The Habit of Happiness

We can get into a habit of almost anything.  In fact there have been many books written about how to create habits, from drinking water, to being organized to exercising (which I am still working on). But most people over look one critical habit:  The habit of happiness. Most are under the impression that happiness just happens.  It’s magic, one day you are miserable and then one day 0 poof! – you turn happy.  In reality it doesn’t happen that way.

Many also think that once they achieve or gain “X”, that they will be happy.  It could be a new job or promotion or relationship, or car, or whatever…but the bottom line is while those things may make you happy for a little while, that doesn’t last either.  And if you were not satisfied before, you will not be after either.

The truth is that happiness is a lot of work.  It isn’t magic, it is purposefully working at it every day, setting your intentions and following through with actions.  That is the only way to take the illusion of happiness into reality.  But…how do we do that?

First, know that you can change your circumstance if you are not happy.  It truly doesn’t matter where you start, it is where you want to be and how hard you are willing to work at it.  You are not a tree, you can move and grow.  You can change your position any time you. Like.  That is the magic about life, you can write your own story.  The change will not be instant, it will take time.  But eventually it will change.

Helping others will also bring a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.  Maybe it is getting your mind off your own problems, or realizing that in comparison, your issues may not be as bad as others.  Maybe it is the endorphins that are released into the body, maybe it is Karma I don’t know.  But helping others will boost your happiness as well.

Also fostering meaningful connections helps to.  Do this by being very intentional with how you second your time.  Wonder why they say those who spend more time on social media are more depressed and less satisfied?  Because they agree not really connecting with anyone.  They are seeing life through filters…which is not real.  There is no substantial sharing.  Gossip, small talk, complaining and negative conversations tend to drain you of your energy.

It may sound basic, but getting enough sleep and enough exercise is key to happiness as well.  We don’t function well if we are tired. And our bodies won’t feel good if we are sedentary.  Get off the couch, put the phone down, and go for a run or walk.  The exercise will help you sleep better too.

Be aware of the company you keep. If you have those who are constantly miserable, have drama or are always involving you in unnecessary dramas, then run, run like the wind!  These people are vampires and can suck the happiness right out of a room. Do not waste your precious time and energy on what doesn’t serve you. Instead, surround yourself with those who are positive and supportive.  I don’t mean “yes” people, I mean people who spend there time working to better themselves and their lives s well. People who will support you. In your dreams by being honest and those who are willing to help.

But to me the most important factor in being happy is paying close attention to how your life feels right now, and how you want it to feel.  IF you want to be fulfilled, then do and go after only that which makes you feel that way.  If you want a life filled with laughter, then be around what makes you laugh.  Don’t attached happiness to a list, simply follow what feels good, what makes you laugh.  And if it doesn’t make you feel the way you want your life to feel?  Then get rid of it.  That includes people.

I have learned that life is too short to waste of that which does not make you happy.  Knw that you have the power to make your life whatever you want it to be.  You may have to change your way t=of thinking, but happiness can be a habit too.

Advertisements

Go Deep or Go Home

The older I get it becomes more and more apparent that you must enjoy what is in front of you. This life is fleeting, is make it spectacular. Make it meaningful.  Make it profound.  Don’t just settle for small talk, get into the nitty gritty and really connect.  Appreciate all the little moments as gifts, because they are.

The past week I have learned that a dear friend has three types of cancer. Another passed away suddenly and left behind the love of her life devastated. When events like this happen, they inevitably make you look at your own life and what you want.

I’ve come from a place of such heartbreak and loss, that I want to deeply enjoy every moment that I have. I don’t just want connections, I want deep connections, and deep friendships, and deep conversations, and a deep life. I want to have the things that mean the most close to me. I want to be immersed in all the moments in this life, because you never know what might happen.

I think this is because when you get hurt and are in pain, that pain carves out deep spaces within you.  And what satisfied you before isn’t enough afterward. Your capacity for joy, love and beauty is much more, so it takes more to fill you. You love deeper, feel deeper, experience life on a deeper level, because you are a more profound individual. I think, that what makes the pain worth it is that the joy far surpasses the pain.  And that is as it must be.

But in this day and age of Kardashians, and Instagram filters makimg you look beautiful and happy even when you’re not, and where outward appearances are everything, how do you get that? When everything is shallow and what is below the surface doesn’t seem to matter?

I think it has to do with intentions. You have to set your intentions to seek out what is meaningful, to find more than just a small talk, to see what’s behind someone’s eyes. You have to be brave enough to ask the purposeful questions and be willing to listen to the relevant answers.   Everyone is craving better more meaningful connections, so if you approach others with that intention, they will respond in kind.

You also have to search for people who have the same depth and breadth as you in life. You must seek out those who have the same level of commitment to loyalty, honor, and integrity. Because trust me, if you settle for those who don’t have the same level of commitment, those people will hurt you. It is as much about self-preservation, as it is about living a good life. And once you find them, your people, then you begin to live life on a more profound level.

Our satisfaction, fulfillment and impact depend on the intentions that we set.  We cannot have significant connections if we are not willing to go below the surface – to be curious about life, and people, and things.

