Wise words and good things to warm your heart

These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause or uplift my heart. Wisdom spoken in just a few words. They reflect what I’ve been reading or learning, or values I share, or what’s been going on in our world.


  • NPR’s List of organizations to donate to, to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey:  You may want to wait a bit and give a little later to organizations that will support the long-term needs, of which there will be many…Wishing all of those affected by Harvey safety, comfort, peace and compassionate support from community.
  • Check out Mindful 30 – thirty days of Mindfulness for you in your email box, and a chance to help students and teachers by bringing Mindfulness programs into schools, starts September 1.
  • “Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.” – James Baldwin
  • “Relax and dwell peacefully in every moment. Go back to breathing. Try to be in each moment deeply. There is possibility to handle every kind of event. Respond to every moment with compassion. Keep the peace in yourself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of the other person. You can call it compassionate listening. You can listen in the way that helps him or her to empty their heart, and remember that listening with compassion helps him or her to suffer less. Start with Dear friends, dear people I know that you have suffered a lot. I have not understood enough of your difficulties and suffering. It is not my intention to make you suffer more. It is the opposite. So please tell me about your suffering, your difficulties.  I’m eager to learn, to understand. This is how loving speech has to start. If you are honest, if you are true, the other person will open their heart and tell us their difficulties. And then we practice compassionate, deep listening. And during the process of deep listening we can learn so much about our own perception and their perceptions. And that is the best way – the only way – to end terrorism.”  – Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “Never lose a holy curiosity.” – Albert Einstein
  • “Remember, if you want something to appear in your life, it has to appear in your thoughts first.” – Wallace Wattles
  • “It is the responsibility of leadership to work intelligently with what is given, and not waste time fantasizing about a world of flawless people and perfect choices.” – Marcus Aurelius
  • A meaningful silence is always better than meaningless words
  • Alone we go faster. Together we go further. –  African proverb
  • “Asking for help is always a sign of strength.” – Michelle Obama
  • “There’s a big difference between writing about something you disagree passionately with, and writing while in the throes of rage.” – Word Press tips for making comments on blogs
  • “The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.” – Sri Nisargadatta
  • Inaction is a form of action, because if you CHOOSE to stay in the stable, safe place instead of going for your dreams, then you’re making a CHOICE to stay stuck. The action you’re choosing to take is no action at all.
  • “We lose touch with our wingspan when we hunch.” – Martin Shaw
  • Brother David Steindl-Rast “Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.” video – stirring and lovely.
  • Praise be to the mystery that has created this life. – Jewish prayer- Baruch Hashem L’Olam
  • Cheryl Strayed & Marie Forleo video – lovely
  • “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.” – Joseph Campbell
  • “All great successes have struggled, and had setbacks along the way.”  – Danny Iny
    For example….
    • Winston Churchill’s parents ignored him, he did poorly in school, he stuttered, and spoke with a lisp. They called him a disappointment, and a boy of “low intelligence.”
    • After failing to land a role, Meryl Streep nearly gave up on acting when a director called her “too ugly.”
    • Steven Spielberg was rejected from the USA film school 3 times.
    • After his first performance, Elvis Presley was told “you ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.”
    • Dr. Seuss was turned down by 27 different publishers.
    • Abraham Lincoln’s fiancé died, he failed in business, he suffered multiple nervous breakdowns, and was defeated in 8 different elections.
    • At age 30, Steve Jobs was left depressed and devastated after being fired from the company he founded.
    • Ludwig Van Beethoven’s music teacher said that “as a composer, he is hopeless.”
    • Oprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as a news anchor, because she “wasn’t fit for television.”
    • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination” and “had no original ideas.”
    • Thomas Edison’s teacher told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.”
    • After being cut from his high school basketball team, Michael Jordan went home, locked himself in his room, and cried.
    • The Beatles were rejected by a recording studio that said “We don’t like their sound. They have no future in show business.”
    • And Albert Einstein wasn’t able to speak until he was 4, and he couldn’t read until he was 7. His parents and teachers worried that he might be mentally handicapped and said that “he would never amount to much.”

So yeah.
Take a moment.
Let it all sink in.
It’s supposed to be hard.
The key isn’t for it not to be hard, but rather to keep on going.
It’s scary, but we have to do it anyway.”

