Life’s Hard Questions Finally Answered with Simple Wisdom

“We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.” ~from Tiny Buddha

(Special Note: I will be giving away two copies of the book Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions.  See instructions at the end of the post.)

What is the meaning of life?

Why is there suffering?

What really makes us happy?

Why are relationships so hard?

Is it really possible to change?

If you have ever asked yourself these questions, welcome to the gigantic club of wisdom-seekers throughout the ages.

There are some life questions that get asked over and over again, mainly because the answers seem so elusive and plaguing. Life throws us challenges every day that set us up for these big questions, and we all believe if we could just find the answers, we’d have the key to control of our own lives.

My friend and fellow blogger (and wisdom-seeker), Lori Deschene, has bravely taken on these big questions. But she’s done it in a most unique way.

Lori is the founder of the wildly popular blog, Tiny Buddha, and she has just released a lovely and comprehensive book called Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions.

Lori has asked her readers and followers to provide both questions and answers to some of these life mysteries. I decided to turn the tables on Lori and ask her some hard questions! (Not too hard, really.)

What inspired you to write Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions?

I wanted to ask my Twitter followers a number of the hardest questions in life to see how different people from different backgrounds would respond to them. I chose the questions that had been most paralyzing for me at different parts of my journey, like: What is the meaning of life? Why is there suffering in the world? Can people change—and how? Do you need money to be happy?

It was insightful and inspiring to see all the varied answers people tweeted, and I realized, despite the diversity of perspectives, they were all valid and empowering.

So I decided to build the book around these different answers, and also share my own experiences grappling with the big issues. My hope is that people read Tiny Buddha and first, realize whatever they’re dealing with, they are not alone; and secondly, feel a little more confident in their ability to choose purpose, happiness, and peace, regardless of their past or their individual challenges.

Why did you want collaborators and how did they impact the process of creating a book?

My main hope with Tiny Buddha has always been that we can come together, recognize our similarities, and share our experiences, struggles, and insights to make a positive difference in each others lives.

I wanted the community to influence and shape my book because that’s what Tiny Buddha is all about: finding common ground, despite the fact that we all hold varied beliefs and opinions, and working with each other, not against each other, for our individual and collective happiness.

What has been one of the most profound “hard questions” you have encountered in your life and how did you deal with it?

The hardest question for me has always been, “How can I let go?” Whenever I’ve experienced tremendous pain in life, it’s hard something to do with me holding on—holding on to anger, holding on to bitterness, and even holding on to a victim identity because it came to feel safe and comfortable.

Like most of the big questions in life, there isn’t one concrete answer that explains how to let go. But I’ve gathered a few tools over the years that help me let go when I’m clinging.

Yoga helps me tremendously, since it grounds me in my body and in the moment. But what helps me the most is frequently reminding myself that I can choose.

I can choose to stop telling myself negative stories about the events in my life; I can choose to focus on what’s in front of me; I can choose to accept my circumstances instead of fighting everything so hard; I can choose to be good to myself, even if I’ve made mistakes; and I choose to see each moment as a new opportunity to let go and be free.

How can your book help people?

My book may give people a few ideas to:

  • Let go of pain from the past that’s been weighing them down and holding them back;
  • Create a sense of purpose, starting right now, even if they’re not doing what they want to do professionally.
  •  Change habits that have not served them well and open up to new, healthier ways of being;
  •  Experience happiness right now, regardless of their circumstances;
  •  Improve their relationships;
  •  Seize the moment to live full of mindfulness, passion, and fearlessness;
  •  Find a sense of control and empowerment in an uncertain world.

Why do you think your blog and books resonate with so many people?

We live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with groundbreaking systems to change our lives and become the people we want to be. But I think what we really want is to stop looking so hard for answers outside ourselves, and start feeling more comfortable in our own skin—even if there are things we’d like to improve.

Tiny Buddha is a place where people share themselves authentically and openly without fear or apologies, to help themselves and each other. I frequently say that the site is a space where we’re all both students and teachers, and I think that’s appealing to people.

Ultimately, we want to learn to value and trust ourselves, and we want to genuinely connect with other people, without pretenses or agendas. At least that’s what I want—I want to show people who I am, flaws and all, and make a positive difference in their lives both because of and in spite of my challenges. I think the site reflects that mission, and as a result, the conversations feel honest and loving.

