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Posts from the ‘Happiness’ Category

Do the Work

“I stopped waiting for the world to give me what I wanted; I started giving it to myself.” – Byron Katie

“Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon, nor too late. You don’t have to like it…it’s just easier if you do.” – Byron Katie

I always listen to one of three podcasts on my training runs. Cathy Heller’s Don’t Keep Your Day Job, Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic and Joyce Meyer’s Enjoying Everyday Life. Books, music, podcasts pull us out of our own thoughts to explore, question and ponder.

The interview this week on Don’t Keep Your Day Job with Byron Katie, The Work was filled with wonderful insights including four questions to ask yourself to change the narrative you tell yourself and the power to change it to serve you better:

  1. “Is it true?”
  2. “Can I absolutely know this is true?”
  3. “How do I react when I believe this thought?”
  4. “Who would I be without this thought?” Then turn it around and say “What is the opposite?”

A few other takeaways:

  1. You are your own way out. It begins and ends with you.
  2. Don’t feel guilty for believing what you believe.
  3. Freedom and happiness are your birthright.

We choose our own thoughts so we have the power to change our world. Explore abundance, create your days, see the brilliance in the petal of a flower.

Do the work and carve the life you deserve.

The Right Ladder

“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

“Make life your playground, not your battlefield.” – Ormond McGill

I’ve been writing most posts at the end of the day, keeping the daily “streak” going. Today will be an 89-day streak. Daily journaling has been an important part of keeping a positive mindset and being present in the classroom of life.

While nighttime is a good time for reflection, it’s also a time when we’re tired and called to rest. As a result, the posts have been shorter, a bit more surface skimming, more mechanical. So rather than merely going through the motions, I’m going to change it up to morning posts for a while to go a little deeper.

In the morning, when the world is new again, if we choose to lay down yesterday, we are offered the gift of a fresh start. We can get our ladder on the right wall by setting our intentions to be present, grateful and engaged. So rather than being tossed around by circumstances, spinning thoughts and those “irritating” people who keep showing up each day to bug us, we can go beneath the surface into the depth of life which is found in connection.

When we lead with kindness, empathy and active listening, suddenly circumstances shift and that irritating person turns out to be someone who’s struggling just like you. Our world changes when we change our perspective and get on the right ladder.

There are many lessons to be learned daily, joy to be had and playgrounds to be played on. Enjoy today on purpose and cast light.

The Tipping Point

“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.” – William Wordsworth

The lilacs are at the tipping point of bloom. When it’s time, the buds will break open releasing sweet bold refreshing fragrance to welcome spring home. We don’t know when the lilacs will bloom, but they always do. Their time is short and they make the most of it.

Plant. Cultivate. Bloom.

A Few of My Favorite Things

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. – Steve Jobs

No matter the circumstances, we have a choice to lean in or bury our head, to smile or frown, to embrace or shun, to hold tight or let go. It is your choice. Suffering is optional.

Find and hold those people and things that rock your world and never let them go. They are here to show us the way. Hold tight through the storms.

We are so much bigger than the storms and stronger than the waves. Keep afloat, head up and find joy in today. For that is all we are promised. From Blake flying high to Liam’s morning zoom calls as my favorite remote worker, to Como Conservatory from the outside looking in to Sasha (Samoyed) and Abby (Golden Retriever) running full throttle through the woods on a spring, cloudy day, SEIZE this very moment and hold tight to your favorite things. Blessings in disguise.

Happy Bird

“If you want to be happy, be.” – Leo Tolstoy

My nephew Liam loves going to Target. I enjoy taking him and watching him pick out a toy. Our last trip, he picked an Angry Birds playset. In addition to the ritual hanging on the side of the cart through the store, he politely asks the cashier for a sticker when we are checking out. This trip, he hit jackpot and got four stickers. His forehead was an obvious place to put one of them.

As he was examining his new toy, I asked him if he was an “angry bird.” He promptly responded “no, I’m a happy bird.” No truer words have ever been spoken. Liam is innately happy, joyful and an empathetic soul and spirit. He generously shares that light with all who cross his path. For a 3.5 year old, he is a sage, figuring out the secret of life.

Practicing and mastering optimism, joy and delight are the only reasonable approaches to daily living. Anything else just leaves us angry birds. No hesitation – be a happy bird!

Commercial Break

“When you are grateful – when you can see what you have – you unlock blessings to flow in your life.” – Suze Orman

“Sometimes you need to press pause to let everything sink in.” – Sebastian Vettel

With Netflix and other streaming services, we can “binge” watch series one after another without being bothered with commercial interruptions of network and cable television. Sitting for hours on autopilot without stopping to take a break or breather.

With old network television, before DVRs, commercial breaks would allow you to get up and go to the kitchen or let the dog out, etc.

