This is my letter to the world…


“This is my letter to the world.” ~Emily Dickinson

I have recently started reading Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach and am overwhelmed by the amount of insight and inspiration this woman provides in her book. I can see why it was such a breakthrough hit when it came out, endorsed by Oprah herself, and continues to sell incredibly well. It is laid out like a diary, with entries corresponding to every single day of the year. It starts on January 1st and goes straight through December 31st providing short, inspirational anecdotes for every date. I decided to start with December 9th, the day I found the book in a pile of old books in my house, and I found it beautifully poignant and appropriate.

December 9th

The Christmas Letter

The advice that followed was so appropriate at this time of year. The entry began by focusing on a woman who writes a Christmas letter in which she documents the perfection of her family and the beauty of her life, essentially making everyone feel miserable and powerlessness within the confines of their own less than stellar lives. Simple Abundance came out in 1995, long before the days of Facebook and Instagram where people can now document the perfection of their lives on a daily basis. They don’t even have to write anything, they can simply post edited images of perfection. So how can we turn this frustration into action? How can we begin to feel good about our lives? By recognizing everything we have done, the obstacles and the joys, and find gratitude in those moments. I love the idea of writing down our own private letters where we explore the “exciting safari of the self and Spirit,” that we have experienced this year as well as looking forward with hope and optimism for the year to come. 

This year, we’ll write a letter of our own. We’ll write about our exciting safari of the self and Spirit. …We’ll write about the tiny changes that have made a great difference in how we approach our daily round. Then we’ll write another letter, dated this time next year, in which we’ll describe how our dreams came true. In it, we’ll outline our glorious ideal lives in detail — exactly what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, who’s doing it with us. But we’ll write these two letters in our discovery journals only; they’re for our eyes alone. Because this is not merely our letter to the world, this will be our letter to the Universe. What we’re really doing is setting down our New Year’s aspirations in concrete form.

This is the perfect time to start writing these letters, filling up our “discovery journals” with dreams and aspirations, hopes and plans. Life is not perfect. Life is full of obstacles, moments that knock us off our feet or leave us gasping for air. No one is immune to these unfortunate twists, even the “perfect” woman with the “perfect” Christmas letter.

Remember that your family and friends don’t live edited lives. You needn’t either.

I will be writing these letters in my discovery journal and seeing how they play out over the following year. I look forward to hearing from anyone who has similar plans. I hope you will join me on my own “safari of the self and Spirit.” 

The Anxiety of Truth

I write a lot about happy things. About pretty things. Things that you can buy or wear, read and enjoy. I write about going for a run or decorating your house. I write about beauty products that can improve your complexion and make you feel more beautiful. Pretty. Feminine. Loved. I write about all of the things we dream about, desire and want. But what I don’t write about, what I’m afraid to write about, is the truth. I don’t write about my emotions. I don’t write about the heavy weight of sadness, frustration or fear that can sneak up on you and settle in the cracks of your foundation. I don’t write about how imperfect life can be at times. We all strive to put the best version of ourselves online. We edit and tweak, correct and alter. We put this alternate life on our Facebook pages, our Instagram albums, our Twitter feeds. We continue to churn out the glossiest version of our lives. The one that looks the best. The one that will make our enemies jealous and our loved ones proud. But where is the truth? Why are we all so afraid to share the truest version of ourselves? Is it because we worry that opening ourselves up that wide will leave us vulnerable? Easy prey? Will we look pathetic or weak or sad? The truth of the matter is that I have really bad days. I have days that knock me to my knees. Days that make me want to pull the covers over my head and ignore the world outside my window. But I never do pull the covers over my head. I am a determined survivor. I am also a perfectionist. And I’m emotional. Mix all of those factors and you have the perfect combination for anxiety. I’m constantly worried that I’m making the wrong decisions, ruining my life, failing. I worry that I will be plagued with bad luck. I worry that I could be better, smarter, stronger. And then I worry about worrying. Talk about anxiety!

