Happiness Alert: Life Not Working? Grab Your Lampshade

Grab your lampshade. Now.

Grab your lampshade. Now.

It’s very revealing when you wake up. Are you refreshed? Are you content? Are you excited? Or are you exhausted? Are you anxious? Are you angry? Are you rushed?

 

Our brains are hardwired to view things as negative or bad as a form of protection. But existing in this state 24/7 can cause more harm than good and leave you as a pile of ashes. Who wants that? Cue crickets chirping.

 

On the other hand, laughing has been studied and shown to be an immune system and blood pressure reducer. This is huge. Look for humor. Everywhere. Now. How do you do it?

 

Start with yourself

When you notice yourself getting worked up about the bumper to bumper traffic, the person who annoys you at work, your unfinished chores, or other bumps in the road of life, visualize what your face is doing at that time. If imagining yourself with a face of a squeezed lemon with your hands on your hips or shaking your fist at the sky doesn’t make you crack a smile, then try again. This takes you out of the heat of the moment and helps you realized that this tense time is just that… a moment.

 

Engage with other people who have a sense of humor

Like the saying goes, if you lay down with dogs you are going to get fleas. Who you surround yourself with is who you become, or at least who influences you most. So find some clowns. Seriously. Spending time with people who have a sense of humor not only helps you bond through the good and the bad but it also improves your sense of connection and life span. And that’s no laughing matter.

 

Look for Humor

We are all different. And so is our humor. When you go out into the world today, find humor wherever you go. And let’s be clear. Look for humor that doesn’t demean or injure others. You don’t want that low vibration of humor floating around your life. So watch a few episodes of your favorite comedy. Listen to your children try to make sense of the world when they are playing. Watch your dog go after a chew toy.

 

Play

Life goes by fast. And before we know it a decade or more has gone by. The way to get the most juice out of life is to enjoy as much as we can. Playing helps open us up to each other and the world around us. Playing helps create a safe place for us. So sing, dance, go outside, give yourself a manicure, read a comic, draw, or anything that seems a little frivolous. Then grab your lampshade and your cowbell. Never forget your cowbell. Namaste.

 

 

How to Make the Big Change: The Ride of Your Life

Enjoy the ride.

Enjoy the ride.

Sometimes I feel like throwing up.

 

Sometimes I feel like throwing up when I watch my kids. I feel woozy when they are playing with sticks, rocks, bugs, or when the ride their bikes. Especially when they ride their bikes. With their well-fitted helmets and training wheels, I see their chicken legs wobble, and sweaty hands begin a tug of war with the handlebars.

 

The handlebars always win.

 

My gut knows exactly the precise second when they are going to eat dirt, grass, or concrete for dinner. And through the cuts, scrapes, and running boogers that fall into their mouths when they cry, I let my spawn do it again.

 

Why? (I know, I sometimes ask this question myself.)

 

I let them because I know that my kids will be more resilient through this process, and eventually in life. Is it easy? No. It makes me nauseous. Yes. When it gets to be too much, I remember to take a breath. And then another one.

 

Now, it’s your turn. Take a breath and close your eyes.

 

Where do you need to make a change in your life?

 

If you don’t know right away, try to think of something small you want to change.

It could be like cleaning your car or your home. Or it could be a bigger change like improving your health or finances. You might go for a huge change and decide that you are ready to put yourself first. Perhaps you need a whopper change. Maybe you want out of a relationship. Or maybe you are ready to enter one. Most of life’s changes are possible, but to be successful, it’s essential to have a map for the stops along the way so you can stay on course.

 

Five Steps to Make a Big Change in Your Life

 

  1. Embrace the change

 

In the beginning, change almost always sounds fun and exciting. When my kids got their new helmets and shiny bikes, they wanted to start riding right away. None of the cells in their body could hear the word, “no.”

 

When it comes to a new change in your life, you do need this momentum to get the wheels turning. If you have been stagnant in any area of your life, it takes more energy to move from just an idea to actually take action and do the work to attain your goal. So when you have an inkling that you want something new or different in your life, use that “rider’s high” of excitement and start peddling in the area of your desire.

 

 

  1. Make peace with the temporary fear

My kids in their excitement didn’t hear my “no.” They peddled with crazed enthusiasm into our Christmas tree. After a shriek and a scream, they fell to the ground. My heart stopped. And then they start laughing and trying to ride in the house again.

 

When you decide to do something daringly different, if you let enough time pass, your reptilian brain starts to kick in. You start to feel fear. Some of it’s real and some of it is imaginary. In fear, you second-guess yourself. You question your beauty, your brains, and your judgment. And sometimes you even ask if your happiness is even worth it. Don’t do it. Understand that anything that worth doing will stir feelings in you because you want to avoid pain.

 

And guess what, that’s okay. That’s normal. So make peace that the fear is rational, but that living an amazing life takes guts. And you have that too. Feel the sensation of fear, but remind yourself that you have done things in life that you thought you couldn’t do and you did it. When you feel the doubt or fear again remember that again.

