Happiness is… losing track of time

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In my post “…starting over in 2021,” I mention embarking on a Bucket List Journey by Annette as a way to embrace possibility for the new year. If you’ve yet to check it out, give it a whirl. Each day provides thought-provoking questions that force you—in a good way—to reflect on what inspires you, what challenges you to pinpoint areas in your life that need to change and what activities you desire to incorporate more of on a regular basis. Try this prompt on for size: Which activities cause me to lose track of time? For me, this includes hiking, writing, reading and playing games. The list can be as short or as long as you like—but consider those instances when an hour or more flies by unnoticed because you were consumed with whatever captured your attention. And then take it a step further: How can I add more of those moments into my daily life?

Which activities cause you to lose track of time?

Hop aboard: hanging on for the ‘thrill ride’ of your life

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Thrill ride. My new favorite phrase coined by my great niece, Julia. That’s life in all its glory, right? A journey that sometimes feels like a roller coaster I close my eyes on until it reaches steadier (and safer) ground. Other times its scary twists and turns require faith that I’ll make it from Point A to Point B—my body often jostled and bruised from the onslaught of life’s challenges. But then there are those frissons of joy that bubble up from within as I share the ride—all its ups and downs and unexpected surprises that delight—with those closest by my side. And, if I had a choice, I don’t think I’d pick a different ride or trade my seat for another. I’m simply hanging on since it won’t last forever. Because, one day, the ride will slow and inevitably come to a stop, and it’s at this moment I want to shout: “Wow! What a [thrill] ride!

What does your thrill ride look like?

Image courtesy of Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Quit forcing the issue: a study in contrasts

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During a solo hike on the Sonoran trails last month, I sought—as a matter of course—divine guidance pertaining to my vocation, my relationships and my spiritual, physical and emotional health. Oftentimes, it requires miles of silence, a veritable test in patience, for me to gain any type of clarity. That afternoon proved no different and, while I navigated the ins and outs of a new-to-me trail system, I sensed clear instruction: Quit forcing the issue. Although not quite the message I’d expected or hoped for, I understood the directive. For a planner like me, however, to sit back and go with the flow also illustrates a study in contrasts—not unlike the vibrant desert blooms fixed against a backdrop of rugged terrain. Yet, the moment I quit forcing the issue created space: to either freak out, or to growth within. To wallow in the challenges, or to celebrate the victories. Most important, it allowed the magic to unfurl.

What issue do you need to quit forcing?

1 way to squeeze the best out of life

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They say that “attitude is everything.” Although I don’t know who they are, I do know truth resides in those three words. Case in point: As it relates to my day job, certain pet peeves are inherent in the publishing industry. For instance: missed deadlines, unresponsive contacts and broken commitments—to name a few. However, I’ve begun to look at these examples not as “thorns in my side” but as challenges to motivate rather than frustrate. Surprisingly, this new mindset works! Also, pertaining to my household finances, I’ve been asked to take a more vested interest in our expenses and investments, as well as the annual tax preparations. This year, instead of approaching the impending weekend with an overarching sense of dread, I planned several fun diversions to break up the monotony of pulling together the requisite materials. This resulted in a productive and enjoyable two days laden with laughter and goodwill. The time will pass regardless. Why not squeeze the best out of it?

How’s your attitude?

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Responding to life’s challenges (without allowing them to break us)

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Responding to life

 

My recent blog ‘How (not) to be miserable for the rest of your life’ is all about attitude, and how it can make or break us. The same day I posted these words, I met my own situation headfirst—one that screamed ‘pity party’ at the top of its lungs. Oh the irony. No pitching a tent, but I did unroll a sleeping bag and camp out for approximately 60 minutes underneath the stars. I allowed myself to feel discouragement, frustration, sadness. And then I let it all go, released that which does not serve me. Instead, I donned my thinking cap, laid out the choices in front of me and began to consider other options within my power. The act of seeking, in itself, oftentimes lifts us out of feelings of hopelessness and/or lack of control. Although we rarely get to choose the challenges we encounter in life, we do have a say in how we respond to them.

How do you typically respond to life’s challenges?

Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Your mountain is waiting

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Your mountain is waiting

You’re off to Great Places! … Your mountain is waiting,
So … get on your way!
~ Dr. Seuss

I love Dr. Seuss and the simple way he approaches life and its challenges.  There’s a mountain, go climb it.  But then there are the planners, like me, who need to put together the gear necessary to make the hike.  Calculate the time it’ll take to get there and wonder if it’s simply safer to stay where I’m at.  What if I’m afraid of heights?  What if the view from the top isn’t worth the effort involved to get there?  What if it isn’t so great after all?  And what if you prefer the ocean?  Of course, there are no guarantees, but even if we stumble on the way, at least we’re moving forward.  Up and over.  Because we don’t have to stay on the top if it wasn’t what we were hoping for.  There’s always the other side, and other mountains.

What is the mountain waiting for you?

Beauty for ashes

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[Image credit: Danilo Rizzuti]

Just when the caterpillar thought the world
was over, it became a butterfly. ~ Proverb

My daughter knows how much I love butterflies.  Not necessarily the winged insect (although I think they are beautiful, delicate creatures), but rather what they mean to me in the bigger scheme of things: fortitude and new life.  This proverb is scrawled on the side of a mug I received for Mother’s Day, one of several hand-picked gifts for the special occasion.  It sits on my desk at work now, and each time I glance at it, I’m reminded that this new season of my life is actually filled with layers, not unlike a cocoon.  Currently, my health issues are one such layer.  But instead of getting stuck in this season, I realize that whatever is going on with my body is simply a necessary part of the growth process in order to thrive with wings intact — just like all of the other challenges life throws our way.  Sometimes it’s just growing pains, and other times it’s the real deal.  But the world is not over.  And as the lyrics of one popular song promise: I’m counting on beauty for ashes.

Are you a butterfly living in all its glory, or a caterpillar endeavoring to transform itself?

Cultivating the connection

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[Image credit: Idea go]

A good friend is a connection to life — a tie to the past, a road to the future,
the key to sanity in a totally insane world. ~ Lois Wyse

Just like a garden doesn’t grow without tender-loving care, a relationship wilts without proper attention such as kind deeds and the time necessary to nurture the connection.  And without the appropriate care, weeds like misunderstandings, thoughtless words, etc. can unravel the ties which bind us together.  Of course, there are those who are like thorns among the wild flowers and may not be worth the extra effort.  However, there are the rare few who are extensions of ourselves — the friend who finishes our sentences, reads us like a book, challenges us to be better human beings, loves us unconditionally and, in a sense, completes us (at the risk of sounding sappy).  These are the ones who undoubtedly keep me grounded, because whenever I feel a divide between us, I am a little bit lost, unbalanced, off-kilter.  But when we expose our hearts (it doesn’t matter who goes first), the friendship is enriched and bears much fruit.  Life is still insane.  But when the connection is thriving, all is right in my world.

Do you have a friendship that requires a little extra TLC today?