blog > Life > Personal transformation

Even if by Misha Lyuve

Nov 26, 2015

Even if I were to list every thing I am grateful for, it would still undermine the intrinsic magic of life I am privileged to be granted a peek into

A lesson in optimism by Misha Lyuve

Oct 10, 2015

When I asked my son what’s his favorite movie, he answered: “the one I haven’t seen yet.” I am learning

The mystery of your Potential by Misha Lyuve

Mar 23, 2013

How do you know what you are capable of? Don’t even argue with me here – you have no idea. Our own potential is a mystery. It might show signs of itself here and there. But its true abundance can only be revealed in a committed courageous exploration.

If you really want to appreciate an idea of potential – look at children: their development process is all about uncovering their potential. And there is nothing more moving for their parents than seeing fruits of that – whether it is a first step, a good grade or a musical performance.

Adults, on the other hand, often either stop thinking about their own potential or narrow it down to one specific area, like career for instance. You have to look for yourself – is it that you are too tired? Busy? Not excited? Lost hope?

Let’s acknowledge this truthfully – there is something tragic about potential that is not being realized… It is like something taken away from oneself, others and the whole world – without hope to find out what it could’ve been.

Again, the easiest way to see that tragedy of the unrealized potential is by looking at children. When I was in Haiti (by the way, make sure you don’t miss my Joy of Haiti), we visited an orphanage. There was a room of 30 cribs with little people in them. It was a “better” orphanage (if any derivation of “good” could ever stand next to “orphanage”), the kids were at minimum fed and cleaned. But they spent all day lying in the cribs by themselves.  Every moment pushed them one step back in their development. It was a cemetery of potential. Heartbreaking. Tragic.

One could explain this by poverty, the recent earthquake, really nasty circumstances and that children require a loving adult to facilitate their development. But when you look at your own life – is there really any meaningful excuse for not living fully to your potential?

A judgmental jerk by Misha Lyuve

Sep 23, 2012

The bed & breakfast was clean and cozy. The owners were friendly. I mean, very friendly. To tell the truth, so freakin’ friendly, they were killing me. Do you want coffee? Smile. More toast? Smile. Eggs? Big smile. More coffee? Juice? Pancakes? Home-made granola? Smile. Smile. Smile. More coffee? Anything else you need? I tolerated this with a semi-cheerful New York smirk, but inside I was rolling my eyes so hard they were hurting.

The day was perfect. Early fall. I climbed a mountain and was rewarded with the views of lake George; they made me pause. The lake seemed so big and mysterious when I stood right in front of the water. But from the top of the mountain, it felt innocent and easy to embrace; tucked, like a child, between the woods.

I could also see that those moments when we are so vested in life’s drama look very different when we manage to observe them from above. And when I thought of myself and the couple from the B&B from the top of that mountain, I looked as a petty judgmental jerk. And why exactly I had to get so engaged in being annoyed with those people, who at least did me no harm and at best provided me with a great service?

They say “judge not and you will not be judged”; that judgements use much of our energy that could be applied in more productive ways; that they stay in the way of us seeing, understanding and loving others and rob us from blissful moments of affinity. And hell yeh, more than anything we dislike when others judge us, misunderstand our intentions and don’t give us a chance. As you, I know all this too well. But often I just forget. But when I am aware, I can let a judgement go as a feather off my palm on a windy day. It is always liberating.

Who do you judge?

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  Matthew 7:1-5

do NOt be yourself by Misha Lyuve

Aug 5, 2012


Don’t be yourself. When Oscar Wilde said that everyone else was taken, he was kidding. And if you think that everyone else is taken, you just have poor imagination.

After all you’ve been “yourself, whatever that means, all your life. And what is “yourself” anyway? – a mere collection of your incohesive ideas about you. Like what kind of a person you are or are not, and why you do or don’t do, and how you should or should not. (By the way, those might have nothing to do with reality and not even serve you.) In other words, your yourself is a limiting construct of a feverish mind. Or simply a box. Hello and welcome to “yourself.”


What’s on the other side is freedom to be. Though venturing off old familiar yourself could be dangerous. You might fail. Or get confused. In Hamingway’s story “Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”, the main character for once stepped out of “himself and got shot. God gracious. There was also an incident of a man who insisted he was Albert Einstein and that didn’t end well either.

So does it make sense to hang on to “yourself”? Definitely not, especially when your “yourself” gets dull, moody, bored, scared and nasty. In spite of all obvious dangers, I invite you not to be “yourself.” After all Francis Macomber’s happy life, though short, was the only time he truly lived.  

And I want to leave you with the theme song of one of my favorite movies “Harold and Maude”

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
’cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are

So who are you going to be?

Saving butterflies by Misha Lyuve

May 7, 2012

Last weekend I spent at the beach befriending butterflies.

Butterflies are like celebrities – they are known to be bright and perfect, freely roaming in beautiful places. But that day on the beach I saw many helpless miserable creatures stuck in the sand with their wings wet, shaggy and losing their colors; in other words, completely not living up to their reputation. They probably got unexpectedly caught in the rain and ocean winds. I don’t know the latest butterfly trends that well – they might’ve come here with a romantic idea of spending their last moments of life with the view of the ocean.


