Friday, May 22, 2009

Speak Out for Freedom

It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it. ~ Aung San Suu Kyi

Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was recently arrested for violating the terms of her house arrest because an uninvited swimmer, who pleaded exhaustion, was allowed to stay at her house before swimming back. Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her nonviolent leadership towards democracy against a military dictatorship in Burma. Suu Kyi’s latest house arrest was set to expire later this month. Supporters say the trial provides the government an excuse to continue restricting her movement. She could face up to five years of confinement for the supposed violation and could potentially be moved from house arrest to more restrictive and brutal confines of Insein Prison without medical care, as she is already ill.

When I heard the news, I began to think about what Aung San Suu Kyi stands for – freedom, love and hope. She has inspired a peaceful call for democracy against a brutal military regime that has kept her under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years. The Burmese regime has been known for its repression of any threat to their military control. Thousands have been jailed, denied medical care and suffered significant human rights abuses. Over a million refugees have crossed the border to escape the abuses.

It got me thinking about a number of different things…First, just my complete incomprehension of why we continue to see these inhumane actions and violence around the world. Why are people driven to violence and abuse? Fear, insecurity, power – are all things that contribute to the abuses. So how may we begin to provide opportunities around the world to balance out these injustices and alleviate fear, provide security and support for our fellow human’s basic needs.

Second, it made me think about what we can all do to make a difference and speak out, first for Aung San Suu Kyi . May we lend our voices to speak out on behalf of Suu Kyi and all those that are under abuse. Let’s overwhelm world leaders with a global call to action to stop the arrests and brutality – to do so, go to: and sign the petition calling on the UN Secretary General to act now, as it will be presented on May 26th. This petition has the potential to bring a new era to Burma much like the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa and may bring hope for democracy and the release of Suu Kyi from years of unjust detention and for over 2,100 other political prisoners.

Beyond this, I wondered how we can continue to speak out against human rights violations when they happen, so we may begin working towards a world free of the violence and abuse. How are you taking action regularly in your life? What might you do to become more aware? And when you hear of something inhumane happening around the world, what can you do to take part and support a global shift away from fear and violence and towards peace and love? How can we contribute to ensuring that we may all have the freedom and security to reach our full potential and create a world of peace and hope?

Human beings the world over need freedom and security that they may be able to realize their full potential. ~ Aung San Suu Kyi

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Change is Good!

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.~ Mahatma Gandhi

I love this quote! It reminds of when I was a young girl and I went to see the movie about Gandhi with my school class. The movie was over 3 hours and I remember crying for so much of the movie. It hit me so deeply in my soul. I too wanted to make that kind of difference in the world. Such humility, such beauty, such peace. Gandhi inspired me and still does today.

I am inspired by many people - leaders, friends, family and others. I am inspired by people committed to change and to making a difference. I have always been inspired by meaningful action on the planet, I haven't always lived that truth in my life. For most of my life, I have taken action in one form or another, but the times that I have limited myself, I have felt stifled and suffocated.

Only recently have I fully embarked on living my truth and following the path of making a difference every day and in every way I know how. I feel whole and alive by doing so. It was not easy to take the path of truth.

Change can be difficult. As human beings we resist it. But what if we could embrace it and see it as a natural evolution and a beautiful transformation - like a butterfly.

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown

What if we could begin to accept change within ourselves, inspire change in others and become the change that we want to see in the world? What do you wish to change in your life? What can you do to change the way you look at it and change yourself in the process, rather than wishing for it to change? What inspires you? How do you inspire others? What change do you want to see on the planet? What is the first step you can take to help make that change happen?

Change is the change!

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Victor Frankl

Friday, May 15, 2009

Oscar the Grouch or Kermit the Frog?

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. ~ Winston Churchill

I was invited to an event yesterday to hear about the economic forecast - nationally, in California and locally in Southern California. It made me think of Oscar the Grouch and Kermit the Frog... Much of it was gloom and doom and the reaction in the room was mostly pessimistic. The information was interesting. The economics of consumption, housing, employment and other elements of the economy were shared.

