Category Archives: happiness project

Gratitude Wisdom

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is

like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

(William Arthur Ward, American writer, 1921-1994)

There is something called a ‘Gratitude Challenge’ going on around

the world. There is an organization called “Kindspring,” which

brought together 11,000 people from 118 countries. This site is

at:

http://kindspring.org

This is great since it includes a ‘start up kit’ which is designed to

help community organizations sponsor their own challenges.

Apparently, each location has their own philosophy and ways to

promote gratitude. Whenever this happens to find its way to my

own reading material, I like to spread the happiness around to

others like you.

Gratitude has helped unlikely businesses like banks.  In Canada,

there have been four of the bank called TD, where they turned

their ATM’s into “Automatic Thank You” machines by providing

high value personalized gifts to the longest lasting customers.

This is to thank them for their loyalty to the bank. Any business

can be creative in showing appreciation in meaningful ways to

their customers.

I liked this quotation from the ‘grateful kickstarts’ in November,

2014 “Natural Awakenings” magazine:

“As with any new skill or habit, gratitude needs to be exercised

until it becomes second nature. Simply writing a page a day in a

gratitude journal or saying a morning ‘thank you’ prayer can help

maintain the momentum.”

 

Showing appreciation to strangers always makes my heart feel

warmer. Those unexpected ‘gifts’ or smiles are so welcome in

this busy life. Our family members also deserve some of this

shared gratefulness for their special ways that make us feel

loved. Sometimes, (I am guilty of this) we are kinder to those

we don’t know than those who are close in our daily lives. We

often take them for granted.

 

I get motivated by other’s thoughts and words so hope you will

find something meaningful in one of these three participants’

in the “Gratitude Challenge:”

 

>Lisa Henderson Middlesworth shared,

“I have started a gratitude journal that I write in every day. When

you run out of the ‘obvious’ blessings, it makes you dig deep and

see all the small things. I commit to do my very best to never take

anything or anybody, good or bad, for granted.”

 

>Colleen Epple Pine shared,

“A town can be such a blessing. Neighbors always pull together when

there’s a tragedy or natural disaster. The boundaries diminish and

yards become one. . . we eat in each other’s kitchens, supervise each

other’s children, share a vehicle and generally watch out for each

other. I believe it is God’s way of reminding us that we’re one family

and each of us provides the strength and foundation for the other.”

 

>Joanie Weber Badyna shared,

“My losses have given me an inner compass by with I live my life.

While I would not wish the tragedies I have experienced on anyone,

I am eternally grateful for the blessings. I do not waste time, and I

know how to love without fear.”

 

I like how each shows their own way of handling this challenge.

No one is ‘right’ or ‘better’ but all are powerful parts of a movement

for change.

I feel this is personal and hard to open up to share my inner gratitude

and what changes I will make. I related to the first woman, Lisa.

 

Robin’s challenge:

I need to be better at finding the ‘good’ in every one I meet.

I would like to be more open to showing my appreciation to

those who may not always be nice.

I am sure it will improve their outlook, as well as my own.

This is due to recently my youngest daughter pointed out,

I tend to be overall positive, but sometimes will say things

like, “I wish that server would bring me another cup of

coffee” or “I would have liked more tissue paper in the gift

bag from that specialty shop.” In both cases, I did not say

anything or let the person serving me know my complaint

or wishes. I didn’t even notice this within my own character,

which is odd. I know this sounds ‘self-serving’ to ask for

these things, but really you are showing more gratitude to

the one helping you, which makes them feel ‘valuable’ my

daughter said.

 

Then, it all made sense. I think being grateful is also letting

others join in, making them feel part of this good feeling. By

being able to let others know when you are uncomfortable you

can potentially prevent having to rant later about not having

things turn out like you expected. Putting your expectations

out there prevents passive aggression. Also, being nice and

friendly is a part of the whole kismet or karma/kharma circle.

This is also known as ‘paying forward.’ I want to tie this whole

gratitude challenge in with the happiness project, which I have

already written a post about.

 

Do you feel this is difficult to tell your own personal gratitude

challenges?  Are you willing to ‘put it all out there?’

