Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

I was so excited to hear from my Laughter Yoga teacher friend Peggy Tileston, that this Wednesday is a newly minted holiday. It’s one that I would love to have honored 365 days a year and really it could be with a flip of a switch in our minds. How much time do we waste obsessing over what could go wrong, kvetching and complaining about our lot in life, when we could easily be dancing with abandon? While I know that there are people struggling and suffering all throughout the world, I know equally as powerful is the call to experience the emotion of happiness in the midst of it. In February of 2011, a movie debuted and was shown in theaters on Valentine’s weekened (2/11/11) all over the world just for that one day. It is called Happy and it depicts life in various countries, some shockingly poor, some devastatingly high pressure, with everything in between. What the film-makers discovered is that happiness is a choice and the difference between people who are chronically unhappy and those who are contagiously happy is the choice to cross over the line that divides the two. I find myself more often than not, embracing happiness even in the midst of potentially unhappy circumstances. Why do I do that?  I sense that it is because I have learned that focusing on what there is to be happy about is a far sight more likely to produce it. While no emotion can be sustained forever, it is certainly possible and I would say, preferably to expand out capacity to experience and express it.
Action For Happiness has joined heart and hand with The United Nations to celebrate the first UN International Day of Happiness which is March 20th.
They describe their mission in this way:
“Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier society. We want to see a fundamentally different way of life where people care less about what they can get for themselves and more about the happiness of others. We are bringing together like-minded people from all walks of life, drawing on the latest scientific research and backed by leading experts from the fields of… psychology, education, economics, social innovation and beyond. Members of the movement make a simple pledge: to try to create more happiness in the world around them through the way they approach their lives. We provide practical ideas to enable people to take action in different areas of their lives – at home, at work or in the community. We hope many of our members will form local groups to take action together.”
Check out their website and discover ideas for drenching yourself in happiness and join with others who are doing it too by taking the pledge. I did.
What are some ways to experience more, deeper, richer, fuller states of happiness?
How about:
Make a gratitude list
Do something kind for another
Plant a tree or a garden, digging your hands into soil (make mud pies too while you’re there:)
Visit a nursing home resident
Play with a child
Do FREE HUGS
Blow bubbles
Splash in puddles
Take a bubble bath
Eat a treat (guilt free)
Sing in the car or shower
Do Laughter Yoga
Be creative
Dance
Sing
Smile
What are your favorite happiness inducers?
www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dd-diB65scQU Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin

 

At any given moment, it seems like I have a gazillion thoughts running rampant in my mind. They sometimes remind me of pick up stix.  I have heard that the human brain experiences approximately 70,000 thoughts every day.  Sometimes they are so subtle that we don’t even notice them.  At this moment, mine are “oh, I notice the clicks of my fingers on the keys, the coo of the mourning dove outside my window, my stomach growling pre-breakfast, that I have alot to get done today, including this article, a coaching client at 11, going into the office for the rest of the day, noticing a sheer vest that I had washed last night, hanging to dry on the spiral staircase that I see from my open bed room door, and that I need to restart the dryer to dry the rest of the clothes that I had put in last night,  that I need to run some errands before the client appointment, that a car door just closed, the gentle hum of the laptop, a slight sense of fatigue after a long weekend away….” And so it goes. Interesting as I consider it, that those thoughts are what I would deem ‘positive’…good start to my day. There are certainly times throughout the day when they give way to frustrating, uggghhhh, how the heck did THAT happen, what was I thinking, come on Universe, let’s get it together mental meanderings. It’s then that I remember that just as Dorothy always had it within her to whisk herself from Oz to Kansas, so too do I have the means to bring myself back home.

This weekend I both attended and spoke at the CCBC Women’s Conference in Catonsville, MD. There were likely thousands of folks there over the two day span with a central message of empowerment. I was on stage the first day, offering a message called Peeling Off The Layers To Reveal The Goddess In The Mirror. As is often the case, even if I have an agenda, outline, some general idea of what I want to say,  I find myself ‘ordering off the menu’, getting beckoned to share something that may seem like a non-sequitur, but people somehow follow along, nodding and smiling. I call it being in the flow and just loving the process wherever it leads me. I offered to the group that sometimes I don’t feel like the image of a Goddess and on my way over Saturday morning, I wondered why my shirt felt funny. I looked down and noticed that it was on backward.  I went into the bathroom to turn it around and take a pre-presentation pee and saw that my underwear was on inside out! That I left as is.  No such thing as TMI between friends and who knows how many readers here.