What is your personal mission with your blog?

Well, aside from what I wrote above, I want to help people help each other. That’s why I run Tiny Buddha as a community blog. There’s a quote I love that reads, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”

I love that idea. I don’t have all the answers. But I know that when we come together, instead of thinking we’re alone or making ourselves feel separate, suddenly having all the answers seems less important. We may live in an uncertain world—but we get to share the puzzle together.

 Book Give-Away: Please leave a comment below sharing your hardest life question and how you’ve dealt with it. I will do a random drawing for two winners of Lori’s book on Sunday and will announce them in Monday’s post.

 

Comments

  1. I struggle with trying to do meaningful work — I sometimes wonder what the purpose of all of our activity is in life. Best thing I’ve found to answer that is to make an identifiable impact every day. Making someone laugh, holding the elevator door for someone, listening to a coworker’s troubles, etc. But it’s still hard.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I struggle with that one too AC. But I think you are spot on with your answer. Meaningful work is what you do in every moment — the small things that you describe. Improving other people’s lives in some small way every day is profoundly meaningful. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  2. Hi Barrie, I have been following TinyBuddha on Twitter for a while now and this is the second post I’ve seen in a week about the book. I will have to check it out. I love Lori’s vision for it as she seeks to answer those burning questions! Here’s hoping you have a great Christmas season!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Bryan,
      Yes, Lori has done a beautiful job with Tiny Buddha (the blog and book!). She is a great resource for inspiration and support. Wishing you a peaceful and happy season as well!

  3. Staying in the moment-a good one or a bad one, is hard for me. I plan, think ahead, wonder what I should do if…

    My monkey mind calms with yoga, and that is what I am turning to more and more. It helps. It is the Tiny Buddha for my body and mind.

    Thanks.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Barbara,
      That used to be a really hard one for me, but I find if I am engaged in something I enjoy, then I don’t dwell on the future or past too much. Yoga is great for that! 🙂

  4. the hardest question for me in my adult life has been trying to come to grips with the fact that my grandson is autistic, and the burden that has placed on my son and his wife; my grandson is a wonderful blessing to me and every time i look into his eyes i see the universe looking back at me; while i accept his autism as part of who he is, i still struggle with my profound sadness when i see my son and daughter-in-law living their daily lives and how hard it has become for them; i’m not sure what i can put my finger on it in terms of how i deal with it – i love my grandson unconditionally, and for that i need no insight – it’s dealing with my own personal sadness looking at the lives of my son and his family that causes me to stop very often and meditate, look at the stars and remind myself that michael is here to teach us all a lesson of unconditional love

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Chris,
      Oh my, I know what convoluted feelings you must have about your grandson. Raising children is demanding enough, but raising a special needs child is so very difficult. I know you hurt for your son and daughter-in-law. I hope that they find respite from the daily challenges and support in each other. I’m sure you are a great blessing to all of them.

  5. Hi!
    The hardest life question so far in living life meaningfully and not structurally.For this i took time off a busy career ,introspected deeply until i started to actually get some insight on somethings though not all.Hopefully by the end of this i will have a definitive purpose to pursue.
    Radha

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Radha,
      Something that helped me was rather than thinking about “living life” meaningfully, I think about how I can live each moment meaningfully. That focuses my attention on right now, which is what life is comprised of — lots and lots of “right nows.”

  6. My hardest life question is actually two questions: How do I live successfully with depression and how do I get past my depression? For some as-yet-unknown reason, I’ve been unable to find the right therapist, and medication has been minimally effective, so I have learned to deal with these issues on my own. I study, research, find and create “tools” and test them. I borrow from cognitive therapy, Buddhism and a myriad of other sources. It is sort of cobbled together and very much a work in progress, but it works! I have a long way to go, but I am learning to embrace the journey, and the best part of all? I have learned SO much about myself, and have been able to use that knowledge to help others–at least I hope so!

    • hi Lynne,
      have had a similar struggle
      a stupid question…
      is your depression caused by things you think about OR a chemical imbalance?