And those are my intentions. It is not so much Carpe Diem and it is Carpe Deeper.  For me it is not about seizing the day as it is seizing the opportunity to enjoy each small moment. It doesn’t have to be loud or conspicuous, or loaded up selfies on social media.  It can be as quiet as enjoying a good night’s sleep, and then a delicious cup of coffee on the front porch the next morning.  It can be seeing the beauty in the smiling eyes of a child.  It can be seeing the miracle of birds and flowers. It can be a thousand different things in a million different ways, but being aware and committed enough to get to the most substantial meaning out of each experience. So never be afraid to go deeper.

My Royal Opinion, Because it Matters

In case you live under a rock and did not know, the royal wedding was this weekend. As much as I wanted to get up and see it, my bed is very comfortable.  SO when the alarm went off at 4am, I turned it off, rolled over and went back to sleep.  But one of the great things about living in the digital age, is that you don’t have to watch anything live any more.

I knew the wedding would be all over the internet, and indeed it was.  Along with all the comments and opinions. And the only thing I have to say is – Wow, we have become a truly ugly society.

Internet trolls have been around since the internet, but is it just me or does it seem like they are multiplying in record numbers?  Most comments used to be nice, with a few negatives.  Now, everyone has to say something ugly.

The new royal was criticized for wearing too much make up, for not wearing enough make up, for not looking like a princess, for having a dress that is too plain and not ornate enough for the public, for her hair, her figure, for…everything.  Celebrity after celebrity saying what they thought was wrong. One even saying that she would have gone to one more fitting for the dress…Well, Since Megan was working with the designer, I am sure it fit exactly the way it was supposed to. And her new husband didn’t seem to mind….

Since when did we become so negative?  Since when is it in fashion to trash someone just to get your 5 seconds of internet fame? Since when is it OK to tear others down to make ourselves feel more important? And since when it is wrong just because you would have made a different choice?

What is my opinion on the royal wedding?  I think that if the bride and groom were happy, then it was a success, and what everyone else thinks is irrelevant.

And what’s up with all the mean mimes about the Queen or anyone else involved? Maybe the queen just has RBF?

Why can’t we just be positive?  They are a young couple who are in love…and happen to be royalty.  I can’t help but remember Princess Dianna when I watched that royal wedding as a child. She was beautiful and radiant. And no one said anything bad.  I wonder if that would be the case today, or if our society today would rip her apart too.

If any one us faced the criticisms, judgements and negative comments that young people in the media are subjected to today, none of us would have the courage to leave the house. Why can’t we just wish this young couple a lifetime of happiness?  Why criticize her make up?  If you don’t like how little make up she was wearing, when you get married, you can cake it on.  If you don’t like the dress, wear a different one when you get married.  If you don’t like her hair, wear your different at your wedding.  Otherwise, if you can’t say something nice…just keep quiet.

Dad’s Last Lesson

Out parents teach us many lessons in our lives.  They are our first teachers, our first relationships, our first authority figures, our first home, our first friends.  From learning how to tie our shoes, to learning how to eat a first, how to use the toilette, and how write our names, how to read, how to clean out room…and so many more things that I cannot even begin to list.  And sometimes we do not even realize a lesson they taught us until after they are gone.

Such is the case with my father. Even though he has been gone over a year, and there are things I am just realizing that he taught me.  These moments are wonderful undiscovered gifts, wrapped up in a bow; a package inconspicuously sitting in a corner.  Sometimes it takes some distance to see the picture clearly. I am not only seeing what he taught me, but I am also seeing the situation for what it truly was.

It was hard after Mom died when Dad came to live with me.  It is hard taking care of an elderly terminally ill man who is grieving the loss of his wife, while you are grieving the loss of your mother.  The weight of it is almost unbearable.  But you get through.

And it dawned on that taking care of my father kept me grounded.  I would have been tempted to have compromised and given up too much of myself if he had not been there.  Life has a way of showing you where your priorities should be.

At the time I did not know that I was dating a man who was a narcissist.  Everything had to be centered around him, all of the time.  When my father moved in the ex was no longer the center.  At first the ex was OK with it, but after a few months, he decided he was done. He never said it out loud, but the shift was audible.

This made the load exceptionally heavy to carry, but it also made me focus on what was truly important.  In a relationship, sometimes we can have a tendency to give too much of ourselves.  We acquiesce when we really don’t want to, we make concessions to please our partner, or to avoid a fight. I am a nurturer, and I want to please, so I have to be careful about giving too much and depleting. Myself.

The ex and I began to fight all of the time, because he was not the center. Because I was giving too much to my father. Dad had to remain the focus and that enraged the ex. I was placed in the position where was something so important, that the situation could not be compromised.

 

No matter how much I wanted to please my partner, I knew that my father’s health came first, and I did not, could not, would not give in.  Instead of bargaining to avoid a fight, I fought for the best interest of my father.  Instead of being manipulated into acquiescing to unhealthy demands, I stood strong where my father was concerned. I found something more important that myself, or even that relationship, and I was not going to settle.

