Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Damage of Worry & Concern

What is important to me is that we don’t avoid or attempt to control unfavorable or negative experiences. That would be impossible. Rather, let us maintain honest awareness of the situation, shed light and support for ourselves and for one another to learn how to address, not suppress, the matter. So we may come out as stronger people who have taken the opportunity for growth… out of love for the life experience; not fear, worry or concern of anything otherwise.

It is like nails on a chalkboard to me when people express worries and concern over the most petty things. Those who criticize over some judgement they’ve made from a fearful perspective or preach about “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” as if all of life fits into the safe box they’ve created in their mind. The reason this is a hard thing for me to swallow is because I used to be one of those people and I know what it feels like to live life in the perspective and idea that I can control the outcome of things.

Everyone lives differently and as parents, people, friends, partners, dog owners, employees, employers, students… whatever hat you wear, most of us approach and do things the best we can and how most of us feel is beneficial, healthy and loving to ourselves and those we care about. Beyond our approach to life, our meaning and purpose of what drives us to live and what we live for may also be very different. For those who’s goals are to live life avoiding as much pain and challenging times as they can, it might feel right to fit into a box of worry and concern.

For those of us who want to live an uninhibited, fearless life experience… I really want to express why being worried or concerned over little things are a serious disservice to you and are not love-building in relationships, let alone to your self-esteem and life perspective.
This is a large reason why we may come across as nonchalant, liberal people to some. Being worried over every single little thing is stressful, unhealthy and supports a fearful perspective that life is not abundant and deceivingly allows us to believe that we can control outcomes based on projected expectations, giving us a false sense of security.

The truth is, I cannot save myself, or those I love, like my child, from ever getting hurt… And being a child myself that was over-protected and sheltered, I have some bitterness over the fact that I wasn’t allowed to fall… Be it on the ground doing some physical activity or failing at something I couldn’t quite handle on my own. I grew to have so much fear of pain and failure that when life inevitably allowed those moments to happen (because it did) I did not know how to be accepting nor address them in a healthy way that allowed me to move through those challenging moments instead of being traumatized by them.

Let me make it clear that living fearless doesn’t mean living reckless, or having a false sense of immortality. But it does mean go out and live life, even if it means taking a risk, like getting into a car (that could befall a fatal accident) to travel to and enjoy a concert, a dinner, or time with friends.

The possibilities of negative events and outcomes are endless… Don’t just fear the most common things you hear via media or conjured from imaginings of the “worse things that could happen”. Be fair to the giving, abundant side of life and maybe start asking yourself, “What’s the best thing that could happen?”

Let go of fear, listen to your inner voice, do what feels right, with love… and you will see it can never lead you wrong. I hope this liberation for all.



Unconditional Life

“Nothing you become will disappoint me; I have no preconception that I’d like to see you be or do. I have no desire to foresee you, only to discover you. You cannot disappoint me.”
-Naomi Aldort, “Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves”

I love this quote, not only because it reminds me of what perception I may have if I were to unconditionally love someone… But also the perception I wish to wholeheartedly embody when approaching life.

Can you imagine what life would be like if nothing were a disappointment? What if the only desire we had was to discover it? No expectations, no conditional circumstances to define our happiness or satisfaction…

What a beautiful experience that would be.

Even more so beautiful is the idea that the experience is not only possible, it is readily available to us as soon as we are willing to let go of our expectations and judgements of what is right or wrong, good or bad about life.

It is ALL experience.

And whether we are to discover the experience of happiness and love, or the experience of sadness and betrayal… None of it is disappointing. It is all just another fragment to discover in this unlimited, ever-abundant experience of life!

Live freely!


Residual Parenting

She’s at it again, terrorizing the innocent Mr. Bingley, our 8 month old boston terrier.  “My little two year old just doesn’t seem to get it, or worse yet doesn’t care,” I think to myself.  Telling her no and prying her away to express my disapproval doesn’t teach her anything and my attempts at directing her from my comfy perch of preoccupation seem to go unheard.  Whatever am I to do?

The question plagued Marin and I on more than one occasion in different scenarios.  The simple answer took a quick minute to materialize for us… WE are the parents!  So what does it mean to “parent” a child?  Many words and concepts come to mind at the introduction of this question, but none seem more appropriate than “guide”.   We are our children’s guides through this often hap hazard experience called life.  Not their slave drivers nor their chariot drivers, but a third party participant with an vested interest in their health and happiness.  We show them, in short, how to catch the biggest fish, where suitable shelter can be arranged and why staying downwind of Booboo and Yogi might be a good idea.  We don’t however tell them they must, nor catch the fish for them, as that would be thwarting their experience and growth; key attributes to any journey.

