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Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Simply put, the key to happiness is to stop looking for the freaking key to happiness.

The fact is, the doors have never been locked up in the first place.  There is nothing to wait for.  You can open the doors to that sort of life anytime you choose.

Maybe you have lofty goal and plans.  So do I.  Trust me, if you could see the vision of my life that is taking shape right now, I know  a lot of you would wonder at my sense of reality and sanity.

That’s okay.  I get it. I’m dreaming really big these days and not everyone is ready for that.  I think I’ll just let them wonder until they see me taking strides and steps and moving closer and closer.  After all, showing is far more believable than telling right?

Still, I’m really happy today too.  I’m not going to sit around waiting on something to ‘let’ me be happy.  Or for some magical goal to get crossed off, or threshold to be crossed or please…certainly not for the proverbial knight in shining armor to come ’round and save the day.

Seriously.  Why wait?  There really isn’t anything you need to wait for!  I’ve discovered that happiness isn’t a destination anyway.  It’s not something you can go out and get.  And you can never use it all up.

There is only one thing you have to do to find your own happiness.  Choose it.

Allow yourself to decide that you are already happy.  Be grateful for all the blessings you have in your life and love your people right here today.

It’s always been within you, waiting for you to let it loose and choose to jump in with both feet.

happyIf you want to be happy, then be happy.

Start by smiling.  Too many of us don’t smile because we wonder what others will think.  You know what they will think?  Wow, she’s such a happy person.  And then they will wonder how they to can be happy just like you; and maybe, just maybe they will start smiling too.

Then look what you did.  You are a carrier of the happiness virus and you are spreading it all over the freakin place.

I’m not sure when humanity got everything so bloody mixed up.  We all say we want to feel happy and joy and love.  Yet, we hesitate, we worry about reactions and we push down those feelings so they don’t get out of hand.  That makes no sense.  We celebrate and admire those who are postitive people that make life joyous, yet we are hesitant to allow ourselves to do the same.

Don’t you find it weird we all seem to think that negative emotions like sadness, anger and frustrations are okay to be talked about and seem to be more socially accepted?  And a lot of the time we feel the need to keep our happiness and joyful feelings ‘under control’ or dampened?  Like we don’t want to bother anyone with them?

Okay so it’s your turn.  I’d love to hear your take on why that is in the comments below.

 

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so-what-is-joy-anywayWhat is joy?  The online dictionary defines it as “A feeling of great pleasure and happiness”.

This is not how I would have defined joy.  I think it’s so much more than that.  It reaches far deeper than just feeling  happy.

Happiness, in my view is a reaction to events that are unfolding or remembered.  It is a wonderful feeling.  Just as sadness is a reaction to events.  These are emotional responses.

I think of joy as more of an attitude and a way we can approach life.

Joy is what we have when we learn to find the good in all things.  When we live in gratitude, we cultivate joy.

Joy comes from the wisdom to know the difference between what matters and what can be released back to the universe.

A few years ago I learned how joy can be found even in the midst of the worst experiences.  Actually I should scrap that…it isn’t found, in all truth it is really brought with you because it comes from deep within us.

Someone very close to me passed away quite suddenly.  I had never experienced such incredible depths of pain in my life.  The emptiness, loss and grief were almost too much to handle.  And yet, I was in such gratitude for the time we did have together, the lessons taught, the love freely given.  It was then I realized that the reason the loss hurt so much was because of all that I had been blessed with.

There was joy in that.

When you hold joy in your heart it’s much easier to be grateful and to live in the present.   There were times when I was physically unable to work due to a car accident that I wasn’t sure how I would eat.  Sometimes people asked me how I could still have such a good attitude towards life.

The truth is I think we all have to head down our own roads and along the way we are going to have some dark nights.  I heard someone say that we all take a trip down the rabbit hole at some point and I kind of love that expression.

You have choice just like Alice did when she went down the rabbit hole and had to wander in Wonderland.  She had many times when the choice was to do nothing and stay stuck, or eat the cookie and see what happens.