 

 

  1. Prepare your mind for the time

When my kids finally were able to go outside to ride their bikes, they thought they would be able to figure it out in a blink of an eye. This is expected. They are five and seven. But honestly, we all expect results faster than we can produce them. When it comes to making a change in your life, give yourself a generous timeline. This doesn’t mean a never-ending timeline, but a realistic one. If you want to lose fifty pounds in a month, this wouldn’t be realistic. You would lose all the momentum and excitement. A better goal might be to walk for thirty minutes as a first step for the next thirty days. This works the same if you are trying to find your dream job or dream lover. Make your steps and changes small and measurable so that you can attain success and build upon it.

 

 

  1. Feel all the feelings.

Just the idea of making a significant change can create a huge range of emotional landscape. You will go through the cracks and bumps of excitement and despair. You will go through the valleys and hills of potential and pain. Some days it will suck. But don’t stop. Acknowledge the feelings of the journey and know they are all helping you to get to the next point of your map. Your feelings will also give you important feedback about this huge change. You will know if it’s worth it. You will know how much life energy you will devote to this change.

 

You may also find out if it’s time to leave or stick it out. My boys were happy, sad, scared, angry, rebellious, disgusted, whiny, fierce and silly all in thirty minutes when it came to riding their bikes. Watching their transformation from fear to fierceness reminded me of my own joy ride when it comes to big changes in my life.

  1. Find the gratitude in every step.

You will find creating a major change in your life takes many steps. From dreaming about change to speaking the ideas out loud, all these steps lead to a new creation of you. Enlisting outside help from friends and family or other sources may be needed to attain your change. You may need more time and patience. You always need more kindness toward yourself so create that as a step. When you become challenged or tired and don’t think you can work toward the changes you want in life, think about all the effort you have put forth so far. Reflect on the wisdom of what you have experienced or learned. Think about the people who love and support you in this new change, and feel the gratitude that comes with this. This will carry you over your bumpiest roads. And isn’t creating a new life for yourself worth it?

 

Whether you are aware of it or not, we are in a state of constant change. My boys will eventually master bike riding and I’ll take fewer Alka-Seltzers. If we embrace the flow and grab the handlebars of the change we need in our own lives with small steps, resilience and love for ourselves, we may just experience the ride of our lives.

Wear a helmet. Namaste.

  Use it or lose it. The Price of Not Using Your Intuition.

Use or lose.

Use or lose.

 

What would you do to save a life?

 

Would you listen to that little voice in your head? Would you feel those tingly sensations in your stomach? Would you notice that something didn’t feel quite right at the moment? Would you let that nagging feeling linger and do something about it? Or simply ignore it.

 

Would you ignore it if a life depended on it?

 

Three days ago, I was hanging out at the last pool party of the season with my family. Across the pool, I saw another mom friend. I was excited to see my friend Michelle because both our boys are in kinder this year at the same school

 

As we spoke of making time together and having “mommy juice.” The next thing I said was, “Yes, let’s get together so we can figure out to save the world.” Just as we laughed, a tiny human ran by us. She had tears in her wide blue eyes and a look of panic. My friend Michelle and her mama bear instincts took over. She scooped up the little girl. I asked the little one’s name. She only let her tears and coughing talk.

 

I ran to the cabana to find someone to get on the PA system. We could only refer to her as the little girl with “a polka dot suit.” Michelle and I looked closer at the little girl; mucus was coming out quickly from her button nose. She didn’t seem right and she put the child down and the child instantly projectile vomited on the wet cement. My friend wrapped up the little girl with a towel in her arms. We both looked at each other. We could hear the voices in our heads. “She fell into the water.”

 

Thankfully someone to made another announcement. This one was louder. When I turned around to check on our sweet baby, she was lethargic and was falling asleep in my friend’s arms. My chest constricted. It started to hurt. The voices in my head started yelling. “Water in lungs. Water in lungs. Water in lungs.”

The next words I heard were “secondary drowning.” This unfortunate incident can happen 1-24 hours later. Water enters the lungs and can cause pulmonary edema. This fluid causes difficulty with breathing and death. The crazy thing is how did I know this? I’m not a doctor. Maybe I heard it on Oprah or Dr. Oz. Wherever I heard it from, it was coming on full surround sound in my entire being.

 

The mom came running over. We told the mom we believed her baby fell in the pool, even though we had no evidence of it at the time. I told the mom she should take her daughter to a doctor. The mom profusely thanked us and took her daughter to a bench to get her other older child.

 

At this time, I could have turned away. Most folks did. Everyone thought the girl had just gotten lost. And now the toddler was reunited with her mama. End of story. Happy ending.

But my chest still felt constricted. I couldn’t stop staring in the direction at the family of girls. Everything in my body said, “Don’t leave the mom. Help her. Tell her. Water in lungs. Water in lungs. Water in lungs.”

 

My husband found me, wondering where I had been. Then he noticed “the look.” It’s my crazy I’m-going-to-chase-down-a-complete-stranger-because-it’s-urgent look.” I told him I needed to help the mom get to her car.

