Let’s Get Real: Why I’m Done Pretending to Have It All Together – Tiny Buddha

“If you’re not really happy, don’t fake a smile on my behalf. I’d rather you spill your guts with tears every day until your smile is real. Because I don’t care about the show, the disguise, the politically correctness. If you’re in my life, I want you to be in your own skin.” ~Stephanie Bennet-Henry

This is the story of my inner child, the insecure part of myself that I am ready to respect and recognize.

My thoughts and views are as follows: I’m not a superior mom, probably just an average psychologist, and am way too sensitive about everything. I have this view of myself, when challenged by others, as that insecure little girl who believed she didn’t measure up. I shrivel up and want to cry.

As I age, I think I am less likely to accommodate to please others, but I also have been more in touch with my vulnerability. It stirs things up in me when someone challenges a decision I made or when I am faced with uncertainty.

I want this to be known, and don’t want to pretend that I’ve got it all together, because I don’t.

I know that there are moments when I am victorious, such as when I was able to resign from a job where I didn’t feel respected or treated as valuable after fifteen years. That decision felt good, but it also left me with feelings of uncertainty and fear that haven’t quite resolved.

The victorious spirit, that Norma Rae moment, didn’t last. I wondered afterward if I’d made the wrong choice. Will I ever be able to make a living like I did in my previous job? What if I fail? How will those around me see me? Will I be good enough? Am I good enough right now?

Yes, I am a psychologist. I’m an educational psychologist. I specialize in helping children feel a sense of competence and mastery over their lives and find their voice.

Why did I want to do this? Well, I wanted to fill a role for others that I wish someone did for me when I was younger. I wanted to be a presence for a young person and let him/her know that “everything would be okay.”

Learning how to self-soothe is an important skill, and I spent about thirty years trying to figure out how to do that. Over the years, I have learned some tools, such as having a sense of humor—usually self-deprecating—doing many years of therapy myself, learning self-compassion, and finding one or two really good friends I could trust with my stories. Yet, deep down, there is still this tug, this pull, and anxious stir that reminds me that I may not be all that.

I have learned not to seek reassurance from others as I used to do during my teen years and early twenties, through alcohol, sex, and unstable relationships. As I got older I found a stable partner. I was married for eighteen years, and many of these years were very happy and fulfilling.

I have an amazing son who works hard in school, is a good person, and most of all seems to be happy, confident, and self-assured. People tell me that he is a result of my parenting and I love to think that, but somehow this idea feels foreign to me. I think that he is his own creation and magically developed without my influence. This is a crazy idea considering how much I know about child development and my education and training. I discount my importance.

So, where does this leave me? I think that I am like many people, but I just admit to the dark side maybe a little more freely.

I get tired sometimes of being told to just focus on the positive and not to let in any negative thoughts. Sometimes I need to go through it. I need to go through it so I can get to the other side.

I appreciate when someone shares their struggles and acknowledges that there isn’t always a resolution at the end, it’s just about continuing, experiencing, and being authentic. At least that’s how it is for me.

I don’t want any pity or sympathy or anger. It’s funny how this can ignite anger in some people. Sometimes I think it reminds others of a part of themselves that they might deny. What do I want? I want to tell my story and I want to be fully present, aware, and I guess just accepted for where I am right now. I want to believe that is good enough.

I suspect we’d all be a lot happier if we would just allow ourselves to be authentic. It’s painful to hide our true selves and our feelings, and it keeps us disconnected from other people.

The only way to really connect with others on a meaningful level is to let them see who we are and to share what we’re going through and what makes us tick. Not everyone will like it, and that’s okay. We gain self-worth not by being what others want us to be, but by being true to ourselves.

If there’s one lesson I’d like to share from my experience, it’s this: You don’t need to have it together all the time, and you don’t need to be fixed, as you are beautifully flawed. We all are. Emotions are not good or bad, and most people actually appreciate and admire when we share them. Some of the most tender moments I can remember in my life were when people how told me how beautiful I was, not in spite of my feelings but because of them.

About Janis Kingsley

Dr. Janis Kingsley, Psy.D. is an educational psychologist who has specialized in working with children and families for over fifteen years.  Through her work with children and families in the school systems, Dr. Kingsley helps students thrive and become successful and guides the family through a process of building strength and stability. For more information please see drjaniskingsleygroup.com.

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Mystery in History -Visualization of Miracles of Buddha in Shravasti

A panel with depiction of miracles performed by Buddha in Shravasti, is now in the Lahore museum. Gandhara style of art mostly had big sculptures like Bamyan Buddha of Afghanistan. This panel has over 60 small figures which is a rare representation of Gandhara style. Since the panel is based on miracles of Buddha performed in a place called Shravasti, and executed in Gandhara style of are, three aspects are to be understood like

  • why Shravasti was chosen by Buddha to perform miracles.
  • why Buddha performed miracles, and
  •  significance of Gandhara style of art.

Shravasti corresponds to the present day Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh. According to historic data, Shravasti, was one of the six largest cities, was situated on Gangetic plains and Buddha spent most of his life in the monastery of Shravasti. Shravasti and Rajagriha were the capitals of Kosala and Magadha, and also great commercial centers in ancient India.

The phrase ‘miracles performed by Buddha’ sounds strange as Buddha was the one who realized the cause of suffering with a scientific approach and preached the four-fold truths of misery and laws of dharma (righteous conduct) through the eight-fold path. Lord Buddha, 7 years after his enlightenment, performed miracles of supra mundane powers for 15 consecutive days to confound his critics, convince the non-believers in Buddha’s teachings, and to prove a point and install faith in a place called Shravasti. These miracles are documented in some of the stupas in Gandhara style of art. Though this panel does not record all the miracles in order, some of them are depicted on which this article is founded.

