Tag Archives: happiness

Looming New Year

 

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Maria Robinson

I heard this quote during my wonderful Weight Watcher’s Meeting with Michelle Jacob last Saturday, and though I have heard it before, this time it sunk in.  I have been thinking about positive ways to move on, move forward and what I want to change for the New Year.  This is often a time of reflection, my usual pastime, which is accentuated during this time of year because so many others are putting energy in the same place.  I am creating a list of changes and here is the beginning of my list:
 
1.  Write more:  I am happiest when I do this and actually have begun to crave writing time, which must mean it is really something I need to do for my soul.
2.  Practice Yoga (more often):  This is another happy place for me and one that has great physical and emotional benefits.  Turning off my incredibly active “monkey mind” for an hour a day….
3.  Letting go: This is a general category that includes stuff, emotions, weight, and habits.
4.  Look for more natural ways to heal:  A concerted effort to investigate better health through more natural solutions like Save Our Bones, meditation, and a better, plant-based diet.
5. Create what I want:  which includes manifesting, doing, writing and discovering what is important to me.
 
The past is a magnet, pulling at us to look back, go back and revisit old stories, but really, once we have learned the lesson, and gone through the emotions, what good does it do to revisit?  The quote about the past is gone, the future is unknown and today is a gift (present) is a bit overdone, but the message is clear.  For one who thrives on control, I am coming to the conclusion that I can only control myself.  My mission for this new year is to offer the gift of change to myself and see what happens.

 

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Filed under change, Life thoughts, New Year's, writing

Happiness

I went to the Topanga Film Festival this morning to see the documentary Happy and I started thinking about happiness, the concept, the reality and the possibilities. I have been following The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin for about a year now and enjoy the daily quotes and reflections, but I wondered,  how can I spread happiness, encourage happiness and find areas in my life to insert happiness? 

Encouraging signs are popping up everywhere, for example, my husband was given the book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert awhile ago and it was mentioned in the movie today,  and this quote that showed up today on Facebook from Weight Watchers:

                                “Life has no remote. You have to get up and change it yourself!”

So I know what I can do to make myself happy: 

incorporate a healthy lifestyle into my daily life,


                                                

read,

allow creativity to be a priority

spend time with my family

connect with my close friends

practice kindness and tolerance

Now I want to expand by giving more happiness:

sharing what I have to give

helping worthy causes

creating more happiness in my home

creating more happiness in my classroom

It is a commitment, but also a choice, to surround oneself with happiness.  It is a road I am choosing to walk.

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Life is not always a bowl of cherries.

It occurred to me the other day, that the saying “life is a bowl of cherries” is a little confusing.  Taken literally, comparing life to a bowl of sweet, plump fruit, I am confronted with the basic fact that life certainly isn’t always sweet and ripe with potential.  Life can be sweet and I can think of many sweet events in my life: my wedding day, the births of each of my three daughters, watching recitals, concerts and musicals my daughters performed in, bat mitzvahs, and graduations.  Like cherries, those events and moments are small, bite-sized bits of deliciousness, a little fruit, eaten in one bite, but life is also filled with hidden dangers, little landmines, hazards, and potential debilitating stones on our path to happiness and contentment.

Cherries really rise to the occasion when they reside in cherry pie, sweet, kind of sloppy and held safely within a firm crust.  I can trust these moments because the crust guarantees that the cherry filling won’t slide away.  I can enjoy it all, licking the plate if I want to, no morsel wasted. 

Cherries are delectable in jam, pureed into sweetness that I can spread on more solid bases and use it to make the most ordinary, special.  The memories evoked by the smell and the taste of the cherries take me to places where I enjoyed the first bite of summer fruit, long lazy summer days when I had nothing more to do than enjoy a bowl of fresh cherries. 

The hidden part of cherries, the pit within, is a reminder that even the sweetest parts of life have peril, sometimes, hidden inside of “normal” events are parts of life hard to deal with and dangerous to swallow.  There are times when our bodies betray us and hide deadly disease, and times when a toxic secret is revealed in a relationship.  There is nothing to do with a pit, swallowing it can choke the life out of you. The only reasonable thing to do is to spit it out and move on to the next bite. 

Cherries offer the best surprise when they are hidden among other fruit.  A fruit salad filled with flavors, some tart, some tropical and then, when you are least expect it, a sweet, ripe, juicy cherry, a reminder that the variety of flavors in life offers chances and challenges, changes and character building opportunities.  If all of our experiences were prepared for us, pitted, where would the excitement be?  Predictability has a place, but I prefer to live in awareness, being present to the moment, pits and all.

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Nothing is ever simple.

 

Some days are just like this.

 

Life sometimes grabs you by surprise, and when you least expect it, just when things are rolling nicely along. a moon pops up just as you are jumping for joy.  Today was that kind of day.  I am a bewildered cow today, just hanging on, waiting for the recuperating weekend.  I have taken to bribing myself with special evening and weekend rewards-just for making it through the rest of life, you know, the driving in traffic, working, managing a house and finances, not to mention the extreme amount of maintenance it takes to keep up appearances.  My reward preferences are:

*A lingering visit to the gym that includes not only the mandatory walking and lovely yoga, but a special sauna and nice long, on someone else’s dime, shower complete with Kiehl’s soap and shampoo.

*A facial, anytime, anywhere.

*A massage, ditto.

*A pedicure (OK, I guess it is obvious I want to be pampered)!