Just Smile

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How do some people smile all the time, while carrying worries, concerns and other

challenges in their daily lives? This information will fill an aisle of books, in a large

bookstore and possibly be the sole purpose in some blogs and television shows. What

new ways can get your ‘groove’ back? I am not sure if any of these are particularly

“new,” but I am as sure as the “sun will come up tomorrow,” some of these may bring

you a new ‘lease on life!’ (Yes, “Annie,” the musical play and movie, does remind us

that it is a “hard knocks’ life,” along with how we should try to face every new day.)

 

Suggestions for getting happy feelings started in your mind, also getting your energy

revived and other ways for getting out of your funk will be found here. If I were a

speaker, I may try a joke:

 

“There was an elderly man who wanted his younger wife to become pregnant. It was

something she desired also. He went to his family doctor asking for him to suggest

ways of making this result come about. The doctor suggested going to a fertility expert,

so the man set up another appointment. He went on his own, since his athletic wife was

busy taking her tennis lessons.

The specialist’s receptionist gave him a specimen cup to take home and bring back the

next day. She explained what he needed to do to fill it, along with telling him to put it in

the refrigerator overnight. This would get the ‘ball rolling.’ No other way to find out what

level his sperm count would be until he brought this back.

The excited man left the office, with a little more pep in his step.

The patient came back with an empty specimen cup. The receptionist could see the man’s

deflated ego, his head was drooping. She did not ask him a thing,  since she could not

imagine the complications he had run into while collecting the specimen. She had the

dejected gentleman sit down, explaining to him that he must wait to see the doctor.

After reading a few magazines and the newspaper, the man was ready to leave the office,

irritated that such a simple action, which had produced children with his first wife, meant

he had to go through all this trouble again.

When he was escorted into one of the private rooms, the doctor came in and closed the

door behind him. The specialist asked when the empty specimen cup was given to him,

“What exactly was the problem?”

The frustrated man exclaimed,

“Well, I tried it with my right hand. . . nothing.

I tried it with my left hand. . . again, nothing.

So, my wife came home from her tennis lesson, she tried this with her right hand. . .

nothing!

She decided to try her left hand. . .same results.

Then, she used her mouth. . . nothing!”

The doctor stopped this, since he was really shocked at the lack of response from

any of these practices.

The impatient man nearly shouted,

“Wait, doctor, I have to tell you more!”

The fertility specialist paused and said, “Proceed.”

“Well, we were desperate! I ended up asking my wife to invite our neighbor over,

since she is her best friend. . .”

The doctor incredulous interrupted,

“Wait a minute, did you say your wife’s friend tried this, too?”

The man exasperatingly sat down, saying in a low voice,

“Yeah, and we still couldn’t get the lid off the freaking specimen cup!”

 

Here are a few “Prevention Magazine” suggestions for ‘tapping your

inner peace and bringing some joy into your life.

 

1. “Do something called, “the ho’oponopono.”

This is a source of Hawaiian calm and doesn’t mean you need to drink

some Mai-Tai’s or dance at a luau. It is simply repeating these words

in a chant, which helps spread some warmth into your life. Murmuring

the “ho’oponopono” mantra is all about forgiveness. You, your family,

your enemy and the ones who have made your stomach get in a knot.

It means literally, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.”

By saying this in a low, quiet way, you will ease your anger, untighten

your thoughts and body, along with lowering your blood pressure.

“Try this, you may like it!”

(Source, “The Hormone Cure,” by Sara Gottfried, M.D.)

 

2. “Spritz a scent.”

There are essential oils which can bring you vitality, exuberance,

evoke special memories. Go to your favorite natural products store

and sniff testers until you find a couple of them which give you that

“Ah-h-h!” all over feeling. Good ones which bring many pleasant

feelings are lavender, orange, sage, and ylang-ylang. I like to head

to the Yankee Candle Company, which I know there are some who

will tell you that burning candles means there are pieces of ‘wick’

floating in the air. (My sister in law told me this before I ever read

this!) But, you can get a candle warmer, choosing your favorite scent.

In the fall, I enjoy and savor pumpkin spice, Home Sweet Home, and

country apple… I also found “Woodland Walk” at Meijer’s which has

a very different scent and it doesn’t cause me to want to eat cookies!

 

3. In 2011, a Michigan State University conducted a study of customer-

service employees. They found that ones who smiled throughout the

day, by thinking positive thoughts, reported feeling more serene overall.