Basically the overall news shared was mostly bad. We are in a recession that is not likely to clear up until mid 2010 and not fully recover until 2011. The good news is that it will begin to slow and turn around later this year and housing prices will bottom out this year providing opportunity for some to purchase houses that might not have been able to before.

What struck me so significantly at the breakfast, was that there was absolutely no mention or no research on some of the more emerging markets. That is, the fact that the retail market had tanked so badly last December wasn't countered with the fact that online retail jumped equally in the positive direction. Nor was anything mentioned about the green economy or other economic opportunities that address the triple bottom line - people, profit and the planet. The economy is changing and many of the old structures and ways of doing business aren't working. So to overlook these new economies is shortsighted. There is much that the old economy can learn from these new economies in terms of opportunities for change, to shift into a new direction and to profit instead of plummet.

As I listened, I thought of Oscar the Grouch and Kermit the Frog - two of my favorite childhood characters. They are good reminders of the negative and positive and the choices we have. We can recognize what is going wrong and we can grouch about it, like Oscar did and hence he lived in a trash can or we can find solutions and dream about and reach for what's on the other side of the rainbow, like Kermit.

Now of course these economists had to present the economic picture and forecast as it exists. Yet, what could be done more by economists everywhere is to include the perspective of what is working to provide some hope and some insights to what, where or how to shift the economic forecasts even faster. As a recovering policy wonk, I know that politicians and researchers tend to dwell in the negative - in what isn't. It is the rare policymaker and educational institution that looks to what is, what more can be done and how can we find more solutions. If we began to see to a more proactive and opportunistic approach to reporting and policymaking, we might begin to see a move towards the positive more quickly.

Try it out in your own personal life and make an effort to make the shift in your professional life and suggest ways for your businesses and colleagues to look for the positive, opportunity and solutions, rather than the difficulty. If we each do our part, change truly is possible.

Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it can’t be done. ~ Bo Bennett

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. ~Norman Vincent Peale

I woke up this morning thinking about believing and believing in ourselves. We all have to believe in ourselves first and foremost. I remember seeing Archbishop Desmond Tutu talk recently about the fact that sometimes we have a purpose that others can't see and even our families and the people closest to us might worry or disbelieve, but as long as we believe in ourselves, that is the key.

I am finding this more and more true for me in my life. When I allow other's doubts to cloud my own vision and self belief, everything goes awry. But when I dig down deep and do what is right for me, what I believe in and I trust that and act on it, everything seems to work out. It is when I don't believe and listen to myself, that things go wrong. I end up feeling bad - often I either get a pit in my stomach that feels awful or I feel constricted around my throat. I always know when I am not trusting and believing and following my truth.

A good friend recently told me a story about her marriage. She explained that she took a huge risk and married someone outside of her culture despite the disapproval of her family. She was basically excommunicated for a period because she was shaming the family. Despite her guilt and other discomfort, she did what was right for her. Her husband also stood up for what he believed in and did whatever it took to convince her that this was ok to follow her heart and do what was right. They were both courageous and believed in themselves enough to trust and act on it. Despite the fact that they were not supported initially in the decision, after the families saw that they loved each other and were truly happy in their decision, they shifted and grew from the experience. The result is not only that they made the right decision for themselves, but they also paved the way and opened up the possibility for others in the family to make the right decisions for themselves as well.

Do you believe in yourself? Or do you allow what others believe to influence your judgment and decisions and deter you from doing what is right for you? What if without realizing it, by believing in yourself, you are valuing yourself and giving yourself permission to make the right choice for you. And what if by that choice, you are opening up the possibility for others around you to be influenced and inspired by your courage and to give themselves permission to do the same. Believe in yourself and watch as your own world and that of those around you unfolds for the better.

