have taken the time to actually KNOW what they are.  You can't change your life to one worth living without a goal nor direction.

What is your dream?  

What in your life do you want to change?

If your dream feels silly, unreachable, difficult; if the thought of achieving your dream is scary, unreal, uncomfortable, BUT crazy exciting...then you are on the right track.  Our biggest successes come more freely when we are out of our comfort zone.  When we are on the edge of our seats, thrilled by the ride, our life journey will bear more fruit.

Living the life you dream about starts with having the courage to dream, and deciding to trust your inspiration.  If no one criticizes your life, then you are following the lifeless path dictated by what you fear.  Fear sounds practical, and honoring what you fear keeps you safe and small. 

Don't do only what you should what makes your heart sing!  Be the magnificent self who dares to do what you love and follow your dreams!

Thank you, Dr. King.  Today we challenge our selves to dream big dreams in your honor...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fear or Peace

Our basic instincts give us cause to act.  Fear engages the most primal part of our brain and instigates fight or flight.  We were designed to react physiologically to dangerous situations with heightened senses and adrenaline to get us fighting or running for safety.  But I don't think any of us have a T Rex chasing us for his next meal.

So what, then, are we afraid of?  What do we fear so much that our choices and decisions are made to solely avoid certain bad things rather than to enjoy the good things?  We are afraid of tests, we are afraid of Biology class, we are afraid of our competitions, we are afraid of that mean PE teacher who will make us run, we are afraid of the bully who humiliates us each day, we are afraid of our so-called friends...

We are so busy worrying that we fail to see what is working in our lives, we fail to find what is good in our day, we fail to see Opportunity and Ease even when it punches us in the face.

What if we moved through our day decidedly ignoring our normal fears?  Purposefully choosing to think of what fears us most, our math test on Friday, for example, as a gift we get to enjoy.  What if we decided to stop enduring the yucky part of our lives, and actually be grateful for the opportunities that yucky part is giving us?

We might find, if we embrace what we fear the most, that our fear has no substance, that our fear is a figment of our imagination, that it is ephemeral.  

We might find that we are actually good at math...

Ironically, chronically high levels of stress and anxiety actually force us to lose our concentration and ability to reason. There is a lessening of cognitive function when we live in a state of fear! If you are stressed out for each test at school, your brain is taking the tests while it is, effectively, turned off.

So, take some Ancient Wisdom from Lao-tzu to heart and put it to use:

"Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace...
Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity...
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant, disinterested,
amused, kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king...
you can deal with whatever life brings you..."

-Lao-tzu, The Book of The Way, 500 B.C., translated by Stephen Mitchell

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Who Are You?

In each day we offer up many different versions of ourselves: the athlete, the student, the son or daughter, the part-time worker, the singer, the artist, the gamer, the friend, the teammate, the boyfriend or girlfriend.  In each role we play, we adjust ourselves to fit with the circumstances or to fit with the expectations of those we interact with.

But Who are we really?

Are we the grades that show up on our school's online grade book?  Or the paycheck we get for busing tables?  Or the package of skin, blood, bones and hair we were born into?  Or the reflection we see in the mirror?

Are we the frustrated person slamming the door as we enter our rooms, closing out our parents or siblings?  Or the kid, psyched on the last day of school before winter break, on our way to hang out with friends?

Really, all that stuff is our superficial Self.  It is the part of us that is Reacting to the ingredients that make up our lives.

The core of Who We Are is really about How We Love.

And we are not referring to romantic Love, but instead to universal Love.  We are talking about the Love we feel for our dog or cat, or for our baby brother when he isn't pissing us off.

We are talking about the Love we feel when we are doing what we truly enjoy.  It is that sparkle we get during our musical performance when everything goes perfectly.  It is that zone we get into with our teammates during a winning game.  It is the thrill we get when we 'win' and move to a higher level on the game we like.

That universal Love is the Goodness we feel when we see beauty in a sunset or in a wall of fresh powder to ski on or in a plate of delicious dinner.

Notice what brings you those good feelings and that warmth in your heart.  Notice which ingredients in your life you are Responding to with Love and you will be closer to discovering Who You Really Are.

