How to Live a Shimmering and Soul-Satisfying Life

Bright Star Shine From Water

To me spirituality is learning to become a more loving person. My spiritual journey is a process that never ends. It gives my life meaning and purpose beyond the titles of wife, mother, psychologist, writer, speaker, and blogger.

Living from my heart and letting go of fear has taken me from a “me” based life to a “we” based life. I discovered our inner connectedness. 

I was in my mid-thirties and miserable when I forged a new path. My four teenagers were driving me crazy. I was out of control. I wanted to abandon everyone. Instead, I made the decision to continue therapy and began attending a support group.

Soon after, I began eating healthy and exercising. It was a natural progression. I replaced my blame and anger with self-love and forgiveness. 

I have gained enormous strength, energy, and faith from knowing the answers to any questions or problems in my life come from within.

Leading a life filled with love, meaning, and purpose, involves self acceptance, connecting with others, and appreciating the fullness of each moment. 

Knowing and acting from this place has allowed me to manage my power in a way that encourages spiritual growth. 

The most important thing I’ve learned is that we’re all here to help each other.

It’s time we begin believing in each other again. My desire is for every person who comes in contact with me to benefit from my energy and light…my presence.  

No matter where I am, or what I do, I can influence everyone I come into contact with in a good way. And so can you!

Consider the following insights and bits of wisdom gifts, from me to you, for your journey.

The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust

Stop trying to be perfect.

There is nothing wrong with you. Accept who you are in this moment. You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. Nobody else has your purpose, gifts, or talents. Drop your crazy-making expectations of a perfect life. Instead bask in the glory of your imperfection.

Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.

Remain calm.

Stop all longing, craving, and struggling. Drop your agenda. Accept “what is.” Do acts of kindness for the pleasure it brings. Filling your days with trying to get some place or get some thing will steal your joy. Frantic behavior destroys peace of mind. Replace your striving with thriving.

Remember thisvery little is needed to make a happy life. -Marcus Aurelius

Delight in the magical moments.

Notice what arouses appreciation in you. It could be the blue sky, the squeaky clean smell of a baby, or the touch of a breeze on your bare skin. Savor these experiences like you would an expensive piece of chocolate. Your whole being craves wonder and joy! The only thing we have to do is become aware of it

Service is the very purpose of life. It is the rent we pay for living on the planet.
 -Marian Wright Edelman

Be of service.

We all have the power as individuals to make a difference in the life of every single person we meet. Everything we do counts. There is no such thing as a small act of service or kindness. 

When we are fearful, we tend to stop giving to others. We stop doing the very thing that will rid us of our fear. Exercising compassion, generosity, and empathy and doing good deeds makes our body, mind, and spirit thrive.

You experience grace and synchronicity. As you learn to give instead of grasp, unexpected miracles happen. You move forward freely and effortlessly. 

The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines. -Charles Kuralt

Keep your mind and heart open.

Believe in the goodness of the world. Diversity is Divine. Learn to celebrate differences rather than judge them. The loving kindness you offer to others acts as a healing balm that can’t be lost or diminished.

Don’t allow the negativity and fear in the world dictate how you live your life. Even in the darkness we can find a glimmer of light in everyone and everything.

Strong lives are motivated by dynamic purposes. -Kenneth Hildebrand

Focus on the answer.

In the midst of difficult circumstances, we tend to focus on the problem instead of the solution. Worry and anxiety create the exact thing we do not want. Learn to change your focus. Shift your perception. If you don’t believe in obstacles they fail to exist. Learn to create room for a resolution as you relax, breathe, listen, and let go. Release fear thoughts and expect the best in life.

Music has charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks or bend a knotted oak. –Carl Lewis

Learn to soothe yourself in times of trouble.

When we feel overwhelmed by life it’s easy to use self-destructive behaviors like overeating, arguing, or drinking too much. One of the best methods I use to calm myself down is going for a long run. Invest time in discovering what makes you feel good. Try listening to music, hike a new trail, or write in your journal. 

I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature, and the sun, go out and seek happiness in …Anne Frank

Don’t believe everything you think.

We terrorize ourselves by listening to, reading, and watching the news. Fear dissipates when we bring dark thoughts into the light.  Question what’s happening in the world. Focus on the people doing good and honorable things. Each time you catch yourself frightened by external events, go within and replace your fear thoughts with the memory of a happy place or time. Byron Katie asks, “Who would you be without your thoughts?”  