The turning point, I think, was when I really realized that you can do it yourself. That you have to believe in you because sometimes that's the only person that does believe in your success but you. ~Tim Blixseth

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Be Who You Are

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. ~ Dr. Seuss

I am currently in a Kundalini Yoga teacher training and this weekend we had another training that was truly a powerful experience for me in my exploration of self. We did a meditation to break our mask. The meditation was to help break the imagery that we have worn on ourselves that take us away from our reality.

That is, so many of us wear a mask to protect us and to allow us to be liked, approved or otherwise from other people. When we are young, we often create these masks to survive, to fit in or to get by. As we get older, the mask no longer serves us in the ways it may have as a child and often times it begins to get in the way. I did a workshop a few years ago and the facilitator said to me, "Take off the mask and let the true you and your true power shine through." It hit me hard as I thought to myself, what mask?

But deep down I knew it was true and that the facade of who I had been for so many years was hiding who I really was. I sought to figure out who I am and realized that I am me - passion, joy, quirks and all. For so many years I had tried to be like other people and tried to do things that would gain approval from others and I was miserable. After the meditation this weekend, I realized that for so long I have been afraid to fully be me - to walk my walk and speak my truth.

More and more every day I am learning to be who I am and fully express myself. It is a constant journey in self love and self acceptance. But I finally feel confident in the path ahead and more comfortable in my own skin, more able to be me. When I saw these Dr. Seuss quotes, I had to laugh and giggle aloud. How true and fitting for my thoughts of the day. May you continue on your journey of full self expression and truly allow yourself to BE WHO YOU ARE.

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

Monday, May 11, 2009

Resistance is Futile

What you resist persists. ~ Carl Jung

This quote has kept coming to me over the past few days, so I thought it was worth writing about. Particularly because I was also recently reminded: If you hit resistance to something rather than avoid it or get annoyed by it, face it, kiss it and it will be gone.

Now literally you can't kiss some of the difficult situations in your life, but there is so much truth to this idea - embrace it, face it, deal with it and then you can move on. Every time we think we have learned a lesson and it shows up again in a different form, it likely means that we really didn't learn the full lesson. Until we do and embrace and accept it, it will continue to persist.

I have had this happen to me so much throughout my life and lately have hit it again. I keep seeing the same scenario come up over and over again and of course, my first reaction is to get frustrated and think to myself, "Oh no, not this again." But every time I go down that road, I am just contributing to the continuation of this experience. Finally, this expression really hit me in the middle of one of these experiences and I thought to myself, "Ok, here it is again, what can I do?" I have the choice to be annoyed and fight this or I can choose to truly face it and deal with it and embrace it as a gift for me to learn and grow from. I chose the latter. What a relief. When I could be truthful with myself about it, I was able to change the outcome.

It really was that simple. But in life, we seem to make things so complicated because we are tied to a specific outcome or we have certain expectations of how things should look. Where are you doing this in your life? What can you do to shift something you keep running into over and over again by truly facing it, embracing it and hence, overcoming it? Try it out. You may be amazed, and relieved, to find how quickly that thing that has been bothering you for days, weeks or even years, magically disappears over night.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hop, Skip & Jump for JOY!


As I sat down thinking about what to write, it hit me - JOY! What if I write about JOY - pure, true, unadulterated JOY! When I think of spring I think of JOY.

Now that I live in Southern California, it is not just the weather that makes me jump for joy this time of year, because honestly it is pretty darn nice here all year round! But I think that springtime reminds me of life, love, rebirth and just being revived and refreshed. It is a time of year for JOY!

JOY is about breathing in deep the smells of the flowers blooming, watching the sunset, hearing the waves crash and feeling the earth beneath our feet as we walk along the beach or across a park. Joy is about smiling at a stranger, laughing out loud at ourselves and skipping down the side walk. Joy is girls hopscotching in the park or double dutching on the street, youth running through fire hydrants on a hot day, or grown adults splashing barefoot in the rain. Joy is falling in love, getting a crush, giggling with delight. What does JOY feel like for you?

