Walnuts and Rice

Here’s a fun exercise to try if you haven’t heard of it before:

walnuts-and-rice

Take a jar, a handful of rice (enough to fill the jar) and a handful of walnuts. If you put the rice in first and then the walnuts, you’ll find that there is not enough room in the jar for both. But if you put the walnuts in the jar first and then the rice, they both fit fine.

What’s the lesson?

The walnuts are our priorities. The things that matter most in life.

The rice is everything else. The small stuff. All of life’s little details.

walnuts-and-rice

When we do what matters most to us first, the rest of life kind of just falls into place. Life always works itself out when we have our priorities in line and we put our walnuts first.

How Much Do You Love Me?

I recently rescued a puppy and as dogs always do, she’s teaching me a lot about life. Dogs have countless lessons to teach us and I’ve written on this subject before, but puppies, I’m finding out, have even more!

As a rescue, I’m unaware of what life was like for my puppy before coming to me. She has a lot of trust and anxiety issues, as many rescue dogs do. I have another dog, who has been with me since he was born, and the three of us have been in constant negotiation since the new puppy’s arrival. It seems with every new experience, the dogs are working amongst themselves to figure out who’s the boss. Whether it’s a bed, chew toy, food, or my attention. They’ve spent the greater part of our first few weeks together determining which one of them gets what, and when. The puppy will even try to play this game with me. She wants to know who’s boss.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Elizabeth Gilbert.

“There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. ‘How much do you love me?’ And, ‘Who’s in charge?'” (Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love)

Raising a rescue puppy, or any animal for that matter, is confirmation of this truth. At our most basic and animalistic level, it really all boils down to this. 

Life is Simple

“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment. Neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it…but it’s easier if you do.”

Life is Our Greatest Teacher

“In fact, life is our greatest teacher. Whatever we are doing can be instructive, whether we are at the office, or talking to our spouse, or driving a car on the freeway. If we are present to our experiences, the impressions of our activities will be fresh and alive, and we will always learn something new from them. But if we are not present, every moment will be like every other, and nothing of the preciousness of life will touch us.”
― Don Richard Riso, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types

An Ode to Travelers (Travel Inspiration)

Traveling introduces us to ourselves. As we discover more of our world, we discover more of who we are.

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We visit places that leave us speechless, and then turn us into storytellers.

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We learn how other people live. There are so many ways to exist.

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And we get to choose!

…but we only get one life.

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We push past limits. Break through boundaries. And live outside of our comfort zones.

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We meet people. Love people. Trust people.

Even when we don’t share a language…

It’s okay because we’ve learned how to trust ourselves. And our intuition.

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We make unforgettable memories, that become like secret treasures…shared only by those who were there.

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Our loved ones want to hear about our travels. They like our stories of adventure. So we do our best to tell them. But we can only share so much.

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Because the truth is, the great things in life can’t be captured or described, only experienced.

And the best moments of all, no doubt the traveler’s favorite, are the ones that can’t even be understood…only appreciated.

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Hawaii Adventure: Lessons from Traveling with a Stranger

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It takes a certain kind of person to agree to travel with a virtual stranger, into unknown territory, for an unknown period of time. A rebellious soul; fearless, faithful, and perhaps a bit crazy.

That was Mason and I when we agreed to travel together to Hawaii, island hop, and explore the unknown.

All in all we wound up spending around 100 hours together.

To spend 100 hours straight with another person can be challenging no matter how long you’ve known one another.

We didn’t know for certain where we’d sleep on any given night; unsure of how we’d get there, or even where we were going.

Our 100 hours together was characterized by uncertainty and vulnerability.

The defining characteristics of any moment worth living.

You learn a lot about a person in 100 hours. But you learn even more about yourself.

See, when you’re traveling with a stranger, you can’t afford to worry about whether or not they like you. You’re stuck together regardless, and you’re only option is to be yourself.

It’s not like most initial meetings, where you tip toe around one another for an undetermined amount of time in what I call the “Getting Comfortable dance”. It’s not like that at all.

The only dance you’re doing is your very own, to a song that comes directly from your heart, to the very drum that makes yours beat.

You come to appreciate the differences, the things that make us unique as individuals and also the imperfections, which define and unite us as human beings.

When you’re traveling with a stranger, of course, you hope that the other person’s moves will be in rhythm with your own.

Sometimes they are. Sometimes they’re not.

But at the end of 100 hours, you come to learn that it doesn’t really matter anyway…

What matters most is that you stepped onto the dance floor at all.

Because when you only have 100 years to live, you have to know your own steps so good, and trust your own rhythm so much, that it will one day be unmistakable and undeniable when you find that person who sways the way you do.

When Life Lessons Come Full Circle: A Personal Story

I’m an over achiever and a go getter. There’s a frantic, nitpicky air coursing through most of what I do. When I lived in Los Angeles, I shared an apartment with a wonderful free spirit. We contrasted well with her calming, almost floating presence.

I’ll never forget when she turned to me one day and asked, in her innocent, purely curiosity driven way, “What are you going to do when you’ve done it all?”

At the time, her question bounced right off me. Back then, fresh out of college, the only beatings I endured were from myself and generally, I saw no limits to what I could achieve.

Ironically (though probably not), she was the very person with me 2.5 years ago, when my world came crashing down around me. And although we no longer live together in Los Angeles, her question has haunted me throughout the years.

Today, 29 months and numerous universe inflicted battle wounds later, her words ring more powerful than ever.

While I’m still an over achiever and go getter, I now understand and appreciate the gifts of grace and presence, agents of change that my former LA roommate wisely knew all along.

Be Generous in Your Appreciation

You want approval from those with whom you come into contact. You want recognition of your true worth. You want a feeling that you are important in your own little world and you crave sincere appreciation.

We all do.

Remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

In other words, be generous in your appreciation and lavish in your praise. Towards all people. All the time. Everywhere. And you will reap the rewards.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Sooner

10 Things I Wish I Knew Sooner.