"Happiness can only exist in acceptance."

To cultivate acceptance, instead of thinking about parts of us as broken that need to be fixed we need to have compassion, self-compassion. Self-compassion is about responding to ourselves and our flaws with kindness and love. We need to accept ourselves as we are, fully and completely.

Recognize things the way they are.

Suffering is going to strike all of us even under the best of circumstances. The more we wish our lives to be different the worse we feel. What we resist persists. Most people seek pleasure and happiness and strive to avoid pain. But we cannot avoid pain. Instead, if we learn to develop a new relationship with the pain we can find a sweet spot, a serenity. Learning how to sit with our pain, both emotional and physical, knowing it will pass is one of the keys to finding happiness. If we recognize and accept that some hardships are part of life we can reduce our suffering. Turn toward our difficulties with non-judgment and self-compassion. This includes emotional problems. Be more accepting and compassionate about yourself; experience your thoughts and feelings just as they are, moment to moment. Doing so helps to alleviate your problems, whereas judging yourself can accentuate them.

Self-compassion is most effective when we are no longer fighting the physical or emotional pain but giving ourselves the same kindness we would give others.

"You work so hard to fix yourself, but maybe what you need isn't another tactic, another book, another five-step plan. Maybe, what's really holding you back is the idea that you need to be fixed." - Vironika Tugaleva


“Every day brings a choice to practice stress or practice peace!”

My husband enjoying the peace

I had an appointment for a two-hour root canal procedure today. Of course, I wasn’t looking forward to it, but then when I got there they told me after looking at the x-rays it looked like they were going to have to remove what was left of the tooth. More complicated dental procedures will follow, with no tooth in the end. I could feel my stress going through the roof.

We should be proud because those of us who have a significant stress response inherited it from our ancestors, and that is part of the fight and flight reaction that helped prevent us from being consumed by a tiger, allowing our gene pool to survive. Our ancestors were always on the lookout.

In our modern world, we don’t need to run away from tigers, so we don’t need an intense stress response. But our complex world also exposes us to more frequent stressors, and reacting to each of our daily challenges with a significant adrenaline burst is not helpful. We need to change our relationship with stress to help us bounce back from life’s frequent challenges. When stressed, our sympathetic nervous system is activated, so we need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to get the “relaxation response”. The relaxation response encourages our bodies to release chemicals and brain signals that make our adrenaline system slow down.

We can help train our body to activate the “relaxation response” through focused breathing, meditation, yoga, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and other activities - even knitting. Meditation has been shown on MRI to induce healing changes in the brain. Sometimes even retraining our belief system can help activate the relaxation response.

Focused breathing and progressive muscle relaxation are two resiliency techniques that are great for turning off the fight or flight response. The more it is done the more it comes naturally to you any time you feel the adrenaline rush of stress. Stress provides us with an opportunity to practice what resiliency is all about, and by using these techniques, we can mitigate the negative effects of stress and thrive.

“Peace is every step.” Thich Nhat Hanh


“We are more than the worst thing that ever happened to us. All of us need to stop apologizing for having been to hell and back and come back breathing.” Clementine von Radics

My son one of my favorite positives in life, enjoying life.

I was looking for a quote for my last blog when I ran across the quote for this week. “We are more than the worst thing that ever happened to us.” Wow, that is so powerful to me. I am a person who defines myself by the worst things that have happened to me, and then I take it one step further and I blame myself for all of them. I blame myself for failing to get well and continuing to live in chronic pain... Some of the worst things that have happened to me are too personal to write here, but you get the gist.

Not only do we need to stop blaming ourselves for everything bad that has happened in our lives, but you also need to stop defining ourselves around it. We need to do the opposite, give ourselves credit for the positive. When I think about the positive things that have happened to me I realize the list is large. I need to focus on that huge list, e.g. I was able to leave the small town I grew up in and was able to attend the college of my dreams. I was supported and encouraged to achieve great things as a child and that helped me achieve my goals in life. I’ve graduated from law school, raised two boys that grew into the most amazing men, been married to the love of my life for over 30 years. I have people who love me and care about me. I live in a safe neighborhood with great neighbors I could go on and on but eventually, this blog needs to come to an end. The point is that I need to also define myself by my list of positives. It is only then that I will be able to see my life clearly.

Let in the sunshine and have a beautiful life!