Right now, we are being inundated with fear every which way we turn - from the financial crisis to the housing crash to the swine flu. So what if right now, instead of being dragged into these messages of fear, we could all just shake it off and shift into a place of JOY and see what happens? What would you go out and do today to shake off any of that negative energy and shift into JOY?

What if we could translate that more than just one day but for several days and as many days as possible? Try it on for size and see how much your life and that of those around you fills up with JOY by you taking the initiative and making that first step! Enjoy and live with JOY!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Meditate or Televate?

All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching? ~Nicholas Johnson

I recently shared the gift of meditation with a good friend. She dreaded the idea of it, before she got started, with every excuse in the book of why she couldn't do it. Then she tried it out and voila...she really liked the effect of it - calming, soothing, relaxing and head clearing. Now she is hooked!

In return, she has given me the gift of television. Fair trade, right? Great friend, eh? No I am actually kidding and exaggerating as she actually really didn't get me hooked on TV. But the last few nights I have actually watched a little television after literally about 9 years of not having watched seriously any television. Tele-WHAT? I asked. I watched a few programs on TV and for the most part realize that it is truly mind-numbing and deadening and probably the worst thing ever for people on the planet. But despite my objections, it still goes on. So I thought, rather than resisting what IS, I might as well check out what people are watching these days.

For the most part I am frightened and amazed. And I pretty much swore I would never watch any reality tv shows as my attitude is why would I watch someone else's life instead of living my own. But of course a reality show came on called, WifeSwap, sounded pretty horrific and I was encouraged to watch it for the lessons. Lessons, I thought, what lessons? But I actually learned a little bit, really. One of the families reminded me of my own family and the same pain and lessons learned on the show were lessons that would have helped my own family in healing. It was pretty cool actually. It did get me thinking!

I also realized that my life is really one big wife, or family, swap. That is, the more people I meet, the more I grow - the more different from me the better. I fortunately have the pleasure and honor of meeting different people all the time and learning through conversations and interactions how similar we are despite the apparent differences. As human beings we all want the same things - to be loved, to love, to feel safe and be happy. It really is simple if we could only remember that.

All that being said, my experience with television was a good one. I am still not a big fan, I don't highly recommend it and I definitely won't give up my meditation practice, my writing or really anything else for it. But it was a good break from the "real world" for a few minutes to check in on what the rest of the world spends so much of its time doing. And if you are reading this and watch tv all the time, take a break from it once in a while and go meditate. Everything in moderation and balance and the world would truly be a better place.

Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. ~ Buddha

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. ~ Unknown

I woke up this morning thinking about friendship and how it has gotten me through - the best and worst of times. My friends have been my family my whole life - providing me support when I needed it and laughs to keep me going.

Friendship is an amazing thing. I spoke with my oldest and dearest friend the other day - we were literally born in the same hospital and have been friends ever since. I hadn't spoken with her in over a year and I realized that it really didn't matter how long it had been. The reality was that I could have not spoken to her in over 10 years and nothing really would have changed - she was still my sweet friend and sister.

I realized that friendship is a source of magic that keeps our lives going. It adds joy to the day, sweetness in our steps and laughter along the way. What a gift it is to have friends!

What are the friendships like in your life? Do you value them, acknowledge them or remind them how special they are? Do you remind yourself of how special and lucky you are to have such amazing friends? And do you find time to appreciate your friendships, let them know how grateful you are and celebrate your time together? Do that today, call a friend and thank them for being there for you in your life. Also, see what new friends you make and be grateful for the old and new!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Healing from Within

To heal from the inside out is the key. ~Wynonna Judd

I have spent the past few days not feeling well. When I woke up this morning the feeling persisted. It got me thinking about healing and what it means to get sick. According to Louise Hay, every physical illness we manifest is linked to a mental or emotional condition in which we are limiting ourselves or holding ourselves back. I think there is a lot of truth to her philosophy.