King Bimbisara, the ruler of Rajagriha was an ardent follower of Buddha and his teachings. His brother, Prasenjit, king of Kosala, though a follower of Buddha’s teachings, was influenced previously by the six heretical unorthodox teachers, who stayed at the same time of Buddha and followed their different path for liberation. The six heretical teachers displayed some of their powers as miracles and challenged if Buddha could excel them in miraculous power. They demanded king Prasenjit to fix a place and time for inviting Buddha for this event. Buddha accepts the challenge but postpones it by six times as he had declared it will happen only at the right time. On the request of the King Prasenjit to Buddha, to subdue the pride of the six teachers, and on the urge of the merchant Sudatta, who was a follower of Buddha, a place gets fixed in a wide field of Shravasti and the lion throne was placed for Buddha. Buddha performed miracles for 15 consecutive days, each day offerings were made by different kings and groups of followers. These miracles, performed by Shakyamuni Buddha got depicted in many Buddhist monuments, viharas and monastries, from the 1st century A.D, and became a popular art depiction even in the rock cut caves of 5th-6th centuries of western India. Though all miracles were not recorded  in sequence, part of it in the balustrade panels of stupas and viharas were made along with the life story of Buddha and the jataka tales.

The highlight of this panel, the central figure of Buddha is in Dharmachakra mudra, seated in Lotus posture / Padmasana on a four layered multi petalled lotus of which, the bottom row of petals is depicted as calyx. The stalk of the lotus is represented like axis mundi (Meru danda or the cosmic pillar), is carved like a tower with lot of symbols in circular expanse. The slightly tapering structure is the representation of mount Meru and its surrounding universe. The axis from the base of lotus stalk passes through the figure of Buddha, his crowning usnisha, the staff of parasol and ends passing through mid part of parasol (royal umbrella) topping with the motif of Flame of Adi-Buddha. The figure of central Buddha is surrounded by multiple figures in small dimension, all of which are analyzed in this article.

The art of Gandhara, the Greeco-Roman style of art influenced Buddhist art of North West part of India (the present Peshwar region) originated towards the end of 1st century A.D and lasted upto 5th century A.D. The style of art that developed in Gandhara region using grey schist stone, came out with special features because of the political influence and location, and influenced Buddhist style of art to resemble Greek sculptures to a great extent. The best specimens of the art of Gandhara can be seen in the museums of Calcutta, Lahore and Peshawar museum, the museum of Berlin, and the British museum. The earliest form of Hinayana Buddhist art did not represent Buddha in his human form but was depicted symbolically as footsteps, empty throne, wheel, Bodhi tree and so on.

The Gandhara style of art introduced the representation of Buddha in human form with natural realism, and his prototype being the beardless youthful deity of Greek and Roman religion deity Apollo – the god of light, healing and various other arts. Buddha was depicted as well-built figure, muscular bodied in human form with a simple nimbus. He was depicted with curved lips, arched eyebrows with “Urna” mark of knowledge on fore head. The curly hair got replaced by wavy hair, was tied into a bun, the usnisha in the crown part. Buddha was draped in the costume of monastic robe of thin and flowing material with many folds. The bass reliefs of this period are remarkable in the point of their executions in round with correct physical proportions, absence of stiffness in drapery of thin material and with delicate features.

The Bodhisattva form was depicted like an Indian prince, imitating the Siddharta form, in all the splendor of his ornaments, the arrangement of the costume and sometimes with a moustache. The art of Gandhara, though to a certain extent, influenced other school of art of central India like Mathura or Magadha schools which developed the Brahmanical elements, looks different from the Sanchi or Barhut school of art. While the Greeks had the perfect athletic physical body as their ideal, the Indian had the subtle body, pulsating with the sap of energy and serving for the realization of a state higher than the physical state .

The eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism, called Astamangala – 1. Precious parasol. 2. Two golden fish. 3. Dhvaja, the banners. 4. Sankha.5. Sacred knot. 6. Lotus.7. Wheel 8. Great vase. These objects are displayed either as an accessory or as individual objects in the panel.

The panel of miracles of Buddha at Shravasti

The panel has multiple human figures arranged in 6 horizontal rows, with the figure of Buddha in the center. They are analyzed here from bottom as rows-1,2, 3,4,5 and 6 as the miracles are not depicted in the order of performance of first day to 15th day.

Row 1: The bottom row of the panel

 Buddha, on the third day of miracles accepts the offering of food and rinses his mouth with water. On the ground was created a great lake, extending for over three hundred kilo meters and water had eight types of tastes. It was covered with lotuses of all colors, the fragrance filled the air, covering the area in all directions, which are depicted as the continuous spread of lotuses on the surface of the lake. People were happy seeing this and attained bodhi mind and arhatship. The twin representation of fish, and some of the astamangala objects are depicted at the bottom of the lake. The first figure is the Naga in namaskara mudra. In between the two fish, as astamangala representations are the symbols of wheel (shown like a whirlpool) and Sankha, the symbol of speech. This is followed by another figure of Naga in namaskara mudra and the last object is the lotus.

Row 2: The second row of figures

This row of figures shows how the rulers and merchants invited Buddha to Shravasti to perform miracles. On the right and left sides are devotees making offerings to Buddha. The two figures sitting on a throne on both sides could be the depiction of king Prasenjit, who is first watching the Form of Buddha attaining greater height and on the left side, lifts his head fully which indicates how big the Buddha form had grown up to the summit. The first and the last figures, seated on rock and  offering lotus to the figure of Buddha says about the reverence being paid. The figure of couple immediately next to the lotus with hands in namaskara mudra could be the merchant Sudatta and his wife, who insisted Buddha to visit Shravasti.

In the center, the panel has the depiction of lotus with 32 petals. Lotus is the symbol of purity and an attribute of bodhisattva. It is one of the 8 auspicious symbols, used as a pedestal for peaceful deity on which he is seated. The stalk of the lotus represented like axis mundi (meru danda) is carved like a tower with lot of symbols in circular expanse. The slightly tapering structure, a representation compared to that of mount Meru and its surrounding universe, rises at the center of the universe. The four figures below the bottom calyx part of 8 petals are the Naga devotees of the underworld and associated with Buddhist religion, are represented by their torso with hoods above the head and the lower part is below the water level (as snakes, but not depicted.)

Row 3: The third row of figures

The central figure of seated Buddha, well built in form, muscular and youthful with usnisha (head bump, see picture.1)) covered with wavy hair is depicted huge to cover the layers inclusive of his seat, the lotus. The comparison of small human figures gives a relative estimate of his extended height. On the first day of miracle,1, after accepting the offerings of Brahmaraja, Tathagata extended his body till he reached the highest heaven. Shining like light, he gave his teachings from this great height. His supremacy over the rivals is indicated by the high level of lotus . On either side of Buddha are three figures, some holding scriptures are the 6 heretical teachers of rival groups, who posed the challenge to Buddha to prove his miracles. First figure on both sides of Buddha depict the teachers watching the height of Buddha and the victory of master over maras. The second set of figures on both sides show their resentment of rival sects and defaced while the last two figures on both sides are holding on to their books.

