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How To Be Happier No Matter What February 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
45 comments

Our left analytical brain creates most, if not all, of the unhappiness we experience in life. 

It’s not what happens to us that determines our happiness, it’s the “spin” put on it by the thoughts we think.

The “what is” IS.  How we relate to the issue IS the issue.

So, for example, a possible cause for distress would be if X’s house burned down.  X could be grateful (“at least no one was hurt”) or happy (“I’m glad I paid the insurance premium last week”). 

X could collapse into a heap and cry about the loss of stuff.  Or X could shrug and say, “Well, that’s one thousand less things to worry about.” 

Barn’s burnt down ~ now I can see the moon. ~ Masahide (1657-1723)

The same possibilities exist if we lose our job . . . or our spouse leaves us . . . or a loved one dies.

We can resist the “what is” and add to our suffering by the stories we tell ourselves . . . or we can accept and embrace the changes that come our way.

Embrace all with joy . . . anything can be a gift of gold in disguise. 

When something “bad” happens, we do not have to feel “sad.”  We can accept that change is inevitable in life and get on with living life. 

We can choose to look for the silver lining:

“Great.  Now that I’m no longer working there . . . I’ll have the time to find a job more suited to my time and talents.”

“Great.  John hasn’t been happy in our marriage for some time.  I’m glad he’s finally moving on with his life, freeing me to do the same.”

Situations do NOT dictate the response. 

Our responses are conditioned by our habitual way of looking at the world. 

They are learned behavior . . . and can be unlearned. 

If we are attached to X, and lose X, we are socialized to mourn the loss.  But we don’t have to follow socially prescribed behavior. 

We are free to say . . . I am better off without X.  X was slowing me down.  I needed to let go of X to get on with life.   

We need not collapse into a heap at the side of the road every time we stub our toe on a pebble in our path.

We can kick it to the curb and proceed on our way.

We can keep moving forward to see what’s around the next bend in the road.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition. ~ William Arthur Ward

Related posts:  When The Going Gets ToughPerception is Reality (Married with Luggage) Hang Ten:  Riding the Waves of DismayYear of the Cat

When We Stop Striving To Be “Someone” February 28, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
51 comments

When we stop striving to be “Someone” . . . we are free of the Ego’s incessant desire for accolades, applause, and attention from those around us.

We make choices and decisions based on the firm footing of the Essential Self, rather than on the shaky ground of the False Self.

We no longer give with the expectation of reciprocity.  

If we do something kind for others and the act is not acknowledged, we are just as pleased as we would be if the act were applauded.

We no longer act out of the desire for approval, constantly looking around to see who’s watching.

Our guiding light is love and compassion. 

We do not give to get. 

We give to give.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote to Ponder:  When the basis of our well-being is firm within, we can act with true courage and compassion for others, for we’re coming from a solid position of calmness and strength. ~ Thanissaro Bhikkhu

* * * * *

Artwork by Peter R. Gerbert ~ Spoonbill Lagoon ~ a portion of the proceeds from sales of this fine art print benefits AUDUBON OF FLORIDA’S  Roseate Spoonbill research projects and protection efforts.

39 Tips For Living A BETTER Life February 27, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Mindfulness.
26 comments

I want to share two posts with you this morning that contain a total of 39 Tips for Living a BETTER Life . . . starting NOW!

The first, written by Courtney Carver, a woman surviving and thriving after being diagnosed with MS in 2006, outlines 10 areas to focus on when seeking to improve your health and happiness ~ Diet, Health Care, Water, Colors not Calories, Assess Stress, Debt, Do Good Work, Simplify, Exercise, and Live:

Permission to be Healthy ~ 10 Steps to a Healthier (and Happier) Life 

The second article, written by Cat Li Stevenson, contains 29 tips for making the most of life . . . as and where you are:  29 Life Lessons in 29 Years 

A few favorites from Cat’s article which tie in to recent posts here on SLTW:

8. No matter what we achieve – whatever our measuring stick of success may be – until our minds and hearts are at peace, there will always be the next chase. To expand on this thought: our understanding of ‘security’ can be less safe than it appears. It is valuable to question and examine our definition of safe.

9. Breathe. Practicing sitting comfortably in silence. A sanctuary awaits us in being able to be still, contemplate and reflect. We discover the most about ourselves when we dissolve our inner barriers, quiet the mind, and hear our inner voice.

18. There is no one-way to live. There is no box, no one-way to happiness, no how-to manual for your unique being. We shouldn’t be influenced by movies, stories, and fantasy. We don’t have to conform to societal ideals, norms, or our portrayal of ‘perfect’. Find your truth, your path, your heart and follow it.

