April 8th, 2014

Tweet Worthy

I’ve been noticing an onslaught of internet musings in which writers are highlighting parts of texts and including a “Tweet this” or “Click to tweet” or “Tweet Worthy” call out.

The first time I saw that, I was like, “Somebody’s trying to make this a thing.” And slowly but surely, these tweet callouts are finding their way into more and more blog posts.

I am irked by them. Some writer (can’t remember his name) said something akin to: You don’t know what book you’ve written until you know what book people have read. Profound.

Writers write. Readers read, interpret, engage, make meaning.

To me, it’s like reading a book full of someone else’s highlights. (I turn these off on my Kindle too.) I am fully capable of finding something in your writing that speaks to me. I probably wouldn’t be reading your blog if I didn’t.

So have a little faith and let me decide what, if anything, I will tweet. “Tweet this” I’m kidding.

February 14th, 2014

Working Out My Love Muscle


It’s that time of year again. It’s the day hated by most—tolerated by some—welcomed by few.

You already know. Valentine’s Day 2014. 

I remember having to bring Valentine’s Day cards or, worse yet for an anti-craftsperson like me, make cards for each student in my grade school class.

Well not much has changed. Valentine’s Day is still being forced upon me. At least I’m not obligated to give anything. But, as a single girl, I’m bombarded by the launch of new dating apps—the proliferation of jewelry ads that pop-up everywhere—a YouTube channel dedicated to the best, sweetest, sure-to-make-you-cry-if-you-have-a-heart proposals of 2013. Okay that last one doesn’t exist, but thank God for Glamour because they compiled the 12 Most-Viewed Marriage Proposal Videos Ever and I’m watching every last one of them right after I schedule this post.

Why, you ask?!?!?!?

Because this year and every Valentine’s Day from here on out, I’m going to be working on my Love Muscle (no, fellas…not that one).

The Love Muscle is that little thing…you know…the extra piece of…well actually it’s just metaphorical. It’s not the heart. It’s more than that. It’s not an emotion. It’s more than that.

I describe the Love Muscle as the thing that inspires our creativity, connects us to each other, and compels us to search for meaning in our lives—the something inside of us that urges us to transcend our, sometimes, small selves.

I’m suggesting a three-step plan for maximizing the Love Muscle. And it applies whether you’re single, in a relationship, or in a Facebook “It’s complicated” situation.

The three steps: Getting Lean. Staying Fit. Applying Resistance.

Sometimes we need to experience everything that love is not before we can experience love.

When you’re working out, you’re trimming away the fat within and without. It means you’re not staying involved with people or circumstances that don’t broaden your life.

Love’s purpose is to open you to experiencing life in the fullest way imaginable. It’s not something someone gives to you.

Getting lean means stripping away all the parts of you that are not love.

Once you’ve had a taste of love, staying fit means committing to it as a daily practice. With each thought and action, you either move closer to love or toward fear.

Valentine’s Day should really be stripped of its romantic-only vibe in exchange of providing a national day for us to reflect on who we are in relationship to love.

Ask yourself: How have I been loving or fearful? Accepting or clingy? Giving or grasping? Understanding or punishing?

To be fit in love means to look inward when the signs of lovelessness appear in your life. The cure for this is always within.

To grow your love muscle, you must apply increasing resistance. You do this by staying open when you’re inclined to shut down—by not detaching or scurrying away to the mountains but involving yourself fully in life—by not blaming others for what you perceive as an absence of love.

Each one of us can love. We can love deeply, poetically. We can love and not love. We don’t need love. It needs us. Love doesn’t exist in our world unless we choose to act on it. It’s similar to any other great idea—a novel, a song, an invention or a business. And an idea is worthless unless and until you make it real by your effort.

So this Valentine’s Day, I hope others will join me in giving our Love Muscle a good workout.

I’m excited to celebrate this day and it won’t be spent hoping for flowers or a serendipitous-lock-eyes-run-in. And it certainly won’t be spent lamenting being a single girl. I’ll spend it, in some small way, trying to do right by love and to do my part to make love real in the world.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who choose to love!

This post is in memory of my friend’s mom who recently passed away. Those who knew her would say that she made loving look way too easy.

