Forgiveness is a way to a free heart

I could write pages and pages on what others have said or done to me that wasn’t fair. Or haven’t said or done for me, even if I deserved it. Can you relate? For a long time, I held a grudge against a girl whose name was also Janna. She transferred into my high school in our junior year. Not only did she mess up my one-of-a-kind-name-status in my class by becoming the “other Janna,” she also became the “other woman” in the life of my high school sweetheart, who eventually married her. A double blow for a teenager’s fragile … Continue reading

A happiness journal, jar, box — whatever works!

We all have had the blues at one time or another. Can we completely avoid them? Maybe, but I’m not there to speak from the experience. Maybe one day, or not. What I can say is that when I feel blue, I turn to my happiness journal to read about and remind myself that I’ve had many joyful and fun moments too, and that another one is on its way. Below’s my very first entry from 2014. I wrote it after a yoga class that was held in a kindergarten, so there were a bunch of boisterous youngsters as well as … Continue reading

A tongue twister trouble, or what your Mom wouldn’t want you to say in public

Some 15-odd years ago I came to Chicago for grad school. At that time I could understand English better than I could speak. But my ability to understand English didn’t take me far when it came to idioms and other colorful expressions that make the language so alive – and so confusing at times. They: “Are you still jetlagged?” Me: “Since when jets have legs?” Me: “My friend is a drug dealer.” They: “Huh??? And you say it so openly?” Me: “Why not? She works at a drug store.” They: “He is such a party pooper!” Me thinking: Somehow I … Continue reading

Oh that voice!

My writing assignment was to describe a character’s voice. Disclaimer: I listened to “Black Velvet” while writing. I take no responsibility for this story, fictional or not 😉 *** I had a rough night; well, it was rough because it was so short. For four hours straight I packed for my ten-day vacation to South Korea. I put things in – just in case I need that fourth pair of shoes – and took them out – just in case I bought something in Seoul and I needed extra space. The internal debate was fruitless. Eventually, I closed my eyes and took … Continue reading

Nobody owes you anything in life. Now, get over it.

I dream about all sorts of things. Last night I dreamt about going out with a bunch of friends. As my dreams often go, I woke with a message… My friends and I went to see a movie. Before getting inside, we bought a few bottles of water, and one guy carried all of them in his backpack. Because we came in a bit late, there were no seats for all of us in one section. So we took seats in small groups here and there. I happened to sit in a different row from the guy with the water … Continue reading

What do 60-minute orgasms and space tourism have in common? One rocket man.

Sam was a rocket scientist. That evening in a bar we talked about liftoffs and trajectories. I had no prior experience with his field of knowledge. He, on the other hand, lived it through and through and carried me into his world with great enthusiasm and a friendly smile. He was only in his late 20s, yet he knew so much. Our discussion was fascinating. Sam himself was fascinating. He was passionate. He wanted to change the world. And he had a plan in mind. He wanted more people to travel to space to see how beautiful and precious our … Continue reading

Only the skinny girls can wear these pants. Says who?

My friends and I went at a Robyn & Royksopp concert last August. The concert venue’s outdoor grassy area was perfect for listening and dancing to a popular Norwegian electronic band on a warm evening. Since comfort and style go hand-in-hand in my fashion book, I wore denim harem pants, a poppy-red top, and black ballet flats. I even received a compliment from a woman in her early 20s. As she danced to ambient electronic beats, she turned to me and said: “I love your pants! They are so cool!” Ok, compliments have a special page in my book too. So I … Continue reading

Give someone your prana and they will live for a day. Then what?

Who hasn’t heard a proverb about teaching a person to fish versus simply giving the fish? Whether it was someone wise in China or elsewhere in the world who immortalized it (the mighty Internet is divided on the phrase’s origin), what matters is the message: “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach him to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” There are thousands of years behind this wisdom, but as I was reminded in my recent dream, it’s applicable not only to physical matters: My boyfriend and I were walking in a dense jungle. The … Continue reading

Compassion is more important than being right

About five years ago I attended a lecture by the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama was wise and funny. The audience burst in both laughter and tears throughout his two-hour talk as we connected heart-to-heart with this extraordinary human being. And even though I don’t recall all of his insightful messages or lighthearted stories, I do remember and carried through all these years one piece of advice: Compassion is more important than being right. Last Saturday I didn’t live up to it. Here’s the situation: My very dear friend asked me to give her a ride to Dullas International Airport. We … Continue reading

Songs, flies, and epiphanies, or “this too shall pass”

*** Watch a video blog *** Felix and I got married on a freaky cold December 15, 1997 in Columbus, OH. We were both international students. Our parents were not present at the ceremony largely because we eloped. That’s what you do on a cold day in Columbus, OH, I guess. But we did have a wedding reception the following May when our parents came to the States for our graduation. That day in May didn’t start out right. My mom forgot my lacy bra and panties bought at a bridal salon with the “Mr. and Mrs. Right” print on … Continue reading