We need more “commercial breaks” in our day to get out of the trance of binge living, checked out of the reality of joy and delight. Whatever you are binging – entertainment, work, lousy relationships – take a break and pull your head up to see the world in its entirety, overflowing with possibility. There’s more right in front and available to you than you dare to believe.

This is your “commercial break” to stop and choose differently. To get off autopilot and start directing the plane of your life, to aim in the direction of your dreams and purpose.

Abby, Sasha, a run in the woods, friends and family, writing are my “commercial breaks.” Reminders to stop and steep myself in gratitude. Our tomorrow is determined by today’s decisions of how we spend our time. When say “no” to more work, no to mind-numbing entertainment and no to negative thinking, we discover joy in ordinary moments. Weave more “commercial breaks” into your day. Be fully present and deeply aware of gifts you should open and enjoy. Binge on gratitude and joy, so worthy of our time and attention.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

Forward, Full Speed Ahead

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” – Marcus Aurelius

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” – Marcus Aurelius

We spend so much time running FROM things – change, the past, regrets. What if we invested half of that time running TO things, head on, full speed, filled with optimism? Planning for the best-case scenario rather than settling for worst-case thinking that steals our joy.

My latest article on Start3Things is on releasing the vise grip of limiting beliefs. Change your thoughts, change the depth and quality of your days.

One of my favorite daily activities is to run the dogs up to a wooded path where they can run off leash. Sasha wanders and explores while Abby stares until I throw the ball. She chases every ball like it’s the first time she’s ever chased a ball. Rigorous, focused, disciplined play.

Stop running from the dark and run swiftly to the light. Hurl yourself forward into awe and wonder.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

8 Percent

“Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Last week, I received a certificate of recognition from the Guideposts Foundation for being a member since 1986 – 34 years. I joined after reading the founder Norman Vincent Peale’s seminal book The Power of Positive Thinking. I’ve returned to this book regularly and it is foundational to who I am, want to be and fall short of often. It really defines what Cast Light aspires to be – encouragement and optimism in the midst of all that life throws at us. Joy can transcend our circumstances when we think, act and see differently, choosing gratitude and abundance over cynicism and scarcity.

“The way to happiness; keep your heart free from hate, your mind free from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, scatter sunshine, forget self, and think of others.” – Norman Vincent Peale

One of the main things that steals our daily joy is worry. “Someone actually did a study demonstrating the pointlessness of much of our worries. The researcher found that 40% of the things people worried about never happened; 30 percent concerned old decisions that couldn’t be altered; 12 percent were about other people’s perceptions that may or may not even be true, and 10 percent were related to health, which worsens when you worry. Them remaining 8 percent of worries might possibly be called legitimate,” stated Norman Vincent Peale.

92% of worry is about things that never happen, the past, false perceptions and health. Guard your joy daily and diligently direct your thoughts. Release worry, restore your energy and invest your power in worthy pursuits.

Free your mind and go be a light in the world! No worries!

Pay Attention

“When you take your attention into the present moment, a certain alertness arises. You become more conscious of what’s around you, but also, strangely, a sense of presence that is both within and without.” – Eckhart Tolle

The only thing that is real is this very moment. The past is done, it has had its turn, served its purpose and need not be repeated. The future is unknown, despite best-laid plans. Distractions steal our days, our years, our life.

Pay attention to the abundance of gifts hidden in plain sight. See the people you pass by unnoticed, redirect your thoughts that wander to someday, pursue rapt awareness and gratitude of what is right now, imperfections, complexities and all.

I hung out with my nephew Liam tonight on his request to come see me. Be still my heart. We went to Target to get a few things (a few toys made it into the cart). When I was taking him out of the car, he noticed that I had a new jacket and told me he liked it.

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” – Pablo Picasso

Three years old and he has more awareness and empathy than most adults that I encounter on a daily basis. Empathy is the greatest gift we can instill in our children and re-instill in ourselves daily.

Pay attention to others, to yourself and to the messy beauty abound while you are right in the middle of it. Ordinary moments are the thread that make up an extraordinary life. Eyes, heart, mind and spirit wide open to take it all in.

PAY ATTENTION followed by a thank you and AMEN.

The Focused Life

“Living the focused life is not about trying to feel happy all the time…rather, it’s about treating your mind as you would a private garden and being as careful as possible about what you introduce and allow to grow there.”― Winifred Gallagher

With rapt attention, the bee moves into the center to fulfill her purpose. Pick your flower and dig in.

“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few.” – Emily Dickinson

Care for and guard your garden. Clarity comes in slowness, unfolding in gentle solitude of an open heart. Wonder, possibility and awe follow.

Never stop asking or answering Mary Oliver’s question “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

The focused, wild and precious life. One attention-rich day at a time.

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