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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Change, Choice, Courage, friendship, Growth, Relationships, Truth, Uncategorized

Having Hard Conversations

I am with a friend this week and a hard conversation comes up.  If you are in the US you know we having a lot of division regarding the killing of blacks by police. That is a stark statement, but that is what is happening. So people are lining up and taking sides. And we have peacemakers who say #lovematters or #alllivesmatter. But it does seem we called upon to choose a side. That is a problem for me. I know there is good and bad in each segment of the population. I can’t really choose to support one side over another.

But apparently my friend could, as she came down on the side of the police. And she made some racist statements and then ended it by saying “well, I am a bigot” in this offhand manner. I know I was supposed to laugh it off, I know I was supposed to ignore the statement. I know she expected me to support her or at least not call her out. Sigh.

These are the hard conversations, when it is your friend, your family, someone you want to have  a continued relationship with. It is easy online to stand up for what you believe. It is easy when you are in company of like minded people to stand up for what you believe. It is easy when you are disguised behind a keyboard to stand up for what you believe. It is hard when you are one on one with a friend and you have to say “well I am not a bigot, and this is why”

But I did it. If I am going to present myself as a person who does believe that all lives have value and that we have a problem with racism in our country, then I have to stand up and say that. Am I willing to risk being uncomfortable or offending a friend?  Are my beliefs worth that?  Yes. Am I willing to say I feel differently than you, I believe you are wrong? Well I guess I am.

speak the truth

So we had a conversation and I saw some of where she was coming from.  Her experience with a black person (beyond superficial) was not a good one. It was traumatic for her, and the police were her angels. And from that place she built a belief system on who is right and who is wrong. And the police came out on top.

I know what she went through was hard, and she struggles with it to this day. But I have a different experience. I have a close long term relationship with a black man . I have friends who are black. I am able to hear and see some of their struggles first hand. And I shared that with her. Maybe, just maybe, she saw some common humanity in all of our struggles. Maybe.

But this is what I know. My job is to speak my truth, even when it is uncomfortable. My job is to back up my thoughts with my words. Even when I don’t want to . It is not enough to stay quiet anymore. It is not enough to not “rock the boat”. That is how we got in this mess. It is not about being loud or forcing my ideas and beliefs on someone else.  I can speak respectfully, I can listen to the other side and I can learn from a different point of view.

But I will not be quiet anymore just to keep someone comfortable. I will speak my piece and call out racism, homophobia, misogyny or any other belief that keeps people down. If you are uncomfortable with that, I am not even sorry.  Because it is when we are uncomfortable we know we have work to do.

So speak up,  have those hard conversations. That is how we will make the changes we all want and need in our lives. Stand up for what you believe and do it with Love. Be willing to be the one who opens the conversations. Be Brave.

Namaste

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Connection, Daily Life, daily practice, friendship, Inspiration, Love

Love is An Action Word

There are a million quotes on Love:

Love what is

Love makes the world go round

All you need is love

You love me? Real or not real? Real.

I could go on and on and on. Love is the most talked about, written about, sang about thing in the history of all time. But I was thinking what kind of word is love?  Is it a   verb or a noun? Or even an adjective? So I look it up..it is a verb, a noun and  an adjective. How really all inclusive love is.

But Love in Action, that is what I am thinking about right now. To really recognize when I do something, I am showing Love, in action.

When I water my plants,  Love in action.

When I listen to my friend, Love in action.

When I go to my friends sons baseball game, Love in action

When I text someone to say good morning, Love in action.

When I make my home clean and comfortable, Love in action.

When I help out a co worker, Love in action.

When I pray, Love in action.

When I greet a stranger with a smile, Love in action.

When I am welcoming to my lover, Love in action.

When I support my community, Love in action.

When I step up and help a friend who cannot ask, Love in action.

When I share food, Love in action.

This list could go on and on. All of this are actions that have happened in my life in the last 4 days. All of this love in action. And this is how I want to live. To recognize all these acts of love that are not called love, but are Love.

We speak much of love. We write songs, we tell each other I love you. There are poems and sonnets. And that is all amazingly beautiful and necessary.  But let us not overlook the million simple ways that love is shown.  Because these ways are simple and part of our daily living perhaps we tend to not give them the importance and acknowledgement we should. Yes, a song is lovely and I will enjoy it. But a meal made and shared with a friend, that will live in the heart long after the note of the song has faded.

 

 

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Choice, Daily Life, Growth, Inspiration, Relationships, Uncategorized

Letting Life Unfold

I am getting better at this, letting life unfold. But wow, it is hard.

