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Anger: Let It Out . . . Then Let It Go March 21, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, People.
10 comments

I enjoy being around positive people who look on the bright side of things ~ like Buddhists monks who embrace all with joy, and exude love, acceptance, peace and tranquility.

That said, I also enjoy being around honest people.  And, if I had to choose, I would choose honest negativity over fake positivity any day of the week.

Let’s take anger, for instance.

If someone is angry, they should allow themselves to be angry ~ preferably in a controlled way, rather than brandishing a handgun ~ in order to give the offending party a chance to “clear the air.”

Honest anger is, well, honest.  If you are pissed, go on record as being pissed.

Having someone be honestly angry is preferable to having them lie to me ~ by being nice to my face, while honestly seething behind my back.

Honestly expressed anger paves the way for us to communicate openly to resolve misunderstandings, even if we eventually have to just agree to disagree on the point under discussion.

However, once you have honestly expressed your anger, its work is done.

Let it go!

Example:  Someone cuts you off in traffic.  If you can, choose to view them with humor or compassion, rather than anger.  It’s better for your blood pressure, and overall health, not to get bent out of shape by every minor infraction by fellow travelers on this planet.

If it helps, picture the offending driver as someone who is engaged in a hostage situation where time is of the essence.

Be thankful that you are not racing to drop off ransom money in order to reclaim your prized teddy bear!

Then just, smile and wave, boys, smile and wave!

If you can’t view them with humor or compassion, go ahead and give them the finger, if it makes you feel better, but then let the anger go.

Don’t carry your anger at a bad driver around for the rest of the day, polluting your dealings with others.

And, don’t, don’t, don’t, record their license plate, find out where they live, and scream angry epithets at them every morning as they are leaving for work.  Keep some perspective on the situation.

Likewise, don’t follow the offending car around town for the rest of the week, telling them that they are rude, insensitive and arrogant for cutting you off in traffic while they were clipping their toenails.

Emotions are intended to have motion.  Whether you are sad, angry, or frustrated, feel the emotion, let it out, and then . . . let it go.

Next installment:  how to make yourself happy.  Chocolate martini, anyone?

Quote:  At some point, your heart will tell itself what to do. ~ Achaan Chah

Aah . . . that’s better!

Between The Wish & The Thing March 21, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
5 comments

Over the years, we’ve done a wonderful job of clearing clutter from our physical environment:

* We’ve donated books, and clothes, and knick knacks and paddywacks to good causes. 

* We’ve purged files so that our filing cabinet is not bulging at the seams.

* We’ve streamlined our photo albums so that we aren’t forced to rent a separate U-Haul just to move our memories from point “A” to point “B.” 

* We’ve straightened drawers and closets and wardrobes so that we have what we need and actually use what we have.

And still our lives are filled with clutter ~ the invisible clutter of unreal (and unreasonable) expectations which rob us of peace, joy, and happiness on a daily basis because we’re stumbling around them, getting tripped up on our thoughts, instead of living the life we want to live.  A few examples: 

I wish my parents were younger.  I wish my parents were not isolated in a house that’s grown too large for their needs.  I wish my parents would move to Florida where I could see them every day.

I wish my sister did not have health issues that blur her vision and prevent her from working and driving.  I wish my nieces and nephews were still tiny tots with sticky fingers who loved giggling with me over the silliest of things.

I wish my body could meet all the demands I place on it, without aches and pains.  I wish I would lose that last ten pounds.  I wish that I would get motivated to exercise, instead of sitting around like a lump of Play-Doh.  I wish healthy, delicious, good-for-me food would magically appear on my plate every evening.  I wish that my clothes fit perfectly.

I wish that I felt strong and healthy and enthusiastic every morning when I rolled out of bed.  I wish that only those things that truly matter would occupy my time, my heart, and my head.  I wish I would learn to accept the things I cannot change. 

I wish I could earn a living from my writing.  I wish . . .

Between the wish and the thing, life lies waiting.

So, that’s my resolution for 2010:  To stop tripping myself up on mental clutter that is doing nothing more than stealing my peace, piece by piece.  Starting today, I am going to focus on letting go of all the self-defeating thoughts that make me feel anxious instead of calm.  I’m going to be completely honest with myself.

The “what is” is.  ~ And no amount of wishing will change it.

If I want a life filled with creativity, joy and peace, there is only one place to find that happiness ~ in the here and now. 

Living in the past will not produce the tranquility, stillness, and balance that I need to live life with passion.  No matter how or where I lost my way, the path is here, now ~ leading me on to the life of my dreams.

If you don’t have the life you want, start making changes . . . because it’s not going to land in your lap.

I will focus on finding a calm, centered way of living that refreshes and restores me.  I will achieve balance in my life by making more positive choices (daily exercise) and fewer negative choices (allowing myself to fret about things that don’t matter, or that are outside my control).  

I’m going to stop looking over my shoulder and move forward with my life.  I’m going to tune out the past and tune in to the here and now.

When you have conquered the enemy within, there are no enemies left to conquer.

I’m going to live in the moment, reconnect with favorite hobbies and friends, and clear away activities that don’t serve my vision.  I’m going to use my time wisely, find joy in being, and act in accordance with my values. I’m going to fill my life with the inner calm and peace that are always there for the asking . . . as long as we remember to ask.  I’m going to clear out the mental clutter and open my internal landscape to blessings and opportunities. 

