Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

2012 was a pretty good year.  No complaints. Excited to see what's in store. I started last year with one of my favorite quotes for the New Year, so I thought I'd do it again.  Happy New Year Everyone!  Wishing Peace, Love, Health, Prosperity and a Damn Good Time to all!!

"We will open the book.
Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity
and its first chapter is New Year's Day."
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Friday, November 30, 2012

Winding Down the Year

And suddenly it's December!  Yowza...where did this year go?  I've been so immersed in multiple projects that I turned around and realized I was looking down my nose at the holiday season.  2013 is just around the corner, and I'm  already filling my plate for the new year.  I am grateful!

And now it's time to write a play.  I've received commissions 3 years in a row now to write plays dealing with a variety of social issues.  The topics have included climate change, bullying and prescription drug abuse.  Now I'm working on a play that deals with dating violence among teens.  It has not been a pleasant subject to research, but it's a pervasive problem in our society and I'm doing my best to write a relevant and provocative piece.

This holiday month will find me hunkered down in my favorite coffee spot, hovering over my laptop and attempting to put words on paper for a first draft.  Ideas are surging; I just need to get out of my own way and WRITE!

Midway through the month, I will find the time to ring in some holiday cheer as I host my 2nd annual holiday party with a glorious group of amazing friends.  But then I'm immediately back to filling up the blank pages.  Not an easy feat, but an occupational hazard nevertheless.  I'm actually looking forward to the process.  I've been so busy teaching and directing this fall, this is the first time in a few months that I have the opportunity to work on my own playwrighting project.  It always starts off stressful, but once I get underway, it can be joyful (when it's not painful, of course!)

Happy Holiday friends!  As 2012 winds down, be good to yourselves, be good to others and replenish and refresh for a brand new year ahead!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


It's all about the play I'm directing these days, folks.  Ephemory written by Miriam Feder opens Friday, November 9th.

Heading into tech week and the countdown has begun.  Wanted to share an article from The Oregonian about Miriam, me and the show.  Click here to read the interview.

That's all for now.  Once the show opens, I'll be back to blogging regularly. I hope.

If you're in Portland, I hope to see you at the theater!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's Fall!

And what a bountiful fall it is!  The weather has been perfect here in the Pacific Northwest, and since I haven't written since August 1st, it may be clear that I have been one busy lass!  Thank you Universe! Busy is good!

I am blessed to be doing everything I love to do.  I am teaching, writing, and directing a lovely new work by playwright Miriam Feder.  I was fortunate enough to celebrate a fun-filled birthday with a group of fantastic friends. I was surrounded by great food, lots of love and laughter and 2 birthday cakes!  It was a grand evening!

And now for the plug of shameless self-promotion!  

Opening November 9th at the Headwaters Theatre and running 3 weekends is "Ephemory" a new play by Miriam Feder and directed by yours truly. "Ephemory" is a coming of age/falling through age story about memory, legacy, family, immigration, war and love. Tickets are on sale now, so if you're in the Portland area in November, please come out and see this heart-warming piece of theatre.

After the show opens, I'll be concentrating on writing 2 new plays of my own based upon commissions I received this past summer.  Yes indeed, I am one busy woman, but so very grateful for all the opportunities that have opened up for me.  If you don't hear from me until December, you'll know why, but I will try to blog again soon!

Thanks to all for reading and for your support.  Have a wonderful fall everyone!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's a Quiet Thing...

Today was a long day.  Taught a lot of little kids a little about acting.  Then I taught some older kids a lot about acting.  And because it was the last day of class for my older students, their parents came in to watch them strut their stuff.  It wasn't a performance; it was a presentation.  Extremely informal.  But they played some theater games and did some monologues, and they had fun and the parents were pleased because their children were laughing.  Sometimes it isn't easy teaching a lot to a little kid, or teaching a little to an older kid, but it's always worth it.

When I got home, I had a large piece of mail.  It was the new 10-minute play anthology published by Smith and Kraus entitled The Best 10-Minute Plays 2011 edited by Lawrence Harbison.  One of my plays is included in this anthology.  Yes, I knew it was coming, but frankly I forgot.  And I will never get over the thrill of holding a book in my hand, and seeing my name in print.  

