Tag Archives: being YOU

Decide What You Want

Decide What You Want

“The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.” ~Ben Stein

There are no magical fixes; it’s up to you. You have to pass through the “easier said than done” thought, get over your own self-imposed limitations, and decide what it is you want. It’s so easy to do something you’re good at but don’t love. I have a friend who’s worked for the same company for 13 years because she’s good at what she does and she gets paid well for her good work. But from the beginning she promised herself that she would only do this job until she found something more “her,” and now she’s reeling from the fact that that was 13 years ago. She’s one of the smartest women I know, and she could do anything she set her mind to, I know it…but does she? I’m creeping up on 10 years in my line of work and I still wonder if this is what I want…or is there something more, something greater? Not necessarily greater in scope, but just greater for me. This isn’t a challenge for you to change life courses to go be an astronaut because it’s the loftiest career out there…it’s finding the loftiest place for YOU and ME in this world.

The decision itself may be difficult, but certainly not worth stressing and losing sleep over (pointing my finger at myself on that one) – this is a good and powerful move toward opening yourself up to new opportunities because you’re stopping long enough to listen to your heart and follow what it already knows it wants. You already know what you want…it’s just the world or your family or your paycheck or other outside factors have made the picture a little hazy. It’s like suddenly seeing 50 red Toyota Echoes (do they even come in red?) the day you buy one…when you finally make a decision on what it is you want, you’ll start seeing opportunities to help you get there that have been there all along.



Here’s a great blog on HOW TO DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT.

And of course, to include my quirky humor, here’s a video on how to make a decision like a ninja. I love this guy, and if you don’t at least crack a smile, we need to have words.

How Great You Are

How Great You Are

“The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart, this you will build your life by, and this you will become.” ~James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

Survival tools for life: Optimism, appreciation, faith, hope, belief, love. We can cherish them and use them, or keep them tucked in our tool belts and be tools ourselves. Bad joke, sorry.

But seriously, you know what’s not in the survival tool belt? Negative self-talk, doubt, and pessimism…trust me, I’ve checked. So stop telling yourself that you’re incapable or ugly or that you would be prettier if you lost another 5 or 10 pounds. Stop feeding yourself this endless negative monologue of “if onlys.” Stop telling yourself that you’re worth less than you actually are, and above all, stop believing it! You are your biggest cheerleader, and you’re cheering for some other team…namely the waify airbrushed models and celebrities in Us Weekly that you just saw in the grocery store aisle. How much power those unknowing models have over millions of women in grocery store aisles each week! Well, I’m sure they have some idea of their power, or they wouldn’t be starving themselves for a living.

You bring wonderful and amazing gifts to the table each and every day. My friend who called me this morning was weary but trying to keep a smile on her face for her kids so they don’t see the worry over money problems that is beneath the surface. She is a great mom and wife, and doing the absolute best with what she has. How disturbing it is to think about hard working moms and women like her who doubt themselves for one second because they feel they somehow don’t measure up to what the media and society says they should be?

That negative self-talk can be more caustic to a woman’s health and well-being than disease or drugs or anything destructive in nature…ok at least on par. That internal stress actually impairs a person’s health…but this is constant internal stress, so the damage is ongoing and never-ending. It kills me to see bright, beautiful women think less of themselves because someone else tells them to think it.

Stop shrinking inside of yourself and letting your light get dimmer with time. Put down the magazine, take a good, hard look in the mirror at the miracle that you are, and go out and live brightly, fully and unabashed in your own skin. You are great, but no one will see that until you yell out to the world, “I’m gonna show you how great I am!” (Muhammad Ali said that in a press conference before a fight when he was coming in as the underdog in 1974…he won.) It’s his voice you hear in the video below. I realize it also has the Rocky quote again, but you can’t hear that enough!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson, Return to Love

Celebrate Creativity!

Celebrate Creativity!

Let’s celebrate creativity!

I believe the world defaults toward the logical and the analytical, while the creative and out-of-the-box ways must be proactively pursued. They tend not to happen upon us naturally. I know a few free-spirited right-brainers out there, but they are a rare breed who most definitely swim up-current against the rest of the “that’s-just-how-we-do-things” crowd. Creativity is usually defined as the creation or innovation of something new with value – but that sounds like something a left-brain writer of definitions would say. If a creative person were to define creativity, I’m confident there would be more sense of bringing an element of spirit and color and life to everyday life.

