Breaking News

television

I never watch the news. The news is sad and scary and someone else’s inflated, alarming opinion of what is happening in the world. Since I was a kid I had wished for a HAPPY news report instead of the horrible, depressing broadcast that my father watched every night at 10pm, but unfortunately there was no such show airing. Why did everyone want to know every detail of the heartache and tragedy happening around us?  Why do we like to work each other into a frenzy of “poor them” and “what-if”? I care about what is happening in my community and I am concerned with the state of the nation, but I don’t like being bombarded with daily doses of overblown breakdowns of the worst misfortune media could hunt down before their deadline. I also can’t stand scary movies or anything that has Zombies. I’ve spent more than a few nights awake and terrified with horrible Hollywood images in my head and it doesn’t serve me.

I know there is pain and sickness all around me, and I know danger lurks everywhere and I need to be careful and warned.  I just enjoy thinking about goodness and beauty more. I enjoy hearing stories about other people’s success and triumph!  Even small victories and menial tenderness holds my attention better than bad fortune and struggle. I want to feel brave and free, not scared and confined.

Before I made my happy promise, I was an avid watcher of murder mysteries and cop shows. I loved a good whodunnit and would study the facts and try to solve the mystery. They fascinated me. At the same time, I was experiencing horrible nightmares and bouts of fear. I realized these shows, although mostly fictional, were having a deeper impact than I knew. This terror and uneasiness consumed my thoughts and the cycle had to end. I created scenarios in my head, every situation had a foreboding tone and a bad possible ending. But, when I took a step back and manifested my goal to be happy and feel more at peace, I started to feel change happening. One of those changes included watching far less television. I needed to get other people’s thoughts and images out of my head and start designing my own. I needed to give others less control over my mind space.

When I started filing my time with rethinking my situation, writing my blog, and collecting research from reliable, intelligent sources, I started to feel less fearful. I started to feel more empowered and my momentum fired up and propelled me forward. I felt brave! I noticed my dreams were getting better and my anxious moments were disappearing. I stopped letting others fill my head with scary images and nonsense. I became far more interested in things based in reality and my new perception of what mattered.

Looking back over the last few years since I’ve experienced major shifts in my mind, body and spirit, I feel proud, peaceful and strong. Change takes time and conquering any blockage is demanding. The people around you that truly want to see you happy will step aside and let you hunt down and conquer that happiness by whatever means necessary. Chase your bliss and be suspicious of anyone who tries to keep you from it. If you feel like shifting some basic habits can have major positive ripple effects in all areas of your life, then trust that instinct no matter what others think or say. Believe me, I used to have to justify not watching the news or scary television or movies, but now I just don’t even engage in conversation about it. I changed a simple behavior, enjoy feeling the benefits and refuse to apologize for that. I still manage to know what is happening in the world. I am aware of issues that exist in our society and I manage to form my own thoughts about how they make me feel. I no longer watch the news or any late night cop shows (or zombie movies) and I’m managing just fine.

Habits can be shifted and the results can be sweet.

photo courtesy of pablogv2004 on morgue file.com

The Unlearning

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Life often feels like a series of repeating patterns that move us along on a conveyor belt. We keep duplicating these echoes until the act is so familiar that it becomes mindless. Our days may feel as though they are made up of a series of many menial, mindless, apathetic actions. The repetition is not the cause for my concern, it’s the mindlessness that worries me. We are proficient learners of things that we believe serve us, and we create intentional roadblocks in front of the things we fear. We settle into habit and become the hamster on the wheel either oblivious of the stagnation or frozen in fear of the unknown.  What if the unknown is better? What if the unknown is amazing…

Is this cycle of repetition ok with you? Are you doing what you love? Are you loving what you do? This includes the way you begin and end your day, the way you interact with people, and even the basic structure of your life. Have you taken a step back from this routine to consider whether it’s learned, reproduced behavior being repeated out of ingrained habit, or is it how you truly want to move through your day?  Could you unlearn this structure and pattern to create more happiness and peace?

Even more important is the perspective you hold on these repetitive actions.  Attitude can turn resentment into gratitude. Point of view can change your perception. Unlearning an automatic response can open possibilities of finding joy in something that has felt like a long time chore.

When I made my happy promise, I began to see the small stuff as integral instead of menial, mindless tasks. When I went from feeling heavy obligation to finding bits of joy throughout my day, I found far more than a happy thought, I found more peaceful moments. I began the process of my unlearning.