I certainly would feel great if the customer service people would carry

this practice out. But I also did not see in the study, that there must

surely be a reward. By smiling; you get smiles back. This perpetuates

the positive activity. “Psychological Science,” (2013) published the results

which include smiling lowers your body’s stress response and also, can

even overcome ‘road rage,’ if one tries to smile in traffic jams!

 

4. Plant something. (If you are in warmer season now)

or Rake some leaves or clean your garden out. (If you are entering the

cooler season, where your plants need to be covered, the remains of

stems and messes need to be ‘mucked out.)

According to research done in a recent study, gardening is an even more

effective stress reliever than reading a good book! This was done in Holland.

There is also evidence microbes found in soil, may lift your mood, from an

older British study conducted in 2007. If you wish to clean your garden out,

digging in the dirt can also be a good way to greet Autumn’s weather changes,

along with feeling like you accomplished a big task. For me, I love the idea of

building a big pile of leaves, after using physical effort which does get your

endorphins going, and asking your children/grandkids/ neighbor kids or

a silly adult friend or two, to jump into the leaves with you!

 

5. Pet a cat, dog, gerbil or ?

If you don’t have a pet to take care of, it is always uplifting to go to an animal

shelter and offer to walk a dog. If you are a cat person, you are always welcome

to pet the kitties, there may be other unusual animals to see and touch, too. I

have a good friend whose two cats came from a farmer who was over-run with

cats. They are adorable calico cats, which I will be cat-sitting in just a week and

a half from now.

 

6. Offering to read to someone’s child, at the library. Volunteering for a monthly

obligation of being a classroom ‘helper’ or a ‘library aide’ are other ways to get your

spirits lifted.

 

Baking cookies is always a treat for me, along with my grandchildren. I am going to

share a company called “Martha’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.” She has 400 employees,

over 2 million dollars sales in only 12 days of being located at the Minnesota State

Fair. Wow! People want cookies!! This retired elementary school teacher may be fun

to look up and get inspired.

 

Here are two books I can guarantee you will feel are ‘guilty pleasures’ but really will

entertain you! I did not skim nor read just the book jacket for these two FUN books!

 

1. “The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating,” by Carole Radziwill. It is considered Popular

Fiction. The author was on the television show, “The Real Housewives of New York.” This

is a very satisfying read, one that used to be considered a ‘Beach book.’ Why does it have to

be summer-time to choose an indulgent piece of fluff, which may surprise you with some

deeper meaning, more than you would expect from a ‘real housewife!’ She was, after all,

an award-winning former journalist/reporter. Her book, “What Remains,” was critically

acclaimed, about the memoir of her marriage after her husband died of cancer in 1999.

The widow may not be based on herself, but her wry sense of humor, her simple writing

without frills, will be possibly one of the moving, insightful books you will enjoy this year.

2. “Confessions of a Counterfeit Country Farm Girl,” made me burst into laughter, each

time a new chapter started. This woman, like Carole R. above, is one who captures your

imagination and pulls your leg, getting you to picture all kinds of lively challenges in an

uprooted lifestyle. She is Susan McCorkindale, one of my friends, in my mind! Here are

some of the chapters I loved, “Days of Whining the Big Wigs,” “Get Down on the Farm,”

and the “Chick in the Mail.” The author was really running with the big wigs being the

former marketing director of both “Family Circle” and “Sports Illustrated.” Her husband’s

choice of farm living to raise their boys, involves the whole story, including learning how

to buy appropriate footwear, helping her boys to not always be the dirtiest kids, and how

to order different products, fertilizer, seeds, and of course baby chicks.

 

Eight Simple Steps to Have All Day Energy: Mini-Meals

1. Get up every day at the same time and eat something OTHER than refined carbs.

Suggestion in the August, 2014 “Prevention Magazine,”

Try some hunks of cheese, fruit and a scrambled egg.

2. When you have another hour until lunch, your cortisol levels are dipping, as is

your energy. So, go ahead and have a second cup of coffee.

3. Adding nuts to your day, will help you stay ‘full’ longer throughout the day.

Recommended only 1.5 ounces of almonds. Oh my, I hope you know how to measure

this delicious snack!

