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Getting It All Done October 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Life Lessons.
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43 comments

I used to worry about not “getting it all done.”

I wondered how I would ever reach the bottom of my bucket list.  Every time I crossed an item off, two more things took its place.

Such is the nature of desire. As soon as one itch is scratched, a new itch arises.

These days, I realize that if I’m satisfied with the life I’m living (as a whole), there is little reason to get caught up in regret about people I didn’t meet, books I didn’t read (or write), conversations I didn’t have, foods I didn’t taste, pounds I didn’t lose, movies I didn’t watch, or places I didn’t see.

Now I’m free to enjoy the journey as each moment unfolds into the next without worrying about how much time I have left.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For a somewhat contrary view:  Getting Fierce GOALFEST (with prizes!) (Fat Bottom Fifties Get Fierce) * Walking Your Talk (Awakening To Awareness)

Parting The Clouds September 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
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39 comments

At first, grief is a blanket . . . a solid bank of clouds blocking the sun.

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In time, the clouds part to reveal slivers of happiness interspersed with rain.

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As blue skies expand, our grief becomes the occasional passing cloud.

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With practice, we are able to choose whether to focus on the clouds or the sky.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

It is only possible to live happily ever after on a moment by moment basis.

Let It Out . . . Let it Go September 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , , ,
34 comments

Most of us experience the occasional down day.

The sun is always shining, but sometimes it is obscured by clouds.

Just as a rainy day can be a nice change of pace, so too can a gloomy mood.

Life is enhanced by the ebb and flow of emotions.

We appreciate our sunny dispositions more after a cloudy day . . . as long as we don’t get attached to the idea of being sad.

I read a story one day about puppies that had been mistreated.   Images of the poor wee pups flooded into my brain.

The happiness felt moments earlier evaporated, replaced with overwhelming sadness.  Tears poured down my face.  I sobbed until the pain dissipated.

Pluto-RollerskatingOnce my tears stopped, I returned my attention to what I had been doing before seeing the story.

In other words, a sad thought entered my brain.  The thought made my emotions switch from happy to sad.  I allowed myself to feel that sadness.

Once I acknowledged the sadness, it left.  It moved on.

And, this is the important part, I let it go.

I did not chase after it and bring it back.  I let it go.  I did not get attached to the idea of being sad.  I let it go.

If I hadn’t read the story that morning, I wouldn’t have known about the poor puppies at all.  Nothing in my life changed from the moment before I read about them until the moment after.

I was not being called upon to save them ~ they had already been rescued.

Mickey-LoungingSo, when the sadness started to dissipate on its own, I let it go so that I could get on with my day.

And the sun shone once more.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote:  Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead. ~ Scottish Proverb

The Blind Leading The Blind September 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Lessons, People.
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55 comments

IMGP1472aI read a post written by a twenty-something someone who flew halfway around the world and then spent his first three weeks in Thailand drinking Buckets of Beer at night and being hung-over during the day.

He suggested that we all add Travel to our Bucket List . . . to maintain life balance.

Dude!  Are you sure you’re the best person to give us advice on maintaining life balance?

Another twenty-something recommended travel as one of the best ways to learn about ourselves and our priorities.

What did he learn?  That the highlight of his trip to South America was his excitement at the thought of returning home.

Before blindly following advice from others, it’s a good idea to make sure they know where they are going first.

Aah . . . that’s better!

If you are headed for the mountain top, why do you care what the people in the valley are doing? ~ Guy Finley (The Secret of Letting Go)

Related Post:  The Extrapolation Temptation

What’s “Wrong” With This Quote? September 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
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46 comments

An excerpt from a book, The Strangest Secret, landed in my in-box today.  In the middle of the excerpt, I happened upon this quote:

Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn’t know where he’s going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety and worry—his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing… he becomes nothing.

As I read the quote, I found it “wrong” for any number of reasons:

Donald-Ducka1.  There is no universal mandate that our thoughts “must therefore be” anything other than what we choose them to be.

“When we master our thoughts, we master our life.”

“How we relate to the issue IS the issue.”

