Happiness

 
 

Kicking the Bucket List

Friday Letter to My Kids – May 2018.

Dear J, J, L and L,

Surprise! I don’t have an actual bucket list.

two green pails on ground

Photo by hitesh choudhary on Pexels.com

Hopes and dreams, definitely. Mostly the sort left unspoken. Something about saying a wish out loud takes away its power, I suppose. Call me superstitious, or weird.

There has been this one very strong desire. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much I personally could do to make that happen. That’s an ongoing theme in my life. But in this case the wish, the dream, the desire, was truly out of my control. All I could do was watch, for the most part.

Of Seeds and Seedlings

I planted a few seeds here and there and waited to see what would happen. I did what was in my power to help those seeds grow, watering, weeding, a bit of fertilizer.

From when you were little, I let you know that I thought going to college and getting a degree was really, really, really important. As you got older, and as life unfolded the raggedy, unpredictable way life does, the importance of a college education became even clearer and stronger in my mind. Without nagging, I hope, I reminded you from time to time how critical that was.

Implicit in that was that you’d get decent grades in high school and graduate. I celebrated those high school graduations with pride and tears.

Just a A Few Years Later… In the Eternal Scheme of Things

And now, nineteen years after the first of you graduated from high school, all four of you have Bachelor’s Degrees.

That one sentence doesn’t say enough. It makes it sound magical and simple, which I know it wasn’t. Those degrees you’ve earned have arrived after tears, and heartache, sweat, late nights, all-nighters, dozens of different occupations, roommates, spouses, children, worry, debt, stops, starts, u-turns, illnesses, battles, winding roads, weddings, a divorce, unexpected detours, and plenty of life’s storms. Each one of you pushed through whatever obstacles came your way and you kept trying, kept working, kept keeping on.

I’ll bet you never knew you were making one of my dreams come true.

FullSizeRender-17The degree isn’t simply for me to brag about, or for you to have some piece of paper to hang on the wall. The college degree has always been about the doors it can open for you, the opportunities it can make available and the freedom it can potentially provide. It can save you from a lifetime of back-breaking physical work. It can give you peace of mind and a fallback position. That’s what I really wanted for you. Now that you have those degrees, your own dreams are more within reach.

This is the Part Where Words Fall Short

I’m so happy for each of you, and so incredibly proud of you.

Now my only dream for you is that you find happiness and joy in whatever lies ahead. I’m pretty sure you’ll do just fine.

All my love,

Mom

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Bluebird of Happymess

““`

“Life is a one time offer, use it well.”

 

 

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Categories: Celebration, Happiness, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Just Called to Say I Love You

FullSizeRender-3 copyFew things in life cause a person to contemplate their own mortality more than the death of someone they’re close to.

My friend, Kathy, was only ten years old when her parents were killed in a drunk driving accident. Needless to say, death sort of hardwired itself into her head at such an early age. That explains why at the back of every journal or diary she ever had she wrote out her funeral plans. They changed a bit over the years. Those plans got more specific at a certain point in her life.

Irony stepped in big time with Kathy when multiple myeloma kicked in. I hate irony. And I hate cancer. But those are two different topics altogether.

Having terminal cancer will bring up the topic of death and dying in an unrelenting way. Kathy and I chatted about it the way most people talk about plans for the weekend. Mostly I was always in denial. She never was. Not ever.

Why do I bring up Kathy? It’s been two years today since she passed away. Two years to think about her, to avoid thinking about her, to process what she taught me, to avoid processing what she taught me. Have I come to any conclusions? No.

I know this much. She wouldn’t want me moping around and being gloomy. She’d want me to celebrate life and live it large and crazy. She’d kick my butt if she thought I was sad in the least bit today.

So, fine. I won’t mope or mourn. I will, however tell you the two things that keep popping into my head.

The weirdest of the two is a Stevie Wonder song. As far as I remember she wasn’t a big fan of Stevie. It’d make more sense if a Beatles song kept running through my mind. But no, no Beatles. It’s this one:

“I just called to say I love you.”

At first I thought that’s what I’d say to her if I could call her up in heaven, collect, of course, and have a chat. “Hey girl! What’s up? I just called to say I love you.” After all that’s how I’d say goodbye whenever I left her house. “Love you! I’ll see you later.” It’s even how I said goodbye the last time.

