Let It Out . . . Let it Go September 21, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: Emotion, Happiness, Health, Life Lessons, Puppy, Sadness
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.
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.
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, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Lessons, People.
Tags: Advice, Happiness, Humor, Life Lessons, People, Travel
I 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, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness.
Tags: Gratitude, Happiness, Health, Mindfulness, Wellness
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:
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.
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, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Mindfulness.
Tags: Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, Sleep, Wellness
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.”
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)
What’s “Wrong” With This Quote? September 8, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: Goals, Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, Motivation
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:
“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.”
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!
The ABC’s of Happiness September 7, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, Simplify Your Life.
Tags: Gratitude, Happiness, Meditation, Mindfulness
Be Here Now.
Choose your focus and count your blessings.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Embrace all with joy.
Go with the flow.
Hardship is inevitable, misery is optional.
In uncertainty lies all possibility.
Joy is never in things, it is in us.
Lift your spirit with laughter.
Miracles abound ~ let them astound.
Nurture yourself ~ you are the garden, love grows within.
Obstacles are opportunities.
Quiet contemplation allows our inner wisdom to surface.
Relinquish all with joy.
Simplify your life . . . sometimes less is more.
To learn, teach.
Variety is the spice of life.
We do not laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh.
You are here. The time is now. That is enough.
Zero risk does not exist ~ reach for the stars.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Where Happiness Resides September 4, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Meditation, Mindfulness.
Tags: Gratitude, Happiness, Laughter, Meditation
Or, to paraphrase The Grinch:
Happiness does not come from a store. Happiness means just a little bit more.
Happiness is a natural state of being which we can access Here and Now.
Let there be more joy and laughter in your living. ~ Eileen Caddy
Happiness arises as soon as we let go of all the monkey chatter running around our brains and smile . . . for any reason, or no reason at all.
Happiness arises as soon as we tell Ego to shut its yapper so that we can enjoy the bliss, stillness, and happiness within.
Happiness is not something that we need to “achieve.”
Happiness resides in the calm stillness that lies beyond all labels.
In the timeless present, you don’t need a reason to be happy . . . you just are.
My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right? ~ Charles Schulz
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!
♥ ♥ ♥
If you’re not already where you want to be . . .
* Swap out one negative thought a day for a more positive thought.
* Don’t expect others to cheer you up. That’s not their job . . . it’s your job.
* Create space in your life for what matters.
* Look for opportunities to laugh and smile. Life improves with laughter.
We do not laugh because we are happy . . . we are happy because we laugh. ~ William James
Sometimes the smallest action pays the largest dividend. Once we experience happiness “for no reason at all,” we realize how accessible it is.
Aah . . . that’s better!
A Sense of Humor August 29, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
Tags: Gratitude, Happiness, Health, Humor, Wellness
Laughter shortens the distance between people.
He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh. ~ the Koran
The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer everybody else up. ~ Mark Twain
When we stop taking ourselves so seriously, we become ever so much happier!
Not being happy during Happy Hour is a self-defeating way to go through life.
“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” ~ William Arthur Ward
Life improves with laughter. ♥ ♥ ♥
Aah . . . that’s better!
The Best Is Yet To Come . . . August 21, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness
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.
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?
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
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?
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.
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.
Aah . . . that’s better! (Stay tuned ~ the best is yet to come!)
The Other Side of Retirement August 19, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons.
Tags: Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons
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.
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.
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)