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The Royal Flush November 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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33 comments

zen stonesWhen people blithely say, “Everything happens for a reason,” I don’t necessarily agree.

That said, more often than not, when I look back at “negative” events, I see that some good comes out of almost everything. That makes it easier to deal with the next curve ball or senseless happening.

Hand-rolling-diceOther times, I just shrug my shoulders when asked, “What’s the point?”

Because maybe there is No Point.  Maybe it’s just a crap shoot and it’s up to us to make the most of the cards we’ve been dealt or the next roll of the dice.

Yup, maybe it’s all a crap shoot, and some just get The Royal Flush.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~ Forest Gump

Related posts:  When Life Goes Awry

A Change Would Do You Good November 13, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Music & Dance.
Tags: , , ,
46 comments

Take a minute to look around your life.

What’s working?  What needs fine tuning?  What would benefit from a complete overhaul?

* Maybe you have the perfect job, but your finances or relationships are in shambles.

* Maybe you have hobbies you enjoy, but you never find time to enjoy them.

* Maybe your life is picture perfect, except for a job that is sucking the life out of you week after week.

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. ~ J. Pierpont Morgan

Once you know where you are, think about where you want to go.  List a few tweaks and fixes needed to move you closer to living the life of your dreams:

* Get finances in order
* Have More FUN!!!!
* Find a new job in an inspiring field
* Learn to cook healthier meals

Once you’ve identified a few items in need of fine tuning, create an action plan for making the transformation from where you are to where you want to be.

* If you choose to focus on your finances, some actions steps might be:  calculate net worth, record every expenditure for a month, set up a budget, balance the checkbook, cut up credit cards, stop buying shoes, bring lunch to work, no more take out coffee, research tips on money management, open up a savings account, start an IRA, etc.

* If you desire to have more fun, some action steps might be:  call a friend and invite them for dinner, buy a book you’ve always wanted to read, check out the paper for current shows and exhibits, sign up for a pottery class at the local community college, spend 30 minutes a day pursuing a favorite hobby, audition for the local play, go to the park and swing on the swings, limit TV time, etc.

* If you decide to focus on switching careers, some action steps might be: do an on-line search of jobs in fields of interest, update resume, attend a job fair, contact alumni services about placement assistance, etc.

IMGP3562b* If you want to learn to cook healthier meals, some action steps might be:  search recipes on line, find a cooking blog to follow, look through cookbooks for healthier recipes, research nutritional guidelines, visit a farmer’s market, create menus featuring fruits and veggies, ask friends for favorite recipes, etc.

Now that you’ve got some action steps identified, pick one and do it.  Don’t worry about which one to pick first.  Just pick one and do it.

Then pick another action step and do it.  Then another.  And another.

As you start moving from where you are to where you want to be, keep your eyes and ears open to winks, whispers, and nudges from the Universe.  If something appears on your radar screen, add it to your list of action steps:

* Call Sally and ask her for the recipe for stuffed zucchini.
* Ask George how he paid off his credit card debt.
* Call last employer and see if he’ll act as a reference.

As you focus on where you are and where you want to be, don’t worry about what you wanted out of life 20 years ago.

What do you want right NOW?

And don’t worry about what others want you to do.  What do YOU want to do?

The more we look within for guidance about what we want, the more clarity we gain about who we are.

And once we know who we are TODAY, we no longer need to analyze who we were YESTERDAY.

Step by step, the  past loosens its hold on us.

By embracing this moment, we find that we no longer need to rewrite or overcome the past to move forward in life.

All we have to do is let it go.

Aah . . . that’s better!

If you’re not actively involved in getting what you want, you don’t really want it.

Action is the antidote to dis-ease.

Why You May Never See Me Cry November 11, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , ,
52 comments

I do not like crying in front of other people . . .

It’s not because I’m afraid of what THEY might think of me.

It’s because I don’t want to have to deal with THEM and THEIR reaction to my tears.