But then, I thought, maybe she’s trying to call me! Now there’s an idea, huh? I’m sure they don’t get unlimited calls and texts from heaven, but maybe an occasional one on special occasions?  Who knows. It could happen.

The other thought for today is from a photo I took on a snowy walk about three weeks ago. It’d be what she’d tell me to do. What she’d tell everyone she knows and loves to do.

It’s this:

FullSizeRender-3

She was always all about the happy.

So to honor her, I’ll try to be all about the happy, too.

And since we’re on the topic, I’d want to be remembered as a happy person too.  But don’t go playing any Stevie Wonder songs at my funeral.

 

 

Categories: Cancer, Death, Friendship, Happiness, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

North by Northwest, Then East Toward the Sunny Side

Friday Letter to my Kids – January 9, 2015

Dear J, J, L and L,

We moved to the Northwest when only two of you had joined the family. What an adventure for all of us. That many years ago cell phones didn’t really exist yet. Surprisingly, we didn’t experience any car problems, which if you recall our travel history, probably made it to the record books. Driving that far with two little kids on my own (your Dad was already working and had found us a place to live) helped me feel like a mini-rockstar.

Happiness!

Happiness!

I’ll never forget when we pulled up to the local playground to wait for your Dad to bring keys to the new apartment. You both hopped out of the car, relieved to finally escape and stretch your legs. Little J immediately walked over to a boy on the monkey bars and said, “We just moved here. Will you be my friend?”

That floored me. What a direct and honest thing to say. Luckily, four year olds aren’t all tangled up in social customs and nonsense. They just say what they think, do what they feel, go with the mood.

Both of you made friends with kids of all ages when we lived in that first apartment, which helped me get to know the adults associated with those kids. You made the big change to a really new place so much easier. (As a side note, do you remember picking wild blackberries in the woods nearby? I think I might still have a scar or two.)

We added Big L to the family while we lived there. Then we moved a couple of years later, forty miles north. I loved that restaurant we went to that had the little train that ran on tracks suspended from the ceiling. They served this appetizer called an onion loaf. Basically fried onion rings packed into a bread loaf shape. But my tastebuds sidetrack us here.

We still have a cassette tape (which I should transfer to digital) of a typical morning there. For some reason there’s a cat in the house, although we didn’t own one, must have been a neighbor’s. I love hearing your voices, our discussion about needing lunches packed or buying lunches that day. Big L saying “stupid cat,” over and over again. And figuring out who was walking or riding with who. I think it might’ve been raining (ha, like that’s a wild guess for up there, huh?). Ah, good times.

  • Big L discovered knots when we lived there. She used to disappear into my closet and tie all the shoes together, which made getting ready to go somewhere an interesting exercise.
  • Big J played Lego’s every single day with, what was his name? And took shortcuts through the  golf course to visit your friend whose Dad worked for Nike.
  • Little J fell in love with the movie “Beaches” and ate candy bars and drank Cokes every afternoon with her best friend Sara.

I had a friend there too. I don’t remember her name. Maybe if I dug out an old journal I’d find it, but I don’t think I want to remember a name. We weren’t friends all that long. One day, out of the blue for me, she basically said,”I can’t be friends with you anymore. I’m trying really hard to be more optimistic and positive and you’re always so negative.”

Talk about a punch to the gut.

Even now I kind of feel this wave of nausea thinking about it.

You know how you sometimes walk along somewhere and all of a sudden you see yourself in an unexpected mirror? It throws you off balance a little. I know I carry around this picture in my head of how I sound and look. But then when I see the real me in a photo or a mirror they don’t match up. What my friend said was like a mirror thrown in front of me.

I think we need those unexpected mental views of ourselves that honest outsiders can provide. I try to be open to their perspective.

I had no idea I was such a downer until she said that. I thought one of the things friends did was share honest thoughts and feelings, even the negatives. Maybe I over shared. Probably she hit the bullseye there. Back in those days I probably rode the negative train, most of the time.

I wish I could say I changed immediately. More than likely I got defensive. More than likely I moped. More than likely I didn’t try to make friends again for a while.

In fact, I’m thinking I probably didn’t really change for the better until Oklahoma a year after Little L joined our gang. Do the math there. That’s a long time as a dweeby, self-absorbed, cloudy skies sort of person.

Sunny is good.

Sunny is good.

I could hope that there’s some chemical equation that makes positive ions/attitudes weigh more than negative ones and that things have balanced out. I think they might not have. For me it’s a nearly constant struggle to “keep on the sunny side of life.” (<= click to hear the song)

What does any of this have to do with how this letter started out?

