There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Tara Brach:

When we put down ideas of what life should be like, we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to our life as it is.

Well, here we are again, the “shoulds.” Or the classic saying, “I need to stop shoulding on myself.”

What should life be like anyway? Should it be like the stories and images we see in a romantic comedy? Should it be like the destruction and chaos we see in suspense or horror flick? Or maybe we should all be traveling a stream of light blissfully riding the love train.

Well, here are 3 realities of life to chew on:

  1. Life is like this — What’s this? It is exactly whatever you are experiencing right now.
  2. Here’s another reality, life is always changing. That means that whatever “this” is right now, will become something else.
  3. One last truth, we are active participants in our health and well-being.

However, it takes saying “yes to our life as it is” in order to have a choice in how we want to make a change. In other words, if we are feeling sad, it’s important acknowledge this so we know the reality of the moment and what are capabilities are. We can choose to feel the sadness or if we are really depressed and we feel the sadness will take us down a deep dark rabbit hole, maybe we can just acknowledge it, let it be, and choose to do something different in the moment.

So, I guess there’s a fourth truth: Being present to life as it is, is a prerequisite for having more choice in life.

The beauty of this is that we can actually cultivate the ability to become more present to our lives by practicing mindfulness. (Here is a short video to practice right now – you may have already viewed this, but even so, one practice in mindfulness is to bring a beginner’s mind to any practice, as if it was for the first time).

So at the end of the day, there are some things we can’t choose (i.e. our genetics, our biological or inherited families, some life events), but in being present we can choose how we want to relate to them and that can make all the difference.

To hear more about Tara Brach, you may want to check out interviews with her on 5 Keys to Emotional Freedom and Radical Acceptance.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.



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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (February 22, 2010)

    Last reviewed: 22 Feb 2010

APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2010). Regaining Control of Your Life: Monday's Mindful Quote with Tara Brach. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2015, from


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