Archives for Inspirational

Celebrity Mentors

Stephen Hawking In His Own Words


I haven't seen the new Hawking film, "The Theory of Everything."

But the Stephen Hawking I met in "Hawking," a 2013 film in which Hawking himself narrates the story of his life, is a man I won't soon - or ever - forget.

At one point in the film, long after his body has become virtually useless due to the ravages of ALS disease, Hawking shares:

Because every day could be my last, I have a desire to make the most of each and every minute.

We are all different, but we share the same human spirit. Perhaps it is human nature that we adapt and survive.

This is a man who states he does not believe in any concept of a god or the afterlife.

So to Hawking, this life - one day by one day - is what each of us is given.

Today is the only "known" we have (and as such, the only "proof" we have to rely on that our life is even taking place!)

Hawking has three kids and has been married twice.

He has appeared on the "Simpsons," "The Big Bang Theory," and "Star Trek" (his favorite sci-fi show).

His book, "A Brief History of Time," has been a worldwide bestseller for years.

To review all the awards and honors he has received would be - well - these have been catalogued quite admirably elsewhere.

But what inspires me the most is how clear it is that Hawking does not inhabit his body - rather, he inhabits his mind, his emotions (in the form of passion for living and for connecting people with the science he loves), and his relationships. 
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Inspirational

What Helps Me Find My Middle Way


The Dalai Lama talks a lot about finding a "middle way" to navigate through life's challenging issues.

When I hear the phrase "middle way," I often think about finding balance or moderation (which of course makes me want to find both and experience them!)

But liking the concept of the middle way is one thing, and actually achieving a daily practice of it is quite another.

Lately, as I progress through the first quarter of my self-described Year of Living Intuitively, I have become ever more fixated on finding a middle way within.

And since I have always needed a hands-on approach (aka something to "do" to participate in my own learning process) I have started noticing what helps me remember to seek a middle way and step back from extreme reactions.

Here are 2 examples.

Example 1: Construction 
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Celebrity Mentors

Monica Lewinsky, Mentor

My mom recently sent me an article about Monica Lewinsky.

The article, titled "Monica Lewinsky is Back, but this Time it's on Her Terms," sounded intriguing.

So I read it.

And then it broke my heart.

I didn't realize we are only four years apart (she is 40, I am 44). Thinking back to when I was her age, I must admit I did some very regrettable things (and got involved with some very regrettable folks).....but since none of those oopses involved a U.S. president, mostly even I don't remember them now.

Thank goodness.

But Monica Lewinsky can't go an hour without remembering.

A few months ago I posted a blog called "Handling Hate Mail, Hateful Comments, and Hate."

In this post, I shared one comment - just ONE comment - that cut me straight through....which is one of (in comparison with Monica Lewinsky) just a handful of comments I have received over the years in my semi-public profession working with recovering and recovered people.

At one point during her recent TED talk, Lewinsky asks, "Where is the compassion?"

I have often wondered the same.

The haters who post and write and call anonymously are one thing....but today, very few even bother to hide their identity.

That boggles my mind.

Where is our fear of repercussion? Where is our compassion?

Where is our humanity?

We just spew out our hatred and anger and condemnation so freely....and then....what? Go home and hug our kids? Kiss our partners? Vent to our friends about how mean such-and-so is for gossiping about us at the office? Hope for a five-star review on our annual performance review at work?

Do each of us (or most of us, anyway) really have two personas - the kind, nice, hard-working, hopes-to-be-understood-and-respected-and-loved daily one - and that "Other One" - the one with the really white skin who wears the scary dark cape and has retractable front fangs?

I know both live inside of me. 
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Inspirational

A Makeup-Free Year


The other day I was scheduled to do a media interview.

I hadn't done one of those in awhile, but I still remembered the drill.

RULE #1Wear makeup on camera, or risk appearing to have actually died during the interview.

(Not ideal under any circumstances, but especially not when you are filming a television spot about eating disorders!)

And I was totally prepared to make sure I looked alive and kicking on camera....except for one tiny detail.

I couldn't locate my makeup.

To make matters worse, the day before I had finally taken the plunge and dyed my hair raven black with purple highlights.

Which meant the most likely outcome would unfold as follows:

Pale skin + black hair + harsh TV lighting = on-camera Zombie.

Otherwise, however, all this was pretty cool.

I've pretty much been makeup-free for months now, and I hadn't even noticed!

Thinking back, I'm pretty sure it started last fall when my boyfriend and I were driving down to Galveston (where Houstonians like us go when we want to visit the beach). We were talking about a show we'd seen on dramatic makeovers, plastic surgery, etc.