You all have weathered change and challenge with such bravery and grace. You must have arrived here preprogrammed with awesome genes. You step up, state the facts and take action. Look at you!

When I grow up I want to be like you: open and straightforward with what I think, willing to try new things, brave enough to ask for what I want and need, creatively finding ways around obstacles and difficulties. And optimistic! Yup, you each see life as a bright, good thing.

Thanks for the great examples you are to me. I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to have worked the other way around. At least that’s probably what the parenting books all say.

This I know for certain. I’m positive that I love you.

Always,

Mom

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~~~

“What day is it?”
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

~ A.A. Milne

 

Categories: Friday Letters, Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Happy Side of the Airport

I hung out today on the happy side of the airport.

Which side is that you ask?

Why the arrival side, of course.

By MSgt Mark C. Olsen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By MSgt Mark C. Olsen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

People pour down the walkway like milk from a tipped over gallon in little wavelets. Finally, blessedly, released from the tube of recycled air and far too intimate perimeters I could practically see bruised personal space bubbles fluff up and stretch. As they walked toward luggage, toward loved ones, toward whatever they flew here for, a sort of relaxation visibly enveloped nearly every person.

Hey, i even saw two smiling TSA agents. They must have just ended their shifts, because I’m fairly certain they aren’t allowed to smile on the job. At least, I’ve seen very few who do. (Can’t be an easy job, not sure I’d smile either.)

Three dogs also walked up from the deplaning area. Not by themselves. No, humans’ accompanied them. One rode very stylishly on a faux leopard skin doggie suitcase, its little head peeking out at the crowds. Oddly, all three dogs I saw were small white poodle-ish pups. Made me wonder why. I suppose bigger dogs either aren’t allowed or the owner would have to pay full fare for a seat just for the pooch.

I wondered what you’d do if you have doggie allergies and you get on a plane with one of these unusual passengers? Can you request a no doggie flight, like some people can request a no peanut flight?

Just curious. But not curious enough to research it.

By CPT William Carraway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By CPT William Carraway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The happy side of the airport most often involves hellos, hugs, kisses, smiles, laughter and cheering. Lots of good stuff going on there. Homecomings almost always feel like a blanket settling on your shoulders. I like that.

Of course, not every passenger gets a greeting in the terminal by someone they know. Some rush past all the mushiness like it’s a disease they might catch. Others dodge the huddled groups and couples with little notice or concern. And often, there’s a taxi, bus, shuttle, another flight, or a car waiting to take them away from this odd place of comings and goings. I would never refer to the arrival lanes outside as a happy place, even though happiness surely happens. It’s private and sheltered, not public. Plus, there’s too much exhaust, too much cigarette smoke, too much noise, too much rushing. it doesn’t feel happy. Not like inside feels happy.

I meant to take pictures, to better illustrate what I experienced as I waited almost an hour. ( I was a little overly excited to get there, and I also overestimated how long it would take to navigate rush hour traffic.) But somehow, even taking iPhone photos seemed intrusive and kind of, I don’t know, rude, I suppose. I attempted a photo of the dog/leopard skin bag but it was blurry and I felt sheepish afterwards. I don’t think I’m very stealthy. And I know I don’t want some stranger snapping my photo at an airport, or any public place for that matter.

I’ve always enjoyed people watching. I find it exceptionally rewarding at an airport both for the variety and the amount of people. Today’s excursion provided some vicarious joy while I waited. And then, my own giddy greetings and hugs made the day completely wondrous.

If you ever find yourself in need of a boost and an airport’s handy, I’d recommend a visit to the happy side.

Categories: Happiness | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

It’s Really Gratituesday Every Day

One of a hundred sunrises I enjoyed.

One of a hundred sunrises I enjoyed.

It’s Gratituesday! I wrote this a while ago hoping to sneak in a quick write before a certain one-year old woke up from a late nap and before a three-year old moved on to a noisier, less productive project. Turns out I abandoned this and just today, a month later I picked it up again. Now it’s nearly November, but I still feel thankful for a Summer enjoyed.

One month snapshot of from my Gratitude App.

One month snapshot of from my Gratitude App.

Favorites

Looking back over the summer in my Gratitude App, it turns out I’m often grateful for those two little people. Also turns out I’m frequently thankful for a favorite six-month old and a favorite thirteen-year old, too.