There are still plenty of ways that I contribute to my own struggle, my hope is to begin shining a light on those blocks I have put up for myself and begin to unlearn my methods that are not serving me. When I come up against something that causes me frustration or pain, it serves me better to stop and consider the real reason behind that root feeling. If I can extract that cause I may be able to examine, process and unlearn the behavior. I can learn to reprogram.

Unlearning is not just about reconsidering and changing, it’s about completely abandoning a behavior. I need to stop planning what I want to learn and leave space to just be open to what comes my way.  I have to be willing to be empty in order to fill myself up with goodness. I realize now that ‘letting go’ is not enough, I have to completely unlearn what I know. I often focus on my ability to let go and get to a calm place, but finding happiness is about releasing the instigating act before it takes hold of me. I want to be able to unclench before a thought or feeling infiltrates my peaceful space. Mindfully examining what part of me responds negatively helps me detach from those feelings.  I believe unlearning is the true method that leads to a peaceful mind.

A peaceful mind creates a peaceful world to live in.

We are all born with the capacity to feel love, happiness and peace and the ability to learn and change. Our natural skill to learn comes from the same place within ourselves where we pull the unlearning. Unlearn what no longer serves you and be open to what could possibly fill the wonderfully empty space.

above photo from MichelleBulgaria on morgue file.com

Playing the Day Away

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No matter how I’m feeling, there is always a piece of music to fit my mood. I feel very connected to music, it can calm me, excite me, or soothe me depending on what I need in the moment. I love to make my own music, but I haven’t done that consistently for a long time.

I inherited my Grandmother’s piano eight years ago and it’s been sitting quiet most of the time since then. It was the piano I learned on as a little girl and I’m happy to have it in my life. There have been days that I sit down and play all of my familiar tunes or a visiting friend tickles the ivories for a bit, but for the most part it remains a showpiece in my living room.

My daughters enjoy playing our piano too. I’ve started teaching them the basics and I hear them crafting their own tunes quite often. Piano lessons are imminent. I would love for my girls to connect to music the way I do.  Music is revitalizing and inspirational and can be a beautifully supportive tool.

As the seasons start to change, I see an opportunity to recharge, refresh and revitalize! I am reaffirming my commitment to kindness and self-care. I have to be healthy, strong and happy to make sure my kids are as well. And, I see the chance to make a new, exciting pledge to get back to making music, so I picked a new song and sat down in front of the piano and began to play. I’m planning to put more piano into my life as a way to soothe myself and be a good model for my girls. While they watch me learn a new song by reading the music and practicing, I’m hoping they will be attracted to the process. This time I chose a song that I can sing and play at the same time and I feel like that act will be a nice way to unwind and relax myself and the girls. Hopefully I can build a nice, new repertoire.

Finding happiness isn’t always about discovering something new, sometimes it’s about rediscovering what you already knew you had.

photo is of my Grandmother’s piano in my living room

A Quest To Discover

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A strong identity emerges not only from conscious contemplation of your life’s purpose, but also from successfully resolving the developmental challenges that characterize your formative years. Identity may emerge in it’s own time. It may show itself to you while you’re busy following your heart, creating opportunities to enjoy life and manifesting positivity.

So how do you begin the process of understanding who you are and what will ultimately make you happy? Celebrate what you do know about who you are and who you want to become while excavating deeper to discover more that you may not understand yet.

If you are strong enough to be asking these questions, then chances are you have developed a deep rooted belief that you are worth this time and effort. For that, I applaud you. Go easy on yourself as you learn, absorb each discovery and be ready to accept what you find. Use your findings to spring forward and be open to the beautiful things possible when you continue to grow.

The meaning of life is to live. Finding your identity means you can live it in a way that allows your soul to align with every moment. Defining your identity successfully means feeling complete. Feeling complete means strength of character and spirit.

The person who I have been in recent years is having a tough time being completely happy. I’ve learned a lot about what was making me unhappy and I seem to enjoy more peaceful moments these days. I’ve explored my spiritual existence and I’ve learned to meditate. I enjoy journaling and I have a better idea of what kind of mother I want to be. These are all big wins.  But I still feel slammed against a glass ceiling and trapped inside an identity that feels tight and restrictive. Maybe I’ve been focusing and working on the wrong parts.  Maybe it’s my worn out, misfitting identity that needs adjusting. I’ve moved forward, learned lessons and felt significant growth, but I haven’t redefined myself. I haven’t considered how all of this will inevitably change my identity.

