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Press The *PAUSE* Button May 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
10 comments

The myriad of challenges we face in our lives can create agitation and anxiety in our thoughts, crowding out feelings of peace and happiness.

When we take a few minutes to press the *pause* button, our calm center returns . . . and with it our feelings of love and gratitude for all the drops of good in our lives.

When we remember who we are at the core, our days overflow with peace, kindness, love, and contentment.

And we stop struggling with the current of life and enter its flow.

Want to dive in to the flow of life?  Enjoy the calming cadence of Val’s recent post:  Haiku – Notice

Aah . . . that’s better!

Choice Morsels To Chew On April 25, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Less IS More, Mindfulness.
30 comments

#1 Want to lose weight?  Chew MORE, Weigh LESS . . .

“Some preliminary research has found that chewing until “no lumps remain” increases the number of calories the body burns during digestion: about 10 extra calories for a 300-calorie meal. (Eating fast, on the other hand, barely burns any calories.) Chewing food more thoroughly also increases blood flow to the stomach and gut. By taking a little extra time for chewing, someone could theoretically burn about 2,000 extra calories each month, the study authors write.”


“Extra chewing also slows the pace of eating, which may be another reason why it’s so healthy. Meena Shah, a professor of nutrition at Texas Christian University, has looked into the effects of eating speed on meal size. She found that people who eat slowly tend to eat less. Slow eating may help people eat more mindfully and tune into their own feelings of fullness, she says.”

To read more:   Chew Your Food: Why Slow Eaters May Burn More Calories

#2 Want to temper your spending?

“Make it your goal to spend only on what you truly value, be it travel, special times with family, a hobby or entertainment.  And cut out the frivolous spending on what you don’t value.

“You’ll be amazed at how many things you can happily live without because you’re getting what you really want,” says personal finance expert Donna Freedman.”

“Frugality isn’t a punishment; it’s a positive commonsense approach to life.  So focus on value and quality [to you], not prestige or appearances [with others].”

To read more:  AARP Magazine, February/March 2017

#3 Want to take up yoga?

Choices abound!

“In Higher Self yoga, a monthly “ganja yoga” class that Goda owner Nathania Stambouli introduced in the fall: “We’re bringing together two great spiritual practices. Marijuana is a way of enhancing the experience.”

“Ah, yes, enhancing the experience. Of late, there’s been a fair amount of yoga-enhancing going on. It’s yoga with something extra on the side.

“Would you like beer with your yoga? There’s a class for that.

“Yoga in the buff? Manhattan’s Bold and Naked Yoga is precisely what it says it is.

“For yogis who prefer to bundle in down, there’s snowga — yoga with snowshoes.”

To read more:  Weed yoga, naked yoga, yoga with goats: Have we reached peak namaste?

#4 Having a tough time choosing between too many options?

“As a last resort, flip a coin.  “I don’t just look for heads or tails, says Berger.  “I think about how I feel about the toss.  If I’m sad that the coin landed on heads, I’ll go with the tails option.” ~ AARP Magazine, February/March 2017

That’s what BFF & I do ~>  Being mindful about how we feel about the final reveal of the coin toss clues us in to what we really want.

#5 Want to learn how to drive?  Fast?

“An 8-year-old East Palestine boy used YouTube videos to learn how to drive his father’s van to McDonald’s on Sunday.  When he pulled up to the drive-through window after ordering a cheeseburger he had been craving and intended to pay for using money he gathered from his piggy bank, the McDonald’s workers at first thought they were being pranked.

“The workers thought that the parents were in the back, but obviously they weren’t,” Koehler said.”

To read more:  Young driver gets help from YouTube

#6 Want to feel better?

Make someone else feel better:

“Make a difference in other people’s lives.  Even small acts of generosity can make you feel rich in spirit.” ~ AARP Magazine, February/March 2017

#7 Want to watch a heart-felt movie?

Check out Collateral Beauty (Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightly, Ed Norton, Michael Peña, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore, Kate Winslet, etc.):

Love is in everything . . .
From a child’s laughter to the pain we feel when a loved one dies.
Love is THE why of it all.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Drops of Good April 13, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
30 comments

For years, I’ve had a Gratitude Basket . . . it’s encouraged me to focus on things in my life for which I’m grateful.

