Category Archives: Happiness

Bring Your Life into Balance

The ability to find and maintain balance in your life is a skill. Some people may be more or less skilled at keeping up with all the responsibilities in their lives than you are. If you already feel pretty good about this, you probably can share this article with someone who may need it more than you. If you feel overwhelmed, and not sure how to keep it all running smoothly, then you’re in luck. Finding and maintaining balance is a skill, and because it’s a skill, you can learn or improve it. It’s also a habit. and once you learn a new habit, it gets easier and easier to keep it up. Ready?

beamazingSimplifying life is the easiest way to find and maintain balance. This means finding ways to streamline all areas of your life, so you are not using all your time and energy in only one or two areas to the detriment of others. For instance, you may be working long hours at work, and continuing to work once you get home. As a result, your relationships with family, friends, and your physical health may start to suffer.

It’s like the Plate Spinner at the circus. Perhaps he is capable of successfully spinning 6 plates at once. He starts with one, gets it going smoothly and adds another, and another until all 6 are aloft. Each requires minimal periodic attention to keep it going.

If he skips a plate, or spends more time on another than necessary, the others start to wobble, and eventually fall. Life is like spinning plates. You have your work, your home, your relationships, your physical needs, your spiritual needs, your social responsibilites, and perhaps others.

Take a quick look at how you utilize your time each day, and week to get a glimpse of how many plates you successfully have spinning. This is not to make you feel inadequate if you have only one or two up in the air. It is just to help you determine if some of the plates-or life areas- which aren’t spinning are keeping you off-balance. You’ll notice if you find yourself getting frustrated or angry about situations which you wouldn’t have before, or are feeling tired, out of shape, lonely or unhappy with work or life in general.

Simplifying life then is to find a way to include the missing relationships or needs. To find a way to spin a couple more plates will require you to spend less energy on the one that demands too much time. This could mean finding ways to delegate responsibilities, or saying no to nonessential requests, or combining activities that can spin plates in more than one area. For instance, taking a walk with a spouse or friend  adds relationship and physical value to your life. Enlisting help at work can be social as well as working. Make a list of some activities commitments you can drop, and some ways to combine your life areas.

Simplifying life is like cleaning out your closet. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need and doesn’t suit or fit you. Keep only the things which you love. You and your closet will have more space to fill with the activities which make you feel fulfilled and happy.

 Get simplified, and enjoy more…life.


Give a Piece of Your Heart

Our senses are direct lines to our memories. Certain smells can put you right back in your grandma’s kitchen, or singing around the campfire. Then you are bombarded with the feelings you experienced there.

Songs can take you back to a time with someone special, or a place with great memories. You can travel there in your mind with the music, can’t you? All the memories may not be happy, but they are part of who you are today. Be grateful for them.

Today, as I walked outside in my beautiful autumn-fied neighborhood, I heard a song that took me back in time. I smiled, a lot. It felt good to relive the feelings. It also inspired me to look back at some old writing I’d done, and came across this poem, called ‘you have my heart’.

To me, it’s a reminder to how all our connections with people, no matter how long or short, can have an impact on us. They can leave an imprint on our life story. How truly fortunate! We may not always know how we affected someone else, but often times we can make all the difference to them at that time and place. If you have children, then surely you feel that they are pieces of your heart walking around in the world.

Just as we leave pieces of ourselves with others, think about the people who have helped, inspired or supported you in your life. Isn’t it miraculous that you connected with those people when you did? They left a special piece of themselves with you.

So here’s my poem, dedicated today to all of you who have connected with someone who left their name on your heart. Blessings to each of you for accepting a piece of my heart each time you find inspiration in what I share.

 You Have My Heart

 A humble beginning

chronicles the merging

of two hearts into one

 

Hope and promise

beckon what waits ahead

in the story that is theirs

 

In the blink of an eye

the years pass by

adding chapters

 

Joy and pain

share the pages

leaving their marks

 

Through it all

 is clearly written

you have myheart

 

The last page turns

in all great books

much too soon

Go share your amazing self with someone today.


