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!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

High School: A Plate of Scary With a Bit of Joy

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”  –Marianne Williamson
What are  you afraid of?
When I was in high school, each day was met with a pit in my stomach.  Sometimes I was nervous about schoolwork I hadn’t finished or tests I didn’t feel prepared for, or there was that pesky Speech class I had with my CrushWhoDoesn’tKnowIExist, or I was worried about facing the Mean Girls on my cheerleading squad.
Regardless of what I feared, the fact that my overarching experience was a plate of Scary seasoned with a bit of Joy was why most of high school came and went painfully for me.
If the Me I am today looks back on each source of fear the Me had back then I can see I had a choice each time.  More often than not, back then I chose to feel the Scary and to not feel the Joy.  Let’s take a look:
On Being Unprepared: What was I afraid of?  I was afraid my teacher would call on me and I would be humiliated by own inadequacy.  The perfectionist in me needed to feel wholly competent on each concept, and when I didn’t get something, I was too proud to seek out help or tutoring.  I didn’t want Everyone to truly, quantifiably know that I was unworthy, because then my parents would be correct in their minimizing barks in my direction.  I pushed myself to achieve, yet I sabotaged my own efforts at success by my nagging self-doubt.  I was the taffy being pulled between my parents’ limiting beliefs I embraced out of a misguided sense of loyalty and my own inkling of the brilliance of my Being.
On the CrushWhoDoesn’tKnowIExist:  His name was Mike, he was a Senior and he was gorgeous.  Unfortunately, the girl he did like, Mary Jo, was also in our class.  She seemed to have and be everything I didn’t and wasn’t.  Each day I was faced with my own irreconcilable Desire (Mike) and the proof (Mary Jo) of my Unworthiness.  Sometimes, though, what we want isn’t really that good for us.  I was the Honor Student, Cheerleader, State Swimming Champion, Junior Achiever.  Mike and Mary Jo were party-ers who skipped class and didn’t have a big plan for their future.  But they were so Cool…
On the Mean Girls: When I was hopping churches, reading Siddartha, and seeking the Truth, my cheerleader ‘friends’ were instigating fights with other girls and actively ostracizing me because I caught them cheating during the voting for cheerleading tryouts.  I loved cheering and dancing, but I couldn’t relate to the petty infighting that colored every practice and game.  What made the experience so painful was how important it seemed at the time for me to conform to a mold of Being that actively confined my Soul.
How could I have found the Joy in high school?  How can you find your Joy right now?
In each aspect of my Scary in high school I shrank from my true Self in an attempt to please others, to fit in, and to conform to the popular view.  What made my life uncomfortable was all the effort I spent Not Being Myself.  I cowered from my own brand of Amazing so other people would like me.
Now I know that, in fact, people would have gravitated more readily to the Me I really was, rather than the Me I thought they would have liked.
So be true to your Self.  Honor and Do and Be what you shine in, and avoid forcing yourself into a mold that doesn’t feel good.  Let your desire for each moment of every day be about feeling good, feeling your power, feeling what is authentically You.
You are truly Magnificent.

Let Go & Start Anew

So ‘last year’ reading was a pain, and staying up with your reading assignments difficult. Or maybe you did poorly in your math class. At some point in October you felt lost with the Geometry/Algebra/Pre-Calc material and just never were able to catch up.
Now you have an opportunity to change it up, and figure out a new way to work through the classes that feel challenging. Maybe you have finals in January or are starting a new semester.
Either way, the first thing to do in an effort to change your school life is to change your thinking. If you can change your mind about Who you are, What you want, and How you plan to accomplish your goals, what felt hard last year will seem like a breeze.
Stop saying negative things about yourself! Stop going on and on about how much you hate math or you hate Mr. Soandso or reading the Odyssey is just stupid. Stop making excuses that validate your failures. Don’t argue for your limitations.
You are magnificent. You have so many talents and strengths. Just start with what you can do, or what you feel good at. Remember how fun it is to feel good about the tasks at school you enjoy.
Take that joy with you while you prove why two triangles are congruent. Find fun in the annotating you have to do for Romeo and Juliet. Reward yourself for finishing your homework or finals’ review early or on time.
When you are able to be kind with yourself around the classwork that feels hard or in which you struggle, the work will feel effortless…mostly…You get to choose to suffer in school or not.
Why not start this New Year off by deciding to just feel good when you do your work, no matter what?  See what is good in your schoolwork instead of what you hate, and you might find there are fewer things to be upset or worried about.
Change Your Mind and Change Your Life!