Just like everyone at any given moment in my life, I have a lot of balls in the air. Most are not even related to each other. They are unsettled and undecided.  Who knows how everything is going to shake out. And it is hard for me to not start grabbing the balls and placing them where I want them.  And why shouldn’t I?

Well, for one thing that takes a lot of energy. Moving those balls around, convincing other people this is where they should be. Watching them in case one starts to roll. Feeling responsible that they are all well cared for and in good shape. This is a lot of work. And I am missing the moment and joys of today with all that rushing around.

And then what if the balls I am taking are not even mine? That is important to know, is this mine?  Just because something is in my field of vision does not make it mine. I have to be conscious of that and not take over what belongs to someone else. Here is a little example I have right now. My beloved friend is going through a break up. It is hers. I can be supportive, I can offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen with and a caring heart. But that is it. What they do with it, not my call. The lessons they learn, not mine. So as close as my friend is to me,  I am an observer in this.

Here is another, I am looking for a new position.  I work in an agency that has opportunities within my division and beyond. So I have spread my wings, took the tests and am interviewing in a few different areas. I want to take this ball and move it the way I want it to go. But I cannot see beyond the immediate moment right now, and I need to allow for the bigger picture to unfold. So I just move through it. I take the situations placed before me and do my best. I try to stay in a place of ease and grace. I stay with the knowledge that all of this leads me to my good and I need not rearrange the balls. Let life unfold.

Relationships…..this is where I really want to push. And it is the one area that I need to use the most restraint. Because really, a job, housing, a purchase, a decision on education or travel, that is all about me. And if I screw it up, I am the one who gets the lessons. But relationships, I am not in control here. I do not get to decide how someone reacts, what they want, and how they show up in my life. But if I can let life unfold the relationship, in whatever form it takes, it will be authentic. And that is what I truly want.

“As someone who has faced as much disappointment as most people, I’ve come to trust not that events will always unfold exactly as I want, but that I will be fine either way.”

Marianne Williamson

I do have to be responsible and accountable. I can’t just do nothing. I have to be an active participant in my life .I set the context for what I want in my life and I let it unfold.  I have keep my eyes and my heart open and act accordingly. But I don’t need to be stressed or worried. I can remember this is not all on me, it is me with God.

So I am going to sit back and let life lead the way. I am going to stay in a place of trust that all good comes my way and I need not push it. Life is to be enjoyed and there are wonders around every corner.  This is a wonderful amazing journey and I want to be open to where ever it leads. By following my intuition and my heart, and having trust in the Divine,  I can enjoy the ride.

Namaste

 

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Balance, Choice, Daily Life, Growth, Inspiration, life, Soul

Drink From Your Glass

Is the glass half full or half empty?  That has been the eternal question.  Your perception of the glass has been used to judge your general attitude for life. Or at least at that moment in your life.

So the other day, someone asked me that question, and I paused for a moment to think. To really give an honest answer and what came up for me, is it doesn’t matter. Because the glass is refillable.  So I can drink from the glass,  I can empty the glass and then fill it back up.

Life isn’t always a full glass.  If the glass is a metaphor for life, well then we need to use the stuff inside.  If we just left  the glass sitting there, full, it would, in time, become stagnant, stale, unused, not enjoyed.  Whether it is love, or money, or energy, or time.  Whatever that glass is representing needs to be used. And then guess what, we can fill it up again.

So I say drink from the glass, use everything you can.  Don’t watch the levels, know there is always more available to you.  In this abundant universe there is always more. Believe in this abundance, believe you can always fill your glass.  You don’t have to hoard your time, love, energy, wealth.  You don’t have to keep your glass full, drink from it, drink from life.  And then fill it back up.

Namaste

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Choice, Daily Life, forgiveness, Growth, Healing, Inspiration, Mother

You are the Star of Your LIfe

This is your life, own it.  Everyone else is a spectator, you are the star.  If you do not live your life, your way, you are missing out on the greatest gift the Universe has to offer, your own wholeness.

There are many people around you, most of them have an opinion on how you should live, act, think, believe. Who you should love, why you should love, where you should love.  Everyone has their own agenda, it doesn’t matter.  Own your life,  this is your gift to yourself.

Even the most well meaning loving people have their own agenda.  I have one,  I have ways I want people to react.  I might want them to believe something because it is important to me.  I might want them love me, because I love them.  I might want them to behave in a certain way because it supports my belief.  And all of this wanting is done with a loving heart.  It doesn’t matter. It is not up to me.  I need to at look at what I want for others,  as my mirror for myself.