Be More Successful by Adding Gratitude

You want to have success in your life. Be something important, do something that changes the world, even if only your corner of it. Do you know how to do it? Or are you stuck, wondering what will get you there? Chances are, you need a better plan, and to appreciate your life where you are now. Let’s speed things up for you.quotethankyou

What is success, but an accomplishment of an aim or purpose? You dream up goals for your life, and when you achieve them you are successful. The key first step is having goals that you want to tackle. Not just ideas, dreams, wishes, which can get the creative juices flowing, but real goals with deadlines and steps to get there. If you don’t have these written down, that would be your first step to success. Know what you want to achieve.

When you have a plan, sometimes it just stays a plan, much like a resolution to join a gym or lose ten pounds. It sounded great on Jan. 1, but you have to act on the plan to make it happen. What could be keeping you from jumping in and getting things done?

Sometimes it’s a fear of failure, or success. These can keep you frozen, inactive. Or it may be a lack of belief in your worth, ability, experience, etc. You may not know what is hindering your success, but you can circumvent it.

The magic solution is gratitude.

Gratitude is a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. And gratitude begins with appreciating all you have right now. You can be grateful for all you’ve experienced in life that has brought you to this moment. You can even be grateful for all the painful learning experiences in life, for the lessons you learned.

What does this have to do with success? Well, you need to combine the two ideas to speed up your progress. Look first at things you’ve successfully completed in the past, as simple as learning to ride a bike to completing a marathon. Make a list. Then add to it some current ones. Earned an award at work, or bought a new car. We all have countless examples of success.

Now, look over your list of ‘Successes’, and read each one. After each say, “Thank you for my success at (fill in the blank). Make sure you do this for each item. Make it fun. Thank other people who supported or helped you achieve any of them. Pretend you’re giving an acceptance speech.

You may have heard that what you spend your time/energy on multiplies. So instead of spending time worrying or complaining about how awful things are, turn it around and be grateful, for everything. Especially those things you want more of. Concentrate on appreciation and you will be rewarded with more things to appreciate.

Now, go find (or write) your list of goals. Take the steps to get there, celebrating with gratitude each small success. Be thankful for the opportunity to achieve more great things.

Want to learn more about using Success and Gratitude to live the life of your dreams? You should check out my new Project/Course on Simpleology to get step by step guidance.


Want Some Inspiration?

Here I am, cat sitting on Cat Mountain.

This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?
This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?

This place is beyond simply beautiful, it’s truly inspirational. If I had an incredible view like this to gently wake up to every day, I genuinely believe I could easily create something worthwhile, a heartfelt book to bring inspiration to others like it does me. Of course, for me the first few hours here are spent just appreciating the rolling hills, the winding river, and all the twinkling lights. I am feeling content to just be here. And now the croaking sound of frogs mixes with the rhythmic call of the multitudinous cicadas and the distant cars creating an unusual score for this live film about a typical evening in the Texas hill country.

What is it that I could possibly do that would be so inspired? How does the utter magic of nature apply to this dream I have? And how has this serendipitous circumstance brought me here, right now?

I feel completely at home here; I guess having a dream home like this then seems more attainable. I can absolutely feel what it would be like to spend the entirety of my days here, or some other tranquil, awe-inspired location. My oasis of inner peace might be overlooking a beautiful turquoise beach, or atop a mountain with miles of nature to feed my starving muse. Yes, I can picture it clearly- soaring windows wide open to the inviting pool and spa, which provide the most magnificent view. Always a soft breeze, and at night the clearest sky filled with millions of twinkling stars. I feel infinitely better already.

Where do you go to feel inspired?


Indulge your Muse and Your Senses…
You’ll feel like doing it again, and again!
 


Want to Feel Inspired?

Here I am, cat sitting on Cat Mountain.

This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?
This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?