 

I pleaded with the mom to make sure that she would take her daughter to the doctor. I told her about my concern that her child had water in her lungs. The projectile vomiting and lethargy also set off loud bells in me internally. I offered to walk with the mom and her 6-year-old daughter to their car. She allowed me. As a complete stranger, I was grateful. I carried their bags. I strapped the older one in with her seatbelt, while mom strapped the two-year-old baby in the car. I told the mom I’d find her on Facebook since I didn’t have my phone with me.

 

The mom quickly drove off. For a minute, I felt like a crazy person. Didn’t anybody else see what I was seeing? Weren’t they sensing what I was sensing? Or maybe I was one taco short of a combo platter. Sure, I could have been wrong, but there was another force that was guiding me, and I listened and acted upon that information.

 

An hour later, I found the mom on Facebook. I asked her how her toddler was doing. The mom wrote me back saying, “She was doing well but the doctor was concerned because she had “fluid in the lungs” and she needed to stay overnight at the hospital. They also were concerned about the possible development of pneumonia.

 

I could finally breathe, hearing that the little girl was in good hands. I called my superhero mama friend, and we were in simply in awe how everything came together so Divinely perfect when we both listened to our intuition.

 

Coming down from the adrenaline of the evening, the next day I became curious. I thought what was the price I could have paid if I didn’t listen to my gut, my intuition. What would have happened if I didn’t urge the mom to get help and she just put her baby down to sleep for the night? The tightness in my chest returned. It felt like death.

 

I wondered if we all have intuition as a part of our natural biological and spiritual connection with the Universe, why do some people sense it more than others? Why do some of us act on intuition and others don’t? If we don’t use it, do we lose it? And most importantly, how can we strengthen it to get all we desire in life, like abundance, love, and happiness?

 

Then my intuition told me. It roared that if you don’t use it, you simply miss out on all the signs and signals the world is giving you. Ignoring your intuition could create both inner and outer turmoil. If you want to know how to use it, then do two things. Shut your mouth and be still, just for a second. My intuition knows I have a big mouth. Next, I saw my bathroom in my mind. Never mind that it needed cleaning, I saw an image of my sink that was dripping and then it made perfect sense to me.

 

Your intuition comes as a quiet drip. And you need to be quiet enough to hear it away from all the distractions in your life. Think of your bathroom sink at home. You may hear a drip, and you might not be sure why it’s leaking. You just know something seems different. At this moment, you have created awareness. The next day, you are not only able to detect the sound, but you can tell that the faucet is dripping louder and more quickly. By the end of the 3rd day or a week, all you notice is the loud, continuous dripping and you finally take action to either fix it yourself or call a plumber.

 

Your intuition works in the same fashion. You might get a hunch to take a different road to work. This sensation pays off because you avoid a traffic accident you hear about later.

 

You go home and even before you decide to eat leftovers and open the fridge, something tells you the food has gone rancid. You open the fridge and see your entrée fermenting in grossness.

 

You’re about to park in a parking lot space, and something tells you to find another space closer to the store where it’s well lit, and you avoid a robbery.

 

You feel your arm go numb. And you’re not leaning on it. You take two aspirins and call 911. You prevent a heart attack.

 

These are all patterns of insight. The more you slow down even a little to create awareness of intuition and use it on a regular basis, you begin to notice all the possibilities in your life. Aren’t your greatest desires in this lifetime worth going after with everything thing you have? And surprisingly enough, sometimes it’s the smallest and quietest voices inside yourself or tingling feelings that help you achieve them

 

Today, use your gift of intuition. Use the little voices, the hunches, and the signs of expanding or tightening in the chest, the tingly feelings, and goose bumps. You may just save a life today. And knowing this can help you breathe easier in the deep water of the tides of life. Namaste.

Happiness Alert: How to Find Hope at the End of Your Rope

Strengthen that Lifeline.

Strengthen that Lifeline.

Something amazing just happened to you. You got a new dog. You’re getting married. You found a new job. A new home. Who are you going to call to let them know the good news? When something devastating happens to you like an illness, a death, a breakup, a job loss, or simply depression, would you call those same people in your life?

 

Back in the day, we used to be able to “phone a friend.” It was easier to talk on the phone for hours about a “new anything” or “tragic something.” Times are moving much quicker and now with social media, we tend only to broadcast the things we are excited about and not the rough patches in our life. Sometimes we even hide them. We don’t make time for hour-long talks or long letters, and because of this, it is a challenge to create a long- term connection in 140 characters or on a Snapchat photo.

 

Research has shown that we all have our unique happiness baselines. Some of us have a higher set point than others. But the more profound news is that we can all increase our happiness levels with awareness and effort. The biggest indicator of happiness is your support system, your lifeline. A strong social support can give you a longer and a healthier life. It can also help harvest more resilience to your life’s challenges and create the experience more happiness.

 

Where do you go when the big life events take over, and you feel like you are at the end of your rope and are drowning? How long and strong is your lifeline, your support system? If you don’t feel you have anyone to connect with or who would help you, here’s how you can begin at any time to build your support.

 

  1. Align Your Bloodline

If you don’t have a large group of friends, don’t despair. Start where you were born. If you have a pretty good relationship with your family, create a strong one in these ways.

