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A Strand of Pearls July 13, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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Frog-CircusSimple pleasures are life’s treasures.

As we commune with nature, laugh with friends, inhale fragrant aromas, or savor a good meal, we bring attention, focus, and awareness to the present moment.

We are present (here)
for the present (gift)
of the present (now)

That presence presents us with an immediate mood boost, a shot of instant gratification.

Chinaman-fishingAuthentic being
is revealed, floating in a
sea of contentment

Moments of presence, strung together like pearls, form a fulfilling life strand.

Be Here Now.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Instant Gratification or Fulfillment? (The Water Witch’s Daughter)

I Want To DO Less . . . And BE More February 17, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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IMGP1800bOne of the best tricks I’ve found to discern whether I’m on the right path for me is to envision this as the last year of my life ~ to question whether I would regret spending the next 12 months engaged in similar endeavors.

At this point, I’m happy with the flow of my days and nights, but in earlier years this simple exercise inspired big changes:

In 1997, it led to my decision to leave the practice of law, take a sabbatical, and re-enter the work force as the director of a Crisis Intervention Team, assisting victims of domestic violence to evaluate options.

In 1999, it encouraged us to shed possessions, down-size, and move out of New Jersey to a home on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay ~ still close enough to visit family while being far enough away to live our own quiet lives.

In 2008, it freed us to leave winters behind for good and move to Florida.


Aah . . . that’s better!

What would you do if your “final curtain call” lay around the next bend?

Crossing “Feed Ego” Off Our To Do Lists January 6, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Spirit & Ego.
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Once upon a time . . .

I wanted to be a FAMOUS Rock Star.
I wanted to have OODLES of money.
I wanted to write a BEST SELLING NOVEL.

Et cetera.  Et cetera.  Et cetera.

I wanted to DO SOMETHING so that I would BE SOMEONE.

Then I woke up to the realization that to BE SOMEONE, I don’t have to DO anything.  I just need to . . . BE ME.

Broccoli-Mocking-StewieWhen our motivation for action arises from a desire to Feed Ego with accolades, approval, acclaim, acknowledgment, applause, admiration, etc., etc., etc., we are always worried about falling short of the bar (or flat on our face).

We are concerned about what “they” think of us.  We act (and re-act) to protect Ego’s fragile reputation.

Only Ego doesn’t really exist.

Once we see that Ego is imaginary, ego-driven motivation (i.e., the desire to impress) and self-doubt fall by the wayside.

We become more confident in the steps we’re taking.

We no longer feel the need to reach a predetermined destination, so we’re not worried about falling short of the mark.  We stop looking over our shoulders to see who’s watching.  We no longer seek external validation that we’re doing “it” right ~ whatever “it” is.


Fear of failure dissipates because it no longer matters whether others are impressed with us or not.

Our locus of control shifts.
We reclaim our power.
We trust ourselves again.

Et cetera.  Et cetera.  Et cetera.

Aah . . . that’s better!

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

Holiday Simplicity December 16, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Life Balance, Special Events.
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After reading Simplify Your Life in 1997, we stopped stressing over the holidays.  We do what we enjoy doing, and don’t do stuff that feels like a chore.  We’ve decided Less is More.

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We do not spend hours putting up a BIG tree or untangling lights.

We have a tabletop tree that we store decorated with favorite ornaments ~ many handmade. It’s good to go in about 15 minutes.

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Other decorations collected over the years (Santas, Reindeer, Elves) go from boxes to shelves in about 60 minutes.

When our nieces and nephews were tiny toddlers, I gifted Santas to them (which helped keep our decorations in check).

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Instead of shopping ’til we’re dropping, we send cheery cards and college checks to nieces and nephews, and consumables (food, wine, snacks, books) to family and friends.

BFF and I don’t exchange Christmas gifts with each other. Instead, we spend time creating experiential memories together.

Ignoring the call of the mall leaves us with time and energy to enjoy local Holiday Offerings . . . like the Candy Cane Crawl, Christmas Town at Busch Gardens, and PIZZA on Pine Avenue.

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We stopped sending Christmas Cards to everyone we’ve ever known in every place we’ve ever lived or worked (NJ, VA, SC, NC, MD, and here).

