Make Up Your Mind

Find Small Things To Be Happy About

Photo courtesy of Women’s Wilderness Retreats

“You’re about as happy as you make up your mind to be.”  This is what I heard from my dad when I asked for words of wisdom at his birthday celebration a while ago.

Dad did not remember who said it, but had found it useful in his life. Turns out they are from Abraham Lincoln, and more powerful because Lincoln suffered from clinical depression and said this before Positive Psychology was “discovered.”

As the weather here in New England gets COLD and icy, I get frustrated with the amount of effort needed to be outside, even to get the mail.  Layers of clothing, boots, crampons for the boots so I don’t slip on the ice. ARGH! Then I remember my folks growing up in Michigan before fleece, down jackets, and wool socks that do not itch, and realize how easy things are for me.

My Love–Hate Relationship with Christmas

And how to lean toward love

I love Christmas and the holidays.

I get to guiltlessly sing along with John Denver and the Muppets at full volume (when no one is around), just sit and stare at the Christmas tree decorated with treasures gathered from near and far over many years, bake a lot, gather with family and friends, and drink milk loaded with fat and sugar (eggnog).

So why do I have bouts of feeling miserable during these lovely days?  When I do allow myself to pause for a few minutes, I realize it’s because I load my plate too full–then take that list seriously.  How crazy is that?

The Most Important Thing to Be Grateful For

Kit Night artist

Look at the familiar with fresh eyes – Kit Night

As most of you know, gratitude can play a key role in our having a satisfying, successful life.

It’s one of the reasons I am grateful that I started my newsletter on Wednesdays–writing about gratitude is almost a requirement on this day before our Thanksgiving holiday.

This year I have been pondering the idea of starting to give thanks at the source.

The source I am talking about is ourselves. We have to focus on our own nurturing in order to create and sustain a healthy body, mind, and spirit. read on>>

One Sure Way to Bring Joyfulness to Thanksgiving

acorn2 free DSC02129We all love Thanksgiving, right?  It’s such a great holiday that even people who did not grow up here in the United States typically embrace Thanksgiving.

And, the day itself can have it’s challenges and stresses–too much to do, at one time, with lots of cooks in the kitchen. And the kitchen is hot.

Here’s my request for each and every one of you: find a way to remind yourself to pause for a moment to think DEEPLY of the things you are grateful for. Go beyond the usual things like family, friends, pumpkin pie, and cable TV.

What about deep abiding love that you have worked hard for?  Or a connection with a long lost friend? Or running water that comes out of the tap clean, fresh and the exact temperature you would like it to be?

Your reminder can be setting an alarm on your phone (or regular clock!), wearing a special piece of jewelry or sweater so that you will pause when you notice it, or a doorway you walk through, or a smile on someone’s face.  If you make a plan to have something trigger you to pause, chances are that you will.

Then allow that pause to resonate with the core of your humanity, to fully feel Joyfulness.

The Pineapple Theory of Creating Joyful Work

You can create JOY in the "stuff you gotta do"

iStock_1096099_Sm smiling pineappleI love my work. I am lucky that I get to do stuff I like most of the day.  The people I work with treat me well. I hope they think I treat them well.

And, there are parts of my day that I do not enjoy.  Since one of my main focuses in work (and life) is Creating Joyful Work, I spent some time pondering this potential conundrum.

It’s kind of like eating pineapple. I LOVE pineapple, especially when I can find a really fresh one with lots of flavor.*  Then there’s the process of cutting off the rind and getting all the tough bits out without wasting too much of the delicious fruit, when all I want to do is sit down to a large bowl of luciousness.

Don’t Should on Yourself

personal-growthI love this phrase because really… who is the hardest on me?  Me!

Since I heard this phrase and started thinking about the things I “should do” versus the things that are true to my core values and not a result of my programming, I realize how often I am doing, or even thinking, things that are not in alignment with who I am.

In addition, when I asked myself where that program came from, I usually made that up too, then blame the other person so I don’t have to take responsibility for being so hard on myself.

Ahh, the joys of the human psyche.  I am sure there are more levels to this, but for now it’s Friday afternoon and I am just going to focus on letting go of the shoulds.

What about you?  Are you hard on yourself?  What programs are you ready to let go of?

5 Minutes Each Day Will Accelerate Your Life!

Your "One Big Thing" Can Take Just 5 Minutes

raised-hands-iStock_5414695_XSm-300x199Every day do One Big Thing.

Here’s the catch, OBT usually takes just a few minutes! “Big” refers to getting outside of our comfort zone, not to taking a long time or investing a lot of resources.

Here’s how I started. To stay focused on the projects and tasks we deemed important, my colleague Todd and I send an email to each other at the end of the day. The email states how well we did in terms of planning our day and sticking to our plan; then finishes with whether we did OBT that day.

How Joyful Was Your Week?

One quick action will ensure it, or increase it!

Idaho-328 squareBefore you transition into weekend mode, please take one minute to write down one instance of Joyful Work from your week – either created or acknowledged.

You can share in the comments below, send an email to a friend, write it on a Post-it so it greats you on Monday morning…or?

Just do it!  You will feel more joyful, I guarantee it!

The Warm Spot that Enhanced My Yoga Practice

iStock_49664044Sm meditating on dockI practice yoga that is very, very mellow.  The focus is relaxation and rejuvenation. Many of the postures take place lying on the floor and are held for a long time so the body has a chance to let go.  I like to do a little each night before I go to sleep for obvious reasons.

This is fine in the summer when temperatures are warm.  In the winter lying on the floor late in the evening is not very inviting.  I looked into getting one of those long hot-pads like massage therapists use, but discovered they are a bit expensive.  I did not want to invest a lot into something I was not sure would make a difference in my practice.

The Power of a Question Mark

What do you truly want?

Opening our hearts in order to be more available to give love and support is a little scary.

Opening our hearts in order to be more available to receiving love and support is a LOT scary.

Being more available to receiving love and support usually involves making a request. Most of us have a hard time making requests, especially direct requests.

The good news: It gets easier with practice.