  • “Life is uncomfortable. You can be less uncomfortable now on your terms or more uncomfortable later on someone else’s terms.” ⁃ Joe Zárate- Sanderlin
  • Hold anger without taking it on. Become friends with discomfort.
  • “The good news is, all over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices.” – Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Ten Ways to Fight Hate – A Community Response Guide – Southern Poverty Law Center
  • “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Humankind – Voices of hope and humanity – podcast aims to enliven the highest part of us with ideas, stories and profiles of inspiring humanitarians.
  • “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” – Barack Obama
  • “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela (and tweeted by Barack Obama after Charlottesville)
  • “I imagine that one of the reasons that people cling to their hate and prejudice so stubbornly is because they sense that once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with their own pain.” – James Baldwin
  • “I want to understand the current tide of white nationalism and racism so the fear and anger it promotes does not take over my own heart. For with understanding I can respond with courage, wisdom and compassion for the benefit of all.” – Jack Kornfield
  • “Hatred never ceases by hatred but by love alone is healed. This is the ancient and eternal law.” – Maha Ghosananda
  • In these polarized and deeply troubled times, we are called upon to deepen our own practice of steadiness, courage, mindfulness and love…
  • “Quieting your mind, opening your heart with loving awareness, these are the critical steps to begin. For without doing so, you will only add to the chaos and fear. You must bear witness to your own measure of fears and pain, and honorably see and feel your place in our shared, troubled history. With a wise and caring heart you can understand the systems of privilege and oppression and your own place in them. There is a magnificence to the human spirit as well as a dangerous and destructive side. Difficult times can ennoble us, and call forth new levels of dedication and care for our lives, our families, our communities, and this precious globe.” – Jack Kornfield

From the ‘Mom’ show:
“That’s why the program works! People tell their stories and everybody listens and then people feel heard.”

Paulo Freire, brilliant thinker and author of “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” noted in that work that, “the oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors.”

“If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?” – Steve Jobs

Clemson’s football facility has a giant slide right outside the meeting rooms to go downstairs and then straight out to practice, that all the football players (and coaches) wait in long line to take (instead of the stairs right next to the slide). The coach says “There’s a momentum that builds – there’s no way you’re not a little better than you were 4 seconds earlier before sliding. The slide makes you happy and ready for practice.”

May you be free from hate.
May you be free from fear.
May you be free from ignorance.

“May all beings be safe and protected.” – Jack Kornfield

May your heart be warmed or softened or soothed or inspired by these heart-full moments…

If you or someone you love needs help dealing with stress, anxiety, loss, depression, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.


Wise Words to Warm your Heart

  • “The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them”. -Thomas Merton
  • “We do better when we let go of our logical reasons for why we want to do something. Why? Because research shows that good, solid, logical reasons for doing something—like exercising because we want to lower our blood pressure or ward off cancer—don’t actually motivate us over the long haul. It turns out that emotions are far more motivating than achievement goals in the long run.” – Christine Carter
  • “Peace in oneself;
    Peace in the world.”
    – Elisha Goldstein
  • “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. No not just for some but for everyone.” – Song by Diana Ross
  • President Obama greeting people affected by an F5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri that killed more than 100 people in 2011: “But that does not mean we are powerless in the face of adversity,” he said. “How we respond when the storm strikes is up to us. How we live in the aftermath of tragedy and heartache, that’s within our control. And it’s in these moments, through our actions, that we often see the glimpse of what makes life worth living in the first place.”
  • “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” -Simon Weil
  • “What you do for yourself, any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honesty and clear seeing toward yourself, will affect how you experience your world. In fact, it will transform how you experience the world. What you do for yourself, you’re doing for others, and what you do for others, you’re doing for yourself.” -Pema Chodron
  • “However difficult your circumstances, however uncertain the times, remember, freedom is not reserved for exceptional people. No one can imprison your spirit. You don’t have to wait to be free. You don’t need to postpone being happy.”
    -Jack Kornfield
  • “Finding freedom is an active process that engages your intellect, your heart, and your whole spirit. We begin personally, with freedom of spirit, freedom to start over, freedom beyond fear, freedom to be yourself, and then discover freedom to love, freedom to stand up for what matters, freedom to be happy. The means and the goal are one—be yourself, dream, trust, and act. You can choose your spirit. Freedom, love, and joy are yours, in your very life, your exact circumstance. They are your birthright. You can choose freedom.” -Jack Kornfield
  • “You are not your mind.” -Eckhart Tolle

According to a recent survey commissioned by Microsoft, we lose our focus faster than a goldfish. The glaring takeaway was a quote in the report by Microsoft chief Satya Nadella, who signaled the trait most essential to modern employees seeking success: “The true scarce commodity of the future will be human attention.”