-Remind them how much they mean to you.

-Reach out to them when you don’t need anything. Ask what is going on in their lives. Support them in all their successes and trouble times.

-If you do need help and they offer it, take it.

-When conversations get sticky or difficult as they sometimes do with families, give each other space and always let them know you are there for them.

* A disclaimer: If you come from a toxic family or have a toxic family member, your intuition or your gut will let you know whether you should engage with this group or person. Make sure to listen. If it feels like a “no,” then don’t go any further.

 

  1. Intertwine Your Baseline

As you continue to strengthen your family base, the next step is to build up your friend lifelines. Think about the most memorable shared times in your life that you may have labeled as good and bad. Remember those people who celebrated with you and contributed to your success and those who were with you at your lowest moments. Have you seen or spent time with these people? If the answer is no, reach out and connect. Yes, you can approach them on social media but take it a step further to meet face to face. The effort will show up in a powerful connection. If you can’t meet face to face due to distance, then take it back 1980’s style and pick up the phone and call, not text. You will create a stronger connection through hearing each other’s voices. And if a friend that you haven’t heard from pop’s in your mind, call them. It is the Universe and your intuition trying to nudge you to connect. Don’t ignore.

 

  1. Combine the Divine and the Feline

Maybe you are an only child. Maybe you don’t have much of a family. Perhaps it’s a challenge for you to make friends in real life much less social media. Don’t despair; lifelines come in all shapes and sizes. Wherever you come from a spiritual sense, take the time to create a stronger connection. It doesn’t mean to spend hours at church or temple; it just means taking time out of your day and your life to appreciate your connection with the Universe. Ironically enough, I have many clients that are atheists and for them, they find a connection with nature. We all find some type of connection with nature. So, if you feel like you don’t have any place or someone to turn to, then step outside. Feel the air. Walk on the ground without shoes to connect to the Earth and experience pure ground. Hang out at least 15 minutes and become mindful of how you feel after you have been outside. You will feel a shift towards calmness. And then do it again the next day.

 

Combine your lifeline with cats or dogs or horses or fish. Whatever pet you have, make time for them. Most pets love us unconditionally based on how we treat them. Understand that they need you to survive and thrive and then remember how much joy they bring to you in their way. If you don’t have any pets, hang out with a friend that does, or spend time at a shelter. They always need help to strengthen the emotional lifelines of our most vulnerable furry friends.

 

  1. Consistently Give Back to Your Lifeline Goldmine.

You connect with your family. You reach out to friends. You spend time with your spiritual Universe or nature. You hang out with pets. Now, what? You keep doing it every day for the rest of your life. You give what you need and in return, hope will always be there when need it. It will be there when you run out.

 

I have a friend named Mac who is a web developer. Mac speaks in code. His conversations are in emails, texts, and more code. Recently, he found out that a co-worker who lives in another state has liver failure and is in hospice. His friend is divorced and only in his 40’s and has a young daughter.

 

In high-stress work situations, these two bonded and became close friends. And though they don’t usually talk on the phone and live on different coasts, they text. Right now, these texts are the most important electronic lifelines ever created. These texts speak of happier times, and of gratitude for each other. And soon, these texts will be a heartfelt narrative for his young daughter to have as a testament to her father’s kindness, friendship, and support to others.

 

Today, don’t give up hope. Begin to build it. Strengthen it. By doing so, not only will you live a healthier, longer life, but you just might be the strongest lifeline in someone else’s lifetime. Life is amazing. Hang on to it with love. Namaste.

Happiness Alert: Dare Not to Compare

Dare not to compare.

Dare not to compare.

 

Do you ever get on Facebook, just to see what’s happening? As you are scrolling, do you ever tumble down the endless rabbit hole of despair as you look at everyone’s documented picture-perfect life? Do they appear happier than you? Do any of the comments in your mind sound like this?

 

That’s great! She’s an artist, and she’s opening up a gallery. She must come from money.

 

Disneyland? What a cute little family! How did they afford that when they don’t have that kind of money?

 

Oh, that’s a gorgeous wedding, even though that’s his third, and he’s not a widower.

 

Oh, wow! She finally had a baby at her age. That must have cost a small fortune.

 

She looks terribly skinny. Must be Lap-band. Lucky.

 

After being on Facebook or any other social media for that matter, do you ever leave after five minutes or an hour feeling like everyone is happier than you are? If you do, you may be carrying those feelings around for the rest of your day. Don’t feel bad. We all do it. All the time.

 

And then to make matters worse, out of habit or boredom or both, we do it again a few hours later to see if anything else has changed. And since it hasn’t, we still feel crappy. How do we stop this daily madness of curiosity, lack, and unhappiness?

 

We can choose something different and lean into these four steps.

 

STEP 1:

Beware of the Online Fanfare

Although comparing our lives to others isn’t new, more studies such as that from the Stanford researcher/psychologist Dr. Alex Jordan are showing that it’s more prevalent and easier to become unhappy at other people’s perceived happiness. In fact, research shows that we overestimate our peer’s happiness and underestimate their challenges or unhappiness.

