The end: starting over in 2021

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During this past year, I’ve brainstormed a lot: potential stories to explore with my writing, how I envision my future self, my goals in five, 10+ years, etc. Which has prompted me to take a deep dive at how I’ll use my time going forward into the new year. And when so much in our daily lives is out of our control, I can rest in the knowledge I’m free to choose how I’ll spend that time. One thing I’m excited about includes beginning 2021—and each consecutive day—traveling through the “Bucket List Journey by Annette.” On her website, Annette introduces readers to 365 days of soul-searching tools and inspirational activities to start living out our own bucket lists. While each of us possess a litany of commitments, we also get to choose possibilities. So, as humanity awaits the traditional ball drop at midnight on Dec. 31—preparing for a better year ahead—I invite you to do the same.

How will you start over in 2021?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The time is now: maybe that simply means trying something new

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Have you been repeating the same thing, over and over, yet never experience different results? Like trying to lose weight or breaking a habit or attempting to follow your dreams? I’ve often wished I could order a “one-size-fits-all” book spelling everything out in black and white: “How to XYZ in 6 Easy Steps.” I can imagine a book like that would remain on indefinite backorder. Or maybe it’s a faulty mindset you engage in battle with, continually entertaining thoughts like: “I’m always late, so why try getting there on time?” Or, “I never finish anything I start, so why should I join that book discussion or take that class or [fill-in-the-blank]?” Oftentimes, we even blame others for why we’re “stuck” and life continues to look the same. If you relate, then I’ve got big news. Revolutionary, in fact. It’s your fault. Because it’s all about choice. If you’re ready to try something new, read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.

In what area are you stuck in life?

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How to make a happy life: think differently

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You do not find the happy life. You make it.
~ Camilla Kimball

During a recent yoga class, the instructor weaved her special blend of wisdom throughout the 90-minute lesson. One particular “ism” continued to resonate with me long after I’d packed my bag and headed home. Although not verbatim, it reads something like this: Happiness is not the destination; it’s an attitude you choose to bring with you on the journey. What I love about this can also be understood from Kimball’s quote at the beginning of this post. Another popular saying speaks of happiness as the journey, itself. Yet what about journeys fraught with illness or death, poverty or disaster or [fill in the blank]? Oftentimes those people swimming in a bevy of unfortunate circumstances still seem to radiate happiness. Because happiness is not a treasure to be found but, rather, a gift we already possess as a choice. And it’s all about choosing to think differently. I choose happy.

What choice do you make today?

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Always in style: Happiness looks good on you

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After a recent acupuncture and cosmetic facial rejuvenation session, my practitioner regarded me and said, “Happiness looks good on you.” It didn’t matter that I wore my grungiest romper or that my messy bun hung askew, or that my mascara had long since washed away by the time my appointment rolled around. Nor did it hinge on my bi-monthly facial treatments (although if you ask me about my healthy glow, I’m happy to hook you up). The happiness she referred to—the byproduct of a grateful heart—is a mindful choice that I slip into daily as part of my morning ritual (usually as I savor my first cup of freshly brewed magic). At times, however, the sparkle dims: I might be tired, frustrated or cranky. But once I accept that happiness is not grounded on the external, I empower my inner beauty to radiate outward. Happiness is that one-size-fits-all, must-have accessory that never goes out of style and looks good year-round.

How does happiness look on you?

 

Leave it to chance: when the choice is no longer ours to make

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Since I began blogging in 2010, of all the topics I’ve covered in my posts, the vast majority revolve around a common theme: choice. Obviously, there are circumstances beyond our control—our best friend moves away, our spouse severs ties, we lose our job or we become ill. But, we still have a choice (see “It starts with a choice”): how we react to XYZ. If someone insists they don’t have a choice, then what they really mean is they lack determination, resolve, backbone. Free will. Bottom line: Even when we choose not to make a choice, it’s still a choice. When I went back to school as a non-traditional student to pursue my bachelor’s degree, I chose to embark on a new career path. Nearly a decade later, I feel, at times, that my age is a stumbling block to future growth, change. Yet the biggest obstacle is that one day the choice will no longer be mine to make.

What choice do you leave to chance?