Walks

And walks. I took a bunch of those this summer, in spite of the heat. And because of the heat I went early enough that I ended up grateful for sunrises nearly every day. Pretty much any activity that took me outside made my gratitude list, family reunion, camping, time on a porch swing, swimming, picnics, outdoor dining, gardening, yard work.

That's a lot of rain for the Sahuaros to drink up.

That’s a lot of rain for the Sahuaros to drink up.

Rain, Oh My

The rain made itself known more than a few times and I’m always grateful for that, even when it comes four inches at a time. But then, my house didn’t get flooded like others in nearby towns did.

Sleep

Not the least bit surprising, sleep came in as a big winner in the frequently appearing in my gratitude list contest. Probably number one if I took the time to actually count. Right after food, bread and chocolate.

Work, the Volunteer Variety

The surprise that showed up often as something that adds light to my life falls in the volunteer work category. You’d think that wouldn’t get mentioned, but I always find myself helped more by helping someone than any amount of help I’ve given.

Quaking Aspen. I like to think of it as a family tree.

Quaking Aspen. A family tree.

Family

Time with family topped the summer gratitude list. Extended family, my kids and their spouses, my four favorites, their pets and of course, MSH.

What didn’t land on the lists very often? Things.

Things.

Should I be more grateful for STUFF? I don’t know. Probably, yes.

I don’t often list as Gratitudes all the luxuries I live with like a washer, dryer, electricity, a home, a safe neighborhood, a working air-conditioned vehicle, a soft bed, plenty of food, clean and copious amounts of drinking water. Do I take them for granted? I hope not. Maybe I view them as background to what seems really important like people or experiences. Maybe I should verbalize some gratitude for those as well.

Proof

Surely I basked in a summer of blessings. I’m glad I kept track of those daily joys. Otherwise, I might have looked back over what looks from this distance, like merely another hot summer endured. Instead I have months worth of happy thoughts and proof that life smiled on me.

And I smiled back.

Condensed sunshine.

Condensed sunshine.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happiness Cheerleaders

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m thankful for my very cool, very chill, big brother. His example of cheerfulness and optimism blows me away. I wish you could all meet him.  en joy not endureMy siblings and I have a running online discussion going. It started out as a handy way to keep tabs on Dad and Mom since Mom’s last hospitalization. It’s evolved into a kind of self-help group as well a way for keeping in touch with each other.

I know we’ve never communicated as well as we have this past year or so. We even include spouses in the discussions, so we get multiple points of view on things. It’s always supportive, educational and often funny. Yeah, we even disagree from time to time. And that’s okay, too. It’s real.

Not long ago, in answer to one of the sibs concerns, my oldest brother responded in a surprising rapid-fire response of images.

These very images, in fact, every image on this page today:

 

That’s only a few of them. Here’s some more:

Those showed up on the messenger feed bam, bam, bam, like he already had them right there ready to shoot out at any threatening negatives. Pretty impressive.

His wife, the most cheerful, energetic person I’ve ever met, chimed in on the discussion with this, “Just so you all know we have these gems and more posted ALL over our house!!!” I’d love to see the rest of them. I suppose I’m overdue for a visit.

talk about joys

This one had the biggest impact on me.

“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” ~ Rita Schiano

Isn’t that mostly what you encounter when you watch, read or listen to the news? All these problems to be faced, figured out and fixed. It’s part of why I had to step away from so much input from the news media.

As part of this same conversation my brother also said, “I watch some news but counter it with at least 4X Disney or Pixar or Stupid People doing funny stuff.” He quotes animated movies all the time. “Put your hands up Maurice, it’s more fun that way!” I think that might count as his favorite, but I could be wrong.

water glass fullMy other favorite picture he posted looks like this:

I like the twist on the classic optimist versus pessimist question.

I personally tend to lean heavily toward a nearly-empty glass most of the time, which seems weird. If you knew me you’d be surprised to hear that. But Depression can do that to you.  So can hard times that follow seemingly one after another with little break in between.

I think it’s time to change that perspective.

Will a bunch of happy posters and memes, affirmations and positive thoughts cure depression. No, not likely. But, they could help. They’ve helped him through some really tough stuff. I suppose knowing how far he’s come to get where he is today makes me believe his take on things. Makes me want to try his angle out for a while and see where I end up.

