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​”He who laughs the loudest, cries the hardest.” Someone said this in high school during lunch as we watched a girl laughing so boisterously that everyone in the cafeteria turned to look. “She’s so going to cry tomorrow,” she declared matter-of-factly. How would she know? I thought to myself. She was only 15, after all, just like me. And yet, somehow, what she said haunted me in the many years to come.

After that, whenever I had extreme moments of happiness, it would be followed by tears of sadness. So, I learned to hold back. I didn’t want to be too happy because the higher the high, the harder the fall. Each time I allowed myself to feel happiness full on, I braced for impact. I expected to be slammed back down to the ground. But does happiness really lead to sorrow or misery? …


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​Parents don’t always stay. Neither do friends. Certainly not romantic partners. Then there’s fleeting acquaintances and passing strangers that, for brief but meaningful moments, make an impact on us. Some relationships — in all forms, on this planet in any given lifetime — are not meant to last. While this could be taken as negative and, sometimes, even painful, if we look at it differently, we will see the gifts these people came to bring.

When my parents split up when I was very young, my father made nothing but brief cameo appearances in my life. My mother had to move somewhere far to get a job to provide for me so I was left under the care of my grandmother. I didn’t live with her until I was 13 years old. …


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We’ve probably all heard this story. President John F. Kennedy visited NASA in 1962 and came across a janitor holding a mop. He came up to the man and asked him what he did for NASA, to which the janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!”

When I first heard this story many years ago, it was at a corporate seminar. With such a profound message, everyone around me seemed to beam with pride as they realized their part in the unified purpose of the company for which we worked. But the odd duck that I am felt differently. Is this all I am worth? Is this all I could ever be? It seemed all superficial and meaningless to be working for something that only cares about growing in the name of profit. While everyone else in that room were inspired, I was dispirited and disheartened. …


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​Shaking my head, I heard the words come out of my mouth, “Oh my god, that’s just all sorts of wrong.” Then I realized what I was doing. I was looking at a 62-year old woman on television who was performing on stage wearing a black tight-fitting jumpsuit and showing a whole lot of cleavage through the sheer fabric on her upper chest. I looked at my husband and he was doing the same — not with words but with a look of disapproval on his face. We were full-on judging this woman that we’ve never even met.

​It’s hard to admit it but we all do it. We judge all the time. “He’s so weird,” “I’m such a loser,” “She has poor taste in men,” or “Why am I so stupid?” Just a couple of days ago, I judged a friend of mine for cutting off his father from his life. While I was walking my dogs this morning, I judged the person I greeted and smiled at for not reciprocating. And I will probably have something to slap judgment on throughout the day. …


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​Have you ever felt lost? Not in the Google Maps kind of way but in life? Do you sometimes feel like your life is not going anywhere? You feel overwhelmed, you don’t know what to do, where to go, who to turn to — you simply don’t know what to do with yourself. It happens to the best of us sometimes. But why?

​In our connected world, too many people and other stuff find their way to us competing for our attention. The digital world, particularly social media, gave birth to a new way to get us addicted to consuming content that’s not always good for us. …


The best teachers show you how without uttering a single word

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Photo by Mylene2401 on Pixabay

If you embark on a journey of personal growth or spiritual development, at some point, you’d want to have a teacher to guide you through that labyrinth. Some people hire coaches, some look for mentors, and there are those who even travel to places like India or Tibet to seek counsel from yogis, gurus and monks. But many people believe the famous Buddha-associated quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” In my case, that teacher came — but not in the form that I expected.

“That one!” I exclaimed to the man showing us around. I was pointing to a fully-grown six-foot potted tree standing in the corner of his greenhouse. We had just moved to a new house half a year prior and we were looking for new plants and small trees for our small backyard. I had a list of what I wanted to get so I don’t get swept up by the beauty of all the plants surrounding me and end up buying impulsively. …


Heading towards a society of equality and oneness

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Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels

Tobias Lawson got married twice and fought for her rights as a woman in the early 1900s. The Stonewall riots gave birth to the unified front of the gays, lesbians and transgenders in 1969. From Chevalier d’Eon in the early 1700s, The Danish Girl Lili Elbe in the 1800s, Christine Jorgensen in the beginning of the last century, to Caitlyn Jenner of today — and many others in between and beyond — these brave ‘wayshowers’ are paving the path for a genderless society.

Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis postponed getting married until same-sex marriage became legal. There’s Lady Gaga, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt and Anne Hathaway who openly rally for the rights of the LGBTQ community. They are just a few of the many people who stand behind this ‘minority group’ in a quest to change the way we perceive them. …


Staying on top of (mild) OCD without therapy

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Photo by rawpixel on Pexels

Leonardo di Caprio has it. Often, he feels the urge to walk through doorways multiple times. So does Daniel Radcliffe. It used to take him as long as five minutes or more to turn off a light. Then there’s Charlize Theron who claimed that she would lose sleep thinking about other people’s disorganized cabinets. And of course, there’s Howie Mandel who refuses to shake hands with people he meets. This is what obsessive-compulsive disorder — known simply as OCD — looks like for different people.

“You have OCD!,” exclaimed my friend back in college. She was a Psychology major and we were talking about something I don’t even remember. I told her that the first thing I did when I got home from school was to wash my hands. I told her that I did this, too, after I’ve read the papers. “What’s wrong with washing your hands?” I replied, “Don’t you know how dirty public transportation is? And how can you not wash your hands after touching a newspaper? Your fingers turn black from the ink!” I didn’t believe her ‘diagnosis’ of my apparent disorder and I could honestly say I didn’t suffer from OCD — until much later. …


Reversing a lifetime of having low self-esteem

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Photo by Adrian Infernus on Unsplash

My whole life, I had been my worst critic. I was my own judge, jury and executioner. I strove for perfection, sought validation and felt that I have to compete for everything in order to deserve something. This is a result of people — most especially my family— criticizing me, telling me in many different ways how I was not good enough and how I need to be different and do better. Undoing that damage is neither easy nor quick. …


The only one preventing your life from changing is you

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​So, what are you actually waiting for? A big break? A miracle? A windfall? Your family’s emotional support? Or perhaps you have some other excuse you haven’t quite formulated yet. Whatever you think those obstacles are, if they are outside of you — people, things or events that you imagine are stopping you from stepping on to your path of purpose and authenticity — you can turn things around because everything that you need for your life to change starts with you.

​Sometimes, we want to change our life and live our true purpose but cannot understand why we’re not moving forward. Often, the reasons that stop us are not the external factors that we think stand in our way. We fail to see that the biggest obstacle is us. So, the most important thing that we need to do is to look inward and examine the things that, consciously or unconsciously, hold us back and imprison us within the imaginary walls we created. …

About

Juvie de Koning

Juvie de Koning helps Seekers connect with their true self, unique gifts and higher purpose by listening to their inner guidance. subtleawakening.com

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