I’m going to give the Universe a little room to work its magic.

You Better Stop Shopping Around March 21, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Less IS More, Life Balance.
8 comments

Enough Already! 

No, I’m not yelling at you . . . that’s the title of a book by Peter Walsh, New York Times Bestselling Author of It’s All Too Much ~ An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff and Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? ~ An Easy Plan for Losing Weight and Living More.

His latest effort, Enough Already! Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You, draws interesting parallels between the clutter in our living spaces, our heads, and on our hips. 

If he’s correct, working to clear clutter in any one of these areas tends to spill over ~ creating positive results in other areas of our lives as well.

Hmm . . . you mean if I clear out the clutter in my living room, I might actually lose weight without dieting? 

Mr. Walsh seems to think so, and provides anecdotal support for his conclusions.

What if I clean out a few closets this afternoon ~ will I be able to think more clearly tomorrow morning when I sit down at my keyboard?

Again, a resounding YES! from the Guru of Clutter Busting.

Interesting . . . but how do I know if he’s right?

By experimenting in your own life, of course.  Try clearing off a few surfaces in your living room and see if you feel calmer and more peaceful.  Clear off the work surface where you write (or pay bills), and see if your creativity explodes forth with greater energy and enthusiasm.

Wait!  What does that have to do with the title of this piece?  Why do I have to stop shopping around?  I love shopping.  It’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling lonely, or stressed, or angry, or depressed, or . . .

Exactly! 

Just like eating too much (i.e., past the point of satisfying our actual need for fuel) may be a way of avoiding things we don’t want to deal with directly (by stuffing them down in our bellies), shopping too much (i.e., past the point of satisfying our actual needs) is a way to placate ourselves when we are feeling less than stellar about who we are and where we are headed in life.

But don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. 

We live in a culture where we are encouraged to spend, spend, spend ~ to buy symbols of our status in life in order to broadcast our success to others by the size of our homes, the model of car we drive, the number of shoes in our closets, and the designer labels on our clothes.

Exactly!  What’s wrong with that?  I work hard, I’m entitled . . .  

Stop right there. 

You just hit the nail on the head ~ we grew up believing that we deserve to have whatever we want, whenever we want it.  In short, we feel entitled.  But giving in to that sense of entitlement comes with a hefty price-tag.

How so?

OK.  Say you’ve had a hard day at work.

Man, you can say that again.  My job is the pits, but I can’t afford to quit.  I’m too far in debt.  Besides, I’m trying to save up some money to move into a bigger house, because this one is getting too small . . . “

Again, let me stop you right there. 

What do you mean your house is getting too small?

Well, I don’t have enough room for all my stuff.

What if you stopped shopping, paid off your debt, got rid of your excess clutter, and moved to a smaller house ~ would you be able to earn less and still be happy?

I don’t know.  I never thought about it that way.  I’m usually really happy on vacation, even if the hotel room is on the small side.  I guess I don’t need a ton of space to put a smile on my face.

OK. 

Now, let’s go back to that entitlement issue, and the hefty price-tag hanging off it.  Say you’ve had a hard day at work.  What do you do to relax and unwind in the evenings.

Well, I usually stop off on my way home and buy myself something to reward myself for making it through another day. 

Like what?

It depends.  Sometimes I’ll stop at the Mall and buy myself a new outfit, or a new pair of shoes.  Or I’ll just stop at the bakery and pick up something sinful for dessert . . .

Why a new outfit?

Well, I’ve gained a bit of weight over the years, so I’m always on the look out for something that doesn’t make my butt look so big . . .

Well, if you’re worried about your big butt, why would you ever stop at the bakery ~ why not just stop at the gym and work out for a bit?

Well, I don’t usually have a lot of time.  Besides cheesecake is an affordable indulgence that cheers me up.  It makes me feel better about my life. 

Really?  How does it do that?

Well, it tastes good and it doesn’t cost much.

Really?  Are you sure it doesn’t cost much?

Yes, I’m sure.  A Strawberry Cheesecake costs $10 at my favorite bakery ~ I ought to know, I just stopped there last night . . . .

Interesting.  Now, let’s look at the actual price-tag attached to that cheesecake ~ sure, it tastes good, at first.  But then it makes you feel bad, doesn’t it? 

You feel bad that you gave in to temptation.  You feel bad when you look in the mirror because giving in to your sense of entitlement makes your butt look big.  That, in turn, makes you go out shopping for more clothes to use as camouflage for your expanding hips and thighs.  Your expanding girth causes your clothing expenditures to rise, which causes your credit card bills to roll in at an ever-increasing rate which makes you work harder and harder at a job you hate just to pay for things that you didn’t really need in the first place . . .

Enough Already!

Exactly!

No rules.  Just write!

Thought to ponder:  Happiness does not come from a store ~ it comes from more fully appreciating who we are and where we are headed in life.

Related posts:  Clearing Clutter * Want Less Clutter?  Buy Less Stuff * Simplify Your Life * Woman Found Dead Amid Clutter * Why Sex & The City Bombed * Get Rid of Clutter And Lose Weight (AARP)