Happy Tales

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I love children’s books.  I love the way a simple, well written life lesson paired with a beautiful collection of illustrations can create such a sentimental piece of a child’s memory.  There are a few stories that we read as a family every night that have lighthearted, but fitting themes like “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney and “The Kiss Box” by Bonnie Verburg.  Both explain to the children that Mom and Dad may not always be right there in the room, but we are never far and either way our love stays with them.  I love the messages they impart and hope my daughters drink in and treasure both the messages the books share and the time spent together savoring them.  I am grateful that on most nights we cuddle up as a family and chant the words together because we have done this together so many times before.  Every night, no matter what has happened during that day, this makes me happy.

Since I have been on this journey toward finding more happiness in my life, I have come across one book that has stood out.  “That’s When I’m Happy” by Beth Shoshan presents a perfect amalgam of how I imagine my memories will be when I look back on the early years of raising my daughters.  It’s not only the words and how they make me feel, but the illustrations of the happy bear family with their content, peaceful grins that make my heart feel warm and serene.

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“There are some days when I’m very happy…

and there are some days

when I’m a little bit sad.

But now, on those days

when I’m a little bit sad…

I try to find my way back

to being happy.”

What a wonderful, true life lesson to impart on my girls.  And, what a sweet reminder for myself as I put my kids to bed after a long day.

“When it’s warm inside and my Mommy

and I run our fingers through the books…

And when we look at all the pictures…

And when she chooses

one special book for me

because it’s our favorite

better than all the others…

And then Mommy reads

the perfect story to me

and I can read some

of the words…

But mostly the ones

with the letters

from my name in them…

that’s when I’m happy!”

What an extraordinary thought to hold in a child’s mind as they drift off to sleep.  To hold a child’s attention while cradling her in your arms and sharing a few quiet moments…I’ll keep doing it for as long as they’ll let me.

Gratitude

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Thank you.  Thank you for reading my blog and making me feel like I have something important to say.  Thank you for letting me express myself in this way that I feel comfortable.  I feel grateful for being able to write this blog.  I feel grateful for the dexterity to move my fingers, to own a computer, and most of all to live in a peaceful place that allows me the time and quiet to share these thoughts.  I’m grateful to have family, friends, and colleagues all around me who inspire me everyday in so many different ways.

When you make an effort to live a life of gratitude, there is little time or space for negativity and judgement.  When you give up complaining and criticism you start to smile on the unbecoming.  Acknowledge that life is not perfect and you can learn from the ebb and flow of life and even begin to see unending possibilities for growth and change.

This past weekend I attended a conference for work to earn CEUs and learn about the new developments in my field.  It’s an exciting time to be an American Sign Language Interpreter as our profession has changed more in the last few years than the last few decades.  But, with change comes growing pains and unfortunately this particular conference had a very negative overtone and left many of the attendees frustrated.  I left feeling like there may not be much future for me in this field even though it has been the only career I have known.  I worked hard to become certified and licensed over the last 16 years and it seems a shame to throw in the towel.  But, it’s so easy to consider walking away when you feel such despondency.

So, as we drove 4 hours back home after leaving early, my traveling companion and I had plenty of time to process what we had just experienced.  Lucky for me, my friend is also on a journey of her own to find more happiness in her life similar to the way I have pledged my happy promise.  So, we talked and talked about how to turn this antagonistic groupthink into a learning opportunity.  We talked and talked as friends do, and in the end the farther away we drove, the easier it became to let it go.  I rolled it around in my mind long after I dropped her off and my overwhelming feeling was one of gratitude.  I’m thankful for having an opportunity to see my colleagues whom I don’t get to see very often, and I’m grateful to have had an opportunity to exercise my new awareness that I have worked hard to procure.  I spent the weekend being mindful of what I was experiencing and was able to practice conducting myself with gratitude.  A situation that would have once drained my spirit now allowed me to gain and thrive just because of a change in perception.

The details of the conference will fade in time, but what I will remember is the way this gathering made me feel.  I am grateful for the lesson and I am grateful for the unforeseen chance to stretch my newly evolved spirit.  I’m grateful to feel…..happy.

Change the Channel

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I accept personal responsibility.  I accept blame.  Even if I had been blindly guided into each decision that has led me to today, I still indict myself for every choice.  I’m not any worse off than my neighbor and I never got a bum deal.  It’s all perspective and it’s all in my head.  Taking an honest assessment of my strengths and making an effort to sort through my weaknesses keeps me in check.  If I am to find happiness, I need to be willing to give up on blame.  I need to stop giving away my power and take responsibility for my own life and my own choices.  The consequences give me wisdom to grow, change and learn from all that I experience.  The consequences are what help me survive and motivate me to stay my course on this journey.

So what am I supposed to do with all this disappointment?  Harboring disappointment will never lead to happiness.  I seem to feel disappointed when others fall short of my expectations, so again, it’s ultimately my responsibility to keep my expectations in line with reality.  And then there is regret.  I am accountable for my own choices and therefore must direct the blame inward when a personal choice does not meet a positive outcome.  The disappointment about the outcome itself should only be a lesson, not a source of stress.  My energy is better focused on finding healthy ways to avoid poor decision making by using more careful analysis.  Always thinking that the glass will remain half full no matter what happens is a fool’s fallacy.