But maybe things could be different. Maybe if I allowed myself to live in the truth, to get my hands dirty with honesty and reality, I could feel a weight lifted from my shoulders? Maybe if I stopped trying to be so perfect and just worked at being the truest, most honest version of myself, the anxiety will abate? Because to be truthful, writing this down, expressing these honest emotions and worries, feels really good. (Thanks, Aidan!) It feels like a sigh of relief. Maybe honesty and truth will make me feel better than polishing and editing reality? Maybe using this website as a way to clear my head of false reality, will inspire me to live my life with more authenticity and intention? Because for the first time, I want to write these words, these truths, for no one else but myself.

As a wise man once said, “Things do not change, we change.” So in the spirit of Thoreau, I’m changing. And so is this site. And so, essentially, is my life.

I can’t think of a better way to end 2012 and ring in 2013 than with the motivation and inspiration to live my real life…and document it.

PS- I will still be posting beautiful, happy, entertaining things here. But I just want to bring a little more honesty to the mix, even if it’s a little ugly at times.

The Power of Decisions

Use a permanent marker. Make a choice. Take that trip. Order that dessert. Speak UP!

Usually, when I come across two common themes from separate outlets (written by people I respect), I pause and wonder if the Universe is trying to tell me something.

Today it was about DECISIONS.

Amy Spencer wrote a fascinating and very uplifting essay on the freedom that making a decision gives us. Rather than bouncing around between ideas of what you could/should/would do, just DO! Amy’s post, TOSS YOUR ERASER, is filled with some very inspiring suggestions for making decisions and the feeling of pride and accomplishment that decision-making will give you. She called it “Today’s little happy life idea” and it is just that. An idea to help make your life a little happier. Amy quotes John W. Gardner’s idea that “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” Amy goes on to add, “No, you don’t have an eraser, but you have a huge, bright, empty piece of paper in front of you to draw in whatever direction you want to go next.” She also points out that no decisions are permanent. Even the ones written in permanent marker (or tattoos, or marriage certificates, or down payments). “There are few decisions or mistakes in life that can’t be fixed. Sure maybe you end up with a little headache trying to fix it…but weren’t you giving yourself as much of a headache in struggling over the decision in the first place?” Smart advice!

Danielle LaPorte recently wrote about her new DESIRE program. She detailed her decisions to go forward with an idea and how she likes to put it out into the world immediately, while the fire’s still hot. She tells the world her intentions. Makes the statement. Marks her calendar and starts running in the direction of her dreams. Danielle says it’s all about a feeling of urgency. A need to get the word out about an idea, a decision, a move.

We are in an age when we are afforded more opportunities than ever before and we are becoming paralyzed by choices. The opportunity to be, do, experience, learn, create, and succeed is exciting, tempting and exhilarating. It can also be overwhelming. We can begin to feel anxiety over of making the “wrong” choice. What these two smart and inspiring women are saying, the themes that are echoed in their thoughts, is that any decision, if made with conviction and excitement for the possibility of success, is a worthwhile decision. We can’t get anywhere if we are frozen in one spot. The only way we can succeed is by moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other and saying YES to life.

Find Your Groove

Everything can overwhelm us.

We are programmed to be overwhelmed.

It’s in our DNA. It’s instilled in us from a young age. It grows with age and tightens around us every year.

It starts so young. “I have so much homework!”

“I have so many after school activities.”

“I don’t have time to play, shower, sleep.”

The list goes on and on. We begin bemoaning all of our “to-dos” because they give us a sense of importance. “Look how busy/important/smart I am.” The more you have to do, the more adult you are. The less you have to do, the more childlike. Why is being childlike so bad? Why do we look down on people who talk about the relaxing day they had reading/writing/watching bad reality tv/playing? Maybe if we spent our time seeking out the things that bring us the most joy and work towards creating time and space for them in our busy/hectic/overwhelming lives, we would feel more satiated, more centered, more FULL. Life should be FULL. It should be FULL of happiness, it should be FULL of enjoyment, it should be FULL of accomplishments that make us proud.

Prioritize the things that really matter. Make time for the enjoyment that you are “working towards.” There is an old cliche about a man on his deathbed and how no one will ever hear him say, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” It’s true. You will never wish you took more business calls or spent more hours at your desk. You will never live out your full potential if you spend your day wishing you were somewhere else, doing something else. The only way you will really begin to appreciate your life is to really LIVE it. Live every inch of it. Do the things that you know will make you happy. Because in those moments of doing what makes you happy, you might just stumble upon that which will fulfill you and make your dreams come true. Find your groove and live there.