This place is beyond simply beautiful, it’s truly inspirational. If I had an incredible view like this to gently wake up to every day, I genuinely believe I could easily create something worthwhile, a heartfelt book to bring inspiration to others like it does me. Of course, for me the first few hours here are spent just appreciating the rolling hills, the winding river, and all the twinkling lights. I am feeling content to just be here. And now the croaking sound of frogs mixes with the rhythmic call of the multitudinous cicadas and the distant cars creating an unusual score for this live film about a typical evening in the Texas hill country.

What is it that I could possibly do that would be so inspired? How does the utter magic of nature apply to this dream I have? And how has this serendipitous circumstance brought me here, right now?

I feel completely at home here; I guess having a dream home like this then seems more attainable. I can absolutely feel what it would be like to spend the entirety of my days here, or some other tranquil, awe-inspired location. My oasis of inner peace might be overlooking a beautiful turquoise beach, or atop a mountain with miles of nature to feed my starving muse. Yes, I can picture it clearly- soaring windows wide open to the inviting pool and spa, which provide the most magnificent view. Always a soft breeze, and at night the clearest sky filled with millions of twinkling stars. I feel infinitely better already.

Where do you go to feel inspired?


Indulge your Muse and Your Senses…
You’ll feel like doing it again, and again!
 


Need a 15 Minute Vacation?

Ahh, it’s finally time to relax, let go of all your work, home, and other obligations because you’re on vacation. You’ve been dreaming, planning and counting the days until now. How often do you get the opportunity to let go of all the messy, stress-y stuff you experience in life every day? Once a year, or less?

And, if you do take a vacation with the family, how often does it not turn out the way you planned and imagined it would be? We once drove from Texas to the Grand Canyon with three children under age 12. An amazing experience was planned. The first sign that things were not going according to plan was when the fun car games were exhausted after only three hours, and promptly

Wish I Was HERE!!!
Wish I Was HERE!!!

replaced with a chorus of, “are we there yet?” The crowning achievement was when we arrived at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and within 10 minutes they were all ready to leave. No interest in exploring or hiking or even taking it all in. So much for the ultimate vacation. Sigh.

Sound familiar? What if you could take a vacation any time you wanted, and not have to worry about the enjoyment of others at the same time? You can, if you don’t mind using a bit of imagination.

There are limitless ways for you to get away, if only in your mind, for a mini-vacation, but here we’ll talk about four quick and easy ones. One or more should be available to you almost anywhere, anytime.

1. Go Outside. Sounds easy, and you may wonder how this could be a vacation; you did, after all come in from outside at some point today. Well, this journey out-of-doors will have a different purpose. Your mindset on this short trip will be to look around you at whatever flora, fauna, and interesting views may be found. If you have time to walk to a park or more natural area, great! Regardless, find a place to sit, or lean and just look around. Take in the sights, smells, and the feel of the temperature, sun or breeze on your skin. Just pay attention, and let go of everything you just walked away from. Notice what may be blooming or fading. Are there any critters around? Watch the birds or squirrels, and you may find yourself laughing at their antics. In other words, take a few minutes-or more- and smell the roses. When you feel ready to go back to your life before your mini-break, go ahead, but bring the feeling of being connected to nature with you. And, if you can’t actually go outside, find a window where you can do the same things. Imagine the scents and the feel of the wind. Be creative.

2. Visualize Your Favorite Destination. If you have favorite places you’ve been, sit back, close your eyes and take yourself back there and relive it, if even for a few minutes. Try to make your pictures in your mind as vivid as possible. Put yourself in the place and see yourself feeling great, having fun. If you can’t visualize very easily, find a few photos from your trip and look at them, and then get into the feelings you experienced while there. If you do this regularly, it will be easier to get away in your mind. Stay as long as you need to feel like you did on vacation.

3. Read a Travel Book. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go to Australia, but don’t have a plan to make it happen. Buy a book on your dream destination and take a few minutes to look at the beautiful photos and highlights of must see places once you get there. Imagine what it will be like. The bonus here, is that the more real your vacation seems to you, the likelier you are to make it happen!