December 8th, 2013

1st World Problems and 1st World Gifts: What’s in your bucket?

Photo by DFAT

On Thanksgiving Day, I wrote about 1st World Problems. At the time, a Move On petition was in circulation, asking people to pledge not to shop retail on Thanksgiving.

I also openly admitted that I signed the petition but not before grabbing a coffee at Peet’s.

My 1st World Dilemma.

Since then, I’ve been thinking more about our 1st World Gifts, beyond the materialism to which we have nearly unfettered access even if you’re living at or below the poverty line in America. 

According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, if taken literally, once we have the basics met: food, shelter, a sense of belonging and maybe even a little bit of love, we then begin to yearn for more.

That more includes needs for personal fulfillment and meaning, identified as the need to self-actualize. 

Self-actualization is a 1st World Gift and Curse.

Throughout the world, millions of people lack access to clean water. And, even when cleaner water is available, some women must walk for hours to collect it. In Sub Saharan Africa, women can carry up to 40 pounds of water daily on their heads. 

Americans will never have to do this unless one of the dystopian, fantasy fiction novels becomes a reality. Hopefully not in my lifetime. *Fingers crossed*

We never need concern ourselves with this level of survival.

So what’s in your bucket?

If we are freed to focus on what Maslow calls our growth needs of self-esteem and self-actualization (and I’m suggesting we are), what’s in your bucket?

When people in this country complain about…well anything, a chorus of voices rises up to chide them with statistics with varying degrees of reliability to prove that there are people worse off than them and that they are, in fact, lucky.

This exchange almost never works. Not because the complainer doesn’t realize that there are others whose struggles are greater on some arbitrary scale but because their pain is not minimized by dismissal.

What if we acknowledge that we all carry buckets, but that the choice is ours to fill them with whatever we choose.

Perhaps you will never own a Porsche or a Bentley, but you can own a reliable car.

Perhaps you will never *retire* to a tropical paradise. But you can find work that doesn’t feel like work and not postpone your happiness.

Perhaps you will never earn enough to send your children to college, but you can teach them financial responsibility and how to learn without college.

Perhaps you will never own a home, but you can use this freedom to relocate for work, travel or help adapt the co-housing model to serve a larger market.

These choices are 1st World Problems and Gifts.

What’s in your bucket?

My bucket is filled with ideas about using education, technology and entertainment to help others (including myself) grow and self-actualize.

Self-actualization is my 1st World Gift and Curse. It’s yours too. 

I feel both lucky and obligated at the same time to use the advantages of my life to enhance the lives of others in meaningful ways. I know I’m not the only one.

So what’s in your bucket?

November 28th, 2013

Petitions, 1st World Problems, and a Happy Thanksgiving!

There’s a Move On petition circulating that asks us to pledge not to shop on Thanksgiving. I signed it but after I returned from Peet’s to get my coffee. LOL!

I think I’m okay though because coffee shops are usually open for a few hours on some holidays, right? If I’m in the wrong, forgive me. But when I went out, what I didn’t expect to find was the grocery store next door open and both places were packed!!!!

It’s got me thinking…I understand that being open on holidays is actually a good business decision as well as supportive of the fact that people who, unlike me, don’t work from home and can get their stuff done anytime, are usually trying to maximize holidays to take care of their own needs.

So I’m wondering what it would be like to have a Retail Holiday that falls somewhere between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day that is actually a day off for the service industry workers who are required to work on Holidays.

Just thoughts.

Many years ago, I worked at Hudson’s Department Store, which I loved and I always volunteered to work the day after the holidays. My shift started at about 5 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving so being with my family wasn’t an option for me either because I lived too far away. But I did it because other people wanted to be with their families and I actually enjoyed the festive mood of the shoppers.

I get both sides so just trying to think of a rational compromise that could also bring attention to how much we do rely on people who support our 1st World luxuries and, perhaps, figure out a way to honor them.

But, for now, I’ll just give a shout out to Eric (sp) at the Peet’s on Divisadero & Oak for always hooking a sista up with the best soy caramel latte money can buy and always doing it with a smile.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I write and tell stories about purpose, passion, spirituality, and happiness.
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