Row 4: The fourth row of figures

Buddha creating a huge array of himself is compared with the Vishvarupa of Lord Vishnu in Mahabharata. The Licchavi people, on the 5th and 6th day of miracles make offerings to Buddha. Tathagata, shone as golden light filled the entire region, reached all living beings and purified their minds from defilements of the three poisons of desire, hatred and ignorance. All beings assembled rejoiced greatly as Buddha enabled them to see into each other’s mind for the good and bad thoughts. They became purified in mind, became bodhicittas and attained arhatship for following Buddhism. This is depicted as all figures following Buddha’s teaching either by holding the same hand mudra of the master or trying to hold.

Buddha depicts dharmachakra mudra, which is a combined hand gesture formed using both hands positioned in front of the heart. Usual representation of this mudra is when the index and thumb tips touch at their tips to form a circle. The left hand facing inwards is covered by the left hand facing outwards. Remaining three fingers are explained as the three ratnas-the Buddha, dharma and sangha. Dharmachakra mudra indicates the teachings are from the heart of Buddha. Sakyamuni Buddha was initially demonstrated in the first discourse upon the four noble truths that was taught in the deer park of Saranath (in Uttar Pradesh). It is associated with the first turning of the wheel of Dharma, which was set in motion as the perfect wheel. There are many variants of dharma chakra mudra. The Indo Greek style of Gandhara art, the right hand overlaps the fingers joined in left hand. The extended middle finger and the index represent the hearers and the realizers of the teaching. All small figures in this row are either holding or practicing holding the mudra to indicate many accepted Buddha’s teachings.

The history of Buddhism says more than ninety thousand people became followers of Buddha. The figures of two kings on either side, depict making an offering of flower garland to Buddha. During the miracles, each day the kings of the neighboring province and head of groups made offerings to Buddha which is depicted as offering a lotus flower or garland.

Row 5: The 5th row of figures

The panel shows a basket that looks to be made of bamboo. The story according to Dhammapada is that the coveted non-believers of Buddha, belonging to the rival groups put the precious bowl on top of a bamboo pole and posed a challenge to Buddha to the display of retrieving it back, flying through air. Buddha extends his body to bring it back. The flying gandharvas are depicted to be either placing it atop of fetching it back.

To the right side of central Buddha is the episode of how a rich merchant by name Sudatta executed the building of viharas at Rajagriha for Buddha and the monks. According to the history of Buddhism, Buddha visited Shravasti at the urging of a rich merchant Sudatta. Sudatta was looking for a place to build the Vihara and was impressed by the park that belonged to the person named Jeta, the son of king Prasenjit of Shravasti.The buying of land was with an agreement that the land intended for purchase should be covered by gold coins. Sudatta agrees to cover the space. However, Jeta impressed by the devotion of Sudatta to Buddha donates the land for building Vihara and the vihara was later called “Jetavana”, (presently located at the place called Saheth in Uttar Pradesh).  This is depicted as the first figure of merchant, with a lotus in hand as offering, is looking up at master when Buddha multiplies his form.  The second and third figures show Sudatta and his assistant holding a tray full of gold coins and the fourth figure is the King Jeta on the throne. On both sides of Buddha’s head are the banners, that are like rectangular blocks, which is one of the astamangala objects. The two figures of Dhyani Bodhisattvas (as they show the depiction of adornments) are the sambhogakaya representations of Shakyamuni Buddha. This depiction reveals how chaitya halls and viharas got embellished with Buddha and Bodhisattva figures.

On the left side of the central Buddha figure is the depiction of another figure of Buddha under a tree and giving the discourse. This episode is described as miracle 1 of the first day. After reaching Shravasti, Buddha proceeds to the place that was arranged. He sits on the lion throne before the multitude (which shows face of two lions on the pedestal). After accepting the offerings, Buddha takes a tooth pick and places it on the ground, which instantaneously grew into a marvelous tree with large branches, fruits and flowers. A bird is also depicted on the tree. The leaves and branches rustled as Buddha made his teachings. Many made progress listening to the words, attained arhatship and millions became his followers. This episode is depicted like Buddha speaking to people who are sitting on the ground. One can also see the figure of Bodhisattva holding lotus in the hand and the king listening to Bodhisattva.

Row 6: The 6th row of figures with Buddha’s self-multiplication

The four protectors of dharma invited Buddha to speak on the 10th day. Rising on the summit of mount Meru, Buddha recites the fundamentals of tantra. Appearing in the world of men, displayed the methods of defeating the four evil Maras- the demonic obstructers to spiritual progress. The master extended up to the height of Meru and gave the teachings about how to defeat sensual temptations. A domed parasol, the chattra was installed above his head to proclaim Buddha’s victory over Mara. In Tibetan language, ‘Dugs’ is the Buddhist iconographic device of a large umbrella that gives protection from evil spirits and hence an auspicious symbol of protection. The top of the banner takes the form of parasol, surmounted by the wish granting gem and decorated with ribbons on top.

The dharmapalas (protectors of dharma) are depicted in the silk apron with flowing ribbons holding in hand the ensign, the victory banner above the head (victory over Mara) and parasol, a symbol of royalty, respect proclaiming Buddha as the universal monarch. Dharmapalas costume and the corn comb shows the spring celebration with the ear of the grain / corn. The finest quality of ear of the corn or grain are representations symbolizing prosperity, fruitfulness and abundant harvest. The uncultivated husk less corn is the indication of the fertile land of mount Meru, which are clean and effortless to pick.

Buddha’s self-multiplication

One of the miracle on the 13th day was Tathagata, seated on lion throne, holding meditation mudra, called Dhyana mudra, radiates two rays of light from his body. From each ray was seen the lotus on which appeared Buddha. From this again arose two more Buddhas and so on filling the entire world and each Buddha was teaching the doctrines. This episode is seen as the top most corner figures of 6th row. Buddha in meditation posture and several Buddha figures around him. (8 on each side may also represent the 8 maha bodhisattvas). The Buddha multiplying himself is usually seen both in sitting and standing posture, each standing on a lotus and the nimbus behind the head. The head of Buddha is covered by a decorative parasol with flying ribbons and the symbol of corn comb on both sides as it was the spring festival.

