jump to navigation

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: , , ,
39 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!

Spirit Prevails September 10, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, Poetry, Spirit & Ego.
Tags: , , ,
45 comments

Ego hangs on tight
Preferring known to unknown
How boring is that?

Resist hanging on
Attachments become anchors
Let billow your sails

Relinquish your fears
Live amid uncertainty
Discover what’s next

Embrace all with joy
Relinquish with joy also
Learn to flow through life

The still silent voice
Guides you without faltering
Get out of its way

* * * * *

Artwork by Maitte Van Arsdel ~ available at Island Gallery West.

Related posts:  The Inner Path to Peace * The Answers Lie Within * It’s Time To Wake Up * Backwards LivingA Not-So-Quick Quiz: Who Are You? * The Awakening by Sonny CarrollAccess Your Inner Wisdom * Meditation 101

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

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

The ABC’s of Happiness September 7, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, Simplify Your Life.
Tags: , , ,
18 comments

Accept the “what is.”

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.

Face your fears and follow your dreams.

Go with the flow.

Hardship is inevitable, misery is optional.

In uncertainty lies all possibility.

Joy is never in things, it is in us.

Kindness and compassion are keys to happiness.

Lift your spirit with laughter.

Miracles abound ~ let them astound.

Nurture yourself ~ you are the garden, love grows within.

Obstacles are opportunities.

Peace is yours for the asking.

Quiet contemplation allows our inner wisdom to surface.

Relinquish all with joy.

Simplify your life . . . sometimes less is more.

To learn, teach.

Unity and love are the heart of creation.

Variety is the spice of life.

We do not laugh because we are happy.  We are happy because we laugh.

Xanadu awaits.

You are here.  The time is now.  That is enough.

Zero risk does not exist ~ reach for the stars.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Nothing Knowledge September 5, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , ,
46 comments

170px-PuckCoverMuch of what we read on the internet and watch on TV is fluff.  

And nonsense.

We think we’re “in the know” if we keep tabs on the lives of the rich and famous on our Smart Phones . . . while monitoring the strokes of the U.S. Open on our iPads . . . while catching breaking news on TV:

Some jury somewhere reached a verdict about someone or something.

Even if none of these things impact our lives in a direct way, we refuse to remain in the dark.

When a celebrity dies, has a wardrobe malfunction, or twerks in someone’s face, tabloids toss out sordid details to boost readership.

Instead of barking out, TMI!!!, we emulate Pavlov’s dogs (or seals training at Sea World) and eat up this “nothing knowledge.”

It’s free!  So why not?

Because there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The vortex created by this nothing knowledge, the black hole of social media manipulation, distracts us from our stated priorities ~ our friends, our families, our health and well-being, our dreams.

chimp2

What we put into our mouths is with us only a short while before making an exit through the back door.  What we put into our minds may haunt those hallowed halls forever.

Maybe one day, in the not-so-foreseeable future, we’ll evolve past the point of ingesting anything and everything tossed our way.

Until that day arrives, do your best to steer clear of whine fests, pity parties, and other non-productive time sucks that put your tizzy in a tail spin.

Aah . . . that’s better!

* Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma ~ which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~ Steve Jobs

* It’s amazing the things we find to do . . . to avoid doing amazing things.

* Time is our most valuable and irreplaceable commodity ~ a bank account which mandates daily withdrawals, prohibits deposits, and pays dividends when we spend it wisely.

What’s The Best Way To Get There? September 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, Synchronicity & Mystery.
Tags: , , , ,
26 comments

Mickey-DancingWhat’s the best way to get from where you are to where you want to be?

Start moving in the right direction.

* It doesn’t really matter how fast you’re going if you’re heading in the wrong direction. ~ Stephen Covey

* A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

What’s the first step?

Mickey-SurferIt doesn’t matter.  Anything would do for a start.

Taking steps, even baby steps, sends a message to the Universe that you are ready for a change.

That you are ready to let go of what isn’t working to move towards something “better.”

The way will teach you the way.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote:  The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place. ~ Barbara DeAngelis

 

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

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

IMGP3957

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.

IMGP3950

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

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

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,010 other followers