22. Saying no is an important skill. It is one that allows us to protect our most precious resource: our time and energy. In my 20s, there was a period of time where I adopted a mantra of “Yes!”—yes to social gatherings, yes to busyness, yes to happy hours, yes to commitments that didn’t serve me. By saying no, I was able to gain back pieces of my day and my energy.

Breathe. Relax. Repeat.

Aah . . . that’s better!

To Win At Life . . . Stop Playing Games February 26, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness.
28 comments

Wikipedia ~ Australian Rules Football (in Public Domain)

Tired of getting tossed around on the stage of life?

Tired of scoring touchdown after touchdown only to have another goal post appear on the distant horizon?

Tired of getting sacked, tackled, and smacked around by opponents who don’t want you to score?

Tired of listening to the voice in your head that says you’re not good enough as and where you are?

STOP. 

LOOK. 

LISTEN.

Who says you have to keep moving down the field you’re on?

Wikipedia ~ Australian Football (in Public Domain)

Walk off the field and claim a seat in the bleachers.

From high in the stands, you can see how pointless the game is.

No matter how many points are on the scoreboard.

You see participants being pummeled and pounded into the ground . . . for what?

Bragging rights?

Just who is it that they are trying to impress?

And if they succeed . . . how long will that success echo?

Wikipedia ~ Goal (in Public Domain)

How soon before spectators turn their attention to another player’s efforts?

How soon before the applause diminishes, dissipates, and  disappears?

What are we striving for?

Will the external applause ever be enough to convince us that we are enough as and where we are?

Stop playing games in exchange for applause.

Do what brings you pleasure.  You might just discover that enjoying the journey IS the elusive destination you’ve been seeking all along.

TOUCHDOWN!

I “borrowed” this quote from Julie’s Gratitude Sunday post because it ties in so well with the theme of “enjoying life” rather than “playing to the applause.”

I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual . . .  
O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches.
No run on my bank can drain it
for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Aah . . . that’s better!

MANGIA! February 25, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Happiness.
74 comments

F~O~O~D is my favorite four-letter-word.

I adore everything from vibrant health-producing fruits and veggies filled with fiber and anti-oxidants ~ ripe strawberries, fresh pineapple, gorgeous grapes, grilled asparagus, crunchy carrots, red pepper . . .

To plates of warm and welcoming Southern Comfort ~ Fried Green Tomatoes, Hot Buttered Grits, Red Beans & Rice . . .

To sweet treats and decadent desserts ~ Chocolate Bread Pudding with Warm Bourbon Sauce and Dark Chocolate Lace . . .

Eating is a daily indulgence that adds variety and spice to life.  Being able to eat three times a day makes me happy . . . three times a day.

If I could take a magic pill every day to be healthy, trim, and fit my entire life . . . as long as I did NOT eat or drink anything else . . . I would refuse the pill and order an extra-large pizza.

Better a short life filled with F~O~O~D than an endless stream of days punctuated only by a bitter pill to swallow.  And water to wash it down.

How about you?

Related posts:  Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Indulge * Life is Short . . . Eat Dessert First * Indulge ~ Tarte Aux Fruits (Piglet in Portugal) * Indulge ~ La King’s Confections (NOLA Girl at Heart) * The Art of Dressing for Dinner (The Accidental Cootchie Mama)

Learn To Be Still February 25, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Meditation, Mindfulness, Music & Dance.
23 comments

You thought you could find happiness
Just over that green hill
You thought you would be satisfied
But you never will . . .

Learn to be still

Related posts:  Just Sit & Be Still (Mirth & Motivation) * Basic Peace and Love Work (Love is the Answer) * XI Ways to Look at the Moon (Turtle Memoirs)

Gain Without Pain February 24, 2012

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

220px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_27Pain is intended to be a temporary signal to get us to slow down, sleep, eat, cry, or shift positions.

Once it’s gotten our attention, its purpose is served.

At that point, it is in our best interest to let it recede so we can move forward and embrace THIS moment.

It’s counter-productive to chase after pain and retrieve it due to guilt, fear, or a desire for martyrdom.

You are NOT Joan of Arc.

Most of us allow physical pain to Exit Stage Left without objection . . . we seldom request an encore performance.

So why do we insist on hanging onto emotional pain?

Why do we keep calling it back to Center Stage for encore after encore after encore?  Does loyalty to lost loved ones require us to flagellate ourselves for eternity?

How does that serve them?
How does that serve us?

Emotional pain is a heavy burden to bear . . . carting it around for the rest of our life is like toting around a wheelbarrow full of rocks.

As each new pain arises, we add more weight to the wheelbarrow.

The pain accumulates until our wheelbarrow of sorrow is overflowing and we are stumbling along behind it in a state of emotional exhaustion.

At times, we are so overloaded by the stale weight that we can barely move.

We’re far too exhausted to embrace the gift of today.