The days are long but the years are short. We hear this often but we don’t really listen. It is important to really LISTEN. To NOTICE. To pay attention to all that is going on around us. The desire to find the easy way out, the shortest path, the quickest way to do things, feel things, process things is always the one we are most drawn to and seek out most frequently. But sometimes we have to get through something slowly, diligently, with patience and resolve. The obstacles life throws us will be rough, difficult, verging on impossible. They challenge us. They push us. They scare us. But the only way to get over something is to go through it. To feel every inch of it, no matter how painful or difficult. Life is a roller coaster filled with ups and downs. None of it can be expected, prepared for or predicted. We can only strap ourselves in, take a deep breath and move forward. We have to believe in ourselves, believe in the path and have hope, faith and grace. There is no easy way out, no magic pill, no instruction manual. Life is difficult. But it is also beautiful and miraculous and filled with blessings. Enjoy your days and find the blessings in every moment. Years from now you will thank yourself for having faith and you will feel proud of yourself for surviving. Even thriving.

Run Away to Reconnect


“You are not your to do list. You are not your have-nots or must-dos. You are not your job. Although your first waking thoughts likely focus on the needs of others and all the things you want to accomplish, you are, most important, yourself. Take time every day to remember that – even if it means running away from everyone and everything you love so you come back refreshed and recharged. The world can wait. You shouldn’t have to.” -Self Magazine, November 2012

Do you ever notice that the more you do for people, the more you resent them or the time you lost? Even if these are the people you love most in the world and you are doing things that you really want to do, you can sometimes still feel deflated afterwards. There has been a lot of talk about the power of meditation and yoga and relaxation. The reason these activities are growing in popularity is not because we are becoming a more spiritual population but because we are realizing the importance of giving ourselves something so precious and fleeting, time. We are often so busy running around doing for others, even at the expense of our own inner peace. What we don’t realize is that by constantly giving of ourselves to others, we are taking away our own personal comfort. Always being there for others is a sign of great character and kindness. It is a powerful gift and one that should never be taken for granted. However, the word selfish gets a bad reputation. Sometimes being selfish is the greatest gift you can give to yourself…and to others. Taking time for yourself, saying “no” to a request, stepping away from everyone to give yourself a moment to regroup and relax is sometimes the best thing you can do for others. By resting and doing what YOU want, you will be recharged and ready to help others tackle their problems, support them when they need you or celebrate their achievements.  Putting yourself first can give you that boost of confidence and clear thinking that will help you take the next steps in your generous life.

Speak Your Mind

A few months ago I was running errands and happened to overhear two people talking about someone I knew. These women were saying disparaging things and laughing at their observations, cruel observations. I was having a particularly low day and felt, quite frankly, fed up with the world. As I started to turn away, to go down a different aisle and move on with my day, I stopped. Suddenly and painfully aware that what I was listening to, what I had heard, was unfair and if I didn’t speak up, no one would. I confronted these women and told them that what they were saying was insensitive, that if I could hear them, others could, as well. I wanted them to be made aware of the power of words and the ease with which we can hurt others. The women were caught off guard and I’m sure felt that I was wrong to be weighing in or scolding them for their gossip, but I followed my heart and spoke my mind and it still stays with me as a moment of pure clarity and strength.

Speaking up for yourself or others, standing your ground and speaking your mind does not guarantee that people will understand or even listen. It does not guarantee that they will respect, appreciate or even like you for it. But it does guarantee that you will like yourself…no…LOVE yourself!

To Get Better at Something…Keep Doing It!

Don't Break the Chain

My goal to push myself to write something every single day definitely jumpstarted something in my brain. Of course, it didn’t work entirely. I missed ONE DAY! I didn’t blog yesterday! Actually, in all fairness, I did write a blog post but I wasn’t 100% happy with it so I didn’t publish it. So does that count? I’m not sure. The perfectionist in me says “NO!” If I can’t scroll through 7 consecutive days of posts, then I failed. But what’s great about failing is that it gives you a change in perspective. It gives you another chance to do it again, this time seeing what worked and what didn’t.