They can be simple things ~ a blue sky, the laughing of ducks on the lagoon, or the whisper of the wind through palm fronds.

They can be big ticket items ~ BFF’s cataract surgery restoring him to 20/20 vision, my brother and sister-in-law’s excellent oversight of mom, or my niece’s wedding which caused family and friends to convene in Orlando the week before Christmas.

They can be ephemeral in nature ~ feeling light-hearted and bright, allowing  joy, vitality, and peace to surface from within, or sharing happy, enthusiastic, amusing, and upbeat moments with new friends.

They can be celebrations of mini-milestones ~ finishing the taxes, losing weight, finding the perfect swimsuit, or  winning BIG BUCKS at Bridge (“Woo Hoo!  First Place . . . $8!”).

This week I started a new practice, Drops of Good, to remind me to be mindful of moments & acts of Generosity and Connection between the citizens of this marvelous planet.

As with my Gratitude Basket, these Drops of Good can be big or small, ephemeral or physical, on-going or one time deals . . . like a HUG.

They can be something I’ve done for others or something others have done for anyone else on the planet, including plants, animals, or the environment.

Drops of Good add up ~> “A bucket is filled drop by drop.”

Do not overlook any good actions, thinking they are of no benefit; even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel.  ~ The Buddha

Celebrating the myriad moments of Generosity and Connection around us points us in the right direction ~> UP!

Aah . . . that’s better!

21 Days to More Positivity April 3, 2017

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

If you need any tips on developing an attitude of gratitude, check out this article:

How to Become More Positive in 21 Days

It’s Tigger tested and approved!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Good Vibrations March 23, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Music & Dance.
20 comments

Another favorite aspect of our Disney trips has been stopping to enjoy street performances by musicians, acrobats, mimes, and jugglers.

We’ve enjoyed Matsuriza (Japanese Drummers), Sergio (Italian Mime), Alberta Bound Fiddlers in Canada, Matboukja Groove (Moroccan Musicians), Jeweled Dragon Acrobats in China, Viva Gaia Street Band & Carnivale on Discovery Island, A Frozen Sing-A-Long, The Festival of the Lion King, Beauty & The Beast ~ Live on Stage, African Acrobats at Harambe Market, PLUS . . .

Chakranadi (sitar and drums) in Asia:

Burudika (sax, drums, guitar, vocals, dancers) in Africa:

Quickstep Fiddlers (fiddle, mandolin, flute, drum) in the UK:

Harambe Parti (drums and other percussion instruments) at night:

And all of them were sending out Good Vibrations!

Music reminds me to flow with the rhythm of life and celebrate THIS moment with joyous abandon.

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Festival of Colors March 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Music & Dance.
14 comments

Need something to celebrate this week?

How about the start of daylight savings time . . . our clocks Spring forward an hour tonight.

Yay!

I love having more light at night.

And for those of you who are tired of winter’s gray

And want more color in your days

It’s time to celebrate Holi ~ the Hindu Festival of Colors.

Hip Hip Hooray!

Happy Holi!

Here’s a great song to jump start the 2017 Festival of Colors on March 13th & 14th:

If you need more music to get the Holi Party started: 7 Famous Music Videos Influenced by Holi.

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Book of JOY February 27, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
39 comments

I just finished reading The Book of JOY:  Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.

Written by Douglas Abrams, it chronicles a week-long visit between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in April 2015.  The visit centered on discussions about how to find Joy in the midst of obstacles like fear, stress, anger, grief, illness and death.

“Together they explored how we can transform joy from an ephemeral state into an enduring trait, from a fleeting feeling into a lasting way of being.”

In a brief introduction to the topic, these two compassionate leaders emphasize that Joy is an inside job:

“Lasting happiness cannot be found in pursuit of any goal or achievement.  It does not reside in fortune or fame.  It resides only in the human mind and heart, and it is here that we hope you will find it.”

Joy is never in things . . . it is in us.

Likewise, many of the obstacles to joy and happiness are also manifested from within -> obstacles like fear, anxiety, grief, anger, frustration come from “negative tendencies of the mind, emotional reactivity, or from our inability to appreciate and utilize the resources that exist within us.”

