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04 Oct 17:45

Adopt Holly, a Coonhound Dog at Wayside Waifs

by Sue Kottwitz
This beautiful Coonhound is Holly.  She's a little over 2 years old and available for adoption from Wayside Waifs in Kansas City.  Here's what she has to say:
Hi, there my name is Holly and I am the sweetest natured girl you will ever meet. I am a 2-year-old Coonhound and I am ready to leave this place for my new forever home. I came to wayside from an Overcrowded Shelter and now I am ready to leave for my new home. I hope that because you are viewing my photo that you are considering me as your new best friend. I am so ready to head out of here.

It is quite certain that I am housetrained but I do ask for your patience and understanding though as I learn the routine of my new surroundings. I am a very active girl but I could learn a lot more if I had a little basic training so that I could become the best dog ever. You see I have not had the greatest life lately but I am still the sweetest girl you will ever meet.

I am eager to please and I am great on my Leash as I enthusiastic listen and obey to the commands of my handlers. I love my walks and the Dog Park is my favorite activity, as I run and play.

Although Wayside have no record nor have they seen any signs of aggression in me, I will need to meet all kids and Canine family members before I can go to my new home. I just want to make certain we are a compatible family before we start our life together.

As with all animals from Wayside, before going to my new home, I will be Altered, up to date with my Shots, Heartworm Medications, Flea Control and I will have a Micro Chip. In other words, my makeup is in my purse and I am read to hear you say "COME ON HOLLY, WE'RE HEADING HOME."
Well that is just about all I can tell you about me. I just hope that you will come by Wayside, stop by the Adoption Desk, and ask for Holly, I will be waiting with a wagging tail.
Love and Kisses,
Contact Wayside Waifs at 816-761-8151   Holly's Animal ID number is 20739080.

Established in 1940, Wayside Waifs is committed to finding homes for all adoptable pets. Wayside is the largest no kill pet adoption campus in Kansas City, placing approximately 5,400 animals each year. Wayside does not euthanize adoptable animals, and there are no time limits for animals in our care. Only animals suffering from significant medical issues or those that pose a danger are humanely euthanized. Wayside Waifs is proud to be a part of Kansas City's no kill community.

On Tuesday we'll be participating in the Tuesday's Tails blog hop hosted by Dogs N Pawz.  This is the blog hop that features shelter pets.  Find a pet at your local animal shelter or rescue and join us!  Please help spread the word about these beautiful animals via social media and let's find them forever homes! 

Talking Dogs is the official blog of For Love of a Dog Jewelry
29 Jul 19:56

Celebrating 100 Sassy Sayings

by Linda Ursin

I’m celebrating reaching my 100th Sassy Saying today. I hope you’ll enjoy them. If you do, remember to share. The ones below the video are the new ones for this week. Below them, you’ll find a video with all of them.

It's kind of fun to do the impossible - Sassy Sayings - No one can make you feel inferior - Sassy Sayings -

A set-back or disability will not cripple you - Sassy Sayings - Count your rainbows - Sassy Sayings -

Freedom is being YOU - Sassy Sayings - An optimist is someone who - Sassy Sayings -

Yes, I know there’s 101 :)

If you have any Sassy Saying you’d want to share, pelase enter them in a comment below, then share one or more of these on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Pinterest.

You're reading Celebrating 100 Sassy Sayings, originally posted on Linda's Realm - Power Passion & Peace of Mind on Your Terms and copyrighted by Linda Ursin. Chat with Linda on Facebook | Google+ | Twitter

09 Jul 12:28

Confessions of a Love Junkie: Recovering from Love Addiction

by Robyn Phoenix

Heart in the Sand

“The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others” ~Sonya Friedman

Love is a funny thing. According to modern day psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists alike, the consensus is that it is just as easy to become addicted to “falling in love” as it is to get hooked on “street drugs.” But I think maybe my favorite drug is love.

Guess they’d call it my drug of “choice.” The irony in that statement is beyond comprehension. Any one of us who has fallen in love, or struggled with addiction on some level, knows damn well that choice seems to have very little to do with it.

About seven months ago I came to a breaking point. I made a decision to leave my spiritual community, to seek other ways to grow and develop. I was drained from giving so much of myself, as a result of not placing healthy boundaries with others and was suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I began to find it hard to breathe. Breathe. I forgot what it was like to breathe deep into me.

I didn’t realize I had become obsessed with “loving everyone” but never allowed myself to receive love. When you are a love junkie, you think you know how to love well. You give your love to everyone and everything but yourself.