On the fifteenth day of spring festival, after everybody was satisfied with the food filled by Buddha in empty vessels, askes a question to the multitude “why is there immeasurable misery in the world”? This question is depicted as Buddha flanked by two Bodhisattvas seated, holding accessories of lotus and vase in one hand and with the finger on the fore head of thinking gesture.

Thinking bodhisattva

The two figures, seated on throne and depicting the finger on forehead is a good example of the cultural interplay of hybrid styles of Gandhara art. The figure is that of thinking Bodhisattva in the attire of Prince Siddharta, sitting in the celestial abode of Tushita heaven. He looks like an earthly prince richly dressed, bejeweled and seated on the throne. The Bodhisattvas body is muscular with natural treatment of body flesh and muscles. His mind appears to be vague and hazy, thinking about reality, attempting to avoid the dangers of being deceived. Bodhisattvas take an owe that they postpone parinirvana, till the last soul on earth gets freed from miseries. This question of Buddha is the essence of the four noble truths that he preached that the all sufferings arises from desire and nirvana is the end to suffering.

Conclusion

The land of Gandhara has many remnants of chaitya hall (prayer halls), viharas (where monks stayed) and stupas (where remains of monks were buried). Gandhara is the birth place of art history that gave anthropomorphic form to Buddha image. This panel of miracles of Buddha is a good example to show how Buddhism flourished in the land of Gandhara. It gives a glimpse of introduction of anthropomorphic images of Mahayana Buddhism and the evolution of Mahayana path by the concept of Bodhisattva during the period as early as between 1-3rd centuries can be visualized. Though Gandhara style adopted some Indian elements of representing a deity seated on lotus seat in meditative gaze, the pivotal expression of inner radiance of divine grace, appears to be lacking, but figures were very true to natural human body. The body proportions of small figures, whether it is a king sitting on a throne with one leg raised or the attendants of king are carved with perfect proportions and appropriate facial expressions.

The conversion of the six heretical teachers to Buddhism has been depicted in the panels of later period also, which got depicted like six monks with shaven head sitting, three on both left and right sides of Buddha, reminding art lovers about the miracles of Shravasti.

Reference

  • The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols by Robert Beer
  • A Dictionary of Buddhist And Hindu Iconography by Fredrick W. Bunce. D.K.Print world.

Picture source: Trivium Art History

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Rekha Rao

Independent Researcher and Indologist, Mysore

Gluten Free Tahini Balsamic Buddha Bowl

I always feel so much better when I eat a quinoa-based salad bowl for lunch. It’s not too heavy, it’s full of protein and fibre, and it easily absorbs whatever flavours you like. This gluten-free buddha bowl with quinoa, tahini-flavoured seeds and balsamic veg is perfect.

This bowl is also rich in calcium, with no dairy products to be seen! Kale and tahini are calcium-dense plant-based foods that are great for coeliacs who are avoiding dairy too.

If you don’t know, tahini is a smooth, nut-buttery-esque paste made from sesame seeds. It’s rich and nutty and is what gives houmous it’s earthy flavour. It packs a decent protein punch, and is a fantastic healthy fat to help keep you fuller for longer.

I grew up never eating nuts or seeds, but now I’ve been relying on plant-based protein, I eat them all the time. Simple steps like coating them in spice mixes and baking them really add some extra flavour to dishes. They add great texture to complement the other soft components of the buddha bowl.

And for me, my lunch is not complete without beans or lentils now. A quarter or half a tin is absolutely essential to keep me sated throughout the afternoon at work.

I got the idea to coat the seeds in the tahini-tomato paste mixture after making From My Bowl‘s pizza nuts. She coats cashews and almonds in tomato puree, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and herbs and they taste just like the pizza flavoured pringles (which are also off limits to coeliacs, so hey, another recipe for you!)

If you make this in a batch for lunches for the week, don’t assemble the full bowl with the nut/seed mixture mixed through or they will go soft. You want to keep the crunch by keeping the nuts in a sealed container in the cupboard, not the fridge. They’ll keep for a week.

I regularly see people venting on the coeliac Facebook groups about their lack of lunchtime options. I want to help people think outside the box, beyond ham and cheese sandwiches or tuna pasta salads. There is a wealth of ingredients out there that are all coeliac-friendly and boast far superior nutritional stats to bog-standard supermarket free-from sandwiches.

Try it out! I opted for these flavours, but the great thing about buddha bowls is that they can be customised to your own tastes. Maybe omit the tahini and use peanut butter. Or instead of balsamic, add a dash of tamari. The options are endless! Oh, and before you get stuck in, you’ll need my how to cook quinoa tutorial!

Gluten Free Tahini Balsamic Buddha Bowl
 
 
 
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ⅓ cup / 55g cashews
  • ⅓ cup / 55g mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups / 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups / 100g kale, washed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1x tin drained butter beans
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Prepare your quinoa with vegetable stock according to my how to cook quinoa tutorial.
  3. Mix the sauce for your seeds (ingredients from tahini to water). It should be thick enough to coat the nut/seed mixture but thin enough that it’s not clumpy. Mix the seeds and nuts with the sauce and spread it out evenly on a baking sheet.
  4. Pop the tray of seeds in the oven – cook for 5 minutes, then remove and mix around, then in for another 3 minutes, remove again and mix up, then for a final 3 minutes.
  5. Heat a pan on medium and fry the garlic in the oil. Toss in the tomatoes and kale, mix around for a couple of minutes, and then splash in the balsamic vinegar.
  6. When the tomatoes are blistered and the kale has softened, add the beans and heat through. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
  7. Assemble your bowls! I drizzled extra tahini on top of mine, but you could add houmous, hot sauce – anything you fancy!
Serving size:  Calories:  Fat:  Saturated fat:  Carbohydrates:  Sugar:  Fiber:  Protein: 

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How Lowering Our Expectations Helps Us Do What We Really Want to Do – Tiny Buddha

“Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” ~William James

Despite being the sort of person who’s constantly generating self-improvement to-do lists, I’ve never been big into making New Year’s resolutions. If I make any at all, they usually occur as an afterthought, frequently after the fact, and without much in the way of any real resolution.