So here I am, holding the new anthology, skimming through it, feeling very pleased that more of my written work is out in the world, and the lyrics to the Kander & Ebb song came floating through my mind:

"When it all comes true
Just the way you planned
It's funny but the bells don't ring,
It's a Quiet Thing..."

I've been getting a lot of accolades lately.  That will never get old.  I've been getting positive feedback for my writing, my teaching, and now, on this day, I am holding in my hand something tangible that makes it all worthwhile.  It's not earth-shattering...the world won't change because of it.  But it's mine. It's my little success story.  And yes, it's a quiet thing.  But it's also an incredibly satisfying thing! 

Thanks for letting me share this with you!

Friday, July 6, 2012

JAW 2012: A Playwright's Festival

I am delighted and excited for the upcoming JAW Festival at Portland Center Stage.

JAW focuses on the playwright and on new work and last year was my first time experiencing the festival.  It was fantastic. And the admission is free.  So it's a theater-lovers dream!

And this year...well, my friends, this year, I am privileged to be a part of the festival.

To kick off the festivities, there will be the Made in Oregon Festival where 8 Oregon playwrights (including myself) were commissioned to write a short play based on the theme Just Add Water (JAW). That event takes place at 8pm on Thursday, July 26th.  If you're in town, come on down to the Gerding Theatre.  It's going to be a real treat to see what these 8 playwrights have concocted!

And then, for the remainder of the weekend, from Friday, July 27th through Sunday, July 29th, there will be readings of  six brand new full-length plays by some amazing playwrights.  Click here for the full schedule of readings.  

There will also be plays written by the Promising Playwrights.  These are high school students who participated in the Visions and Voices program through PCS (which was taught by the fantastic Matt Zrebski and myself).  These short plays written by these extraordinary young writers will be featured prior to some of the full-length readings.

Be sure to check out this terrific festival if you're in Portland July 26th through July 29th.  I'll be there.  Come say hello!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Another Opening, Another Show...

A quick post since I am off to final dress rehearsal for the show I've been directing.  We open tomorrow night.  I am bleary-eyed, but that always comes with the territory.  
Details below.  If you are in Portland, come on out.  It's a fun time!
See you at the theatre!

Written by Phil Busse
With Nathan Crosby, Zoe Rudman, Brad Bolchunos
Directed by Debbie Lamedman

Fridays & Saturdays, June 23rd through July 21st
2257 NW Raleigh St.

For tickets visit or 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Wearing Many Hats...

I very distinctly remember the year 2005.  The year was distinctive for many reasons, but mainly because I hit my stride career-wise, and in the height of things, I was juggling 6 different gigs at once.

It was a crazy time, but enormously satisfying.  I was teaching multiple classes of acting and public speaking, directing two different  plays at the same time (not recommended), writing a book, and privately coaching about 5 different clients during this time period.

To say I was busy is obviously an understatement.  Each day I kept post-its by my alarm clock to tell me what day it was and where I had to be.  Yes, it was insane, overwhelming, at times stressful and mind-boggling and yet I thrived. In hindsight, the balance of my life was completely out-of-whack; I had no social life or relaxation time to speak of.  But I believe everything happens for a reason, and eventually I made up for it!

I think balance is essential.  I really do.  But I also discovered that I'm the type of person who needs to have multiple activities going on all at once in order to stay interested.  Boredom kills creativity.  Like a shark, I need to constantly keep moving or I lose interest in myself.

So now, 7 years later, I'm back to the juggling act.  I'm not quite up to 6 gigs (nor do I want to be), but I am once again, writing (of course I am), coaching, directing and teaching.  And loving every minute of it.  And though it takes some effort these days to do so, I find ways to make time for the special people in my life.  My friends are very high on my priority list; so I make time to meet for coffee or a brew and keep in the loop.  Finding the balance of work and down-time.

I do not feel overwhelmed quite yet, though I anticipate I will as the play I'm directing goes into tech, the deadline for my writing projects get closer, and my students demand more of my attention.  But the thing is, I've done this before, and I can do it again.  And this time around, I'm really learning to enjoy the ride.  

It's going to be a great summer!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Interview on

I got a gig writing for the Portland theatre scene  for  Pretty cool, huh?  I'm not going to do reviews; I'm not a critic, nor do I want to be.  So my articles will mainly focus on what's going on around town, and interviews with notable people in the theatre.

