Checking In With Your Boundaries

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In a recent interview on Spirituality & Health magazine, therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab shared what she considers the four most important words in our increasingly chaotic world: Set Boundaries, Find Peace. Those words are also the title of her recent release.

Here’s a thought-provoking excerpt from that interview:

It is a spiritual practice to tune into yourself and consider the why of your feelings. What’s trying to come up that I may be trying to push down? What’s trying to be released that I need to let go of? Often, when we’re having uncomfortable feelings, there is a boundary that needs to be addressed.

Of course, we can’t live a life without uncomfortable feelings. But what are they trying to tell us? What things do we need to practice to deal with that feeling better, or even reconfigure the trigger for those feelings?

The real breakthrough is not, “Oh my gosh, I have an issue with anger.” The real breakthrough is realizing that when I put myself in situations where there are no boundaries, I have an issue with anger.

Source: Spirituality & Health, February 2021, p. 49

Adapt to What is Real

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A longtime fan of acclaimed psychologist Dr. Sonya Friedman, I like to reread many of the insightful passages from her best-selling books. Here’s one of my favorites from Take It From Here

In nature, chameleons adapt to the environment by changing color, blending in, and thus fooling predators. Nothing could be more descriptive of getting real and rolling with the punches. Although we’re a much higher form of life than a chameleon, capable of thinking and having a conscience, we can essentially do the same on another level: adapt to better fit into a personal environment of family, relationships, and work. You may have had twenty jobs in your life, or three failed marriages, and your bombs may be greater than your successes, but if you stretch your ability to adapt to what is real, you can gain the courage to keep going out there and, ultimately, achieve greater success.

Sometimes Running Away Really Works

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

While cleaning out my files, I came across the following post from Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love and City of Girls.

I know there are a lot of arguments AGAINST running away. I know that running away from your problems can be a coward’s path. I know there are some issues in life that you can’t avoid forever. I know that in the recovery world, they call running away “pulling a geographic”–and addicts are wisely advised against trying it. I now that wherever you go, there you are. I know that there are times in life when you have to stay right where you are, and deal with things bravely and head-on.

And I am certainly familiar with the old adage: “You can’t change deck chairs on the Titanic.”

But you know what I always think when I hear that adage? THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE ON THE TITANIC WHO SURVIVED. And largely, the people who survived did so based upon where they were placed, geographically, on that ship. (Which had a lot to do with social class and injustice, I know–but for the sake of my argument, just go along with me on this…) In other words, there actually WERE some deck chairs on the Titanic that were better placed than others.

Which means: Sometimes there IS a better place for you to be, geographically, than where you are right now.

Sometimes there IS a safer place.

Sometimes there IS a more inspiring place.

Sometimes going two or three thousand miles away and changing your name really CAN change things–helping you to get away from bad old habits and bad old influences, and letting you become somebody new.

Sometimes running away CAN offer you a better chance of surviving your own life–getting you out of third-class steerage, let us say, and moving you closer to the front of the ship, to the top of the ship, where the light and the lifeboats are.

I truly believe this.

Sometimes running away really, really, really does work.



How to Make Calmness Your Superpower

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A longtime fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to receiving their daily emails. Here’s a recent message that articulates the importance of self-love.

The ability to not overreact or take things personally keeps your mind clear and your heart at peace.

And yes, by being a conscious witness of your thoughts, YOU CAN get rid of all the stress inside you created by others, the past and uncontrollable recent events…

It’s about sitting quietly and witnessing the thoughts passing through you. Just witnessing at first—not judging—because by judging too rapidly you have lost the pure witness. The moment you rush to say, “this is good” or “this is bad,” you have already jumped head first into the stress.

Of course, it takes a little time and practice to create a gap between the witnessing of thoughts and your reaction to them. Once the gap is there, though, you are in for a great surprise—that you are not the thoughts themselves, nor the stress influencing them. You are the witness, a watcher, who’s superpower is changing your mind and rising above the turmoil.

This process of thought-watching is the very alchemy of true mindfulness. As you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, the stressful thoughts start disappearing. You are thinking, but the mind is empty of senseless chatter. It’s a moment of enlightenment—a moment that you become, perhaps for the first time, an unconditioned, sane, truly free human being.