However, this January I suddenly decided my resolution for 2019 should be to lower my expectations.

My whole life I’ve been an overachieving, Type A perfectionist. The sort of person who obsessively stresses about getting work in on time, yet also compulsively turns in assignments a week ahead of their due date.

While my discipline and work ethic are certainly qualities I’ve come to appreciate, they haven’t always served me well. My relentless drive toward perfectionism and often mile-high expectations have actually held me back from doing many of the things I’ve wanted to do.

Having moved around a lot during 2018, I found myself in the new year without a yoga studio or routine practice for the first time in over a decade. After regularly getting on my mat for nearly half my life (in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer) I was shocked and dismayed, and a little scared, by how easily I had fallen off the wagon. Even worse was how hard I was finding it to get back into the swing of things.

I decided to sign up for a one-week free trial of a popular yoga app hoping the accessibility of classes and convenience of being able to practice whenever and wherever I wanted would inspire me to get back into it. However, the trial came and went and I still hadn’t logged onto the app or gotten on my yoga mat.

Now officially a paying member, wracked with guilt and headlong into a shame spiral, I decided the least I could do was open the app. If only to keep from feeling any worse than I already did. As I scrolled through the classes I noticed most of them were only twenty or thirty minutes long; I certainly had twenty minutes to spare, might as well…

Twenty minutes later, after having completed my first yoga class in months, I had an ah-ha moment.

During the video, the instructor focused on letting go of needing to be in a certain place mentally and/or physically in order to begin to practice.

Seated on my mat, I thought about why I had stopped practicing in the first place.

I was used to practicing yoga in a specific way—taking a seventy-five or ninety-minute class in a traditional studio setting—and I kept waiting to have the time or energy or desire to find a studio and go take class. But none of those things ever seemed to align.

After falling out of my routine I felt so badly about myself that I didn’t even want to think about yoga because every time I did it reminded me of how I should be practicing. And that’s what kept me from starting up again.

The expectation that when I did yoga, it should be in a certain place and for a certain length of time kept me from seeing other options and ways of continuing to do something that was good for me and I felt good doing.

In the spirit of taking action, and the belief that practicing for twenty minutes was obviously better than not practicing at all, I decided to try lowering my expectations. I had to figure out what felt doable to me. I still wanted to try and fit yoga into my week at least three times, but a practice of twenty to thirty minutes each felt like a more realistic goal, and one I knew was well within my reach.

Lower expectations initially ran counter to everything I believed to be true about self-improvement (if you’re not crying or bleeding you’re obviously not trying hard enough!). According to science, however, low expectations might be the secret to success when it comes to creating positive change and building healthy habits.

Because of what’s called the self-enhancement bias, people prefer to see themselves in a positive light. Though, this preference often and unfortunately gets in the way of real self-improvement when we overestimate things like how quickly and easily we can enact change, or how much change we’re capable of.

When we set our expectations high and then can’t quite reach them, it feels like we’ve failed, discouragement sets in, and we tend to give up.

Recent studies show lower expectations make it more likely that an outcome will exceed our expectations and have a positive impact on happiness. This is important because the happiness we feel when we exceed our expectations creates an intrinsic reward, which is a major component in building healthy habits that stick.

Interestingly, after I got over the initial hump of doing less, it didn’t feel like I was lowering my expectations at all. I felt like I was simply breaking things up into bite-sized pieces and also being more realistic about how much I could accomplish given the amount of time, energy, and willpower I had. I found, in general, I got overwhelmed a lot of less and ended up feeling better about myself overall.

Another takeaway was the awareness that almost anything can become doable if you break it down into a process.

I used to look at all of the big things I wanted to do in life and immediately become overwhelmed. Now when I look at those same things, take each individual goal, and format it as a step-by-step process, I realize I can achieve pretty much anything. It’s simply a matter of being reasonable about how long something is going to take, as well as getting real about how much I actually want to do a given thing.

Lowering my expectations has equally helped me learn to prioritize my goals and itemize my time and energy, looking at what matters to me a lot, what matters to me a little, and what I really don’t care about at all.

If you’re feeling frustrated about all the things you’re not doing—especially big, time-consuming activities—ask yourself if you really want to do this or just think you should. If it is something you want, try lowering your expectations of yourself and doing only what feels manageable, and see if that helps you get going. Like me, you may find that taking the pressure off makes it a lot easier to get and stay motivated.

About Elizabeth Voetsch

Elizabeth Voetsch is a runner, freelance writer, and yoga teacher. She’s currently living here and there, and is enjoying learning how to live in the moment.

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The Charter of Free Inquiry: The Buddha’s Timeless Toolkit for Critical Thinking and Combating Dogmatism – Brain Pickings

The Charter of Free Inquiry: The Buddha’s Timeless Toolkit for Critical Thinking and Combating Dogmatism

“Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor…”

By Maria Popova

Two millennia before Carl Sagan penned his famous Baloney Detection Kit for critical thinking, another sage of the ages laid out a similar set of criteria for sound logical reasoning to help navigate the ideological maze of truth, falsehood, and dogma-driven manipulation. Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha, formulated his tenets of critical thinking in response to a question by a tribal clan called the Kalama — the inhabitants of the small village of Kesaputta, which he passed while traveling across Eastern India.

The Kalamas, the story goes, asked the Buddha how they could discern whom to trust among the countless wandering holy men passing through their land and seeking to convert them to various, often conflicting preachings. His answer, delivered as a sermon known today as the Kalama Sutta or the Buddha’s “charter of free inquiry,” discourages blind faith, encourages a continual critical assessment of all claims, and outlines a cognitive toolkit for defying dogmatism.

Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, “The monk is our teacher.” But when you yourselves know: “These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them.

But the most heartening part of the Buddha’s sutta is that implicit to it is a timeless measure of integrity — it is the mark of the noble and secure intellect to encourage questioning even of his own convictions. The Buddha was, after all, just one of the holy men passing through the Kalamas’ land and he was urging them to apply these very principles in assessing his own teachings.