4. Write a Travel Journal.  On paper or your computer, take a few minutes as often as possible to write down where you have been and loved, or places you are longing to visit.Call it your Travel Bucket List. Have fun picking all your most interested spots, and write about what you want to do/experience at each. Pretend you are there, and write an account of what you are experiencing. Use your imagination. Again, the more you want it and the more you feel motivated to make it happen, chances skyrocket that you’ll find yourself in that very spot someday.

Just a few quick ways to take you out of your present here, and travel to a place where you can be calmer, less-stressed and perhaps happier. Try to carve a few minutes out of every day, and you’ll find yourself better able to handle the rest of the day. Until your next mini-vacation. It’s waiting for you. Go.

 


Get Out of Your Way, and Be Awesome

 

You are your own worst critic.

Do you believe this to be true for you? If you aren’t sure, take a day or two and pay attention to the voice inside your head and what it says about you. See if any of these sound familiar for you. “Why did you do that?” “Don’t look in the mirror, it’s disgusting”. “Idiot, why didn’t you speak up?” On and on, right?

Chances are you’ve been saying these things to yourself for so long you may not even pay attention to the voice any more. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, happily piling on the bad feelings and guilt for you to swallow and to confirm, yet again, that you indeed are not special, or beautiful, or talented, or smart, or whatever you feel you may be lacking. Ugh, does it have to be like this?

…choose wisely, and you will have another FAN for life!
…choose wisely, and you will have another FAN for life!

No it doesn’t. Do you know what’s great about this? You can also be your biggest fan. You don’t have to believe everything you hear about yourself, even if it comes from your own mind. Chances are it started out somewhere else. Perhaps you had a dream of becoming a world-class athlete, but those around you told you it wasn’t possible; you were too clumsy, or undisciplined, or tall, or short, or whatever they thought you were lacking to be successful. And over time you started to believe it; these people know better than you do, after all.

But do they? Who could possible know what you, in your heart of hearts, want to do with your life better than you? Nobody. Yet somewhere along the way, you may have let their opinions hijack your own dreams. Good news is it’s not too late to take back control of your own preferred life. Does that sound exciting? Or are you skeptical?

All it takes is a concerted effort to listen for the voice in your head, and when you hear the criticisms and put-downs, take a moment to stop, and do something different. It’s really only the breaking of a bad habit (talking negatively to yourself) and replacing it with a new, better habit (talking more positively to yourself).

As an example, let’s say you wanted to stop chewing your fingernails. In order to be successful, you could find something else to do instead of biting them, whenever the urge arises. For instance, you may chew on a piece of gum, or a hard candy, so your mouth is already busy, until the urge passes. Or, you could find a way to make the habit less desirable. Others have tried painting their nails, or even having fake nails attached to discourage the satisfaction of biting. Or, you could apply a pepper or vinegar or other un-tasty flavor either on or under your nails. Eventually, if you aren’t feeling rewarded for your behavior, you will stop desiring it, and ultimately no longer indulge.

Let’s apply this strategy to combat the negative voices in your head. Here are a variety of options. Pick one, or more, that works for you.

  • Start by listening to what you say to yourself, pay attention, and start catching the negative comments by saying “NO” whenever you hear them. The first step is finding the problem and acknowledging it. Write them down in a notebook throughout the day.
  • When you do hear one, take a moment to counter them with positive, encouraging statements. For instance, when you hear the voice tell you, “you might as well finish the ice cream, it’ll just be calling you the rest of the night”, you can say, “NO, I only need a taste to feel good. I can save the rest for another day.”
  • Write down the opposite statements. Every time you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself, stop and write it down. Then think of an opposite, better thought and say it out loud (or in your head if you’re in public). When you write the thoughts down, they are exposed, and you can see clearly how they are hindering your happiness and growth. You may keep a notebook filled with them and watch how they will change over time as you eliminate them.
  • You don’t have to be perfect. When you knock yourself down for being inferior, counter with, “I am doing the best I can, and learn to do this better every time.” Even Thomas Edison touted his successful inventions only came after thousands of failed attempts.
  • Find examples of past successes. When you hear yourself say you are ‘always this’ or ‘never do that’, stop and think about, or write down times in the past where you were successful at this, or something similar. You already know how to be better, reawaken this belief and find the criticism shrink away.
  • Start with your strengths. If you are unsure about your strengths, ask a few people whom you trust and have your best interests at heart. Armed with what they tell you are your amazing qualities, you can move ahead knowing that your thoughts are wrong. After all, if your best friend, who cares about you, believes that you are a fantastic problem-solver, and get along with anyone, who are you to disagree? Own it, and quiet the dissenting voices with a reminder when you hear them.