  • “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” -Mindfulness App reminder
  • “I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred, but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature, as a healer of misery, as a messenger of wonder, as an architect of peace.” – Diane Ackerman
  • WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris, a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and co-sponsor of the DREAM Act and the Agricultural Worker Program Act, released the following statement:

“DACA recipients make our nation strong and represent the best of America. The President’s decision undermines our nation’s values and is a cruel betrayal to the more than 800,000 young people, including more than 200,000 Californians, who have only ever known the United States of America as their home.

  • “Dreamers are Americans in every way except a piece of paper. With this decision, President Trump is telling classmates of our children they don’t belong, employees of Fortune 100 companies they aren’t welcome, and saying to those who serve in our military and run small businesses that they should leave. These young people deserve better than that. They came out of the shadows and submitted every detail of their personal lives to prove that they were lawful, productive members of our society. By turning his back on our young Dreamers and their families, President Trump has once again sided with division and hate.
  • “The consequences of this decision will be devastating. It will split up families, force young people back to countries they never knew, and cost our economy billions of dollars. It is heartless.
  • “Now more than ever, it is time we roll up our sleeves and stand with these young people who contribute to our community and our economy. Republicans in Congress must immediately allow a vote on the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill we introduced again this summer. We are better than this.”
  • And in Spanish:

Declaración de la Senadora Harris sobre la decisión de Trump de Rescindir a DACA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tras la decisión del Presidente Donald Trump de rescindir al programa de Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA, siglas en inglés), la Senadora Kamala D. Harris, miembro del Comité de Seguridad Nacional y Asuntos Gubernamentales del Senado y copatrocinadora del DREAM Act y el Agricultural Worker Program Act, publicó la siguiente declaración:

“Los beneficiarios de DACA hacen que nuestra nación sea fuerte y representan lo mejor de los Estados Unidos. La decisión del Presidente socava los valores de nuestra nación y es una traición cruel a los más de 800,000 jóvenes, incluyendo a más de 200,000 Californianos que sólo han conocido a los Estados Unidos como su hogar.

“Dreamers son americanos en toda manera, menos en una hoja de papel. Con esta decisión, el Presidente Trump está diciendo a los compañeros de clase de nuestros hijos que no pertenecen, a los empleados de las compañías “Fortune 100” que no son bienvenidos y a aquellos que sirven en nuestro ejército y dirigen pequeñas empresas que deben irse. Estos jóvenes merecen mejor. Salieron de las sombras y presentaron todos los detalles de su vida personal para demostrar que eran miembros productivos de nuestra sociedad y viviendo legalmente. En dándole la espalda a nuestros jóvenes Dreamers y sus familias, el Presidente Trump ha una vez más tomado partido con la división y el odio.

“Las consecuencias de esta decisión serán devastadoras. Dividirá a las familias, obligará a los jóvenes a volver a países que nunca conocieron y costara a nuestra economía miles de millones de dólares.

“Ahora más que nunca, es tiempo de que arremanguemos las mangas y nos pongamos de pie con estos jóvenes que contribuyen a nuestra comunidad y nuestra economía. Los republicanos en el Congreso deben permitir inmediatamente una votación sobre el DREAM Act, un proyecto bipartidista que introdujimos nuevamente este verano. Somos mejores que esto.”