Then again, when I have a win, I can feel fully empowered while I take my victory lap with my fists pumping and my smile wide.  Positivity is a skill to be mastered and must be attained with mindfulness.  The world doesn’t owe me any favors and I’m ok with that.  I take pride in working hard for what I achieve.  Fulfillment is like a warm shower after a long run…sometimes that’s the best part.

The running diatribe of others that I hear means that I’m listening to the wrong source.  It’s not my burden to bear, it’s my choice to change the channel.  Even static in between the stations is better than negativity.

Better yet….unplug.

Aside

Cleansing The Body, Cleansing The Soul

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I’m a terrible cook.  I have never felt comfortable with food or food preparation.  I have no creativity when it comes to meal planning and I’ve never been good about knowing what I should or shouldn’t put into my body.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I do know that chocolate chip cookies are not actually their own food group and I do NOT have to have one (or 3) everyday.  So, I’ve been in search of a good tool to get my act together in the eating department.  (Jenny Craig was just not the way to learn how to create healthy eating habits).  I’ve also been very curious about doing a cleanse for quite some time.  My frustration with feeling as if I’ve been wearing a fat suit since I gave birth to my two daughters mixed with my strong desire to create healthier eating patterns for myself and my family led me to start searching for something to fit the bill.

After seeing a few people in my life start to have life changing results with The Isagenix Cleanse System, I decided to give it a try. The more I learned and the more people I spoke to about their experience, I realized it was exactly what I was looking for and I made a commitment to the 9-day Deep Cleansing System.  Here I am at the other side of my first cleanse 9 pounds lighter and feeling fantastic!  I’ve been sleeping better and my mind feels more clear than it has for a long time.  Overall, I feel like a better version of myself with a better handle on what foods I should be eating and when.  It made me happier and isn’t that the goal here?  Yes!

Isagenix was designed as a transformation system to combat the toxins in our environment and improve body composition, but for me it has provided so much more.  On my quest to find my happy place I have pledged to make significant changes to the way I think, feel and respond.  Experiencing the Isagenix Cleanse and the maintenance that has come after has taught me several lessons about the way I live, the habits I would like to shed and new ones I would like to form.  By cleansing toxins and replacing them with vital nutrients, minerals, vitamins and enzymes, the body will release stored fat and begin the healing process.

Now that I have jumpstarted my body’s healing process, it’s clear that I have to focus more on my spirit and wellbeing.  There are several lessons to be learned from living this cleansing lifestyle that are just as important to evolving my spirit as the system has been for cleansing my body.  During this process, I’ve learned to give up attachments to food and long established habits and lived to tell about it.  I’ve learned that some things that feel impossible are entirely within reach.  My resistance to change was stubborn, but the knowledge I’ve gained and the feelings of empowerment over what I put into my body has well outweighed every feeling of anxiety I experienced about doing a cleanse.  It was worth it, and it worked.

Tending To My Garden

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Happiness is not a far off goal.  It is not a place over the rainbow that we will never quite reach.  Happiness is all around us, like a garden waiting to be tended right under our feet.  You won’t see it until you look for it, but the moment you rub your eyes and take a closer look, you’ll see the beautiful, fertile dirt surrounds you just waiting for you to get your hands dirty.  The more work you do for your garden, the more beauty you will reap.  Some will stand in awe of your garden and want to enjoy it with you.  Some will stand beyond it and criticize your dirty hands. Either way, this is your garden and together with the magic that mother earth provides us, you have conjured up perfection.  That perfection should be consumed and enjoyed….that perfection should make you happy.

Your body is like a garden.  When you plant a seed, or make a small change, you can’t expect to reap the benefits until you have also cared for and tended to your garden.  Your garden will not rest for toxic excuses made in an effort to procrastinate pruning.  Your garden will not produce life without careful, constant love and attention.  Your body is worth that same constant, careful love and attention.  Why do we only see the world around us and so often look past our own needs and well being?  Take a moment and look down at the gift you have been given to move you through this life.  Have you done all you can to be gentle and loving to your gift?

Are YOU ready to begin?

Talking To Myself

We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.                                 -Helen Keller

The more hard times we face, the stronger and more brave we will become?  Not necessarily.  When I experience happiness it makes me crave more happiness.  When I struggle through pain and endure hardship I lust after joy.  Either way, I long to settle into a pleasant existence.  Some people around me seem to settle into sadness like a cozy pair of slippers while others dig and dig for delight until they are exhausted.  The journey to Serenity is different for each person and the destination just as distinct.  It’s up to each of us to decide whether or not we want to be happy.  Maybe it takes more effort to be happy, but I see the endeavor as worthwhile.  The payoff is big and the lesson I pass on to my daughters is valuable.

There are several parts of my personality that I am dedicated to working on during this journey to find more happiness for myself.  Even the more difficult changes are worth tackling if I ever want to truly reap the benefits of this process and one of the most difficult things for me to overcome may be my negative self-talk.  I work hard at rolling a big boulder of positivity up a very steep hill only to hear a voice in my head shouting cynicism in an effort to slow my progress and make me drop the boulder and get crushed in it’s path back down the hill.  I’m tired of losing momentum because of the angry committee in my head that spews negativity.  It seems that maintaining my happiness may be as hard as maintaining the positive self talk.  If I let even one negative thought sneak in, it slows my momentum.  But this life presents us with adversity and it’s not always so easy to stay positive.

My hope for myself at this point is that my hunger for happiness will help drive my ability to learn how to quiet the negative self talk and let me turn the naysaying into affirmations!

It’s only nice to say SHUT UP to yourself.

myhappypromise

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