Today everyone seems unusually friendly. In stores, people are smiling and making friendly conversation. One man in particular got a pretty good chu kle out of me. He was probably in his 70’s, a tall man, balding with glasses and a light brown overcoat. He looked at me and as I smiled at him he smiled back and told me wearing his new plaid scarf made him feel like a character from a Charles Dickens novel. We stood there giggling and I told him how crazy my parents are with frequenting casinos. I told him how much I look forward to the free gifts they get and how Im looking forward to wearing my silly heated scarf. As my coffee was placed on the counter and my name was called, I smiled one last time at that old man and we exchanged happy new year. Then I smiled one last time when I remembered my coffee was free thanks to a gift card handout. I was really starting to feel grateful for those silly casinos. I enjoyed every sip of that wonderful coffee, and just for today it was okay to get the whip cream on top. Thats how days should feel, happy and friendly with whip cream on top. Here’s wishing you one of those days.
I actually winced as I typed the title of this post. When I look around me, it becomes perfectly clear that many people have lost their happy. They are so consumed with grief, resentment, guilt, depression…so much so that they no longer ever feel happy. Imagine if every time you sat in the drivers seat you had no destination. You strapped on your seatbelt, pushed the gas pedal and wandered around never reaching a destination. Many of us do just that, we wander. We forget that if we want to reach a specific destination, we must put the address into the Garmin. I hope you all join me as I type Happy into mine. That is where my journey this new year will take me. As we enter an exciting new year, set an intention, know where you want to go and set your mind on the journey to get there. Don’t spend another year wandering aimlessly around, looking back and discovering you are in the same place as the year before. Do the work, make the changes and I promise at the end of the year you will find yourself in a different and better place.
My intention is this;
In 2015, I will focus on the things that are really important. I will look for the God and the good in every person. I will judge less and love more. I will shrug off the actions and words of people trying to hurt me and I will say a special prayer for them as I lay down to sleep at night. I will be the peace this world so desperately needs and I will care for my own soul as if it were a fragile piece of glass. I will find a reason to be happy every single day and I will make an effort to linger in the moments and stop rushing into the next thing my mind tells me I have to do. This will be one of my greatest years and I am excited to get it started.
I’d love to hear your intention!
My sons silly laughter
A genuine smile on my mothers face
Laughing until tears roll down my cheeks
A loving embrace
A stranger holding the door open just because
A house filled with peace and love
A mind that lingers in every moment
A heart filled with joy and love
Feeling so happy my heart may burst
As we approach a new year, be sure and make a list of the things you want more of. Remember, thoughts become things. Choose good ones. I’d love to hear about what you want more of in 2015.
I made a serious commitment with myself today to mind my own damn business. What does that mean exactly? Well, I am choosing to have little concern when it comes to the flaws of others. I am choosing not to look for them, not to talk about them, and certainly not to focus on them. I am giving myself the gift of becoming disengaged from the opinions others have of me. Can you imagine the freedom that comes with that one tiny new decision? I’ve learned this year that I can be myself. I am who I am and I am not afraid to show both my strengths and weaknesses to the rest of the world. I’ve learned that someone’s idea of who I am is more of a reaction they have to me than it is about me at all. We bring stuff out in others. Who knows why? Maybe we see something in them that we don’t like about ourselves but we cannot see it in our own reflection and project our dislike onto someone else. Maybe someone doesn’t like the way we look or the way we speak. Maybe someone doesn’t know us at all but believes their opinions of us are really the truth. There is no possible way I will ever get everyone to like me. You know what I decided? That’s okay and better yet, I will no longer waste precious time trying to explain who I am or trying to convince someone to like me more. I am me without apology so I am forever released from the anguish of the opinions of others. When you know who you are and like who you’ve become, you can live life with the freedom to never look back over your shoulder wondering what people think. Opinions are never going away. People will always have them. My advice, mind your own business and don’t let the opinions of others consume you anymore. Be who you are, do what you do and be grateful for the people who appreciate you just the way you are. That my friends is a good plan.
