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?

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?

Image courtesy of VectorHuman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Where happiness + success intersect: overcoming the burden of expectations

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There’s something to be said about the correlation between loving what you do and doing what you love and vice versa. Similarly, theologian Albert Schweitzer once penned: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” And, recently, during an interview with WD magazine (March/April 2019), author Min Jin Lee talked about overcoming the burden of expectations. Which ultimately leads to joy. So how do we do this? In “Rekindle the excitement,” I pose the challenge to rediscover what makes us excited to jump out of bed each morning… by starting somewhere. Yet first we have to ask the question: If I removed expectation from the equation, including time and/or money, and if I could be or do that one thing I love doing, that brings me joy and spells success (in my book), what does it look like? And will I regret the not doing?

Are you doing what you love doing?

Photo source: pinterest.com.

When all the butterflies die: look forward to new growth

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While scrolling through Facebook recently, I stumbled upon this quote: “That feeling you get in your stomach when your heart’s broken. It’s like all the butterflies died.” I know a few things about broken hearts and dead butterflies. Hope deferred. Unmet expectations. Loss and emptiness. But during this new season, I am compelled, now more than ever, to make sense of my path. To reclaim that feeling of contentment I talk about in “Try it on for size…” To don happiness as a daily accessory. To welcome new growth. For far too long my attention has been fixated inward on my needs and wants and disappointments. And it’s time for me to look outward and focus on those around me.  To take a break from the distractions and agendas and whatever else thwarts, rather than advances, my purpose. Hopefully, in time, as I breathe and pray, I will discover what makes me tick and who I’m supposed to be.

How do you know you’re on the right path?

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?

 

(Re)writing your story: happily-ever-now

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If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.
~ Mo Willems

Everything we might’ve been taught says running away isn’t the solution. That we should look adversity in the face and show it we’re stronger. But what about when quitting means leaving a situation where we’ve tried over and over yet nothing changes? In her post, “You’re Allowed to Leave,” Rania Naim invites us to let toxic friends go, to surround ourselves with love—people who encourage and nurture us—and to pick the kind of energy we need in our lives. “You’re allowed to forgive yourself for your biggest and smallest mistakes and you’re allowed to be kind to yourself, you’re allowed to look in the mirror and actually like the person you see.” Leaving might not mean physically. Letting go could simply mean releasing ourselves from the expectations of others and those expectations we’ve adopted as our own. Don’t wait for Someday to be happy. Be happy now.

What does your happily-ever-now look like?

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The difference between happiness, joy

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happiness-vs-joy
Recently I heard an apt description of both happiness and joy. In a nutshell: happiness comes to us; joy is inside of us. It stands to reason, then, that happiness is created by external and oftentimes fleeting or fickle people, places and/or things. If we base our happiness on our spouse, job, car or health, and our relationship dies, we’re laid off, we total the car or get sick, it can be hard to put on a happy face (until the next whatever it is). Also, if everything external is temporary, then there must be something more that creates internal joy. For me and for many others, this source of joy is spiritual. For others, it’s a mindset to choose happy, while at the same time setting the intention that nothing or no one will steal their peace away. And, it doesn’t hurt to take the focus off ourselves, whenever possible, to invest in the lives of others (see ‘A rebirth of sorts…“).

Are you happy… or joyful?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. 

The Power of P

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the-power-of-p

If the number of visitors who read my recent post, ‘A simple(r) life…,’ is any indication of what much of society pursues, then this topic ranks up there with all things happiness-related. I believe that’s because a happy, simple life is a basic necessity many of us seek. However, we often get in our own way and make it complicated, instead. For example, if you’ve searched for happiness your entire life—in relationships, material goods, addictions, net worth—you’ve discovered it’s an illusion, a temporary fix. Why? Because true happiness manifests itself when we sow into others’ lives something of value, something that will last: our time. A simplicity known as kindness. It’s only then that we find fulfillment—contentment that arises from a humble heart. Good news: it’s an ongoing practice, not perfect. With that said, my pursuits for 2017 revolve around keeping it simple with the power of P: peace, patience, purpose and a more passionate prayer life.

What is your No. 1 goal for 2017?

Image courtesy of gubgib at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Borrowed time: when you run out of somedays

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Borrowed time

 

I need to press pause here, in the midst of my ramblings about the pursuit of happiness, my dreams, Someday. Trivial musings in light of world affairs. And Rob, the cashier at my local grocery store who I write about in ‘Slow down, listen more…’ and ‘How (not) to be miserable…’ The one diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. As I head out of the store recently, I stop at his register. My heart aches for this kind man, a smile on his lips even as he presses a tissue to his mouth, coughing and gasping for his next breath. The cancer has spread and the third round of chemo, he says, is kicking his butt. His jeans hang from barely there hips; his hugs are bones at best. Yet he lights up when he mentions his recent trip to California. And next month—for his birthday—he is traveling to Hawaii. We all live on borrowed time. Rob is simply living his somedays now.

What about you?

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Understanding the root of pride

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root of pride

Pride is concerned with who is right.
Humility is concerned with what is right.
~ Ezra T. Benson

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes, “For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” In my own quest for happiness, I discovered that self—once removed from the equation—makes room for joy. Both of today’s quotes, I think, revolve around self as the root of pride. Recently, I felt disconnected to a close friend and tried to share my feelings. Rather than attempt to understand my heart, however, this person blew off our relationship. My friend’s actions played out louder than words but, although the outcome saddens me, I believe that humbling myself will destroy any self-imposed stumbling blocks and release a bounty of blessings going forward. Doing the right thing is not always the easy thing, but the possibility of love, contentment and common sense is worth it.

What do you believe is the root of pride?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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