I got a little lost in my message. What was my overall purpose for the site? Did I want it to be a design-related blog where I can show off the cute things I find online? Did I want it to be a personal journey blog where I explore things I do and what I learn from them? Did I want it to feel like a self-help blog where I help others? Yes! All of the above! But really, what it all boils down to is that this blog, this Daily Moxie adventure, is getting me in the habit of writing something creative every single day. So once again, I’m going to give it a go. 7 days, 7 blog posts (or more, if I feel like posting more than one in a day). Tuesday to Tuesday.

Jerry Seinfeld once said that his key to success and to become a better comedian was to write something every single day. Seinfeld used (and possibly still uses) a calendar system to hold himself accountable. Every day that he would write, he would put a big red X on that day in the calendar. As the days added up, the chain of red X’s grew. He could literally see his accomplishments physically in front of him and he didn’t want to break the chain. So his advice on becoming better at something is Don’t Break the Chain! You can use this for anything, fitness, family, reading, organizing, cooking. Making sure you do something every single day that is moving you closer to your goal is better than waiting around for inspiration to hit or waiting until you feel “in the mood.” Start now. Do it now! …and don’t break the chain.

Best Traveler

Best Traveler

When I was growing up, my parents devised a tactic for getting my brother and sister and I to behave on a trip. At the beginning of every excursion, my parents would announce that whoever behaved the best would win the “Best Traveler Award.” I don’t know how this affected my brother and sister’s attitudes during the trip, as I recall, they were often pretty difficult travelers, but I took this award seriously. Very seriously. I wanted to get my hands on that prize (editorial note: there was never an actual “prize” associated with best traveler, it was just the honor of being labeled best traveler). Martha Beck wrote an article a few years ago for Oprah Magazine about her need for praise and I can’t help but feel this may have been the start of my own unrequited love for those proverbial gold stars.

This hedonistic desire for appreciation, gratitude, and praise can stem from any number of factors. Being a straight-A student, a teacher’s pet, a parent’s favorite, a star athlete. Any way in which you can receive unadulterated praise can cause you to strive for it even more.  Being “the best” becomes part of your identity. It makes you who you are and without it you feel you have failed. It also makes you competitive, controlling and prone to comparing your life to others (which we already know is a bad idea).

I remember on those family trips long ago, I would work so hard to be best traveler, taking mental notes every time I bit my tongue about an ugly hotel room, a less than stellar meal, or a hogged arm rest. My sister was much more relaxed about the award. In all honesty, she didn’t care one bit about winning. (Probably because she knew there was no actual prize involved). So she would freely complain, roll her eyes, send food back and whine. However, I remember one trip in particular, when our travels were coming to an end and for whatever reason (because I know it wasn’t honestly deserved), my mom decided to award my sister with best traveler. I was flabbergasted! I knew she didn’t earn it. There was no way she had been better than me! I had worked so hard for that award and I was absolutely crushed to find it slipping from my grasp.

Looking back on this crushing defeat as an adult, I can begin to understand how much I was hurting myself. I had put my entire definition of self into the praise I received and when I wasn’t the recipient of that praise, I felt lost and unsure of myself. My sister, on the other hand, put no weight in labels or awards, she just lived her life, freely and with abandon. There wasn’t an unequal balance of weight on one characteristic over another. So she could handle getting yelled at with the same attitude as getting praised. They were all equal parts of who she was, not the sole definition. I learned, at a young age, and am still learning now, that to define ourselves by the praise and acceptance of others is to never really know our true self. Stop defining, stop setting boundaries and start living.

Relax and Enjoy the Trip


Going with the Flow


“Sometimes when we were stuck, we’d stop for a minute to rest, regain our strength and let the waves take us for awhile. Even when we weren’t going anywhere, it was still sailing.” -Addison on Private Practice

Yes, I’m quoting an ABC TV show but I think it is a very important point that the character makes during one of her therapy sessions. She’s in the process of trying to have a baby and after failed IVF treatments,  has opted for using a surrogate. The process seems long and daunting and her fears keep popping up every step of the way. Her instincts are telling her to take a step back, regroup, process the thoughts, feelings and emotions she is going through before making any big decisions. Addison finds comfort in the decision to stop, for now. To put the brakes on and take a deep breath.