2.  Some people will flounder in the face of uncertainty.  Others will flourish.

“In uncertainty lies all possibility.”

“Embrace all with joy.  Anything can be a gift of gold in disguise.”

Mickey-Surfer3. Happiness is the goal behind all goals.

If we convince ourselves that reaching a set destination is a pre-requisite to happiness, we are apt to be disappointed since the rewards we envision, if they materialize at all, often feel less like rewards and more like dead ends.

Happiness is not waiting for us at the end of the road ~ it’s found here and now, by enjoying each step along the way!

4.  We don’t need to know where we’re going as the path unfolds before us.  In tune with Spirit, we remain awake and aware, seeing opportunities as they arise.  We notice the winks, whispers, and nudges intended for our eyes, ears, and hearts.

“The way teaches us the way.”

5.  If we’re enjoying the journey, we win . . . no matter what happens.

“A good traveler has no set plans and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu

6.  When we are too intent on reaching a set destination, we may become frustrated, impatient, and discouraged if our goal, like the proverbial grapes, remains “out of reach.”

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

7.  We can NEVER be nothing.

No matter what.

Accessing the authentic self is simple.  Just be.  Follow the breath to your innermost core.  Let all else fade away.

In the silent spaces between thoughts, we find ourselves waiting.

Ego despair and confusion dissipate.  Peace, Joy, and Happiness surface.

We become one with the source.

“I am that I am.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Telling Tale from the Emerald Isle September 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Life Lessons.
Tags: , , ,
18 comments

220px-OldBeggar1Paddy had long heard the stories of an amazing family tradition.

It seems that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all been able to walk on water on their 18th birthday.

On that special day, they’d each walked across the lake to the pub on the far side for their first legal drink.

So when Paddy’s 18th birthday came around, he and his pal Mick took a boat out to the middle of the lake.

Paddy stepped out of the boat and  nearly drowned before Mick managed to pull him to safety.

Disappointed and confused, Paddy went to see his grandmother.

170px-Maes_Old_Woman_Dozing“Granny, ’tis me 18th birthday, at long last.  So why can’t I walk across the lake like me father, his father and his father before him?”

Granny looked into Paddy’s troubled eyes and shook her head.  “Ye father, granddad and great-granddad were all born in December when the lake is frozen.  Ye were born in August, ya daft banana!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  e-mail from an unknown author (sent by Granny1947)

The Best Is Yet To Come . . . August 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
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44 comments

IMGP1667aWe have a message board outside the clubhouse for announcements.

When there isn’t a 4-foot-long gator in one of the lakes or an upcoming social event looming on the horizon, the board is used to post inspirational sayings, trivia questions, etc.

* Kindness Echoes
* Who Shot J.R.?
* Shift Happens
* Which 2 vegetables are perennials?

Yesterday, the board announced:

THE BEST IS YET TO COME

Hmm . . . I’m not convinced.

“The best is yet to come” is one of those rather ridiculous “truisms” we intone with great regularity to remind ourselves to “keep on trucking.”

I don’t think it’s a true statement. Not for most of us, anyway.  At best, the best is yet to come for some of the people, some of the time.

Unless, maybe, it’s meant in the collective sense.

Calvin-gots-an-Idea

Once global warming and climate change and melting glaciers wipe man off the face of the planet, animals like the Black Rhino may breathe a sigh of relief:

Now, that’s good.  In fact, it’s the best!

God should NEVER have taken that extended sabbatical after Day 7.  He should have pushed through the burn straight into Day 8.

But that’s only in the collective sense.

On an individual basis, how many of us really believe that “the best is yet to come”?

Kids, sure ~ especially in the days leading up to Christmas.
Young adults, maybe ~ until the bills start rolling in faster than the paychecks.
New parents, of course ~ those little bundles of joy are full of promise.  A fresh canvas.  Another chance to “get it right.”

But what then?

The-Pink-Panther

Do we really believe that “the best is yet to come” AFTER we’ve ticked all the requisite boxes:

* Grow up
* Get married
* Have kids (or don’t)
* Enter the workforce
* Buy a house . . . with granite counter tops and double sinks!
* Get a gold watch
* Retire

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The idea of retirement keeps many of us moving forward.