My sister is a right-brainer, and when I am around her, I feel my creative juices flowing more readily and freely. When we lived together a few years back, we’d host parties…and the theme of the party was usually whatever was biggest in the news that week. When Brittany Spears and Kevin Federline broke up, we had a FedEx party. When Saddam Hussein was put to death, as embarrassing as it is to admit, we had a hanging party. I got an Elmo piñata and tied it up by a noose over our upper floor railing. When people came in, we put little nooses around each person’s neck, and my sister hung up all sorts of hanging drawings all over. Morbid? No question. Creative and fun and unforgettable? No question. I hope my sister never changes, and I hope her creative garden continues to grow and get greener with time. I’ve witnessed some gardens that get ignored and eventually dry up, and it’s sad to hear people labeling that occurrence as “growing up.” May we never grow up in that sense.

There’s nothing wrong with being logical, but if the balance is always tipped away from the creative side of life, we’re working our way towards gray and away from color. Tapping into our own creative spring is both nourishing and refreshing for our souls. It’s stepping back and looking at a problem from a new point of view; it’s trying something new or a new way; it’s seeing things with the element of possibility instead of impossibility.

Click THIS LINK…I PROMISE you it will make you laugh AND get your brain in a creative spot.

I found the list below and I can’t imagine anyone who couldn’t find something on it to help them take one step toward being a little more creative in life.

Let Your Freak Flag Fly!

Let Your Freak Flag Fly!

“Freak Flag” (Urban Dictionary):

  • A characteristic, mannerism, or appearance of a person, either subtle or overt, which implies unique, eccentric, creative, adventurous or unconventional thinking.
  • Letting loose, being down with your cool self, especially in front of a group of strangers. Your inner freak, that wants to come out, but often is supressed, from social anxiety.

    I was at a paddling team party – more like a relaxed potluck dinner with a chance to sit back and enjoy each other’s company outside of a boat. One of the girls plugged in her phone into the stereo and put on some dance music, and it didn’t take long before a little dance party broke out in the living room. A couple girls were in the middle shakin’ it, then one of the boyfriends joined in. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere, one of the most quiet girls on the team stepped into the middle and just let go of any and all inhibition and went to town with funky dance moves. She was shaking and moving every part of her body to the music, and her smile was as big as her dance flare. All of us on the periphery stood there in shock at this new brazen dancing queen that was shining out of what we knew as the shy girl. She let her freak flag fly.

    As I thought about it, I realized three false “truths” that many of us probably share:
    1. We all have a freak flag we want to fly
    2. We don’t do it out of fear of what people will think
    3. We believe that the only way to do it is under some substance influence

    We all have one, no denying it. If you don’t have one, you’re boring, but I don’t believe anyone is boring at the core – just on the outside. It’s just that most of our freak flags are folded neatly (from rare use) and tucked way in the back corner of ourselves. But we want to fly it. We want to let our weirdness and uniqueness burst out because it takes more effort and energy to suppress it and to project our current boring conformist exteriors. I want to be like that girl who just let loose at the party. I wanted to just jump right in and dance with her, but I stopped myself because I was afraid of what the other girls would think – which of course they wouldn’t have cared because I was one of those side-liners watching, and I was both impressed and jealous.

    We stop ourselves because of fear. Fear of what other people will think, fear of what we may see in ourselves, fear. What’s that statistic? 90% of things that people worry about never happens. I’ve also heard that 78% of statistics are made up on the spot, but I really believe the worry stat – it’s gotta be in the 90% area. Fear of what others think is such a foolish but real guide by which many of us live…especially people pleasers like me. Who cares?! They certainly don’t!

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~Dr. Suess

    As for the third reality, resorting to alcohol or any substance to boost our courage and lose our inhibitions – it’s a quick-fix, sure, but you’ll always wake up the next morning stuck with the same you…so you may as well make yourself a fun you all the time instead of just a weekend-party-time-fun-you version. Liquid courage is too quick of a fix…and I’m lecturing myself on this one. It’s surface-fix, not true-fix. I’m allowed to fly my freak flag AND be free of alcohol while doing it…what a concept! I bring up the alcohol specifically because I’m an anti-drug sorta gal, but I know lots of shyish people turn to drugs to bring out the fun them…stop it! now! Enjoy life naturally! And to all you non-shy types out there – if you see one of us shy people looking like we REALLY want to join in and dance, just grab our hand and bring us on the dance floor! If your freak flag flies a little more easily than others, help a sister or brother out!

    “Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.” ~Henry Miller

  • Land of the Free and the Crazy

    Land of the Free and the Crazy

    I had a really fun 4th of July. The entire Oahu outrigger canoe community landed on Waikiki beach with all its crazy festiveness. The 4th of July race is fun because you paddle out against the waves and surf back to shore with them…and the waves did not disappoint. Sometimes they would land right on top of boats going out and completely flood them so everyone would have to jump out, turn the boat over (a mere 500 lbs) to empty it, then turn it back over, scramble back inside and keep racing. Sometimes waves would send one canoe barreling into the one in the next lane over and there would be collisions with loud bangs and paddlers flying into the water. To add to that, the paddlers like to have fun and wear costumes or add some flare because of the holiday spirit. Combine crazy paddlers with crazy locals with thousands of additional sailors on the island for RIMPAC with wide-eyed foreign tourists and you get quite the beach scene.


