Set Your Child Up for Success with this One Question

set your child up for success

Tomorrow is the first day of school in my neck of the woods.  New clothes, new school supplies, new haircuts, new experiences, new beginnings.  And in our home, a new tradition is starting.  Or more accurately, a new daily after-school question, complements of Condoleezza Rice.

I remember once hearing an interview Rice gave where she shared a skill her parents taught her as a child—one that she attributed to much of her success in life.  As I listened, I’m not sure what I expected her to say, but I’m sure it wasn’t, “My parents instilled in me the love of questions.”

The love of questions?  How can that be?  According to her, when she was growing up, her parents asked her the same question when she came home from school every day.  They asked her, “What questions did you ask today?”   Not, How was your day? or What did you learn today?, but “What questions did you ask today?”

Each day her parents reinforced what they wanted her to do.  They wanted her to ask questions.  To seek answers.  To be curious.  To obtain more knowledge.  I don’t know, maybe they also wanted her to not be shy.  To stand out.  To set a positive example for her peers.  To exude confidence.  To trust herself….  Continue Reading

7 Things to Lose If You Want to Win

Win What?…  The Grand Prize: YOU

Last week I wrote that Tigger is my least favorite Pooh-character, true.  Tigger with his big plans and grand gestures, none of which he follows through on.  Of course that would get under the skin of a self-declared “do-er.”  Least favorite character or not, Dude does a lot of things RIGHT!  Things I could learn to embrace.  So this week, I shall ditch my Rabbit-nature and take my inner-Tigger for a spin (if I can manage to get out of the parking lot!).

lose yourself

Lose What Exactly?  Lose Yourself

Let’s Get Lost Together:

  1. Lose the disciplined approach.  This means lose the plan.  Screech!!  Do I hear the distinct sounds of brakes being slammed on already?  Take heart, this is just trying something on to see how it feels.  You don’t have to stay with it long-term.  Think of this one as permission to live as you feel.  Yes—Live. As. You. Feel!  (I think we’re not only off the brakes now, but up-shifting pretty fast….)
  2. Lose the role you normally play.  This is nothing more than a role you’ve assigned yourself and grown comfortable with.  This role says, “I like this, and I don’t like that.”  It says, “I spend my leisure time doing this, but never doing that.”  If you’re anything like I am, you like what you like, and you know what you like.  BUT, if you’re honest with yourself, there are many things you’ve never tried, all because your broken record bellows: I like what I like!  This is who I am!!  But who’s to say there’s something out there that you or I won’t like even more?  Something that might help us grow in amazing and beautiful ways?  Maybe grow more into the REAL YOU and the REAL ME than we ever knew possible. Continue Reading

My Gift from Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz, A Remarkable Man

To summarize a two hour lecture on Life, Death, Matter, and Energy is not easy.  So I won’t.  What I will share are highlights and insights I learned from listening to don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, speak in Austin, TX this past weekend.

In the traditional storyteller fashion, this man: teacher, author, and apparent to anyone experiencing his presence, a very gentle spirit, wove a beautiful story.  A story of his Truths.  So soft spoken, at times he was barely audible, silence permeating the backdrop of his words.  There was respect in the room that could be felt.  And a twinkle in his eye that could be seen.

In “Don Miguel Ruiz, From Surgeon to Shaman,” I shared a brief recap of the past ten years of Ruiz’s life.  Massive heart attack, followed by nine weeks in a coma, and the wait/pain he endured leading up to his heart transplant.  What Ruiz shared Saturday night were the details that filled the spaces between.

As he shared the particulars of regaining his memory, what took place while he was in the coma, etc., he spoke a lot about Life and Death.  Death mostly, really.

[Oh, how I wish I could provide the essence and beauty of his words on Death.  For those of you who have fear around dying, or fear for those close to you dying, I believe his words would have brought you much comfort.]


After waking from his coma and being told to change his life radically — stay home, watch TV, and read books, he later said to his family:

“I will not stay at home and wait for death to find me at home.  I will go and look for death doing what I love to do.”

Death is something I believe I’m more comfortable with than most;  I wouldn’t be able to do the Hospice work that I do otherwise.  Perhaps ‘comfortable’ isn’t the right word, maybe it’s more like I have an understanding about Death that allows me to view it more as a friend than an enemy.  After breast cancer and a double mastectomy, pain however, has not been my friend.  And because of this, I appreciated hearing about his physical pain in a way that I was able to apply to myself.

Don Miguel Ruiz, On Pain

“The physical pain made me slow, but it didn’t stop me from doing what I want to do.”

Don Miguel Ruiz is a master of the simple statement.  The simple statement that speaks Truth.  And now I adopt this as my Truth, because it’s exactly the same for me.  So many people ask me how I’m feeling, to which I respond that I’m doing great.  Which is true.  However, I’m in constant pain, albeit dull pain, it’s always there.  So I don’t mention it.  Why would I?  Hearing Ruiz speak that one sentence, I knowingly and immediately exhaled with this realization:  Yes, my physical pain makes me slow, but it doesn’t stop me from doing what I want to do.  With those words and the stillness it evoked within me, a shift occurred.  I went from tolerating the pain to breathing in to the pain in such a way that it was no longer my enemy.

Thank you for the gift, don Miguel Ruiz.  I shall cherish it today, tomorrow, and for all the days I am present enough to remember this Truth.


Don Miguel Ruiz, From Surgeon to Shaman

Don Miguel Ruiz

In eager anticipation of seeing don Miguel Ruiz speak this weekend in Austin, TX I have dedicated the last two TLT posts to his teachings, and today, to him.

I was first introduced to the teachings of don Miguel Ruiz around 1999.  It only took one fact to catch my attention:  Surgeon turned Shaman.  Okay.  I’m listening….  Tell me more.

The more I read, the more fascinating this man appeared to me.  After suffering a massive heart attack, he remained in a coma for nine weeks.  Years later, after his body began to deteriorate more rapidly, he applied to be placed on a transplant list and finally received a heart transplant.

One might assume, after reading more about his physical struggles, that he’s a real fighter — he must be to have such a will to live.  To be in a coma for that amount of time, to endure the physical pain he did for so many years, and eventually survive a heart transplant.  Yet, when I hear his voice and look into his eyes I sense pure love, not a fighter.

All of my encounters thus far with don Miguel Ruiz, the spiritual teacher, have been in books, on TV, or over the internet, so perhaps I’m wrong about what I sense in his voice and in his eyes.  I hope to get close enough to him this weekend to feel what I’ve sensed.  I believe to feel his energy, would be… magical.  (And there are not many people I can say that about — the ‘magical’ part.  Can you tell I’m looking forward to hearing him speak??)

On that note, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite don Miguel Ruiz quotes:

don miguel ruiz

On Forgiveness:

“Forgive others.  When you can touch a wound and it doesn’t hurt, then you know you have truly forgiven.”

On the Fourth Agreement:

“Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward.  Most people do exactly the opposite:  They only take action when they expect a reward, and they don’t enjoy the action.”

On Truth:

“The truth is silent. The truth doesn’t come with words. It’s something that I just know; it’s something that I can feel without words, and it’s called silent knowledge.”

On Why We Make Assumptions:

“We have millions of questions that need answers because there are so many things that the reasoning mind cannot explain.  It is not important if the answer is correct; just the answer itself makes us feel safe.  This is why we make assumptions.”