100 Days to Happy (or Happier)

100 Days to Happy

Some of the happiest people I know, are this way because they’ve decided to be. Happiness takes effort and action. It’s not enough, to just want to be happy. We must have ‘skin in the game’.

Happiness is not for the lazy or unwilling. Happiness is a present that we must unwrap and put to good use, once we do.  Every day we have a choice, a choice to take the sum of our live and move it in one direction. Momentum forward is what brings us to our higher grounds.

I came across a quote the other day that I hadn’t heard before, “Everyone is gifted but some people never open their package.” Perhaps it’s fear that holds people back. How sad it is, if life isn’t being lived to its fullest seam. 

This got me thinking. What is it that fills me up and how can I do more of it? How can I encourage others to ask this question and act on the answer?

I came up with 100 Days to Happy.

Who wants to play? The rules are simple. Do something that you enjoy; a hobby, a passion or an activity that makes you feel naturally better each time you do it. This is an individual sport and it’s solely about you. Do it for 20 minutes every day for 100 days. This daily habit will cultivate personal fulfillment and will create a foundation for deeper development of self.

For me this falls into a few categories. I love to write, do yoga, and hike. That’s the beauty of this challenge (and so true of life), is that it’s whatever you want it to be. Piece it together any which way. The only rule is that you must do it just for you.

If you’re drawing a blank, then fake it until you make it. Try new things. You’ll never go wrong with moving your body. Exercise offers up a variety of outstanding side effects; lightened mood, increased energy, stronger body, reduced stress and the list goes on and on. Start here.

Who’s in? By the end of the summer (100 days), you might be up for another season sprinkled with bliss.

When we spend time on our own contentment, we find balance and feel satisfied. This becomes a springboard into beautiful worlds.

To date, I haven’t met a genuinely happy person who has been handed it, bought it or lived it through another. It’s a participation sport, where I’m fine with everyone getting a trophy.  

Thought for the Day

I love the doers, the take chargers of their lives, the people who climb the mountains before them. I will never sit comfortably with the excuse makers, the middle of the roaders, or the fearful. As human beings we’re designed to change, to flow and to grow. We’re never finished or complete, as long as we’re alive. Furthermore, when we’re cemented in our opinions, when we refuse to look at things from different angles, or cannot find common ground with others; we’re stunted. Unsettledness is cultivated in narrow mindedness and lack of bending. Changing can be liberating and flexibility can bring freedom. Peace becomes a byproduct.

Take a Hike

I learned everything I need to know about life on my hike today. Well, maybe not everything but it did offer up some helpful reminders. Here’s my take on life as it relates to the trail:

  • Be sure-footed and know where you’re going.
  • Be flexible, knowing you’re terrain may change.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Clawing your way to the top can leave scars.
  • Preparation peaks performance.
  • You can go your own way.
  • Look up.
  • Fresh air focuses the mind.
  • Nature makes us feel both big and small, there’s beauty in both.
  • Hard work offers rewards.
  • Recognize when to soar and when to coast.
  • Connecting to nature cures.
  • Keep moving. Nothing good grows in stagnation.
  • Silence brings answers.
  • Focusing only on the top, robs us of the present path.
  • Take time to take in the view.
  • Breathe.
  • Recognize what’s there for you when you’re on the way down.
  • The human body is the most valuable machine we will ever own, we must treat it as such.
  • Ain’t no mountain high enough!

~ Namaste

Mirror Mirror

What we say and how we say it, shouts and sings volumes about who we are. You don’t believe this is true? Speak your words to the mirror and see the naked true about you.

Are we sharp and edgy or smooth and soulful? Are we so quick to make a point that we (the messenger) get in the way of the message?

We don’t have to look very far for examples of this. Currently, Facebook postings and spirited exchanges are full of strong opinions and political passions. Is anyone else growing tired of this negativity and ugliness? It seems as thought everyone has their guard up and gloves on.

Many years ago, I had a conversation with a fellow mother. This proud mom said this about her daughter, “I can’t control how smart she’s going to be or how pretty she’s going to be but I can control how tough she’s going to be.” It may have been the way she said it, that made this statement seems exceptionally rugged. Grow them strong, yes, but do they need to be this ‘grit your teeth and push you over’ sort of tough?

