This is dedicated to Maya, who started college today. It’s a whole new world for her, she even cut off her high school hair in order to bring on new energy and pride. Tonight I asked her if her boyfriend gave her a pep talk before she left for school and she replied, “I didn’t need a pep talk, Mom. I was already amped and excited on my own!” Well, well, okay then! Rock on!
To Maya:

– Respect yourself. Walk, talk, think, and act with dignity. Recognize and appreciate when you receive respect.  Show respect and compassion to those you love. Next to love, respect is the best gift to give to another human. Give high value to it.

– If you’re walking down a road with a lot of chuckholes, burning fires and red flags, it’s likely time to choose a different path. Life already comes with challenges and struggles, but don’t ever subject yourself to unnecessary headaches and/or heartaches. Life should be more about joy than annoyances. Think smart and remove yourself from the situation so you can seek a smoother, more gratifying journey!

– Make the most of every experience. Ditch routine when possible. Take in a deep breath when you walk outside, listen for the songs of the birds and crickets. Notice the eye color of that cute barista at Starbucks, flirt a little, try a weird salad dressing, choose a new album at random, get your makeup done at the department store, go to the library and check out a stack of books. Go to the park, sit under a tree, spread out the books and read them.

– Love hard, love a lot, and let it be your main fuel for life. Anything not involving love is not worth doing at all. Whether it is a relationship, cleaning, singing or choosing a career – always make sure there is love, otherwise, what is the use? Don’t overanalyze or overthink about the future too much, you’ll miss out on the ‘happy’ happening right under your nose. Gobble up love now in all things you do.

– Take risks, keep the surprises coming. Bring on new experiences. People think they know you? Surprise them and show them you can be unpredictable. Reinvent yourself. Keep a journal of the amazing things you do.

– Trust your instincts! All the facts could add up to one answer, but if your gut is pulling you in a different direction, pay attention. Trust that burning feeling in your heart, it is there for a reason!
– Always, always, always, stay positive. You’ll always have naysayers – some even in your inner circle –  who will thwart your confidence. Don’t let them. Have faith that you can go after the craziest of goals, even when all the odds are stacked up against you! Know that what you think over and over in your brain is what the universe will manifest – so make it good stuff!

– Know you have the power to change any situation you are involved in. You can’t change what others do or say, but you can change how you accept and respond. There is always a way out or up. Use your resources and creativity to find it!

– Embrace education. Not only from school, but from your peers, family, even strangers. Everyone has a lesson to teach. The more you open your ears to listen, the stronger and more worldly you’ll become.

– Value people and relationships over things. Put that phone away when you are having private time with friends and family. It’s a big part of respect.

– Give thanks every day and night. Acknowledge the blessings in your life, be thankful that your challenges are not worse than they are because they can be!

– Think before you act on emotion. Sleep on a big decision. Trust me, if you act on emotion, you can’t take back your actions or words. Write down a pros and con list if you have to!

– Focus on the big picture. Every time you encounter a snarl, ask yourself how it applies to the big picture of your life. You’ll find many times it doesn’t and it’s not worth worrying about.

– Don’t let your fears take you hostage. OK, this is a line from a song you wrote, but it’s a good one!

– Never, ever EVER settle. There are times to be humble and there are times when you know you can do – and deserve – better. This can apply to a living situation, a class, a job, a romance, or even a haircut! Love and respect yourself enough to rise up to the next level, move past it, push through.

– Ditch the excuses. If you want something bad enough, most of the time, you can find a way to make it happen. If you keep making excuses, you must not want it (whatever IT is) that much.

– Let out a good cry every now and then. It’s a release! But don’t let it go on too long or too frequently.

– Family first. This is one my parents always told me. People will come and go out of your life, but family will always be there!

– Help others, pay it forward. Don’t keep scorecards, don’t judge, give without expecting something in return. It will come back around and it’ll be a nice surprise.

– Go for it! Think big and act on it. Want a job in New York City? Check the offerings. Want to travel the world? Find a way to do it. This is your one and only life. It’s a big world out there, so many juicy, tasty experiences for the taking! Soak it all up and enjoy your life – make it memorable!

This list could go on forever!

Here is a cute video that Maya made before she left for school yesterday:


Love & light,