But if retirement is “the best” . . . why do so many oldsters look over their shoulders to talk about “the good old days.”

For that matter, if we are convinced that the best is yet to come, why are we not giddy with anticipation, like Goofy, at the start of each new day?

Goofy-Riding-A-Bike

For most of us, life is like riding a roller coaster ~ we reach a pinnacle and then begin a slow descent (or steep terrifying drop) as we age.

As years flow from one to the next, we are forced to say good-bye to people and things we once loved.  In our golden years, after getting that gold watch, we experience aches and pains, difficulty sleeping, and creeping senility.

We no longer stare at the ceiling “too excited to sleep.”  We’re awake at 2 a.m. because insomnia has, once again, interfered with our steadfast desire for deep restorative sleep and peaceful slumber.

I am not persuaded that the best is yet to come.
I suspect that Robin Williams felt the same.

Grumpy gus

Or, perhaps, after struggling with insomnia, he just longed for oblivion.

Morpheus, Morpheus . . . where for are’t thou Morpheus?

The trick to moving forward to the “Finish Line” (rather than jumping ship or pulling the plug) lies in getting a good night’s sleep.  Every night.

Failing that, we increase the odds of enjoying ourselves for the duration of the cruise when we: (a) hang on to our sense of humor, (b) maintain perspective, (c) focus on the positives (like getting a good night’s sleep once in a Blue Moon), (d) eat lots of chocolate, and (e) convince ourselves that things don’t have to be “the best” in order to be “good enough.”

Collect enough drops of joy on a moment by moment basis and life is pretty good ~ even if we no longer feel like a kid in a candy shop who’s too excited to sleep because we’ve been brainwashed into believing the best is yet to come.

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Aah . . . that’s better!  (Stay tuned ~ the best is yet to come!)

The Other Side of Retirement August 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons.
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53 comments

Pooh-With-MailbagI’m reading letters written by my dad’s dad in the 1950’s after he retired from his rural mail route in Vermont after 30 years of service.

While writing the first of the letters, he was only 7 years older than I am now.

He kept busy with a variety of seasonal interests:  gathering sap to make maple syrup in the spring; planting and harvesting potatoes, beans, corn, peas, and strawberries in the spring and summer; cutting hemlocks for sale to the mill as time permitted; hunting in the fall; and heading south to Florida during the harsh winter months (except when the Vermont legislature sat in session in Montpelier and he claimed seat #87 as Town Representative for Hartland).

His second wife also pursued seasonal interests: dressmaking classes in the spring; canning fruits, vegetables, and meat and tending her flowers during the spring and summer; babysitting for my cousins on an as-needed basis; and traveling to Montpelier and Florida during the winter months, with pit stops in New Jersey to visit my parents as they began married life together, bought their first house, and welcomed my older brother into the world.

Reading about how my grandparents “spent their retirement” caused me to reflect on my own choices and pursuits.

IMGP1800bFor the last 10 years of my working life, I worked for non-profits to “give back to the community.”

Now, my time is my own to spend as I see fit . . . and I love it!

My days are populated with a variety of interesting activities.  I am never bored and there is always more to do than time to do it.

If I get bored or run out of things to do, I’ll volunteer or get a part time job, but for now I’m happy with the status quo.

That was not always the case.

When I first stopped practicing law, I searched high and low for “meaning” and “purpose” ~ convinced that I needed to do something “significant” with my life.

Now, not so much.

Much of the desire “to leave a lasting mark” stems from Ego and its incessant demand for applause, accolades, and approval.  Ego wants recognition for its accomplishments while on life’s stage and yearns for immortality in death.

Mickey-OKUsing an internal barometer and compass to direct and govern my actions has allowed me to embrace peace and happiness in relative anonymity.

I no longer feel any urgency to be more than I am.

Realizing that I have nothing to prove provides meaning enough for me.

Aah . . . that’s better!

After enlightenment, the laundry. ~ Zen Proverb

Related post:  “Just Be” and “I Am” . . . Rocking My World (In The Stillness of Willow Hill)

Sometimes It’s Hard To “Come Clean” August 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , ,
49 comments

Have you ever overheard someone recount an event (of which you have first hand knowledge) by shading the truth, more than a little, to place themselves in a better light?