So today, let this be your reminder to let all the small annoyances go. Move through your day consciously. Notice at least one insignificant little frustration that you would normally get frustrated about, then do yourself a favor and simply let it go. Experience, in this little way, the freedom of being in control of the way you feel. And realize that you can extend this same level of control to every situation you encounter in life.

At almost any given moment, the way you feel is the way you choose to feel, and the way you react is the way you choose to react.

When you think better, you live better.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.


The Space to Grow

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In her recent post, “Six Writing Lessons from an Actual Backyard Gardner,” Kelsey Allagood shared the following anecdote:

I have an aloe vera plant in my office. Her name is Alice. Alice came to me in a cute little terra cotta pot, and has followed me from sunny windowsill to sunny windowsill through a move across state lines. You could say we’re pretty close.

A few months ago, I noticed Alice wasn’t doing well. She was wilting, and the tips of her leaves were turning yellow and withering. She wasn’t growing at all.

After some experiments in watering and sunlight levels, I gently picked Alice up out of her pot to look at her roots. It turns out Alice was rootbound, and the thin white threads of her roots were filling up the potting soil and beginning to curl around the bottom of the pot itself.

Once I realized that Alice was root-bound, I quickly transferred her to a bigger pot, about three times the diameter of her first pot, and filled with new soil formulated specifically for succulents.

The next day, Alice was a new plant.

She’d perked up. Her leaves were now a vibrant green. I snipped off the ends that had turned yellow, and they healed themselves up. Her leaves are reaching up toward the sun and spreading wide, and she’s sprouting new ones.

Be like Alice.

And by that, I mean give yourself and your work the space to grow.

Read the rest of Kelsey’s post here.

What to Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Here are a baker’s dozen of suggestions for those challenging periods:



The Seinfeld Strategy

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In her recent release, The 4% Fix, bestselling author Karma Brown shares time-management and goal-setting strategies that have worked for her as well as for others. Here’s one strategy recommended by Jerry Seinfeld:

Brad Isaac was a young comedian just starting out when one night he ended up at a club where Jerry Seinfeld was performing. He was able to catch up with the king of comedy backstage and asked Seinfeld if he had any tips for a newbie on the comedy circuit.

The story goes that Seinfeld told Isaac the way to be a better comic was to write better jokes, and the way to write better jokes was to write every day. Every day. He told Isaac to get a wall calendar and hang it somewhere he would see it regularly, then, with a red marker, put a big X through each day he wrote. He explained that, after a few days, Isaac would see a chain of those X marks, and after a few weeks, that long chain would be pretty satisfying. Isaac’s only job, Seinfeld told him, was to not break the chain.

This has been referred to as the “Seinfeld Strategy.” One of the main reasons it works is because it removes the pressure of focusing on a huge accomplishment (for Isaac, to deliver the best ever comedic performance, à la Jerry Seinfeld) and moves your gaze instead to a smaller, more manageable and results-based goal: write every day. It’s process-based rather than performance-based, so it isn’t about how “on” Isaac might feel during a performance, or how motivated he is, but rather about growing the chain of X days. A simple, habit-focused task.

Source: The 4% Fix by Karma Brown

One Brutal Truth that Ultimately Makes Life Beautiful Again

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A longtime fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to receiving their daily emails. Here’s a recent message that may resonate with anyone who is struggling to achieve their goals.

If you want something in life, you also have to want the costs of getting it.

Most people want the reward without the risk. The shine without the grind. But you can’t have a destination without a journey. And a journey always has costs…

So instead of thinking about what you want, first ask yourself:

“What am I willing to give up to get it?”

Or, for those inevitably hard days:

“What is worth suffering for?”

Seriously, think about it…

If you want the six-pack abs, you have to want the sore muscles, the sweaty clothes, the morning or afternoon workouts, and the healthy meals.

If you want the successful business, you have to also want the long days, the stressful business decisions, and the possibility of failing several times to learn what you need to know to succeed.

And the same general philosophy holds true for HEALING any source of pain in your life – you have to want to WORK through the pain, step by step.

