Tag Archives: find yourself

How to Find Balance by Losing It

Minimum DayThere’s this beautiful moment that happens a few weeks into dating someone new when, after countless sleepless nights either staying up with them or staying up thinking about them, you’re still able to maintain a thread of maturity that nudges you to get back to a normal sleep schedule. With somewhat divine timing, both people usually have this realization right around the same time, and then there’s that adorable little conversation you have where you establish you’re on the same page about being “in like” with each other but that neither of you can bear another day in the office sustained by two hours of sleep and four cups of coffee.

I write like I’ve had this kind of conversation about 11 times in my life, but that’s not true at all. It’s only happened in a rare few instances, but one of them was last night, hence my return to writing to you from my couch at an ungodly hour of the morning (yes, I think 7:45 AM is ungodly: I am no Thich Nhat Hanh.) All giddiness aside, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t terrified when I looked at my blog this morning and noticed I hadn’t really written anything since September 2nd.

The two week gap between this post and my last written post perpetuated a familiar terror that I might be at the risk of “losing myself” – an affliction we’re all taught or compelled to be guarded against. My concern as I gazed at the dates with no blog entries associated with them reminded me of Liz Gilbert’s sentiments at the end of her famous novel, Eat, Pray, Love when Liz, having spent four months soul-searching and meditating regularly in India, carries her new routine into Bali as a grounding source of her finally-found self. It’s in Bali that she meets her now-husband and subsequently has a total freak out when she realizes she’s stopped meditating for two weeks in favor of…well…activities far more fun than meditating. Her extreme panic at the idea that she might be losing herself again is one I’m very well acquainted with, so I try to remember what her now-famed spiritual teacher Ketut tells her when she arrives distraught after her two-week beginning of a love affair:

“Sometimes to lose balance for love is part of living a balanced life.”

Balance is an interesting thing, really. It’s important to have it but it’s just as important to lose it, too … or so I am told. We must be human beings first, or else what would we as writers have to write about, anyway? If we’re not to get lost, how are we ever to explain the process of being found with any real authenticity?

In the process of seeking a balanced life, I think it’s important that we make room to actually live it. It’s the life that bears the stories, the stories that bear the writing. We’ll always come back to our proverbial pen and paper, or whatever routines that make us feel like ourselves. This time though, we’ll come back to them with a more open heart … and a heart that has more stories to tell anyway.


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What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

14/365 ~ That's not me in the mirror. [EXPLORE]

We’ve all had times in our lives where we did not love ourselves. Sometimes, we hate to even look at ourselves in the mirror. But even so, I was surprised recently when I was teaching a Zumba class and I noticed one student left around 15 minutes into the class. The next week I received this email from him:

“Dear Orion:
Thank you so much for the class. I chose to leave, and I wanted you to know it had very little to do with you, except for the fact that you chose to have us look in the mirror. I hadn’t remembered how awful I am in front of mirrors. I had to leave when I caught a glimpse of myself. It’s old stuff, but it’s a weak-spot for me. I cannot sustain, as of yet, images of my physical form in mirrors. I really appreciated the class and found your enthusiasm infectious. Thanks.”

I know how it feels. I have been there myself… and so I was compelled to reply:

“I believe you need to start working on self-love. Unless you are a vampire, you cannot avoid mirrors. Most gyms and fitness studios have mirrors; you can’t escape them. It’s not about vanity; looking in the mirror helps you improve your form and visually gauge your progress. If you don’t examine yourself, you have little indication of what to improve. You are here to realize your true potential, and looking at yourself in the mirror with love is a powerful tool. Love yourself no matter what, and be grateful for having a healthy body. Be grateful for the fact that you are able to move, to breathe, to simply be alive. When you appreciate what you have, you give up all of the guilt, blame, shame and self-criticism that do not serve you. The choice is yours; you can choose to live your life with your head in the sand, or to confront what you need to work on. In order to feel better, in order to become your dreams and live the life you deserve, you need to look at what is happening with you.”

Most nights I go on YouTube and listen to things that empower me, like Abraham Hicks, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, and so on. We have all gone through difficult times in our lives. I know I have. But it is how you get up, not how you fall, that defines you. Getting up is what matters. Working on you is just how it sounds; it is work. But it is so worth it; meditation, self-exploration, dressing nicely, pampering yourself, working out and eating healthy food all make you vibrant and will change your life.