It becomes an external solution to an internal problem. The saying goes that which we cling to, we end up losing. As a result I experienced a great deal of loss, because suffocation repels rather than invites.

Addiction comes in many forms. You can smoke pain away. Drink the sadness away. Shop, gamble, or have sex until you think you have released your pain. It always returns because it never really left in the first place.

So I tried love. It seemed like such a safe and noble way to escape the throes of my mind. And yet time after time I was left feeling empty. When you try to fill a bottomless cup from the outside, it never gets full.

It was when I stopped loving me at the expense of loving you that I lost sight of the truth. It was all the time I spent worrying about you when I could have been working on me. I had started my process of healing, but I got lazy along the way.

That’s the thing about addiction or escapist behavior of any form. It becomes comfortable. The slipping, sliding, and easing back into negative and unhealthy narratives. Those voices inside our heads which feed our deepest insecurities.

It can sound like this:

You aren’t good enough.

You don’t deserve someone or something like this.

You’re a bad person.

You should have done this or could have done that.

You aren’t worth the effort.

You are going crazy.

You aren’t trying hard enough.

You aren’t doing enough.

You aren’t giving enough.

Do you see a pattern here?

At the root all of “junkies” is the core belief that “we are not enough.”

It was easy to slip back into these thought patterns because they had been a part of my personal narrative for so long. Thinking, acting, and being healthy was very uncomfortable for someone like me. Once I allowed this negative voice to become my internal dictator, my “love junkie” was awakened.

Where I was misled was through this internal belief that things would be better if I only loved more—and this “love” was demonstrated by giving all of myself, not listening to my personal needs for space or voicing my desires, or speaking my truth in most of my closest and personal relationships, including my marriage.

I felt that if I only loved more, then maybe I would be okay. Then I would feel whole.

“Loving more” really, was my codependency playing out, and it often took the form of:

  • Not being able to say no to people’s requests, or outright demands for my time and energy.
  • Feeling guilty when I asked for things or wanted to make time for myself, out of fear of being seen as “selfish.”
  • Putting up with abusive behavior such as neglect, inconsideration, blaming, and shaming from friends, family, or lovers.
  • Feeling that if I distanced myself from these individuals or created boundaries within my relationships, it meant that I was “abandoning” them. As an individual who has experienced childhood abandonment and neglect, this meant I would be “disloyal” and “undeserving.”

Until I was able to adopt certain practices and healthier boundaries I could not respect myself. When I began building up that self-respect and deconstructing the self-denial I had become clouded in, I could then demonstrate authenticity in all areas of my life.

As I began to understand myself better, and treat myself with compassion and kindness I began to experience self-love rather than conceptualize it mentally.

Real intimacy and connection begins internally. When we seek for our happiness, our acceptance, and contentment from outside ourselves we will never be satisfied. The journey starts with the first step of moving toward ourselves.

I took stock of all the energy I was expending on people around me and realized my intention to love was actually blocked by my ego’s need to seek validation. In the quiet and the stillness I closed my eyes and began on the journey to find the greatest gift of all—myself.

Today I experience self-love as a process that begins with a shift from recognizing when I am heart centered as opposed to being centered in the mind. It is a process where one actualizes acceptance and release from the ego.

When I returned to my spiritual community, it was from a place of great humility and personal grace. I was able to see it with a new pair of glasses. I returned with nothing to prove, only a deep desire to trust in a new way of loving myself and opening up to those capable of returning that love.

Love is not an obsession. Love is not a possession or the pursuit of possessing any one person or people. True love fuels a sense of freedom and joy. It is a process of intimate liberation.

Photo by GettysGirl4260

Avatar of Robyn Phoenix

About Robyn Phoenix

Robyn Phoenix, MSW, CHLC is a therapist by day, aspiring poet/writer, and social justice activist in her spare time. As a Certified Holistic Life Coach, she is committed to transforming herself and empowering others to let go of their “love junkie” ways and become “intimate liberators.”

The post Confessions of a Love Junkie: Recovering from Love Addiction appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

01 Jul 09:05

Trusting in the Present When You’ve Been Hurt in the Past

by Haiku Kwon


“The only way to know if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ~Ernest Hemmingway

In a world where it seems as though all we hear about and see is how one person betrayed another, how do we allow ourselves to trust someone to get close at all, let alone trust them to be near the most fragile parts of us?

Over the course of the last year, I’ve been working as an intern-counselor at a residential high school with around 70 teenagers. Many of them have come from unbelievably challenging backgrounds where they have had to learn to not trust anyone as a matter of survival.

Imagine having spent your entire life always having to watch your back literally and figuratively, not just because there are strangers who may want to harm you, but also because even those who are supposed to be close to you could turn against you in an instant.

