Simple Pleasures

We are so intent on finding the magic formula for happiness that we miss the obvious. I have said else where here that it is really all about choices. We just have to choose to be happy. Not always easy. Sometimes life is just too hard at the moment to make that choice.

What to do? Simplify. Find some little pleasures that bring peace and indulge yourself, even just for a few minutes. If you can do this, you get a little respite, perhaps gain a bit more perspective and maybe even start to see the lessons and a road to being able to choose to be happy anyway.

So, turn off the lights, light a couple of candles, get some of your favorite “soft and peaceful” music and just sit back and listen carefully for  while. Take a short detour and stop at that park and just go for a walk and SEE nature around you as you walk along. The birds busily getting food. The trees and shrubs doing their thing in the midst of everything else that is happening around them. The flowers. The snow on the shrubs. Squirrels jumping along a snow edged fence.

What are some of your “little pleasures”? A warm bath. Reading an historical mystery novel, stopping at a pub for wings and beer, sitting with your life partner and enjoying memories, day dreaming about what might be ahead, a glass of good wine, thinking about who to check in on – and doing it, looking at photos of great memories and so on. I guess you know a few of mine. What are some of yours? It is ok to not live in the moment for a short moment.

Don’t think about the big things when your going through a tough time. It might be too hard to keep a good perspective. Just move outside of life for a few minutes, unplug from your phone or tablet or computer and enjoy one or two of the simple little pleasures. While you are, look for the perspective. It is there.

Yes and – live well, love always and laugh out loud Now!

 

 

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What’s the Point?

It’s a question we find we ask ourselves at difficult times in our lives. We know intellectually that we will die at some point and all that we know will be no more for us. So, what is the point?!

Incredible opening for my blog that focuses on being Happy Anyway isn’t it? But really, it is the issue at its very basic level. Can we really be Happy Anyway? Why not? What is happiness all about? It is about now. It is about enjoying the very moment we are in, not the past which cannot be changed and not the future which has not happened yet. Now.

But wait a minute. This feeling of “what’s the point” is very real and all consuming at times. Especially when the news you just got is not very good at all. Bad news focuses our attention enormously. As I have said elsewhere in this blog, you need to acknowledge and experience the feelings that are happening with no guilt. BUT, you also need to set up a deadline for when you will move on and return to the state of happiness. Sounds weird but I mean that you need to set a time when you will look at your new reality and develop some plans to put you back on the journey that you have been on.

What is it that we all really really really really REALLY want? When you start to answer you need to put the question why in at each stage. Money? Why? So that I can have a nice place to live, drive a nice car, dress well, eat out at fine dining places and so on. Why? So I can help others to experience these same things. Why? It makes me feel good. Why? I like to help others and live a good life. Why? It gives me a purpose and a reason to get up each day. That is what makes me happy, having a purpose – a reason to be.

So, back to that tough question – what is the point? It is different for each of us and it is even different for us at different stages of our lives. But it boils down to; “What is my (current) purpose”? It can be to get that promotion and earn more money. It can be to give my children all the help and experience that I can so that they can have a good adult life. It can be to retire with comfort and security. It can be to see grandchildren graduate. It can Never stop doing your thingbe to make sure the house is cleaned and organized from top to bottom before I die. (That is a story I recall about a person who was told that she had about a month to live. So she decided to make sure her home was spic and span for the wake. It took her some 10 years to get it just right!)

We simply cannot be happy if we are not actively living on purpose. We need a reason to get up each day that means something to us. Please don’t get caught in the trap of “should“. I am not talking about what you and/or others think you should have as a reason to get up. Rather, what is it that YOU feel is right for you? And then take steps along that road. It is your journey after all. Enjoy it.

Be Happy, Live Well and Laugh Out Loud Every Day!

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My Dad is gone but …….

My Dad died in 1996 but I continue to be Happy Anyway because of all that he was to me. You see, he is not gone in my mind. I still turn to him regularly for advice, opinions, guidance and praise.

Any guy can beget a child but it takes lots more to be a Dad.

  • A Dad loves the child unconditionally and allows that love to show all the time.
  • A Dad “plays” with the child in ways that teach great life lessons without needing to nag and pester.
  • A Dad lives and openly demonstrates the values that are important to live by and this is what the child will see and emulate.
  • A Dad will correct and impose age-appropriate discipline so the child learns how to operate in our society in ways that will bring success in whatever the child eventually chooses to do.
  • A Dad will offer age appropriate advice when it is requested (or needed) and then will trust the child to make his/her own decision.
  • A Dad will respect the right and need of the child to make theses decisions as part of the maturing process ( that never stops it seems :-)).
  • A Dad will sometimes say no.
  • A Dad will never stoop to “I told you so”. Rather, a Dad will be there and listen and give advice as and when requested.

A Dad does lots of other things. My Dad did all of these things and much more. I was always amazed that he continued to be “Dad” even as I approached middle age and beyond. What is a wonder is that he remains “Dad” and is there when I need him even though he is no longer with us. I don’t think a guy could ask for more.

Dads, be a strong and loving example to your children. Live your values. Do what you say! Give them the tools and then stand aside.

Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day with you children.

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Happiness is connected to what we do – always!

Life is happening all around us all the time. Some good, some bad and lots of seemingly no moment at all. All of this is not what we do but what is done to and around us. So how can we be “happy anyway”?

I posit that it is all about what WE do. If we fall into a funk and think about how “bad” it is, we will feel “funky”. If we look around for blame, we will feel “blamey”. If we feel that life is just conspiring against us we will feel “conspired against”.

Let’s look at who or what is responsible for what we do. Is our boss responsible for what we do when he/she makes impossible demands or levels unfair criticism? Not really. It is our reaction that is all about what we do. We can recognize the impossibility of the assignment and make a concerted effort to show the impossibilities and, more importantly, the possibilities instead. Sometimes we need to consider the unfair criticism and just look for the lessons. Maybe how not to be like the unreasonable boss. Maybe to just file it away and move on. In other words, we are responsible for what we do. So act positively, be assertive, and act! Do not just feel put upon – act and do something.

What about circumstances? Sometimes things just happen TO you. The car doesn’t work. The basement floods. The power goes out. Someone cuts you off dangerously in traffic. It pours rain just when you are taking the family out for a picnic. Most of this sort of thing is beyond your control. So – what should we DO? Just make a choice to consider alternatives right away instead of lapsing into “poor me” feelings. Sometimes it is just a matter of looking at the situation and seeing the humour. The person who cut you off in traffic must have a wonderful assignation to get to! :-) Have a picnic in the rain anyway!

So what do we mean when we say that happiness is connected to what we do? Simply it is that if we do positive – we get positive. Is what we are doing contributing to our happiness? It is still always about choices. If we have a boss that really is just an impossible person you must choose to change your boss. Be grateful that you have a job and income but look for ways to change the boss. Maybe find a way to be your own boss (start a business). When circumstances happen, learn to be grateful that they are not worse (they can always be worse) and that you can see a way to make changes to better the outcomes. Then ACT. Do something to make things better.

Sometimes change is required. While looking for a new boss, alter your outside work activities to focus on activities that bring happiness and joy. Get a good work/life balance. Change how you look at things. Look for lessons, humour, thankfulness, and always find a way to move from not happy to happy. Be gentle on yourself. Deal with emotions and give yourself time to “feel”. But give yourself a deadline to move back to gratefulness and happy.

It all comes down to choice. Choose to get your mind right. Look for things to be grateful for. Choose to remain steadfast and reliable to others. Choose to be persistent and even eager. Choose to be a good colleague/boss/employee. Choose to be happier!

Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day! :-D

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Find A Way!

I love creative thinking. I hear about a situation or problem or opportunity and I immediately want to take some time and think about it in different ways. Many call this thinking outside the box. I not only love creative thinking, I am good at it.

I don’t particularly love being dutiful or even being very thorough in the doing of things. To me, this is keeping me from doing what I love to do. Now don’t get me wrong. I am very good at doing these things – I just don’t like it as much. Even though that is the case, I DO THESE THINGS ANYWAY! And I do them as well as I can.

There is a great life lesson here. If you choose/have to do something, do it to the very best of your own ability. Not the best in the world (unless that is your goal) but the best YOU can do. Just compare yourself to yourself and do your own best. Then you need to find/make time to do what you really love to do.

I want to shift gears just a bit now. We often have a hard time knowing what the right things are for us to find time to do. All I can tell you is that it has to come from inside. You will know because you will feel “right”. How about a few tips that have helped me?

Remember that you are always a role model whether you are aware of it or not. So take a bit of time and think about what you would like to hear as the eulogy at your own funeral many, many years in the future. What would you like to hear from your family? Friends? Work colleagues? Bosses? Your life partner? And so on. Then think honestly about what you imagine they would actually say/think today. Now you have a list of things to work on. :-)

Most of what gets us into diss-equalibrium revolves around the respect or lack of respect we have for others. I have learned that I am not always right so I try very hard to be open to learning from others (who are also not always right). So stay respectful. They just may be right if they are so insistent on their viewpoint. If you KNOW they are wrong and they do not seem open to hearing another point of view – let it go. They don’t have to tell you that you are right. Keep in mind that you just want peace and happiness. You do not need to tear down others and their ideas to stand tall. Just always be open to learn new stuff.

I have said this before. Everything is a choice. Does the choice you are about to make reconcile with your own values? Will it bring peace, joy and happiness? Or will it bring conflict, contempt and anger? All those things your Mom or Dad told you was very valuable advice. “Think before you act.” “Look before you leap.” “Take a breath and count to 10 before reacting.” “You can’t unsay anything so think about what you are about to say.”

All of the advice has to do with taking some time before doing or saying things. Why is that? I think it has to do with the reality that negative emotions are much quicker to rise to the surface. It is probably related to the flight or fight response that allowed for survival in earlier times. But if we just take a moment to let our analytical mind work we can usually see a “better” action. You will recognize a true flight or fight moment, trust me. Most of the time these days we are not faced with true flight or fight moments.

Find a way to do what you love. Find a way to choose better actions and reactions. Find a way to be the best role model you can be.

 

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