Blessings, Choice, daily practice, Gratitude, happiness, Inspiration, Uncategorized

My Happy Box

This is my Happiness Box. The plan is to take time on New Years day and remember the things that brought me joy the last year.  It has all kinds of events, moments, thoughts, big things, little things. Basically it is snapshot of the happiness in my life.

2016-09-03-08-07-05My friend is doing this also.  Same plan, filling her box with notes to look at New Years day.  But she has been in a dark place this last couple of months, and the Happiness Box was moved to the side. As dark times do, hers peaked and passed. And she was left to pick up the pieces and move ahead. But the box, still, was moved to the back.

Until one day we were doing something fun and I said “this goes in the Happiness Box. How is yours doing?” And she realized hers was forgotten. So she found it, and wrote a note. One note led to another. She remembered from the summer that brought her happiness. She started filling in the blanks, and life shifted a little bit for her. She started looking for happiness, and found it.

Today we were talking about this and I said “you forgot to be happy”. And that my friends, is the heart of the matter. How often do we forget to be happy?  We get wrapped up in the moment and forget that happiness is a choice too.

There are times in life where happiness is not to found. I have had those times, particularly around deaths. But other losses as well….divorce, foreclosure, job changes, empty nest, lost loves. There is a list of events that happened and I cannot pretend any of that goes in the Happiness Box.

But here is the thing, even within those dark moments there were small glimmers of happiness. Seeing a child laugh, a friends hug, a blue sky, a kind act and on and on. Those glimmers lead us home. Those glimmers are the “don’t you dare give up” support from the Universe. And we have to look for them. We have to court them. And then they come and then they stay.

I can visit the dark but I need to live in the light.  I need balance of seeing both in my life. Having some trouble, sadness or feeling lost teaches me to grow past that.  It teaches me to choose.  It makes me  remember and be grateful for the good in my life.

This is not a lollipop world where everything is wonderful. But having my Happiness Box grounds me to the virtues I want in my life.  It commits to seeking out that which gives me joy.  I physically name my joy and give gratitude.  It is a Spiritual Practice, and it is good.

So whether you make box, write in a journal, post it on social media or sing it to the world, celebrate everything that makes you happy. Because what you call into your life will appear and multiply.  So make that be your joys.

Be Happy

 

 

 

 

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Daily Life, friendship, Growth, Honesty, Love, Self, self love

It’s Okay if You Don’t Like Me… I Like Me

Is the quickest way to peace of mind to love yourself?  For some reason this week this statement has been running through my mind “It’s okay if you don’t like me, I like me” I don’t even know why but all of a sudden I am kind of falling in love with myself.  And it feels good.  It feels peaceful, no struggle, no trying to fix myself.  No trying to change for someone or appease someone.  No thinking they are right about me and I am wrong. I am simply relaxing into who I am.

katieI think most people like me, but not everyone.  At one point I would have been wondering why.Did I do something, was I offensive, do they disapprove of my lifestyle?  How can I fix this?  Can I make them like me. Well no I cannot. And is that okay?  Yes.  You can not like me, you can not want to be my friend. I like me and I will be my friend.

The more I am loving myself the better I am to the world.  The better to my friends, my family and the community I live in.  It is like stopping a struggle, the struggle to prove myself.  I get it that I am not everyone’s cup of tea.  And that is okay, there are many flavors out there.  And what I know is, I cannot please everyone. I have to start with myself.

There are certain people I have great respect and love for.  These people, I do care what they think.  I do listen to their opinions and it is important to me that they like me, that they approve of me. But that is a handful of people, and honestly at the end of day if they cannot love me for who I am, I still cannot pull myself in pieces trying to be who they need.  They are just going to have to need me to be as I am, and love me anyway. Everyone else, take me, or don’t.

Okay I am not perfect.  I see things in myself I want to change.   I can jump to conclusions.  I am defensive, I can be self absorbed.  I will let my emotions rule my head.  Sometimes I talk too much and forget to listen.  Other times I don’t talk at all and shut down. I will overshare and then undershare.  I will take way too much crap and then be mad at others and myself.  So I guess I am human.