Hindsight really is 20/20. As I sit here on the plane flying home from a visit with family, I can’t help but reflect on the last couple of days. Many fellow bloggers have posted about how difficult it is during the holidays with several days filled with so many different personalities. The bottom line is this, we love our family but often times we have become so comfortable around them that we lose our filter. We stop choosing our words wisely and before we know it we say some things we may regret. How can we avoid this? Everyone is working so hard preparing food and cleaning up and no-one really gets a break long enough to put their feet up and rest. Add fatigue to the mix and the constant need for something to be done and the scene is perfectly set for something to go wrong. Here are some tips that I really believe can make any gathering a more pleasant one. Ask yourself, how could I have acted differently to remove tension in the room rather than add to it? How could I have responded in a more positive way to keep the peace? Sometimes it’s as simple as choosing not to respond at all. So here they are, tips to be a positive contribution to any crowd.
1) Do not speak every thought that is in your head. Not everyone wants to hear everything you think.
2) If two people are having a discussion, mind your own business. If people want your 2 cents, believe me they will ask for it. Otherwise, keep your change in your pocket and save it for a rainy day.
3) Don’t insult another person in the room. You know what mama always says, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
4) Pitch in and do your share. At the very least clean up after yourself. No-one needs to do something you are more than capable to do yourself.
5) If someone is trying to get your goat, walk away and don’t engage. There are plenty of people to have a conversation with. Choose the ones who soothe your soul, not the ones who start a flame.
6) Keep negativity to yourself. Focus on the positive
7) Don’t point fingers. If your hands are that free, try washing some of the dishes.
8) Be kind. Try complimenting someone instead of insulting them. Before you speak, ask yourself if what you are about to say is kind or necessary. Think about how you would feel if someone spoke your words back to you.
9) Get over things. Let them go and move on to a better place. Sometimes we can only see what we allow ourselves to see. Try looking for something good.
10) Don’t judge. Just because you have an opinion of who someone is does not mean it is even a smidgen true. Put your own shoes on and walk in them. Let people be who they are. Accept them and love them for who they are. That is the kindest gift you could ever give.
11) Don’t be a know at all. Remember that kid that sat in the front of the class and always had his hand up? Nobody liked that kid….ever. You don’t always have to prove you’re right.
12) if you break all these rules, give yourself a break and do better next time. After all, we’re only human. It’s okay to make mistakes.
13) Respect someone’s boundaries. If you know you are doing something that is irritating someone, stop. If you just love to push buttons, the carnival is always hiring.
So there you have it, a guide to make any gathering less stressful and more enjoyable. Let me know if you have anything we should add to the list.
As I traveled home last night, I started to reflect on the past year. The first flight went amazingly well. We had a quick 50 minute layover and then a short a 30 minute flight and we would be home. I saw a parallel in those crazy flights and my own life. My goal every year is to to look back and see growth. I want to know that as the year comes to a close, I am a stronger, better person that who I was when it began. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Only I know myself inside and out. I know my thoughts and I certainly know my own heart.
As I sat there totally frustrated with the unexpected delay, I began to understand how our thinking can shed a negative light on a year of growth. All I had left was a simple 30 minute flight. It was a long day but I was almost there. Instead of focusing on how far I had come, it was easy to let a few minute delay change my entire perception of the entire journey. I think we do that in our lives as well. There is so much growth and so much to be grateful for, but sometimes we get so caught up in what we haven’t accomplished that we convince ourselves we must have failed. That last part is the hardest to travel. The inner critic voice reminds us we are not done yet so we forget to celebrate how far we’ve already come.
Life is a constant journey of discovering who we are. We strive to be the person we want to be but sometimes we get delayed. The journey will continue when the time is right. It’s okay to pause for a moment and remain still. It is in that stillness that we start to hear the inner voice that reminds us tomorrow is another day. Delays will happen but they are a temporary pause in the journey, not the end. Don’t let your mind let you believe you are stuck there. Maybe it’s just that higher knowing that softly whispers you are headed in the wrong direction but you can always choose another flight to a different place.
As the year comes to a close, celebrate who you are and how far you’ve come. There is only one unique you. You may not be perfect and really that’s okay. Remind yourself you are only human and every day offers a new chance to be a better version than who you were yesterday, but don’t forget to pause for a moment and rejoice in who you are today.