How difficult do you think it would be to let down the defenses that kept you safe and in some cases, alive, for so long?

In my own world, I’ve struggled with allowing people to really know me because for most of my life, it felt as though I was burned every time I did.

Over time, I learned how to seem friendly but kept virtually everyone at a distance, and those who got too close I rapidly pushed away, sometimes completely out of my life.

I was already struggling to put my pieces back together after several major tragedies in my family, and allowing others in meant (the possibility of) compounding my heartbreak. I just couldn’t handle anymore at the time.

Eventually I began to open up, but each time found myself wondering why I had been so naive again.

Then there came a point where, slowly but surely, people began to enter my life who showed me what it meant to be able to trust—trust them to show up, trust them to listen, trust them with commitments, and the biggest one of all, trust them with my heart.

These people came in the form of friends who are now my family and have had my back in countless ways over the years, and the most surprising and recent of all, a man who is not only telling me, but showing me, what a man does to express his profound interest beyond just the physical.

If I wouldn’t have begun to take down my walls, I may have never found these amazing people. They didn’t appear because I had perfectly learned to trust already. They appeared because I was willing to learn to trust, even if imperfectly.

As I’ve been learning to trust and lower my defenses, I’ve been working with my students to do the same.

Their stories are different in that many of them have come from a history of abuse and/or gang related activities. But we share a similar outcome in struggling to realize that what once protected us is no longer needed, and in some cases, is actually hurting us further by isolating us from the love we need to heal and move forward.

It’s like taking too much medicine; sometimes a certain amount is necessary to get better, but beyond that it can break our systems down.

We each come to crossroads in our lives where we have to make the decision to let go of our old survival mechanisms in order to grow and make room for something better.

Sometimes what used to protect us becomes what harms us and stifles the capacity for our lives to be open and full of joy, love, and peace.

When it comes to trusting each other, we have to accept that our past is not our present. We have to be able to recognize that what hurt us before is not necessarily what is currently standing before us—even sometimes when the situation looks frighteningly similar, and sometimes even when it’s the same person.

Does this mean we won’t ever get hurt again? Nope. That’s a part of life. People will let us down, and we will let them down, but that doesn’t mean our efforts to disassemble our defense mechanisms are in vain.

If we never allow ourselves any vulnerability, we lose out on the opportunity to make incredibly deep and meaningful connections that open up our lives in ways that couldn’t happen any other way.

Those connections draw out the very best within and create a new reality—one where we learn that the only way to know if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

Photo by Damian Gadal

Avatar of Haiku Kwon

About Haiku Kwon

Haiku Kwon is an avid wanderluster who has been a barista, bartender, logistics specialist, yoga instructor, and counselor in her different lives that have taken her all over the world. She has yet to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. You can follow her story at Life's A Risk... And I'm All In. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter.

The post Trusting in the Present When You’ve Been Hurt in the Past appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

26 Jun 09:15

Love, Light, and Other Lessons That Crisis Reveals to Us

by Jena Coray

Inner Light

“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant.” ~Paul Coelho

There have been more shocking and devastating world events in recent memory than I can keep up with. Hurricane Sandy. Sandy Hook Shooting. Shooting at Portland Mall. Australian wildfires. Club Fire in Brazil. Hurricane Nemo. Earthquake in China. Bangladesh Factory Collapse. Boston Bombing. Texas Plant Explosion. Floods in Midwest. Tornadoes in Oklahoma.

So much loss. Devastation. Pain. Piled one on top of the other with little time to regain our footing in between.

I can hear that fearful place inside me questioning, “Is this how it’s going to happen? Is this the beginning of the end? Is nature finally gonna take us out for what we’ve done, or are we just gonna take each other out?”

And I fall into that spiral of anger, frustration, and endless questioning, feeling my energy getting dragged down and down. 

I want to crawl into my hermit-y, safe shell and hide, and resolve in the fact that people are screwed up, and nature is ultimately in control, and there’s nothing I can do about it except wallow and whine about how no one’s doing anything about it.

And I can hear that fearful place inside me wondering, “Why? Why there? Why those people? Why kids? What’s going to happen? Should I be scared? Prepared? Worrying? Ramshackling together a bunker in my garage? What am I supposed to do?”

So I do all I can do. Clutching my loved ones a little tighter to my chest, I keep going.

My fear usually continues until the day after comes. Until we know it’s over. And then the fear and anxiety releases in a flood of relief as love comes in to fill its place.

On the day after, there is hope. Incredible tales of resilience, courage, and survival. Amazing stories of heroism, selflessness, and grace.