But I am also amazing.  And I don’t even need to list all those things, it is enough that I know them.   Also,  I am a work in progress.  And I am learning more every day and trying to apply it.  It is all about baby steps.  One after another.  I can look back and see progress.  I am way less concerned with how the world sees me and more connected to my own vision. I am not afraid of you anymore.  I am not afraid of your opinion.  I don’t not have to change for you. I am free, or least on my way.

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

– Louise L. Hay

Someone I loved gave me a box of darkness…. I have spoken of that before. My mother, one of my great teachers.  She did not like herself, let alone, love herself. I watched her push the world away one by one.  I heard her say  so many times things like “Well, I don’t like me.”  And I thought, I love you, can’t you see that?  Can’t you see how amazing the world could be for you, if you would stop this, and starting loving yourself.  She never did, until the very end, she pushed us all away. And I do not want that for myself.  I do not want to repeat how my mom lived.  I do not want to not love myself. I saw what it could do, it was not beautiful, or loving, or peaceful.

The more I accept and love myself the better I am to myself.  I recognize that it makes a difference in the foods I eat, I sleep I get.  I seek out people and circumstances that feed my soul with joy.  I make sure I relax and not be demanding on myself.  I speak well to myself about myself. When I am in a state of self love, I can go out there and change the world.  I can go out there spread love.  I can be joy.  I can be compassionate.

And the struggle to be something we are not can end.  When I know I do not have to change for you to like me, I also know you do not have to change a thing for me.  You are perfect, you are amazing.  You are a beautiful, unique and irreplaceable. You get to celebrate that.  We can each shine our light, our perfect light out into the world saying “Here I am, there is no one else like me and for that I am grateful”.

Namaste

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Change, Daily Life, friendship, Gratitude, Honesty, Inspiration, Love, New Year, Self, Soul, Spirit, The Past

Living With Intention

So we have reached a new year.  However we got here, in whatever state we have arrived, we made it to 2015.  And there is a lot of energy around that.  Happens every year right?  Even for those us (me) who do not make resolutions it is hard to not see this as a fresh start.  This is the year I am going to ….. fill in the blank.  It is different for everyone. We are always reaching for something or someone to jump start us.  Looking outward instead of inward. And so each year those resolutions fade away and our real life steps up.

Resolutions work when they come from our soul.  When we can look inside and have a knowing of a need for change. I was cleaning out my computer last week.  Getting rid of old files and I came across something I wrote in 2010.  It was “My 2010 Intention”. Wow, what an interesting read.  I had forgotten all about it. And what I know is that my life has followed the path of those intentions.  Let’s take romance:

” I am ready to receive the gift of love, knowing it may be fleeting or transitional..  I do not expect or even want forever.  Forever seems way too big at this point.  But I want now, and I deserve that, and I am making room and going for it.”

That pretty much sums up the romantic adventures I have been on.  I said it out loud, I do not want forever. And yes, that is what I received.  But now, 5 years later, I can feel the shift in my soul and I do want forever. I have to set that intention.

How about how Spirit worked out?  I studied for years with a teacher who took me down paths of Shamanism,  Spiritual healings,  Mind, Body and Spirit connections. working with the Sacred Wheel.   It opened a whole new world for me and I am forever grateful for that, those lessons still serve me well.  But at some point I felt it was not my true path, and I was lost. My 2010 intention spoke about that:

“I need to find a spiritual balance in my life.  I ask for a teacher to arrive.  The student is ready.  Great Spirit, help me to keep my eyes open and see the gifts you are giving me.  I feel a shift in my body, in my mind, I am ready, show me the way. ”

And oh my gosh, did I find that.  I not only found a spiritual teacher, but a spiritual teaching that has filled me beyond  anything I expected.  It fits so very well into who I am  I walked in 5 years ago and found my place.  I know that this teaching has made my life better. Of all my intentions this grounded me the most.

