You Are Not a Tree

you are not a tree

Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.

If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.

If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.

All quotes by Jim Rohn

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MOM = WOW :)

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 3.17.20 PM

This Sunday’s post is dedicated to Mother’s Day. If you are a mother, you know that it’s not an easy job. It’s for life and its tough. I send my heart and thanks to all mothers. Just think of the scope of mothers to be grateful for! We have the ultimate… Mother Earth, as well as mothers of all types of beings; the kind that fly, swim, walk, crawl or jump! Mothers come in all shapes, sizes and species. They also mother with different temperaments and philosophies — there is no rule book. I love the quote that says something about hindsight being 20/20. I’m a firm believer that we all have the mother that we needed to be who we are. Everything makes sense after we can fit all the puzzle pieces together and see the big picture of our lives. Somehow, in their own way, every mother did exactly what was needed for their child’s personal growth and transformation (without knowing it at the time.) I’ve written about my mom before, you can read about it in my Happy Birthday Mom! blog post. There is no doubt in my mind that I have the exact mother I needed in this lifetime. I owe so much of who I am (and the blessings I have) to my mom. The gratitude I have for her is immeasurable and beyond words. Even now, as I sit here writing and thinking… I’m speechless. I am simply filled with love and gratitude. There is no way I could ever show her how I feel, or put my feelings into words so that she can clearly understand how much I cherish her. All I can do is love her. In my own heart, in my own way… (*sigh*) simply love her. I wished it looked like more… like a boisterous parade down 5th Avenue, or the flashy fireworks on 4th of July, or like when a big prize is revealed on The Price Is Right and everyone goes nuts with excitement! I wish my love looked more flamboyant and eventful. But it doesn’t. It’s quiet and earthy, creative and silly, open and grateful — like me. :) I love my mom in my own way. As every kid does. And it may not look perfect, it may not be eventful… but it’s love. L-O-V-E, love.

I love you, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you for all that you do, and thank you for always accepting me and being so supportive of me. I am so very grateful. And thank you for being YOU! :) I love you. So very much.

PLEASE NOTE: This blog post is reposted from Mother’s Day 2016. I’m sharing it once more! Today I’m with my mother. :) So I’ve taken the day off from writing. Wishing you all a fabulous holiday! 

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Pablo Picasso: The Chief Enemy of Creativity

pablo picasso portrait cat

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.”

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

“The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?”

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

“The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.”

“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.”

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

“Youth has no age.”

“He can who thinks he can, and he can’t who thinks he can’t. This is an inexorable, indisputable law.”

All quotes by Pablo Picasso

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The Hidden Benefits

the hidden benefits

I thought Radu Antoniu did a great job on the video he recently made, so I wanted to share it with you.

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Don Miguel Ruiz: The Real You

Don Miguel Ruiz

“We only see what we want to see; we only hear what we want to hear. Our belief system is just like a mirror that only shows us what we believe.”

“Life is so much brighter when we focus on what truly matters.”

“Every human is an artist. And this is the main art that we have: the creation of our story.”

“Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive – the risk to be alive and express what we really are.”

“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.”

All quotes by Don Miguel Ruiz

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Take Another Look (Again)

Today’s blog post was written and posted back in December 2011, and re-posted in 2014. And here it goes again! I think it’s good to revisit it every so often, just as a reminder.

When I say take another look, I mean take a bigger look. I’m talking about big picture thinking. Other terms for big picture thinking are: holistic thinking, expanded perspective, macro perspective, perception-enhancement and global vision. What I am suggesting is to raise above your current level of seeing (a situation, your life, etc). Raise above it and see what the view looks like from higher up. You might find that it suits you much better.

If seeing is believing, that means you take what you see to be the truth. Why believe something that isn’t working for you? I’m sure we have all said or heard the following views: “I’m broke”, “This is just the way I am (or she is, or he is, or they are)”, “Life is meaningless”, “They don’t care about me (or us)”, “It shouldn’t be like this (or they shouldn’t be like that)”, “This is so hard”, “It’s absolutely impossible”. Understand that there is always another view. Not only the view from another person (or animal, or insect), but an even broader view. Think aerial view. Think universal view! It’s that kind of view that is the most helpful, that gives someone the most advantage, the most freedom and the most power.

Think of something very personal that happened to you. Hold it in your mind. It’s hard to see it clearly because you are so close to it. You totally identify with it and you feel so close to every detail that it’s hard to see it clearly. It’s like holding a piece of paper up to your face. Imagine that paper being close, so close it’s only one inch away from your eyes. What do you see? Maybe only a few letters, or maybe some blurry words that you could take a guess at. Now pull that paper away from you so that you can read the whole sheet in context, fully and accurately. You needed some distance in order to see clearly, right?

