I used to wish that other people didn’t go through hard times in their lives.

But here is the thing.

Those challenging times can either crush you or create you.

When I was running my radio show (September 2005 through the end of 2007 – fortunately I am intuitive and had the foresight to stop the show at the beginning of the current economic situation), I had never worked so hard in my life.


Not only did I have to come up with new topics and new guests every week – about fitness, nutrition and natural healing – I read all the books, watched their videos, parsed through true and untrue information. For example, one book I read said that when you become 50, you should take up running and become a vegetarian. That was the gist of their entire program. Hmmm….Next!


On top of assimilating all this material, I had to write the script, which was the equivalent of writing a 10 page paper every week. Even at Brown, I had never worked so hard. Even at college, you get summers off, spring break, Christmas and Thanksgiving off.


I was under so much stress, but fortunately for me, a friend of mine taught me how to bead. I joked it was either beading or alcohol. My friend apologized she had taught me an expensive hobby. After all, you have to go to the bead store and spend money, and nobody has ever accused me of lousy taste.


As the years wear on, I have wrapped up my radio show, but I am still beading. If my accountant comes over and we get stuck on some thorny bookkeeping issue, I will go in the next room and come back with several strands of beads and wire and sit there beading while she sorts through my Quickbooks.


Last year, I went through another challenging time in my life. I was still beading, but this time I decided I needed to add formal meditation.


Even though I meditate regularly along with my yoga and qi gong classes, and do standing meditation as part of my tai chi practice, and also meditate using various methods at home, I decided I wanted to go deeper.


My neighbor Steve Hart runs the Monday night program at the Atlanta Soto Zen Center on Zonolite Road. It’s free. Whether you have never sat before in zazen or have experimented with countless meditation techniques for years, I highly recommend the practice.


So my point is, if you go through a challenging time in your life, perhaps you are supposed to reach beyond yourself.


Many people buckle under pressure because they simply don’t have enough tools in their toolkit.


Much de-PRESSION is simply PRESSURE, whether it be the pressure of change, the pressure of doing too much, the pressure of resistance to what is.


The more tools you have in your toolkit, the better able you will be to handle all of your life.


If all you do is drive to your job, work 12 to 14 hours a day, eat junk food and don’t drink enough water, it’s no surprise that you may not feel the way you would like to feel.


Create the beauty that your soul is aching for. Lie in a hammock. Stare at the stars. Take a moment to look around you. Join a community and show up.


Photo: My apple blossom double begonias around my fountain. The angel in the corner was given to me by one of my clients years ago. I planted the begonias myself earlier this spring and I am so delighted that they have truly flourished!