4. Lunch time.

Meat, protein if a vegan, eggs, avocado (decreases people’s appetites by as much as

40%) some fiber and vegetables. A salad with chicken, tomatoes and spring greens,

with some whole grain crackers, instead of croutons. This meal is supposed to be your

‘main’ meal of the day. You still have time to wear off the calories when you walk around

the block, catching up with your kids, friend or husband.

5. Sip water or herbal tea, (I love Bengal Tiger Tea, which is aromatic, cinnamon

and has, I believe some chicory in it.) Dehydrated people report more headaches

and dips in mood.

6. Carrots and hummus, yogurt with blueberries and a drizzle of honey, …

Suggestions for a small snack to ‘beat’ the mid-afternoon slump.

7. Dinner.

Balanced but not heavy. Your meal should not include greasy or spicy food, particularly

as we age. This can interfere with your sleep and also cause heartburn. It may also leave

you groggy in the morning.

8. A light carb-rich snack is okay, according to a new Yale review and American Journal

of Clinical Nutrition. Include a banana, milk or something that is not too heavy. I like the

idea of cookies, my favorite one is oatmeal raisin cookie. (My real favorite one is white

chocolate macadamia nut but am sure this is not allowed on this good food plan!) Often,

I go against protocol, so a small bowl of ice cream or a ‘treat’ is what will make me smile

before I go to bed at night. . . or a small goblet of wine or hard apple cider!

 

Dean Koontz quotation:

“Happiness is a choice. That sounds Pollyanna-ish, but it’s not; you can make it or not.

Readers (of Dean Koontz), over the years, say what they love about my books is that they’re

full of hope, and that’s the way I see life.

If you always dwell on what went wrong in the past it’s almost hopeless.

So, I don’t dwell.”

Check out Dean Koontz’s newest thriller: “Innocence,” at bookstores or the library.

 

 

What a Riot, Maxine!

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When I quote some ‘words of wisdom,’ as dictated by the wild and carefree Maxine,

I seem to have more viewers and more fun comments than almost any other posts.

If you have ever seen the drawings and read ‘her’ witty sarcasm by the artist and

writer named, John Wagner, you will be able to ‘picture in your head,’ how Maxine

looks. Sometimes she has a hat with a flower sticking out of it, other times a ‘beret.’

I like her dark sunglasses and her extra curly white hair, with red earrings peeking

out, on her earlobes. I like her dog with his pointy ears and his silly cross-eyed looks,

sometimes his eyes are just ‘askance’ or expressing skepticism of his owner, Maxine.

Sometimes she looks cranky, other times ‘cross,’ but no matter what her appearance,

I will nod my head, sometimes snigger a little,  knowing she understand growing older.

 

Interesting, isn’t it? That its a man who writes these and draws Maxine with such a

unique character and personality,  in such simple strokes. I cannot help myself, I think

of some of my Mom’s apartment neighbors, table mates and her friend, Pooky.

I must admit, my Mom is NOT a cranky woman. . . but she does wear red lipstick, a

hat upon her (thinly haired) head and a smile on her face. There are at least 12 choices

of hats in her coat closet; maybe more! She has Easter hats, a red, white and blue hat,

fall hats, felt hats and ones that look like she is heading out to garden. She has a mirror

by the door, to look at herself, determing which one is the ‘perfect’ match for the day.

 

Are you ready for some fun!

Do I hear you cheering for Maxine?

Here she comes, both ‘barrels’ loaded and ready to give it her ‘best shots!’

 

1. Morning

“The only thing preventing me from smashing my alarm every morning is

the fact that it is my cell phone!”

 

2. Aging

“I finally figured out what I want to be when I get older. . .

YOUNGER!!”

 

3. “Bad Girls”

“There’s a certain age where you can no longer use the term:

‘Good Girl gone Bad.’

“It’s more like,

‘Her old ass should know better!’

 

4. Stress…

“My Doctor told me to start killing people.

Well, not in those exact words. . .

He said I had to reduce the stress in my life. . .

Same thing really!”

 

5. Cooking fantasies…

“I read recipes the same way I read Science Fiction.

I get to the end and I think, ‘Well, that’s not going to

happen!'”

 

6. A better place…

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone just

would take a ‘chill pill.’

It would get even better, if some of them choked on it!”

 

7. This is so true…

“My day starts backwards.

