La Vida Dolce

Enrich Your Mind

We the People

We the people – 3 simple words with great significance. These words helped establish America’s founding principles of equality, inclusiveness, and unity, but with each passing day, it seems we’re straying farther from them.

How can we close this divide that we’ve allowed to open?

It’s simple…We the People – we the people stand together against inequality

We the people stand together against isolation

We the people stand together for love, truth, and peace.

We the people stand together against unjust racism and disunity.

We the people stand for a more perfect union.

We the people are stronger together, than we are separate.

We the people…

Enjoy my latest favorite Tedtalk from Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Be inspired to inspire 🙂

When Breath Becomes Air

Yesterday evening I attended a book club meeting at a fellow resident’s house where we discussed the inspiring book When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. For those who are unfamiliar with this book, it’s a memoir written by a young neurosurgeon (Paul Kalanithi) as he faces an untimely death due to lung cancer. This was my second time reading the book and I was equally entranced by Dr. Kalanithi’s writing as he grapples with facing the limits of his humanity.

How can a young man be faced with such a task? His “life” had just begun.

With every life that’s brought into the world, there’s a lesson we must learn: how to navigate this journey while experiencing love, loss, death, and life. It’s all of these moments that make us human – to feel each emotion, to think each thought, and speak each word.

Lucy Kalanithi’s Tedtalk continues to explore this topic in the aftermath of her husband’s death. I encourage you all to watch it and may it impact you as it did me.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Be inspired to inspire 🙂


Mindful Habits

habits 2How many of you, my dear readers, have habits that desperately wish you could stop? Raise your hands high for me to see! I definitely have many as well, probably enough to cover my fingers and toes 😉

I listened to this wonderful TedTalk during my recent study break that I wanted to share with y’all. Psychiatrist, Judson Brewer, concisely educates us on how mindfulness training can help break our bad habits.  What is mindfulness training?  Well, it’s basically being aware and cognizant of our mental, emotional, and physiologic states when we encounter our own personal habits.  Habits, whether positive or negative, are essentially behaviors/mind-set/feelings that we’ve acquired throughout our experiences to allow us to cope with interactions with the outside world or people. Dr. Brewer discusses how taking a few minutes to analyze these processes will help us gain greater insight into why we resort to our habitual impulses – makes perfect sense, right?!

We’re so used to our habitual actions, that we sometimes forget we’re even doing them.  For instance, a few weeks ago a friend of mine contacted me after months of non-communication.  habitsOur friendship was an emotional rollercoaster where communication would be good, but when an argument arose, we would not talk for months.  When they wanted to start the friendship again, they’d message me and I’d pretend that nothing happened, even though I hadn’t forgotten. This particular instance, I again, responded to the message and immediately said to myself “Don’t do it Danielle!!!!”, but it was too late and the reply was sent.  The following day I started to think of all the pros and cons of this friendship – honestly, the cons completely outweighed the pros, so after my own mindfulness training, I messaged the individual that I felt we should no longer communicate.  It felt difficult initially to confront the issue – my heart was racing and I had a knot in my throat – but once I got the words out, I felt my body and mind come together.  Afterwards, my body and mind began to settle and I felt a flutter of confidence re-surge.

See, the big leaps in life are wonderful and fantastic, but we must also remember the tiny strides that helped us along the way. That life event I described above, helped set my inner tone of how I want to be treated by friend, lovers, and acquaintances.  I guess mindfulness training really does work, huh? 😉

I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy reading 🙂


Check out this insightful TedTalk here:

Uncloaking PMS

PMS1Once a month, every month women are blessed with nature’s most wonderful curse, and with it comes the dreaded PMS – no, not PMS! During that time we’re depicted as fire-breathing she-dragons that should be isolated for fear of destroying the whole village. Our families, husbands, boyfriends, and guy friends dread that one week a month and try being on their best behaviors – am I right ladies? 😉 😛

We all know the symptoms of PMS: depression, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, bloating, incessant eating, etc.  The extreme of these symptoms have been classified as a psychological disorder called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) according to the DSM-5 (which is the bible for psychological professionals), but this interesting TEDtalk I found contradicts this classification.  Researchers have found that although the typical “PMS symptoms” may increase in frequency during that lovely time, there’s actually no specific evidence to qualify it as a psychological disorder.  The list of symptoms are so long and wide and the time frame is so diverse that basically every woman, possibly every person, would have PMDD at some point in their lives.  Whew, we’re in the clear ladies!

PMS2In fact, Robyn Stein DeLuca advocates that perpetuating the “PMS myth” may be lucrative for the pharmaceutical and consumer industry, but has adverse consequences for women.  The main consequence is how the myth contributes to the stereotype of women being “irrational”, “hysterical”, and “emotionally unreliable”.  Any negative emotions we may exhibit during that time are quickly invalidated as “she’s on her period”, reminding us that it’s not ok to be emotional and our thoughts/feelings aren’t taken seriously.  Ladies, let’s not hide under the cloak of PMS. Stand true to your emotions, thoughts, and feelings but channel them in a positive manner during that time.

And gentleman, arm yourself with chocolate, lots of chocolate 😉 🙂 (just kidding)


I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy reading 🙂



Oh Oklahoma!

oklahoma1Oh Oklahoma, how you’ve made me giggle.  A few weeks ago your lovely state legislature voted to ban/reduce funding for Advanced Placement (AP) US History classes because the curriculum emphasized “what is bad about America and doesn’t teach American exceptionalism” – what?!

Like many of you, I too, think my country is wonderful.  America is rich in diversity, history, and openness but let’s not forget the path that’s allowed the United States to blossom where it is now.  The path to America’s “exceptionalism” was littered with war, discrimination, and famine at some points and that should not be ignored.  The generations after us deserve to know the truth about their country: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

How can we promote American exceptionalism by “dumbing down” primary and secondary education?

Advanced Placement classes were instituted in high schools to foster critical thinking in our youths and it’s being taken away.  Knowledge is supposed to be power but this legislation is advocating mediocrity and conformity.  oklahoma4Founders of this movement stated the “course should be modified to promote ‘patriotism’ and discourage ‘civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law.”, but yet, the United States was founded on patriotism, a love for this country so deep that there was civil disorder, social strife, and disregard of the law to make it succeed.

We do not want blind patriots who only follow what they’re told.  We want thinkers, innovators, scientists, and civil servants who are patriots from within because they know the true, unaltered history of their nation.  Those who are not afraid to disagree and acknowledge the atrocities of the past, with the hope of preventing them in the future.

We are allowing our lawmakers to determine what our children learn, and in essence, alter US history.  For me, that is unacceptable.  Where is the value for education and secularism that our Founding Fathers fought for?  I think Oklahoma’s lawmakers may need a history lesson of their own, don’t you? 😉

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Happy reading 🙂


Check out the article here: Why Oklahoma Lawmakers Want to Ban AP US History

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