I think when you approach life with an attitude of joy, you would eat the cookie.  You realize life happens and there is a lot of opportunity to experiment with it if you only have some faith in yourself and in that the world is essentially a good place with lots of wonderful people in it.

Joyful people talk and act differently.  They approach everything they do with a positive attitude, even the hard things. They build people up rather than tear them down and speak in an uplifting way.  They live from a place of love rather than fear.

You see ‘joy’ is within us.  It’s a choice, a lifestyle even.  When we take our trip down the rabbit hole, we bring it with us and we only have to choose to embrace it.  This is why some people can find peace even among chaos.

It’s my thinking that being able to hold joy in your heart is a sort of wisdom; a deeper understanding of the connectedness of life and all that is in it.

What would it mean for you to make a commitment to choosing to live with an attitude of joy?

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I don’t usually comment on things that are in the news but today I felt a need to.  There have been a lot of horrible things happen in our history. There has always been someone who thinks that hurting others is not only okay but somehow justified. Those who come to life full of anger, hate and cruelty.

And then, there are those who have stepped up into their own light and said no that darkness. Those who refused to allow it to seep any further and in fact push it back.

The number of these folks is growing and this shows me that the shift I believe is coming to our global consciousness is doing its work.

We have been taught to respond to the violence of others with righteous retribution. Vengeance, retaliation – all in the name of justice. While I do think that those who commit such cowardly crimes as the bombs that went off during the Boston Marathon need to be brought to answer for their crimes, I think on a bigger scale we need not answer this with a call for more hate, anger and violence.

We’ve done that many, many times before and how’s that working for us? We might throw a band aide on things but nothing really changes.

What if, instead of focussing on ‘getting them back’ – we focussed on how to mend the hearts and souls of those hurt. We instead recognize that compassion will trump hate any day of the week.  What if we looked to and supported the helpers rather than the war mongers?  We spread love and light instead of more anger and darkness?helpers

Really, do you think that the average person wants to go to war? I don’t. I think no matter what country you’re in, what religion you are, most of us simply want to love our families, live our lives in peace and in a way that makes sense to us.

The puzzle piece that is missing is the human race is so damn afraid of differences. Why is so hard to see that there isn’t one right path, every one gets there just a little bit differently.  Someone else’s differences do not impede your ability to find your own way.

I remember trying to explain to a small child the differences between two religions. I can’t even remember what they were to be honest but I do remember his reaction. A light suddenly came into his eyes and he said oh! it’s like how I call my mom ‘Mom’, but my dad calls her Helen and my cousin calls her Aunty but she is still my Mom.

In his own simple way he did get it. We are all heading to the same end, it really doesn’t matter what we call it, how we pray or where we do it. As long as we aren’t hurting any one or anything why does it really matter? How is it MY responsibility to force my way of thinking on anyone.

Really, do you seriously believe that one person, or one group has the entire truth of it all and everyone else is simply wrong? I think it’s incredible arrogant for any one group to believe they have it all figured out like that.

We need to learn to be accepting of difference and make that the new normal.

We need to begin to live with love and compassion first. Go out into the world and spread your light, share your love and practice compassion. Let’s make the light in this world brighter and brighter so that the darkness that lurks can no longer show it’s face.

Blessings to all, especially to those who are waking up to face the grim reality in Boston. Thanks and blessings to all those first responders and those who risked their own selves to help others.

As Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world”

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Life and love…they are messy!  And that is one of the things that makes them so amazingly beautiful and so frustratingly difficult.

You know what else I know?  Far too often we are killing ourselves with stress over things that don’t really matter and are already good enough.

I had to learn the hard way that sometimes ‘good enough’ is perfectly good.

Early on I got taught this lesson by my first true love – my boy Jackson.  He was a golden retriever who I was blessed with when he was 12 weeks old and I am still so grateful for all the lessons he taught me in his far too short life.   Honestly, he must have been the easiest puppy to raise ever (as I later learned with my next boy lol). He was completely house trained by 4 months old without any problems at all.  Nice right? 