After all, I’ve been working the gratitude thing for a while, (twenty years) but still find myself bogged down in some muck, unable to move forward or see light ahead some days. The negative gets the better of me from time to time and I have to work myself out of it.

Maybe I need to add to my arsenal. Maybe I simply need some direct, in my face, smile and wave reminders. Like small inanimate cheerleaders on the sidelines of my life. Go team!

I suppose this last one sums up what I’m thinking most accurately. I wonder if we, me specifically, expect life sometimes to present itself as happy. “Oh, look, happiness!” we’d say surprisingly as it skips towards us. I’m really sure that does NOT happen. There’s some decision making that goes on in the process of being happy.

happiness

Thanks, big brother, for your leadership, friendship and example. You rock!

So here goes. I’m making a conscious choice. I’m choosing happiness today. Call me Pollyanna. Call me Crazy. Call me Happy.

Categories: Happiness, Mental Health | Leave a comment

What Do You Need?

Imagine it.

You’re walking along a beach and trip over something unmoving wedged in the sand. Bending over to sooth your ankle, which feels like you might have twisted it, you see the offending bit of flotsam that disturbed your stroll. Shiny and apparently metal, you dig a little and discover an object shaped somewhat like a gravy tureen with a lid. The Antiques Roadshow side of you sees potential in this odd object.

genie-in-the-bottle-place=card-holder

A strange house for such a powerful entity.

You step into the surf, rinse off the sand. Rub the sides with your shirt tale to dry it off.

Some smoke swirls around you and then, POOF! There’s a genie standing there.

Your mind races with the possibilities of what this means for your life. Every cliché’ you’ve ever read or heard or seen about granted wishes swirls around you.

Finally, you stop drooling and dreaming long enough to pay attention to the genie’s words, spoken slowly with an emphasis on each individual word as if it isn’t even a sentence.

What

Do

You

Need

No explanation about three wishes. No limitations expressed. No clues beyond those four words.

Once more the words echo around you.

What do you need?”

Finally, after some stunned silence a small explanation:

“You have one hour for contemplation and then you must answer or go without.”

What do you need?

Love. Compassion. Friendship. Wisdom. Integrity. Peace. Strength. Courage. Patience. Faith. Perseverance. Kindness. Hope. Generosity. Vision. Passion. Concern. Motivation. Healing. Forgiveness. Self-worth. Acceptance. Knowledge. Understanding. Energy. Ambition. Trust. Contentment.

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Who knows what you’ll stumble on. Or wish for.

The possibilities stretch before you like the beach, like the ocean, like the sky. Limitless and overwhelming if you think too long and hard.

What do you need?

Give it some thought.

Then ask. Yes. Ask for what you need. Put it out into the universe, pray, meditate, write a message and put it in a bottle, visualize it, focus. However you ask, just ask.

Hold it!!!

I feel like I’m starting to sound like one of those late night insomniac focused infomercials for how-to-think-yourself-rich-thin-or-somehow-more-desirable.

Gak!

Okay. Let’s change direction. Don’t ask. Just think about it. What Do You Need?

A couple of clues here: sleep, food, money, fame, sex and time travel don’t cut it here. Seriously. Go read some other blog if that’s how you answer. (Of course, I’m tempted to answer with SLEEP, but then, it’s a Monday morning and I had a birthday partying sort of weekend.)

Also tempting answers, but no bueno: a maid, a personal assistant, a vacation, anything acquired with money, basically. Let’s attempt to lift our thoughts to a different plane today, shall we?

I’m not even sure what my answer will turn out to look like. Probably A) all of the above. Of course, the imaginary scenario leaves us with the requirement to give merely one answer.

How will you respond?

Give yourself an hour. Think it over.

What do you need?

