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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!

Following The “What Ifs” . . . April 17, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Less IS More, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
21 comments

Life is all about following the “what ifs” . . . isn’t it?

What if I moved away from crowds, noise, and congestion toward silence, serenity, and solitude?

What if I moved away from cold cloudy days toward warm tropical breezes under bright blue skies?

What if I moved away from perpetual busyness toward simplicity?

What if I ignored the yipping of border collies trying to keep me in line and steered my own ship following the call of my inner voice?

For some, drifting with the tides holds no appeal.  To them, my decision to “go with the flow”~ to rise and fall with the ebb and flow of life ~ sounds dull.

For me, it’s perfect.

Time to pause and reflect, to read and write, to pursue things that interest me without concern about accolades, awards, achievement, or recognition in the eyes of others.

Instead of being nervous or anxious about meeting external expectations, I am relaxed as I flow from one activity to the next.

Instead of acting with deference to the judgments of others, I happily assert my independence.

Instead of settling for societal mandates and consensus, I persist with what matters to me.

Instead of dreading the dawning of the day, I’m excited to be awake and aware of the infinite possibilities around.

Instead of being stuck like a square peg in a round hole, I can enjoy each custom-made niche.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Next up:  Thoreau had the write idea when he penned Walden.

 

Why Slacking Off Pays Off . . . April 15, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Less IS More, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.
16 comments

I’ve long been a proponent of the phrase “less is more,” which I find applicable in situations too numerous to count.

And now I’ve found a new application for the phrase.

Turns out that LESS work often results in MORE creative output.

Don’t believe me?

Check out this article ~ Darwin Was A Slacker And You Should Be Too

From the article:

Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus.

Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking.

Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest “working” hours.

From writing to research, from science to music, from athletics to art, top performers benefit from deliberate practice followed by deliberate rest and downtime.

World-class performance doesn’t come after 10,000 hours of practice, as Malcolm Gladwell claimed:

“It comes after 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, 12,500 hours of deliberate rest, and 30,000 hours of sleep.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

The cited and linked article is excerpted from Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

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!

Some Alarming News! March 15, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
26 comments

We saw the most bizarre segment on the news the other night.

The reporter, standing in the middle of the beach, surrounding by turquoise waters, blue skies, and swaying palms, was SCREAMING into her microphone:

AUTHORITIES IN THE AREA ARE ON HIGH ALERT.

SPRING BREAK FOR COLLEGES STARTS THIS WEEK.

In a futile effort to prove her point that disaster was afoot, she proceeded to interview a few folks relaxing on the beach who seemed NOT to be on high alert.

They was just chilling!

Next, she interviewed a spokeswoman for Visit Sarasota who also seemed Far Too Calm for the impending disaster looming on the horizon as she explained that rooms at the inn are far and few between from mid-February to mid-March . . . and also for Easter week.

The reporter got a bit more fodder from a police officer who explained that some spring breakers consume too much alcohol and do things they oughtn’t.

At which point, the segment swung back to the reporter SCREAMING into her microphone:

AUTHORITIES IN THE AREA ARE ON HIGH ALERT.

SPRING BREAK FOR COLLEGES STARTS THIS WEEK.

She reminded me of Chicken Little!

But as we looked around, we saw no evidence that the sky was falling.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

 

Are You Running On Auto-Pilot? March 9, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
38 comments

Our lives are driven by our habits ~> when we get up, whether we make the bed, how soon we get dressed, what type of clothes we wear, whether we drink coffee or tea, whether we brush our teeth before or after breakfast, how often we shower and shave, which shoe we put on first, etc.

Habits save valuable mental energy because they are automatic, conserving glucose for brain matters that matter more than which shoe we put on first.

But . . . some habits no longer serve us.

Take a few moments to think about your habits.

You may have good habits ~ going for a daily walk, eating 7 – 10 servings of fruit and vegetables every day (yes, you can count the veggies in that Bloody Mary), brushing and flossing, limiting alcohol intake, etc.

You may have bad habits ~ inhaling a bag of chips every time you binge watch your favorite show, circling the parking lot for 15 minutes to avoid walking 10 extra spaces from the car to the gym, procrastinating on essential tasks like filing your 2016 income tax return, overdoing the evening cocktail hour by drinking tee many martoonis, etc.

Reflecting on your daily habits is a good habit to adopt . . .

Which habits are moving you from where you are to where you want to be?

And which are holding you back?

By reflecting on our habits, good and bad, we can choose to make positive changes in how we live.

We can stop running on auto-pilot.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“And yet not choice but habit rules the unreflecting herd.”

~ William Wordsworth

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!

 

 

 

Do You Have A Billion Dollar Nose? February 21, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Life Balance, Travel & Leisure.
23 comments

Mickey-Ta-DaaaLike to travel?

Enjoy sampling cocktails?

Want to get paid to travel around the globe and sample cocktails?

Intrigued?

If traveling around the world trying out new cocktails is your idea of the perfect vacation, listen up: Spirit brand Absolut wants to pay someone to do this professionally.

One person will get the title of Sensory Expert—or the “Billion Dollar Nose” as the brand is calling it. You’ll need “a creative nose, a trend-sensitive tongue, and a love of vodka,” according to a statement.

To read more:  Get Paid To Travel the World and Drink Cocktails

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Antidote To Fear February 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
29 comments

“The whole aim of practical politics,” H.L. Mencken wrote almost a century ago,” is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Never has that adage been truer than now.

No President Has Spread Fear Like Donald Trump

* In politics, absurdity is not a handicap. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

* It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office. ~ H.L. Mencken

There are three kinds of lies:  lies, damn lies, and statistics. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

* Everything you read in the paper is absolutely true . . . except for the rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge. ~ Erwin Knoll

Donald-Duck-LazyWhat happens when we get caught up in F.E.A.R.?

F.E.A.R. (“False Evidence Appearing Real”) can be a real downer when our mood is precarious.  We don’t always have the necessary strength of will to shout out loud, “THAT’S NOT TRUE!”

Want to drown out F.E.A.R.?

Donald-Duck-DivingClick your heels together and repeat after Mencken:   Hogwash & Hobgoblins!

Better yet, wave your Potter-riffic wand at Trump’s Twitter Feed while incanting:  Expel-liar-mus!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related: Mantra for Today ~ Trust

An Island Event January 31, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Life Balance, Travel & Leisure.
34 comments

On Saturday, January 21, Harbour Isles invited us to enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting, culinary delights, live entertainment, a water ski show, an aerial artist performance, a showcase of prestigious automobiles, cigar rolling, chair massages, and much more . . .

I planned to go and roll a cigar, get a massage, and pretend I owned one of the prestigious automobiles.

Like this one!

So off we went.

After a glass of champagne poured by an upside-down aerial artist at one of the model homes, we headed to the clubhouse for wine, snacks, and dessert shooters.

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Wine in hand, we headed past the pool to a small beach area overlooking the inter coastal ~ populated with Adirondack chairs, hammocks, palm trees, etc.

Aah . . . the perfect spot to hang out while listening to the band and waiting for the water skiers to put on a show.

After an hour or so on the beach, we capped off An Island Event by heading upstairs to shoot some pool.

We even gave a few pointers to an octogenarian who hadn’t been around a pool cue in a decade or two.

Aah . . . that’s better!