Screw up (often, and boldly), learn from your mistakes, repeat.  -Elizabeth Gilbert

Assume the Best 

Believe that all is in Divine Order. When you tire of swimming against the current of life you learn to go with the flow. Dwell on what can go right instead of what’s sure to go wrong. Remember infinite possibilities and opportunities exist. Remain open to risk and failure.

And we are put on Earth a little space, that we may learn to bear the beams of love. -Plato

Love everyone.

Let others off the hook. Focus on their loving qualities. Verbally acknowledge their amazing personalities, contributions, and success.

Stephen and Andrea Levine work with death and dying. According to them there are three things we all have in common. We all want to love, be loved, and know that we matter. Tell others they matter.

Imagine everyone with an invisible sign around their neck that says, “Make me feel special.” Doing this never fails to increase your joy, peace, and happiness.

Right now you are one choice away from a new beginningone that leads you toward becoming the fullest human being you can be. –Oprah Winfrey

Photographer: nuttakit

Farnoosh at Prolific Living has a great discussion going the benefits of being a mother vs choosing not to have children. Don't miss it!

What spiritual gifts would you add to this list?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Keith December 1, 2010, 7:25 pm

    Hello Tess,

    I love how you never stop inspiring me! I can feel your love pouring out of this post Tess, I really can!

    Everything you’ve shared here is powerful. I love this statement, “We all have the power as individuals to make a difference in the life of every single person we meet. Everything we do counts. There is no such thing as a small act of service or kindness.”
    You have a gift for “boiling it all down” and making things easy to understand.

    I’m with you all the way Tess. Let’s allow our love to reshape our world.

    Thank you, my dear friend.
    .-= Keith´s last post…Should You =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:33 am

      Thanks for your wonderful compliment. Clarity may be one of my gifts. It’s what made me a great therapist. Some times I wish I think I see too much!

  • Patricia December 1, 2010, 7:31 pm

    I have read this several times today and I just love the words: Diversity is Divine.
    I wish I could assist more folks in understanding this.

    I wrote a book review today by a Quaker scholar and she is basically saying the same thing you are hear, but joining in the steps of all the world’s religious and how to make change happen –
    Your writing is inspiring and lifts my soul, which was having a rather foggy, lonely day.

    Also a friend wants to bring me a puppy, I am trying to decide “yes” or “no”…two daughters are jumping for joy and partner….hmmm

    made me smile and feel my joy – thank you

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:35 am

      Hi Patricia,
      You words touched me in a wonderful way today. I’m wondering what the name of that book is??? Sounds like a good one. About the puppy if you’re the one taking care of it, make the decision without your daughters input;)

      • Patricia December 3, 2010, 11:14 am

        The Wisdom to Know the Difference by Eileen Flanagan is the name of the book….

        (Jannie, I used the word hear for here incorrectly with intentionality! Still having problems with leaving the r off of your!)

        Yes puppy decision would have to be mine – daughters are too far away and already left several pets to my care!

  • Satya Colombo December 1, 2010, 7:44 pm

    wow, Tess… EPIC. How wonderful to witness the shimmering gems of your soul, and your fearless diving inside to produce them for us all…

    I was reading a post on Danielle’s site today that came to mind while i read this — “burn down the barn so you can see the moon” (Mizuta Masahide)
    – that shimmering space is such a blessing to those of us who enter it…!
    .-= Satya Colombo´s last post…Anchoring Into a Life of Freedom 2 mins 43 secs in the Fire with Danielle LaPorte =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:36 am

      I love the word EPIC! Know I have to continue to live up to it!?! I’m going over to Danielle’s. Her writing style is one in a million. In fact we’re getting to know her on a first name basis. Pretty amazing, eh? You’re compliment is lovely and I appreciate you.

  • Farnoosh December 1, 2010, 8:36 pm

    Tess, epic is the word for it. (thanks Satya!) – I love the concepts, the writing voice – so sincere and calm yet strong where need be .. (“Be quiet”: my favorite!) and the carefully and very well-selected quotes. Simply perfect!! And thank you incidentally for reminding us to embrace imperfection in all its glory….
    .-= Farnoosh´s last post…The Path to Fulfillment- To Have or Not to Have Children =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:38 am

      Be Quiet! Do you think we teach what we need to learn…that’s a hoot! Hubs would love to see this;) Yes, imperfection…I’m lovin’ it.

  • Robin Easton December 1, 2010, 9:31 pm

    Dear Tess,

    What I love about this is the incredible courage you shared by honestly telling your story. There are so many mothers that feel how you once did. Probably some dads too, but they often don’t dare express their feelings because they fear the shocked reactions of others, the ridicule, and more. As if every mother and father was supposed to be madly in love with parenting 24/7. It’s just not realistic. I think parents desperately need support groups where they can go and tell it like it is. That is what allows them to keep going, make changes, feel supported, able to keep giving.

