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Posts from the ‘Happiness’ Category

Open Doors

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell

Yesterday, I rushed to get ready to drop the car off for a 7:30 am appointment. I skipped writing morning pages (uninterrupted stream of consciousness writing prescribed by author Julia Cameron), multi-tasked through morning meditation (Insight Timer – the best app that makes mindfulness doable) and rushed through strength training (burpees still suck).

I’ve been doing all of these morning rituals long enough to know that when I don’t do them, the “open doors” during the day will let out the heat, wasting my energy on circumstances and my interpretation of other people, rather than letting in fresh air and light in to facilitate flow and ease. Best-case scenario thinking of optimism turns rapidly into worst-case scenario thinking of pessimism.

We know our triggers and still we let them trigger us every time when we don’t anchor our thoughts and “GPS” our actions for the day through habits and rituals.

This year, it feels like all of the doors have been closed. But if we look deeper and longer, we realize that there are new doors that we can open to find blessings and gifts right in the middle of a pandemic.

Yesterday, the news announced a third vaccine. There is real light at the end of this long tunnel, as there always is during all tunnel sections of life. If we can find joy and light amidst a pandemic and be grateful, we have discovered the most important vaccine ever! Our joy and happiness are rooted within ourselves, in our control the entire time.

We choose daily whether we will be victims of circumstances, people, our own narrow thinking, limiting beliefs or even a pandemic. We have the responsibility, honor and gift of choosing which open doors to walk through, which ones to close and to keep searching to find new doors.

No matter what, believe that hope, joy and light have the strength to not only hold you but to also catapult you forward into transformation, becoming and fruition. So many beautiful doors. The cocoon always births the butterfly. Always.

No Strings Attached

“There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free.” – Walter Cronkite

We tell ourselves to “let go” or “let go and let God,” but then we don’t fully trust the process or God. We create a safety net, a back-up plan. Like a yo-yo, we let it go but keep a string tied to it so it keeps coming back at us. Letting go means cutting the string and releasing it fully.

Until we actually let go of past hurts, unforgiveness, offense, disappointment, judgment, fear and assumptions, they will continue to come back to ensure that the future is a replica of the past and today is lost gathering stones that weigh us down, stuck in the abyss of false narratives and comfort of justification.

When we let go, no strings attached, we create a space for gratitude, delight, awe, transformation, joy, peace and freedom.

Rewrite your story by changing the narrative. The first step is to actually let go and take one step into new territory, into the wide-open space of possibility found beyond and within each of us when we dare to release what was to move into what can be.

Assume the best in others and yourself and cut the strings that bind. Move on, adventure ahead.

“Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.” – Voltaire

Snow or Snowman

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

It snowed this week, and the lamenting began. Snow in October? It’s too early. Winter is going to be too long. One more thing in a year of constant change, fear and uncertainty. What’s next? (I have my money on the locusts.) No doubt if there ever was a year in recent history to complain, worry and be cynical about, 2020 is the winner.

We believe that things happen “to” us rather than “for” us. A simple yet profound shift from “to” to “for.” Just because we don’t understand “why” doesn’t mean there’s not a reason, one that will be revealed in time with the requirement of perspective, distance and reflection.

We forgo today’s opportunity for joy and meaning in pursuit of the illusive and perfect “someday” which does not exist or the “past” where we remember only but a slice that serves our narrative of the “good old days.”

In addition to the snow this week, it was a week filled with non-stop technology problems at work. Like the weather, also out of our control. My nephew Liam came over Thursday for a few hours. He immediately asked me to go out to build a snowman and make snow angels.

Kids, in their infinite wisdom until we screw them up with “adulting,” see the snowman and the angels in an October snow. They run into it rather than away from it. They see the “for” rather than the “to.” The early snow happened for them so they could build a snowman and lay staring up at the sky moving their legs and arms in delight to bring angels to earth.

The choice each of us needs to make daily is whether we see the snow or the snowman. It determines whether we will live present in each moment grateful for the gifts and blessings that we are swimming in, even in a pandemic. “to” or “for”? I’m going for the “for” rather than “to” as much as I can. And when I forget, I have a snowman and snow angel from my 4 year old life coach Liam to remind me of the best choice of “for.”

Choose

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

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

Happiness is a choice, a daily one. Regardless of circumstances, others and our own wandering aimless thoughts, we can go deeper within and rise above. Be mindful with your intentions and actions. Hope and conviction beyond the obvious into the unseen.

It’s that simple and that complex. Children and dogs have mastered it. The student really is the teacher. Learn the lesson. Do the work. Choose happy.

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” – Helen Keller

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

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