 

We habitually overestimate other people’s extreme happiness because we are only viewing the happy snapshots of their lives as their entire life. Then, we maliciously use this picture to compare it to the imagined lack in our lives. This is not reality in either case.

 

 

STEP 2:

Don’t Stare and Compare

When you were younger and were staring at someone who was different, older, or disabled, you were told by your mom that it was not nice to stare. This wisdom still holds true. It’s not kind to stare at other people’s lives and compare them to yours.

You are a different human being with a different soul and goals. If you try to compare your life with others, it’s not like comparing apples to apples. It’s more like comparing a fork to lobster. Don’t do it. As the wise Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön says to use your freedom to “choose something different.”

 

 

STEP 3:

Be Aware and Take Care

Doing something different can simply be the act of awareness that you first are comparing yourself to others, and it may not just be on social media. Notice throughout your day, where you compare yourself to others at work, at the grocery store, or in your neighborhood. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just be mindful of the act.

 

If there are areas in your life that you don’t feel satisfied with, then find someone you can trust and talk to them about your feelings. Also, if you notice yourself getting into a funk when you log on your social accounts, log out and take a few breaths. Then reflect back on yourself and ask, “What do I need in my life right now at this moment to bring me peace? If your mind says,“nothing”, then ask again. “What is the one small thing I could do at this moment to bring joy to my life?” And if you come up with nothing again, don’t panic.

 

Think about one thing that you like or love about your life. Next, think about what you are grateful for in your life. If you are coming up blank, look down at your hands. Think about how much they serve you and take care of you all day. Feel the gratitude that you can see your hands with your eyes. Then take a breath. And then another.

 

Take a moment to be grateful for your heart that is still working inside of you; that’s keeping you alive. Put your hand on your heart. Feel it rise as you breathe. Remember your heart is capable of many things. One of them is to keep you alive. The other is to share it with others. And this leads us to step 4.

 

STEP 4:

Declare to Share

Chances are if you compare yourself to others there are millions of people who do the same and feel crappy. The fastest way to happiness is to share your new experiences. With new eyes of awareness, you will be able to notice others who are doing the same thing. Share your wisdom. Share your heart. Remind them why they are special to you. And by doing so, you come out of comparing and into love. And this is your happiness in action that will always be worth all the “likes” in a lifetime. Namaste.

Do you know how to get what you REALLY want of out life?

What do you want?

What do you want?

 

Every day we dream sweet things of what we want or want to experience like love, money, adventure, or excitement.

 

As time passes, we may discover that we aren’t getting closer to these dreams. We don’t produce the necessary results we want. Or if we do create some results, it never comes fast enough. And we are never satisfied with the progress. Sadly in some cases, we are not even satisfied with the actual dream we’ve created.

 

In the classic 1970’s movie Willie Wonka, parents and their children will do anything to score a Golden Ticket. They believe it will pave the way to sugary happiness. But one by one despite each person’s efforts, they go down a path of destruction of only getting a small taste of what life could have been for them. And it sucks longer than a Gobstopper.

 

Do you know how to really get what you want in life, without turning into a giant blueberry or drowning in a chocolate river? If you don’t, don’t worry. Just chew on these 4 steps.

 

  1. Deliciously Do You

By doing you, this means you will take 100% responsibility for your life in this moment. You will not blame your family history, your gender, your ethnicity, your socioeconomics, resources, or your luck for the things that happen to you.

 

Wherever you are in this moment, you will put on your big Oompah Loompah pants and decide to deal with whatever comes your way. If it’s something challenging or stressful, you will use the POWER OF YOUR RESOURCEFULNESS to overcome it. By doing you and accepting 100%, you place the power of your life in your hands. Not only do you tell yourself the truth faster about the situation, you also will take the steps to get closer to your dreams

 

  1. Decide EXACTLY What You Want

If you were alone in a candy shop, you could go crazy and eat everything in sight. But then you’d go into a diabetic coma or vomit a candy rainbow. It’s no different with your dream and using your choices wisely in the candy store of life. Be specific. Specific goals will help you create certainty of what you want and also give you clues as how to attain them and more importantly how you will feel when you get what you want.

 

For example, if you say you want “more love” in life. That’s great. But do you want that love to come from a dog? Or a man with a dog? Or a forty-something man who will love all your three dogs? With more clarity, it’s easier to visualize what can be possible in your life.

 

  1. BOOST Your Beliefs

This is a big one. You may now know you would like a sporty Irish mate who loves dogs who lives a few miles away from you. While this is a great idea, do you believe you can actually find him? Where will you find him? Who will help you find him? If you don’t believe any of these ideas are even possible, then your subconscious mind isn’t going to help find him. Your conscious mind will not help find him either. Soon you will lose your certainty that you will ever find him. You will start to create beliefs how you can’t find him because of some situation or circumstance.

 

In order to help your brain make peace with your new potential beliefs, recall a time in your life where you thought you couldn’t do something or have something and you did it anyway. Remember how is this made you feel. Make time to really feel those sensations and feelings. Strong and focused feelings will help you move forward toward what you want even when you are not sure how to go about it.