On Independence Day, UK Returns Buddha Statue To India Stolen 57 Years Ago From Nalanda

London’s Metropolitan Police, on Independence Day, returned a 12th century bronze Buddha statue stolen from a museum at Nalanda in Bihar nearly 60 years ago.

The bronze statue with silver inlay is one of the 14 statues stolen in 1961 from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) site museum in Nalanda and changed several hands over the years before surfacing at a London auction.

Once the dealer and the owner were made aware the sculpture was the same one that had been stolen from India, the Metropolitan Police said they cooperated with the Met’s Art and Antiques Unit and agreed for the piece to be returned to India.

Lynda Albertson of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (ARCA) and Vijay Kumar from the India Pride Project identofied the statue at a trade fair in March this year, who then alerted the police.

Scotland Yard returned the statue stolen to the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, YK Sinha, as part of a ceremony to mark Independence Day at India House in London.

“I am delighted to return this piece of history. This is an excellent example of the results that can come with close cooperation between law enforcement, trade and scholars,” said Met Police Detective Chief Inspector Sheila Stewart, who was accompanied by officials from the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the handover ceremony.

“Although this was stolen over 50 years ago, this did not prevent the piece being recognised and the credit must go to the eagle eye informants who made us aware that the missing piece had been located after so many years,” she said.

Sinha described the return of the “priceless Buddha” as a “wonderful gesture” and a particular honour given his own roots in Bihar.

“I hope it will now go back to where it originally belongs… On our Independence Day, it (return of the statue) highlights the multi-faceted cooperation between our two countries,” he said, after a Tricolour-hoisting ceremony to mark India’s 72nd Independence Day at the Indian High Commission in London.

Detective Constable Sophie Hayes of the Met’s Art and Antique Unit said it had been established that there was no criminality by the current owner or the dealer who had been offering the stolen statue for sale.

“Indeed, from the outset they have cooperated fully with the police to resolve this matter and they have made the decision to return the sculpture via the police,” Hayes said.

“We are delighted to be able to facilitate the return of this important piece of cultural heritage to India,” she added.

The Art and Antiques Unit was founded 50 years ago and is one of the oldest specialist units in the Metropolitan Police Service. The unit prides itself on a “long history of reuniting owners with their stolen property”.

Michael Ellis, UK Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: “As we celebrate India’s Independence Day, I am proud to highlight the latest example of the UK’s cultural diplomacy in action. Thanks to the work of the Metropolitan Police’s Arts and Antiques Unit, we are one of the first countries to recover one of the 14 elusive Buddha statues stolen from Nalanda nearly 60 years ago.”

“This underlines how law enforcement and the London art market are working hand in hand to deliver positive cultural diplomacy to the world”.

You have the power to change your Karma! – A story from the life of Lord Buddha – Wisdom by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Lord Buddha had a devotee who was also his cousin. He was a brilliant man, and very devoted. In the beginning, Buddha’s sangha or communion was quite small, but in time it became bigger. So, the devotees close to Buddha became more possessive, and his cousin felt that he owned Buddha, but Buddha can’t be owned by anybody. You cannot say you own the ocean. So, because of this there were some misunderstandings and this cousin turned against Buddha.
When some people have their own opinion or negativity, there are a few more people who will join them. This cousin of Buddha and a few people become a group, and one day when Buddha was giving a sermon, he went up the hill and pushed a boulder from there towards Buddha.It could have killed him. But the boulder stopped just few centimeters away from Buddha.

The other loyal disciples got so angry and upset. They wanted to punish him and teach him a lesson, but Buddha stopped them and just smiled. He said, “It is karma. You don’t do anything. We will not react”.

Once, in the 90’s, I was in Washington D.C. I was giving a talk and there were 300 hundred people there. Suddenly, a tall hefty man came from the back to attack me.
Everyone froze to their seats because nobody knew what to do. He could have lifted me in one hand, he was so big! I just looked into his eyes and said, “Wait!” It is not yet time for me to go. I have come here to do some work, let me complete my work. I didn’t tell him this, I just said, “Wait”, but in my mind I said, “I am not ready to go”. And then that guy looked at me and sat down in front of me and started crying. He came with so much anger and anguish, but then he just sat down and tears flowed from his eyes. To make the story short, he then joined a course and everything changed for him.

Why I am saying this is, every phenomenon that happens in and around us happens due to some karma. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that if something is fatalistic, you simply accept that everything is karma and you can’t do anything about it. No, that is a wrong understanding of karma. Karma is a phenomenon, and you have the power to change it in the future because life is a combination of freewill and destiny.
Your height is your destiny but your weight is your freewill. If you weigh 100 kilos, you can’t say, “Well this is my fate”. No, get onto the treadmill and do some exercise. When a phenomenon happens and you react, then the cycle keeps going on. Don’t react but act.

When someone pushed the boulder at Buddha, what the people did was they reacted, but Buddha asked them not to react and then he smiled, that is an action. When someone is against you, if you show love and compassion and if you turn the other cheek when they hit you on one cheek then they cannot hit you back. That is a bigger weapon! The principle of non-violence is also an action, a more intelligent and wise action, and not just a reaction.

The Buddha’s aunt led the first women’s rights march in recorded history

Mahapajapati Gotami entreats the Buddha.

On Jan. 19, women in US cities and around the globe will gather for the third annual Women’s March. In so doing, whether they know it or not, they’ll be following in the footsteps of Mahapajapati Gotami—a feminist from ancient India born in 600 BC, and the aunt and foster mother of Siddhārtha Gotama, best known as the Buddha.

Gotami was the queen of a region in northern India now known as Nepal. But by age 40, she had given birth to no heir, so her husband married her younger sister as well.

Soon, both women got pregnant, but the younger one gave birth first. When the Buddha’s mother died shortly after his birth, his aunt was tasked with caring for the newborn prince. She gave her own son to a servant to nurse and provided her milk to young Siddhartha.

Famously, when the prince grew up, he rejected his riches and set off to discover the meaning of life, eventually alighting upon a path he called “the middle way” and forging a new spiritual philosophy known as Buddhism. The Buddha’s school of thought had lots of followers, including his aunt and his father, the king, who both marveled at his spiritual transformation.