Claiming the role of blameless victim to a vicious attack, rather than recognizing their role as instigator or co-participant?

Maybe it’s the attorney in me, but when someone shares a sob story that sounds one-sided, lopsided, or far-fetched, I do not offer blind support.

I ask a few questions first, to ascertain whether the story is factual or fictional.

Once upon a time, we cautioned our young niece not to provoke our cat or she would get scratched.

Ignoring the warning, she backed Jazz into a corner and reached out to grab him.

He scratched her.

Eyes brimming with tears, she exclaimed, “Jazz scratched me!”

We examined the scratch ~ a glancing blow issued as a “step away from the cat” warning.

“What were you doing when he scratched you?”

“Nothing.”

“You were just sitting there, minding your own business, and Jazz ran up to you and scratched you for no reason?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Really?  You weren’t trying to pick him up?  Or pet him? Or follow him around?  You were just sitting still and he ran over to you?”

Hesitation.

“Well . . . he was under the table, and I just wanted to pet him, and when I got close to him, he scratched me.  But I wasn’t going to hurt him!  I didn’t mean to bother him.  I just wanted to pet him.”

{{Hugs}}

James-the-CatSometimes it’s hard to “come clean” and see our part in the controversy.

Our Egos don’t want to admit the part we played in escalating situations from peaceful co-existence to hissing, scratching, tail-pulling, or worse.

But it’s worth it when we do.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Related posts:  Is Your Soul Yearning For Less Drama (Find Your Middle Ground) * You Can’t Handle The Truth

 

 

Reality: What A Concept! August 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , , ,
44 comments

alice26thMany of the on-line tributes to Robin Williams had something in common.

Instead of looking at life through Robin’s eyes to garner the whys of his demise, bloggers mentioned him, in passing, as a stepping stone to get other issues into the spotlight.

That’s understandable.

It is easier to know man in general than to know one man in particular. ~ Duc de la Rochefoucauld

* Some called for more resources for those who struggle with mental illness.

A laudable goal, for sure, but I suspect that Robin had adequate (if not ample) resources available to him.

* Others called for us to be kinder in our daily doings and dealings.

An excellent suggestion, but I doubt that Robin took his own life because of   bullies on the cyber-playground or people looking at him askance.

* Some cited the need for open discussion about depression and addiction.

A noteworthy objective, which I suspect is irrelevant to Robin’s death since he spoke in public forums about these “taboo topics” with great regularity.

* Others encouraged us to lend an ear and really listen to those around us.

Yes!  We should do that.  And, yet, I’m not convinced that our poor listening skills, even collectively, caused Robin to end his life.

Sometimes talking makes “it” better.  Other times, talking just makes it BIGGER.

220px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_27I could keep dunking the teabag, but you get the idea.

Instead of focusing on the reality of Robin’s life, many tributes gave Robin little more than a passing glance before veering off in other directions.

Not surprising, really ~ our view of reality is skewed because we’re looking at life through a dirty lens and cloudy filter.

When something happens, our experiences, concerns, and viewpoints form an opaque overlay, obscuring reality.  We tell ourselves stories and fanciful fictions in a futile effort to create order from chaos and sense from nonsense.

We see the world behind our eyes.

That’s not to say that our creation of ostensible tributes to Robin Williams was misplaced energy.  I don’t have a suitable vantage point to understand or oversee all the various ripples set in motion by our actions and inaction.

Perhaps the outpouring of emotion following his death will cause a tidal wave of love and compassion, lifting us high above the surreal landscape.  From that heightened perspective, maybe we’ll catch a glimpse of reality as IT IS instead of as WE ARE.

A quiet mind, like the surface of a still pond, provides a more accurate reflection.

Reality: What a concept!

Aah . . . that’s better!

On the outside chance that Robin is reading this in Never Never Land, let me close with his view of reality:

Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs. ~ Robin Williams

Related post:  Why We Mourn the Death of Celebrities (Smart Living 365)

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