I wake up tired,

and go to bed, wide awake!!”

 

8. Musings…

“Why isn’t the number 11, pronounced, ‘onety-one?'”

 

9. More musings…

“If 4 out of 5 people ‘suffer’ from diarrhea, does that mean

that one out of five enjoys it?”

 

10. Recreation

“I’m thinking of going roller skating (insert your favorite

dangerous sport… skateboarding, skydiving…)

I could use a couple weeks in a hospital to rest and recuperate.”

 

Of course, you may use your own form of recreation but I usually

choose wine or desserts to help me feel better.

What helps ‘float your boat?’

 

 

Have a fun-filled weekend!

 

 

10 Ways to Stay Young

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I received Mom’s card, that she bought in the downstairs area of her senior living

apartments, at the end of last week. This is called the ‘library’ where you can choose

to borrow, return or give books and pick out greeting cards. There is an ‘honor code,’

where you go to the nearby Front desk to pay for the cards or check out the books.

This card, and its message, really made my day this week!

It was one of those simple ones that talk about friendship. She vacillates between

saying that I am her ‘best friend’ and missing her faithful little dog, Nicki, (her ‘other

best friend.’)

These notes, I realize I have mentioned, hold important feelings that she shares

with me, her only daughter. I am touched with her added embellishments, sincerely

expressed ideas and loving memories of our special ‘girlfriend’ visits and shopping

trips.

She writes to many people, her words are less descriptive and their clarity may not

always be there. Time has taken some of her training in spelling, grammar and English

usage away. But the essence of love shines through to all of her recipients of letters.

Her good friend, Joyce, who will always be known as “Pooky” to those who love her,

wrote her a long typed (on the computer and printed out) letter. In this, she was

supporting my Mom’s asking to be able to have her dog back. Nicki is residing with

my brother and sister in law, with multiple dogs, on a ‘better, healthier’ diet and

regime. Their main concern was that Mom had fallen, so they felt with her new

walker, therapy visits and trying to manage Nicki with the walker may do more

‘harm than good.’  “Pooky” lives in California and I have written her notes to

keep her abreast of my Mom’s current health status, along with over the years,

many holiday cards. She is a good and true, lifelong friend of my Mom’s.

“Pooky” sent a clever list which has some fun, but often expressed, ideas about

growing older, includes positive life lessons and ways to stay young.

On the top of the first page, my Mom had handwritten these sweet words:

“You know all of these, my Robin, but it never hurts to be reminded of them. . .

To my best friend in the world!”

“How to Stay Young

Friend to Friend Advice”

1.  Try everything twice.

On one woman’s grave, the epitaph reads:

“Tried everything twice. Loved it both times!”

2.  Keep only cheerful friends.

The Grouches pull you down.

Keep this in mind, if you are one of those Grouches!

3.  Keep learning.

Don’t stop!

Whatever it is that stimulates your brain cells and keeps

your mind active.

4.  Enjoy the simple things in life.

The little ‘details’ can make you happy.

5.  Laugh often.

Belly laughs, long and loud.

Laugh until you gasp for breath or tears run down your face.

If someone produces this level of joy, spend lots and lots of

time with them.

Be silly!

6.  Sad things and tears happen.

Unfortunately.

Endure, grieve and move on.

The only person who is with us, our entire life, is ourselves.

Live while you are alive.

7.  Surround yourself with whatever you love:

Family, pets, keepsakes, music, art, crafts, plants. . .

Make your home a retreat or refuge.

8.  Cherish your health.

If it is good- preserve it.

If it is unstable- improve it.

If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

You are still here.

9.  Don’t take guilt trips.

Take instead trips down memory lane, to the mall or to a new place.

If you can afford to, travel far and wide. If your health does not permit

this, wander through countries in books or on the Internet.

10.  Tell the people you love that you love them every time you see them.

Every opportunity, try to show your gratitude towards them.

(Author Unknown, some embellishments are my own added to the list.)

So here goes, I am following the ‘rules’ laid out in the life list! I wish to tell you

again, that I appreciate your being part of my life. I think that our community

of fellow bloggers satisfies many things on the examples mentioned. So, in

honor for #s 3, 4, 7 and 10, I am thankful for your enhancing and enriching

my life!

You fill in the gaps in my life, helping me to utilize my brain daily.