My first interview is already up on the site.  I talked with solo performer Eleanor O'Brien who is a delightful, delicious artist who is about to head out on a Fringe Festival tour with her show, Good Girls Guide:  Dominatrix for Dummies. The show is saucy, salacious, lovely and poignant all at once. So is Eleanor.  She is amazing, and if nothing else, I'm a huge fan of her courageousness on stage; not to mention a fan of the woman herself.

Hope you enjoy the interview.  It's a fun read.  Looking forward to writing much more about the wonders of the Portland Theatre Community.

If you have any specific requests as to who or what you want to read about, feel free to email me with your ideas!  Thanks and I'll see you at the theatre!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Opening Night!!

Just a quick post to announce that my newest play, Rx will premiere Wednesday night, April 25th.  And once again, I'm so sorry to say, I won't be able to attend.  The good news is that my work is being produced across this great land of ours.  But the bad news, I can't always be there to see it. 

Rx was a commissioned piece written especially for the high school theatre students of Pittsburg, Kansas.  This is the 3rd year in a row they have commissioned me to write an original piece for them.  Rx deals with the pervasive use of prescription drugs among teens.  I'm very proud of this piece. 

A big thanks to Greg Shaw, the cast and crew of Rx and my girl Kristi Alarid who lent me her brain and taught me so much about all sorts of prescription meds and their effect on people.  And she was able to put it all in terms I could understand and not use a whole lot of medical jargon as she was explaining it all to me.  THANK YOU KRISTI!  You are a walking, talking encyclopedia and I'm so grateful to you!

For those of you in the Portland area, I will be having a short play performed on May 12th.  If you're interested, send me an email and I'll give you all the delightful details, including the fact that I'm acting in it as well as having written it!  Oh my goodness...this should be interesting. But it will be worth seeing, because it's directed by the extraordinary Jane Bement Geesman and features the outstanding talents of Kristin Olson and Morgan Cox.  These babes are the best!!

Creativity abounds!  I feel lucky.  I feel grateful!  The weather here in Portland has been gorgeous; good things are happening and I am so very happy to be here! Yay!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Getting Unstuck, Creatively Speaking...

I committed to this script-writing challenge for the month of April, called Script Frenzy. The challenge is to write 100 pages in the month of April, and hopefully have a first-draft of a play by April 30th.  No sweat, right?  Ha!

I started off great.  Worked diligently for the first 9 days of April, and then on April 10th...something happened.  Well, actually...nothing happened.  I stopped writing.  Why? a  I let life interrupt me.  It's known to do that from time to time. And you know what Mr. Isaac Newton said, right?  A body in motion, tends to stay in motion, but a body at rest, stays at rest.  Because as soon as I stopped, I found it very difficult to start up again.  And now I'm way behind and there are only 2 weeks left.

When a friend of mine suggested a hike in the glorious Columbia River Gorge, I knew it was exactly what I needed to free my mind.  And, if you've been following this blog at all, you know of my love for waterfalls.  I have a very emotional and visceral response when getting up close and personal to these magnificent creations of Nature.

We had the trail to ourselves; just me, my friend and his two wonderful dogs. We hiked along for awhile, the mist intensifying as we made our way up and down and all around.  We heard the water falling before we saw it, and then there she was.  In all her majestic glory.  And I stood up on a boulder, and let the mist encompass me.  I felt amazing; I felt all my stress release in that one moment; I turned to my friend to thank him for bringing me to this spectacular place, and found, not surprisingly, emotion rising in my throat.

Much, much later in the day, after I finished rehearsing for my play that's going up next month, I sat down and wrote 5 pages of my script.  It was midnight, and I wrote without stopping. 5 pages.    Is it any good?  I have no idea.  Does it make sense to the story I previously created?  I have no idea.  If I read through it, I think I would become blocked again.  But it doesn't matter if it's good or bad.  What matters is that the momentum has picked up once again.  I will worry about the quality of the writing when it's time to rewrite and revise.  

For now I'm just thankful to the beauty and wonder of Nature. For freeing me up...I'm so grateful to be living in such a stunning place and whenever I seek solitude, friendship, wonder and awe, it is literally in my very own backyard.  Who would have ever thought this city gal would become a Nature girl.  Yet here I am, and the better for it!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Peculiar Dream...