Suddenly, we feel spared, lucky. Yes, look at all we’ve lost, but look at all there is left to be grateful for.

Suddenly, we are reminded that life is only about the people around us and that it’s all, and always, about love.

Neighbors, strangers, communities coming together. Nations rapt in attention, holding their breath. In those moments, we experience our oneness. In those moments, we shift from a modality of competition into one of cooperation. In those moments, we can actually feel the truth that we’re all in this together. It’s palpable. 

Could that be why these horrific events keep happening? Their rate seeming to steadily increase since 2013 dawned and we were ushered into a new era.

It seems we need a collective shift in consciousness; our entire energy needs to be raised.

And unfortunately, it often takes shock to knock us out of our hypnotic day-to-day enough that we wake up, rise up, and come together. It takes a shock for us to start questioning why we’re here and what it’s all about.

It feels like the something greater out there has two gigantic defibrillator paddles on the Earth’s heart and is trying to shock us back to life. Clear. Hurricane! Shooting! Tornado! Bombing! Come on. Wake up. Come back to us.

And in those moments when we do wake up and act out of courage, act out of conviction, act out of love, we feel it: lucky just to be alive. Grateful for this moment, this one, right here. We can’t believe how blessed we must be to be alive right now, having this experience.

We feel connected. On purpose. Like we’re here for a reason. Like it all matters. And that’s how we’re meant to feel everyday. Not just through trauma and pain, but in our good ole, average ordinary.

Miracles are not extraordinary events; they are happening all around us, all the time. It just often takes extraordinary events for us to see them and realize they’ve been here all the while.

I think that if we can take one message from the sadness that’s surrounded our world lately, one possible why, is that only by witnessing the dark can we know what the light is.

That light exists within all of us, and once we know where the switch is, we can turn it on every single day—not just in our darkest moments.

It is wholly within our power and responsibility to feel lucky, and grateful, and amazed just to be alive. Just to be a part of it all.

It’s wholly within our power and responsibility to shine our individual lights as brightly as possible so that when we come together, the darkness will have no fighting chance. We’ll obliterate it.

From my perspective, our response to all these inner-light-switching events as of late just confirm to me, more now than ever, that our future looks positively bright.

Photo by Hartwig HKD

Avatar of Jena Coray

About Jena Coray

Jena Coray is an independent writer & marketing coach focused on finding freedom and happiness in her life and business. She's also one half of the team behind The Maven Circle, a site dedicated to helping creatives unleash their inner awesome and live more fulfilling lives.

The post Love, Light, and Other Lessons That Crisis Reveals to Us appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

16 May 13:06

A Peek Inside ‘Big 6′ Author Life: Amanda Kyle Williams

by August McLaughlin

Thank goodness for books! Seriously. With all of the buzz circulating about Abercrombie & Fitch and its CEO’s damaging messages, I’ve had youth on the brain. Mysteries and thrillers helped me through countless teenage hardships, and I looked up to their creators long before I imagined becoming one. In a world with too many villains (*clears throat* Jeffries!), I’m particularly grateful to my author heroes.

Cup of coffee and book

Today, I’m stoked to bring you one of my favorites, Amanda Kyle Williams. Her Stranger series, starring former FBI profiler, Keye Street, is captivating, witty, spine-tingling and inspiring. Now through Sunday, you can nab its first installment, The Stranger You Seek, for only 99 cents. (Total steal!) I hope you’ll pull up a chair, and a cup of java. This author is one you don’t want to miss.

AM: I first had the pleasure of “meeting” your work, thanks to a serendipitous galley copy of your series premiere. Now, you’re about to release #3. (Time flies!) How different is it, being a further celebrated veteran?

AKW: I can tell you the writing process is very different now. It took me a couple of years to settle into my job. Sometimes just being still is challenging. Learning a new job is challenging. But I’m in the groove now. I have a routine. I’m fairly disciplined and I’m enjoying writing again, remembering why I love it. I lost that for a minute while I was freaking out. I just finished the third book, Don’t Talk To Strangers, and it’s the first time I’ve finished a book without secretly believing I’d never write another one. I hear I’m not unique in this way. Writers, as it turns out, are neurotic as hell.

AM: As a traditionally published, Big 6 (well, 5) author, are you flown around the world with an entourage who wines, dines and does all of your marketing for you?

AKW: [laughing] You’ve been watching “Castle,” haven’t you? Actually, I am treated very well thanks to a great agent, publicist and publishing house. But it’s more like I’m flown to a few cities with mystery bookstores. Great opportunity to develop relationships with booksellers and to meet readers. My books have a few translations now and that means foreign publishing houses so I was very happy to be invited to London last year to meet my UK publisher and attend the Harrogate Crime Writers Fest.