Women were already studying Buddhism in its early days—but there was no monastic order for them to join. And while women could participate, they could not lead this burgeoning movement.

After the king died, Gotami, then in her 70s, asked her nephew to form an order of nuns so that women, too, could be ordained, devote themselves to Buddhism, and develop to their fullest capacity spiritually. The Buddha refused. She asked again, and he said no. Gotami tried a third time and still her nephew, the man she had raised as her own son, disagreed despite her entreaties. He gave no reason for his refusal.

Gotami was crushed. But she discovered that she was not alone. According to Buddhist lore, 500 women who were either widows or simply sought to devote themselves to a spiritual path gathered by her side to support her cause.

Bolstered, the Buddha’s aunt shaved her hair and donned yellow robes, just like a monk. Her 500 supporters joined her in this move. Then, the group walked more than 100 miles (or more than 350 miles, depending which account you read) to the Jetavana monastery where the Buddha taught. All along the way, the women drew crowds as people gathered to marvel at this group, heads shorn, dressed identically, joined for a cause. “This was the first women’s rights march in recorded history,” writes Pema Khandro Rinpoche in the Buddhist publication Lion’s Roar.

The women arrived at the monastery dusty, tired, and with swollen feet, but still determined. They were greeted at the entrance by the monk , one of the Buddha’s principal disciples and his cousin. He was shocked to see his aunt in tears and her followers in this state of disarray, and asked what they were doing there, certain some calamity had befallen them. Had there been a revolution?

Gotami explained that they came to ask for the creation of an order of nuns. She was lingering at the monastery’s entrance because she simply couldn’t take no for an answer this time and was trying to figure out the right approach with her nephew.

Sympathetic to their cause, Ananda offered to speak to the Budhha on their behalf. But he, too, got the same answer: No. Ananda asked again and again and was repeatedly refused, just as Gotami had been. Finally, he asked the Buddha whether a woman could ever be enlightened and attain the bliss of sainthood. She could, the Buddha said. Ananda queried, “Well then, why can’t a woman be a nun?”

With this question, he changed the Buddha’s mind. An order of nuns was created.

It should be noted that there were eight conditions laid out for the creation of the female monastic order. Nuns, no matter how senior, must defer to monks, even new ones. They could never chide or advise a monk, and yet had to seek the counsel of the male order and abide by the rules of both the male and female orders. Nuns also had to study two years before being ordained, compared to a year for monks, and had to live within six hours travel of a male order.

Nonetheless, Gotami achieved her goal. She became the first ordained Buddhist nun and led her 500 followers and other women as a spiritual guide. Her efforts are proof positive that activism matters and that taking no for an answer—even when you get the same answer over and over—isn’t the only option.

Since then, countless women over the centuries have followed her example, in their own lives and as participants in movements for equality. And they will do it again this month, in numerous cities, from Portland, Oregon to Ranomafana in Madagascar. The gathering that began as a resistance to US president Donald Trump taking office in 2017 continues to inspire women to participate in politics, by voting and running for public office, and to stand up to be seen and heard. The organizers of the US movement predict, “The #WomensWave is coming, and we’re sweeping the world forward with us.”

They’ll be following the impressive precedent first set by Mahapajapati Gotami more than 2,500 years ago.

Science is catching up to the Buddha

1. Science is confirming key Buddhist ideas. So reveals Robert Wright’s very enlightening book, Why Buddhism Is True.

2. Wright means “true” because evolutionary logic and brain science now fit Buddhism’s ancient naturalistic (non-reincarnation-y) aspects. Consider some of Wright’s mind-stopping sentences and essentially delusion-illuminating ideas.

3. Evolution “doesn’t care about our… happiness.” It wants us anxiously striving, thus life brings suffering (=Buddhism’s dukkha = unsatisfactoriness”). So feeling happy requires “rebellion” against evolution’s values.

4. Evolution’s sole goal (=“purpose”) is gene spreading. So life feels strongly about and “values” the needs of its gene “vehicles” ( = bodies).

5. Feelings arose to enact evolution’s vehicle-centered values (=personalized go-forth-and-multiply mission). And all feelings are elaborations of basic evolutionary good-or-bad approach-or-avoid judgments.

6. “Judging is what we’re designed to do.” Our heads are full of feeling-generating “modules,” constantly running backstage (System 1) that judge (assign affective adjectives to) things in our environment.

7. “There’s no such thing as an immaculate perception” or conception (the cognitive, not sexual kind). All come bundled with feelings (feelings = biochemical judgments + attached stories, see “Darwin’s Hindoo”).

8. Brain science backs Buddhism’s “not-self” doctrine—“thoughts think themselves”—there’s no “CEO” module. Ordinarily, which feeling-thought-story bundles “bubble up” into awareness depends on the intensity of outputs of competing modules.

10. Science calls essentialism about people the “fundamental attribution error” (blaming dispositional traits over situational factors). But this error varies by culture, Jerome Kagan says Asian psychologists wouldn’t ever dream up the “Big Five” personality traits (e.g., Korean uses act-plus-context as the basic “unit”).

11. Buddhists don’t fight feeling-delusions directly. Rather they “R.A.I.N.” them in—recognize, accept, inspect, and nonidentify (feelings aren’t an essential part of you).

13. Buddhist language like “nothing possesses inherent existence” can seem to go too far, since our unobjective “delusions” are often accurate enough.

15. Evolution’s save-your-own-skin values tend to inculcate the perspective that we’re “special.” But perhaps these evolution-given values are more like food than air (the former far more culturally configurable than the latter).

Illustration by Julia SuitsThe New Yorker cartoonist & author of The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions

Slow, Imperfect Progress Is Better Than None at All – Tiny Buddha

“When perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun, and fear is that annoying backseat driver.” Brené Brown

Sometimes I feel like the girl who cried film.

I first wrote a blog post introducing Tiny Buddha Productions three years ago, and despite my earnestness, passion, and enthusiasm, I have only one short film to show for myself.

When I was working on this short, which we filmed partly in my apartment—in my bedroom, amid the worn clothes and shoes in my walk-in closet even—I felt more alive and aligned than I’d felt in years.

I was doing something I’d wanted to do since college, in LA, the mecca of filmmaking, with a team of talented people I admired and respected.