Be Well,


Friday, January 11, 2013

I Can't Do That

When I was a little girl, my dad loved to take movies of me and my sisters, especially during our swim meets.  There is an hilarious movie of me when I was about 5 trying to put a dirty, dropped scoop of ice cream back onto my ice cream cone, and it kept falling right off.  I had the cone upside down, so there was no way it would ever work, but I tried and tried and tried to put the ice cream back onto the cone, every time picking up the ever-deteriorating blob of pink bubblegum deliciousness and determinedly placing it on the tip of the upside down ice cream cone.

Finally I looked up at the camera and said, "I can't do dat."

Ha-Ha-Ha, right?  It was truly funny, but after years of the countless retelling of my silliness that day, I came away with a whisper of a sense of inadequacy.  I Can't Do That became a quiet mantra that allowed me to avoid life a little bit at a time.  The words took hold deep inside my psyche and became a tough pattern to break, as I let opportunities slip by because...I Can't Do That.

We all have things we degrade ourselves over, right?  We make mistakes, but often beat ourselves up over the simplest of errors.  We wake up in the morning, stub our toe on the corner, swear under our breath, and exclaim, "STUPID," referring to ourselves.  Or to save face when we make a mistake in front of others, we say, "Oh that was so stupid of me, ha, ha."

Then with the big mistakes we go all out with our self-flagellation.  When we get disqualified because of a false start at our swimming championships, or when we miss the winning touchdown pass for the football game against our rival high school, that burning humiliation that comes with our disappointment seems lessened later if we say, "God, I am such and IDIOT."

One thing to remember, though, is that what we say over and over and over to and about ourselves can eventually define us.  You know you aren't Stupid, or an Idiot, or Incapable of Doing Anything Right, but those mean words can start to chip away at that confidence.


Be Nice To Yourself.
Be Kind With Your Words to Your Self and to Others.
Say, "That was Silly," instead of, "That was Stupid."
Notice Your Victories and Say, "That was Fabulous of Me!" or "Well Done."
Be Generous with Your Praise of Your Self and Others

And, if you want to do well in school, sports, music, art, and in life,


I Can't Do That.

Be Well,


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Terrible, Awful, Really Bad Day

  • Ever have one of those terrible days?

You know, when you wake up late, you're racing to finish that last bit of homework, and your binder falls off the desk and explodes on the ground.  Or you need to study a bit more for your Chemistry test, but you left your study guide in your friend's car.  Or you have to print out your essay to turn in for English and you are out of printer toner, or your computer lost the file.  

Then you try to get ready for school but your hair is a complete disaster or you spill cereal and milk on your clothes just as you are heading out the door to catch your carpool and your parents start in at you, and, UGH!, just won't stop talking!

Now there is a pit in your stomach of stress and irritation that you just can't seem to shake.

But the day is only beginning...

Your ride gets a flat tire or gets stuck in a snowbank and you are late for your Spanish mid-term 1st period or for PE class so you get a detention which will make you late for basketball practice so you will have to do extra suicides after practice so your ride will leave without you and your parents will have to pick you up at school and then they start TALKING at you and the TALKING just won't stop...


So how can you turn a TerribleAwfulReallyBadDay around?

Here are a few ways to restart your day:

1.  Write down Every Single Thing that is pissing you off at the moment.  A mental barf can help you relieve some of the pressure cooker you have boiling inside and help you get some perspective.

2.  Take a deep breath and think about something, anything, good that has happened ever in your life.  Distract yourself from what is bothering you by focusing on stuff that makes you feel good.  

3.  Remember the things you have done well.  Think about the home run you got the other day or the quiz you aced last week, or the debate you won two weekends ago, or the cool painting you finished last month.

4.  Go for a bike ride, run, hike, swim, lift weights, play music, beat on a drum, go outside and make noise with a wooden spoon on your Mom's pots and pans.  Moving your body and allowing your senses to 'play' is a great way to get out of whatever funk this bad day has given you.

5. Notice what is good around you: someone's smile, a beautiful view, a group of little kids playing and laughing, the beauty of geese flying in formation, the sound of birds outside your window, the myriad colors of this evening's sunset...