Test Terror

Lots of people call it test anxiety, but when you have 40 minutes to do 10 questions and you look at Question 1 and have no idea where to start…it truly is terrorizing.
We all have blamed our collective testing blackouts and malfunctions on the jerk-off teacher or the calculator that didn’t work right or the fact that we ran out of time and how unfair the test was.  But when our pencil and test paper meet that fateful day, we are truly the only culpable party to our own test performance.
We are responsible for what letter or percentage is written in red on the top of the page the next day.  And every time, that number represents who we think we are.  That number tells us not Who we really are, but who we believe ourselves to be.
Do you know you are the master of your own life?  Or are you certain that You Don’t Test Well?
Are you convinced you have issues with schoolwork, or have learning problems, or your teacher doesn’t like you?  You don’t like that class anyway and why do you need to know that fact in real life?  The class is boring and you will never use the information you are supposed to parrot back to the teacher in your future career.
It is all good, right?
No matter what bravado we wear on test day, that too-low red number can be painful to see on the top of our test paper the next day.  Each stroke of red ink can feel like a stab in the gut telling us we are not worth much, and we will never succeed in life.
I would like to point out, however, a few facts to the contrary.  Instead of your poor test grade representing all that you lack and have failed in, the red ink is like the bumpers you can have put up at the bowling alley…you know the ones they put up for little kids, but we all like to put them up and play anyway.  Or  like the bumps in the middle of a two-lane road, or on the sides of a freeway that make annoying sounds when you drive over them, but you are so grateful they are there to let you know you have drifted out of your lane.
The bowling alley bumpers and the freeway bumps are there for the same reason.  They are gentle reminders that let us know when we have gone off of our path.  We have missed the mark.  They help us steer ourselves back on the right track and get to where we want to go.
Your test grades can do the same thing for you.  They can let you know that a few adjustments in your academic life might need to be made.  You can prepare more thoroughly for a test by reviewing the material and finishing all the homework before you sit for the test.  You can go over the material and retake notes on parts you are not too sure about as well.
Let’s say that preparation is not the problem.  When you take any test, no matter how well you know the material, you still do poorly.  You feel nervous before each exam, like you want to throw up, and you never do well on your exams.
So what makes you forget all that you know when you sit down to take your exam?  What is the reason we all sometimes choke when the pressure to succeed bears down on us?
There is only ONE answer to this question, no matter how it is worded or posed.  You will only do as well as you believe you can.  If you know you can’t do math or don’t like chemistry, the red ink on the top of your test paper will make you right every time.  In this you cannot fail.  All the preparation in the world will not overcome your overarching belief that you don’t test well, or aren’t good at math or English.
So let some of your work in school be about changing your beliefs.  Change how you feel about yourself with regard to the class you have a test in.  You might not like the class, but you do like yourself, and you do want to do and be the best you can be in All that you do: even the boring stuff.
When you are able to know you can do anything you set your mind to and that you are the Master of your life, even when it comes to Geometry or Chemistry or History, you will start to see improvements on your test taking performances.

Don't Limit Yourself

For most teens, Winter Break from school means late nights with friends, sleeping in, tons of food, and screen time. It is a time to decompress from weeks of too much studying for school, sports activities and Holiday events.
Some teens have finals to study for in January and some have just received their semester grades. Some students now know their PSAT scores or are busy writing their college application essays. There is busy-ness in the pause vacation allows, and sometimes there is a HUGE bear on your shoulder helping you to avoid important tasks and deadlines you face on January 7th.
That sugar-induced monster called Procrastination is tricky, slippery, and easy to get stuck within.
Imbedded in the Monster’s seductive message of,
“Don’t worry, you have tons of time to get your paperprojectstudyguidecollegeessay done. You don’t need to work on it today…you can get it all done after New Year’s,”
is a whispering lie you believe is truth and tell yourself over and over subconsciously.
You say, “I am not good, I won’t succeed, I don’t care, It doesn’t matter, It’s boring, I don’t want to try because I might fail, It’s all good, No big deal.”
The amount of energy you can spend justifying why you are avoiding your responsibility could be used to actually accomplish the task you are choosing not to do 20 times over. You also know that it feels awful to put your work off…the guilt taints the fun you are attempting to have while avoiding the job you have to do.
And, more importantly, in Doing rather than Trying to Do or Thinking About Doing, you will experience your power more fully.
And POWER is what it is all about. Power is what we all came to this life to experience. Your Being just wants to feel Good inside, to feel Able and Worthy. No matter what, you and I and we are all Worthy, Able and Good. But we can’t FEEL Worthy until we accomplish what we set out to do.
Right now for most of you, what you have in front of you to do is schoolwork, sports, acting, singing, dancing, or your club activity or hobby. No matter what your work is, start to notice when you put it off, feel guilty about it, and then throw something together in the last possible moments. Realize that in those slippery, avoiding moments you are CHOOSING to be your smaller, limited Self.
Change it up this time, and CHOOSE to just get it done. Be amazed by how good that feels.
Blair Tyse
“I believe in you long enough for you to feel strong enough to start to believe in yourself.”