    Your advice here is just so spot on! Just nurturing, soothing, respectful and supportive. I love it. i have the deepest respect for you, Tess. Also, amazed that you had the courage to reach out and get the help you need way back then. Amazing. Also, loved the bit about not believing everything you think. Beautiful.

    Much love to you. You are one gutsy lady!

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:41 am

      As if every mother and father was suppose to be madly in love with parenting 24/7! Yes if we could emit that there would be no mother “guilt” that’s for sure.
      The support group I attended was not for parents but they listened to my troubles and loved me at the same time. Those are some of my dearest friends, or should I say angels.

  • Sandra Lee December 1, 2010, 9:41 pm

    Hi Tess,

    So many brilliant gems here. I loved this line: “from a “me” based life to a “we” based life. I discovered our inner connectedness.” Each shining jewel is an aspiration in my life too. I really appreciate the value in telling others that they matter and it helps to be reminded to do this constantly! Thanks.
    .-= Sandra Lee´s last post…Is Attachment Destroying Your Happiness =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:41 am

      Yes lets text it all day long! You matter to me;) hugs to you…

  • Aileen December 1, 2010, 10:51 pm

    Tess, I had to read this a few times – it’s beyond beautiful
    “Delight in the magical moments.” – It;s amazing how incredible the simplest truths are… and yet somehow sometimes they can get hidden.

    I love that you exposed these beautiful spiritual gifts.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:43 am

      Do you want to be my new spiritual friend? I think we both resonate with the same teachings and values! Thanks for telling me you read it more than once. I often compare myself to other readers. Instead I need to realize I’m projecting my own good writing on to them. Ya think?

  • Suzie Cheel December 1, 2010, 11:36 pm

    Love the quotes Tess
    I really like don’t believe everything you think’
    I would also add in trust, trust in the gut feeling, the small voice within and ask for guidance/help from within.

    Great Oprah quote
    .-= Suzie Cheel´s last post…How To Learn From A Missed Opportunity =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:44 am

      Yes, trust in the gut feeling! That would be enough, right there wouldn’t it?

  • supernalsteve December 2, 2010, 4:48 am

    What a beautiful and inspirational article – thank you. The bits on ‘stop trying to be perfect’ and ‘be of service to others’ particularly resonated with me.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:45 am

      Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. We all need the same things, right. It’s the secret to realizing we’re all connected.

  • Brenda December 2, 2010, 5:43 am

    Dear Tess,
    All your postings are amazing but this one…well, it takes the cake!
    I too, have read it over a few times and find it inspirational and life-enhancing. You do have a way of cutting to the chase, of saying things in a way that touches the soul. I will keep this in my heart today and thank you so much for blessing so many with your work…

    Much love is sent your way and to the whole community!
    .-= Brenda´s last post…Thoughts on Forgiveness =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:45 am

      You’re the best! I needed to hear those words, today! I’m grateful.

  • Nea | Self Improvement Saga December 2, 2010, 6:53 am

    Hi Tess. Your story of overcoming a rough patch and changing your life from the inside out is so very inspiring. You’ve given some wonderful advice here on living a happy life. It truly does begin within, with a conscious decision to experience happiness. Love and hugs to you.
    .-= Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last post…The 1 Communication Skill to Get Your Point Across in Any Argument =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:46 am

      Thank you! I appreciate you wisdom and words as well. Thanks for stopping by. You matter to me;)

  • Hilary December 2, 2010, 7:53 am

    Hi Tess .. you do shimmer through and soul satisfying so .. I always read and gain some loving insight ..

    “The most important thing I’ve learned is that we’re all here to help each other.”

    I’d love this to be true .. your phrase .. but it starts with us ..

    Thanks – Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last post…Talli Roland a favourite and author The Hating Game =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:47 am

      Yes, it begins with me and I keep showing the way and when they are ready, others join in. And until they do…we’re all OK!

  • Uzma December 2, 2010, 11:46 am

    Beautiful. This spiritual journey has been hard for me and I’ve only just realized, the importance, rather the life breath of spirituality – giving, sharing, to help.
    And you say it here. Love the Buddha quote- Keep shining, Tess.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:49 am

      When we listen to our egos, the journey is difficult. When we listen to our inner voice the journey becomes effortless. Be the love you want to see in the world.
      hugs to you.

  • Jay Schryer December 2, 2010, 11:57 am

    This is AWESOME, Tess! I love it…every single word of it. I want to print this out and staple it to my forehead so I never forget it.