Our healing starts from within. While to some extent we can't control if we get a cold, the flu, cancer or otherwise, we can do everything in our power to take care of ourselves - physically, mentally and spiritually - to help ward off sickness and disease.

Look at that word, "dis-ease," a state of being out of ease, out of comfort, not well. What if we truly were to begin to heal ourselves from within - deal with and address all of our life's issues head on, face them and heal from within. It is a journey I have been on for a while and some days it is harder than others.

I read an article recently by Deepak Choprah about how often our bodies regenerate - in 1 year, nearly 100 percent of the atoms in our bodies will have been replaced with new ones - from the skin, to the stomach, liver, skeleton, etc. It is quite powerful to know this and know that we truly do have the power to heal ourselves from within.

For me, the key has been to heal my heart and soul first. Find ways to be gentle with yourself - put the hammer away and replace it with a soft feather brush. Take care of yourself and your body. Learn how to forgive yourself and others and let go of your expectations and appreciate what is. And of course, be who you are - outrageously and authentically - don't be who others want you to be or who you think they want you to be, but just be you.

These are some of the first steps that I have taken in my journey to heal from within. What are you doing to take care of yourself, love yourself, forgive yourself and heal from within?

Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn't you - all of the expectations, all of the beliefs - and becoming who you are. ~Rachel Naomi Remen

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Play Hooky...

I took this idea from my book, BEing the Present: 101 Ways to Inspire Living and Giving ( It was one of the 101 ways to live in the moment and be present.

Yesterday, I played hooky in the afternoon with my friend Reshma to go see the movie Wolverine! How much fun and what a way to let go of stress and just enjoy the day. And when I say enjoy the day, boy did we ever, how could we not, with Hugh Jackman flaunting his delicious body all over that screen? No but all kidding aside about Hugh's hot body, the reality is we all need to play hooky sometimes. When was the last time you played hooky?

I realized that I don't stop to play hooky enough. Meaning, I don't always take time out to do something frivolous, silly and literally, without a purpose. I feel so driven in my life to make a difference and feel like I am finally fulfilling my purpose that I sometimes forget to just go blow off steam for a day or an afternoon or whatever it takes. The cool thing is, I so love my life, my work and my days that I don't feel I need to. Even if I don't feel I need to let loose a little, I realized after yesterday's extravaganza that it really did my body and soul good.

So the next time you get a chance, take a day or an afternoon and go play hooky. It will refresh, revive and reinvigorate you so you can get back on your path and purpose with more joy and bounce in your step! Enjoy the day and weekend!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Allowing What Is

If we let go of what our plans are, we allow what is. ~ Pilar Stella

This quote came to me this morning when I woke up. So many of us plan our lives away. I know I have always been a planner - until recently (and I still do it, but less and less). That is, I am beginning to truly allow what is and honor what the universe presents to me more and more every day. It is quite an amazing, and different, way for me to live.

Yet, I am finding more of the magic and mystery of allowing what is. Every time I think something is going to happen or should happen a certain way, I am reminded that it is definitely not on MY TIME or in MY PLANS. As a result, I am beginning to let go and allow what is.

I received the following video link today in my inbox:
How funny and fun. A little bit of music uplifted and transformed an entire train station. It is moments like these that allow us to put down our plans and truly enjoy what is. I am finding that through this process of allowing, that the things that show up are sooo much more amazing and powerful than I could have ever imagined. Yet when I limit myself to doing what I planned then I remain closed to all the amazing potential things that may show up if I were to remain open to them.

Something to remember in all of this is that living this way is often not how we were taught. In fact, it is pretty much the exact opposite. So take little baby steps and allow yourself to slowly adapt to opening and allowing. You may be surprised at the delight and joy that you find flowing into your life! Relax, enjoy and allow what is!