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Acceptance is a choice

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Acceptance

Do you ever find yourself wrestling with a situation, feeling unsettled, heavy in your heart, at odds with yourself and/or the world around you? In reflecting on my post, ‘Four ways to flush out frustration,’ I keep returning to the first way we can absolve ourselves from irritations and disappointments: acceptance. By accepting our reality rather than pretending it doesn’t exist, we make a choice— because we are either choosing a) to live with a particular situation or b) to change ourselves into more of what we seek. Making a choice, for some of us, affords a semblance of control in our lives that might otherwise seem lacking. Yet, when it comes right down to it, each of us entertains a choice every day. We can either allow others and various circumstances to pull us down, or we can choose to rise above. For me, this might comprise sweat, tears, prayers and/or all of the above. Today I choose to be love.

What choice do you make today?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When life isn’t perfect

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I think I can

Whether you think you can,
or you think you can’t,
you’re right. ~ Henry Ford

My life isn’t perfect. Surprise! However, when I publicize on social media or speak to others, I attempt to post or express words of affirmation and encouragement. Because a positive, can-do attitude is one that builds up, rather than tears down. Especially when life isn’t perfect. This doesn’t suggest I’m less than genuine or true to myself, but it can sometimes be misleading. Yet I choose to speak life in a society that is consumed with hate and greed. After all, if we attract what we focus on, it makes sense to choose the good things. And that’s just it: it begins with a choice. Not only that, it’s easier to win over the people around us with a smile or kind word than with a complaint or angry look. Plus—even if it’s not a good day, there’s always something good in every day.

What kind of life do you portray to others?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Setting an intention for 2016

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2016

When I recall setting my intention for 2015, it’s amazing to me that nearly 365 days have passed. At the beginning of the year, I conceived one main goal: finding balance. Although it’s been a tumultuous, oftentimes heart-wrenching roller coaster ride, amidst the jarring twists and turns and predictable steady climb (prior to my plunge into a new decade), I experienced a rebirth of sorts). A few other aha moments include:

  1. It’s OK to not have the last word. It’s more important to know your heart is in the right place.
  2. When you humble yourself and give preference to others, you don’t lose the good parts of you in the process. But you do lose your selfishness, arrogance and inflated ego. And you gain authentic happiness.
  3. Love is not a feeling, it is a choice. Every day. So is forgiveness.

My intention for the New Year is to simplify—by going with the flow more and obsessing less.

What intention(s) have you set for 2016?

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The pursuit of happiness

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The pursuit of happiness

[Image credit: khunaspix]

When I review many of the blogs I’ve written, I see the topic of happiness come up a lot — the pursuit of and the desire for.  Conducting a cyber search reveals more of the same.  Thankfully, I’ve discovered those things in my life which bring me joy in small doses.  But what about a life filled with minute-by-minute happiness?  And what does being happy truly mean?  For me, the definition is subjective.  What makes one person happy may do nothing for the next person.  Some say it’s a deliberate choice, while others base their happiness on their circumstances.  I’m learning that a life of pure happiness means living transparently rather than simply surviving.  And that this only happens by moving forward in all my good, bad and ugly, grateful for the precious few traveling with me — the ones who accept my flaws and celebrate my strengths along the way.  Because the more I can be myself, the closer I become to minute-by-minute happiness.

What’s your definition of happiness?

Waiting for better days

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Hands tied

[Image credit: Danilo Rizzuti]

As you wait for better days, don’t forget to enjoy today,
in case they’ve already started. ~ Robert Brault

Sometimes, in life, we feel our hands are tied pertaining to certain things — like staying at a job that’s lost its appeal or sacrificing one thing for the good of another.  But I believe, most often, we really do have a choice and we’re simply unwilling to change the status quo.  So if we choose to wait for better days, we must make the decision to be happy where we’re at.  Or be miserable and perhaps miss out on the best thing that may ever happen to us.  Yesterday during the first savasana in Yoga, the teacher instructed the students to mentally validate ourselves with a mantra of sorts to come back to.  Mine was: “I am strong, I am healthy, I am happy.”  Because that is what I choose to be today … while I wait.

How do you remember to enjoy today while waiting for better days?

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