    Ok, maybe not the stapling part.

    But I really do want to keep this, and let it serve as a reminder of how to live my life. As always, you are an inspiration and treasure. Thank you for being you.
    .-= Jay Schryer´s last post…Giving Up Can Be A Good Thing =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:49 am

      We’re so much a like in so many ways. I want to tattoo it on my arm. Thanks for the laughter, my friend. Stay well!

  • Joy December 2, 2010, 12:56 pm

    Hi Tess,
    *Love* it! I believe life may be a series of heart connections..all connected as we move throughout the ease free, joy filled as I allow it to be..
    I would add peace to this list..when I am at peace all else flows naturally, and the gifts within magnify…

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:50 am

      Thanks for adding peace to the list. That may have to go at the top! Stay happy. xo

  • Joe Wilner December 2, 2010, 2:03 pm


    Beautiful words of wisdom and insight. These are all powerful ways to lead a happier and more fulfilling life. I really think the notion of self-acceptance is fundamental to contentment and happiness. We have to be okay with who we are, where we came from, and know that we can get to where we want to go. Part of this is developing a spiritual connection, interacting with other positive individuals, and developing an attitude and outlook of optimism and hope. Such a valuable post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:51 am

      Wow, your words seem to flow write out of your heart. Awesome and thanks for sharing. You made my day.

  • Lance December 2, 2010, 2:46 pm

    Having been in your presence, Tess, I have very much felt your light and love. And what a gift that is…

    So, today I let these words soak in more deeply to my own soul…touched by your presence…
    .-= Lance´s last post…The Road Not Taken =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:51 am

      You’re the best! xo

  • Alex Blackwell December 2, 2010, 6:42 pm

    Wow Tess, thanks for these gifts.

    And from my heart to your heart: You are an inspiring, creative and lovely woman who is more than enough!


    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:52 am

      You rock. If you spot it you got it. That’s why you’re book and my forward go so well together!

    • Tess The Bold Life December 4, 2010, 12:10 pm

      My heart is happy with your message;)

  • Evita December 2, 2010, 7:24 pm

    Hi Tess

    Okay my favorite…… don’t believe everything you think! Oh I love that one!

    Oh Tess, it is so true, we get so wrapped up in the little things in life, that so many of us miss the bigger picture.

    Spirituality is indeed a journey and one that I am so happy to be on. The expansion of love is infinite and it feels so good to expand 🙂
    .-= Evita´s last post…The 2nd Annual Big Evolving Beings Holiday Giveaway 2010 =-.

    • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:53 am

      Let’s expand into the new year together! xo

  • Ande Waggener December 2, 2010, 8:33 pm

    I love your story, Tess. And I love the insights you’ve gleaned from it. I followed a similar path, and the one thing on your list I continue to work with is “Don’t believe everything you think.” That is a life-changer right there!

    I’d add to your list, “Make your own definitions.” We tend to follow everyone else’s idea of “success” or “beauty” or “talent,” and when we don’t meet that idea, we decide we’re not successful, beautiful and talented. But when we change the definitions, we can define those words to fit our authentic way of living and style. 🙂
    .-= Ande Waggener´s last post…The Power Of The Point Of No Return =-.

  • Tess December 3, 2010, 7:53 am

    I think you have a book title right there…Make your own definitions! Yes;)

  • Angela Artemis December 3, 2010, 8:54 am

    Hi Tess,
    Sage advice! Love is always the answer no matter what the problem is. When we finally “get” that – we will truly have progressed in our spiritual growth.
    .-= Angela Artemis´s last post…Why You’re Hard Wired to Receive Information Intuitively =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 4, 2010, 12:12 pm

      I think I get it and I know you do too. We’ll tell the others. OK?

  • Little Lessons Under the Big Sky December 3, 2010, 9:32 am

    You are an amazing gift to all of us. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

    Mid-thirties hit me hard too. It was my time to make a change. I think that is very common for women especially. I admire you and thank you for being so open about your journey. It helps me recognize how important it is for all of us to stay connected to each other, for support, for wisdom, for reminders of how to lead a fulfilling and love-filled life.

    Thank you so much, Tess! I love the idea of the “invisible sign!” What a great way to spread the love and light!
    .-= Little Lessons Under the Big Sky´s last post…FURROWED =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 4, 2010, 12:13 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m your mirror you know!

  • Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord December 3, 2010, 10:31 am

    I love the clarity with which you share this message, Tess. You simply KNOW these things to be true, so you can share them authoritatively and with simplicity.