I usually remember my dreams upon waking, but if they aren't note-worthy, they wash away from my thoughts like the tide going out in the ocean.  But last night...hmmm...a strange and evocative dream came my way. And when I woke up, it took awhile to shake it.  It was slightly disturbing, but not in a violent or gruesome way.  Then I fell back asleep and the dream continued.  That rarely happens to me. It was like watching a movie.  And I had put the dream on pause, and when I went back to sleep, I must have pushed the play button.

Of course, the longer I am awake, the less I recall the specifics.  I was talking to my mom this morning, because she had played a role in the dream, and I was trying to tell her about it.  But my words were disjointed; I was stumbling and fumbling with language.  I couldn't seem to be specific as to what had unfolded in my subconscious mind.

Even now, as I try to write about it, I find myself faltering.  All I know is life in my dream was changing at a dramatically fast pace.  In my dream, I had to leave the life I was comfortable with to forge into the vast unknown.  I was scared; there were people in my dream who wanted to harm me. But there were crowds of others, strangers, who wished me well.   It was dark, pitch-black; throngs of people in my midst trying to flee as well from a horrible existence.  It sounds like George Orwell, doesn't it?  That's the sense I got from it. I was trapped in my own version of "1984."

In my dream, I received a text message from an unknown caller.  One word appeared on the screen..."Courage." In the dream, I was being forced to leave my belongings and my home behind.  Where was I being herded to?  I do not know.  Courage...

When I put this down on paper, it seems like such a simple metaphor.  It's easy to see the parallels.   But in the moment, last night and again early today, the dream itself was truly haunting.  I felt a bit discombobulated this morning.

By the end of the day today, I'm sure those feelings will be gone.  That's how dreams work.  Since it's April 1st, I considered the dream to be an April Fool's joke from my subconscious.  But somehow I doubt that.  There is a real message here.  I know I need to pay attention.  But I also know I cannot let it bog me down.  And as usual, I move forward... 

What are the dreams you remember?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Trodding the Boards Once Again...

I was an actor long before I called myself a writer.  I trained and I studied, and I'm still shelling out money to pay for graduate school, and yes I have a degree and everything that says I presumably know what I'm doing when I get up on stage.  So why haven't I gotten up on stage in ______ amount of years?  Because...well...because now I'm a writer and I don't have to.

I switched things up about ten years ago and I found as I got older, I liked being on the other side of the footlights.  I liked being behind the scenes as a writer, director, teacher and coach.  I still like it.  And sometimes I'm amazed when I recall the things I did in front of an audience.  It took a lot of courage and I suppose there was a time I felt fearless.  And then that feeling went away, and I metaphorically took out the cozy sweater with patches on the elbows, and the pipe and I sat behind my computer and wove my tales that I would allow others to tell onstage.  And I was comfortable with that.

Until now. GULP!

I have the opportunity to present a short play that I wrote a few years ago.  I love this piece.  It is so....ME.  And since it is so me, I have decided (with the director's blessing) that I will return to the stage and be part of the cast. Oy vey.  Just saying this out loud sends a flock of seagulls flapping their wings furiously inside my belly.  Do I really want to do this?  Yes.  No.  Yes. Is the return to acting just like riding a bicycle?  Yes. No. Yes.  No...I don't know.

First rehearsal is this weekend.  I'm tickled at the thought of performing again. Petrified at the thought of performing again.  But I'm going through with it.  I need to test my boundaries every now and then and push myself outside my comfort level.  That sweater with the patches is getting way too I'm challenging myself to return to my roots and see if the ol' gal still has it in her.

Let me know what you think.  Tell me I'm crazy.  Tell me I've lost my mind.  Or tell me to break a leg.  I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Keep Laughing If You Can...

"Comedy, is tragedy plus time."
~Woody Allen

It is very good to have a sense of humor in this life.  Otherwise, the world could really beat you down.  Translating that sense of humor into your creative life is even better.  I completely agree with Mr. Allen about the passage of time helping to illuminate the levity in certain situations.  We, as individuals, are constantly experiencing crises both large and small.  Some are of tragic proportions; others,  minor slips in the passages of our lives.

Depending upon the circumstances, we might be able to laugh at things that once seemed catastrophic.  Other times, the tragedies we have endured, can never be lightened by time.  Their memory may become bittersweet, or bring tears to our eyes, but some can often make us laugh when we recall an event we once thought was tragic and now is truly laughable.