  • “It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.”
    – Frederick Douglass.
  • “Everyday Heroes: Signs of Humanity Amid Harvey Disaster: In the misery of the disaster created by Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, stories of citizens helping one another have begun surfacing.
  • Rafi Engelhart and Ben Shushan are just two examples of  how are dozens of people— hundreds—  have performed acts of humble heroism amid this storm. Though Engelhart’s home was flooded by Harvey, he and an EMT, took an inflatable raft through the streets of Houston looking for ways they could help fellow Texans. This simple act led them to save the lives of eight people who otherwise would have remained trapped in their flooding homes.
  • A group of men banding together collectively pushed a stalled pickup through a flooded street in Houston on Sunday, a photo that is quickly becoming synonymous with the bursts of unity displayed during this storm.
  • These stories serve as a reminder that regardless of race, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, we are all one people, under one sun on one earth, and we’re all in this together.” – The Weather Channel
  • “It’s not just that “two steps forward and one step back” is par for the course. The greater challenge is that human nature fixates on the step back and forgets the steps forward.”
    – Danny Iny
  • “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”
    -His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  • “Anyone that has the power of self-reflection, has the power to re-invent themselves. Or find the better version of themselves. At any point in time.” – Marie Raymond
  • For the Lakota Sioux, grief is considered a great gift because they believe the gods are closest to us when we are suffering. When a Lakota Sioux has suffered a great loss and is grieving, he or she is considered wacan, or “most holy.” Their prayers are believed to be especially powerful, and others will often ask one who grieves to pray on their behalf.
  • The Sufis pray, “Overcome any bitterness that may have come because I am not up to the magnitude of the pain that has been entrusted to me.”
  • After struggling for half a century with the British Empire, Mahatma Gandhi said that his most formidable opponent was not the British Empire or the Indian people, but a man named Mohandas K. Gandhi. “With him I seem to have very little influence.”
  • The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Of those thoughts: 95% repeat each day, and, on average, 80% of repeated thoughts are negative.  Ask yourself “Is this useful?” -about your negative thoughts.  Eric Barker, who runs the blog Barking Up the Wrong Tree. In a recent post about emotional strength, Barker explains that we can’t control which thoughts “bounce around” in our mind. What we can control: the thoughts we focus on. “You’re the thing that decides which thoughts are useful and should be taken seriously,” he writes. And he shared a perfect analogy to better explain this: “You’re not your brain; you’re the CEO of your brain. You can’t control everything that goes on in ‘Mind, Inc.’ But you can decide which projects get funded with your attention and action.”  So, how do you decide which “projects” get funded? Barker says to ask yourself, “Is this useful?” It’s a tactic Barker learned from Joseph Goldstein, a Buddhist mindfulness expert. It’s designed to help you assess if a thought is serving you or others–or if it’s just irrational.  “If the worry is reasonable, do something about it,” Barker writes. “If it’s irrational or out of your control, recognize that. Neuroscience shows that merely making a decision like this can reduce worry and anxiety.” -Haley Goldberg
  • “And so, if you’re not literally standing on a patch of dirt in this moment, call it up in your mind’s eye: mountain peaks, rolling green hills, a vast expanse of desert earth.  Find the ground you love, and in your mind, stand on it.  Lie on it.  Give your weight to that ground.  Let it hold you.  Feel that ground in every cell, and breathe….” – Marina Smerling
  • “Right now it’s like this…” -Enrique Collazo
  • “It is well researched and documented that the social, economic and psychological impact of deportation, or the stress of a threat of deportation, can have devastating effects on the mental well-being of children and adults.  Thus, we are gravely concerned about the traumatic and psychological harm that will result from the actions of the Trump administration to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals without also proposing a pathway to US citizenship for these individuals. We are concerned about the impact on our college campuses across the state as well as the economic impact the removal of the program will have on our state.” -California Psychological Association
  • “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” -Mark Twain
  • As Rebecca Solnit aptly put it: “Joy doesn’t betray but sustain activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection.”
  • “Choose courage over comfort.… Dehumanization is not a social justice tool. When we use dehumanizing language it says much more about us than the people that we’re railing against and it chips away at our soul…” -Brene Brown
  • “Opting out of speaking out because we may get criticized is the definition of privilege … at the end of the day I want to be able to say that I contributed more than I criticized.” -Brene Brown
  • The deep stillness we seek does not arise because the world is still, or the mind is quiet. Stillness is nourished when we allow things to be just as they are for now, in this moment, breath by breath.” – Mark Williams
  • “Patience is not just the ability to wait, it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.”
    -Joyce Meyer
  • “The way I understand it is that I am only responsible for my own will and my own perception—I do not control the will nor the perception of another individual. To not take things personally is to not assume responsibility for another individual’s will nor perception, I only assume responsibility for my own will and perception.”
    -Miguel A. Ruiz, Jr.
  • “Change the story and you change perception; change perception and you change the world.” -Jean Houston
  • May your heart be warmed or softened or soothed or inspired by these heart-full moments…

If you or someone you love needs help dealing with stress, anxiety, loss, depression, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.