These are just a few ways to replace the critics in your head with tried and true fans. Try them all, or pick one and focus on success, until you feel good about you. I highly recommend writing down your experience, whichever strategies you use, because when you can see the change happening, you will be encouraged to keep going. You will be just as awesome as you thought you were as a kid.  Next, perhaps work on that habit of turning on the TV or you-tube, when you want to avoid doing something…Old habits are hard to break, but luckily not impossible.

 

 


How Happy Are YOU?

How Happy Are You?

Quick answer, how happy are you, in general on a scale of 1 to 10? A 1 being, “what is happiness?” and a 10 being, “a 12!”

I sincerely hope that you didn’t hesitate to say 10, but I know that not all days can be tens. Let’s see if we can bring up your score, because happiness is your natural state. You just need to find it.

The first step to feeling happier any time is to loosen the expectations of yourself, others and the situation. If you want to be quoteslove

happier today at work, decide to enjoy whatever you are doing. Try not to put pressure on your result, be open to the process.

If you want to be happier today with others, try to look at the world through their eyes, if only for a moment. If that seems difficult, just give them your acceptance for wherever they are in life.

If you want to be happier with your life today, begin with acknowledging all that you have, and give thanks. It could always be worse.

Lastly, the best way to be happier, in a moment, is to smile at someone (if only at the person in the mirror!). Even if there isn’t a reason, share your smile. Before you know it, you feel better, and chances are other people around you will too.

Good job, I knew you were a 10!


What is Your True Purpose in Life?

Don’t know? No problem. We have ways of helping you figure that out…

THE Big Question...
THE Big Question…

One great way is to do some brainstorming. Pull out some paper and a pen, find a comfortable place to sit, preferably a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted, and set a timer for at least 20 minutes.

At the top of the paper write this question: What is my true purpose in life? And then, just start writing down whatever comes to mind, no censoring or judging, just let it spill out.

You will most likely have some lulls, and during that time look around you and consider your surroundings and what they may mean to you, or what you find interesting about them.

Are you outside and can look at the beauty all around that you may take for granted? What does it inspire in you?Are you inside, looking around at a room you have decorated lovingly with items that have meaning to you? What does that tell you?

Are you surrounded by reminders of things you have started but given up on? Projects, classes, unpacked boxes? What can you glean from the way these things make you feel?

This should help you get the juices flowing again. If the timer rings, keep going if you still have more to write. You can certainly add to your list over time when something pops into your head. Here are some examples from my brainstorming session.

  • Helping others
  • Traveling
  • Writing
  • Writing to help others
  • To dream of new things
  • To give life to other people’s life stories
  • To find the joy in every day
  • In every thing
  • To explore new places
  • To fit in anywhere
  • To spread joy in little ways
  • To observe people to learn
  • Writing creative interesting stories that have a deeper meaning
  • To try new things, make things better
  • Do little things every day that make a difference to others
  • Invent something that changes the world

There are quite a few, as you can see. But that doesn’t end the search. In some ways it started it. But then as I studied the list, some similarities stood out, some categories started to form. One of them is writing. Of course that seems to be one I am pursuing. Another was helping people – perhaps by spreading joy in some way.