Like the time I lied to my 2nd grade class and told them I had won a sweepstakes and I was going to have a walk-on part on a popular television show. My entire family and I were going to fly to Hollywood, California and I was going to be a star.

I basked in the attention.  I was glowing.  Until I arrived home to see my mother's stern face.  She asked me if I had something to tell her.  I said "No."  She said, "Really?  Because Mrs. Palouso called to congratulate us and wish us a safe trip to California."  Oops...Mom was pissed!

Of course, she made me go to school the next day even though I was convinced I was going to die from stomach pains.  She insisted I tell the class it was all a ruse...a flat-out lie...a call for attention.  I had made the whole thing up.  I could swear I saw my teacher smile as I copped to the truth.  I don't think my classmates were too mad.  I think they thought it was funny.  I thought it was tragic.  

But all these years later, I think it's hysterical.  I mean, let's put perspective on it, right?  At 8 years old, this was tragic.  To have to apologize to my entire 2nd grade class?  To have to stand before them and admit fraud?  I'm surprised I didn't grow up to be a politician!  But no...I am a writer.  So it's not surprising that my personal history includes making up far-fetched dramatic stories such as that one.

Comedy.  Tragedy plus time.  So if you're going through some difficulties right now, hold on.  Grin and bear it.  Because one day, you might be able to laugh at your sorrow.  And if nothing else, it might make a really good story!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

phat girls

phat girls is the most personal piece I've ever written.  I never in a million years would have guessed that all these years later, it is still having major resonance for not only the women who perform the play, but the audiences who view it.

One of my former students, Chris Giordano, a senior at Pace University, was bound and determined to direct this play.  And his tenacity paid off!  Because now, in conjunction with the National Eating Disorders Association Awareness Week (February 26th-March 3rd), phat girls is going to be presented at Pace University to help commemorate NEDA's 25 years of raising awareness for these insidious disorders.

I had the pleasure of meeting the cast via Skype about a week ago, and I was so pleased and proud of these brave women who are willing to go onstage and be vulnerable and talk about things most people would rather keep hidden in the shadows.  Awareness has been raised, but the problem still very much exists in our society today among girls and women, boys and men. 

Thank you Chris for being so passionate about this project and seeing it through.  I feel so very honored and humbled!  For information regarding performances of phat girls on February 29th and March 1st, check out the listing in the New York Times. If you are in the area, I hope you are able to attend.

Stay healthy.  Stay happy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Oldie but a Goodie!

I've been writing a lot lately about creativity, so I thought I would repost an entry from nearly two years ago.  It's a writing exercise that will help challenge your brain as well as being a lot of fun. 

So here is a post worth repeating; originally posted on March 29, 2010.  Enjoy!

Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words. His response?

"For sale: baby shoes, never used."

Wow, right? Six words was all he needed to paint a very powerful picture! So, I thought I would try this exercise and man, oh man, is it ever difficult. Sheesh! Tell a story in six words? Oy vey!

I finally wrote something that I was satisfied with. I wonder what Papa Hemingway would say? But for what it's worth, here's what I came up with:

Bankrupted woman seeks gun factory employment.

What do you think of my 6-word story?

Try it! It's very challenging...but it will give your brain a great workout. I truly believe that less is more. And I would love to hear what you come up with.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


After the success of my Fertile Ground piece, I was all revved up to follow-through on another play I've been working on.  But then I got stuck.  I know why I got stuck...there are a variety of reasons.  The foremost being fear.  That's right.  I'm afraid of writing something shitty, so I wind up not writing anything at all.  That's a load of crap.  It's counter-productive.  And yet I seem to fall victim to it time and time again.  I need to get out of my head and just be and not think quite so much. Easy to say, hard to do for someone like me.

But last night my good friend Daniel, who is a musician, came over with all his equipment...keyboards, amp, microphone...the works.  And he said, "OK, let's write a song."  And I said, "I've never really done that before."  And he said, "So what?  Do it anyway."  And that's exactly what we did.  He asked me some questions about the type of song I wanted to hear, and then he laid down a melody line, and then we talked some more about the content of the song, and he started writing lyrics, and then I started writing lyrics, and lo and behold before the end of the evening, we had a pretty cool sounding song called "Lost." 

