The Practice of Gratitude

Right now, I can feel that my body is coming down with a cold. I’ve been stalling it off for a couple weeks, but I think one of those darn bugs finally broke through and got to me. How do you feel when you’re sick? Other than “lousy,” if you’re like most people when you’re sick, all you want is to return to good health. As we’re blowing our irritated nose for the one-hundredth time this morning, or as we’re launched into a coughing fit in the middle of a conversation, we’re probably thinking, “I just want to be healthy again! Then I will feel so much better!”

The “high” we feel when we return to good health after being sick is pretty significant. A friend once told me it’s one of the greatest feelings he’s experienced——we almost feel like a superhero, being able to breathe through our nose again! But after the initial couple days (if even that long) of being relatively healthy again, we forget about how much better we feel by comparison, and we begin to take our good health for granted again.

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A Vision of Self-Love

How do you love yourself?

This question might seem familiar. Last year, I wrote an article called For the Love of You, which began with the question, “Do you love yourself?” I wrote about the importance of self-love and how it can change your life to break the internal cycle of self-hatred that we learn to perpetuate. If you haven’t read it, or if you haven’t revisited it since I posted it, I would encourage you to read through it again.

It’s easy to acknowledge, “I should love myself,” but it’s not at all easy to actually start taking the steps towards loving yourself. It’s the how that’s the challenge; when we spend so much of our life forming the habit of self-hatred, it takes a lot of strength and courage to re-route those hard-worn paths in our mind. Continue reading “A Vision of Self-Love”

A Year of Stillness

Nobody really teaches you how to be still. They teach you how to crawl, how to walk, run, ride a bike, drive a car, but nobody really teaches you how to be still.

I graduated from college and nothing happened. The stillness felt like failure. They teach you how to run, and then you run. That’s what you do–you’re not supposed to stop. But then I stopped.

Stillness makes people uncomfortable; sometimes, it upsets them. The ant must carry the leaf; the bee must pass the pollen. It was a spring day in May I walked across the stage set up at my university’s football field, the fresh electric scent of bloom tickling my nose. Continue reading “A Year of Stillness”

Judgment Overruled

Even if you’ve never been in a courtroom, you’ve probably seen it portrayed on TV before. There’s usually an audience, maybe a jury, defendants and plaintiffs, and then there’s the person who sits above everyone else, appointed to decide what happens to people who make mistakes through their supreme ability to judge others. That’s what the judge does—-forms an opinion and decrees this is the right order everyone will obey.

Sounds kind of harsh, but sometimes we can be harsh, like the judge, without realizing it.

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Most Times, Say Sometimes

How many times have you heard the phrase, “Never say never”? The irony of the saying is not lost, although perhaps the meaning of it is.

I used to hear “never say never” and think that it was a facetious way of conveying that anything is possible. There is no instance where something can never happen. There’s always some sliver of possibility. I do believe this is true.

Now though, I also interpret it a little differently. Rather than understanding it as “Anything is possible,” I understand it also as “Do not speak in absolutes.”

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Conquering the Great Big Sadness

Sometimes, as feeling human beings, we feel a significant sadness weighing in our chest, inexplicably. It certainly seems as though some are more prone to this sadness than others, and when frequently visited by it, the clarity of peace is obscured, leading us to dull ourselves.

Although it’s okay to feel sad, when it becomes intense and cumbersome, there are ways to work with yourself in order to overcome the heavy feelings. Continue reading “Conquering the Great Big Sadness”

Victim Vacancy

Hey there, it’s your inner victim speaking, and I was just wondering if we could have a quick word. It’ll only take a moment! I have something I need to get off my chest! Oh, you… You mean you didn’t know you had an inner victim? Funny thing about that, I’ve been kind of living here the past couple decades…

You should probably listen to what he has to say. I mean, whether you wanted to or not, you’ve been subconsciously listening to his whispers all this time. Oh yeah, everyone has an inner victim. Continue reading “Victim Vacancy”

The Art of Not Reacting

When I perceived a customer being rude to me at work, I used to immediately rant to my co-workers about the alleged wrongdoer. “All I asked them was ‘how’s your day?’ and they gave me such an annoyed look and just replied, ‘Coffee.’ Sorry to bother you by doing my job at the restaurant you just voluntarily walked into!” Sometimes, the customer continued to be rude, and it was a long saga of dealing with them time and time again throughout their dining experience. Other times, though–and what turned out to be most times–, really nothing else “bad” would happen that would justify venting about; maybe the customer would be short with me again, but I’d be foolish to expect–at this point–that every single person in the world is over the top with niceties, and to continue to get bent out of shape over meaningless interactions.

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For the Love of You

Do you love yourself?

I should probably give you a moment to reflect on this question. No one’s watching, so take as long as you need. Do you love yourself? Do you love who you are emotionally, spiritually, physically? Do you love waking up in the morning being you, do you love the actions you take throughout the day, the way you handle the issues in your life, the way you experience your life?

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The Passport Photo Allegory

I’ve been an alumni for about three months now (sorry, I just love saying it so much. I paid my dues and now I’m going to brag about it for the rest of my life. If I’m clever, I can finesse it so I won’t have to do anything noteworthy anymore and just coast off the success of graduating). In my three months of alumni-ship, I’ve thought a lot about self-motivation and keeping yourself in check post-college.

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