      • Oh not a stupid question at all! In fact, even the “scientific community” doesn’t have a definitive answer to that question. For ME, I will say it is things I think about. In the sense that my beliefs about myself–many unconscious–create certain repetitive thinking patterns which are strengthened over time. And neurons that fire together tend to wire together. I am working on changing those synapse patterns! And I am here to say that it can be done. And that it works. Slowly, with lots of practice. Which, of course, for a depressive is not so easy to do! 🙂

        • Barrie Davenport says:

          Lynne,
          You might enjoy the book The Brain That Changes Itself. Amazing info about neuroplasticity and how you can alter your own brain chemistry. It’s list on my blog in the shop bookstore.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Lynne,
      Treating depression can be tricky. Finding the right medications, the right match with a therapist, the energy to take care of these things, is a challenge. I encourage you to keep trying things and find a good psychiatrist who really knows the meds and how they work on different people. Also, I hope you are exercising. That works wonders if you are getting your heart rate up and releasing endorphins!

      • Thank you, Barrie. I do walk almost every morning, and that is a huge help. I have not given up the search for a good therapist, either. But I am also relieved to know that I–and others–can help myself/ourselves if there are no other options available at the moment.

  7. My hardest life question is how to forgive and accept myself. I have come to realize that I have incredibly high expectations for who I should be, what I should be doing… and most of the times I disappoint myself. Being just me has never been enough and I do not believe I can be loved only for being me. Obviously, being an educated adult (I am a professor and I live in the US but I am European) who has accomplished quite a bit, I understand my “beliefs” are irrational and rooted in fear and low self-esteem. My mind knows, my heart still suffers. The only thing I have found that works, sometimes, is to remind myself often that I am certainly enough for myself, that I will always be by my side and that no matter what, I’m on my own team. It’s hard but I think it can only get better.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Amparo,
      I used to suffer with those feelings as well. But I have come to embrace my imperfections, mistakes, failures, and ways I’ve let myself down. This puts me squarely in the club of fellow human beings who are all flawed. There is something so lovable and real about our flaws. We all try and we all fail. So let’s laugh about it, dust ourselves off, and move on. Self-flagellation is for medieval monks! Yesterday is dead. Every day is a re-birth. So celebrate that and don’t dwell on yesterday’s problems. 🙂

    • Wow. When I read your comment, tears started welling in my eyes. I’ve been living your words for most of my 31 years. I am now realizing that just as “I” have created and placed this heavy burden of unreasonable expectations, self-doubt, and suffering upon my shoulders, “I” TOO can dissolve it. When I look at photographs of myself in happier moments smiling, I ask myself “why do I continue to make her suffer? She doesn’t deserve it.” Self-acceptance is where the process of healing or dissolving that burden starts. Loving myself for who am and knowing that I AM WORTHY of this love opens up my spirit and makes me feel free to connect with others and the world- or being present in the moment. It is at times very scary and difficult because to be “present” means to open yourself up to being vulnerable and experiencing pain, which I am very good at avoiding; but learning how to deal with these feelings makes you stronger and reminds you that you are only human. You are not the only one on your team- it doesn’t have to be that way. And YES, it can get better!

      • Barrie Davenport says:

        You are worthy Tahirah, and anyone who has ever tried to make you feel less than worthy is only coming from their own pain and ignorance. As an exercise, begin to see yourself as your own cherished best friend. See yourself as the friend you value above all others. Then when you or someone else starts to tear you down, speak the words that you would speak if you were defending your friend. “Don’t say that . . . my friend is beautiful, accomplished, worthy, talented, kind. If my friend has made mistakes, they are no worse than yours. My friend always has the intention of doing and being good. My friend must take care of herself first and foremost.” When you do mess up (and you will as we all do) forgive yourself and move on with the knowledge that there is not one person on the planet that doesn’t screw up!

  8. Thanks as always, Barrie, for bringing up some thought-provoking questions. I liked AC’s reply by the way -made me think of my favourite carpark attendant here in Madrid, whose cheery smile and willingness to go the extra mile always brightened my day. Recent cuts in the town’s budget have meant that there is now no attendant on the carpark. I really hope he’s found another job, but I’m someone with a cheery attitude like that will triumph in anything they put their mind to.