I picked up a few from wet sand that still showed signs of life and carried them on my palm. It turned out, butterflies had personalities. Some of them were very tranquil, some restless and even naughty. They explored my palm, and most adventurous ones even my jacket. Some looked like they were taking a nap; others attempted to dust sand off their faces or turn around to dry their wings from different sides.

One butterfly, after getting her rest and obtaining new strength, suddenly opened her wings up and flew away. She made a few rounds in the air first turning into a black dot and then disappearing. The rest of the creatures didn’t follow that example. I ended up dropping them on a local flower bush. I’m not sure of their destiny, though I still think of them.

Was I a savior? Playing a butterfly god? Or a sentimental fool interfering with the nature and natural course of their lives? An ignorant loser that spoiled their last wish?

I am likely not to find the answers, but through this experience I got reminded yet again how everything is connected and endlessly repeated. Thank you butterflies!


And Life is NOT going to be the same by Misha Lyuve

Apr 8, 2012

When was the last time you experienced something that made you feel like life is not going to be the same? I say these moments define the level of your aliveness.

… I am hanging out with a year and 2 month old Brooke. She can’t walk by herself yet and for the past several weeks she has been thoroughly observing her twin sister’s moves. Brooke can grab on to big fingers of an adult and walk like that. But this time around I’m taking away my hands. She stands for a second semi-puzzled. And then she makes her first step by herself. And then another one. And another one.

What I found most profound in this situation is the expression on Brooke’s face as she took her first step. There was joy in its purest sense. There was a clear understanding of consequences of this event – the toddler somehow unmistakably knew that her life wasn’t going to be the same…

Can I for a second be jealous of children? – they are lucky to experience these transformational moments in abundance. As adults we require, for the most part, a very conscious effort to reach them. They come with awkwardness of doing something new or something old in a completely new way. And those new ways come with self-consciousness of graceless falls and embarrassments of getting up, that youngsters don’t have a concern for. I’ve just experienced it yesterday, working for the first time in a recording studio – but this might warrant a separate blog posting.

Looking at Brooke making her first step – please answer in the comment section, what did you do that made you feel like life is not going to be the same?

A blurry photo by Stephanie Woo, Brooke’s & Mackenzie’s mother and a founder of the wisest parenting blog Montessori on the Double.

An Enlightening Ride by Misha Lyuve

Mar 17, 2012

Every New Yorker knows how important it is for your cab driver to take the shortest and the quickest path to your destination.

So on my way from Washington Square to Upper West Side, my cabbie takes 6th avenue up – that would raise anyone’s eyebrows. But when he is starting to make a left turn on 47th street, I can’t help but scream out: “Are you really taking me through Times Square???”

As we are stumbling through traffic among other cabs, vans, ridiculousness (pardon my judgment) of stretched lemos and big eyes of overwhelmed visitors, I am fuming. “What was he thinking?”, “This is outrageous”, “How dare he be so disrespectful of my time” and even “How unprofessional of him” – the guy is about to get it from me.

…Suddenly my mind stops for a second, as if I get pulled out of my head into the space from which I can watch my cab, Times Square and my upset self from the outside. And I realize that I don’t know who this person taking me home is, how long he’s been driving in Manhattan and what kind of day he had. And I can also clearly see different paths in which my life can unfold from this moment on – like me giving him a passionately condescending speech and then being upset myself for the rest of the evening; or him throwing me out of the cab in the middle of Times Square; or me joking with him about the hurdles of New York City driving; or finding out where he is from; or just not saying a word.

When I land back into the back seat of the yellow cab, I’m no longer upset. There is nothing to do or to say, just to acknowledge that sometimes I can feel so much, at the moment it seems so true and wants to get expressed so fast – but it’s better to keep it to myself.

Thank you.

Of Grave Dangers of Inspiration by Misha Lyuve

Feb 5, 2012

In this short essay I would like to warn you of dangers of Inspiration.

After suffering for over a week without Inspiration over writing my next blog posting, I decided to go cold turkey and pursue my writing without it. I apologize that this might sound more as a warning on a medicine bottle than romantic writing you might’ve expected.

I will start with a confession: the past year I rode the journey of writing ART BEAUTY LIFE blog on ups and downs of Inspiration. If you experienced Inspiration before, you are likely to be familiar with its short term effects that result in mood enhancement, increased productivity and feeling as if you have “wings”.

The typical trouble situation comes when Inspiration doesn’t arrive or, even worse, leaves you hanging in the middle of the process. It’s like getting dumped dry and naked on a highway. It is very common in this situation to experience withdrawal symptoms similar to the ones described by individuals addicted to certain external substances.

Intense withdrawal reaction from Inspiration can push reasonable and sane people to take some questionable steps. If they don’t find Inspiration in decent socially accepted places, like museums, symphony halls, sunsets and mountain views, in despair they can turn their search to mundane aspects of daily life, for instance examining patterns on sewer lids (see Where is your Picasso??) or of cigarette butts in ashtrays.

I am sure it is apparent now how the co-dependency on Inspiration can take Inspirationoholics into the downfall spiral of self-distruction and disapointments.

Below are three tested tips that will help deal with Inspiration

– If you feel the very first symptoms of Inspiration, engage your will power to distract yourself and stay away from any productive activities till Inspiration passes

– If Inspiration has effected an area of your life, do your best to contain it by not spreading it to others

– If Inspiration took over your life, please stay away from people, especially the ones you like – it might be contagious

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