I am giving a couple of examples but there was more to it.  About being more present, feeling worthy, new friendships, letting my light shine. All of this has come to pass in some way.  So it was really interesting for me to take a step back in time and then see how all of that has manifested in my life.  Some good, some challenging, but all valid and important.

Because the last 5 years have not been a piece of cake for me. I let go of so much.  From deaths, to lifestyles, to dreams, to friends, to my home, my pets.  If I looked at all this without love, without seeing the gifts, it could be very depressing.  None of that has been easy, and at times I was less than graceful about letting go. But always, even in the midst I knew that this too is God, and here lies a lesson.

And the gifts of the last 5 years.  I cannot even count the amazing people that have walked into my life.  Some fleeting, some forever, all have touched me and helped me on my path.  I am so blessed.  I have more freedom, that came from letting go.  I am confident, I no longer ever wonder if I am worthy. I am absolutely worthy. Do I let my light shine? Usually it lights up without me even trying.  Sometimes I keep it low because I need the light for myself. I have learned to take care of myself and love myself.

So I stand here at the door of a new year, looking ahead to the next 5 years and what will come my way.  I need to set some new intentions.  Because another part of rereading those the 2010 intentions is that most of them have come to fruition and I can intend for more, more of what is needed in my 2015 life.  2010 no longer fits me, I have outgrown it, how wonderful is that?

“Intention is one of the most powerful forces there is. What you mean when you do a thing will always determine the outcome. The law creates the world.”
Brenna Yovanoff, The Replacement

Intention works better for me than resolution. Intention is something I work with, it is fluid.  It is a combination of my mind and my actions working together to manifest what I want to create in my life. For some reason resolution feels a little limiting, not fluid.  Life is going to take many paths during the next few years  but if we can hold our intention we can see our way through everything.  The intentions we have set support the lessons sent our way.  The path is not always easy, but it is always good.

So I am going to spend the next few days looking at what I want in my life.  How do I want my life to appear? What is working? What is not working?  What blocks need to be removed?  Some things really jump out at me, but I want to give them time to ferment.  Because however I set my intentions, that is what I am going to have, at least until I have outgrown them and need to reset.

And I kind of want to stay with the 5 year plan. It is accidental that it worked out that way, but really nothing is accidental.  1 year is fast, it is hard to get a perspective from 1 year.  But 5 years, it is a little lifetime.  If I had just looked at the last year I would not really have seen the bigger picture.  How I have arrived here in this moment.

So it is a brand new baby year. And we can decide what we want.  Actually we don’t have to wait for a new year, a new week, a new anything.  We can make a change, a decision, an intention at any time. The Universe does not really care that the date changed.  But we do have a new year, and it is a good time to look back and to look forward.  I encourage you to set some intentions.  To look at your life and decide where you need to grow, what you need to bring in, what you need to let go of.  What is working for you?  What is holding you back.  Write it down, speak from your heart. No one ever has to read it, this is about you and your life.  You are the designer.

I am telling you this, if you do not state what you want and need in your life you will be living by default.  Stuff is always going to show up, make sure it is there by your desires.The universe will respond to your thoughts, whether or not they are conscious thoughts. .  Do not live unconsciously, be awake and aware.  Invite the good into your life. Make it known.  As Rumi says:

“What you seek is seeking you.”

Because the Universe will respond to your spoken and unspoken words.  Make them the words of your heart, of your soul.  Create the life you want.  This is our moment, this is our time. Don’t live by default, make your words, your thoughts and your desires known.  And live your best life.

May the next year bring you gentle lessons to take you to the life you intend to live.

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Change, Daily Life, Gratitude, Honesty, Inspiration, Relationships, Self, Spirit, The Past

Tradition and Letting Go

We are winding up the holiday season and I have been thinking on tradition lately.  What works, what doesn’t, why it so important to us, and how to let go of it.  So lately, I keep bumping up against tradition, my friends share their traditions, my family talks about ours, it seems to be very prevalent right now. And so many things have changed that I don’t even know which traditions are left. Is that good or bad?