    The hardest life question for me has always been career/work-related. But I think it’s also one of the most important life questions, because “what you do” is so central in defining who you are. I’ve dealt with this question by changing jobs/careers extremely regularly -on average every 2-3 years! (I knooooooow!) It means I’m not perhaps as financially stable as I would have been had I stayed on the same career path all my life, but my trial and error approach to my career has been a long and rewarding process of becoming more self-aware. I may not be exactly where I want to be yet in my career (I’m a firm believer in reaching for the stars!) but I’m a heck of a lot closer than if I’d never dared to give up my job security and try new things. I explored this question in my penultimate blog post: A trip to a previous life (or “my meandering career”). I just need to learn to be more succinct. Ahem.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      How kind of you to think about the well-being of that cheery car park attendant! Hopefully, his wonderful demeanor has landed him a great job. I think your trial and error approach (although I’d call it “trial and learn” approach) is fantastic. We have to try things to really know how we feel about them. You may continue to try for the rest of your life, because you may have so many interests that you have to keep exploring. Good for you!!

  9. Good Morning!

    The hardest life question for me is how do I get myself to do the things that I know will lead to a better life for me?
    I get myself into ruts and it is only when the “pain of staying is worse than the pain of leaving” am I able to force myself to change. Unfortunately, I do not have the answer to this question, so I keep plodding on.

    I love both your site and Tiny Buddha’s – you are both helping me in my quest.
    Thank you for all you do.

    Beverley

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Beverley,
      If you are talking about adopting new good habits (exercise, eating better, etc.) then there is a real method for that. You might find this post useful: http://liveboldandbloom.com/09/self-improvement/the-7-deadly-sins-of-habit-creation
      If you are trying to change something big — like finding a job you love or moving to a new city, start by listing everything you can think of that you must do to make this “thing” happen. Then do one small thing a day to move forward. Break it down into very small actions that are easy. Then just do one a day. 🙂

  10. I used to wonder what the meaning of life was. My life, your life, any human life. Some years ago, I came to understand the answer. The meaning of life is to give and to receive love. Full stop, whole story, the why, the wherefore, that’s it, the end. Through the decades, this answer has never faded, so I think I’m really onto something. It’s my operative answer – if some new revelation comes up, I may modify it, but so far this one has proved totally satisfactory.

  11. Thank you for yet another beautiful post Barrie! Your blog has definitely enriched my life since I started reading it (about a year ago maybe?) and I want to express my gratitude to you for it.

    My big life question is how to find the balance between work and family. Being a single mom working full time in a demanding job, I am constantly feeling that I’m not giving enough of myself to my kids or my employer. This feeling only drains me and leaves me with even less to give. I’ve been search for a way to reconcile these competing demands. (Like AC, I too struggle with whether my work is meaningful enough to justify the struggle, but I try to ignore that whole layer for the moment : )

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words Kat — that means so much to me, I can’t tell you. 🙂
      I so understand that push/pull of working and parenting. I have found that open communication all the way around seems to release the pressure valve. People tend to understand you (even children) when you explain what is happening and how you feel. Perhaps you can say to your boss, “I love my job and want to offer myself 110%. But I have children who need me, and I need to be there for them at times. I hope you understand that I’m doing my best to balance the two, but sometimes it will be hard.” And to your kids, “I love you more than I can express, but I have to work to support us, and sometimes that might mean I’m not there every time you need me. I hope you’ll forgive that and understand I’m doing my best.” You might find it worries you more than anyone else! 🙂 You are a good mom . . .

  12. How do I face my biggest worries and fears in hopes of moving to a better and more fulfilling life? That question has been the hardest question for me to answer.

    Fortunately, it has become easier to address with assistance from family and loved ones. My biggest source of motivation is trying to ensure I am the best example for my kids. They give me the energy to move forward and to challenge myself.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Ed,
      One step at a time Ed. Pick the most pressing worry or fear and pick one action a day that you can take to move forward. Just one small action. You don’t have to move mountains in a day. But any forward moving action will reduce the fear and make you feel more in control! 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  13. Jambo Barrie,
    Natumaini uko salama. This is a thought provoking post since all of us have this hard questions. We all tend to look for answers in all different places especially in religion. At the end of it all many find some degree of comfort in the answers they are given through the various avenues that were designed by some men in the past. However, deep inside doubts linger. As an example many will give a religious view as to why there is a lot of suffering in the world- not only today but for as long as man has walked the earth. Many will not voice their concerns loudly but will continue wondering, for example why an all powerful and loving God would allow this suffering to continue. At a personal level one of the hard questions I tackle in my mind everyday is why there is a big economic disparity in our population and whether loads of money are a requirement for an added measure of happiness. When such thoughts, I think they are negative, invade my mind I usually purposely take a keener interest on my surroundings. What I notice usually give me answers and peace of mind.
    I may notice a poor couple walking barefoot coming from their shamba (garden) with their farming tools weighing them down and yet talking and laughing despite their ‘sorry’ state. At the same time I may notice another couple in their top of the range car but hardly talking to one another. I may notice poor children in relative nudity playing in mad and loving it. On the other hand children from the good neighborhood may be racing each other in their red and blue bicycles and loving and laughing it just as much.
    At this point I usually conclude and say to myself; ‘Murigi, life is more than just what one has or doesn’t have. The basic things that shape our lives are really the same. The way one laughs so is the way another does regardless of their social status. sadness, happiness and other natural emotions like sex are not defined by the social disparity that occasionally disturb me. So in my opinion looking for answers outside ourselves is okay but a deeper such into ourselves and our surrounding can give us some of the answers and even comfort. Though it hasn’t given me absolute answers it has helped me get by and enjoy life as it is at the same time trying to improve it for myself, family and the world.
    Kwaheri
    Murigi

