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Rules of the House May 10, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, People, Spirit & Ego.
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We had an unexpected house guest this weekend, who showed up carting a lot of baggage.  

After depositing his luggage in the living room, the visitor looked around our somewhat eclectic space and immediately pointed out a few pieces of decor which clashed with his bags.

Rather than focusing on the totality of the space, or on the pieces he liked and admired, he focused exclusively on the one or two articles he found unsettling.

He claimed the discordance made him feel unhappy,  uncomfortable, unwelcome, and ill-at-ease.

Surprised, we wondered what he wanted us to do about the negative feelings he was generating inside himself.

We did not have to wait long to find out . . .

Instead of setting his baggage aside, or putting it in the other room for the duration of his stay, he calmly suggested that we redecorate our living space to accommodate his baggage.

Smiling at this rather unusual request, we declined.

Our living space, rather unique and abstract, works perfectly for us.  It’s comfortable, cozy, and makes us happy. 

Most visitors feel completely at ease in the space.  Many are repeat visitors.  

While I doubt that our guests would decorate their interiors in exactly the same way, none has previously suggested that we change our interior to suit any particular sense and sensibility on their part.

When we ignored our visitor’s increasingly forceful suggestions, he accused us of being insensitive, callous, and cruel, and left in a huff ~ taking his pride and prejudice with him.

After he left, we reflected on the situation, and decided to post the following Rules of the House:

1.  All visitors welcome.  Make yourself at home.

2.  Your baggage is your responsibility, not ours. 

3.  If you leave your luggage lying around, please don’t expect us to step gingerly over and around it as we tend to our business. 

4.   This is not a therapist’s office, and we are not your therapists.  

5.  Our interior decor is the process of conscious choices made over a period of years using our cumulative life experiences. 

6.  Please don’t expect us to redecorate to suit your likes and dislikes.

7.  If  you feel uncomfortable with our choice of interior illumination and decor, we’d like to toss out a few options for your consideration:

* Learn to accept what you cannot change
* Choose to change what you can ~ i.e., your own focus
* Use visualization to create your dream space  
* Meditate to reclaim your serenity & peace of mind
* Focus on the positives, not the negatives
* View our decor with amused detachment, not anger

One last rule: 

If none of the above works . . . please stop looking around at our stuff.   

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote:  It takes 17 muscles to smile and 47 muscles to frown.  Conserve energy.  ~ Unknown

10 Happiness Boosters May 10, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Happiness, Health & Wellness.
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Much of our happiness depends on the choices we make in our daily lives.  Try boosting your happiness with a few of these strategies:

1.  Create uncertainty.  Be curious.  Savor mystery.  Leave yourself wondering.  Try new things.  Create  new challenges.  See where life leads.  Go with the flow.

2.  Go on a “first date” with someone you’ve known for years ~ act as if you’ve just met.  Ask questions.  Listen to the answers.

3.  When something “bad” happens, play the “what if” game.  Ask: “what if this setback is really a shortcut?”  Look for possible hidden blessings.  Focus on the situation with curiosity, wonder, and excitement ~ not fear.

4.  Invest in new adventures, not more stuff.  Invite someone along to share the new experience with you.

5.  Access your inner child.  Be flexible, spontaneous, and playful.  Be creative.  Make something with your own hands.

6.   When you’re picking a movie (or deciding what to do, wear, or eat), don’t feel pressured to make THE best choice.  Instead, narrow your choices down to two that are “good enough” and make your final selection randomly ~ flip a coin and let the “fates” decide.

7.  Do good deeds.  Lend a hand to strangers.  Give money away.  Pick one day a week to focus on helping others. Mix it up ~ don’t get into a rut.

8.  Know when to walk away from a dead-end job, an ill-fated relationship, or a check out line that isn’t moving.  Don’t stay put based on the time and energy you have invested ~ that “water over the dam” is gone.  Pretend you just stumbled into the present situation.  Then ask:  “Should I stay or go?”

9.  Exercise.  Take a walk in the park at lunch, or around the block after dinner.  Take regular stretch breaks during the day.  Practice yoga.  Lift weights.

10.  Laugh.  Smile.  Repeat.  We do not laugh because we are happy.  We are happy because we laugh.

Related posts:  Silence the Inner Critic * The Zen of Cooking * Meditation 101