Living on The Brightest Side

Love yourself enough brightest side

I’ve been feeling a bit sick from the vertigo of transition. The forked snake tongue on the road ahead feels daunting as the deep dark forest just after dusk. The feelings of obligation overwhelm my waking hours and the guilt that I feel pushes down on my shoulders and keeps my pace like a snail.

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Change and transition is when the real magic of life happens. The varied opportunities that lie ahead excite me to my soul bone and I’m throwing myself down the path and feeling open to wherever it may lead. The solace I have gifted myself has made my own authentic voice more confident to speak up and be heard. I am grateful and hopeful for what is to come.

It’s all about how you look at it. Attitude is everything.

After a lifetime of negativity and toxic truths, I decided to take a leap of faith and start living on The Brightest Side. It took strength, confidence and self-love to let go of the personal dogma engrained so deep in my habitually chaotic brain. So, I sat with the questions instead of demanding the answers. I focused on solutions instead of problems. I reevaluated all the varied doctrine I had held tight for so long. The process of trying to empty myself of programmed mental and emotional responses and open up to new, authentic thought came from a place of pure self love. Pure self love comes from a realization that you really want to be happy and tend mindfully to yourself. The key to my happiness has been consistently letting go of expectations and outcomes and letting it all unravel one glorious moment at a time.

Letting things be what they are and not what I am expecting or hoping for has been a labor of love and worth every effort.

So, after 4+ years of writing this blog I am transitioning my effort and energy to living permanently on The Brightest Side where I will continue to write about my journey, but also write about how others can make their own promise to live life with positivity and kindness both to themselves and others.

I hope you will join me and together we can enjoy being at peace with our lives paths. 

Sending love to my dear Desiree who took the above photo of me during a weekend on the beach

Journey Into The Unknown

little girl path

Preparing for a journey into the unknown is not easy to do. What do you pack? What do you expect? Well, that’s the thing about the unknown, you just don’t know.

So, bring a positive attitude, dress comfortably and just start walking. This is your journey and these are your choices. Walk with a purpose and dream with intention. Venture into the unknown with the child-like anticipation that it will all turn out exactly the way it is supposed to.

Preparing for your journey…

What makes you happy? Bring that or do more of that.

Who do you love? Bring them or call them often.

What keeps you healthy? Do that more.

What calms you down? Bring some of that or keep doing that.

Who inspires you? Call them often or bring their book to read. 

What makes you feel bad? Stop doing that.

What stresses you out? Stop doing that.

What unhealthy habits do you have? Stop doing that.

It’s doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, it just has to be.

Don’t master the things you don’t enjoy and don’t neglect the things that you do.

Gratitude to hotblack on morguefile.com for the photo above of a little girl just beginning her amazing journey

The Art of Happiness

young love

A common lesson that keeps showing up for me on my journey is the idea of attachment vs. letting go. I believe Happiness is an art form and to enjoy it you must learn to cultivate your talent like an artist. Without this understanding people rest in a state of disconnection from true joy. When you plug into and internalize this idea you have learned what I believe is The Art of Happiness.

To learn any craft takes a healthy dose of discipline, the discipline to understand your own methods and patience to establish the most effective way for you to enjoy your art form. One thing that has not changed for me, not even for a minute, is my desire to change, evolve and succeed. I needed to learn The Art of Happiness to move forward. It is that urgency, commitment and discipline that have helped me internalize the lessons of attachment, one of the more challenging assignments for me personally.

Most of the suffering that I was experiencing, and that I see around me, is from people trying to control and shape every inch of their lives. There is never a moment to just accept and enjoy the moment as it is. Letting go is about understanding how the story you create and cling to is what is causing your pain, your fear, your stress. Clinging to something does not mean you keep it. It means your hands are occupied when what you really need is right in front of you. Learning to acknowledge attachment means you can begin to let go of what is not serving you.

A good way to absorb this lesson is by taking a look at the difference between attachment and love. Attachment is based in fear and dependency and focused on the self. Love without attachment is about giving to others and not asking anything in return. How much of your life is based in attachment and how much is based in love?

A wonderful example of this distinction is young love. Falling in love when you are young can be a stubborn, whimsical attachment to all you have learned love is supposed to be. Whether you have found your soul mate or are simply attached to an idea is hard to understand. Later, when you learn how love changes through time in every relationship around you, your tendency to attach and let go may change as well. With wisdom we can learn how to manage love, patience, cravings, desire, sadness, aversion, fear and all those human emotions that make us vulnerable. When you become brave enough to sit with your vulnerability and just experience life happening around you without attaching to it, you have truly let go. 

