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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.
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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!

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.

Choose Happiness September 15, 2014

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

Spirit Prevails September 10, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, Poetry, Spirit & Ego.
Tags: , , ,
46 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!

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