I was telling a story that felt deeply personal and authentic to me, sometimes tearing up behind the camera because it was finally happening, after months of planning, failing, and trying again.

It kind of felt like a Jerry Maguire moment. I wasn’t my father’s son again, but I was the old me again—the me who felt most at home amidst lights, costumes, and makeup, even when I was standing back and watching other people shine. The me who felt a sense of belonging in a family of oddball actors and crewmembers who seemed like reflections of myself.

Then we released the short. And it seemed to resonate with people. I was proud of what we’d done. Proud of who I’d become. And I couldn’t wait to write the next. Except I couldn’t.

I couldn’t think of another idea that felt good enough. I’d start brainstorming, judge everything I wrote as cliché and uninspired, then delete it all, like a frustrated kid scribbling over a coloring book page filled outside the lines.

Endless blank pages mocked and pressured me, telling me I was a sad excuse for a screenwriter and I better get it together soon because time was running out.

It was like I was timing myself running a mile, except I was too scared of my potential inadequacy to move my legs. So I just stood there, staring at the finish line in the distance, losing confidence as each second ticked by on the maddeningly loud stopwatch inside my white-knuckle-clenched fist.

It took me a year to finally commit to an idea, one my boyfriend and I had explored years prior, this time for a feature film. This story seemed obviously meant for me to write, given the themes and parallels to my own life experience. And once again, it felt like magic.

That idea swallowed the track whole, the finish line and stopwatch instantly engulfed, surrounding me in the vast open space of inspiration and possibility. And it filled every crevice of my available brain space. Whether I was flossing, folding laundry, of feeding my fish, I was filming it in my head.

Characters, plot points, and symbols came to me with surprising regularity, and though the words didn’t always flow, when they did, it was just them and me. A universe of sparkling ideas I was floating through, weightless, oblivious to the world of stresses and struggles I’d left far below.

It all sounds kind of corny and over-romanticized, I know, but that’s how it was. Life can sometimes feel unbearably serious, overwhelming, and urgent. Like it’s just one fire to put out after another. But when we’re creating, time seems to stand still. The flames freeze, far off in the distance, and all we can see is what we feel in our hearts about what we’re bringing to life.

It took me over a year to write the film, with the help of a talented mentor who taught me things I didn’t know I needed to learn and showed me possibilities I didn’t know to create. But I did it. Draft after draft, I crafted something that felt meaning and beautiful and true.

Then I re-wrote parts after getting a budget to make it more affordable to film.

And then recently, once again, I stalled. To be fair, I’m currently spread a little thin, and pregnant, which, as you may know, can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. But I’ve also procrastinated on the action steps to get this made because I’ve felt inadequate and scared.

I’ve questioned whether this is a realistic goal, given that lots of people try to raise money for films and fail.

I’ve doubted my aptitude for producing, reminding myself that I’ve worked in solitude for over a decade and possess the networking skills of a feral cat.

I’ve even considered that maybe I’m actually an untalented hack who misled herself into believing she has something new to offer, when really she’s just a one-note blogger who should stop fantasizing and stay in her lane.

All the while I’ve paralyzed myself with endless comparisons, juxtaposing prolific filmmakers’ portfolios against my embarrassingly vacant IMDB page.

I’ve known for a while I needed to write a pitch for investors, and I’ve had many open windows when I could have begun working on it. But instead I’ve read celebrity gossip. And emailed my sister about inane life events that really don’t need to be rehashed. And scanned my growing stomach for stretch marks while eating small cups of cereal, as if five small cups are somehow better than one average-sized bowl.

But this week, I did something different. This week I made one tiny choice that finally enabled me to get out of my own way: I decided to stop judging and start doing.

I decided to stop judging my work—to suspend my disbelief about whether it’s good enough and act as though I know it is.

I decided to stop judging myself—to stop berating myself for the skills I think I lack and simply focus on the task in front of me.

And I decided to stop judging the process—to consider that maybe every slow, timid step happened exactly how and when it needed to, so there’s really no reason to paralyze myself in shame.

Then I wrote one short section of the pitch. And another the next day. And another the day after that. I wrote what I could, as best I could, in small windows of time that felt manageable, until my energy and focus ran out.

I’m not finished yet, and I have a ways to go, but I have a start. I’m sure I could improve what I have, but at least I have something. And in time, I’ll make it stronger.

This isn’t an easily accessible path for perfectionists. We want to do it all, and perfectly, right now. We don’t want to take it slowly, or allow ourselves to be incompetent while we learn, through practice, how to excel.

We want to speed down the highway of consistent progress toward our goals. We don’t see the speed bumps and detours as valuable because we take them all so personally—as if we could somehow find or create a more smoothly paved path if only we did better. If only we were better. But it’s all valuable.

This is how we grow—all of us. By doing. By allowing ourselves to be where we are until we learn to get beyond it. By learning from every struggle and setback. No one can jump from zero to a hundred. No one can wake up an expert on something new. We simply have to go through the process.

We can use all our energy questioning, doubting, and judging, or we can use it to move forward, one tiny, imperfect step at a time, knowing we’re getting closer to our goals every day.

I’m not gonna lie—this isn’t easy for me to accept. I would rather do only what I know I can do fast and well. I would rather not risk being judged as inadequate. And if I could, I’d spend forever floating in that universe of sparkling ideas instead of hopping my way through an obstacle course of logistics, often feeling blindfolded. But I know this is what it takes to evolve and put myself out there.

It’s messy and confusing and frustrating. It’s hard and scary and uncertain. There are no guarantees as to where it will all lead, or if the time invested will feel worth it in the end. But every great story involves risk and hardship. And every inspiring hero soldiers on, perhaps temporarily disheartened at times, but never down for the count.

In the end, she might not get what she wants, but she usually gets what she needs. She grows into someone stronger and wiser. Someone better able to live, love, and experience life with more passion and less fear.

So maybe I’m not the girl who cried film. Maybe I’m just a human being, like the rest of us, learning to get out of my own way and doing the best I can. My story might be slow and imperfect, but it’s still going. I’m still going. And I know I’ll go a lot further if I choose to stay focused on that.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. An avid film lover, she recently finished writing her first feature screenplay and is fundraising to get it made now. To get daily wisdom in your inbox, join the Tiny Buddha list here.

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