Feeling happiness is an art form, it takes time and desire to cultivate the skills needed to manage a happy life. Feeling true happiness means learning the difference between love and indulgence, appreciation and extravagance. When you let go of overindulgence and embrace gratitude for what is, you let go of suffering. One of the hardest things to do is let go of something you really want, but that’s the only way to truly hold on to it.

“Stress is an alarm clock that let’s you know you’re attached to something that’s not true for you. A thought is harmless until we believe it. It’s not our thoughts but our attachment to our thoughts that causes suffering.” -Byron Katie

“Sometimes we are so attached to our way of life that we turn down a wonderful opportunity simply because we don’t know what to do with it.” -Paulo Coelho

“You only lose what you cling to” -Buddha

photo courtesy of kakisky on morguefile.com

Great Expectations

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Sometimes I see other people having nice, sweet relationships and I think that’s what I should have too. But you can’t always get what you want. Truth be told, several of my most cherished relationships have been tested lately. It has taken a lot of energy to process how I feel about all this. I feel shocked. I’ve experienced some disappointment. But, I also feel empowered. When the supports that you count on, or thought you could depend on, start to fall away one by one, you begin to realize that you can exist despite it all. No matter what my relationships were supposed to afford me (purely by society’s definition of their role) they never cease to surprise me.

People will basically tell you just about anything to serve their own needs if it means enough to them. What I don’t understand is how people can treat the ones closest to them with blatant disregard. I believe every person, no matter who they are, will ultimately do things solely to serve themselves. As I carry on further down this path, I hope to keep becoming the kind of person who can see beyond that type of self serving behavior and honor myself, as well as those who mean the most to me, by making a valiant effort to think of others as well as myself. If I want to be treated with loving kindness then that is what I need to be giving others. Sometimes when others are not showing you kindness is when they need to be receiving it most. I need to consider other’s feelings as much as my own, even if others are not doing the same. I am willing to love the bad as well as the good from those I care about. I am willing to consider how my actions and words will affect the ones I love, but not everyone is strong enough to do that.

I feel like expectations have been the worst things I could have. “Expectation is the root of all heartache” – William Shakespeare  As I reflect on my experiences over the last few months, it is my own expectations that have let me down, not the people around me. In the end, it is me who has complete control over how I feel and ultimately how I let things affect me. It will serve me best to simply love what is, not fight against it. I can’t make someone feel differently about me and I can’t force anyone to feel obligated to show me kindness.

And so, I continue down this road, learning more and more about myself, my relationships and ultimately what I want and don’t want for myself. I am in complete control of my own happiness.

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time”  -Maya Angelou  

photo courtesy of hotblack on morgue file.com

The Empowering Journey From Never Enough To Perfectly Imperfect

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At so many times during my first 40 years I’ve wasted energy feeling like no matter what I was doing, it was just never enough. We are all human, we crave connection and validation so we often fall into traps of guilt or obligation to satisfy what others need from us. At your core, no matter how much confidence, ability and talent you possess, you have the desire to be loved and feel safe and accepted and will often go against instinct to achieve it. Maybe that’s human nature. But, action should come from a place of love, not a place of obligation. We are all born with potential that we may not recognize initially. It’s time for me to turn off this tap that spews energy in the wrong direction. It’s time to stop pouring myself into the expectations of others and begin to cultivate that energy and direct it inward to myself.

Why do we struggle? We look around to see how others are perceiving us and what they are demanding from us, when at the end of it all, it was only us who created our own story. The minute you stop paddling so vigorously against the current and let go, it will all flow. “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are” – Chinese Proverb

The only constant, the only thing we all have every moment of our lives is breath. Breathing in and out is a universal constant if you want to sustain life. Another universal constant is change. One day, the breathing will stop and your story will be over.  Before you get there, change will happen over and over and you will be there to see it all. You are not now the same person you were when you woke up this morning nor will you be this person when you wake up tomorrow. That is life. That is living. Why would you waste a single breath, in or out, taking in or giving away energy that doesn’t align with your true life intention? Do what creates what you believe to be the greatest version of yourself, not what others think will bring you to such ends. Breathe every breath.

Are you becoming who you are meant to be? Or are you letting yourself become what other people need you to be? Can you let go of the negative path to perfection, and start to accept and relish the perfectly imperfect life that is yours to enjoy? “If this is what you are doing with the negative, imagine what you could do with the positive” – Maya Angelou

When you embrace the idea that you will never be perfect, and accept that you will be the perfect version of you, life will begin to flow. Pour your energy into yourself and who you want to become. “Strive for progress, not perfection” – Unknown  And, when you have learned all that you can and grown as much as possible from someone or somewhere, it’s time to move on to your life’s next master class. There is so much left to learn, so many mistakes to learn from.

