Reflections on Gratitude...
Calming Emotions, Health, Mindfulness

Reflections on Gratitude (Insights from a Fractured Tooth)

Who knew a blast of air on a fractured tooth could render a badass ninja into a trembling kitten? Okay… I suppose I would have expected it if I had given it prior thought. But here’s the thing: I don’t have problems with dental work. I don’t leap from the chair like a Halloween cat and claw the ceiling every time the dentist pokes at a tooth. In fact, my biggest concern is staying awake in those comfy reclining chairs. But when that air blasted my nerve, I embedded all twenty of my claws so deeply into ceiling panel I didn’t think I’d ever come down.Read more

Dangers of Over-Sharing
Calming Emotions, Communication, Mindfulness

Dangers of Over-Sharing

We’ve all got problems, right? They exist. We can’t just close our eyes and pretend they aren’t there. Well, actually we can, but pretending won’t really make them disappear. Our problems will still be waiting when we work up the courage to take another peek. So, we might be tempted to think that talking about them couldn’t hurt. We might even believe that unburdening our troubles will relieve some of our stress. And to some degree, it does. But at what price?Read more

Essential Writing Tools
Empowerment, Health, Mindfulness, Motivation, Writing

5 Empowering Things to Do While Walking

In this age of sedentary occupations, busy schedules, and convenient modes of transportation, most of us do not exercise as much as we would like. Every option seems to take more time than we have and/or more money than we can afford—except walking. Once we get up from our desk and head out the door, we’ve begun. It’s as simple as that. But it can also get boring. So here are five empowering ways to keep you engaged and motivated.Read more

The Second Guessing Game
Calming Emotions, Communication, Empowerment, Mindfulness

The Second Guessing Game

The other day, a friend of mine was wrestling with a common relationship issue, trying to figure out whether someone’s action was motivated by good intention or woeful disregard. I say common, because I suspect we have all experienced this kind of uncertainty at one time or another: Someone we know does or says something that leaves us feeling hurt, bewildered, or perplexed. The most direct course of action would be to ask. But that only works if we’re willing to believe the answer.Read more

Art of Meaningful Coincdence
Mindfulness, Perspective

Art of Meaningful Coincidence

What is it that makes us look left instead of right so we can see exactly what we need to see, or that makes us pick up an unknown book from a wall of thousands to find exactly what we need to read, or that leads us along a series of unusual choices to an unexpected—yet perfect—outcome?Read more

Reflections from a Beach Girl
Calming Emotions, Communication, Mindfulness, ShowBiz

Reflections from a Beach Girl

In 1986, I recorded with Brian Wilson. I was a young singer at the time and thrilled to be hired (along with two fabulous women) to sing on his album-in-progress. This was during a difficult time in Brian’s life when he was struggling to get back into his music. A couple years later, he would come out with his critically acclaimed solo album. But in 1986, he was in the midst of his struggle with music and his longtime therapist, Eugene Landy.Read more

Ground's Eye View
Mindfulness, NINJA, Perspective

Ground’s Eye View

Unless we’re thinking about growing plants, most people seem to view the ground as a hard, dirty place to avoid. Even inside we head straight for the chairs and couches rather than plopping ourselves on the floor. Modern societies have created enticing and ingenious ways to elevate ourselves above good ole Mother Earth. But is that a good thing?Read more

Empathy without Suffering
Calming Emotions, Communication, Mindfulness, NINJA

Empathy without Suffering

While speaking on the Power of Empathy to graduate students studying for their Masters in Social Working, I saw a need to address how to be empathetic without taking on the pain. Like writers, doctors, artists, caregivers, parents—and any deeply caring individual—these young professionals wondered if there was a way to open their hearts, safely. If you’ve ever wondered the same thing, read on!Read more

Turquoise journal pen
Exciting Stuff, Mindfulness, Motivation

Happy Detours

I am burning this date—December 1, 2014—into the hard-drive of my mind. This way, I can retrieve it anytime I feel undermined by doubt or weary from effort. Why? Because this is the publishing month for my first work of fiction. It never occurred to me that that work would be a short story. Life is full of pleasant surprises!Read more

Handstand in Surf
Mindfulness, Perspective

Staying Young

As we get older, there’s a tendency to cross certain physical activities off the list as being too childish, too dangerous, or simply beyond our strength, agility, and balance. But are they? How many of those physical challenges are off the list for no more reason than we’ve lost our courage to try?

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knee jerk reactions
Communication, Mindfulness, Perspective

Knee-Jerk Reactions

The littlest bit of information about a person or a situation can change our perspective, entirely. When we stop to think about it, this seems obvious and right. We may feel an immediate resonance with the statement and think of all the times that this has proven to be true. We might even feel that this sentiment is part of our wisdom and an example of how we walk in the world. And yet, we all make snap judgments. Sometimes, this is a necessary trait for our emotional and societal survival; and other times, it’s just our assumptions getting the better of us.

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Sleeping Otter
Mindfulness, Motivation

Sleep on It

Have you ever had one of those grueling days when the river of creativity was so obstructed that you could count the literary drops that seeped through the cracks? I hate those days. It’s as if all my doubts, assumptions, and distractions have joined forces to build a damn, leaving me floundering in a dry and wordless riverbed.

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Bus Charles Chessler
Communication, Empowerment, Mindfulness, Perspective

What Kindness Needs

I was on a walk the other day and had one of those pleasant interactions that stuck in my mind. It wasn’t a big deal, and yet, it kind of was. You see I was power-walking up a road past a construction site when I caught the eye of a couple workers getting in their pickup truck. One of the guys said hello and I returned the greeting. He said I looked “mighty good,” and I said thank you. He said you’re welcome. And that was that.

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why feel bad
Calming Emotions, Empowerment, Mindfulness, Motivation, Perspective

Why Feel Bad?

I see many well-meaning slogans encouraging us to embrace imperfections, anything from extra pounds, to volatile social skills. You know the ones. They declare to the world that we are perfect just the way we are, and that others need to fix their perceptions of us. Either that, or they can just leave us the hell alone!

On the surface, this sounds like a good thing: there is great power and peace in acceptance. The problem that I have with some of these slogans is that they imply that any attempt to correct an imperfection is an act of self-denial.

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Time warp
Calming Emotions, Empowerment, Mindfulness, Perspective

Time Warp

Time, like everything is relative. It depends on our temperament, our work load, our environment, our relationship to people, our stage in life, our health, and myriad other things. Our perception of time fluctuates throughout the day, week, month, or years. It varies according to topic, people, and circumstance. So while we would like to think that the past is the past and the present is the present, that is not always the case. The past for one person might be the present for another. It might even be perceived as the future for someone else. Talk about confusing! Is it any wonder that our differing perceptions of time can cause such conflict and heated emotions?Read more