Real love is perfect!

I was used to a certain routine in the morning before I ever brought a puppy into my house.  I used to not leave the house without my hair done and at least a bit of mascara and lip gloss.  Clothes were ironed and fur-free.  Heels..loved ’em!  I thought I needed to look like I had it together you know?

Enter a puppy who needs to go outside to pee at 4am.  Or even the same puppy at 7am on a Saturday.  You see where I’m going right? 

I started to have clothes for dog walking and re-kindled my love affair with hats and rainboots.  There was no time to prep and primp to walk a puppy.  He couldn’t wait around and I had to adjust.  Totally worth it and you know what? I learned to relax about appearances.  The neighbours I saw could have cared less how I looked; I mean, have you SEEN a golden puppy?  And let me tell you with all sorts of unbiased opinion that Jackson was the cutest of the cute!

Later on, I had my next big lesson around letting go of worrying about things being perfect.  After my car accident, my injuries made day-to-day life pretty difficult.  I couldn’t do many things and certainly not up to my usual standards.  And when I say couldn’t, I mean could not physically or mentally – not just that it was hard. 

So I either learned to adapt or I spent my life miserable. 

A great example to explain this  is around food.  I mean, I had to eat.  Big full meals were not in my scope at all.  Good enough meant throwing vegetables into the crock pot for soup and letting the crock pot do the work.  I might have soup to eat for 2 or 3 days but it was healthy and manageable.  Back in the day I’d have to make dinner rolls or fresh bread and salad too.  Maybe even fancy up the soup.  That wasn’t going to happen at that time.  Heck…some days making a bowl of cereal was all I could manage and ended up being ‘good enough’ for that day.

Good enough became what I strove for.  Fabulous, wonderful and certainly perfection were not in my mind at all anymore.  I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, I was simply trying not to lose my sense of being enough and to be able to keep getting better instead of getting stuck.

Good enough also meant I let others do things to help, even though they may not do it my way.  For example, my boyfriend may have done a load of laundry for me and I learned that it was good enough that I had clean clothes, even if they weren’t folded the way I prefer…or at all lol.

Good enough also works into being grateful for what we already have.  I think we get so caught up these days in having the latest, greatest, biggest or smallest thing that we forget that what we already have is pretty great.  The day I realized that I not only found a great deal of peace within, but stepped out of that race.  My iPhone is old sure, but it works just fine and I see no reason to spend hundreds of dollars for a newer one.  Drives my techie friends crazy!  I simply tell them that if it doesn’t serve a purpose or create beauty I have no useyou-are-good-enough for it in my life. 

We also need to stop beating ourselves up when we don’t achieve what we want right out of the box.  Life is about attempting, growing and learning. It’s not about only ever being perfect or making people think you are.  You are more than good enough right now and right here.  Your failures are attempts and for this moment that is also good enough.  You learn from new experiences even when they are not what you expected and that is fabulously good enough.

I think we need to let go of wasting so much energy on perfection and embrace good enough for some things.  Life doesn’t care about perfection after all.  Life isn’t perfect.  But when you let go of the need to make it so, you learn that it is actually pretty freakin beautiful in all its messy wonderfulness. 

Think about it…good enough by its own definition is (shockingly) good enough!

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I’m tired of all the rhetoric spouting a bunch of crap that your Fears aren’t real.  Hey, they are just in your mind so no biggie right? 

My rather sarcastic nature would like to say to these people “oh!  Well then, suddenly I’m perfectly fine – just wish you had mentioned that one years ago” 

I get it, they are trying to calm you and motivate you to get going on whatever it is you are holding back from.  Sometimes, sure, we just need to take a deep breath and go for it. For me that’s all I need when getting on stage to talk.  Few calming breaths and just jump in.  If I think about it too long I’ll probably run screaming lol.  But it’s taken a lot of work on my inner critic to learn to shut her up long enough to get going. 