    The more I love, the more love I have. The more love I have, the more I can and want to share. It’s a win-win. All it takes is setting my intention and taking that first step.


  • The Exception December 3, 2010, 12:57 pm

    Tess –
    It is such a journey – ever evolving and enriching. I had someone tell me a while back “It’s not about love but the situation. The statement stays with me as… It is about LOVE. It Is not about the situation for me, it is totally about LOVE.
    Your words and thoughts ring true and with such genuine spirit here as in all your posts. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 4, 2010, 12:15 pm

      My genuine spirit. That’s what I want to come through. Thank you!

  • Giulietta Nardone December 3, 2010, 1:25 pm

    Hi Tess,

    My fav? Delight in the magical moments. We’re taught to leave them behind in childhood so we’ll march obediently to consumer bondage land. Magic surrounds us if we can just learn to see again …

    thx, Giulietta

    • Tess The Bold Life December 4, 2010, 12:16 pm

      I’ve traded my stuff in for delight. My guess is you have as well;)

  • Peggy Nolan December 3, 2010, 8:58 pm

    Ah Tess…beautifully said and beautifully written! Like many others, I just love *don’t believe everything you think!* Made me giggle. And more than you know, I appreciate the message to not live a frantic life. It destroys the soul.

    .-= Peggy Nolan´s last post…Lost and Found- Two Poems =-.

  • Angie December 3, 2010, 9:56 pm

    There is so much wisdom and inspiration packed into this post. I connect with your writing on so many levels it is hard to find the words to express my true gratitude for the gift you shared with us- I can only say that this post touched me deeply.
    I have spent the last 4 months away from the internet and blogging, centering myself and establishing a new rhythm for myself and my family. When I return to your blog I am reminded of the wonderful gifts you have to offer the world. Thank you so much for your authentic caring words.
    .-= Angie´s last post…0711ddebe7fd2b92jpg =-.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 4, 2010, 12:20 pm

      How wise you are to give yourself the break you need. I’m glad I could add some love and light to your life.

  • Tammy December 4, 2010, 9:36 am

    Great post Tess. If we look at every interaction as an opportunity to build a relationship and watch for the possibilities, it creates an innate curiosity and desire for connections. I think we also need to be vigilant about our alone time and we need to use that time for reflection and listening.

    • Tess The Bold Life December 4, 2010, 12:19 pm

      Good point Tammy…alone time is always important. When we get it together there then our relationships with others really shine.

  • Leah McClellan December 4, 2010, 9:41 pm

    Great stuff, Tess! I love so many of these little bits of wisdom, but especially these:
    “meaning and purpose”: Definitely. When we don’t have that–well for me anyway–we drift. We’re lost.

    “There is nothing wrong with you.” This one took a long time for me to get because it got pounded into me as a kid and also in other situations. I’ve always known better, but when the world is telling me otherwise it can be real lonely.

    “Believe in the goodness of the world.”
    Yeah, we all do the best we can, and within all of us is something very, very beautiful..

    “Worry and anxiety create the exact thing we do not want.” I could tell some stories! Absolutely true.

    “We terrorize ourselves by listening to, reading and watching the news.” I listen to just enough to keep up with things, but barely. It’s so negative that I can’t stand it most of the time. There’s so much good going on.

    “Remain open to risk and failure.” How else can we learn?

    Thanks, these are great tips and great reminders 🙂
    .-= Leah McClellan´s last post…Just a dog Maybe Maybe not =-.

  • Andrea DeBell - britetalk December 5, 2010, 9:18 pm

    Hi Tess! Just beautiful to hear your journey and your precious wisdom. This is one of my favorite concepts that “we’re all here to help each other” and to be of service. I also feel that we are here to provide love and selfless service. When we provide service from our heart, even if through small gestures, we create a beautiful ripple effect. We are all together in this wonderful journey.
    Thanks for this inspiring reminder, sweetie. Loving blessings!
    .-= Andrea DeBell – britetalk´s last post…Kickstart an Abundant Life the Easy Way =-.

  • Betsy at Zen Mama December 5, 2010, 9:26 pm

    Love your ideas Tess. All your points are just great ideas!!

    I completely understand where you were with your teenagers. And you knew you had to change. I went through it too. And my younger teenagers will now benefit from all the problems I had with my oldest.

  • Davina Haisell December 14, 2010, 1:14 am

    What I loved about this post, Tess, was the part about not trying to be perfect. I was just reading something about this today and recall something to the effect that if we try to be perfect we stop our own growth. It’s only through our mistakes that we learn and grow. You are such a strong woman; inspiring! Merry Christmas to you and your family, Tess.

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