We can increase the Joy that surfaces and circulates in our lives by the perspective that we bring to the table.  In fact, perspective is the first of Eight Pillars of Joy which form the foundation of a joyful and happy life:

Perspective ~ How we relate to the issue IS the issue.  By way of example, the Dalai Lama’s exile from Tibet was (in his words) “an opportunity” which provided him with “wider contact and new relationships, less formality and more freedom to discover the world and learn from others.”

Humility ~ Stop taking selfies.  Enough said.  😀

Humor ~ Laughter is a great pain reliever, a de-stressor, and an ice breaker. We do not laugh because we are happy.  We are happy because we laugh.

Acceptance ~ When we accept the “what is,” we stop adding to our suffering by battling with things we cannot change or jousting with imaginings. Acceptance is “the sword that cuts through resistance, allowing us to relax, to see clearly, and to respond appropriately.”

Forgiveness ~ Failure to forgive is akin to watching stale reruns in a furious effort to hang onto feelings of anger, frustration, and resentment.  As a result, we remained trapped by the past and tethered to the person who harmed us. Forgiving the person who harmed us allows us to reclaim the keys to our happiness.

Gratitude ~ “Gratitude helps us catalog, celebrate, and rejoice in each day and each moment before they slip through the vanishing hourglass of experience.” Gratitude magnifies drops of joy.

Compassion ~ When we are kind and compassionate, we experience more joy.  “Even ten minutes of meditation on the well-being of others can help one to feel joyful for the whole day.”

Generosity ~ When we are generous with our time and talents, we experience more joy.  “Giving joy to others is the fastest way to experience joy ourselves.”

No big surprises there, eh?

The book concludes with Joy Practices . . . “Overcoming the Obstacles to Joy” and “Cultivating the Eight Pillars of Joy.”

Tigger-BouncingThat’s right . . . just like the pianist who wants to get to Carnegie Hall, we’ve got to practice!

If we’ve spent a lifetime looking at events through the clouded lens of past experience (relying on habitual attitudes, stale judgments, and outdated opinions) rather than seeing the present moment as it is, that’s not going to change overnight.

If we wish to change our perspective and begin to view the world with alert curiosity and acceptance, then we will need to practice.

Enlightenment is rarely attained by those seeking instant gratification.

That’s OK.  We have a lifetime to get it right.  (More than a lifetime if we plan on reincarnating.)

And in the meantime . . . there’s cake!

During the week these two mischievous men spent together, they celebrated the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday at the Tibetan Children’s Village.

With cake.

Although the cake did not provide lasting happiness, it did offer up some tasty ephemeral satisfaction to the attendees.

And that ain’t peanuts!

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

 

 

Allow Life To Unfold January 23, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
28 comments

Mickey-Ta-DaaaI am happiest when I try to enjoy each moment as it gently unfolds into the next without worrying about what lies ahead or rushing to reach some desired future destination.

Even if NOW is not exactly as I want it to be.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“Life is the art of Drawing . . . without an eraser.” – John W. Gardener

Tigger Is Gone December 21, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Gratitude, Life Balance.
77 comments

Tigger took a turn for the worse this week and we had to say good-bye to the little guy yesterday.

RIP little buddy!  (July 2004 – 12/20/2016)

We are sad, but coping . . . and hoping he is in a better place.

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Sorrow is the price we pay for joy. ~ Joan Bel Geddes

What Cats Do For Us

Warm our laps * Remind us to “paws” and relax * Foster connection with other cat lovers * Turn common household objects (tissue boxes, bottle rings, and paper towel tubes) into toys * Make us more aware of squirrels, raccoons, birds, and lizards * Provide morning wake up calls * Entertain us with daring acrobatic feats and comical gestures * Make window sills and cat perches more beautiful * Keep mice and rats at bay * Make us smile and laugh * Give us cool cartoon characters * Inspire poets and playwrights (think CATS!) * Teach us how to land on our feet * Make our homes warmer and happier * Remind us that life is mysterious * Share the all-is-well experience of purring with us * Show us how to lick our wounds and bounce back * Remind us to S~T~R~E~T~C~H ourselves * Open our hearts

Aah . . . that’s purr-fect!

 

 

 

What A SLAM Dunk! September 24, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Travel & Leisure.
32 comments

When you have a Bridge hand like this . . .

2016-08-17-16-49-05_0001

And the dummy (your partner) lays down a hand like this . . .

2016-08-17-16-49-13_0002

It’s a SLAM dunk, Baby!

Aah . . . that’s better!