Here’s the thing.  IT DOESN”T ALWAYS WORK THAT WAY. My fears are real, I have just learned to deal with that one with some tricks and self talk. 

Next time someone with their head in the clouds tells you that your fears and anxiety aren’t real just smile and carry on because you know they most certainly are. 

Fear is real.  (yup that’s a PERIOD)  They range in how much power they have over us and how well we deal with them.

Still, you can’t touch them or throw them out with the garbage.  They are yours and they are real.  Real emotions, real thoughts and real physical manifestations of those first two on occasion.  To simply say ‘they aren’t real, so just get going’ isn’t fair or helpful. 

product-of-thoughtsWhat is helpful is giving you all the permission you need to feel it and name it and know you are not only sane, but normal.  That is the first step is dealing with fear and keeping it from holding you back from creating a fabulous life.

Feel it, Name it.

Our emotions can be very powerful and fear or anxiety would certainly be high on the list of most powerful.  To discount that is foolish and if you haven’t noticed, kind of pisses me off. (pardon the language).  It is okay to feel fear.  However, it’s not in your best interest to allow it to be the ruling emotion in your life. 

After my head and neck injury in a car accident I had real anxiety and fear.  The kind that make you crumple into a corner and refuse to move.  To tell me that it isn’t ‘real’ or ‘just’ emotion is just stupid and hurtful.  It certainly didn’t help get me out the door.  I bless those who were kind and accepting of what was happening and supported me.  There were those who instead made me feel like something was ‘wrong’ with me and ‘god why can’t you just get over it?’  Without support, I honestly thought I needed to be committed as I must have lost my mind.

Feel it, name it.  Then you can devise a plan to deal with it.  Facing my own anxiety was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Even with support and with taking tiny, itty-bitty steps.  I logically knew what I had to do, even before I had the accident, but I struggled hard until I had some support.  Hey, we all need a hand up and out of the dark sometimes.  Occasionally we need to find that light in someone else to help us see our own again. 

You do need to DO something if you want to move forward towards goals or even just living life fully.  But be gentle with yourself, and don’t let anyone tell you that these aren’t real. They are.  BUT that also means they can be overcome and dealt with. 

First, know that it’s okay to feel what you feel.  Give a true name and look at it.  I promise a peek won’t hurt too much and can alleviate a lot of stress around it.  Even though your heart might feel like it’s going to beat so hard as to fly out of your chest it won’t. Deep calming breaths – on step at a time.  Writing really  helps with this.  Ask yourself what can you do and try not to focus solely on what you are struggling to do. 

Sitting still and allowing your fears to control you isn’t a good option.  You can learn to deal with them, put them in their place, change your thought patterns and get to be who you want to be and where  you want to be.  The choice is yours of course. 

Your fears may be real, but they aren’t bigger than you.  Ask for some help if you need it, but remember…you got this.

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2talkingThis post might look a little different from most.  I am sharing with you a snippet of a conversation that took place (with permission of course).

I was talking to a client about their goals.  LOADS of frustration on their part because they feel they are scattered all over the place and nothing connects for them.  Add in they have so many goals that they don’t know where to even start.  *Please note I did make some edits in order to protect privacy.

Time to back up this train.

ME:  Where do you want these goals to take you?

CLIENT: What do you mean?

ME:  If I can be kind of ‘devil’s advocate’ for a moment?

CLIENT: Sure

ME: What’s the point of doing all this stuff in the first place?

CLIENT: well…(long pause) I guess so I can improve my life. 

ME: Where is your life lacking that you need to improve it?

CLIENT: Me..I’m lacking (this was more blurted out than said).  Haha..no I mean, well, couldn’t we all improve our lives?

ME:  Can we?

CLIENT: I know I can…I just can’t put my finger on where. I-I-hmmm.   I guess I just want to get to a place where I feel happy.