It has been a very challenging and difficult month with many national and international disasters occurring. Earthquakes, hurricanes, mass shootings, detrimental leadership, fires, and utter human loss and indignities have been suffered by many and ripple affected many more. Anyone with a heart who cares about humankind has felt the devastation that has been so widespread and touched many. Here I offer some gentle wisdoms and insights that I’ve come across in October, that have helped to soothe the heart-felt wounds, and that offer hope and healing.

  • “By definition, not everyone can accomplish extraordinary things. The rainforest needs saving, poverty needs ending, and diseases need curing, but why not start with what you can influence right now—the world’s little daily hurts that, through the cycle of pain, create big problems? But this is our bias, made dramatically worse in recent years by social media: to overlook or even look down upon the ordinary. And yet, it is the ordinary, everyday flow of life that is so difficult to navigate in a way that does no harm to ourselves or others. Indeed, daily life presents our most obvious opportunity to change the world around us—to end the cycle of pain.”-Joshua Kauffman, Tiny Buddha blog – Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives
  • On Serenity: “Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.” -Thomas Szasz
  • On Aging: “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected” – Robert Frost

Someone who really cares about and gives back to his community – Marshawn Lynch

Brother Steindl Rast – A grateful day video – lovely! 5 minutes

“Come, friends.
Come with your grief.
Come with your loss.
Carry all the pieces of your heart
and come sit with us.
Bring your disappointments
and your failures.
Bring your betrayals
and your masks.
We welcome you no matter
where you come from
and what you bring.
Come and join us
at the intersection of
acceptance and forgiveness
where you will find our
house of love.
Bring your empty cups
and we will have a feast.”
-Kamand Kojouri

“When Mexico City was rocked by a powerful earthquake, people ran out into the street as the buildings they were in collapsed. Devastation was everywhere, but so was kindness amid the disaster.” – Emily Green, NPR

“When I encounter pain, particularly as it relates to anxiety, grief, and family conflict, I try to remember to ask myself, “What is there to learn here?” By asking this question, I take myself out of the role of victim and into the role of an empowered learner…. What if anxiety is not something wrong with you but just part of the path?” – Melissa Renzi

“Why should I be hated for something I cannot help be?” -Theo EJ Wilson – TED talk – in the way he (a black man) identified with white supremacists.

“Keep inviolate an area of light and peace within you.” – Corazon Aquino

“Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. Continue to allow humor to lighten the burden of your tender heart.”
-Maya Angelou

“Mr. President, the way to honor the White House is through compassion and dignity, and being above the fray, not causing the fray.” ⁃ Steve Kerr

“It wasn’t as she had planned. It was perfect instead” – Byron Katie

“Often my life has become richer from the things I didn’t plan or want.” Lauren Selfridge – who also has a podcast titled “This is not what I ordered” – see ThisisnotwhatIordered.com – for people living with chronic illness

“In the quiet moments when the hurt is hard to bear, may love become your shelter and may the beauty of precious memories be your comfort.”

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say: ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother‘s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.“ – Fred Rogers

“The experience of having power makes us less accurate in reading suffering on the faces of strangers and emotions in static photos of facial expressions. Powerful people are less able to take the perspective of others; they’re quicker to confuse friendliness with flirtatiousness. This is the empathy deficit of people in power, one found in many kinds of studies.” – Jeremy Adam Smith & Dacher Keltner in article: ”The Psychology of Taking a Knee”

“What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.” – Fred Rogers

“Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.” ~Benjamin Disraeli

“Grief and gratitude are kindred souls, each pointing to the beauty of what is transient and given to us by grace.- Patricia Campbell Carlson

“People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.” – Elizabeth Kubler Ross

“The curious paradox is that just as soon as I start to accept myself as I am, that’s when things begin to change.” – Carl Rogers

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.” – Albert Einstein

Cal Fire – prepare to evacuate before fire hits

“There will be something, anguish or elation, that is peculiar to this day alone. I rise from sleep and say: Hail to the morning! Come down to me, my beautiful unknown.” – Jessica Powers

