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A Double “A Ha!” Moment February 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.

Mickey-OKYears ago, I cracked open a fortune cookie and pulled out a fortune:

“You will live a happy and peaceful life.”


I taped it to the top of my alarm clock where I would see it each morning as I smacked the Snooze Button into submission at the false start to another “peaceful day.”

Flash forward more than a dozen years . . .

This week, as I pondered the goal-setting advice in Do It!  Let’s Get Off Our Buts by Peter McWilliams, I had an epiphany ~ a double “a ha!” moment:

1.   I want a happy and peaceful life.  Contrary to evidence to the contrary, my desire for peace and quiet reflection is NOT holding me back from achieving my Dream(s) . . . my desire for peace IS my Dream!

2.  I am living my Dream.  When I act as captain of my ship, I am happy, peaceful, calm, relaxed, here, now, etc.  My life has balance.  It is only when I allow others to “steer my ship” that the waters get a bit choppy.

As I skimmed through exercises, advice, and a plethora of great quotes, I found this nugget on p. 457 of Do It!  Let’s Get Off Our Buts:

To fulfill our Dream, we need only examine our life and do two things:

1.  More of what works.
2.  Less of what doesn’t.


So, I’ve decided to “clear the decks.”  Anything that “doesn’t work” will be tossed overboard. Excepting the cat, of course.  Unnecessary ballast drags us down faster than a bloated anchor no matter how much wind fills our sails.   We travel best when we travel light.  

Once the extraneous has been cleared away, I’ll load the hull with more of what “does work” ~ laughter, joy, peace, calm awareness, compassion, kindness, exercise (walking, biking, swimming), inspirational books & movies (and blogs!), good food, chocolate, music, writing, simplicity, time for reflection and meditation, and anything else that sparks an interest.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Lack of motivation (to “get off our buts”) may stem from fear, guilt, anger, unworthiness, laziness, etc.  Or our lack of motivation might mean we are content where and how and who we are.

Eat when hungry, sleep when tired . . . move when restless.

Related Post:  Is It Really Important? (Awakening to Awareness)


1. Pix Under the Oaks - February 23, 2014

Yes! Yes! Yes! I have finally realized in the last year how hard I worked at making life complicated. Really it isn’t that complicated at all…..
To fulfill our Dream, we need only examine our life and do two things:

1. More of what works.
2. Less of what doesn’t.
“Eat when hungry, sleep when tired . . . move when restless.”

Good post this morning Nancy! Thank you!

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

Thanks, Pix!!! People are often encouraged to leave their comfort zone to do things they do NOT want to do:

* read books they don’t enjoy
* eat food that doesn’t taste good
* wear “hair shirts” that itch and scratch
* watch movies that make them squirm in discomfort
* visit places that hold no appeal

That type of advice makes no sense to me.

We should be OPEN to new experiences that APPEAL to us on some level. But striving to experience things we know we don’t enjoy is just a form of self-flagellation.

2. Carol Balawyder - February 23, 2014

I really like what you said: my desire for peace and quiet IS my Dream!
And: Or our lack of motivation might mean we are content where and how and who we are.
I never thought of it this way. I tend to always be fighting against lack of motivation 🙂
Your post brought me back to what is truly important and to be grateful for where I am. Thanks.

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

Thanks, Carol! We cannot experience all that life has to offer; every choice we make precludes other choices. Choosing experiences that appeal to us at some level allows our unique path to unfold before us, step by step.

It pays to focus on the pleasures of life rather than seeking out things we know we won’t enjoy.

3. katecrimmins - February 23, 2014

Occasionally I challenge my comfort zone to grow but it is planned growth. I have stopped accepting activities that I don’t enjoy or work that isn’t fun. I have slimmed down my obscene wardrobe and upped my cat count. (BTW never throw the cat overboard!) What you say is so true. Oh yes…I never read a book that doesn’t interest me even if EVERYONE else is reading it. If it bores me in the first 50 pages, out it goes.

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

Yes! I do challenge my comfort zone when an activity appeals to me on some level ~ for example, paddle boarding. But if I’m stuck between the pages of a book that doesn’t interest me, I close the covers and turn to another. Life is too short to wade through words that are NOT offering a good return on my investment of time and energy.

4. Val Boyko - February 23, 2014

Ah! That’s definitely better!….. Keep following the grin 🙂

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

That’s it! If we “follow the grin,” we find that we are often exactly where we want to be ~ in the flow of OUR LIFE!

5. suzicate - February 23, 2014

To fulfill our Dream, we need only examine our life and do two things:

1. More of what works.
2. Less of what doesn’t. – Love this!
Learning how to say no to what I didn’t want and yes to things that caused me fear helped me find what works and what doesn’t.

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

Yes! Saying “no thanks” is key. The Dalai Lama gives similar advice in The Art of Happiness:

The way to greater happiness and peace of mind is basic, just three steps:

1. Identify factors leading to happiness, and those leading to suffering.
2. Eliminate those that lead to suffering.
3. Cultivate those that lead to happiness.

The process is simple. But, to master the technique, we must practice, practice, practice.