We consider letting it all go, but that makes us feel uneasy.   We’ve heard that “pain makes us stronger.”  So we continue sludging along . . . carrying our pain like a badge of honor.

Even if pushing all that pain around is making us stronger . . . so what?  The muscles we’re building are not needed for anything other than pushing around our wheelbarrow of woe.

So . . . LET’S DUMP IT.

The pain we’ve accumulated over a lifetime has served its purpose.

Mickey-SurferLet’s toss the pain and leave the wheelbarrow at the side of the road.

We can carry the lessons and memories with us . . . without weighing ourself down with all that unnecessary baggage.

We travel best when we travel light . . . all else is illusion. 

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Sidey’s Weekend Theme ~ Illusion (View from the Side) * The Serenity Principle * Zen & The Art of HappinessAttack of the Killer ANTs * Watch Your Thoughts * Not Just A Material Girl (Creating Reciprocity) * Vanquishing Illusions (Kate Shrewsday)

The Real You February 23, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Meditation, Spirit & Ego.
46 comments

You have never been frightened.
You have never felt lonely.
You have never been scared.

You have never been filled with doubt.
You have never been worried.
You have never felt guilty or ashamed.

You have never been abandoned.
You have never felt anger.

You are always happy and at peace with the world as it is.

The real you . . . the essential you . . . is connected to the loving source of all.

When you feel that connection, all your extraneous worries, fears, doubts, pain, and self-imposed suffering fade away.

Not because you are a human being having a spiritual experience, but because you have remembered that you are a spiritual being having a human experience.

When we know WHO we are . . . we know HOW to live. ~ Goethe

When you eject your false self (with its incessant concerns, demands, and desires) from the building . . . your true self emerges filling you with the light, love, peace, and happiness that is your birthright.

Be Here Now.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Quote to Ponder:  There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~ Ben Williams

Related posts:  If You Want To Be Free, Be Free * Letting Ourselves Be Seen * Thursday Thoughts (View from the Side) * Living With The Pain (Random Thoughts From Midlife)

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

A Laugh For Lent February 22, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke.
54 comments

Granny47 sent me a funny e-mail this morning which seems perfect to share on Ash Wednesday . . . the first of forty days of Lenten sacrifice.

At the outset, I must “confess” that I have never observed Lent.  The only thing I’ve ever given up for Lent is . . . self-imposed sacrifice.

WARNING:  If you have given up your sense of humor for Lent . . . please stop reading NOW.  And don’t come back until you’ve reactivated your funny bone chakra.

Ready . . . Set . . . a lesson on being punctual:

A priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish.  A leading local politician and member of the congregation was chosen to make the presentation and give a short speech at the dinner. Since the politician was delayed, the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited:

“I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set and, when questioned by the police, lied his way out of it.  He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his employer, had an affair with his boss’s wife, taken illegal drugs and given VD to his sister. I was appalled.  But as the days went on, I learned that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people.”

Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies at being late.  He stepped up to the microphone and began to speak:

“I’ll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived. In fact, I had the honor of being the first person to go to him for confession.”

Moral of the story:  What happens in the confessional does NOT always stay in the confessional.

If you want to act and speak with impunity . . . head to Vegas.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For a post on the serenity of Lent:  These 40 Days (Maggie Madly Writing)

Killing Time ~ Building Tunnels To Nowhere February 21, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Nature, People, Poetry, Travel & Leisure.
48 comments

Much of what humans do is just “busy work” . . . we’re like residents of a huge ant farm building tunnels to nowhere.

We need something to do while we’re here . . . so we pretend to ourselves that the “tunnels we’re building” are important.

Most of them aren’t.

Life’s little questions:
Are we a great cosmic joke?
God’s little ant farm?

Speaking of ant farms (or Formicariums), Wikipedia shared this little gem from popular culture:

When Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, used the trademarked phrase in one of his comic strips, he received threatening letters from Uncle Milton industries’ attorneys, demanding a retraction for the unauthorized use of the phrase “ant farm.”

Adams satirized the incident in a later comic strip: 

Dilbert asked for another word for “ant farm” . . . “a habitat for worthless and disgusting little creatures.”

Dogbert replied, “Law school.”

Source:  Wikipedia ~ Formicarium (edited for length).

As a “recovering attorney,” I find Dogbert’s response a suitable riposte.

But it’s not just lawyers building tunnels to nowhere ~ it’s all of us.  Maybe all we’re doing here is “killing time” from dawn to dusk . . . cradle to grave.

Days fly by . . . dawn turns to dusk . . . darkness descends.

What say you?

Related posts:  Monday Morning (View from the Side) * Musings ~ How We Spend Our Time (Mirth & Motivation) * A Day Without Expectation (Water Witch’s Daughter) * The “Why?” Of It All