This same person told me, happily, that someone disliked me. I asked what her motive was, for telling me this and questioned what sort of need this fulfilled in her. This was the last time we spoke. Her ‘sharing’ told me more about her. Message happily lost, messenger uncovered.

We should think twice about how ‘tough’ or sharp we choose to be. Smoothing our edges might help us become better communicators. I’m not suggesting that we get so soft that we get pushed around. Maybe, we loosen our grip on being right, on knowing it all and on thinking that things can only be one way. This may lead to more enlightenment, acceptance and growth.

Another unproductive behavior is the unleashed comments on people’s appearances. Cheap shots are just as ‘lovely’ as they sound. They’re not constructive, productive or kind. They’re cruel, petty and a weak way to argue a point. This is not smart or becoming to a person’s character. Once again, message gets lost in the this bad mouthing garbage, making the messenger just looks bad.

I’m a huge fan of passion and expressions of opinions. We learn and grow from healthy exchanges. We need to work on treating one and other, the way that we wish to be treated, a suggestion that is as old as time.

I’ve behaved badly. Looking back, it’s been at times when I was hurt and fearful. I’ve let my emotions get the best of me. In hindsight, I wish I had tasted my words before I let them flow from my mouth. I’m sure my messages were overshadowed by my feelings.

We’ve been witnessing the most unhealthy, disruptive and unproductive behaviors during our county’s transitional time. It has me wondering about intent, agendas, and personal favor. It’s time to press the proverbial pause button. This fragmented state does not serve anyone.

Let’s bring back dignity. Let’s question with respect. Let’s be humane. Keeping our eye only on our personal prize is self serving and will not promote unity, acceptance or connectivity.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, am I becoming anything at all?

Love > Everything

With Valentine’s Day just a couple of days away, I’m thinking about love. I’m not thinking about the commercialization of love but real love, the kind of love that brings along it’s cohorts; trust, patience, security, comfort, friendship, connection and work. Yes, work. Real love requires work and reciprocity. When the right partner enters our lives, it’s an honest labor of love and binds beings, beyond belief.

If we’re lucky, we find a mate that adds to, not subtracts from, our lives. Love isn’t about completing one and another but rather a coming together of two whole people, in such a way that each person magnifies the others greatness, cheerleads them along and becomes a forever fan. Love balances, believes and becomes the infrastructure for a joint life to build upon.

Life throws us lots of balls; some we catch, many we juggle, and a few we drop. As humans, we thrive when we have a loyal teammate who shares in our burdens, our joys and everything in between.

True love is unconditional. Circumstances won’t change it. Aging won’t lessen it. Challenges won’t weaken it.

When we unconditionally love ourselves without hesitation and with complete satisfaction, we attract our ‘meant to be’ mate. When souls mate, love is great.

~ Dedicated to my forever mate, Jon. I will love you until my last page.

 

 

 

Off the Soapbox and into Life

It might be time for us to get small and silent. The world is turned upside down. For some it’s bad for others it’s good. Either way, it has people losing their minds. This lunacy is running rampant and it’s not particularly becoming; so many opinions, endless sharing of beliefs and out of control behavior.

Maybe it’s time to step away, close our circles and soak up our surroundings. Turning off the news and unfollowing our super-political friends, might be in order. A temporary time-out may serve us well. All this anger and hate bombarding us must be impacting our sweet souls. It captures our thoughts and seeps into every aspect of our lives.

What if we immerse ourselves into our families, friends and creative outlets for  a brief period of time. How would this feel? Could we find daily joy and warmth, that’s been waiting to be noticed?  This may serve us well during this turbulent time?

Pressing the pause on the pollution of politics could give us a moment to regroup and restore. The constant ugliness is destroying lives, friendships and tainting our beauty.

If we step off the soapbox and set back, fully, into our individual lives, we might figure out where our energies are best spent and what fights are worth picking.