    My team chose to make and wear tutus. More than once I stopped to look down and laugh at the fact that I was wearing a tutu on a public beach in broad daylight and felt perfectly comfortable doing it. The simple joy from wearing a tutu in public was surprising and liberating. We even got a couple free drinks from old men in Dukes who thought we were “cute” in our costumes. It turns out they were a bit of a legend group of older men – their pictures were on the walls of Duke’s, which is a famous Waikiki restaurant named after Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii’s most famous surfer and Olympian, and is a tribute to all the original great surfers and paddlers. The picture we took with the men is below.

    It occurred to me halfway through my second free drink (the point of many a deep thought) to be thankful for that moment, and that day – a day dedicated to the mark of our freedom as a country. Sometimes it feels like patriotism is a bit of a dying concept – it’s become politicized and is arguably not pc in some circles…which blows my mind. But to stop and look around at the happiness, the craziness, and the celebration around me yesterday, it’s plain to see that freedom is not a dying concept. I chose to take in the scene of freedom and independence around me and to bask in its reality…a reality that so many nations crave and still fight for. This is a great country. Nothing exists in life without quirks and shortfalls, and our country certainly has a few of those, but the daily gifts we often unknowingly enjoy is truly a reason to put our hand to our heart and say, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

    The picture below was from my race – just to show a little of what a mess it was out there with boats colliding from the big surf – biggest surf for that race in 8 years!

    A Little Humanity in Us

    A Little Humanity in Us

    “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
    Mother Teresa

    There’s a woman in my life that I didn’t care too much for. From day one, she rubbed me the wrong way and I kept a cold distance from her. She acted as if she was above the law, talked meanly about other people, name-dropped (one of my big pet peeves), and dressed in really skimpy clothes…which doesn’t really bug me but I’m trying to think of things to add to her bad list. She seemed to lack all of the qualities I admire most in people – warmth, compassion, friendliness, acceptance and being down to earth. I wasn’t mean to her, but I certainly wasn’t any of those qualities I just listed to her either.

    Then I something happened that changed my mind. I overheard her talking about herself and her life. She’d been through multiple divorces, and was now trying her best to put herself through school so she could stand on her own and make a new life for herself. With that insight, I saw her as a human being doing her best, and the rest didn’t really matter anymore. Maybe it’s a cover – maybe she puts on a tough bitchy face to make herself seem less vulnerable. Maybe she’s still in a lot of inner pain and drowns it out by cutting off emotion to other people. Whatever it is, all of her caddy stuff suddenly looked like surface, exterior fluff. Those annoying things weren’t her. Once I saw a glimpse of her humanity – the person behind the symptoms – I saw her through different eyes – with compassion.

    The whole thing made me think about how quick we are to judge other people strictly based on the outer fluff stuff. Maybe not everyone judges, but it is certainly a vice of mine. I’m an analyst, I’m paid to make assessments and judgments, and I let it spill over way too disproportionately into the real world. But quick judgments are the reason reality shows thrive – because the people seem so ridiculously stereotypical that we can’t believe they’re real, but can’t look away either. The bitchy housewife, the machismo guido, the trashy hoarder (no pun intented), the street thug…we actually enjoy making snap judgements on them. But I digress because those are just masks.

    It’s finding the humanity in other people – all people – that’s the challenge. If I stop and catch myself before I put a relative stranger into a superficial category in my mind, and see them for a human being with challenges and bucket lists and heartbreak and victories, then their depth reveals itself and compassion comes easily. Now it’s time to put theory to practice!

    Dwelling on Love

    Dwelling on Love

    Here is a beautiful breakdown of love I’ve compiled. It’s inspired from a Bible verse, but easily translates across religions and cultures to everyone.

    Love is an Action

    (1 Cor. 13:4-8 )

    Love is patient

  • It has restraint of anger, and temper in all sorts of life situations
  • Love thinks of the other person first; lack of patience puts oneself first
  • “Patience with others is Love; Patience with self is Hope; Patience with God is Faith.” ~Adel Bestavros
  • “Blessings may appear under the shape of pains, losses, and disappointments; but let him have patience, and he will see them in their proper figures.” ~Joseph Addison
  • “The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.” ~Ralph Martson

    Love is kind

  • It is thoughtful of others’ feelings
  • It is gentleness in action
  • “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~Leo Buscaglia
  • “A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” ~Saint Basil