 

  1. STEP and CHECK. Forever.

In the process of getting what you want, you need to stop and make time to check in with yourself. Let your intuition be your guide. Be mindful and truthful about your current situation. Are you making progress? Are you getting closer to your dream, or farther away? If it appears like you are getting farther away from what you want, check in with your intuition and ask, “what is one small step I can take today to get closer to my dream or goal. If you practice resilience and patience, you will be able to take these steps. And the most important part of this journey is to know what it will look like when you got your goal.

 

Many times, people get the man, the woman, the job, the house, the money, the recognition and they are still not happy. Because what they want ultimately is a feeling. And those feelings – love, safety, abundance, and self-worth – can be created on a daily basis.

 

Life is meant to be explored and devoured. Take the time to really know what you want out of it and then set forth and put in the energy and effort every day to experience it and have it. In the end, when you do get what you want, don’t allow fear to sour your sweetness because you are experiencing happiness. It’s okay to want your dreams, want happiness, and actually get it. Just hone in on why you want it. Know how you want it to make you feel. Take steps towards it and check often with your intuition and your results and keep going.

 

Willy Wonka: Oh, and Charlie? Don’t forget about the guy who got everything he wanted!

Charlie Bucket: Oh, What happened to him?

Willy Wonka: He lived happily ever after.

 

Peace be with you, Gene Wilder. Namaste.

How to Stop Feeding Yourself Negativity  

Make life tasty again.

Make life tasty again.

Morning.

In the morning, what is the very first thing that enters your mind?

I don’t want to get up.

I’m late.

I didn’t set the coffee.

I’m out of filters.

Shoot. I’m out of gas.

Work is gonna suck.

Traffic is gonna be a beast.

I’ve got too much to do.

I can’t deal with people today.

If you have had any of these thoughts you probably fed yourself a good scoop of negativity. You may have continued your day and feeding frenzy of negative thoughts. The long day working with crazy people and fighting traffic on the way home. Dealing with lunatics at the grocery store. Not having enough time to relax before doing the whole hamster wheel dance again. Tomorrow.

By the time you got to the end of your day, you probably fed yourself a buffet of worms of negativity. You have caused your blood pressure and heart rate to rise and this can leave a bad taste in your mouth and life.

The issue with these negative thoughts are that they are intrusive, unwanted, and can make you more obsessive than a game of Pokémon Go.  

So how can you stop bingeing when you know this isn’t good for your mind, body and soul?

You can lean into these 3 ideas.

Use a Mindful Moment

When a negative though comes up you may not even realize it. You may feel your emotional state shift from okay to unease and that’s your big clue. Take a breath. Remind yourself that this is simply a thought. Ask yourself if your negative thought is real. For example, I may be worried that I’m going to run out of gas and that my whole day is going to be ruined. That nagging thought would stay with me all day, if I let it.

But by taking a moment to breathe and check to see if this is grounded in reality, this creates a shift in my thinking. If I asked if I really was going to run out of gas, my brain would become more precise with the fact that I have enough gas to get me to the gas station instead of my negative emotional brain of fear. By checking in with yourself when you catch your thoughts you avoid going round and round in pattern of negativity.

Reframe Your Game

When negative thoughts arise, start retraining your brain by finding something positive or useful about the situation. If I have negative thoughts about running out of gas, I can learn from this situation by not allowing my tank to go to beyond a 1/4 of a tank before refilling. If I’m starting a new job and feel like I’m clueless and start feeding my brain a bowl full of woe, I can reframe my game by reminding myself that I like to learn and I have friends who can help me, if I ask.

Again, by reframing your thoughts, you stop the cycle of negativity because your brain is now searching for answers.

Hang Out With Love

If you notice that it’s really hard for you to break away from your negative thoughts, look around and see who you spend the most time with. When we hang out with people, we mirror them. It’s one way that we bond. If your friend is always worried about not having enough money or not being in a relationship, you too will begin to have these negative thoughts. Now, if you know someone is completely negative, you may try to lessen the time with them.

If you have a friend who you love, have them be your accountability partner. If you start serving up a bowl of negative thoughts, tell her that you owe her a cup of coffee or lunch. Or help each other reframe your brains when negative thoughts arise. By helping each other you get two rewards, first you break your patterns and suffering from negative thought. Second, you get to experience the product of happiness when you help someone else out.

 

Life is too short. It’s too short to for feeding your brain negativity and wasting a precious day of your life. But life is never too short to feed yourself and others a serving of love. Chew on that for a while and enjoy. Namaste.

How to Keep Swimming Through Troubled Waters

Just keep swimming.

Just keep swimming.

I almost drowned.

 

Last week, the water was deep. A friend’s wife, who psychiatrist, was attacked and killed by a patient who snapped. Days later, I read of the shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. Last Thursday, I experience the sorrow in my beloved town of Dallas when we lost five men in the line of duty during a peaceful march.

 

I felt like I was holding my breath. My dog-paddling skills suck. I was getting tired of treading water in tears of despair. Anxiety trickled in other areas of my life.