But here’s the truth, or at least my truth and my experience at my level: There’s a big push just before and after a release. Tours and publicity. It’s this crazy blast of activity in the middle of a writer’s solitary life. It’s fun and exciting. And then it’s over. And if you want to keep the buzz going, you pretty much have to do it yourself because publicists and publishers are on the next bazillion new releases. Not that they don’t work hard for me all year. They do. But their attention shifts. They have other authors. Now, if I have a marketing idea or need help, I can reach out and they’re there. The team at Random House has been incredibly available and willing. But it’s up to the author to learn how to promote, attend conferences, meet people, stay involved in the community, keep your name out there, develop social media relationships, visit book clubs, develop a website…

There’s a financial investment associated with conferences, of course. Travel is expensive. But I see it as just that—an investment in my career. A lot of authors blog, as you well know. I don’t. It’s fraught with dangers for a dyslexic writer. I’d have to employ a full-time freelance editor. It’s not something I have any interest in at this point. And honestly, I don’t have that much to say. Some days I can’t even manage a status update or something cute for Twitter so…

(Psst! She’s actually a great Twitter follow. Check her out: @AKyleWilliams.)

AM: What’s your funniest or zaniest fan story? (If your groupies are super normal, feel free to embellish.)

AKW: Oh sure. Everyone knows thriller fans are perfectly normal, right? All I will say is, my inbox gets pretty interesting. Funny story about my first tour: I went to Houston after the release of The Stranger You Seek. Murder By The Book petitioned hard for me to come to Texas and visit their store. My publicist was skeptical. First tour. No one knew who I was. Tours can be brutal anyway. It’s hard to get people out of the house and into a bookstore for a book signing even if they like the author.

So I go to Houston. Nice hotel. Good food. Published book. I’m feeling pretty important. Four people show up, including an older couple, white hair, sitting very quietly through my whole spiel. During the Q&A, I discover they’re only there because they think I’m a long lost relative from Mississippi named Amanda Kyle. [August falls over laughing.] Bless their hearts. More recently, I visited a local book club that chose one of my books as their monthly read and I was asked if I’d ever killed anyone. I took that as a compliment.

AM: Well they were lucky to meet you anyway. What lesson have you learned writing or career-wise, that you wish you’d learned sooner?

AKW: You know, I really wish I’d identified as a writer before I was a professional writer. I was writing on and off for 25 years before it was my full-time job. I think I would have found the confidence to go for it sooner. There’s value in speaking about things before they’ve materialized. It’s like looking like a success before you’re a success. Same principal.

When I began making lists of positive things to say to keep my mind for running negative loops, telling me I wasn’t good enough or talented enough, my life started to change very dramatically. It’s virtually impossible for your brain to get stuck on fear and worry when your mouth is saying something positive like, Everything I Touch Prospers and Succeeds. I’m creative. I’m talented. I have new ideas all the time. I write many books. I have these affirmations posted around my house—on the fridge, inside the medicine cabinet, over my bed on the ceiling with painter’s tape. Turning off that little voice that was holding me back infused my writing with some confidence.

AM: If you weren’t a writer, and could take on any skills/traits, what would your dream alternate career be?

AKW: Seriously, I have no skills except that I can write a little and I’m really good with animals.

AM: If you could have any celebrity endorse your book, who would you choose?

AKW: Um… Oprah. [August cheers too loudly.] I mean, come on. She sells the hell out of books. But seriously for me, for the big rush, I want one of the big boys. Right now Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and Lee Child (Jack Reacher series) are my fantasy cover blurbs.

AM: Lee Child would totally blurb you! We shared smoothies once. I’ll put a word in. (Kidding—pretty sure he’s forgotten my name.) What aspect of the author’s life do you find most rewarding?

AKW: Besides typing The End? I guess reading back something you really struggled with, honed and revised, and discovering that you managed by some miracle to say what you wanted to say, or create the emotion or suspense you were going for. Because when I start a scene, it’s not like that. It doesn’t come rushing out of me, perfectly shiny and polished. It’s a painstaking process, word-by-word, building from the foundation up.

The other thing would be getting mail from a reader who really gets the character or was touched by something in a book. I talk a lot about addiction in the series. I hear from a lot of folks in recovery. I get mail from from former cops and private detectives and dedicated crime fiction readers. It’s really great when you’ve gotten it right for them. All the hours pay off in those moments.

AM: Beautiful. Tell us about your 99-cents promotion, and what we can look forward to next.