One of the organizers, Ginny Presley Robertson was speaking about the concept of Getting Out Of Your Own Way. I sat with rapt attention, since at times, I am the most boulder- like blockage in my own path. She said something that triggered a thought in my head, that we all have ‘perception deficit disorder’ which is indeed a close cousin to attention deficit disorder. What we perceive becomes our default reality. When I look at people and circumstances through the eyes of fear or doubt, the world beceomes a scary place with monsters lurking around every corner. When I shift perception (which is the way A Course In Miracles defines a miracle), the monsters disappear in a puff of smoke and to quote my favorite line from Neverending Story, “It’s like the nothing ever was.”

Yes ~This is  a deceptively simple concept and yet how often do we pretend that it isn’t so? We may tell ourselves that life will be ever so much better when things change…when we grow up and move out, when we have a loving partner, the job of our dreams, the slim, trim, svelte body we desire (ours or someone else’s), graduate college, make a six or seven figure income, live in a home that would be the envy of the neighborhood, drive a stylin’ car, have a gorgeous wardrobe…..  It’s that endless search for gratification outside of ourselves that we think will fill us up and only has us hungering for more, never satisfied.

I get sucked into that endless cycle hamster wheel at times as well and then I remind myself how rich and juicy life is when experienced moment by moment. As I’m typing these words into my laptop at my dining room table, there is a vase of wilted flowers with closed roses and literally two open pink and white flora whose name escapes me at the moment, listening to Canadian artist Feist singing “How Come You Never Go There?” in her bluesy, hip swaying, eyes closed manner and sipping blueberry acai green tea as I wind down my day. It started out heading into my  job as a drug and alcohol counselor and then home in time to host my radio show called It’s All About Relationships on Vivid Life Radio  and interviewing sacred sexuality teacher Sarita who was calling in from France where it was 1 a.m. and she ran through the snow to a neighbor’s house to use his land line since her internet was down and she couldn’t call in via skype. Such dedication to keeping her commitment. An hour later, I listened to the replay and smiled with delight and felt extremely blessed to be able to speak to people worldwide as I’m sitting in my suburban Philly home, just as the words that come through me are being read by folks in countries I may never visit except in my vivid imagination.

Tomorrow I am heading to Virginia and Maryland to attend a workshop taught by a California based spiritual teacher/healer friend and then speaking at a women’s conference. That is part of my on stage without a rehearsal life. The truth is, we really don’t need a rehearsal to be our genuine, crystal clear selves, living with spontaneity and authenticity. We can become improvisational livers and lovers of life.  Enjoy your weekend to the fullest. Catch you on the other side of it.

 

http://youtu.be/-hQ3QsGd3BU  How Come You Never Go There?- Feist

www.vividlife.me

 

My new word too, Karen.  Each day, we are faced with change and choice. While we may have no choice about the circumstances that come our way, we always have the option to determine via our free will, what we do with it. Often we spend so much time bemoaning our fate that we aren’t left with enough energy to change it. Today while at work, some of my clients were discussing this very subject. We were playing what I think of as the “Thank God, I…..” game in which we are able to take a look at circumstances that were painful, challenging and unthinkable and sort them and come up with the treasure in the muck, the pony in manure, the….well, you get the picture. There is actually a book by that name in which the authors of the chapters including my friend Susan Burger (her Chapter was called Thank God My Best Friend Died)  wrote about loss of life, job, health, safety, freedom. Titles include :Thank God I Was Raped, Thank God I Lost My Mind, Thank God I Had Cancer, Thank God I Lost My Dream Job and Found My Dream. I know it’s difficult to imagine in any way being grateful for those experiences, but consider times in your life in which the worst of things became the best of things.

I was speaking with someone today about being able to sort through what most would consider tough situations in my life that these days are simply an integrated part of all that I am…an ectopic pregnancy, an ill (for 6 years) spouse, losing a home and a business to a hurricane, all in one year. The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory measures stress related life events and assigns point values to them. In 1992, the year I just described, I accumulated 332 points (and it didn’t take into account Hurricane Andrew!) which was way over the top.   In 1998, the year Michael died, I racked up 334 points.  According to this scale, it’s amazing that I remained sane and vertical. I attribute much of that to learned resilience, a deep and abiding faith and steadfast and loving family and friends that are with me to this day.

What I now recognize is the ‘blesson’ in the mess.  If not for those experiences, I would not have become an interfaith minister, free lance journalist and bereavement counselor. I would likely be operating by theory, rather than direct experience. I wouldn’t have as many stories to tell and I wouldn’t be writing this words. And for all of that, I am grateful.

www.youblisher.com/p/12231-Thank-God-I/

www.stress.org/holmes-rahe-stress-inventory/