I just want to cry in peace.  To be alone with my sadness.

I do not like crying in front of other people . . .

It’s not because I’m afraid to reveal the real me.

NOT crying in front of them is the REAL ME being the REAL ME.

It’s part of who I am at the core.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“When someone is crying, of course, the noble thing to do is to comfort them. But if someone is trying to hide their tears, it may also be noble to pretend you do not notice them.” ~ Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

“Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.” ~ Carl Sandburg

A Femme Fatale Hug November 10, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness, Nature.
Tags: , , , ,
56 comments

Worry reminds me of Kudzu erasing entire Southern landscapes under a blanket of green as it envelops tree limbs and leaves in a femme fatale hug.

Wikipedia ~ Kudzu (in Public Domain)

A creeping patchwork quilt that blocks the light, suffocating all other thought.

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* Worrying is interest paid on a debt you may not owe. ~ Peter McWilliams

* “Worry is like a rocking chair.  It gets you nowhere.” (Thanks, Timi!)

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* If we do not control our thoughts, our thoughts control us.

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

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Don’t Worry.  Be Happy!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Parting The Clouds September 28, 2014

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

Taking Things Out Of Context September 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , , ,
40 comments

Sally-BrownThe perspective we bring to what we read affects our “take away.”

If we read something when we are angry, we perceive the writer’s words in a different way than we would when feeling calm and peaceful.

We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. ~ Anais Nin

Experiences that come to mind while reading also flavor our perception.

For example, if I talk about a “pothole in the path” while picturing a broken thermos or some other insignificant obstacle, my words may make sense.

Donald-Duck-MadIf a reader stumbles upon my words after experiencing a catastrophic event (e.g., having their home washed away in a flood or mowed down by a tornado), that reader’s experiential overlay will impact their interpretation of my words, and may cause them to conclude, “That’s Just Crazy Talk!”

“We see the world behind our eyes.”

The ability to take things out of context is facilitated when reading blog posts and e-mails because we cannot hear the writer’s inflection.

Donald-DuckaWords written in a calm and soothing tone may be transformed into an angry and hostile diatribe or attack depending on what’s going on in our head as we read.

Our history with the person in question may magnify this phenomenon.

When we like and admire someone, we view their words without suspicion.  If something sounds “off,” we’re apt to give them the benefit of the doubt.

In contrast, if we’re not a fan of a writer, our distrust may season their words, causing them to become bitter, unpalatable, and hard to swallow.

Donald-Duck-BaseballIf a writer’s words rub you the wrong way, take a look at what you’re bringing to the table.

When we leave our hostility and animosity at the door, the world becomes a friendlier place.

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

Aah . . . that’s better!

Social media can be bad for people without foresight, impulse control, self-awareness, and the ability to anticipate consequences. ~ Eric J. Baker

 

Choose Happiness September 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,
42 comments

We can choose to be happier by changing the focus of our day-to-day thoughts.

Like any skill worth having, changing the way we look at the world will not happen on its own.

We don’t learn to swim, or speak French, or play golf by wishing we had those skills.  We learn those skills by practicing them until we become adept.

If we wish to change our minds, it helps to understand a few key concepts:

1. Thoughts create our reality.  

When we dwell on past hurts and frustrations, our thoughts and emotions are apt to be negative ~ sadness, anger, and resistance fill our world.  When we count our blessings and envision a positive future, our thoughts and emotions tend to follow suit, increasing the level of our happiness.

Sometimes nothing needs to change but our perspective or frame of reference.

2. We can choose the way we view the world.

Our thoughts are tools which help or hinder us as we journey through life.

When we learn to view the thoughts running through our brains in the same way we view images on a TV or computer screen, we realize we can change the channel any time we don’t like the program being broadcast.

Watching the same tearful melodrama for days (or years) is like watching a sad movie over and over again.  Instead of watching stale reruns, we can reclaim the remote, switch channels, and watch more positive and uplifting fare.