We talk, through our posts and replies, about things and share our worlds.

Your thoughts and feelings bring us closer together. Sometimes more than

my friends I spend time with. Maybe it is the safety of being separated by

time and space. Maybe it is due to being sojourners in a world of our own

making.

Fellow bloggers you brings my inner thoughts and respond positively, for that:

I thank you!

Maybe it is the way we bounce off each other, spurring each other to reach out

and connect on a different level than most daily interactions.

To those poets out there, thanks for treating me to your beautiful (sometimes

angry, distressed but always meaningful) words. You have inspired me to try

my hand at writing poetry. It is a different way of writing than I am used to!

To the artists out there, whether using paint, pen and ink, photography or

other creative and artistic ways you lead your life, I appreciate your sharing

this with me. The ‘details’ of life that you give to me, through your art and

music, are limitless!

To the ones who incorporate animals, healing solutions, share your faith and

other ways to connect and feel whole; your posts make me feel good and lead me

to peace in my heart and soul.

Those nature lovers and healthy lifestyle believers, you make me want to be

more interactive in environmental issues and eat more healthier. The cooking

blogs and vegan choices are certainly ones that I copy down suggestions and

feel that I have become more aware of what I am ingesting!

Then those who have traveled or are out there, living in different countries,

letting us know what is happening, Thank you!

It makes the world come together and become a ‘smaller’ place, uniting us in our

common interests:

Wow! The inspiration in the gifts you all share, continue to amaze and challenge

me to be a better ‘me!’

 

 

 

 

 

Motivational and Elevating

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The book, “Before I Die,” ( 2013, 304 pp.) is ‘chock full’

of ways that you can choose to savor your life and make

the journey more meaningful. Candy Chang painted black

a side of an old, abandoned house in her New Orleans

neighborhood and created a ‘ripple effect.’

She painted it to be a dynamic chalkboard and printed

out the words, “Before I Die I Want To…” These words

were meant to develop a dialogue and encourage some

interactions among her neighbors.

Ms. Chang’s efforts produced a safer neighborhood,

less police calls, brought people out to sit on their

porches, made people become motivated and it united

them. Incredible results are given in Ms. Chang’s book!

Also, due to the popularity of the book and bloggers

passing the word around, became an international art

movement.

I love it when some action creates the impetus for

uniting people, like the songs that groups of famous

singers have gathered, using their talent to break

or remove barriers. One example of this was, “We are

the world.”

The house, another positive side effect of Chang’s

ingenuity, was saved. It has become a home to a family.

Some of the global samples of how people completed

their own projects like Ms. Chang’s includes more

black painted ‘clean slate’ walls outside. Along with

blackboards in other places, businesses and malls.

Each setting has had profound results.

The reason Candy Chang was inspired to start the

project, then complete the book, was due to the

sudden loss of her loved one. This took her mind

and emotions away from dwelling on the negative.

Instead it became both motivational to people who

lived around her and the book became elevating to

distant areas where they were seeking more of a

purpose and answering needs for change.

Here are a few samples from the book,

“I will grow a garden.”

“I will help others.”

“I will spend more time with friends.”

and even fantasy thoughts such as,

“I will eat a salad with an alien.”

Hey, going into outer space or to a different

country are good dreams for the young to become

inspired. I hope that education will be more

available and likely in the future, to all.

By writing a ‘bucket list,’ you are putting those

ideas on paper or on the chalkboard for all to

see, whether it is family and friends (inside your

home) or neighbors and passers-by, (outside your

home, posted in your garden or on a gate…)

You are building connections by the written word,

communicating with those around you. Also, a person

is less likely to ‘turn back and give up’ on some of

those far-fetched dreams. Once it is in print, painted

on the wall, you will find yourself thinking of the

steps to reach your goals.

I imagine this being quite a creative springboard

for break rooms, coffee shops, or anywhere people

gather together. Oh, how about senior centers and

church social rooms?

Do you have a place, in mind, where this would

generate a new sense of community and creative

thoughts?

What is the Key to Happiness?

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“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are
1. Something to do,
2. Something to love,
and
3. Something to hope for.”
Written by English essayist, Joseph Addison.

I would like to write about my feelings of these three areas

in my life. I would like to have you also try to study, meditate

and possibly reveal how this quotation affects your views on

happiness.