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Murigi,
      That was beautiful. What an absolutely moving commentary on your questions and observations about life. Happiness and contentment are available to us almost all the time — even if we aren’t blessed with fortune and material things. Certainly suffering and abject poverty reduce our ability to be happy and find meaning in life, but for most of us, these are temporary states. You are right Murigi — we should savor the moment just as we strive for a better outcome. There is joy to be found in the striving too. 🙂

  14. My biggest challenge has been figuring out the meaning of life, finding my place in it, living my passion and coming to love myself. I keep having breakthroughs now and then: Like I once got the feeling that living my purpose has to do with doing my best, my truest, at each and every moment, whatever circumstances I am in. And to live life in the moment, giving each moment your truest. And slowly I am coming to learn to love myself, and not seek for approval and happiness from other people or things, but to realise that I am absolutely okay just the way I am. And as for finding happiness and peace ( that too): I am coming to learn that I lack for nothing, all the happiness, peace and love I have deep inside me. I suppose my next steps would be getting more spritual, (More conscious) and finding a greater sense of connectedness. And learning to love unconditionally (starting with myself).

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Taya, you have clearly learned many things. 🙂 Living in the moment and not living for approval were huge shifts for me. When you live life according to your own plan, you may lose some friends or supporters — but those who remain will be amazing! Those are the people who accept you exactly how you are and for who you are. Those are the people you want in your life.

  15. Hi Barrie!

    Simple Wisdom is a wonderful book chock full of answers to those questions you started this post with. It was a very compelling read. Great interview with Lori too, Barrie. I love the quote Lori shared: “We might not have it altogether, but together, we have it all.” Just read a post somewhere else about our collective wisdom, that we all have something to give others.

    Thanks for sharing Lori’s insight here, Barrie.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Ken,
      Yes, we all do have something wonderful to share with each other — to add to the pool of wisdom available to us. I’m so glad there are so many who share their questions and wisdom here on my blog!

  16. First I have to say how amazing Lori is. If I’d had her insight and wisdom at such a young age… wow. I don’t struggle so much about the meaning of life these days. It’s more about getting the most out of every day and being useful, giving back, whether literally or spiritually.

    Thanks for this interview Barrie. And thank you Lori for all you do.
    b

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      You are so welcome Barbara. Lori is an “old soul”! I wish I had learned so much at her age. But we all come to our own understanding in our own time, right? Thank you for being such a loyal and kind commenter Barbara. 🙂

  17. Hey Barrie,

    To preface my answer, first a quick back story. Something that changed my life for the better was reading the book The Secret. The knowledge that I can control my life, I’m completely in the driver’s seat for my life, helped me tremendously to move from feeling out of control to realizing that I could take control. I realized that the very reason I was out of control was because I BELIEVED that I had no control.