    Love is not jealous

  • It rejoices in others’ good fortune
  • It has no desire to lessen the desires, virtues, achievements or happiness of another
  • “In jealousy there is more self-love than love.” ~Francois de La Rochefoucauld
  • “The jealousy that arises from another’s achievement is overcome by developing an awareness of and admiration for one’s own and other’s achievement.” ~Dalai Lama

    Love does not boast

  • It does not need a spotlight, nor to parade oneself in front of others
  • It is humble about great achievements
  • “Boasting is not courage. He who boasts much cannot do much. Much gesticulation does not prove courage.” ~Anonymous
  • “Where men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, and have there given reins to passion, without that proper deliberation and suspense, which can alone secure them from the grossest absurdities.” ~David Hume

    Love is not proud

  • It always has an attitude of thankfulness in all things
  • It exhibits a sense of humility
  • “What the weak head with strongest bias rules, Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.” ~Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
  • “In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.” ~John Ruskin
  • “Remember that pride is the worst viper that is in the heart, the greatest disturber of the soul’s peace and sweet communion with Christ; it was the first sin that ever was, and lies lowest in the foundation of Satan’s whole building, and is the most difficultly rooted out, and is the most hidden, secret and deceitful of all lusts, and often creeps in, insensibly, into the midst of religion and sometimes under the disguise of humility.” ~Jonathan Edwards

    Love is not rude

  • An unloving person will do and say things, and assume an attitude of which he later will be ashamed
  • It never offends by indelicate or crude acts and words that are violent or foul
  • It is concerned about manner as well as matter
  • “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” ~Eric Hoffer
  • “The means by which men are to attain great elevation may be classed in three divisions — physical, mental, and moral. Whatever relates to health, belongs to the first; whatever relates to the improvement of the mind, belongs to the second. The formation of good manners and virtuous habits constitutes the third.” ~Stonewall Jackson

    Love is not self-seeking

  • It seeks the other person’s welfare and does not calculate what benefits he may accrue, no boomerang thinking
  • It does not do for others as a gimmick to gain certain personal ends
  • It does not say “what’s in it for me?”
  • “Deny Self for Self’s sake.” ~Benjamin Franklin

    Love is not easily irritated

  • It considers and thinks carefully before being irritable, thus, sacrificing self, plans, schedules, etc. for others
  • “Irritability is immaturity of character. If you are subject to being cross and unpleasant with others for no apparent reason, you need to come face-to-face with the fact that you are thinking too much of yourself.”

    Love does not keep records of wrongs

  • It is one who does not count up, recall and throw up to another all the offenses the other has committed
  • It forgives and does not hold grudges
  • “Resentment or grudges do no harm to the person against whom you hold these feelings, but every day and every night of your life, they are eating at you.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

    Love is not happy about injustice, and stands on the side of truth

  • It does not sit idly by when injustices occur
  • It is not mute about unfair actions against others
  • It takes a stand for what is right and against what is wrong
  • “The cause of justice is the cause of humanity. Its advocates should overflow with universal goodwill. We should love this cause, for it conduces to the general happiness of mankind.” ~William Godwin
  • “The human spirit was fashioned in truth: that means when we tell lies the body disagrees by blinking the eyes, lowering the body temperature, raising the blood pressure, shaking our vocal cords; we become a dis-ease. When we live in lies our soul retaliates destroying not only ourselves but more so the very people we ougth to love and protect.” ~John C. Bejo

    Love always protects

  • Like a mother eagle fiercely protecting her nest of young, so love should protect
  • “In the love of a brave and faithful man there is always a strain of maternal tenderness; he gives out again those beams of protecting fondness which were shed on him as he lay on his mother’s knee.” ~George Eliot

    Love always trusts

  • When others doubt, it firmly believes
  • Only hard evidence would make one doubt another’s words
  • It believes everything is possible ultimately through love
  • “I can’t control my destiny, I trust my soul, my only goal is just to be. There’s only now, there’s only here. Give in to love or live in fear. No other path, no other way. No day but today.” ~Jonathan Larson
  • “Love means exposing yourself to the pain of being hurt, deeply hurt by someone you trust.”

    Love always hopes

  • “Dum spiro, spero.” “While I breathe, I hope.” ~Latin Proverb
  • “What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.” ~Emil Brunner
  • “Never let go of hope. One day you will see that it all has finally come together. What you have always wished for has finally come to be. You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself…”How did I get through all of that?”

    Love always perseveres

  • Love presses on through and past the hard stuff
  • “All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Love comes to those who still hope even though they’ve been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they’ve been betrayed, to those who still love even though they’ve been hurt before.”
  • “To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” ~Unknown

    LOVE NEVER FAILS

  • “Those who wish to sing always find a song.” -Proverb
  • “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” ~Maya Angelou