We often fear that if we aren’t making a decision, then we are letting life pass us by but in reality, choosing to not make a decision is a decision in itself. To take a moment and let the waves of life carry you still counts as living. Sometimes the desire to make a decision can feel almost paralyzing. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her latest book, Committed, “The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice.”

So rather than beat ourselves up over our indecision and our fears, isn’t it a much better idea to relinquish the stress, the power, the weight of our perceived failures and just let life happen? Isn’t it better to go with the flow?


“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.”  ~ Marquis de Condorcet

My brother recently expressed a very profound observation. He said that most of our unhappiness comes from comparing our inside-self to others outside-self. In other words, we are comparing our emotional baggage, our private thoughts, our worries and fears to the pretty face that other people put on for public consumption. Facebook only aggravates this weakness. Facebook exists for the sole purpose of looking at other people’s lives, peaking into their family vacations, weddings, baby showers and parties, and this leads to the inevitable comparisons. But the problem, the destructive issue I have with Facebook is that it gives people the opportunity to present a false and inflated version of themselves. A perfected version. Then we compare our weaknesses with others strengths. They show where they have excelled, be it in business, family, creativity, friendship, and we compare it with where we fear we have failed. It is an unnatural and unhealthy barrage of information and analysis. What would happen if we stopped comparing? If we gave focus and attention to our successes, to our strengths. If we praised our own achievements with the same admiration that we reserve for strangers.

Everyone is putting the best version of themselves on display but the reality is that no one is safe from obstacles, from difficulties, from tragedy, sadness or struggle.  We don’t know the darkness that resides in the lives of others because they don’t know the challenges we are facing. So embrace the blessings in your life, accept the struggles and know in your heart that no one is perfect.

UPDATE: Stanford recently released a study confirming that yes, Facebook makes us sad.


Some Real Daily Moxie

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

It’s funny the way something can completely change from first perception to something completely different when you give it a stronger understanding. This morning I was watching The Today Show and there was an author on talking about his book, THE BOOK OF AWESOME. Really? I thought. An entire book (actually two, he was on to promote his second book THE BOOK OF (EVEN MORE) AWESOME) about little things that we all encounter every day? Seriously?

I turned off the tv and reluctantly started trudging through my day. Then out of pure curiosity, I went to Neil’s website, 1000 Awesome Things.  And you know what? I kind of started liking what I was reading. His posts were short, straight to the point and contained some really cool things about life that we tend to take for granted. There really are awesome things happening around us all the time! I continued reading and learned that Neil has certainly had his share of UN-awesome things happen; his marriage ending, the death of a friend, and just having an unhappy life. He started his blog (which isn’t flashy or complicated, just straightforward and honest) to write about things that he thought were “awesome” and he even included things one wouldn’t really think of as awesome, like crying, but found a way to look at it as something worthwhile.

Such a simple idea but truly something we all overlook and ignore on a daily basis. Think of all the amazing things that happen every day. But what do we focus on? The negatives. Particularly the negatives in our own lives. My job is tiring me out. I haven’t cleaned my apartment in a week. Bills need to be paid. Will I ever feel like I am caught up on anything? Will I always feel like I am making the wrong decisions? Stress, anxiety, inner turmoil. We torment ourselves with the negative. We beat on ourselves repeatedly. Why? Yes, there are big things in life that make us happy. A marriage. The birth of a baby. Big holidays. Vacations. But these don’t happen every day. What does happen every day? Your niece sings to you the song she will be performing in her school recital, but does it in a chair facing in the opposite direction because she can’t get through it without laughing. A bird builds a nest right outside your office window and you get to witness every painstaking part of the process. The sun comes out when you expected rain all day. These are the things that make life worthwhile. These are the things that get you through the tough times. When my aunt died, I was absolutely destroyed. But as my mother and I sat in stunned silence on the moving van that was sitting in our driveway, filled with all of my aunts belongings, something extraordinary happened. Two birds landed on the fence next to us. We looked over and both noticed these two beautiful birds and I said to my mom, “I think it’s a sign that she’s with us.” …And then one bird hopped on top of the other and started doing something that was certainly not PG. And  my mom and I laughed so hard. And that was awesome indeed.