    Now to answer your original question. Ironically, after learning I could indeed take the reigns of my life, and after trying to change my life into what I wanted, it actually gave me a new set of issues. I now knew that I could create and attract anything into my life that I wanted, so it was so easy to want it all NOW, and to wonder “What am I doing wrong since I know I can attract these things, but it is not happening”. I have dealt with this by realizing 2 things. First, we attract the things that make us FEEL like we’re currently feeling, so NEEDING something and feeling like we are lacking it actually brings more of the feeling of need. Second, I realized that the most important thing that I can do in my life at every given moment is to find a way to be happy. If I can be truly happy in every moment, that means I am truly present and aware in each moment, and don’t NEED anything else but that moment. This great feeling (ironically again) actually brings more to be happy about into my life, so I’m getting other good experiences, and the things I originally wanted, ONCE I DON’T NEED THEM! 🙂 I have to always remind myself though to take my mind off of the things I feel like I need, and to bring myself back to being happy in this moment, by any means possible. Now I love to read about ways to become happy instead of ways to become wealthy.

    Thanks!
    Paul

  18. Loved reading this post and these comments. I’m also a fan of Lori’s website. Life’s hard questions present themselves to everyone, but do varying degrees. Life situations can be unbearable at times – sometimes it’s just a profound inner discontentment and search for meaning – others times it’s living through trauma and sometimes it’s a long, long journey of deep pain. While no one has the same experience – we all can relate to seeking for answers, solutions, and inner -peace-of-mind.

    As someone who lives with ptsd and all it’s crazy nuances that can stop a person from living a full-bodied life, the hardest question for me is how do I get through this?
    When I choose the solution of stopping my thoughts and judgements, and find something I can look at it and concentrate on & feel gratitude for it – finding what I can feel grateful for about this object – maybe its color, it’s presence, it’s beauty – I can then move into other things I feel grateful for, and go deeper and deeper into focusing only on gratitude and blessings. The deeper I go into that state of genuine gratitude, the calmer I become, the easier it is to breathe and move my thoughts away from ‘how” and “why” – and from there, I literally feel myself letting go. I can then move through the situation – and not be stuck in it. It’s not always easy, but it always works – sometimes it takes longer than other times, but it’s the solution I rely on.

    From my experience the only way out is through, and the only way through is by way of profound gratitude – even when it’s hard to connect to gratitude – go even deeper.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Wow Aileen. So many great truths in your comment. “Living a full-bodied life” — I love that. That’s what we all want, but sometimes we must live a “partial bodied life” or even a “beat up bodied life”. But as you said, that’s where gratitude comes in. Through life’s pain and difficulties, there is always something to be grateful for and something to learn.

  19. my questions is how do i let things in the past stay in the past. how can i start off with a clean slate and forget and forgive…myself mostly. i want to really love myself, i mean really have that self assurance and confidence. i love to read all types of blogs and self help information, this one was wonderful, but how do i take what i read and live it for more than 5 minutes.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Practice. Practice loving yourself. Practice reminding yourself that everyone in the world has regrets about the past. Practice turning your thoughts away from yesterday and on the moment. Practice smiling and thinking about happy and pleasurable things. Practice living the way you want to live, and pretty soon you will actually be living it. 🙂

  20. Robin Andersson says:

    One hard mindbreaker I’ve been thinking about is:

    How would the world be if all people knew the immense value of life, I think there are too many people in the world living with the clock just ticking by, the reason behind this question is that I know by experience how much my life changed at a certain moment. Suddenly, everything just changed, now I consider myself as the most optimistic & life loving person that I know of and hope to spread this “disease” to every one in my vicinity.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Robin, that is something that kicked in for me when I turned 50. Suddenly I realized that I don’t have a huge span of years before me. Every single day has become precious and valuable. Every moment is a gift. I don’t have time to waste it on worry or regret. Yes, spread the disease!

  21. My hardest life question is how to balance my needs and the needs of others. I don’t have it all figured out – I just do my best and take it day-by-day.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That’s all you can do Rebecca. But just remember that if you are selling your soul to serve others, you are compromising your life. Be sure you have your own emotional (and physical, mental, psychological) needs met first. That way you can be fully present for others. 🙂

  22. Monil Desai says:

    Dear Ms Barrie,

    How are you doing?

    I enjoy reading your blog and I am a recent subscriber to your blog.

    Thanks for giving us this opportunity to share our hardest life question.

    My hardest life question is “How is Mother Nature programmed”

    I am a nature lover and I sit in nature every morning looking at trees, birds and sunrise and try to figure out how everything seems to work in tandem one after the other.

    I would be happy to hear your thoughts on my question.

    Thanks and have a nice day.