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Culling the list from 250+ people we barely remember to those we genuinely care about and want to see again is a HUGE time saver each December.

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Which gives us a chance to enjoy Choirs of Angels in Santa Hats.

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Once they get situated with their hats on straight.

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A new tradition this year ~> collecting and gathering spare change to toss into the big red buckets manned by ubiquitous bell ringers.

Together with our cheery HO~HO~HO!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

What are your favorite traditions? Which ones could you do without?

A Cluster of Chaotic Threads March 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Simplify Your Life.
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Finding inner calm on calm days is beginner’s work . . . finding inner calm in the midst of chaos and confusion, amid a cluster of chaotic threads, lets us see how much progress we’ve made on the tangled tapestry of our life.


A few threads, recently unraveled:

Those who want adventure often must choose between safety and freedom.

“Boats are safe in harbor, but that’s not what boats are for.”

Of course, I’m not a boat.
Or a kite.

(Thanks for that, Don!)

Some people must “test the ice.”  Others, like me, are content sipping a Hot Toddy or Umbrella Drink on shore.

I suspect my sense of humor exceeds my sense of adventure, especially in colder climates.

When we are content as and where we are, we need not choose between freedom and (relative) safety.  There is no universal mandate requiring us to “lose sight of the shore” or leave our comfort zone in order to feel free.

Perhaps freedom lies in wanting to be who, what, and where we already are.


I agree with the Dalai Lama . . . we are here to be happy.   If we are happy where we are, pushing, stretching, pulling, tugging, and reaching for the next “brass ring” seems to be both a counter-productive and counter-intuitive practice.

Eat when hungry.  Sleep when tired.  Move when restless.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  A Tangled Mess (Water Witch’s Daughter) * Do You Want Safety or Freedom? (My Light Bag) * Comfort Zones (Awakening to Awareness) * Haiku ~ State of Mind (Janna T. Writes)

Brainstorming Our Elephants January 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Simplify Your Life.
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James-the-CatQ.  What’s the best way to eat an elephant?

A. One Bite At A Time.

Let’s say your “elephant” is a need for better organization and greater efficiency.

When you’re already stretched for time, where are you going to find the time to tackle such a weighty issue?


Even 10 minutes a day will make a huge difference in your time over time.

* Time mastery is life mastery.

* A bucket is filled drop by drop.

If you waste 10 minutes a day spinning your wheels . . . that’s 3650 minutes (60 hours) a year that you could spend nibbling away at your elephant.

Here are a few Time Management Skills to consider:

1.  Be mindful of how you invest your time and whether you are getting a good return on your investment.

If you enjoyed yourself, maybe it wasn’t wasted time.

2.  Identify and eliminate time wasters ~ unnecessary interruptions, waiting for appointments, procrastination, trying to do too much, indecision and not saying “no,” failure to set priorities, surfing the web, e-mails, meetings.

Work to minimize or eliminate wasted time one time waster at a time.

3.  Eliminate clutter from your work surface.  Messy desks and work spaces slow us down.  Use a filing system ~ be decisive about whether to file an item, act on it, or recycle it.

4.  Tackle high priority items when your energy level is high and low priority items when your energy is flagging.

5.  If you sit at a desk all day, take breaks to clear your head and stretch your muscles.  If you’re going, going, going all day, take a break to kick back and put up your feet.

We are more efficient when we allocate time for well being as well as doing.

6.  Take daily action to nibble away at your elephants.  Track your progress and adjust your approach as necessary.

7.  Breathe.  Relax.  Repeat.  

Aah . . . that’s better!  

Resources:  Productivity Institute * Higher Awareness

Ziggy’s Problem . . . Too Much Stuff! March 4, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction, Simplify Your Life.
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Ziggy . . . Artwork by Jan Philpot

Ziggy zig-zagged across the floor of his room . . . by necessity, not choice.

He had Too Much Stuff.

His drawers overflowed with Stuff and would no longer close.  Shelves sagged from being crammed full of Stuff.  The closet bulged with Stuff that spilled into the room.

The floor was covered with so much Stuff that Ziggy could barely reach his bed.