You need to want to change and YOU have to do the work, my dear. There is no magic pill. Life will put “mirrors” in front of you. People will reflect emotions back at you: when you are angry they will get angry back at you, and when you smile they will smile back. It’s all good because it helps you look at yourself and improve what you do not like to see in you. People also will reflect kindness at you, helping you to notice and appreciate your inner beauty. It’s up to you to “wake up”; open your eyes to the lessons and to a brighter reality. No seminar, self-help book, audio program, DVD, or human being will validate you. It will help direct you, but you need to validate and love yourself. It’s up to you. Believe in yourself like I believe in you.

When I was having difficulties with my self-worth, I learned an exercise called “mirror work” from Louise Hay. I did it when I was in a place in my life where not only could I not look at myself in the mirror, but I was walking with my head down! I remember when I started working on self-love and self-acceptance and saying “I love you” to myself in front of a mirror, I immediately started crying because I was so consumed with self-hate and self-judgment. I am happy to report that this affirmation (with some repetition) completely shifted my perspective. Today I love the girl I see in the mirror, even in pajamas and without make-up. Do this exercise every time you pass by a mirror, and I promise you, within just a couple weeks you can create a breakthrough for yourself.

Mirror work

Every day, look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud: “I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT.” When you hear that voice that says “Who are you kidding?” tell this voice “Thank you for sharing” and continue on. No matter what you did or did not do, you are worthy of love. If something good happened, run to the mirror and say “I love you, thank you.” If something bad happens, run to the mirror and say “I love you, I love no matter what.” Keep looking into your eyes with love and appreciation. You are worthy of love, just because you exist.

Remember this simple equation: work on your mind + work on your body + serve others = a life full of love and fulfillment.

I want to hear your stories. Please share how you found self-love and appreciation and any techniques that worked for you.

Find Yourself


 It really bothered me. It really, really did.

This link a man sent me, to a blog. The blog was about enlightenment. It described it in detail. It described the shift, it described the reality after the shift. It described the world and it described life. Perfectly, precisely, accurately.

This man, this man who wrote this blog was, is enlightened – or at least he is what is called enlightened though, of course, it looks nothing like what enlightenment is supposed to look like. But he is here, he is present, he sees reality clearly and … he still does not see himself.

And this bothered me. It really did.

Seeing the reality he does not see himself as reality, seeing life precisely, distinctly, he does not see himself as life. Looking at God he does not recognize himself.

And that bothers me.


Because of the sense of pointlessness, because of the emptiness and a quiet desperation with which this man speaks. Because of the helpless, ineffectual existence he spends observing the dance of creations resolving before his eyes. This is how he spoke and this is how I felt. This is how it feels to not know yourself for what you are, even though, or especially when the ego is gone, and the mind. This is how it feels to be in-between spaces, between the person made of limits, stories and separations and the being that is unlimited, boundless. This is how it feels to be between the person who endures and survives creation, and the being that creates reality.

This is how it feels. Empty, pointless, useless.

And it bothered me. It bothered me that this man who saw so clearly that he is no man, did not see all the way to what he is though … ah, but maybe that is what he is, you might say. Maybe he is nothing. Maybe there is nothing more to see. Maybe he does not exist, maybe there is no him, maybe there is no me and my reaction is the mind objecting to that truth?

And maybe you are right. Maybe I do not exist indeed, but — here is what I have to say to that: when I am what I am there is boundless happiness and unlimited bliss. This is how truth feels. This is how reality feels.

Emptiness, pointlessness and uselessness … that is not me. That is not the reality. That is not the truth.

Design Reality



It came, this stick (the drawing above), it came from this quote:

“I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves.”

I responded to this quote, and it was then that this stick begun to take shape. I said:

“Denying illusions doesn’t work half as well as embracing reality”.

You see, I read this quote and it felt tense, it felt confrontational, a bit combative even and I thought there must be a positive orientation, there must be a way to spin this such that there is openness and gentleness and inclusiveness. And so I said what I said.

The conversation continued. It was said that “It (the illusion) has to be understood and for the illusion to be understood, it has to first go through a process of exposure and denial, to finally realize that it is just a mirror of its own self.” and I thought: well, does it really?

Does exposing illusions for what they are, does cleaning away the noise, understanding and healing the pain, does it eventually leave me with a clear, quiet space where my self resides?

And that is the key question: does my self reside there?

Because, you see, I do imagine that clearing away illusions and noise and pain will bring me to a clear, peaceful space but … but I am not so sure that what I find in this space will be me. I am not so sure that I can find myself in this way.

Because, you see, I feel that the only way to find myself is to choose to be myself. Choose to see myself. Choose to feel myself.

Choosing not to be something in order to find what I am will not work, because I am only where I am, not where I am not.

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