Nothing got in our way.  We wanted to create and we did.  No preconceived caring whether or not it would be good, or whether or not it would be perfect.  We just did it.  Is it a masterpiece?  Of course not.  But the lesson here is that it was all about the journey.  The journey of starting down the road of creation, and inevitably completing the journey.

I write a lot about this topic because it is what I do.  It is how I live every day.  I need to create every day.  And sometimes I think the inspiration isn't there. But you know what?  It's always there.  In the most unlikely of places.  In a friend's laugh.  Or an untuned guitar string. Or in a falafel sandwich.  Creativity is all around us.  If you can't see it, you're not looking...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fertile Ground Festival 2012

The last 10 days of January will be a theatre-lovers dream here in Portland.  Fertile Ground is a festival of new works taking place January 19th-January 29th in venues all over town!  It is a veritable feast of theatre!

The performances range from fully-mounted productions to works-in-progress to staged readings and everything in between.  It is truly a smorgasbord of theatre delicacies and they all can be sampled by purchasing a festival pass or buying individual tickets for specific events.  Whatever you do, be sure to check out the calendar of events to find out what looks good to you.

 What a great way to kick off the new year with lots of inspiring new work from the eclectic group of artists here in Portland. I am excited to see the work of several friends who are involved with Fertile Ground.  Additionally, I am thrilled to participate in the festival this year with a reading of my short play "This is Temporary."

Nothing like a 10-day theatre festival to inspire and delight, and certainly put me in a good mood! Right on, Portland! Write on!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just Do It...

Nike got it right when they told the world to just do it.  This can apply to everything.  When fear stops you in your tracks, take a deep breath and do it anyway.

As a writer, I face my fears everyday.  Of not being good enough...afraid that what I'm writing is crap or that I'll never have an interesting idea again.  And you know what?  I sit and face that dreaded blank page and take a deep breath and write anyway.  And you know what else?  Sometimes it's crap. So what!  You have to start somewhere.

I had the privilege of meeting local writer Sage Cohen at a writer's festival last year.  She has written an excellent article for Writer's Digest entitled "10 Ways to Harness Fear and Fuel Your Writing."  Everyone can benefit from reading this piece, whether you're a writer or not.  Art is life.  Life is art.  The process is the process no matter who you are or how you express yourself.

Thanks Sage for such sage advice (pardon the pun, but I couldn't help myself!)  Have a look at what she has to say and then go and plunk yourself down and have your way with the empty page.  Don't edit yourself...just do it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Here we go...

Happy New Year one and all.  Here comes 2012!

I met my deadline way before the clock struck 12, so I was able to revel in my latest accomplishment with some good friends and ring in the New Year as a celebration rather than toiling over a keyboard.  It's a good start to what I believe will be a good year.

I recently read a wonderful post from the blog Marc and Angel Hack Life--Productive Tips for Practical Living.  The entire blog is filled with great ideas, but one of the posts resonated deeply for me and I would like to share it here.

"30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself" offers insightful advice for things we need to shed from our lives.  Being mindful of making our lives better is the first step to living a highly productive and satisfying life.  I hope you find  this list, and for that matter this blog as enlightening as I do. 

Happy January 1st.  Happy 2012.  The sky is the limit  as long as you believe it is!  Enjoy!

By Marc:

When you stop chasing the wrong things you give
the right things a chance to catch you.

As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Nothing could be closer to the truth. But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
  2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on. No, it won’t be easy. There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall. Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
  3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself. Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves. Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
  5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
  6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
  8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive. But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
  10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either. You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else. Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place. Evaluate situations and take decisive action. You cannot change what you refuse to confront. Making progress involves risk. Period! You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
  12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
  13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company. There’s no need to rush. If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
  14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you. But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
  15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others doing better than you. Concentrate on beating your own records every day. Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
  16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. Ask yourself this: “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
  17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you. You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough. But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past. You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation. So smile! Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
  18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself! And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too. If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
  19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
  20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway. Just do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
  23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done. Read Getting Things Done.
  24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile. Don’t take the easy way out. Do something extraordinary.
  25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
  26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life. When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
  27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out. But making one person smile CAN change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world. So narrow your focus.
  28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time? Three years? Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen. Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.