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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.

A Femme Fatale Hug November 10, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness, Nature.
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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!

CHEF Left A Bad Taste In My Mouth November 5, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction, Happiness, Humor.
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35 comments

Snoopy5Some movies leave a bad taste in your mouth.

It’s not just that you feel you wasted your time by watching it, but you feel they wasted their time by filming it, marketing it, distributing it.

CHEF is just such a movie:

* Chef Carl Casper loses his job at a prominent L.A. restaurant when he refuses to compromise his creative integrity in the kitchen.

* He teams up with his pre-pubescent son to launch a food truck in Miami.

* He reignites his passion in the kitchen by pressing paninis and frying yucca.

A plausible premise poorly prepared and implausibly served . . . with plot holes large enough to swallow a Food Truck.

The biggest problem is the time line.

In a single day, a short 24-hours, Chef and his 8-year-old son manage to clean out a dilapidated, worn out 1988 food truck (delivered with food rotting in the fridge), shop for ALL the supplies they need to trick it out, install new kitchen equipment (flat top, stove, fryers, etc.), buy food, test out the menu, and get the messed up exterior of the food truck  professionally painted ~> effectively turning a rotting pumpkin into a gilded chariot overnight.

Cinderella couldn’t have accomplished that level of transformation with the help of her fairy godmother’s magic wand.

By Day #2, Chef, his son, and a faithful sous chef (who dropped everything to fly across country and get the show on the road) start serving Hot Cubanos on South Beach.  To immediate acclaim.

A police officer parts the crowd to ask Chef and his Merry Men if they have a permit to serve food.

They do!

How’d that happen?  When’d that happen?

But wait!

Satisfied that they have perfected the panini, the trio commence a road trip across country, stopping for beignets in New Orleans ~ a promised treat for the son.  In the time it takes to eat a bag of beignets and brush the sugar dust from their lips, a line forms around the block with people anxious to eat Chef’s Cuban sandwiches.  They’re just that good!

Who knew that a food truck license from Miami would transfer to the Big Easy?

But wait!  They continue on to California, with a pit stop for Pit Bar-B-Q in Austin Texas.  Chef believes he has reclaimed his Culinary Integrity by serving cubans, sliders, beignets, and fried yucca ~> not exactly the inspired menu we envisioned him creating when he quit his job because he couldn’t exercise complete Creative Control in the kitchen.

Now, instead of crafting Molten Lava Cakes around frozen ganache, he and his merry band are sliding ham & cheese sandwiches out of a panini press, frying up yucca, and serving barbecue sliders . . . on store-bought rolls.

Boring!

I could think up a more creative menu than that and I don’t even own a Chef’s knife.

Or a magic wand.

But wait!

The food critic who panned the Chef’s mundane menu falls in love with Chef’s glorified grilled cheese sandwiches and offers to partner with him by opening up a new restaurant.

Of course he does.

So Chef abandons the food truck (and his longed for autonomy and creative freedom) to work for someone else.  Again.

Why do I have the feeling of déjà vu?

Oh, right . . . because he’s right back where he started.

Of course, by following his heart, Chef reunites with his son, re-kindles the flame with his ex-wife, and they remarry.

In his new restaurant.

How’s that for a happily-ever-after ending?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Practical Resilience November 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Joke, Life Lessons.
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41 comments

Our hearts, like eggs, are fragile.

However, even when broken open, infinite possibilities await.

We can collapse into a pool of tears, become hard-boiled (or scrambled) by the ways of the world, or emerge sunny-side up.

get-attachment

Aah . . . that’s better!

Even The Grin Of An Ordinary Guru October 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
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35 comments
Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

Happy Birthday to my Ordinary Guru

Life often conspires to teach us what we need to know.

Some lessons seem negative because our vantage point is limited.

We are lost in the trees.

Once we move farther along the path, we see more of the forest.  Our changed vantage point provides clarity.

With expanded cognition, we find that the “negative events” we resisted resulted in valuable lessons and navigational aids:

* Perhaps we learned to be patient and allow life to unfold.

* Or we shifted our perspective from malignant thoughts of certain doom to benign thoughts of light and laughter.

* Maybe we gained proficiency with a valuable life skill, such as living in the midst of uncertainty without gravitating to worst case scenarios, wild imaginings, and dire predictions.

Anything, even the grin of an Ordinary Guru, can be a nudge in the right direction.

A shortcut to becoming who were were always meant to be.

Aah . . . that’s better!

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.
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

The Blind Leading The Blind September 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Lessons, People.
Tags: , , , , ,
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

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

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