Regardless of what you want the next chapter of your life to look like, you have to consistently DO things that support this idea. An idea, after all, isn’t going to do anything for you until you do something productive with it. In fact, as long as that great idea is just sitting around in your head, it’s doing far more harm than good. Your subconscious mind knows you’re procrastinating on something that’s important to you. The required work that you keep postponing causes stress, anxiety, fear, and usually more procrastination – a vicious cycle that continues to worsen until you interrupt it with positive ACTION. That’s the brutal truth!

The best action you can take right now, though, is changing how you THINK about the actions you need to take…

And there is a path. Marc and I have walked this path ourselves many times. A decade ago, in quick succession, we dealt with several significant, unexpected losses and life changes back-to-back, including losing my brother to suicide, losing a mutual best friend to cardiac arrest, financial unrest, and more. The weight of these dire circumstances had us STUCK to say the least, and we were avoiding the very actions we needed to take to heal and move forward. But, by changing our thinking, these circumstances became the proving ground for achieving renewed happiness and beauty in our lives.

The key is to understand that no matter what happens, or what challenges you face, you can choose your response, which dictates pretty much everything that happens next. Truly, the greatest weapon you have against pain, anxiety, negativity and stress is your ability to choose one present thought and action over another – to train your mind to make the best of what you’ve got in front of you, even when the journey is harder than you expected.

Yes, YOU CAN change the way you think and respond to life! And once you do, you can master a new way to be.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.


8 Disney Life Quotes

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Take a few minutes to reflect upon these Disney life quotes. Do any resonate with you at this time?



Life quote that resonates with me…

Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it. Rapunzel (Tangled)

Which life quote speaks to you?

Two Ways to Quiet the Negative Voice Inside YOU

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I receive a daily dose of inspiration from bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

Why do we think negatively when we know better?

Because thinking negatively, expecting “the worst,” seeing the downside of positive situations, and even downright expecting failure, all convey a kind of backwards-thinking, emotional insurance policy. It goes something like, “If I expect a tragedy, then I won’t be disappointed when it takes place.”

Of course, this is NOT what we truly want or need in our lives. So how can we stop talking ourselves into these thinking traps? Let’s take a look at two powerful ways to quiet the negative inner voice that leads us astray:

1. Start focusing on the grey area between the extremes.

Life simply isn’t black or white – 100% of this or 100% of that – all or nothing. Thinking in extremes like this is a fast way to misery, because negative thinking tends to view any situation that’s less than perfect as being extremely bad. For example:

• Rather than the rainstorm slowing down my commute home from work, instead “it wasted my whole evening and ruined my night!”
• Rather than just accepting the nervousness of meeting a new group of people, “I know these people are not going to like me.”

Since 99.9% of all situations in life are less than perfect, black and white thinking tends to make us focus on the negative – the drama, the failures, and the worst-case scenarios. Sure, catastrophes occur on occasion, but contrary to what you may see on the evening news, most of life occurs in a grey area between the extremes of bliss and devastation.

2. Stop looking for negative signs from others.

Too often we jump to conclusions, only to cause ourselves and others unnecessary worry, hurt, and anger. If someone says one thing, don’t assume they mean something else. If they say nothing at all, don’t assume their silence has some hidden, negative connotation.

Thinking negatively will inevitably lead you to interpret everything another person does as being negative, especially when you are uncertain about what the other person is thinking. For instance, “He hasn’t called, so he must not want to talk to me,” or, “She only said that to be nice, but she doesn’t really mean it.”

Assigning meaning to a situation before you have the whole story makes you more likely to believe that the uncertainty you feel (based on lack of knowing) is a negative sign. On the flip-side, holding off on assigning meaning to an incomplete story is a primary key to overcoming negative thinking. When you think more positively, or simply more clearly about the facts, you’ll be able to evaluate all possible reasons you can think of, not just the negative ones. In other words, you’ll be doing more of: “I don’t know why he hasn’t called yet, but maybe… he’s actually extremely busy at work today.”

Being able to distinguish between what you imagine and what is actually happening in your life is an important step towards living a happier life.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.