6.  Think of what is actually going right on this day and feel gratitude about the good stuff.

6.  Decide in the innermost part of your Self that it will all work out somehow,

and let go...

  • If you notice early on in your Terrible Day that your bad mood is making more stuff go can Change Your Mind and salvage the day.

  • Make feeling good your biggest, most important job in each moment and start watching miracles come your way!

Remember, you are Magnificent!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Courage To Fail

“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
― Michael Jordan

Some of our most successful heroes are lauded for their accomplishments and held up on a pedestal.  We adore them and put them in that otherworldly category that comes with fame.  
We associate people like Michael Jordan with all-things-unattainable.  In our amazement we are certain we could never 'Be Like Mike.'  What sets them apart from us, however, is not that they are successful.  
What sets them apart from most of us is their willingness to fail.  
They have committed themselves to their goals so deeply, that setbacks and failures don't affect their behavior.  They never give up on what is important to them, even when things might not go their way.
So how can we find the courage to fail in our lives?
The first step is for each of us to actually have something we strive for.  Don't be so busy numbing yourself to life that you miss out on your own brilliance.  So many teens I have worked with over the years have gotten to that unfortunate place where nothing matters to them.  They have said to themselves, "It's all good," about life's disappointments so many times that they don't really care about anything anymore.  
Truly though, aren't we all just shoving our wants and desires down, covering them all up with that false bravado we think will protect us from disappointment?  So many of us are afraid to actually WANT something that we just don't try and then we miss out on our own potential to 'Be Like Mike.'  We just simply miss out.
How can you find the courage to fail?  Here is a basic recipe:
Step One: Find something you care about.  Find the thing you want to be good at or the thing you want to have...find your Why.
Step Two:  See yourself living a life having fulfilled your Why?  Feel it, Smell it, Taste your life as it would be once you have successfully achieved your desire.  
Step Three:  Do the work necessary to have what you want.  Put all your effort and ability into achieving your Why. Know that you deserve the success you are working toward.
Step Four:  Get back up when you stumble.  Allow yourself the mistakes that guide you forward toward your Why.  Know that true failure only happens when you give up on yourself.  Never give up on your Why.
Step Five:  When you have achieved your goals successfully, find a new Why and go back to Step One.

It is an infinite we are never done in our pursuit of happiness.  We just keep finding new ways to define our Self and new things to strive for.  Just have fun in the journey and ignore the bumps and bruises you will get along the way!

Have the Courage to Fail and you will only know success!


Monday, January 7, 2013

The Wisdom of Geese

Have you ever needed help with homework or at sports practice or with your friends?  Often times we struggle with different aspects of our lives, but don't want to ask for help; we don't want to impose on our friends or family or teachers.

Or we don't want to seem needy or weak.

Whatever the reason, our pride prevents us from seeking out the help we desperately need.  So we fail, or we make huge mistakes, or we hurt those that we care about.  All because we didn't ask for help.

But what if we behaved more like geese.  They work together to fly long distances, sharing the wind drag and flying, as a unit, 70% more efficiently than if they each flew alone.  The geese in the back of the V-formation honk encouragement to those shouldering more of the load in the front.  Two geese will follow an ailing geese down to the ground and stay with it until it recovers or dies, only then flying back to catch up with another flock or maybe find their own flock again.

We are meant to help each other, we are meant to share in each other's joys and sorrow, victories and hardships.  It is okay to shoulder our friend's worries.  It is okay to need a shoulder to cry on.

In admitting our failings or our weaknesses, we allow our friends or teammates to be there for us and for them to experience the joy of service.  In offering our help to friends or family, we get to feel our own Power and goodness as we help those we care about grow stronger and more confident.

The best part of admitting to ourselves, and to those that would help us, that we need assistance is that through the process we will only grow stronger, and thus will be able to offer our help to another.

It is a perfect system for creating really strong people in your circle or in your flock.  If we share in the work, we all grow stronger.

So next time you fall behind in class or are having a hard time at practice, ask a classmate or teammate to help you.

Be like the Geese!