Monitoring our thoughts allows us to re-program the default setting on our remotes and trains our brain to broadcast shows that are worth watching.

3. It’s hard to stop thinking about pink elephants. 

If we’re told not to think about pink elephants, the image of a pink elephant is apt to appear, front and center. Telling ourselves to stop thinking about pink elephants is an exercise in futility.

Instead, like training a teething puppy, we must give our minds something else to chew on:  planning our next vacation, writing out a grocery list, playing Sudoku, making weekend plans.

Better still, we can do something:  Read a book.  Watch a movie.  Fly a kite.  Ride a bike. Paint a picture.  Take a hike.  Send a note.  Float a boat. Feed a goat.  Dig a moat. Phone a friend.

One of the best ways to distance ourselves from the habit of negative thinking is by distracting ourselves with a dose of positivity.

4. Emotions follow our thoughts, not vice versa.

Think sad, feel sad.  Think mad, feel mad.  Think glad, feel glad.

As we tune into the ticker tape of monkey chatter racing through our mental corridors, we notice emotions as they arise ~ e.g., a flicker of annoyance.  We take a mindful peek at our thoughts to see if they are true, helpful, kind, etc.

If not, as is often the case, we switch channels to a more positive broadcast.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  A Simple Choice

There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.  By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.~ Robert Louis Stevenson

When I Am Well Rested . . . September 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,
36 comments

IMGP3523bSleep and present moment awareness go a long way toward making sure we focus on what matters most to us.

When I am well-rested, I am happy, enthusiastic, upbeat, positive, and at peace.  I exude joy!

I slept LATE
(Til half past nine)
It felt GREAT
Sleep is divine!

In the flow of life, I remember to eat right, remain mindful, and get daily exercise.

Expanding my happiness still further.

I enjoy life, relax, and overflow with vitality and gratitude . . . and all that positivity spills out on those around me.

When I am well-rested, I remain awake and aware.  I avoid getting thrown off kilter by the every pothole in the path:

“A stable mind is like the hub of a wheel. The world may spin around you, but the mind is steady.”

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (BKS) Iyengar

Scruffy-CatIn contrast, when I’m overtired and forget to stay in the NOW, I’m cranky and irritable and the toxic sludge of negativity keeps me from “going with the flow.”

Things slip through the cracks until, exhausted from struggling against the current, I go back to Step One and get some sleep.

Aah Morpheus . . .that’s better!

Related post:  Sleep, Beautiful Elusive Sleep (Views and Mews by Coffee Kat)

Shooting Ducks on the Midway September 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.
Tags: , , ,
41 comments

Broccoli-Mocking-Stewie

Ego (the false self, the illusionist, the imposter, the story-teller) will do anything to keep us off balance.

Ego knows that, as long as we’re struggling against the roiling waves and brush fires it creates, we will be too busy to toss him overboard (or fight fire with fire).

Ego wants to live long enough to create conflict another day.

Once we “wake up” and see that we are not the thoughts we think, the stormy seas left in Ego’s wake dissipate.

Donald-Duck-LazyI am not the thoughts I think.
My thoughts are not “me.”

I am the silent observer of thoughts that arise.
The detached witness.

I can identify with the thoughts Ego tosses at me.
Or allow them to drift away.

When we practice mindfulness, we no longer believe all the thoughts we think.

Instead, our authentic self  (the still silent observer) watches the ticker-tape parade of thoughts that pop up in rapid-fire succession (like those revolving ducks at the shooting gallery on the midway).

Donald-DirectorAs we watch, our awareness of our internal landscape improves, as does our aim.  We get better at shooting toxic thoughts down as soon as they pop up.

Instead of being thrown off balance by non-productive thoughts, we watch Ego’s ineffectual attempts to “stir the pot” with detached amusement.

We see that Ego is just a big fat QUACK!

Aah . . . that’s better!

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