Look at your list. Is there any item that stands out more for you, that draws you in? Or is there some way that you can combine some topics as your purpose?

I think that is the beginning of finding your purpose- writing down what you are passionate about. Ask yourself, ‘what would you do if money weren’t an issue?’ Ah, that may put a different light on the idea. Those are the things your heart longs to do. Pay attention to them, for they will reward you with joy and fulfillment beyond imagination.

Take your time, but come back to your list often, add, subtract and contemplate on ways you could be acting on the items that mean the most to you. Take a step forward to live your passion as soon as you can. And every day you can. It can change your life.

Until next time, Be AMAZING (just be yourself)!


Top 10 Things I Want Most (that don’t exist)

***This was written in 2008 in response to a prompt. I have brought it out, dusted it off and am working on a book that pulls this wish list into my world of how to live my own dream life- and how you can too.  Enjoy, and look for the book soon!

This is an exciting question. I generally like to think of myself as an idea person, so I choose to address this in terms of things I want most that do not currently exist. Think outside the box, so to speak. Others have called me a dreamer, or a round peg in a square hole, or just shake their heads. That’s OK, being different is my mantra.

Here are the Top 10 things I want most (off the top of my head):

  1. One of those microwave-type magic meal makers, like in the Jetson’s

It would make life so much easier to walk over to it and say, “Lobster Newburg for 3” and have it pop out in a flash. Not to mention, our menu would then have more than the present 7 choices.

  1. A retractable roof above my bathroom and bedroom

Like my very own superdome. A homedome Now, on starry summer evenings I can watch for shooting stars to wish upon from the comfort of my own bed. Or from my bathtub, complete with candles, music, a glass of fine wine, and maybe my own special McDreamy…

  1. A device that allows me to flawlessly speak and understand any language known to man at the press of a button

It would be such fun to wander aimlessly around the world and fit in like a native. It would also be interesting to eavesdrop on conversations others feel sure you don’t follow-just because.

  1. Chocolate that won’t melt, until I want it to

Beyond the M&M, it would be the richest milk chocolate mixed with my favorite flavors which I could take with me anywhere, even in my pocket, to enjoy at me leisure.

  1. A debit card that works like my kids think it does

They seem convinced that just because I have the card with me, it should be able to purchase anything, any time. I remember thinking the same thing as a kid, “Just write a check, Mom”. If only it were true.

  1. To be able to pause real life

Ever have those moments, when you look back and wish, If only I had said/done this? Well, this would prevent those. Provide the extra time to formulate the perfect action or response to the situation. Or to take a cat nap without missing anything exciting happening in your life. Or to brush your teeth before that kiss. The possibilities are endless.

  1. To dance on stage with Mikhail Baryshnikov, or front row seats to a tennis match in person between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, or Roger Federer and, well anyone.

I know, both of these things may have been possible- at some time. That is, of course assuming I can dance well enough to share the stage with Baryshnikov (oh, well, that’s different- has always been a dream of mine though).

  1. Kids who do their own laundry, and cooking (unless we had a Jetson-wave)

I have actually heard of such kids existing, but never personally met any.

  1. Cats who learn how to use the toilet

The one chore that everyone seems to want to hand off to someone else is cleaning the cats’ litter box. I have always lived in households with cats, and love them to death because they are self-sufficient in so many areas. If they would just learn to use the toilet, I’m pretty sure they would be the perfect pet.

  1. A camera that automatically takes off 10 years and 20 pounds

You’ve heard how the camera adds 10, 20, even 30 pounds (depending on who you ask, and how much less they wish they weighed). Well, this miraculous camera would do just the opposite. Imagine fantastic photos all the time, looking your best, and 10. 20 or 30 pounds lighter (depending on how much less you wished you weighed). I might actually update my family portrait from the 10 year old one on the wall. Oh, to look younger and skinnier. Almost as good as feeling younger and skinnier (that would be number 11).

Well, that’s my wish list for today. Tomorrow I may dream up a new one. These will be so yesterday by then.