Who am I anyway?

I am what I do.

I am who I love.

I am what I think.

I’ve slowly changed a lot about what I do and how I spend my time so maybe I’m growing out of my identity and should be shopping for a shiny new one. If I redefine who I am, some of these changes and all of this hard work may settle better into place. If conquering an identity crisis is difficult for you, remember that you are possibly doing work that involves resolving deep prior issues of trust, confidence and self-sufficiency. Go easy on yourself and be kind during this consuming process.

For some, the idea of having an identity crisis will denote negativity simply because it’s called an identity CRISIS.  However, I think the quest to uncover who you truly are in an effort to align your body, mind and spirit is a noble task and should be commended.

Plateau Busting Purple and Orange Clouds

sunset greyerbaby

I love sunsets.  I love that time of day when the energy and hurried rush of the day begin to calm, the sun drops down in the sky and light begins to fade.  It’s that nightly curtain call that gives me time to take a breath and delight in the majestic splendor of the sky as it changes colors and dims.  This is my favorite time of day to be outside.  I love being able to sit quietly as the sun sets and let my mind wander as I revel in it’s beauty and let go for a while.  I like to slip into my thoughts and recommit to being kind to myself.  I enjoy listening to music, sitting in deep thought and letting the light disappear around me.

It’s been a while since I sat and enjoyed this time of day the way I like to.  Last night, I happen to be outside at twilight and I realized how long it had been since I took a moment to enjoy this opportunity, reflect and slow down.  So I did.

As I looked at the sky of purple and orange clouds, I realized that I have slowed down on my journey, even hit a plateau.  I longed to feel lifted and inspired.  I started to think about what this could mean for me and why I may be feeling this way.  There could be a lesson here for me.  A spiritual plateau is a place to rest.  Or, it may be a test.  It can be a time to stabilize, absorb, collect, receive and integrate all that I have learned.

I’m hoping to catch my breath and push farther for greater growth after this rest. But rest is also important.  I want to keep growing, use the tools and be in the moment. Resting doesn’t have to mean slipping backwards, it presents a chance to practice what we have cultivated.

Feeling a spiritual plateau can present a great opportunity to take a look around.  Maybe you are coming up against something you have dealt with before and have never been able to push through.  Are you feeling stagnant against familiar road blocks?  Maybe now you have more power to break them down. The journey continues, so break them down or move them aside this time.  See the opportunity and push forward, don’t let it pull you under. Your hardest challenges present your biggest opportunities for growth.

And then I started to imagine myself on the other side of this plateau.  Where am I going and what is next for me?  I started to feel a bit of inspiration and anticipation… could just recognizing the plateau be enough to move past it?

Today I played tennis for the first time in a few weeks.  I’ve been taking lessons for a year now and today was the first day of the new session.  It was good to feel my strong legs under me after not playing for a while.  Last year when I started to learn the game I felt nervous and clumsy, but today I felt strong and ready to play.  At the end of last session I was feeling frustrated, like I had hit a plateau.  So, as I started to volley, I recalled my thoughts from the night before about how I was feeling spiritually stagnant.  I started to realize the parallel between my physical game and my mental game.  So I took a moment to visualize myself playing well and set an intention to use thoughtful and mindful swings and volleys.  I took my time and followed through each shot.  The lessons I had learned over the past year all seemed to click and flow and I played the best tennis of my life.  I’m still a beginner, but I felt a confidence today that I haven’t felt since I started playing.

I broke right through my plateau.

So I’m riding the wave after my tennis lesson today, it was a nice little boost for me.  I needed that.  And now I’m feeling more open to receiving what is next for me on my journey.  It’s up to us to see the possibilities available and only you can create opportunities to see things in a plateau busting way.  When you feel stuck or stale, like you need some inspiration, just look around and see it… it’s all around you waiting to be discovered.

Every evening gives you an opportunity to reflect.  Every day is a new chance to renew a promise or redefine your path.  And, every morning is a gift.  Tear off the wrapping and get excited to see what’s in store!  How would your life be different if you started each day as if it was going to be nothing short of amazing?!

myhappypromise

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