What about something that happened to you years ago, something traumatic? Does it feel the same now as it did then? Think of something that happened 10 – 20 years ago that made you upset. Or think of a lover you had in your life. Think of how upset you were when the relationship was over. Now take your mind to the present. How does what happened years ago make you feel now? Did the distance help to get some clarity, some ease or greater awareness? This is the freedom that big picture thinking can give us in the moment — in the present, while it’s still happening!

Even if you can’t see the big picture. Even if you don’t know why something is happening to you, don’t worry. Just know that there is a bigger picture that only has your best interest at heart. Just the thought alone will revolutionize your life. But you have to take the time to step back and not take what you are seeing and experiencing personally. You have to see it from a greater awareness, a broader view.

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Up in the Air

yountville up in the air

Hindsight is definitely 20/20.

Every so often I go through a tough phase. Times when I feel like my life doesn’t match me, where things seem unnecessarily challenging and odd fitting. Over the last six months I felt like my life was up in the air. In a way I was floating, not sure where to land, hoping I wouldn’t come crashing down or drift off to somewhere undesirable. Due to lack of gas and the passion to ignite a powerful spark, it just seemed like I was becoming more and more susceptible to life’s twists and turns. Things began to feel out of my reach, out of my control. Important things, like where to live. During that time I was looking for a rental in Northern California, and I just couldn’t find one. Nothing seemed like a match and nothing felt right. I was considering moving back to New York, and I even contacted an old friend to make possible arrangements. Until, the perfect opportunity crossed my path. On April 1st (which last last weekend — so sorry I didn’t write a blog post! for any of you that were wondering), I made my move. I moved to Yountville, California. I had no idea I would eventually move to the Napa Valley, or hear the sound of hot air balloons roaring for lift-off as my dog and I walk around the neighborhood. A whole array of new sounds, sights and smells. It’s beautiful here, and the experience is all very dream like.

From personal experience, I feel that we can never know what’s in store for us. Just as we think we have it all figured out, life is there to laugh. To present challenges. To help us grow and demand that we see differently. All we can do is be boldly ready. Every significant move in my life was a mystery. The right people, the right time, the right moment. Magic. I could have never mapped it out. The same goes for every regrettable decision I’ve ever made. I can look back and analyze everything, nitpicking what went right or wrong, and wonder how or why. But when I look back on it, when I look at it all in context, it seems so obvious. They were all important pieces to one grand puzzle. And no series of events was complete without the other. Everything was needed for my evolution and development.

As I get older I see that life is a practice of surrender. And the underpinning of that is gratitude. To be able to see everything as magic. As play. As growth. As humility. As a gift that we get to be part of. Every step is important. Everyone is important. To be boldly ready. To watch. To be moved. To be loved. It’s all very simple when we see it from a grander view. The key to that is letting go. To untether ourselves from our fears, or our need to be in control, or to have things unfold as we had planned, or to live up to an image we imagined for ourselves. Nothing is wrong with living up to our highest ideals or inherited paradigms, but at what cost?

I remember a hike I did in the Himalayas. This was years ago, in 2000. I began the journey with so many ideas, of myself and of the climb. When it was over I was nothing. Blank, empty, unsightly, and vulnerable. I was so humble and so grateful. Everything was good enough! Everything was beautiful! Everything was a gift! My feet were blistered, pus filled and swollen. I could not walk without taking every step into gentle consideration. It was also very clear to me that nor the hike or what was beyond the hike, was possible without the loving help and generosity of others.

Life is best well lived. For everyone that means something different. But I do think it takes faith in something beyond our humanness; beyond our brain, blood, flesh and bones. Death awaits each and every one of us. Death is actually quite near. And on that day, we will be humble. We will surrender, and know that we are nothing without the help of others. And that our lives are beyond our control. We can dream big and work hard and create copiously, but we still need the blessing of the Universe and everyone in it. Instead of waiting to realize this, it’s best to embrace it now. To live each day as an eye-opening piece to a magnificent puzzle. And to have fun playing the game. And to see what there is to see. To enjoy it all, even the challenging twists and turns. It’s easier said than done! Trust me, I know. I’m still ‘working’ on it. It’s all a practice. So we don’t need to worry about doing it perfectly. It’s all just an opportunity to let go. To rise up and fully live.

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