 

~~~~~

“For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.”~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Happiness, Mondaze, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ain’t No Sunshine

It’s Gratituesday! Variety and consistency. Yup. That’s what I’m grateful for today. I know those two things seem to contradict each other but you’ll get over it and so will I.

I love knowing that if I get myself out the door before sunrise everything else will work out somehow.

I keep telling myself I’ll change where I go walking, but I crave the solitude and the surroundings. I take different paths, from different directions, I change it up in small ways and that’s all it takes.

sunshineThe predictability of the sun coming up each day keeps the world on track. The unpredictability of the colors, the clouds, the angle of light, the shift in shadow all make each morning a pallet of infinite variety. A paradox of consistency and change all in one for you to ponder every twenty-four hours.

Studies show that predictability and consistency contribute to productivity and contentment. But we also know that such things contribute to boredom and dissatisfaction.

And then other studies show that happiness more often manifests itself when change is a constant. What? Not major change, just variety, tiny differences make all the difference in happiness levels.

Some days, weeks and months in my life at least, it feels as if nothing is consistent or predictable except change. I can tell you from my own completely unscientific experience that such situations lead to feelings of high anxiety and unhealthy levels of stress.

I’m trying to embrace the variety and unpredictable state of my life. I’ve worked at that for a while now. Hence my daily gratitude journaling and weekly Gratituesday posts.

I’m also rather desperately trying to incorporate consistency and a regular schedule and other nice things like that into a chaotic life.

I’m having more luck embracing change than instilling predictability.

Balance seems the key word. And the most elusive quality. Gratitude sounds elusive today as well.

Let me take a different angle.

cloudy

Cloudy.

The sun shines here a zillion days a year. Okay, something like 287 days out of 365. That, my friends, adds up to a heckuva lotta sunlight. A glorious thing in the winter if you don’t like the cold. An unending series of boredom and heat in the summer if you don’t find some variety.

Sure we desert dwellers love the rain for its moisture and life-giving sustenance, but we also love it for the sheer difference in weather. Not sunny equals a nice change.

I’ve also lived in the Northwest where clouds and rain sang the same song every single day. Or so it seemed. Unending blue sky and sunlight, when it rarely occurred, felt heavenly for the sheer change in melody.

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and ordered the same thing you got last time because you know you’ll like it? Of course! But that can get so boring! Try something new next time and appreciate the difference even if you like the same old thing better.

A PBJ for lunch every single day might give you a sense of security, of all’s right with the world, but that, dear reader, is an illusion.

Or maybe that’s just my life.

Maybe your life consists of predictable, on time, on schedule, knowing what’s ahead for the next year wonderfulness. I’m incredibly jealous happy for you. If that’s the case this whole post must come off as the strangest bunch of rambling you’ve ever read in your life and it’s a wonder that you’re even still reading. The following statement won’t even register on your reality meter.

Change is inevitable.

Change is the only constant. We’ve had this conversation before, I’m sure of it.

Sunrise.

Sunrise.

I’m glad and grateful for differences, variety, something new, unpredictability, the wonder of what’s around the corner. Really I am. Really.

I’m also ready for some stability, some unmoving earth beneath my feet, a calendar with a schedule I can count on, a checkbook with reasonable numbers, a sun I know will rise in the east every single morning.

I just got done texting my cousin the following message: “Variety is the spice of life, or so I’ve heard. Unless variety is all you ever have.”

I’m just aiming for a little balance. Call me crazy. Call me nuts. Call me weird. I don’t care.

I’m still grateful for the whole mixed up mess of it all.

Not buying it huh? Well, then just listen to this song. Enjoy a classic.

~~~~~

Here’s Bill Withers from way back in 1971 totally getting it and giving it. His song says more in two minutes than anything I’ve managed to write today.

 

“Variety may be the spice of life, but consistency pays the bills.” ~ Doug Cooper

 

 

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wisdom from an Almost One-Year Old

photo 4-3 copy 4

I could do this all day. That’s my plan.

I spent some quality and quantity time recently with an almost one-year old. I recommend it to nearly everyone. I learned some profound and not so profound lessons I think I could apply to my life, if I’d just loosen up a little bit.