Let’s just talk Christmas for a minute.  Traditionally my family celebrates on Christmas eve.  My family gathers, we eat and exchange gifts.  I do love that tradition (so I guess I have one), but the feel of that has changed over the years.  My family is small, we have no children, the excitement level is way calmer.  But we love each other and we want that sharing to happen.  However, all the traditional food we used to make for the dinner, gone.  This year we had Mexican food, it was wonderful.  Easy, everyone loves it and its healthy.  Is it a new tradition? Maybe….. I know we had fun, I know we laughed, I know we shared gifts and love with each other.  I know it felt good to all of us to share balance

the evening.  I think that was enough. We are evolved into a new way of coming together.  All we really want is to be together.

Everything changes with time, and traditions can either be a beautiful coming together or a expectation that no longer serves our well being.  When tradition changes to expectation or obligation, we need to make an adjustment.  As beautiful as some of traditions are sometimes holding them up is forced and feels sad to me. My holiday season is totally different than 20 years ago.  And I had expectations on how I wanted that to play out in my life. My family was supposed to be bigger, I was supposed to have grandchildren, I was supposed to have a partner, we are all supposed to share large Christmas Eve’s and Christmas day dinner. Traditional dishes, Grandma’s stuffing, my other Grandmas duck. The smells filling the house.  Much singing, cooking, laughter, all of that was supposed to happen every year.  It would be tradition.

Fast  forward to my life now.  Every year my sister and I go to this little lighted parade.  This year for some reason she did not go.  I went with other friends, had fun, enjoyed myself. At first I said to myself  “but we always go”, then I realized things change.  I can change with it and have fun, or I can be miserable.  Maybe we will get back to it and this will be the year we didn’t go. Or maybe that is just over and I can make it into something new that fits my life now. On my sisters birthday this year we baked cookies for Christmas.  That could be a nice new tradition, or maybe it was simply the perfect day, a one time thing.  I can be okay with that.  Traditions are built around time and circumstance.  Last  year a friend of mine and I spent part of New Years day walking out at the lake.  This year we plan to do the same.  Is this becoming tradition?  Maybe.  If we are still doing it in 5 years, then yes, this is our tradition. But if in 5 years one of us has moved,  circumstances have changed, whatever, that does not take away from this time. We should both be celebrating the New Year in the new way, while still remembering and honoring our times together.

“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.― Gustav Mahler

So tradition is a lovely way of remembering the past, the places and people that brought us to today. And I love those feelings. The remembering keeps me connected to not only myself, but where I came from.  Honoring traditions is one way of doing that.   I want that for myself, my son, my family, my friends, my world.   But I want more.  I want to love today, just as it is.  I do not want to sit in tattered memories and worn traditions that only make me feel sad and lacking.  I want to remember my past and carry it into my future.  I want to celebrate today and make new traditions (or not) that fuel the life I live today.  I cannot live my life around outdated traditions that just don’t fit. And I don’t want that for those I love.  This is my life, not the remnants of anyone else’s.  I get to choose what I bring in.  I get to make my own traditions, and I get to let them go when the right time comes
“The human soul can always use a new tradition. Sometimes we require them.”
Yesterday, (Christmas day,) I sat on a rock for an hour listening to a guy play his guitar and sing out to the water. I was all alone, it was totally random, I can never repeat that moment, and I was absolutely at peace.  I felt connected to Spirit, to all those who have passed.  I felt such love for my people and my world. I was whole, perfect and complete in that moment.  I could have been elsewhere, (upholding tradition)  I was invited places, but followed my desires and found a perfect moment.  My wish is that others had that moment in their own ways.
So don’t do anything that feels forced.  Don’t say :well I have to, we have always done it this way”. No you don’t have to.  You get to choose what works for you now, without guilt. If someone says “well we have always done it this way,it is tradition” ask yourself this:
Does it feel good?
Does it feel right?
Do I want this?
Does this have meaning for me?
If you are not answering yes, then maybe it is time to rethink the act.
This is your life, live it.  Take the traditions that work for you and celebrate the hell out of them. Honor old traditions as it feels right for you, and make new traditions. But be ready to shift when life calls you elsewhere.  Life is going to change, be ready. Embrace it. don’t sit sad and alone because things are different.  Get out there and live.  We are the past, the present and the future in one breath.  We are one with the whole, and that includes time. But here in our humanness we have today.  And it is ours, so make it your own, dance your dance, sing your song and live with joy.  May all the traditions you choose to keep bring you joy, peace and a sense of rightness within your world.
Namaste
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Change, Daily Life, Honesty, Inspiration, Self, Spirit

