Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Summer of '19 Playlist

Summer is my favorite season. I think of the scent of Bain de Soleil, the sun warm on my skin, playing with my friends in the pool or the ocean and nights wearing a cool, white linen dress walking in a beach town somewhere. Music is such a visceral part of my life that when a song plays that reminds me of summer, I can't help but get in a good mood.

Here's my playlist for this summer. These songs just make me happy. I hope you enjoy it too. What songs remind you of summer?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Why forgiveness is essential to happiness

Last week I was so angry with someone who let me down that I stayed awake all night stewing about it. I couldn't fall asleep because in my mind I kept having various conversations with them about why I was upset. Somewhere around 4:30am, as I stared at the clock and listened to the birds start stirring outside our window, I had a realization. I don't think you can move forward into joy while you still harbor resentment. It's a like a shade blocking out light.

I realized that forgiveness was something that I needed to do for myself. It doesn't matter how well we know someone, we don't know exactly why someone does the things that he or she does. Whatever happened, happened in the past and what you or I can control is what is happening right now. You may have been wronged. It could be something minor or something that seems unforgivable. The thing is, that forgiveness doesn't mean that you have forgotten what happened. What is means is that you are letting go of the way that the hurt felt. When you are angry with someone it permeates your life. You run conversations in your head. Your other relationships suffer because you're either in such a bad mood or you are protecting your heart in case someone hurts you like that again.

Forgiving doesn't make you weak. It doesn't mean that you are accepting of someone's actions or that you don't expect more of them. When you forgive, you shake your heart out of all of those little bits of anger/sadness/frustration/disappointment that stick in your soul like angry little poppyseeds.

If someone asks for your forgiveness, if they seem sincere, give it to them. Chances are, they are embarrassed or humiliated that they caused you angst. Yes, yes, there is the chance that they either have no idea that they upset you or the did the action on purpose and they have no regret for hurting you. In this case, still forgive. You can forgive without telling someone. Forgiveness happens in your heart and radiates outward.

Mr. Rogers said "Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies that our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love. Like all of life's important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early I our lives." (This is one of what seems like a million things I am teaching Waverly.)

I am making the decision to forgive my friend who hurt me because I don't want to carry this hurt in my heart. I don't want this anger to keep chafing the inside of my soul like the back of a shoe on a blister.  Forgiveness is a salve. Forgive and heal. There is no downside. There is no price to forgiveness. If you think that staying angry is an answer, it isn't. Who does the anger help? Do you feel better when you're angry? No and while you may not want to continue a relationship with the person who acted thoughtlessly (maybe not now, maybe not ever),  forgiveness cleans out the negative clutter that stops you from moving forward. In the best case scenario, you and there other person move past what happened and you're stronger for it. In some cases, you move forward alone. You still have a soul/heart/mind that no longer carrying the albatross of hate.

I hope whatever or whoever you need to forgive, happens this week. I hope you have a happy week.


Monday, June 3, 2019

How to get the things done you don't want to do

Last week I finally crossed some things off my to-do list that had been on there so long that I automatically just looked past them to get to the other tasks. I realized, though, that these things that weren't getting done were like a heavy weight on my shoulders. I kept telling myself that I had to get them done but because they took too much mental or physical energy, I just kept putting them off.

I decided that I needed to revisit my list and decide if I actually really needed to get these things done. So, I took them one by one. Would it be a bad thing if I didn't do it or pushed it off? In the things that I had on my list,  the answer was that ALL of them needed my attention. I needed to book travel to the east coast. I needed to revisit graduate school and decide if I wanted to continue. I needed to sell or give away the things that no longer suited Waverly who is fast approaching two years-old!

I gave myself one week to take action on every single one of these. I booked travel. I decided that I wouldn't continue graduate school while Waverly is still so young. I made a phone call that I didn't want to make (but am glad I did.) I sold some of Waverly's baby things and have set aside every Monday to go through more of her things until I am caught up and our guest room no longer looks like a baby shower exploded in there.

I found that the key to getting things done that I have been putting off was to schedule time in my calendar to focus completely on this task. When the alarm went off, I shut off my phone, closed my email and focused solely on the task at hand. I gave myself a finite amount of time to make a decision or to at least begin the process that I had been putting off.

Once I had checked off everything on my list, I felt this sense of lightness. It was like my desk was piled with messy files and it was now clean and organized. I was proud of the progress that I made and that after several months of staring at the Reminders app on my phone, I was finally able to delete the tasks. I don't know how to even describe how good it feels to accomplish the things that I have been putting off. I feel so light and happy. I think when your head is somewhere else, it's hard for happiness to find its way to you.

I hope that this month  you make room for light in your life too.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

the guide to being happy #201

I have a friend who is feeling broken. Last week was traumatic, even after all the prayers and signs that things would go her way. I talked with her all weekend and said "Take this time to mourn. What happened is awful and painful and life altering but on Tuesday you need a plan. You start a new, different life but you have to start. You survived this. You dreaded the day that this might happen. It happened and you survived it. Now you are going to thrive it."

This post is for everyone reading this who feels angry or sad or humiliated or numb at the way things have turned out. What I can say is this:

1. You are not alone. A lot of people are having shitty days today too. Many, a lot worse than you.
2. You have a choice for which way your life is going to go. It's completely up to you how you are going to react to the shit storm that was thrown your way.
3. Yup, you have another option. You can wallow in the sadness that you think you are gong to feel forever. I promise you won't feel like this forever. Right now, it's not ideal but each day it will feel a little less awful and one day, not long from now, you will laugh again.

For now, if you need just ONE thing to hold onto, it's the fact that what happened to you didn't kill you. This means that you have an opportunity to live the life that makes you happy. You're going to work hard for it but oh, imagine what it will feel like when that day comes and you can smile,  tilt your head up to the sun and feel your heart glow again. It will be worth it and you will be so proud of the you right now that is flighting for every single step forward.

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