Life Tips – from some inspiring people

At this time of year, I often find myself searching for inspiration. My deepest belief is that the only true meaning we can have in our lives comes from making the world a better place in our own way, be it in the way we support our family, or grow our garden, or contribute to our community.
Sometimes doing this is hard, and this is when I turn to others who inspire me. Sometimes I get my inspiration from friends, and sometimes from spiritual world leaders. Here are some words of inspiration from three spiritual leaders – Pema Chödrön, the Dalai Lama, and Tich Nhat Hahn.
  • Be kind, beginning with yourself. Begin this new season with kindness. Kindness softens the heart and makes room for difference.

If one wishes suffering not to happen to the people and the earth, it begins with a kind heart. (Pema Chödrön)

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. (Pema Chödrön)

The topic of compassion is not at all religious business; it is important to know it is human business, it is a question of human survival. -Dalai Lama

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. -Dalai Lama

When we walk like we are rushing, we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. Thich Nhat Hahn)

  • Make fear your ally. Life is about challenge. Unless we stay cocooned, every day will present us with something that tests us, and may bring up feelings of inadequacy or doubt. And every time this happens, we can choose how we are going to approach it.

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. (Pema Chödrön)

Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are. (Pema Chödrön)

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. (Pema Chödrön)

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change – Thich Nhat Hanh

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson. -Dalai Lama

  • Every moment of life is precious for its own sake. Be open to your own experiences, taking what’s given you and learning from it – no matter what that might be.

You are the sky.  Everything else – it’s just the weather. (Pema Chödrön)

As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don’t deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity. (Pema Chödrön)

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life. (Pema Chödrön)

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

  • Lighten up. Relax and make room for life to happen.

The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves. (Pema Chödrön)

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. (Pema Chödrön)

We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. (Pema Chödrön)

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed. (Thich Nhat Hahn)

May you experience these last few days of 2016 with contentment and a quiet joy.

Tich Nhat Hahn – Beginner’s Mind


At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations. For more information, visit my or contact me directly at


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