6. Lisa A. Kramer - February 23, 2014

Great AHA! moment(s). I want to embrace this. First thing I need to get rid of is this stupid cold that kept me in bed yesterday (although that in itself was a big step, because I gave myself permission to take the whole day off–much needed).

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

Good for you! Nurturing ourselves (especially when we are feeling under the weather) pays dividends. Our bodies love it when we listen. Hope you see the back side of that cold soon.

7. Grannymar - February 23, 2014

Right now, I wished that more of what doesn’t work, did! Hopefully the next few week will bring answers allowing be to do what makes me happier!

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

Sometimes life’s lemons are hard to avoid and we must “pucker up” until they pass . . . without chasing after them when they go.

Hope you get the answers you seek!

Grannymar - February 23, 2014

I have plenty of lemons. Maybe I should buy should buy some Gin! 😉 😆

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

That’s the ticket! 😉

8. Katherine Gordy Levine - February 23, 2014

Pinned this. “More kindness, less cruelty” was what I added. Stay Strong. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/147141112799839041/

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

Thanks for sharing, Katherine.

9. colonialist - February 23, 2014

I am glad you excepted the cat.

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

So is Tigger. 😀

10. kateshrewsday - February 23, 2014

More of what works, less of what doesn’t. I feel a spiritual Spring clean coming, on, Nancy!

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

That’s exactly what this feels like, Kate ~ like I’ve dumped a whole lot of excess baggage over the railing.

11. Crowing Crone - February 23, 2014

more of what works, and less of what doesn’t! very much appeals to my minimalist life view!

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

Yes! Less is MORE! 😀

12. bluebee - February 23, 2014

*restless* *moving*

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

There ya go! I can only be a lump of play*doh for so long before I gots ta move it, move it!

13. sufilight - February 23, 2014

It is my dream to have peace and quiet, and I am also living it. 😀

I will remember these words:”To fulfill our Dream, we need only examine our life and do two things:

1. More of what works.
2. Less of what doesn’t.”

It applies in my case to letting go of habits here and there that do not serve me.

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

Yes! The more I focus on “peaceful” and “happy” . . . the more peace and happiness I feel. Here’s to letting go of anything that isn’t serving us.

14. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - February 23, 2014

Oh, I like that! I don’t want peace and quiet, but I do want to work on more of what works and less of what doesn’t!

nrhatch - February 23, 2014

Good luck clearing away the “extraneous” to create space for what matters most to you, Kate!

15. Behind the Story - February 24, 2014

I notice that when I allow others to “steer my ship,” I feel less peaceful. But sometimes it’s hard to say “no” to other people and their plans, especially to people I love.

nrhatch - February 24, 2014

Yup. I know that feeling. If we WANT to do XYZ “just because we love them,” then we WANT to do XYZ. That’s cool.

But if we do NOT want to do something, even though we love them, then we need to find another way to show them that we care.

16. ericjbaker - February 24, 2014

Like you’ve said in the past, you may crave some kind of success only to find, when you get there, that you’re short of some other success, and then you crave that one. And so on, always achieving but never achieving.

In other words, you can’t take it with you.

nrhatch - February 24, 2014

Yes! A profound statement I once read said: “Fear of future regret is not a positive reason for having a child.”

If we don’t want IT now . . . we may never want IT.
No matter what THEY say.

Once we begin to trust ourselves, we know more fully how to spend our days and nights, without using THEM as an external compass or rudder.

17. jannatwrites - February 24, 2014

More of what works and less of what doesn’t – sounds simple. For a time, I will have some excess that I don’t want to do (because it involves what the kids want to do) but I limit the stress (they get Scouts and one sporting activity at a time…but I’m still busy since there’s two of them 🙂 )

nrhatch - February 24, 2014

Even when kids (and cats) “don’t work” . . . parents are discouraged from tossing them overboard. :mrgreen:

Raising kids is a time-consuming “hobby” to say the least.

18. Three Well Beings - February 25, 2014

I love the idea of just throwing what doesn’t work overboard! And MORE of what does! It wasn’t that many years ago that I realized I was making time for difficult people in my life–devoting extra time to try to “understand” and smooth out the rough spots. And in contrast, I had no time left over for the people who generally nourish my life. That was a huge “aha” for me. I love this post, Nancy. You have obviously really found a way to prioritize your way to a really lovely life! 🙂 Balanced!

nrhatch - February 25, 2014

Yes! It is up to us to draw the line between giving and sacrifice, between compassion for “them” and compassion for ourselves, between healthy stretching/growth and pushing ourselves to the breaking point ~ we will be of no use to anyone if we overstep our reach and shatter into tiny shards of broken glass.

Balancing competing priorities is a daily battle for me, Debra. I often feel “precariously straddled” (to quote Janna) between a rock and a Buddha place. As soon as I decide to “let go” and “just be” . . . everyone wants a piece of me. 😕

19. Perfecting Motherhood - February 27, 2014

Do you recommend I read that book? Looks interesting…

nrhatch - February 27, 2014

It might be a good read for you since you’re focused on achieving goals and avoiding procrastination. He has a light style, he peppered the pages with LOTS of motivating quotes, and he won’t take “but . . . ” as an answer.

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