So what do you do when Sally wants to pet the porcupine?  You join her!  Now bear with me cause this is where things get prickly.  Sally wants to learn, so eager in fact that she has stepped into dangerous territory.  Prime opportunity to show her how things can be done.  Dive into her experience, guide her through it, allowing choices to be made autonomously when possible and being there to subtly correct or intervene IF necessary.  For Marin and I this looks like sitting with our little girl when she wants to see our little pup.  We can show her attention the little pup likes,  be there to discourage the full on body-slamming hug that she wants to give him, and are present to explain why performing  an eye or nose exam on any dog might be the type of prickly situation to avoid until they grow up to be the vet that they currently have their heart set on becoming.

Given this approach, children gain experience AND perspective, something far beyond rules.  Yes.  It takes time, but not as much time as telling them “no-this”, “yes-that” for years on end.

“Give a man fish, feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

Thanks and much love, Brett


Connecting Openly

Obviously being digital figures on the Internet, Marin and I are in the line of fire for a fair bit of judgement.  No time in history could ever match the ease with which separation could be pointed out on such grand scales anonymously through the World Wide Web.  Fortunately the same can be said for noticing our similarities and bringing one another together.  I will try to focus on that note today (though what my ego really wants to do is complain about all the “haters”). Enough has been said on them though, and what kind of happy thought would that inspire anyways?

Remarkable sharing and openness on our YouTube channel has inspired this post and my thanks goes out to that community which has shown us so much love, support and understanding.  We are often addressed by commenters on many personal and “sensitive” aspects of our lives and perspectives, which can be challenging at times.  There are those, many I will say, for the sake of positivity, that compose their feelings unassumingly, openly and with great tact.  Hopefully I will pinpoint what I feel are their characteristics that make them welcome “joiners” who contribute to opening the connection in our community verses the avoided “downers”.

1. Leading with Intentions: I find that most open minded folk start their thoughts with the declaration that these are “just their thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc.”  Another way many disarm any idea of ill intent from the start is by asking clarification of your stance first, as if checking to see if their thoughts on the subject are even pertinent.

2. Unassuming:  this particular quality of verbiage is one of my favorites and I find it is generally the result of much practice as it comes somewhat unnatural to developed language.  The knack of being able to speak without putting someone else or their ideas in any kind of a box is a commendable quality and well worth mastering.  Responding to comments on our videos has been a largely helpful way for me to develop this skill to some extent; the format of being able to think about my words before posting offers the crucial time to check my words for any box-making.

3. Unbiased: coming across as being open to both sides of a topic goes a long way toward bringing people and thoughts together rather than segregating them.  After all, how we can expect someone to be open to our thoughts unless we stay open to theirs?

Whether you are answering questions or asking them, the ability to address people openly will shift the energy of any conversation to one of expansion, growth, and collaboration… Basically the thing we all are seeking in the first place.



Less than Good Enough

I recently watched a Ted Talk on the Paradox of Choices… The argument being that more choices could potentially lead to less contentment.

Usually I am very happy with the choices I ‘ve made and have the ability to make in life, but this concept shed light onto the one area where the paradox of choice has definitely left me less content: Where is the best place to live?

After traveling so much my husband and I have had the pleasure to find appreciation for each culture and country that we visit. Every place has its perks. But what place is the best place to settle down in? Where can we truly be happy? As we continue to wander around the globe, picking up and settling back down every other year or so, it seems that we continually look back and say, “Well the last place wasn’t so bad after all…” But when we were there, the emotion of wanting something different, something more was so strong that we hardly felt happy.

Every experience was less than good enough.

It took a moment to assess the cause of this cycle and I when I did, I finally realized it came from a seemingly harmless, unconscious place: The focus on comparison and judgement. I reflected on how my thoughts and awareness were filled with things like:
“People don’t know how to drive around here.”
“The unpredictable, erratic weather sucks.”
“I miss having an abundance of health food shops around.”
“It would be nice if didn’t snow.”

These thoughts seem like factual preferences, but they were keeping me from an attitude of appreciation and they began to slowly turn into complaints and dislikes. When someone asked me how I liked living here, I’d find myself mentioning all the negatives first.

I spent the last couple months practicing a new focus on the things I truly liked and enjoyed.
“I love how easy it is to be car-less here.”
“I love how convenient the culture is for people with families.”
“I love the beautiful mountain views.”
“I love the abundance in beautiful parks and splash pads nearby.”

This new focus has dramatically changed my thoughts and feelings on where I live. And although I still feel like it is not my preference to settle down and raise my family here… I really feel abundant in what it is I am able to enjoy while being here. The feelings of want and discontentment no longer exist.

Because of the positive changes and peace I felt in practicing this exercise, I took it into other areas of my life… like how I think about myself, my job, society, and even as simple as my thoughts on the dinner that I had at a new restaurant. It has left me feeling grateful and abundant for all the good things in my life, while eliminating the distraught over the things I much less prefer.

Where could you apply this practice in your life?