How do we get so caught up in the way things are? Why do we believe we can control even the tiniest detail of anything that comes along? Why do we spend countless hours of energy fighting and complaining about what is when there is nothing we can actually do to change the circumstance we are in? At what point do we stop talking about the way we want something to be and find acceptance for what it is going to be? We all waste time rehashing things in our mind, it can literally suck out all our hope when at the end of the day, it will still be what it really is. There comes a time when we want to live better, when we don’t want to remain stuck in the things we do not have the power to change. Life becomes so painful that we just have to move on and leave our expectations behind. Expectations can rob us of happiness. Expectations paint a picture that can only be created by a paintbrush and paint. Expectations blind us from the love and beauty that is standing right in front of us that we never have the chance to feel or see. Expectations punish the people in our lives. Expectations put restrictions on the amount of love we can feel toward others. Expectations are like a prison that we build for ourselves while we try and convince ourselves we have no way out. Expectations suck and I really resent them.
Have you ever felt on top of the world one minute and boxed in and smothering the next? It happens. We all have mood swings but how do we get ourselves through those lower points to rise back up to a more positive frequency?
I didn’t sleep well last night. I got up at 3:15 to fly back home to family over Christmas break. I was excited sure but I could feel the stress creeping up my throat choking me until I felt I couldn’t breathe. It just wasn’t going to be a good day but somehow I knew I had to get through it. The kids were tired and grumpy and kept arguing over who would pull the third carry on. Granted, if I had known I had to pay for the bags I would not have brought nearly as many. But, I am used to flying Southwest where bags are free but ironically the airline “American” has the motto: screw the people. Coincidence? Maybe, but who really knows. As the kids mouths snarled back and forth at each other, a little jingle from that silly Lego movie popped in my head. Everything is awesome. I kept singing it over and over again silently in my mind until I couldn’t help but fight away the beginning of a smile. As I swiped my credit card for my 3 bags, I heard it again. Everything is awesome! If there was a world record for how many times a passenger could stand up and slam her head into the bottom of the storage bin, hands down, the winner would be me. Everything is awesome! Every time the girl sitting in the seat coughed in my direction I heard it again! Everything is awesome. Every time someone blew their nose or a baby cried out, over and over, all I could hear was Everything Is Awesome!
Seriously, my mind is somehow amusingly demented and here I am halfway through my last fight still smiling as I type the words Everything Is Awesome! Sooner or later the words and the mood will intertwine lovingly and perfectly together. Until then, silently I sing. Everything Is Awesome!
Don’t become blind to the things that really matter or you will forget what they truly are. The worst harm you could ever bring to yourself is focusing your time and attention on the details, so much so, that you destroy the beauty of the whole picture until eventually you cannot even imagine it anymore.
Home base. That is where it all starts. We teach kids how to be. We tell them who they are. You should be this and you should be that. We show them with our actions what is important.
I am sitting here at a swim meet surrounded by parents. They are obsessed with all the wrong things. We shove things down our kids throats and when they don’t measure up they are left feeling like they are not good enough. I get it, sports are important. They teach us about discipline and hard work and how to stay dedicated and motivated through the most difficult physical and mental challenges. My question is this? Have we started to put too much time, effort and emphasis on sports? Have we lost all the lessons somewhere in our obsession to start kids younger, have them practice more days and hours and be the only thing we, the parents, think and talk about? You should hear these conversations. The parents are so intertwined into their kids swimming that in the hour I’ve been sitting here, that is the only topic of conversation. ” My kid thinks I am on his back too much’, “Well, kids need that. He will thank you for that someday”. Really? Have these parents ever considered that the kids don’t want to talk about their sport in every conversation? Maybe these kids want to swim because they enjoy being in the water and they want it to be somewhat of a place to escape from this sometime difficult world. Have they forgotten that this sport does not define who their child is? That these kids are more than their sport and it is a small part of their life and not their whole life? I feel like turning around and saying, please can you just give it a rest? How many minutes can you spend talking about how much more relaxed you’d like your kid to be today. How the hell can these kids relax when they know the rest of the day for their family depends on the time that will soon appear on the timer clock? It’s hard to listen to and it’s equally difficult to watch. I was once one of those parents. I have had those same conversations and spent endless waking hours doing math and figuring out how my daughter could drop that extra half of second. Does it really matter? In the whole picture of life, is the time part worth that much time and effort? How about we let the kids swim and walk away knowing they did the best they could and accept how they do in sports is not in our control. How about letting the sport belong to our kid and just being there to watch and be there for support. What the hell has happened to that?
Are we focused on the wrong things? You be the judge, but first look around at that people around you and be honest about the quality of lives today, especially family life. Is it about family mealtimes and getting together to enjoy each other’s company or has it become something transparent and shallow? I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself.