The Journey to Self-Love

A lesson I have been working on for some time now is self-love. It is quite easy for me to love and see all the goodness in others. It is easy for me to believe in their positive intentions and acknowledge that they are trying to live this life as best as they can; to be the best mother/father, brother/sister, husband/wife, daughter/son, employee, community member they can be. It's easy for me to have compassion for those who are struggling, recognizing that we all just want to be safe, happy and free. I can see all of that when I look around me. But, do I always see that in me? When I hear others say it is difficult to love themselves I normally think, "What? C'mon? How can you not lov

Pondering the Difference between Empathy and Compassion

I recently listened to an interview with Jack Kornfield, a well-known meditation teacher, and he elaborated an interesting distinction between empathy and compassion. He said that while empathy allows us to feel each other's emotions, compassion triggers us to act on our empathy; not from a place of pity or egocentrism (to make us feel good about ourselves), but on the basis of shared humanity (we're a global family and all in this together). I have always been a bit sensitive to the pain/anger/frustration of others, and my response has usually been an attempt at compassion, but laced with pity and/or the assumption that I can and must solve the problem at hand (ego). How would it look lik

How to Flow like H2O

I listened to an interesting TED Talk by Raymond Tang and he uses the metaphor of water to prescribe a certain way of living. He says we should strive to be: (1) Humble - helping to give life to those around us without seeking attention or recognition in return. (2) Harmonious - finding our way around obstacles, rather than fighting against what we confront in our environment. (3) Open - willing to change and grow based on new experiences and lessons we learn from others. In situations where we feel angry, nervous, anxious, stressed or otherwise triggered, he prompts us to ask ourselves, "What would water (H2O) do?" This metaphor really clicked for me and my intentions for this trip. In te

Day 8 of 365: Gardening the Life of my Dreams

My partner, David, and I were reflecting on this trip and the opportunity it gives us to reshape our lives in whatever way we want. For much of my younger years I was bound in the core belief that "I wasn't enough" and was always striving to be "successful" (what does that even mean?!) according to the standards expressed by those around me and in popular media. I pushed in the ways I was told to push myself and pursued career paths (finance) that didn't match what interested me (directly serving others) or my skillsets (teaching, managing, …) because I was told that this sort of lifestyle would bring me joy. But, guess what….it didn't (surprise, surprise). When I first learned about nutri

Here We Go! - Day 1 of our 365-day trip around the world

We've arrived. Day 1 of 365 days of travel around the world. It's all still surreal and I am wondering when it is going to kick in that we are not on vacation. Before I left, my good friend gifted me a pair of small, triangular cat ear earrings and I thought it was the perfect gift to represent my intentions for this year. She and I were talking about how one of the best things you can do when communicating others is to JUST be fully present and listen…without trying to solve the problem, soothe the pain, downplay its severity. To listen without thinking about what to say next or focusing on other things outside the conversation. To listen with compassion and without judgment. I was wat

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