“I want to be all used up when I die” – George Bernard Shaw

Be who you are.

I am again grateful for my friend Shannon and her pretty toes showing us how to truly let it flow

YES

I have another new word to embrace this year. YES! I would like to say YES to more coveted benevolence this year and hold a more positive vibe longer and stronger than I have in the past. Maintaining an upswing of positive intention should be just as easy as resting on a low hum in the more challenging times. In the past, I have resonated in a more negative space, but this promising path I am on is leading me toward more positive things and that takes enduring, steady effort to maintain. I aim to make the effort feel lighter and let the goodness flow around me and through me. Perseverance is well worth the reward and I plan to keep it going.

The word yes has yielded other goodness in the past. The story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono all began with the word yes. Their story is about a young artist named Yoko who had one John Lennon visit her art exhibit in New York City. The exhibit asked observers to climb a ladder and read a word mounted on the ceiling. Only when you ascended the ladder could you make out the word. I imagine John climbing that ladder, seeing the word YES and becoming inspired by this being the peace-loving creature that he was. He met the artist of the installation and the rest is history.

ono_ladder

A simple climb representing so much. The trip down the ladder must have been very different than the trip up because you climbed back down with a stunning affirmation in your head. Such a meaningful and inspired work, I can understand why it intrigued John all those years ago.

And the word yes set off a love affair for the ages. Misunderstood by many but cherished by many as well, they were a creative force that significantly impacted our culture. I wonder if they would have had the same result if the word had been negative. Most likely not.

John was an artist himself. He had a beautiful childish whimsy feel to his work. I love his art and hope to one day own a piece of it, but for now I will adore pieces like this from afar….

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Love is an astounding phenomenon that intrigues and inspires us all in so many ways. It’s beautiful to think of a love affair beginning on such a positive stride. I want to emulate that beauty and positivity in my own life and find that kind of love within myself.

“We need to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” – John Lennon

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I always have been and always will be inspired by these two creative, fascinating lovers. I hope to create that kind of tenderness within my own being. I believe they had such a fondness for each other because they had a deep devotion to themselves individually. Enchanting rapture may only exist in fairy tales, but I believe I can create a marveling wonderment within myself if I stay positive and continue to appreciate a loving and steady resolve that I know I am capable of manifesting.

above photos via bing.com

New year, New word

champagne

ABUNDANCE!! I proclaim 2015 to be the year of abundance. Abundant energy, love, strength, power, change, and belief! I love a fresh start, it gives you the opportunity to do better, and we can always do better. Each day gives us the chance to begin again, but a new day at the start of a new year gives us the opportunity to completely refresh our agendas and recommit on a new level.

Who’s with me? Let’s create and attract epic abundance! What can you do to begin this new year on an optimistic upswing with a sustainable rising surge of goodness? What are the real, reachable goals you can set for yourself? Name it, make a plan and go for it. Don’t just hope for good change and cross your fingers, map out a strategy to get there, and then get moving!

I have recently committed to getting my certification to be a yoga instructor. Mid-January I will begin an intense 5 month course and by June I will be certified to teach others how to incorporate a practice of yoga into their life. To me, yoga is a progressive and peaceful way to focus on a combined healthy mind and heathy body. As my body begins to change and reform through a committed and dedicated yoga practice, I envision my mind and spirit growing stronger as well.

This commitment for me marks the beginning of more changes in an effort to continue on this path of momentum, strength and growth. I live courageously for myself. I have defined reasons why. Momentum demands action and brings progress. I have goals and I have a plan to achieve those goals, but I also have a mind open to what these new actions will bring. I move forward feeling brave and ready. I crave radical achievement and I am worthy of the goodness I feel it will bring into my life.

I intend on bringing in abundance. I imagine myself bringing in great bounty and satisfaction. I envision copious amounts of progressive triumph.

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it”. – Amelia Earhart

“What if I fail? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” EH

Project the path you are on right now in front of you and imagine where it is leading. If that path is not in alignment with what you want and need then what do you need to do to make change? Shift your focus from trying to find yourself to actively creating yourself. Create abundance, actualize progress, manifest joy.

Happy abundant new year to you all!

above photo courtesy of ManicMorFF on morgue file.com

Life Should Be Wonderful

Believe Rock

Life should be wonderful. That’s what I want to say.