    Best Regards,

    Monil Desai

  23. I am like Barbara, – “the hardest life question for me is how how get myself to do the things that I know will lead to a better life” I read though all these wonderful blogs and cruise uplifting/spiritual websites in my spare time at work, and then go home and drink alcohol. Sometimes it’s just 2 glasses, but sometimes it’s more like two bottles. I have a beautiful 6 year old boy that I love dearly, and he loves me too, but he knows when I am drunk. I have embarrassed him many times this year in front of his friend’s school mums. I soooo want to be free of this burden and be a more grounded, reliable, happy, mother who is sets a good example – rather than giving him anxiety and stress. I have been though all kinds of ‘formal’ charnels to quit drinking, but nothing works. I am now trying to ‘heal myself’ though reading these kinds of blogs hoping that I will get that ‘ah – ha’ moment that will make me finally pull my boots up and sort out my life. I am 45 and life wasting away fast, and I want to be here to watch my son grow up and become a happy and vital member of this world.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Lucy,
      Thank you for the courage to share this with us here. I grew up with an alcoholic parent and know firsthand how difficult it is for everyone — the drinker and the family. You know, I’m sure, that it is an addictive disease that requires medical and psychological attention. I do hope you will try again one of the conventional methods (12 step program, re-hab, etc.) to help you. This would be the greatest gift you could give to your son and yourself. Don’t give up. Try again. One small step at a time.

    • dear lucylou,

      you were so courageous with your total honesty. I didn’t embarrass my daughter by being drunk, I did it through arguing with her father and splitting the family. i didn’t realize it at the time and wish everyday I could redo the harm I am responsible for. My angel baby is 19 now and as soon as she graduated high school, she moved far, far away from me. This caught me completely off guard. Shoot, I thought we had the best relationship and I thought I was a good mom. I didn’t see it coming at all. In one year I lost everything dear to me and i never saw it coming.

      I learned kids want you to love yourself as much as you love them. They totally accept us, warts and all. Kids love their parents, he will forgive and forget all, he just wants you, his momma, to be happy in your own skin, to love and respect and accept who you are and know you’re perfect — God didn’t make any mistakes. You’ve got the honesty part down. You still have time with your son, lucylou, you can do this.

      I believe alcohol needs to be treated medically. It is a disease just like diabetes. Go for it lucylou, I know you can do it. Get yourself a good medical doctor and good counselor and just one good friend and you can do this. I’ll be here praying and supporting you everyday, I promise — now go do it. Before you know it you will have a fan club cheering you on.

  24. Hi Barrie,
    This is powerful stuff indeed & thank you for sharing. I am an occasional viewer of Tiny Buddha & I like what I read. “Choice” is the No1 influence on how our lives are lived. Thankyou.
    be good to yourself
    David

  25. How do I stop letting little things bother me? I am talking about things that have no immediate effect on me (usually driving related) For example, it drives me crazy when I see people parked in the fire lane at Walmart. I try to cope by venting to whoever is in the car with me.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Rob,
      This might be part of your temperament, but you can do things to release some of the reactions you have. Acknowledging completely that you have no control over what other people do or how they behave is a good first step. When you accept that, it is easier to accept irritating situations. Be the best person YOU can be, be a good influence and model for others, and then let it go. Also, if you feel your blood pressure start to go up over a situation, practice mindful breathing until you feel more calm. 🙂

  26. Cathy | Treatment Talk says:

    Hi Lori and Barrie,

    Beautiful interview. I’m looking forward to reading Lori’s book. For me, one of life’s biggest challenges has also been to learn to let go. When something unexpected happens, it’s a challenge to leave it behind and move on. I have learned how to help myself in this area. We all have our struggles and it’s wonderful to have blogs like yours and Lori’s for new insights on how to live a better life.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Cathy,
      One thing that helps me cope with negative situations and the feelings that seem to cling to me during those times is realizing that TIME helps with everything. I may feel awful today, but I know the pain or hurt or anxiety will diminish and maybe go away over time. Emotional healing happens as miraculously as physical healing does. That helps sustain me during the worst moments.