And by having something more important than myself, I learned the difference between healthy arrangements and unhealthy covenants.  Because of taking care of Dad, I learned the difference between healthy boundaries and unhealthy requirements.

These lessons have already helped me in my life moving forward.  Understanding how healthy negotiations work in a functional relationship is an important lesson. If Dad had not been there, I would have given far too much of myself. Instead of ending up in an unhealthy downward spiral, I held onto my beliefs to keep my father and myself in an emotionally safe place during a difficult situation.

That was my Dad’s lesson to me:  I saw and understood how it should and should not happen.  I know how two people who love each other should support and compromise in a way that is beneficial to all parties.

So thank you Daddy.  I will remember what you taught me, and I will always be thankful for my time with you and taking care of you.

Come with Me

Come with me
Hold my hand
Feel my heart
And hold both as sacred

For I want to love you
Need to need you
Long to kiss you and
Hope to see you

I love your smile
And they way you laugh
I enjoy your company
And the conversation of your voice

There is no pretense
No forced rymes in this note
No false airs
Just my words

Just my feelings
On the screen of paper
Just what my heart whispers
As night is quiet

And so I hope
Even though it is not fancy
Or in the least bit flashy
That we can build this life

And that you will accept me
and this humble heart
As it is offered to you
It is all I have

Homeostasis

We have all heard the advice that to truly enjoy life, we must live in the present.  But so many times that is not possible, or so it seems.  Because to live in the present, we have to quiet the fears of the future and the heartache of the past. We must let both go enough to hold onto what is right in front of us to enjoy it fully.

But how exactly do we do that?  I don’t know really, except that we must get to as point where we are in balance.  Homeostasis. And in this day and age of everything bigger, faster, thinner, better…that can be hard to do.  It can be hard to turn off the mind and all that makes noise.

The last two years have been quite noisy for me.  So much tragedy and loss. And it took a long time to get to this place now.  A lot of mourning and wondering.  But finally, I am in this place of homeostasis. And I almost do not know what to do with it.  And isn’t that the case in life?  We finally achieve that which we hoped to attain, only to look around and not know what to do with it.

Except that there is nothing to do now, except be present in the moment and enjoy.  And to keep that balance, every day. And maybe that is where the “what to do” comes in.  We must make a decision, every day, that we will do our best to quiet the mind and keep the balance,  And Once you get the balance, maybe the key is to be so lost in the present moment, that all else is suspended.

The summer is coming and with it brings a lot of activity in life.  There are get-togethers and trips, yard work and nights sitting out on the back deck. There will be dinner with friends, movie nights, long nights, late nights and looking at the stars nights. There will be lots of laughter, some tears, challenges and everything that is life.

And with all of these things, the ups, the downs, I feel a sense of calm. A sense that I am exactly where I need to be right at this very moment. I am no longer mourning the past, or anxious for the future. I am presently, happily, present. And it feels good.

There are still worries that will come up, but for the first time in a long time, the seas are calm.

And I will enjoy this moment, I will be so present that I will drink it up and bathe in it, very second. Breathe it in, digest, and feel it’s magic. The magic of life and love and adventure and summer and the present.

I Breathe Fire

I am strong, strong willed, hard headed, strong-minded, independent, and I breathe fire. I am determined, stubborn, I persevere, and never stop growing, improving, thriving, going, willing, doing. I am loyal, fierce, dependable, loving, kind, sincere, authentic, and I breathe fire.

I believe strong, love hard, play harder, I do what I want. I don’t play by the rules, I make my own. This is my area, my town, my city, my life and if you don’t like it, you can leave. Because I don’t run. I breathe fire.

I am my own mistress, I serve no master but God. I answer to no one but my conscience, so step aside. You will not break my stride, ruin my rhythm, force my step or knock me off my path.

I work hard for what I want, show up when I need, give what I get, and I will always be free. I make it happen in life, I roll up my sleeves ans never forget to always be me. I go down on my knees, bow my head and pray. I give thanks to the Lord, thank him for blessing me another day. And I breathe fire

I live life as I see fit, living my dreams, making them reality. I am my mother’s daughter, and she taught me well, to stand up and climb the mountain and never be afraid to fail. I have fallen and gotten up more times than I can count, but each time I walk with my chin up, because I know who I am.

I do deeds that need to be done, not cheap, not for free. I beat my own drum, make my own dance, love whomever my heart says and I fuck till I am done. I live life to the fullest, all the ups and the downs, and I will make it through and I will drink another round.

If you cross me, I will leave you cowering in the corner, where you belong. I will breathe fire down your neck until you surrender and leave, burned to the core feeling like a pile of dung. I breath fire to protect my life, my friends, my lovers, my family. There will be Peace in my home, in my bed, in my life and where I am present.

Mostly because, all because, this life is sacred. And short. And wild. We should walk through this life, this journey, with the curiosity of a child. And we should fill it with passion, love, pain, stories, joy, desire, happiness, song, lust, dance, drink, abundance, laughter, friends, family, travel and everything magic.

And so I breathe fire.