For now, I’m picking peace, remaining hopeful, living in mindful moments and sprinkling love wherever I go. I have children who are watching me, why wouldn’t I.

Bent into Shape

Yoga found me. I didn’t even know I was lost. Ten years ago, at a kickboxing certification I decided to spend a few extra bucks on a PIYO (Pilates & Yoga hybrid) certification. They were offering a special and I appreciate a good bargain. This choice sent me in a new direction, a personal path toward becoming.

This certification was a first glimpse into the yoga world. This time coincided with the adoption of our daughter. The ‘rearview-view’ significantly reflects how spiritual and soulful this time period was. Little by little, yoga crept in and contributed to this meaningful time.

For two years I became a student of yoga and absorbed it when I could. Next, I earned my 200 hour teacher training in Costa Rica with a dear friend. The spiritually rich journey continued.

Once I understood the logistics of postures, yoga settled in and took up permanent residency. The timing was perfect. It inspired the opening of Reaching Roots Yoga Company. Where, for three years, I connected with spectacular souls. Together, we rooted, reached, flowed, glowed, and bent ourselves into endless shapes. Our breath got deeper and so did our connection to ourselves.

Yoga gave me a foundation that would serve me well for many challenges ahead. You see, yoga is a tool we can use to dig further into who we are, learning how strong we can be.

The mindset and physical poses of yoga can help and heal us. The postures are designed to open up places in our bodies where energy is blocked due to a variety of reasons; stress, emotions, lifestyle and trauma. Yoga connects us with our breath and it’s power. The variety of shapes result in balance, flexibility and strength.  Yoga links the mind and spirit with the physical. It challenges us to reach further, marinate in moments and let go. This, we take off the mat and into our worlds.

In addition, it slows our pace and clears our heads. It separates us from non-sense. It silences. The quiet brings awareness and answers. It reminds us that joy is found within and unfolds as we connect back to self.

A yoga lifestyle involves introspection, outward impacts, harmonizing with nature, mindfulness, living peacefully and presently within circumstances. It’s individually unique. Yoga is meeting ourselves and others, right where we are at and living fully from this place with the absence of judgment.

Yoga is not about yoga pants, specialty equipment, striking perfect poses or spiritual quotes and sayings. Yoga is a feeling that sweetens the soul, empowers the body and strengthens the mind. When we commit to the discipline of a physical practice the benefits are continuous.

We show up on our mats for ourselves. We seek betterment and connection to our purpose and hearts desires. This gifts us a more graceful way of living.

Vibrantly Vibrate

Vibrantly Vibrate

In our every day lives, we have countless opportunities to be impactful. These opportunities are responsibilities. We vibrate and radiate constantly.  The nuances of our facial expressions and our body movements speak before we do. Our words are easy to track and our actions are even easier. Our energy spills out and around our lives, daily. Where do we direct our energy? What is gained and what is lost through our energy distribution?

The brightest and most enlightening days, are those when we realize our energy has been misdirected and misused. We change the course. We move forward from what has been holding us back and down. These are the days we stop blaming. This is when circumstances become secondary. This is when we strengthen our foundation by owning and growing from our lives. We put our energy into self improvements, which positively affects our being. This energetic shift touches all that we touch. This recharges us continuously.

Road blocks to our individual enlightenment are abundant. Daily, we experience distractions and challenges. We strive to feel better and look for easy ways to achieve this. At our finger tips are quick fixes with short lives.

Social media offer up a minute by minute way to construct a life to escape to. This can have us feeling better, momentarily, but no real work on self gets done here. These are the moments when we can lose our direction. The social media engine is steering the way. Creatively crafted photos and daily accounts of personal importance, take shape. It’s easy to get lost in this fantasy of value and slim substance. We can imaginarily disguise our lives, as to not feel the real. It’s in the quiet moments, that emptiness is realized and energy is zapped.

When we put down the electronics and pick up our houses and our kids, life settles in. These little moments are the truths we live amongst. Energy redirects. It’s the small happenings that will soon be missed when time passes, as it does, too fast. They’re, most likely, passing us by as we’re ‘masking up’ our mundane. The mini milestones of children or nature’s small shifts can easily be missed. How organically, are we feeling the moments when we’re constantly  ‘staging’ and photographing them? Are we really being real?