Because people have such an amazing capacity for happiness and because it feels so much better in my body than pain, I believe we are meant to experience and dwell in happiness. Happiness feels better than sadness. Happiness is healthier than sadness.

We come in and go out of this world alone, but in between…. In between we get to make choices and design a life. Some get it right on the first try and others have to shape and mold and learn and grow to build a life that they can love.

This is your universe. It created you, now you create it. You are not a visitor here, you are from this earth… body, mind and spirit. If you work with it, and within it’s laws, you can manifest the life and the feelings that you crave. Visualize your universe shifting and molding into what you want.

Manifestation is a strong and capable beast. If you are living a life that doesn’t suit you, the first thing you need to change is your mind. Release the details of how that change will become your new reality and just believe in your real, genuine heart that you can change your situation. Your mind takes the first steps and your body follows. Throw yourself down a path toward happiness, your feet will catch up.

Energy goes where the attention flows.

You can’t change the world, but you can find joy and be at peace with the world you have created for yourself. If you don’t feel at peace in the place you’ve created then it’s your soul’s obligation to visualize and bring in the change needed to become at peace with your life’s path. It’s that simple. Start seeing the happiness that you want as your quest.

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way you are right” -Henry Ford

Feel in your body where you experience stress, pain and sadness. Now clear that slate and recognize where you feel joy, hope and love. Note your results and move forward toward the one that makes you feel more empowered and happy. Feel your body, relax your mind and guide your thoughts toward the things that make you smile. Doing that will change your life for the better, so keep doing it.

I could say that I have a dream to be happy, because I do, but more than that I have a plan.

Here’s my plan:

  1. Keep remembering that life is wonderful and I deserve to be happy.
  2. Visualize a blissful situation where I am happy that I would like to manifest.
  3. Do those again. And again. And again.

And in between I will keep living, keep loving and keep finding ways to bring in more happiness, because life should be wonderful.

photo above courtesy of Scarletina on morgue file.com

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.

Inquire Within

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I woke up feeling reflective and distracted this morning, so I took a ride over to my favorite spot down by the lake.  I used to go down there when I was a kid.  From the minute I got my driver’s license, I would hop in my car and head straight to my spot.  I used to bring my lunch down there during high school.  So for 24 years, this spot has been my quick escape right in my own “backyard”.  I have many treasured memories sitting with close friends at this spot catching up, reflecting, or just sitting and enjoying the view.

So what was on my mind this morning?  Why was I so distracted?  Love.

Over the 24 years I’ve been going to that spot by the lake, love has meant different things to me.  I’ve gone down there to think about friends, boyfriends, and even family but now I just went down there to think about love.  Just love in general.  I thought about the many kinds of love I have experienced since I started visiting the beach.  At first, there was my first love… mmmmm …. and the love of friends getting to know what life is all about.  Later, I learned about the love between a mother and child from both sides, the love of a husband and wife, the love between two girl friends as a kid and as an adult, and the love between myself and other moms as we enjoy this wild ride together just to name a few.  And, over the last few years, I’ve gotten far more familiar with my own love for myself.  And now, I realize that my sensitivity to my own ideas about love is really the only kind of love that actually exists.  As Byron Katie tells us, the important thing is “loving what is”.  The rest is what we believe is conjured up by others and sent our way.  We interpret that “love” and create a story around it.

The only thing with more optimistic power than love is the idea of “tomorrow”, the idea of what is to come.  To feel genuine love for another and feel the promise of that love being there tomorrow is no less than magnificent.  What I understand now is that my love for myself will be there tomorrow, and always.  It is a striking reason to continue this journey of finding more ways to fall deeper in love with myself.  It also inspires me to find ways to feel confident in my love of my friends and loved ones and their love for me.  “Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.”  -Byron Katie

My heartfelt wish for myself and for everyone is to feel and experience non-judgmental, unconditional, mind blowing love in every way possible in your life.  Whether it be from your dog, your lover or your mother, breathe in all the love in your life and breathe out delight.  Just be sure you continue to inquire within for the love of yourself.  Every bit of love that you experience is the result of how you perceive love, no one can give you love, you simply feel what is in your own heart.  “Peace doesn’t require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there.” -Byron Katie

“Love” is one of my favorite songs by John Lennon, but the only line in the song that really needs to be sung is the last one.

“Love”

Love is real, real is love

Love is feeling, feeling love

Love is wanting to be loved

Love is touch, touch is love

Love is reaching, reaching love

Love is asking to be loved

Love is you

You and me

Love is knowing

we can be

Love is free, free is love

Love is living, living love

Love is needed to be loved

-John Lennon

photo above was taken at Park Ave Beach

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