I shared how I'd seen some of my Facebook friends posting pics of themselves without makeup to celebrate "Makeup-Free Day." He laughed and said, "Makeup-Free DAY? How about Makeup-Free YEAR?!"

I thought that was a pretty cool idea.
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Inspirational

Every Day, I Wake Up and Prepare to Die


A few days ago, I blogged about what I do each morning to wake up and fully prepare to live another 24 hours.

However, there is another facet of my process I didn't share in that post, which is preparing for our own death daily.

I have found much of my light through a daily meditation practice, which includes as much study and service as it does actual meditation.

In one of my study sessions, I read an essay on the topic of preparing for your own death that I've never forgotten.

The story went like this:

A man approached a great king asking for self-knowledge. The day he arrived happened to be the day of the annual kingdom-wide fair, and there were festivities everywhere! Magicians, jugglers, fire walks, jousts - it was nearly too much for the simple country man to take in! In answer to his request, the King replied, "Take this bowl of water and walk through the streets all the way to the end, then turn around and walk back. If even one drop of the water in that bowl spills, I will have my best swordsman cut off your head!" 

The man was floored....terrified....and (being as how it was the King and he couldn't just take back his request and leave) determined not to let one drop of water spill from the bowl. He walked very carefully, keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the bowl. He looked nowhere else. Somehow he made it all the way there and back to the King without spilling one drop. Then he asked, "Why did you ask me to do that?" 
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Inspirational

Every Day, I Wake Up and Prepare to Live


For a decade and a half, I struggled mightily every day against an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, and self-hatred.

To this day, I am still not 100% certain what it was that kept me from offing myself, let alone waking up again and again into another day of certain hell.

But whatever it was - is - it is still with me.

It still helps me wake up every morning and prepare to live another day.

My dad and I talk about this a lot - he grew up under challenging circumstances of an entirely different sort, yet he too woke up every morning, the youngest of four in a reliably chaotic household, and set his mind towards the future.

He simply determined that HIS future would be different - and every choice he made in each present day was weighed against his vision of that future.

Today, he is living in the exact future he envisioned in each of those days, beginning oh so many decades ago.

Perhaps that was what kept me going - his example and knowing his story - even though I surely didn't view that as my inspiration at the time (I was far too caught up in my own darkness to see much else back then).

I just knew that, every time I was tempted to think the way my life felt was the worst any life could ever feel, I would read or hear about someone whose life was so much harder, and who was still choosing to make good come from bad.

Gandhi. Mother Teresa. Martin Luther King, Jr. My American Indian grandparents. Random biographies and novels I read in the library (I was an avid reader growing up, and still am).

Here, in these stories, I found my heroes and my mentors.
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Animal Mentors

How I am Learning to Fly


Last year my boyfriend and I watched a very sad (but good) movie.

It was called "Now is Good."

One scene featured some kind of flying contraption - you went inside a clear tube, and somehow it made you float in the air.

Of course, I thought the filmmakers just made it up - something cool you can only do in movies.

When I found out the flying contraption is a real thing called 'iFly,' and that the newest one had just been built in the city of Houston where I live, I signed us right up!

Being a parrot mommy and all, I assumed I would be a natural.

Plus, I was so eager to discover if real-life flying would feel like the flying I do in my dreams (which feels very floaty yet controlled, and so wonderful!)

When we got to iFly, we quickly got all oriented and suited up (our ensemble included a full "flight suit," goggles, ear plugs, AND helmet).

Then we entered the flying chamber, where we discovered the way we would fly is to be hit from below by 170 mph gusts of artificial "wind."

When the instructors did it, they looked graceful and confident, like human birds.

When my boyfriend did it, he was a pure natural - he said it was so relaxing he nearly fell asleep in the chamber.

When I did it, I felt like a giant (and really pissed off) bird had just chewed me up, swallowed me, and then spit me back out again.

I emerged shaking and sweating, drool coating my chin and the top of my neck (the wind blew my mouth open and my saliva took its chance and made a break for it).

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Good News

You Have Friendly Mentors All Around You


So we are well into the first month of January 2015!

How is it going so far?

For me, it is quite exciting!

But then again, that is because these days, I find the unknown, the unexpected, the un-plannable, energizing and fun.

When I was sick with an eating disorder, this was NOT the case.

I have had to learn that (as one of my favorite mentors, Byron Katie, often says):

"This is a friendly universe."

So beautiful.

But her words alone didn't convince me - oh no. 
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