Before this social world engulfed us, did we live to be grander than we are; striving to impress and craft other’s thoughts about who and what we are? The new avenues to ‘billboard’ our lives are now a huge part of our lives. It’s given new meaning to ‘one upping’ and keeping up with the notorious Jones family.

We ‘megaphone’ our causes as we align with majorities and minorities. The longing to be noticed more and to be right (or left) is screaming loud. Relevance has become importance. Off to the wayside goes truth, humility and humanity. Before we know it, we’re playing lost and found with our soul. The collateral damage may be difficult to repair.

Our energy and vibrant vibrations have bigger and better jobs to do, within the perimeters of our everyday lives. If our peace and harmony does not coincide with the facades we create, our foundation is collapsible. Life can be void of meaning and satisfaction hard to obtain.

Stillness brings awareness. Downloading determination to live in our moments, brings us back to our meaning and our valuable existence. Happiness is electric when we live authentically versus electronically.

The Power of the Pause

It was evident within the first 24 hours, that I was impacting my life in a positive way. I was becoming a bit of a Facebook zombie and it was time for a change. Rummaging through the multiple layers of the Facebook world was becoming mundane. It was time to take a deeper dip into my own world.

It was the Thursday before Christmas and my husband and I were doing what many do, scrolling through the never-ending newsfeed of Facebook. In doing so, we we're filling our minds with the unnecessary. We decided to take a break from the 'book'.

This voyeurism and insertion into other lives happens quickly. At first, it's fun and harmless. Before you know it, it becomes a second job of constant well wishes and worries. This can become an endless hamster wheel of 'weighing in' on everyone's lives. This attachment begins to grow roots in our minds, taking up valuable space that should be reserved for a select few.

This can happen unknowingly. We innocently begin peeking in on what's going on in the lives of those we know (and those we don't, too!). This huge social machine comes with the same emotions that we might not have seen or experienced since we left our adolescence; jealousy, envy, criticism, ridicule, agenda-filled conversations, passive aggressive behavior, and game playing.

This can be drama-filled and socially cruel on a level and speed that we would never have imagined prior to Facebook's existence. Basically, people are the same on Facebook, as they are off of Facebook. Except this platform has a huge reach, therefor a bigger impact. A new form of bravery and self importance now exists. Are lives being enhanced or diminished, as we scroll?

Don't get me wrong, I love many aspects of Facebook; connection to people, business development and inspiration. It can deliver joy and love around the globe, in seconds. It's reach is gigantic and if used for the good, it has enormous potential to help, heal and create happiness.

It comes down to the user. How do we absorb the continuous information speeding through our minds. Is it useful? Does it distract? Does it contribute to our well-being? Asking ourselves how do we feel, as we log off of Facebook, can be revealing. If it uplifts and enlightens, keep on scrolling. On the contrary, if it's time-sucking or energy depleting, maybe it's time for a 'time-out'.

Pausing our Facebook world can bring valuable information. What are we losing and what are we gaining? I appreciate it's value and I am thankful for the avenues of communication it brings. I have simply changed the way I use it. I no longer feel obligated to like everything, give my opinion, or to wish happy birthday every day. I'm using my time differently.

For me, it's been a delightful and mind-freeing experience. I continue to post pictures and send a wish off, here and there. I have not been 'news-feeding' and it's freeing. I'm feeling blissfully left out and beautifully disconnected. I wonder and imagine more. I'm focused and connected to my actual life. I have found time. I've practiced more yoga, attended more dance parties in my daughter's room, creatively brainstormed about the future with my hubby, decluttered my house and created this website where I can do what I love, which is to write! Not too bad, for just a few weeks away from the Facebook feeding frenzy.

How we 'feed' ourselves is important? Are we satisfied and fueled for a productive future? Facebook was not making my life better, not in the ways I want my life to advance. It was hijacking me, temporarily and preventing me from absorbing myself into my real life. I have discovered, again, just how fun it is to carve out my own happiness. Balance and betterment is my goal.