My Rumpled Life

My life is like a rumpled bed.  I came across those two words “rumpled bed” and wow, they fit.  Because my life is not messy, but it is rumpled.  You can tell someone lives here.  And I think that is kind of awesome. Nothing in my life is perfect, or calm, or smooth. I am rumpled.

So what does that mean to me?  Well most people don’t even see the rumples.  They are busy living their lives and look past my bumps and folds.  On the outside I look pretty together.  I have a responsible job, I support myself, my clothes match, I know how to present myself properly, I am fairly healthy, I have friends, a lover, I am on good terms with my family. It all looks good from the outside.

But if I pick it apart I am a little rumpled. Yes I have a good job, but I am stuck and not moving forward.  I know that is on me but apparently I don’t care enough to change it, so bumps there. Yes I support myself, but every single month I stretch the pennies to make it, and savings is joke at this point.  Lots of rumples there, but no one sees it. I look good, I have lots of clothes, I buy them at the thrift shops, more rumpledness.  My health is okay but I don’t go for checkups like I should.  And my weight, well, that plagues me. But if I dress appropriately and keep showing up for work and life, well then no one really notices.  But I am so very rumpled in this area. I will say family, friends, and lover, those are the smooth parts of my rumpled life but we do hit bumps.

She was made for untidy rooms and rumpled beds.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Sunday Philosophy Club

Maybe that is me, because I like my life.   I don’t want a messy life, I have had that.  But I don’t want it all to be smooth sailing either.  Because it is the rumpledness that adds texture.  I have to look around for things.  I have to challenge myself. I have to work through my life; think, feel, experience it.  Right now my apartment is messy. I can look at it and see what needs to be picked up, dusted off, vacuumed.  And I will do that this morning.  When I come home later everything will be spiffy for a minute. But then I will fill it up again. And the cycle continues.  This is how I live my life.

So do we all live rumpled lives?  I think so, to different degrees.  Some lives are messy and mine has been at times. There is a lot of work there and once the messes were cleared I did not care to revisit it.  Those lessons were learned, though I am sure more mess will appear.  I am never done with my lessons.  But in my daily life, moving through my world,  I like It a rumpled, a little scattered.  Not quite in control.  Not quite as it appears to the world. We are human.  When we stop to smell the flowers we might get rained on.  When I see smooth sheets and a made bed I think it is there to be laid on and enjoyed.  Mess those sheets up.  Life is like that.  It is there to be lived, all the way.

I think rumpled is a synonym for opportunity to grow.  It means there is something in my world I can fix. I can make better, I can grow from. And that keeps my juicy, it keeps me engaged, it keeps me reaching and a little unsatisfied.  When I am hungry for something, when my soul calls for it, that is when I make the changes, that is when I smooth the sheets. That is when I feel most alive.  I never want my bed to be completely smooth, I always want something to be calling me to grow.

And I hope that is the same for you.  Whether you are rumpled everywhere or just a little, those are your places to look at.  Those are the sweet spots that take you to another level.  I don’t wish mess for you, mess is hard.  Mess happens when we ignore the rumples.  The rumples are our warning, our signal, our call to change.  May we always have a little bump in our road. And may it lift us higher.

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