 

I became worried about my sons when they played video games. I worried when they were in the community pool. I grew nervous about the wart on one of my older shelter dogs. Was it cancer? I became apprehensive about the energy I would encounter when I had to go and work downtown a few days after the shooting.

 

I was drowning. I could feel the water reaching my eyes.

 

The intuitive voice inside my gut reminded me. This is not living. This is fearing.

Fearing is the opposite of loving. You can’t do both at the same time.

 

Woosh.

 

That was gulp of air I needed. That was the water slap of consciousness I needed. I was floating in a sea of despair letting my reaction and emotions swim into other areas of my life. When I became aware of my thinking and what was occurring, I could create the intention of how I wanted to live in the moment and just keep swimming.

 

The first thing was to create the intention of the moment or day.

What feeling did I want to cultivate? Love. Love is the opposite of fear. Fear was causing the water to rise in my life, in my sacred moments with my family and in my soul.

 

By creating the intention of the feeling I wanted to cultivate, I created my purpose.

 

Many times we think that “finding your purpose” is some giant moment on a mountain, saving thousands of animals or finding cures to what kills us. But finding your purpose can also be smaller moments in your life to lead you to bigger things. They can also just be small moments of purpose with lifelong impact.

 

My intention was to bring love wherever I could. Even when it wasn’t easy. Yesterday, I put on my flippers and water wings of intention of love and started paddling through my day. On a piece of scratch paper I wrote, “swim in love” just in the event I would forget three seconds later like Dory from Finding Nemo. And then I headed downtown to work.

 

As a drove to downtown Dallas, cars and busses simply stopped. Soon I was on the very slow motion carousel of traffic. Many parts of downtown were closed down due the events that had happened. Parking was non-existent. Patience went down as anger rose up. Honking escalated.

Swim in love.

Swim in love.

Swim in love.

 

I swam in love even when people honked at me. I sent love to the people who were cutting in front of me. I felt compassion because I too had been in that place when I was drowning in unconsciousness. I sent love to the parking attendant who was drenched in the heat of the morning sun. I was grateful to find parking. I sent love to the police officer that was standing guard by a building because it had been a long weekend of sorrow and he had to get back to the grind.

 

By the end of the day of being intentional with my purpose of bringing love, my day had gone smoother. And I still had energy for my husband and children and dogs at the end of the day. It felt like I could breathe again.

 

So as you go throughout your day and you feel like you’re getting in the deep waters of sadness or despair lean into this:

 

Think about what feeling would you like to experience today.

 

Would you like to cultivate more love, contribution, abundance, or peace?

 

Decide which one you’d like to focus on and make this your purpose today.

 

Make it personal and find small steps along your day to swim in it.

 

Set up reminders of your intention because it’s easy to forget. Write on a Post It Note, on your computer, phone, or even on your hand.

 

Reflect at the end of the day how it went. Be kind to yourself. If you feel like you could have done more or better, that’s okay. You can always set your intention again for the next day. And the next.

 

Today, I will swim again in love. I’m sending it to all of you today. Because we all need to just keep swimming together in peace.

How to Hold On to Happiness

Hold on stronger and longer.

Hold on stronger and longer.

Vacation…all I ever wanted…

 

When it comes to creating and sustaining your happiness, does it feel like a vacation or a dead-end job? Do you look at your days only to get to five o’clock or limp along to the weekend. Or to the next paycheck? Does this suck the life out of you and your happiness?

 

I’m not a fancy person when it comes to time off. I like visiting my extended family and hanging out and talking. We travel to Corpus Christi to go the beach and then go home.

 

It was simple enough until there were reports of high levels of flesh eating bacteria in the ocean. Ack. My mind went into overdrive. Instead of worrying about my kids eating Hot Funyuns for breakfast or if I had brought along my small pharmacy in my purse of Advil, Tylenol, and Band Aids to cure any unforeseen aches or injuries, now I had to entertain new thoughts.

 

Would my scraped and scrappy, bug bitten children get infected with the flesh eating bacteria and come back looking like they were auditioning for the munchkin version of Walking Dead?

 

Needless to say we skipped the beach. And went to the world aquarium.

 

Now I must mention. I’m not a big fan of crowds. As a sensitive empath, I feel everyone and everything. Seriously. I feel the energy of the man who is pissed at not finding a parking space. I feel the anxiety of the woman who is afraid she doesn’t have enough money at the food court. I feel the impatience of the parent who is about to haul off and swat their child. I felt the excitement and danger of the little girl not being supervised by her parents and about to fall in the stingray pool.

 

Thank goodness I became aware that I was getting swept up in everything else that wasn’t my happiness. I saw my two crazy babies aged 7 and 5 who were squealing at jellyfish and screaming at sharks. And It hit me, like a hammerhead shark. If I wanted to experience happiness in that moment, then I needed to savor the moment I was in. And it worked out like this…

 

How to Hold on To Happiness by Savoring

 

Step 1. START HERE. BE CURIOUS

For me in the midst of this hot crowd of people, I took a few deep breaths to pull myself out of my head. Now, I could become more aware and mindful and witness this beautiful sea life, which I don’t get to see on a daily basis. The blue water in the ginormous tanks with slo-mo fish was as hypnotizing as they were calming. As I scanned the room, I became curious about what made me happy.