“And yes, the world does mercifully go on. As I write this evening, it goes on past local catastrophes like the unimaginably destructive fires raging just east and north of us. Plus the devastating hurricanes lined up one after another this year. It goes on past political leaders, so uncaring and seemingly untethered to reality. It goes on past global tensions that threaten millions. And it goes on past loved ones like my younger sister who is gravely ill. Yes, it simply goes on. This is not gratefulness for the hurt, grief and losses we suffer, but rather for the opportunity to grow heal and reconnect to our selves, to others, and to the great other.   But how do we hold all these things at once? How do we keep from simply turning away, numb and desperate? There is a tool and practice strong enough for such times. It is gratefulness practice. And no, we cannot be grateful for any of the things I just mentioned. Let me be clear. We simply cannot be grateful for such difficult and fierce things in this world.  Over time, however we can begin to tease up to something I call paradoxical gratefulness. This is not gratefulness for the hurt, grief and losses we suffer, but rather for the opportunity to grow, heal and reconnect to our selves, to others, and to the great other. It allows our heart to open more fully even as it shatters and breaks into ten thousand pieces.” -Dale Biron

“Courage isn’t about making the fear go away; it’s about acting in the face of fear.” As Susan Jeffers put it, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

“Your heart has loved you since the beginning.”– Nayyirah Waheed

Lin-Manuel Miranda has raised over $20 million to benefit recovery efforts in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria devastated the island, with his song ‘Almost like Praying’. See his story and donate here.

If you or someone you love needs help dealing with stress, anxiety, loss, depression, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Heart Full Moments – November 2017

Good things to warm your heart

At the end of this month of giving thanks, I offer gentle wisdoms and warm words I have read and been touched by. I have much gratitude for the lovely ideas presented and shared. May they touch your heart as well…

  • “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” – Marcel Proust
  • “May we all live with ease of well-being.” – Mindfulness reminder
  • “And when they knew he was listening they formed a bond with him faster. Life almost immediately felt richer and more meaningful”. As professor Graham Bodie has empirically noted, “listening is the quintessential positive interpersonal communication behavior.”
  • ”Ask not for a lighter load, but for broader shoulders to carry it.” – Jewish saying
  • “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” -Chinese Proverb
  • A Pledge for grateful living
    It is within my own heart that I must recognize fear, agitation, coldness, alienation, blind anger and the impulse to retaliation. Here in my heart I can turn fear into courageous trust, agitation into stillness, confusion into clarity, isolation into a sense of belonging, alienation into love, and irrational reaction into Common Sense. The creative intelligence of gratefulness will suggest to each one of us how to go about this task.” – Br. David
  • Clouds In Each Paper – by Thich Nhat Hanh (Mar 25, 2002)
    If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow: and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are.”Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter” with the verb “to be”, we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud, we cannot have paper, so we can say that the cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.
  • “When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
    I was a bride married to amazement.
    I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” – Mary Oliver
  • “The fear of failure can actually be helpful. It can motivate us to do planning. But it can also be really unhelpful if it causes us to procrastinate and put things off, because we get consumed by fear.” – Mark Aoyagi, director of sport and performance psychology at the University of Denver
  • “Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.” – Dr. Albert Schweitzer
  • “…Having each person in the room come forth to lay hands on my head, with no hurry. I bowed my head to each person who came forward, receiving their power and blessing. Spirit was afoot in that room, weaving us together, supporting us in our endeavors, blessing us in our friendship and our journey. This night altered us all individually and as a group. And as I lay on the gurney awaiting my surgery, all of this came back, each person’s touch and intention for me, and the music singing me forward. I am generally terrified of anesthesia, but not this day. This day, I remembered the singing, the touch, our eyes and hearts meeting in a space so completely unexpectedly.
    Wisdom received had something to do with allowing my vulnerability, accepting the care and blessing of others, allowing a moment to shine unexpectedly, and a reminder that while I may have the name of teacher or minister, I am as well ever the student and recipient of grace.” – Pilgrim
  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
  • “As I walked down the avenue, the late afternoon sun was turning the lovely and dying sycamore leaves into fragments of brilliant stained glass, and I said to myself, ‘This alone is worth the price of admission to our broken and glorious world.’” – Linda Larsson
  • Blessing for the Fullness of This Day
    “I bless this day in the fullness of good it already contains, in the many occasions it offers to listen deeply, to be of service to others, to express gratitude moment by moment and to keep my mind so filled with love, beauty and joy that no negativity can find even the tiniest crack in which to set foot. I bless this day in the infinite opportunities it gives me to love: to love and bless every human I meet, every beast or bird I pass by, every plant I behold, for all are but the manifold expressions of the infinite Life that undergirds all. Truly, I bless this day for the wonderful adventure it can become as I walk through it with the eyes of wonder rather than boredom, use every opportunity to express peace rather than irritation, and chose love over fear. Thank you, Life, for this day.” – Pierre Pradervand
  • “Occasionally we will be overwhelmed, but mostly we will be enchanted.” – Jean Houston
  • “Let our lives be full of both: thanks  and giving “ – in Concert
  • Even Socrates, who lived a very frugal and simple life, loved to go to the market. When his students asked about this, he replied, “I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.”- Jack Kornfield
  • “To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wildflower…To hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour…”- William Blake
  • The ABCs of Grateful Living: A Practice – by Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB
    The following practice is from Br. David’s introduction to Stop-Look-Go: A Grateful Practice Workbook and Gratitude Journal (June, 2016).
    “One practice that I use sometimes – say, in my dentist’s waiting-room – I call The ABCs of Grateful Living: I go through the alphabet and note for each letter the first word that comes to my mind. Then, I try to make a connection between that word and my practice of grateful living. It’s a kind of game I play with myself…
    **Watch for next week’s blog post, where I share my own ABC’s of gratefulness…