  27. My hardest life question was how to move forward after losing our 21 year old son in a car accident. At the time it felt like nothing would ever be normal again. I guess the most important early reactions were that we never railed against it – we just accepted it; we never questioned why; we were never angry; and we never laid any blame against the driver. Losing a child changes who you are, challenges your world view, makes you look at your priorities and makes you think about what is really important. Because of this, within nine months of losing our son, I found a level of joy in my life that I had never experienced before. I no longer sweat the small stuff and give thanks every day for all that I have. I miss my son every day. You never move on but you learn to live with it.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      My dear Lynne,
      I want to embrace you in a warm and loving hug. I simply cannot imagine the gut-wrenching pain of losing a child. I am so profoundly moved by your awakening to joy in the face of your loss. That is so beautiful — so much what any child would want their parent to do. You had 21 beautiful years with your child. For that, I know you are grateful. Now you have a new life, tinged with the pain of your loss, but also brightened by your new awareness of the gift of living every single day. May the season bring you peace and any happy memories. Sending much love your way . . .

      • Dear Barrie
        Thank you so much for your warm and loving response. A big hug back to you too. You reflected my feelings perfectly and something shifted profoundly in me upon reading your words. No-one else has so succinctly reflected back to me such awareness of who I am and how I feel today. Much love to you and wishing you peace and happiness too.
        Love from Lynne

  28. My hardest life question is, “how do I give up on perfection?” It’s hard for me to finish projects because I want everything to be perfect, and then I feel disappointed when it’s not. I work on being OK with “good enough” every day. If my loved ones can accept me as imperfect, shouldn’t I be able to accept myself?

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Sage,
      What if you changed your perception of perfection? What is you recognized imperfection as being perfect? We are all flawed, and accepting our flaws not only makes you more relaxed, but it makes everyone around you more comfortable. I’m not suggesting you be a slacker, but I am suggesting that you embrace the absolute perfection of your human-ness!

  29. My biggest struggle is “Why?” Why do I suffer from chronic pain? Why does my partner have to live so far away? Why won’t my kids come visit?

    How do I deal with all my “Why?”s?

    I try to find a positive: My pain keeps me in my chair longer so I can write more; My partner living so far away gives me an opportunity to visit someplace new; My kids don’t come to visit because they’re active and productive with their own lives.

    It’s not always that cut and dried, but that’s how I try to handle things when “Why?’ raises its ugly head.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Glenda,
      Reach a peaceful truce with reality. Have the courage to change the things you can — and find value in the perfection of this very moment, just as it is. Rather than resisting with “why” — try going with the flow and keep yourself open to possibilities you haven’t considered before. 🙂

  30. What is the collective purpose of the human race?? I follow Bruce Lipton, and I enjoy his answers to this question, and the idea of evolving as one large entity. It makes the world smaller, makes issues that affect people half the world away seem more pertinent to my life. We live in a world that tends to be very individual focused and some people, when they hear f conflict or suffering in other countries think “Yeah, so what does this have to do with me??” To me, Bruce’s ideas answer that: It matters because we are all part of one world community, one subconscious entity. If one part of the body becomes sick or diseased, it affects the rest of the body. This is so in the collective body of humanity as well. So for me we are here to love and be loved, and watch out for our fellow human beings.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Sunshine,
      I’m not familiar with Bruce Lipton, but you have intrigued me with your comment. I’ve found that blogging and the Internet have helped to connect people in a way I would have never imagined. And totally agree that we are here for each other and to find and extend love.

  31. hardest question for me so far – why am i like this when i was in the depths of major depression. i hated myself. i wonder why i couldn’t ‘snap out of it’
    today i know – it’s because I needed to learn to take care of my health, not to over stress myself, and to become more self aware
    it’s to make me a better person 🙂
    NOch Noch

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Noch,
      I so hope you are through your depression. It is certainly not something you can talk yourself out of — as you well know. I’m glad to hear you are taking care of your health and coping with stress. Wishing you a peaceful and happy holiday. 🙂

  32. Vicki Casal says:

    Tiny Buddha was one my favorite Twitter profiles when I used it. I love the Blog and am a follower/fan on Facebook. I am looking forward to reading this book.

    My toughest life’s question is about overcoming fear. It is something I struggle with every day. Conquering fear is an every day battle. Some times it is easier than others. I try to just move past it and act (sometimes just making the decision to act helps too). There are many times though when I still allow fear to take control.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Vicki,
      Every day work on getting to the root cause of your fears. Why do you fear the things you do? Then challenge those beliefs with evidence to the contrary. There is always more than one truth, even though we’ve taught ourselves all sorts of negative and limiting beliefs. Take small steps into your fearful places to teach yourself that you have nothing to fear. 🙂