I have sat at bedsides of loved ones dying. I attended my mothers, and more recently my grandmothers death.  As heart wrenching and painful as those moments were, here is the truth, they died, I did not. It was their death, not mine, It was their life, not mine. At that moment what do you want to remember?  I want to remember I owned my life.  I did not give it away.  I felt my pains, I celebrated my joys, I chose my loves, I made up my own mind on my beliefs.  This is my life, not anyone else.  And when I die, I take my life with me.  The ones left behind are free to live theirs.

So this is our moment, this is our time to say “I am going to live my life, I am going to own my life. It is too precious to give away.  My beliefs, my decisions, my scars, my joys, my loves, my struggles, my lessons, my triumphs,  they are mine. I have earned them. I will keep them and I will celebrate them.”

I know it has been said way too often, but today I need to say it one more time….Today is the first day of the rest of your life

Have a beautiful day

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challenges, Change, daily practice, family, Growth, Relationships

It is Time to Release the Mantra

I don’t even really know where to start.  2 weeks ago my grandmother passed away and I have so many feelings about it.  They are all mixed up.  She was 94 and lived every day of her life.  Her illness was not lingering, she was not suffering.  She basically lived up until the final day.  The day before she died she sitting up in intensive care talking to me, loving me, and living life. The next day she was gone. That cannot be a bad thing.

But for me, I miss my grandma. And now I am looking at another loss.  I see this news headline and 7 children died in a fire.  How do parents survive that?  I mean, that is a tragedy.  That is a loss.  Everywhere I look I see losses that seem to me greater, more significant than mine.  I think for me, it is just adding them all up. And I feel like it is wearing me down.

My life feels so different now. Quick view:  3 years it looked like this:  I was living in my home of 20 years, I had a mom, I lived with my son and our 2 dogs, my sister lived on the next street, my sister was healthy, I was healthy, I liked my job,  I had a grandmother.

Now much of that is gone, I lost the house, my mom died, my son moved out, we had to put one dog to sleep (old age) and re home the other.  My sister and I live miles apart.  My sister had a health crisis and our relationship is changed.  The stress comes out through a variety of health issues. One of my best friends moved away. The work environment has changed and I am unhappy at my job. I tried to have a romantic relationship, that failed. I am trying to get on feet financially and help my son, it is a constant daily struggle. Now my grandmother has died. It is all adding up. I did the lifestyle stress test, I am in trouble.

And I can feel all of this in my body and I have to fix it.  I am starting to have more nocturnal anxiety attacks. My hair continues to shed, I am tired, I have gained weight.  Everything feels like a struggle and I have no emotional reserves.  I was so drained from the whole losing my mom, my home and all that went with that.  I was just starting to get it together when my sister had a big health crisis last summer.  She is my best friend, and now it has changed so much.  And now a few months later my grandmother is gone. Could all of this just please stop?

I can tell you I am trying to mitigate the stress as much as possible.  I meditate daily, I take long walks to clear my head.  I pray.  I try to spend time with friends but it seems that laughter and fun are missing these days.  Everything seem intense. I really just need to fucking relax and let it go. If you have to work at relaxing is that really relaxing?  I don’t think so. But I have to start somewhere.  When I see my son, what I say is “are you having any fun?”  Could I say that to myself?  Because apparently I am on a roller coaster ride these last few years. I guess I need to learn to love the ride.

I keep thinking of losses, I have lost this, I have lost that. That feels sad, that feels pathetic.  It is a pity party.  The truth is I have lost nothing.  I still have a mom and a grandmother.  They are not in physical form,  but I will always be a daughter and a granddaughter.  The souls we share lives with are never away from us. I know that to be true. And that goes for every being, human or not, that I have loved. Everything else is simply stuff.

I still have a home, a different home.  My relationship with my sister is different, but perhaps there can a deepening from the shared journey.  My son, he loves me, but he lives his own life. Isn’t that what i raised him for? Friends?  Well, even the ones I don’t share my time with now, I can love them and I can know they love me.  And I can welcome the new relationships into my life. Work?  I can keep in front of me the knowledge that I can only do my best, I am not in charge of how others respond.  Because at the end of the day if I have loved some, laughed a little, relaxed, been honest with myself and others, prayed, meditated, had a good meal, took a walk and breathed in nature, and laid down my head safe in my home, what more can I really ask for?  That is life, that is the good life.

So I have to accept change again.  I am doing this guided meditation with Deepak Chopra and the end he says “it is time to release the mantra”.  My mantra has been ” I have lost so much.” It is time to release that mantra.  Because it is not about loss, it never was.  It is about change, and change will always happen.  Change causes me to grow, to stretch myself, to look inside, to be honest, to be brave, to be compassionate.  Change makes me better.  And I will always ask for that, to be better.  And if change is the price, than so be it, I am willing. So no more loss, this is about growth. This is about life. And I am grateful.

And so it is.

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