ME: Where is this place?

CLIENT: What? Well..  I guess it’s somewhere in the future when I improve my life.

ME: Okay. So tell me what does this place look like?

CLIENT: Look like?  I hadn’t thought much about that.  I guess it’s where I am happy because I like what I do, who I am and I have good friends and security.  (*to be honest the details were a bit more specific but in fairness to privacy I generalized it)

ME: Do you have any of that right now?

CLIENT: Kind of. (*went on to describe 3 situations)

ME: Wait…so you have 3 places right in the here and now that you find really happy?  So..tell me what makes you feel you must you wait for the future to be happy?

CLIENT: Well, because it’s only part of my life.

ME:  How much of your life must be in place for you to be happy?

CLIENT: uh you mean like a percentage?  I don’t know..hmm.  Oh I see where you going.  Life isn’t ever perfect is it?

ME: Is it?

CLIENT: No.  It isn’t but some people just seem like life is good and I want that.

ME: So, we know no one’s life is perfect and yet some people act like it anyway. 

CLIENT: Huh.  How do they do that?  I guess they just focus on the good stuff?  But you can’t ignore the bad things that happen.

ME: True.  Consider your energy and focus a limited amount of funds every day.  Can you do that?

CLIENT: Yup.

ME: When you focus on something; good or bad – you spend some of this ‘energy’ fund. Okay?

CLIENT: Okay

ME:  Where are you going to put the most of your funds if you want to be happy? 

CLIENT:  Oh! (eyes have lit up and there is a big smile).  I see where this is going.

Okay ladies and gentlemen.  That is all I”m going to share because it gets very personal at that point.  I hope you can see where this was going too.  Just like life – you spend you money on what is important to you.  For most of us that’s housing, clothes, food and then some fun stuff.  But we still have to pay bills, go to the dentist and fix the darn car.   Once the car repairs are paid for though are you going to obsess on them?  No?  You move on. 

This is also how you should treat your negative stuff in life.  Deal with it, and move on.  Learn to let go so it doesn’t consume your thoughts and make it so you can’t take pleasure in the beautiful things and people that do surround you.

 

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I hear a lot of new clients or friends who get upset when I talk about being in control of your own life.  Like, really upset.

In fact, one person very recently called me out on it pretty harshly.  I’m okay with that.  I’ve found the blessing in this. When someone calls you out on your beliefs it can cause you to really look deeply at them and in this case bring about a strengthening of them and a deeper understanding.

The problem is one I totally get …because they are right.  Completely right.  You see, they were upset because I said that people create their life with their actions and thoughts.  This person slammed down the point that life happens and we can’t control what others do to us and around us.  “Look all the people who lost their houses, jobs and had their life crumble” He said.  “You’re blaming THEM?” 

Ouch. He was angry at me with righteous indignation on his part with the understanding that he had.  I kind of admired him for that actually.  A real stand-up guy if you think about it.

However, there was a part of this idea that he was missing

While he was totally right – we can’t often control the experiences we have in life.  We might lose our job and income through no fault of our own.  Accidents happen (tell me about it!) that can destroy our life as we know it, and so on.  However, we can control how we experience those circumstances.  We ultimately choose our reactions.  Oh sure sometimes we have immediate reactions that are based more on baser emotions, but we can calm ourselves or feed that fire.

I know people who allow petty annoyances to create a huge amount of chaos in their life.  I also know people who have had great tragedy befall them who have chosen to create something positive out of it. 

You can choose to let life happen TO you, or you can take the controls and begin to create a life that reflects who you are and who you want to be.

So let me be clear here.  You may not be able to control WHAT experiences you have in life – but you can control HOW you experience them. 

In this coming New Year I want you to consider that. This is a fresh year that can allow us a perfect time to begin to make shifts to bring about a happier, more vibrant life.  Will you join me in taking the controls back in your life?  I think it’s time we all understand we are responsible for our own happiness and quite capable of creating it.

 

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