He had Too Much Stuff.

Ziggy galloped to the kitchen and whinnied (using his indoor whinny, of course):

“I  have . . . TOO . . . MUCH . . . STUFF!”

Ziggy’s mom, Zelda, looked up from the spinach, carrot, and pea salad she was making and nodded, “Ziggy, I think you are starting to realize that sometimes less is more.”

Now, you might ask, “How can less ever be more?”  And your best friend might say, “Less is less, and more is more.”  And your next best friend might say, “I’m confused.  Saying that less is more doesn’t make any sense.”

Well, let me try to explain.

When we have fewer things, we can appreciate what we have more easily because we don’t always have something else competing for our attention.  We can focus on what we have without getting distracted by something else.

Does that make sense?

If it doesn’t make sense yet, maybe it will by the time you finish this book.  So, let’s get back to the story . . .

“Well, Ziggy, what should you do about all that Stuff?”

Ziggy looked thoughtful as he pondered his mother’s question.

His forehead got all scrunchy looking, and his ears flared out to the side.

He thought about having Too Much Stuff, and wondered what his mother meant when she said, “sometimes, less is more.”

Zelda waited, giving Ziggy time to think.

After a few minutes, Ziggy’s ears relaxed into their normal upright and locked position.  “Maybe I can sell some Stuff and use the money to buy something I really want.”

He cocked his head to the side to see what his mother thought of the idea.

Zelda smiled, “That’s a zebra-tastic idea, Ziggy!  Where will you sell it?”

Ziggy thought a moment more, then his face lit up with a huge grin.  “I know, I’ll have a yard sale and sell all the Stuff I don’t play with any more.”

Zelda beamed with pride at her son’s solution to his problem of Too Much Stuff.

“That sounds like an excellent solution to your problem, Ziggy.  And you thought of it all by yourself.  Good for you.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Focus on Rewards . . . not Risks May 30, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Simplify Your Life.
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When I was younger, I was “braver” . . . I didn’t envision potential pitfalls as easily.  I saw sunny skies waiting for me wherever I chose to roam.

Now, there is a weighing of risk vs. reward with even simple actions.  

I talk myself out of doing things I want to do because “it probably won’t be that great anyway.” 

I am far too focused on what I don’t want . . . with only cursory consideration given to what I do want.

Here’s to changing that habitual pattern!

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Related post:  How to become aroused by yourself in 20 minutes or less (Raptitude).

Advice From The Ocean May 22, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Nature, People, Simplify Your Life, Word Play.
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Be shore of yourself * Come out of your shell * Relax and coast * Avoid pier pressure * Sea life’s beauty * Don’t get tide down * Make waves!

Aah . . . that’s better!

When People Ask Me What I “Do” May 7, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People, Simplify Your Life.
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Woodstock-&-Snoopy3When people ask me what I do . . . it’s often because  they want to put me in a box, with a label affixed to my forehead for ready classification.

It’s convenient for them to know whether I am (or have been)  Doctor,  Lawyer, or Indian Chief.

Occupation gives them a frame of reference.

Since I’m not one thing . . . or another . . . I tend to sidestep their attempts to categorize me . . . to pin me down . . . as if I were a Monarch Butterfly destined to be netted and caged by their expectations.

People have so many roles in life, associating oneself (or others) with any one label, while ignoring the rest, makes little sense.

Among other things, I am (or have been):  writer, musician, painter, blogger, published author, yoga enthusiast, artist, grant writer, guitar player, songwriter, vegetarian, environmentalist, poet, actress, attorney, editor, movie goer, baby boomer, pet owner,  activist, consumer . . . and the list goes on. 

I am also an  a-social, a-political, spiritual introvert, who is occasionally the life of the party.  I have been both student and teacher, leader and follower, director and directed.  

I have never been an Olympic gold medalist. 

The roles I have “played” have little to do with  the totality of who I am at this moment.

They are just labels, which do not define the essence of ”me,” nor are they written on my forehead with indelible ink. 

I don’t have to wear labels just because it’s  “convenient” for them.

I can just be ME . . . with all that entails.
And so can you.

We are not the labels we wear.

Aah . . . that’s better!


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