Tuesday, February 20, 2018

That Illusive Thing Called Happiness

Where can we find that illusive thing called happiness? Is it at the end of the rainbow or in the glass slipper? Can it be found on a beautiful tropical isle or with a never-ending bank account? What brings you happiness?

Here are some ideas.

Look inside. Can you reframe your situation more positively?

A bitter cold winter day
Find beauty in the winter wonderland.
Feel the warmth of the hearth as you step indoors out of the cold.
Experience the magic of a white world.

Search your soul. Allow gratitude to be part of your every day.

Fall Leaves
Be grateful for the the golden colors of the earth.
Be thankful for the last fleeting days of warm sunshine.
Be comforted by the predictability of the seasons.

 Share with others. Give love and service daily.

Relationships are about time
Kindness brings joy to life.
Love is listening.
Your legacy will live on in your relationships.

Happiness is not out there for us to find. The reason that it’s not out there is that it’s inside us.

― Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want

Monday, January 29, 2018

In Search of Joy

Buddha tells us that we create our own world with our mind. Make it a joyful one.

What kind of dwelling have you crafted in your inner-most self? Look around and see it.
Take some time each day to find your own peace--your own goodness.
Be kind to yourself and those around you.

Is it a positive place with lots of light and love?

Is there goodness around you?

Positive energy?

Flesh it out, fill it in. Make it an oasis for you to relax in.

Is it an ocean setting?

A peaceful wooded area?

A garden of fragrant flowers?

Be in search of your own joy. Use your internal wisdom to make your life the best it can be.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A New Year of Joy

Most of us make New Year’s resolutions this time of year.
It’s a time of beginning.
A time to evaluate our lives.
Are we going in the direction we would like?

When most of us set our goals, we ‘should’ on ourselves:
I should exercise more.
I should eat more healthy food.
I should get more sleep.
I should read more.

We have scolded ourselves through the ages
Scolding yourself to do better never works.
We forget to keep those goals soon after we make them.

This year, my resolution is to find joy in every day.

My joy may come in a different form than yours. 

Joy comes from who we are.

How will you find your joy?

Take some time to decide. Record it in your journal.

Make it a joyful year.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Fairy Fun for the holidays

Just after Thanksgiving the children and grand children in our family begin making cookie and candy houses in anticipation of visitors from the North Pole. The guests, a fairy family, come to stay until Christmas. The fairies have lots of fun adventures, let Santa know how good everyone's been, and tag along (in secret) on holiday service projects.

The sky's the limit on the spread the kids create for their family - sledding hills, skating ponds, and swimming pools with diving boards. One house had a slide that started at the top of the roof and shot down onto a toboggan run that extended to the end of the gum drop garden. Candy trees covered with licorice vines give the fairy family a great place to swing from.

Every night the children write letters to the fairies and during the middle of the night the fairies write back. They make sure to tell the children how much they enjoyed their piano practicing, and how quick they were to clean up the table after dinner.

Sometimes the fairies suggest service ideas to help everyone get in the Christmas spirit - like singing carols for the lady down the street or giving cookies to the postman.
If the day has been very busy and the kids haven't had time to write their letter to the fairies, they call their message from the fire place up the chimney. Sometimes the fairies only have time to draw a quick picture about the nights adventures because they accidentally got shut in the dog house by the cat or stuck up the chimney surrounded by an army of live miniature marshmallows.

We have found that this is a great way to enhance the holiday spirit and give the children a creative adventure. Invite a fairy families to your house and have as much fun as the imaginations living with you can think up. 

Happy Holidays.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Daily Gratitude

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude. A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh

Gratitude is an important part of living a quality life. It’s a go-to resource for me whenever I’m filled with the negativity that comes from anxiety and worry.
I can complain about the thorns on my rose bushes, or I can bask in the glory of the sweet-smelling, intricately delicate blooms made up of glorious shades of every color. Which will I choose?

Research has found those who focused on daily blessings are more optimistic, vigorous, pleasant, and better able to handle life’s troubles. Their sleep is better, and they are sick less often. They are more charitable and make greater progress toward their goals.*
Gratitude mantras are part of my daily meditation routine.
Begin your daily journal with a thankful statement.
Here are some of mine:
“I am grateful for the compassion I see around me.”
“I love the empathy I have developed for others.”
“I am thankful for understanding in my life.
Write a Gratitude Journal
Every journal entry, I start with something I’m thankful for. It creates the tone for the path I want to follow throughout my life.
Middle-of-the-night gratitude mantras:
Sometimes I wake in the night when I’m worried about something. The best way for me to go back to sleep is to repeat several mantras over and over.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify. Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings
Let go and let God. Origin unknown
Create your own mantras—ones that speak to the personal issues you are working though  
Gratitude Visualizations
Every morning when I meditate, I like to do a couple of gratitude visualizations. I always use somethings that I think will cross my path that day.

When the wind blows, the pines in our backyard whisper in the breeze. Pines smell deliciously like a forest. They are my giant protectors. I have watched them grow from small seedlings to large guardians of the backyard. If they can grow so straight and tall from small seedlings, then I know I can grow straight and tall as well.
Make up your own visualizations from things in your surroundings. We do have a beautiful world.
            Keep gratitude in the forefront of your life. Those who include gratitude in their lives are healthier, sleep better, and have less illness than those who don’t.

            *Emmons and McCullough, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,