*A walk on the path between Will Rogers Beach and the Santa Monica Pier (I am saving up for a cool cruiser bike)!  Advice anyone?  Best brand, best seat, gears or no gears-I’d like to take it to Mammoth to cruise around this summer too.

*Sitting in the movies with my hubby, escaping into an adventure, another place or another person’s life.

*Reading a good book.

*Writing while sitting on my worn green sofa with the holiday lights that frame my window casting a soft glow.

*Dozing on the above mentioned sofa with my darling dog, Charlie (he is the reason the sofa is worn and we have given up getting him to stay off the sofa) who is spoiled beyond belief, but also very helpful in helping me achieve my 10,000 steps as his favorite reward is to have me get up and walk over to the sliding door to let him in and out every 5 minutes.

So, the mug in the photo, with the bewildered cow, belonged to my mother.  She often encountered the surprises of life, and rewarded herself with a cup of coffee and the chance to read anything and everything.  I miss her, and the talks we had in the afternoon when I got home from work.  She was an ever-present ear to my venting and even if she tired of hearing me vent, she never made me stop until I was finished.  I miss that unconditional love, unending companionship and understanding.  I still talk to her, but the part I miss the most, is the advice and answers she held for me.  Sometimes, the answers to my ponderings are whispered to me by a little voice I can only assume is hers.  When your DNA is entwined with that of another, it is inevitable that the connection is permanent.

 



 

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Thinking About What We Are Meant To Be

 

“Everyone is smart, but if you tell a fish to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 

I am spending a lot of time thinking about life choices, paths and opportunities.  We often spend a large part of our lives trying to figure out what we are meant to do, or who we are meant to be.  I spend a lot of time watching children, being a teacher and all, and I think we need to tune into the natural, innocent “knowing” that children poses.  We try to make children conform to our preconceived notion of who they should be or to fit into the mold that the experts determine is right for children, what they should be able to do by a certain age, how they should learn, and how we can measure their knowledge.  But, what if they are wrong?  What if children are born to be something else, to learn in a different way and perhaps even to teach us?

Observation is a great tool that is often underutilized but always available.  The next time you have the opportunity to observe children at play, take the time to really watch their actions, interactions with other children and choice of play. Some choose solitary play, quiet time alone.  Perhaps they a retreating from an overstimulated life.  Some chose to softly sing or hum, giving their life a soundtrack, future composers in the making.  Some chose to recreate family situations that need more processing to understand totally.  Some choose to draw elaborate scenes of dream worlds or scenes of events from their past.  Children need to process information and they need the time and medium to do that without interruption of adult direction.  Play is the method through which children learn and they need time for unstructured, child-centered play.

Take the time to think like a child.  Instead of completing a list of “have too” tasks, create a list of “want to” activities.  Think like a child.  What will help you process your world?  A quiet walk along the shore?  A hike in the mountains?  A dance class or listening to a concert?  Sometimes creating art is a way to process reality.  For me, it can be all of these things, but writing is the way I process-thinking on paper.

Children are innocent and don’t rely on preconceived notions, just on immediate desire.  Their play erupts from ideas hatched spontaneously, relying on instinct.  Trust your children to know their path.  At the most, you will give them the gift of acceptance, at the least they will be happy trying.



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Filed under choice, Education, Life thoughts

Choose

We all come to a certain point in our lives where we have to make a choice that will alter our life as we know it.  The choice can be subconscious, deliberate, spontaneous or well thought out but we all face a time when we are forced to decide.  I am at this intersection now.

I am happy and comfortable in my teaching job, working with five-year-old children, inspiring them, comforting them and confronting each day with the wonder of these children, awaiting the next discovery, surprise, or a book that is destined to become their favorite.  Teaching is a wonderful career, but lately, a new seed of an idea has sprouted in my mind.  It is the writing calling me to the keyboard, to the world of pages.   I choose to write. I choose to take action to propel myself forward into the world of author and book.

My choice opens my eyes to author events, book signings, new books, magazines, and the literary circle that welcomes me with open arms.  I choose to take this path and will discover where it takes me.


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Change

Change can be empowering, frightening, enlightening, depressing, difficult or exciting.  Often change is all of these emotions at the same time, which is possibly why so many of us are hesitant to voluntarily take change on.  Usually change happens “to” us, or we are forced to change against our will.

I have always been emotional during life-stage changes such as children growing up and entering new phases of their lives, weddings, births, deaths, and moving on, either to a new home, new job, new place in my life.  Change does not come easily because it places us in an uncomfortable unknown place and we crave the familiar.

At some point though, we begin to crave change.  We look in the mirror and say “enough!” Or we see an opportunity to grow intellectually, spiritually or to improve our health or our surroundings and we say “yes.”  We initiate the change, and that is a huge step to insuring its success.  Change embraced is change most likely to be effective.

I am embracing changeI have three areas that I will focus on:  health, spirituality, and responsibility.  I will change my health habits to protect my body and to assure my health by exercising daily walking, with yoga, strength training, pilates and Qigong (my new-found exercise area of interest.

I will focus on spirituality through meditation (One Moment Meditation), connecting with people I care about, and those I want to help and self-reflection.

I will focus on responsibility by taking responsibility to educate myself about the things I need to take care of myself and live the life I want to live.  Those include financial responsibility, staying connected to those I care about, performing my best at my job, challenging my intellect and being there, emotionally and physically, for my friends and family.

Change is not something that comes easily to me, it is an area that I chose to work on.  My life is not stagnant and my self-initiated changes are more likely to have a positive impact on my life.

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Filed under change, Family, Life thoughts, Power Words, Walking