I hope during this month of November that you enjoy this list of Heart Full moments, and have had many more of your own full heart moments, to add to.

If you or someone you love is struggling with finding meaning, relief, or peace for your troubled heart, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Heart Full Moments December 2017

Bits of Wisdom

wise words

As this year draws to a close, I offer you my latest collection of wise words, good things read, and gentle thoughts to help bring depth and meaning to your life. May your new year be graced with many blessings, inside and out, and may you be present to each and every moment before you.

  • Marriage is not about marrying the right person, it’s about being the right partner.
    “I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you.” – Zig Ziglar
  • The Monitoring the Future survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and designed to be nationally representative, has asked 12th- graders more than 1,000 questions every year since 1975 and queried eighth- and 10th-graders since 1991. The survey asks teens how happy they are and also how much of their leisure time they spend on various activities, including non-screen activities such as in-person social interaction and exercise, and, in recent years, screen activities such as using social media, texting, and browsing the web. The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on non-screen activities are more likely to be happy.
  • “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are but doesn’t leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott
  • “Balance is not about giving the same amount of energy to all areas of your life simultaneously. It’s more about being aware of what needs your focus at any given time and recognising the symptoms of feeling out of balance before things get out of hand.”- Kelly Pietrangeli
  • “Longing, felt fully, carries us to belonging.” – Tara Brach
  • “There is greater hunger in the world for appreciation than for bread.” – Mother Teresa
  • “Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” – Tia Walker
  • Karen Salmonson has said, “One of the ugliest things in the world is a human without compassion.”
  • “Heartbreak is your clue into what’s next.” Glennon
  • Nestle Tollhouse says the worst Christmas gift ever is oatmeal raisin cookies(!) 
  • Rumi said, “Try something different. Surrender.”
  • “There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.” – Brene Brown
  • Himalayan sherpas have a saying: “There are two great sins in the world: threatening little children and picking wildflowers.”
  • “Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” – Author unknown
  • “Life runs in cycles.
    The wheel never stops turning.
    No matter how dark the night, morning comes.
    No matter how cold the winter, spring comes.
    When you feel despair, know that the wheel is turning. Joy will come.”
  • “Carefully watch your thoughts for they become your words.
    Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions.
    Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values for they shall become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “No matter your race, whatever the case may be, this is a beautiful country and we’re never going to let one person dictate how beautiful and how powerful we are.” – LeBron James
  • “…Ultimately, we are small living things awakened in the stream, not gods who carve out rivers. We cannot eliminate hunger, but we can feed each other. We cannot eliminate pain, but we can live a life of compassion.” – Mark Nepo
  • “Judgement wouldn’t be present if you weren’t in some way calling out for love.” – Gabby Bernstein
  • “I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” – HAFIZ
  • ”I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” – OG Mandino
  • “Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.” – Wendell Berry
  • “In positive psychology, we define optimism as the belief that your behavior matters.” -Blankson

Happy New Year!

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
[email protected]
(510) 482-4445