AKW: My publisher decided to run a nice little promo on the eBook edition of the first book in the series, The Stranger You Seek—$0.99 wherever eBooks are sold in the U.S. The promotion runs through May 19th.The 3rd book in the series, Don’t Talk To Strangers, is scheduled to release February 11th. We thought this would be a great way for new readers to discover the Keye Street Stranger series and jump in at the beginning in advance of the 3rd release.


Great indeed. If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll all race over to Amazon, B&N, or wherever else you e-book shop, and check out Amanda’s work.

Isn’t Amanda Kyle Williams fabulous? Any thoughts to share with her? Do you relate to her “neuroses” as much as I do??? Sure we’d both love to hear from you.

In the sweltering heat of an Atlanta summer, a killer is pushing the city to its breaking point, preying on the unsuspecting, writing taunting letters to the media, promising more death. Desperate to stop the Wishbone Killer, A.P.D. lieutenant Aaron Rauser turns to the one person he knows can penetrate a deranged mind: Keye Street, an ex–FBI profiler and former addict who now picks up jobs where she can get them. But the last thing Keye wants is to be pulled into the firestorm of Atlanta’s worst nightmare. And then it suddenly becomes clear that the hunter has become the hunted—and the stranger she seeks is far closer than she ever dared imagine.

Available on Amazon, iTunes, B&N and more.

02 May 13:27

Finding What You Want Means Realizing What You Don’t

by Cat (Poxi) Tu

“Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places” ~ Unknown

I’ve never dreamed of owning a mansion or acres of land. I’ve never dreamed of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right. I’ve never dreamed of glory on a sports field or stage, and I’ve never dreamed of being a billionaire or “Chief” of a company.

But I have dreamed of one thing—finding and living out my “calling.”

I’ve dreamed of coming across a cause, art, subject, or professional field that stuns me in my tracks and induces an epiphany: this is the work I want to live and breathe, the destined object of my monomania.

Upon graduating from college, I landed a job in human capital (HC) consulting, a field that piqued my interest more than others. There wasn’t an unbridled passion, but I figured myself as one of those who had to make an effort to be passionate.

And so I put in my best: I always said yes to projects and took on more work even when night after night, I was the lone keyboard typing in the office.

Though I liked my commitment in the office, I rarely thought of my field in my personal time; this bothered me, because it meant my work hadn’t become my passion.

If it were true passion, my thoughts at work and away would be intertwined, and my thirst for the field would span office hours.

I reasoned this was because the field was different than I’d expected it to be, based on what I’d read.

However, when an email sent to our national pool of associates and analysts requested staffing on a large-scale strategy initiative, my heart skipped a beat. When I was selected as one of two analysts, I was ecstatic.

Here was finally a chance for me to live and breathe my work, to be in constant productive movement. This project had a steeper learning curve than any, and being on client site removed non-work distractions.

I was excited that this would show me my passion. And it did. But not in the way I expected.

For the next six months, I flew out every Sunday cross country to the client site and returned Friday. The scale of the project, aggressive deadlines, and the project manager’s haphazard work style compounded the intensity and stress. Sleep became a luxury, and all-nighters were at least weekly occurrences.

As months passed, I was living out my ideal of “career monomania,” but the anticipated fulfillment never materialized. While I was stimulated by the novelty and high learning curve, I found it hard to believe in the “why” of the work we were doing.

Just as on other projects I’d seen, we focused on published report numbers but I didn’t get to work on what I really wanted to know—how to identify what different people valued and how to change behavior.

When I admitted I didn’t believe in the “why,” the “what” became harder to endure.

Last minute overnight assignments made me feel resentful; insistence that I work on the car ride to the airport despite my motion sickness made me feel disregarded. I became physically exhausted and mentally de-motivated.

When I returned to my home office in the Bay, I worked to re-establish “life” in work-life balance. I reconnected with friends, finally joined a self-defense training center (Krav Maga), and set aside time often to read/write.

However, the project experience left a residual heaviness. Initially, I paid little attention to it until I broke down in my supervisor’s office one afternoon when talking about it. Truth was, I felt resentful and lost because I sacrificed my time, health, and personal life for a “fulfilling” lifestyle that proved otherwise.

I had to admit my mistake—that I mistook a job for a purpose.

You see, during college, when searching for my “calling” proved too ambiguous and elusive, I substituted it with something more mentally digestible: search for a job. Over time, I forgot that a “career should be but one tool for achieving your life’s purpose” (Clayton Christensen).

This project was a slap in the face that my quest to find my calling wasn’t finished. This scared me but also freed me.