I would divide my approach of happiness in a different but

overlapping way than how Joseph Addison wrote of happiness.

For me, a necessary part of being happy is accepting oneself,

as you are. “To thine own self, be true,” the old adage goes.

I must love myself first and not wish to be anybody else but me.

I need to be myself as often as I can, trying to spend time with

others who are accepting of me, just as I am. I am sometimes a

“people pleaser” which is not always such a good quality. I

need to not worry how others think, nor try to always please

others. There are times I can be so carefree and lovable. Those

times, I feel like the ones surrounding me I can trust to return

those feelings. I feel most comfortable with my Mom and brothers

and then, next with my children. Sometimes, my silly and playful

self goes crazy with grandchildren. My ‘cup of joy runneth over’

while in their company!

The next area in my analysis of happiness means to have something

to look forward to doing. This is what motivates me to get up out

of bed, out of the house, and off pursuing a dream. I believe we

all need to have this firmly on the top of our list of important

ways to stay happy! Making plans can keep us going forward in our

work lives, personal lives and helping our futures, too. Try to

put FUN on your “To Do” list! Live your life fully, enriching

yourself and others. I think, for me, my main “happy” times are

ones that have a mission, a purpose or a passion. Each day needs

to have something special in it to ‘reward’ our hard work. If

you are not sure of what that ‘something’ to do is, what makes

you happy, then, self examination and writing down all the times

you were most happy, then find the connection or the thread that

runs through each of those memories. Defining happiness for yourself

is a way to keep assured you stay on your own path to happiness.

Who do you want to do these anticipatory activities with? Are you

most happy alone? Then, most of the times, you will have no

problem proceeding since you are in charge of your own destiny!

I will mention that the song that goes like this, “I am a rock,

I am an island,” by Paul Simon possibly resonates with you loners

out there. But, try to examine if you are also, lonely in your

alone times, too. This will help you to focus on either leading a

solitary life or on one that includes others, once in awhile.

If you say “with others” who will these people be? For me, it is

no secret, I have a nice group of wonderful friends, including

Bill, Gary and sometimes another guy friend, but my real important

key to my happiness, has been to find that ‘special someone’ to

share my walks and talks, spend the quality times with and include

him with my family, and visa versa. I would like to have him share

his family and interests, hopefully, most of them aligning or

matching up, with “some spaces in our togetherness,” as Kahlil

Gibran, as the fine poet would suggest.

I would say all of the ones who feel most comfortable while alone,

should still try to include a “go to” relationship or communication

partner. This can be a family member or choosing a good friend. I

don’t think we should isolate ourselves totally. If necessary, you

may find a counselor or minister who will listen when you need to

lean on someone.

Here is another ‘take’ on the ‘happiness project’ that I am

assigning us all to try in 2014. I hope you will find something

you love to do and do it often. Today and the next day, too. If

you already are happy, then add something to make it new and

challenging. This will be like a ‘breath of fresh air.’

I hope you will find something to hope for, in the future. This

needs to have some steps to take, making it harder to reach. It

will give you months to reach it. Sometimes, the goal of training

to run a marathon, making a quilt, taking all your photographs

and framing some, while putting the rest into albums… This kind

of yearlong project is different from your daily one of loving

where you are. It is about where you are going…

This will keep you motivated, moving forward and this goal may

be a trip or an outcome.

Happy Holidays

Using this formula,
1. Set aside your best time… for me, it is savoring a new and
different kind of coffee and sitting with a blank page in front
of me, writing my thoughts down.
Savoring Silence.
Reflecting upon Christmases past and memories.
Praying daily.
Rejuvenating with new plans…

2. Anticipatory plans, things to look forward to in the next
year. Get the calendar and write down times that you would like
to do something.
Define what you wish to do, make plans by writing them on a
month in 2014.
Do something you love.
Spend time with someone you did not find time for as often as
you would have liked. Possibly pencil them in every other month
if you went too long between visits.

3. If you feel less content in your daily choices of work and
play-
Change them!
Make a New Plan of Action!
Choose the steps to get the “whole ball of wax” rolling.

Getting that Plan implemented could make a difference in your life!

These can help you make your New Year’s Resolutions.

Hope something in here is new or touched your life.