For me it was easy. As my kids moved from aquarium to aquarium, their gasps and squeals and wide eyes of discovery reminded me that I get to share their discovery of this life and what it has to offer. I felt the expansion of happiness.

 

Step 2. THRIVE WITH THE FIVE.
When I was exploring with my sons and husband the pool of stingrays, instead of reaching for my phone to capture the moment, I decided to live it first with all my senses. I noticed the hot windy air and the contrast of the cool water when I carefully dipped two fingers down to touch the back of a small slimy stingray. I heard the voices of my sons as they waited not so patiently for the stingray swim by. I peered in eyes of my husband, and we made crinkly eyes at each other knowing that even after 25 years, this is another good day. I could hold on to happiness in this moment even longer by using all my sense to experience it and be there fully.

 

Step 3. RETELL IT WELL. RECALL IT ALL.

The last step after finding the moment and savoring it with all your senses is to recall it all and retell it well. Remember this moment at the end of the day. Or share it with your friends or on Facebook or album. Research by Dr. Fred Bryant who is one of the top researchers on the study of happiness shows that people who savor moments received a bigger boost of happiness than those who didn’t or those who found negative moments in happy situations.

 

At the end of my day, I relived the experience with my sons. I also shared photos with my cousins and my beautiful aunt Armida who is 79 and we reminisced about happy and cherished beach memories from decades past.

 

If you want to hold on to happiness longer and stronger, then remember to focus on the moment you are in and become curious about what makes you happy. It could be a cup of coffee. Your dog. Your favorite song on the radio. The smell of suntan lotion. Use all your five sense to experience the joy at a deeper multi-sense level.

 

Feel the heat of your coffee mug. Feel the softness of your dogs fur or listen to the groans and panting as you scratch his belly. Sing loudly to your favorite song. Feel the smooth coolness of your suntan lotion.

 

And then share them with the world. The people that you love and love you most get joy from your happiness. Give it too them. Broadcast and share your happiness and it will travel a long way. And you will be able to hang on it longer because it will last a lifetime. Yours and beyond. Namaste.

The Magnitude of Gratitude: Align Your Mind with the Heart of the Matter

Your intention: Start with Heart.

Your intention: Start with Heart.

 

A week ago, I had a dear friend leave the Earth. Brain cancer. This is the 2nd mother I’ve known to pass from brain cancer in the last 45 days. These moms left family and kids behind. Hearts are devastated. In a word, it sucks.

 

Most days, like most folks, I don’t think of my demise. It’s too much. If you Google the 10 top ways we die, there are many studies  that list all the ways  we are going to kick it and none of them say, “soundly and beautifully in our sleep.”

 

How to we adult our mortality? Our heads and minds don’t want to wrap around that concept. And when our loved ones pass away, our hearts shut down and scream silently, “We. Just. Can’t. Deal”.

 

So, how to we find happiness amidst our own little lifespan?

 

We do it by small steps. Really small ones. Mindful ones.

 

We do it by aligning our minds with our hearts. We create awareness. We use intention followed by action because the real secret to life is this:

 

We can increase our happiness and increase the magnitude of our gratitude by LOVING THE CRAP OUT OF PEOPLE.

 

And we can do it simply in these 3 ways. So let’s go get them.

 

 

  1. Soak In Their Being

As you go through your day today, really “see” people. Be completely present, hear their choice words when they talk with you. Listen to them without peering at your phone. Ask them questions about their life and hear them without hearing your own brain chatter with what it will say next. Don’t be in a rush. When you connect with them…slow down and let the connection soak in. They will instantly feel your attention, presence, and they will experience the biggest jolt of love and happiness. Not to mention, this costs nothing and you will receive this back in the currency of happiness.

 

  1. Show Up. Every time.

Make time for your friends, family, people that you care about. Yes, we are busy. Yes, we are tired. So what. Remember those 10 ways we could perish? Yeah and so, get to it.

 

Call them. Schedule time to see them. If it doesn’t work out, call them again until it happens. Call them on birthdays, anniversaries. Check on them if they are sick. Check on them for no reason. Practice your tenacity. Drive to their house. Celebrate with them. Cry with them. By creating this constant push of love heading towards them, this grows the bond between you both. More times than not, it also becomes reciprocated and expands your gratitude and aptitude for happiness.

 

  1. Just Freaking Tell Them.

In a world full of texts, emails, Snap Chats and tweets, you still need to spell it out for people and tell them to their face and not their face time that they matter. Tell them that you love them. Tell them why they are special and there isn’t anyone else like them. And then tell them again and again.

 

Why?

 

Because they matter.

 

And they matter to you.

 

Be intentional with your mind today and align that heart into action for happiness. And when our time comes a very, very, very, long time from now, nothing will be left unsaid. Our lives mattered because our love mattered. And that love is pure immortality.

 

You matter to me.

 

I am grateful that you are alive today. And I love you. Really. Namaste.