In the next months, I delved into deep introspection. I read, quested, admitted, wrote, shared, debated, and repeated the cycle.

Slowly, it dawned on me: the topics that I could never stop thinking about, the methods I use to become my own therapist, the readings I’m most drawn to, the topics I want to write about, the conversations I most enjoy, the principles I most believe in, all could be encapsulated within one umbrella field—what I now know as positive psychology.

My attraction to positive psychology felt unforced and insuppressible. I connected to this field long before I knew how to label it, but I never gave myself permission to take it seriously.

When I read about these topics, I always felt guilt over not reading about work-related “productive” topics.

But if positive psychology was already a large part of my life, why shouldn’t I accept this and make it an even larger part?

Thus, for once, I gave myself permission to be passionate. I read the spiritual/psychological books and articles I wanted. I started my own blog about conscious living. I talked with my supervisor about my interest in projects that dealt with engagement and motivation.

Something strange began to happen: the more I accepted myself, the more authentic I became to others, and the more the world worked with me.

My relationships became deeper and more constructive; incidental conversations and incidents motivated me to pursue things I was once afraid of (e.g., publicizing my writing). The more I talked about these topics, the more I met people like me, and the more they introduced me to new contacts and resources.

Part of me wishes I were writing this post years from now. Perhaps if/when I’ve earned my graduate degree in positive psychology or conducted bold research experiments or have become a holistic HC consultant. I wish I could guide you from first-hand experience how to live your calling once you find it.

But all of this happened recently, and I can’t promise how this will culminate; but I know that I don’t want to wait for the journey’s “end” to share.

Like many others, I often restrict myself on condition—”I will be X when I reach Y.” But how many times have we reached our goals, only to realize there are infinite more beyond the horizon?

“There” is just a state of mind; there is nothing that we want to obtain that could forever satiate our wanting once we obtain it.

I don’t want to hold off daring or sharing until I reach “there.” I want to treasure and navigate “here”—this space where belief copulates with action, where fears dance with courage, where insecurities bow to passion.

I believe we each have a calling—something that deeply resonates with, motivates, and fulfills us. For a few, it is evident early on; for others, like me, it requires patience and continual searching.

But if we are honest with ourselves, if we consciously introspect, and if we dare to never stop questing, we realize that our experiences are orchestrated in perfect concert to guide us to our “Personal Legend,” as Paulo Coelho calls it, as long as we are willing to listen for the soft entrance of music.

Photo by Jozoana

Avatar of Cat (Poxi) Tu

About Cat (Poxi) Tu

Cat is a young professional living/working in San Francisco. She is feuled by self time, reading/writing, positive psychology, Krav Maga, hip hop dance, and raw/vulnerable conversations. She dreams of changing the world by changing consciousness. And she starts with her own:

09 Apr 14:10

Living Well to Write Well When Feeling @%$#-y

by August McLaughlin

Illness is part of wellness, and strikes all of us on occasion. If only we could choose the timing…

If only we could choose the timing.

I caught a nasty bug last week, while up against a tight deadline. Like many writers, I have multiple work-streams and projects ongoing. The assignment plunked down like an elephant on that pile.

Some years ago, I would have worked my butt off, eaten low-cal foods and hit the gym while sick. I’m so glad I’ve learned since then. I now appreciate the fact that food fuels the body and brain, and that during sickness, it needs ample glucose. Since we only have one source of glucose (carbohydrates), eating enough (if possible) and at regular time intervals is vital. So is rest, since glucose also fuels activity. While enduring illness or injury, our glucose should fuel recovery instead.

Rather than fight the virus with stubborn ignorance, I hit the pause button. For the first day, I barely moved from the sofa—sans laptop—other than to grab food and such. The next day, fueled up with rest and nourishment, I completed the assignment. While it may not have been my greatest work, it turned out significantly better than it would have, practicing my former habits.

Back-flat on the sofa afterward, I couldn’t help but marvel at the way our brains and bodies work. They not only respond to self-nurturing, but help and heal themselves—given the proper TLC. (I don’t know about you, but that seems super power-esque to me.)

The experience reminded me of a few things. First, the work we do as writers takes a lot of energy. Second, the healthy habits needed to overcome illness promote writing health (sharp brain function, productivity and creativity) as well. And third, we can’t starve away illnesses, regardless of what old adages say.

If you’re feeling under-the-weather, or simply bogged down by the pressures of a hectic life, you may find the following tips useful. They’re far from revolutionary, but guess what. They work! ;) If you’re like me, you can use the occasional reminder.