  1. Water is JOY! Put it in a plastic five-foot circle, a sippy cup, a bath tub or running out of a faucet or hose. It’s the best toy ever! It surprises, cools, splashes, runs, makes music I can dance to. It also has the magical ability to clean everything or transform it into a giant mess
  2. I’ll stop everything if there’s an animal to observe.
  3. Except eating, I won’t stop for anything if I’m in the middle of eating. I probably wouldn’t notice a Tasmanian devil and an animated rabbit in the room if I had food in front of me. I want it. I need it. And I need it fast! Don’t be lollygagging around once you’ve decided it’s time to eat. Oh, and what I loved yesterday, or even at lunchtime, I might turn my head away so it ends up in my ear.
  4. I just need one little foothold to expand my play space from the floor to everywhere else. Chairs, pillows, toys, people, all count as legitimate means to upward mobility and access to all things taller than me. You’ve been warned.
  5. If you want an honest, unrestrained belly laugh just tickle me under my chin. Or kiss me there.
  6. Clocks – schmocks. Nonsense.
  7. I’ll insist I’m not the least bit sleepy even when every indicator for exhaustion is blinking red and making warning noises. If someone can just help me slow down long enough to pay attention to the tired meters I’d probably start snoring before my head reaches the pillow. If you want to hum a soothing tune or gently brush your hand across my forehead for a few minutes I might just fall asleep in your arms. I’ll try not to drool.
  8. Dirty toes, sticky fingers, splotches on my face and spills on my shirt mean I’ve simply been exploring, learning and having an all around lovely time of it.
  9. My smile is all about you and has very little to do with me. I’m happy to see you, I love being in your company. As much time as you want to hang out with me, I’ll take it. All I have to offer you in return in my undying devotion and this smile.
  10. When you go away, even if it is just down the hall or into a small square room with a lock on the door, I’ll feel forlorn and lonely and think the world has come to end. At least temporarily. I’ll probably cry, loudly and with gusto. But when I see you again, all is instantly forgiven and life is good.
  11. My big bulging belly is part of my beautiful physique. It isn’t who I am though. No matter how much exercise I get, or how healthy I eat, my belly insists on being a prominent part of what everyone sees.
  12. I want to move to everything that sounds like music. I may break into dance without any warning whatsoever. If I’m moving around in silly ways that not everyone will interpret as dancing, you’re welcome to move to another part of the room and pretend you don’t know me, or you can laugh. But please, don’t try to video the experience because it’ll just ruin my groove.
  13. I love being snuggled, and held, and hugged and patted on the back. But I need my space. Don’t crowd me. How will you know when to hold me and when to let me go? I have no idea. Go with the flow and take a chance.
  14. I’m going to fall down a heckuva lot. It’ll look like failure, but it’s not. I may whine and cry about it. But mostly, I’ll just get myself up off the floor no matter how awkward it might look, and, if I can remember what I was doing before I fell, I’ll try again. Obstacles abound. Oh, well.

That’s not everything I learned. But it’s a piece of it.

Toddlers. Who knew?

Those little people possess a boggling amount of wisdom for having just barely learned to walk.

Midnight? What's that?

Midnight? What’s that?

Categories: Fun, Happiness, Humor, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Unicorns and Happiness

image by ChristerD

image by ChristerD

Don’t you get a buzz when you run across something the confirms and validates something you already believe or do?

I sure do.

My buzz started humming last week when I watched this TED Talk by Shawn Achor from May 2011 about Happiness.

I’ll wait while you watch it if you want.

Or you can click on it to open it in a second window and watch it or listen to it later. It’s only about twelve minutes long and worth every second. You’ll laugh. You’ll have a smile on your face when you’re done watching.

(You could even listen while you’re eating your cereal tomorrow morning, or while you do your hair or your makeup, or while you’re driving somewhere. Please, just watch or listen to it.)

So, why am I so adamant that you watch?

Because I want you to have more happiness in your life. If you’re happier, people around you are happier. And if they’re happier, then others are, too. And eventually, those ripples reach me. Theoretically, anyway.

Here’s info from one of the visuals he pops up on the screen for us.

Creating lasting positive change

  • 3 Gratitudes

  • Journaling

  • Exercise

  • Meditation

  • Random Acts of Kindness

That first item?  Well, it’s made a difference in my life over the past twenty years. I’ve been paying attention and keeping a gratitude journal, mostly, over the past twenty years.

Yes. Twenty.

I’m my own study. And the results rock!

And that’s just with item one on the list.

  • Shawn recommends taking two minutes every day and listing three things you’re grateful for.
  • “Journaling about one positive thing from the past twenty-four hours allows you to relive the positive emotions.”
  • Exercise floods our system with endorphins which are the happiness chemicals that we could all use more of.
  • Meditation allows us to briefly focus on one thing in a world where we’re constantly multitasking.
  • A random act of kindness is as simple as sitting at your desk and writing one positive email to someone in your social support network, thanking them, praising them, encouraging them.

Do we have time for any of this?

YES!

Can we afford not to make time for it?

No.

In just twenty-one days, studies show a marked difference in happiness level. And consequently, they experience greater productivity and enhanced learning ability of people who implement the five steps outlined above.

Please watch and put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step.

Here’s the link again, in case you missed it.

 

 

Categories: Happiness, Mondaze | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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