Living Well to Write Well When Feeling &%^#-y

1. Try to get enough sleep. I can hear some of you groaning. This isn’t my strong suit, either. But sharp thinking and creativity are some of the first things to go when we’re sleep deprived. The key, I feel, is trying to stick to a healthy sleep routine, and allowing time for our brain and body to decompress before bed. (This means turning off light-up everythings.) A positive sleep environment—dark and comfortable—also helps.

2. Eat well. In general, this means eating balanced meals and snacks at reasonable time intervals, and emphasizing whole, natural foods. Remember, the brain needs more carbohydrates than any other nutrient. Rather than skimp on carbs, emphasize healthy sources, such as whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Lean protein sources, like fish and legumes, and essential fat sources, such as nuts and seeds, promote positive brain function in other ways. We should also limit processed and low-nutrient food and avoid dieting; both can damage our work and wellness.

3. Balance rest with activity. When we’re ill, easing up on all activity is important. If you’re up against a deadline or have other obstacles tinkering with your rest, short breaks are better than none. Ask for more time or for help. (We may seem super-human, but…) Even when we aren’t sick, working our typing fingers into the grindstone 24/7 does little to help our work quality or health. When we’re well enough, routine exercise is important.

4. Breathe. Stress and illness can cause our bodies to tense up, disrupting breathing. Regardless of ailments, we women often suck our bellies in, attempting to appear thinner. This makes proper breathing near impossible. Pausing to inhale and exhale slowly—using our diaphragm, not our chest or shoulders—can help reduce stress, increase energy levels and enhance healing. Breathing exercises can also help.

5. Seek support. As writers, many of us are used to going it alone. We not only run the ship, but build it, clean it, repair it, renovate it, market it, Tweet about it and—you get the picture. Learning to rely on others and cutting ourselves some slack may not come naturally, but it can be lifesaving, particularly when we’re down and out. There’s no shame in asking, and plentiful reward in self-care.

Do you work or rest your way through illness? Which of these tips have you mastered? Which are works-in-progress? Happy to put on my nutritionist cap if you have food-related questions. (Yep, I love you that much!)

02 Apr 12:29

The day she tried to slash my face

I think I was in Eighth Grade when she approached me with the razorblade.

She was a year older than me, and brought a friend along. I knew she didn't really like me, but had no idea I was a target until I was cornered.

It was after school one sunny day, a bunch of us were downtown, a quick walk after the last bell. I left my friends and headed down a side street, alone. Everything was the same as usual.

Then it wasn't.

She started spewing hate my way, a scrunched-up face with dark eyes. I remember feeling my Fight or Flight instinct kick in, before I even saw the weapon in her grip.

Her curse-laden speech summed up that she believed I thought I was all that and a bag of chips. If she only knew my secrets, if she only knew what my life was really like, I thought, but it didn't matter. She had already made her decision.

She hunted me down that afternoon so she could slash my face.

She wanted me to not be pretty.

She wanted to teach me a lesson, a lesson that came from a place within her that I always knew wasn't about me. But I was easier to cut and hurt and make bleed than whatever it was that was really breaking her heart.

My body flooded with instinct, so I ran. I was taller and faster and an athlete. She was shorter and a smoker. She had no chance of catching up.

But what if it wasn't a razorblade?

What if she had a gun?

What if she had the easy access to them that teenagers today have?

I could not have outrun a bullet. Or two. Or five.

What would my face look like today, if that angry girl had a gun?

This is what I think of when I hear the people arguing about whether or not to make stricter gun control laws.

I wonder with a heavy heart: What will the bullies my kids face have in their hands when they corner them one day?

I can only hope it's just a fist or a razor that they have a fighting chance to run away from.

I can only hope.

Kim Bongiorno of In The Powder RoomKim Bongiorno is a writer, mom and wife stomping around the suburbs like a confused, nerdy, albino Wolverine. Kim is known for hitting you with the funny, then surprising with the sweet, on her blog LetMeStartBySaying, and is both a staff writer and the Social Media Manager at InThePowderRoom. Come see the many inane things she shares on Facebook and Twitter, or learn more about her work on KimBongiornoWrites.

24 Mar 12:38

Pasta Salad Recipe Whole Grain Farfalle With Feta Cilantro Salsa

by Jana Hartley

A Doctor And A Nurse

Whole Grain Farfalle Pasta Salad Recipe Is Good As A Side Or As A Meal Pasta salad recipe is a fantastic lunch on the go or as a great side dish for dinner.  This easy recipe has whole grain goodness which gives it a rich and hearty flavor.  Feta cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, red pepper, and [...]

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17 Mar 21:33

paranormal cativity

paranormal cativity