Today I’m thinking of John Lennon’s quote “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
I am in Rio de Janeiro visiting my parents and was ready to leave back to the US when a situation came up with my dad making me stay for another couple of days. This time it was not his health, but his business.
So, here I was yesterday with my bags packed and people and things waiting for my return when it all had to change. Again, I was reminded life has a mind of its own.
As I think about John Lennon and the web and flow of life, thoughts of hope and failure come up.
Sometimes, when I get really tired of all the obstacles I have had to overcome and still jump over, I feel sorry for myself. Thoughts like “I deserve to receive more for all the effort I put out in my life” dance around in my brain and I feel bad for myself.
Of course, if we think of life as a scale, then one should get out as much as one puts in. And so should I.
It is then – while I’m throwing my own pity party – that I remember that the act of trying, the act of getting up every time I’m down, is what makes life interesting and creative. It isn’t so much the results – which make us feel great for a moment – that create an energized life; it is the process. It is how we find the strength and hope to create and recreate the life we want to live every single time. This never ending process is what keeps us in the game. Not so much the results.
So, when you feel yourself disheartened, think for a moment how your life would be if you didn’t keep going after your dreams. Think about how it would be if you just went through the motions and you will realize – like I do – that life is really what happens while you are busy making other plans.
Please read on.
How To Begin To Cultivate Hope After Failing
By Carolyn Rubenstein
The scariest part of failure is being seen when you’re most vulnerable and least perfect. It is far safer (and easier) to hide behind dreams and schemes. It is even fun to dream and scheme — to think “what if,” and to create our own fairy tales — you know, something to look forward to, one day when you just know that it’s the right time…Continued
I don’t know if it was because my late husband Chris and I had been unhappily married before, but we never took each other for granted. Three months before Chris passed away – when so much has already been taken from him – he looked at me and said: “We are one of the happiest couples I have ever known.” He was right; we were.
Chris and I accepted each other as we were. Even when he wore the most atrocious shirts – to my taste at least – I’ve never said anything. I didn’t because I accepted him. And when I was caught in my rat wheel, he stood by me patiently letting me know he was there.
We were each others best friends. We supported one another on the path we chose for ourselves. There was never any talk of “you should be this way or you should do this.” Our talks were more about how we could support each other in our life adventures.
We checked in with each other during the day and at night we had what I called “quality time.”
Quality time was when we turned the lights out and before going to sleep in the darkness we held each other and shared our feelings. Whatever they were, we were there to listen.
We made a point – without making a point – to thank each other for little things we did. We also paid compliments as often as possible. Not phony ones, but real ones that came from having slowed down enough to pay attention to one another.
Chris used to bring me flowers and I cooked special meals for him. Without thinking about it, we were making sure we both knew how appreciated we were and how lucky we felt to be together. Sometimes we even blurted out: “I’ve never thought I could be this happy.”
I think that was the secret of our beautiful relationship. Not just that we loved and appreciated each other, but that we let one another know.
Time goes by quickly and we never know what turns life will take. Why not let the people we love know how much we appreciate them? That is the secret to a successful relationship.
Please read on.
The Secret to Extraordinary Love Every Day (And 6 Easy Ways to Make it Happen)
By Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW
In a word: appreciation. It sounds simple but its power is super-charged. The dual aspects of gratitude and recognition, both imbedded in the loving art of appreciation, are like sunshine and water to a plant..Continued
As modern couples, we are at extreme risk for taking each other for granted. We juggle career, family, home management, extended families, aging parents, and health concerns. It’s no wonder that our most intimate relationship gets lost in the day to day shuffle…Continued
I really like the below post by Mike Robbins. I truly get it.
I have been addicted to struggle for most of my life. Somewhere somehow I became convinced that without struggle I would never get what I wanted. Be a job or a relationship. Only hard work could bring success and if something came easily, I was immediately suspicious of it. Thoughts like: “When is the other shoe going to fall?” or “I feel like I cheated because it happened to easily” came easily.
Pretty much I thought without struggle there is no success or happiness. How wrong I was. Getting what we want is not a consequence of struggle. I’m not saying we don’t have to work hard for things, but what I mean is; there is no direct correlation between struggle and happiness. Or struggle and achievement. In my erroneous thinking I had left out that life has its own rhythm.
Actually, if we stop trying to control life by muscleling for what we want, we might actually be surprised that sometimes 1 – things can happen nicely and easily without struggle and 2 – other doors we had not seen before are there open for us.
If we allow ourselves to relax and to believe we deserve contentment then life doesn’t have to be a never ending struggle. We don’t have to suffer to appreciate goodness.
What is the most unfortunate is we become addicted to struggle and often don’t feel like we are making progress if we are not suffering. How can I be advancing my life if I’m not staying up at night?
Changing this damaging mind-set takes time. Drama is addictive. Struggle is addictive. We have to constantly remind ourselves to relax and appreciate the life we already have. Then we have to embrace the concept that we don’t need to pay a price to succeed. Success and contentment is already there for us to receive. We don’t have to prove anything. We already deserve it.
Please read on…
Are You Addicted to Struggle?
By Mike Robbins
During a session I had with my new coach last week it became clear to me that I’ve been addicted to struggle for much of my life. While I wasn’t super excited to admit this, it has actually been quite liberating to address my struggle addiction directly and to see how it impacts just about every aspect of my life and work. How about you? Are you addicted to (or at least very familiar with) struggling in your own life? Continued…
Love the article posted below. It discusses the difference between happiness and contentment in a very clever way. The writer, Nancy Colier, uses the simulation game The Sims as an example of how the human spirit really works.
In the game, once the player has won X amount of points, he or she is awarded Permanent Happiness. In this state the avatar wins the right to constant happiness. Nancy notes that most players after enjoying this new status for a while, get bored, kill their avatar and start anew.
I think this observation is quite brilliant. It shows – in a psychological way – that which we say we seek is really not quite what we think.
Achieving constant happiness with the exclusion of all other human feelings takes the zing out of life. I’m by no means saying we need to suffer and be unhappy to enjoy life. What I’m saying is that happiness in real life comes and goes. It is the result of something we worked towards and then achieved. The working towards is an important element and once the excitement of the achievement passes and other situations arrive, the happiness leaves.
Happiness is powerful because it is a result of effort. Without it, happiness is thin.
On the other hand, what can be a constant is contentment or as Nancy calls it; well-being. That is a state that is unrelated to the ups and downs of life because contentment is based on a relationship with the self. How well we know ourselves, how much do we listen to our true voice. In essence it’s about how we deal with the feelings we have and not about the outside aspect that have created them.
Opportunities, situations, doors that open and close are not within our complete control, but how we deal with the feelings they create are. That is the difference between happiness and contentment and unhappiness and contentment.
Once understanding that our ground is contentment we must then nourish it by strengthening our relationship with the self.
Please read on.
Happily Ever After?
In the online simulation game The Sims, when an avatar accomplishes all of her lifetime aspirations, she achieves “Permanent Platinum” status, otherwise known as permanent happiness. Once “Platinum,” her mood bar cannot slip below a certain level, and her environment no longer impacts her happiness. She is frozen in happiness…Continued
Interesting post – pasted below – by Russell Bishop from today’s Huffington Post. In it Russell discusses the difference between courage and self-righteousness.
I must confess I know a thing or two about being self-righteous. I have spent a lifetime standing on a soapbox telling others what is wrong with them and the world. Now, there isn’t really anything wrong in sometimes pointing to others different ways of being and living. What was wrong – at least with me – was the motivation. I wasn’t being courageous in putting myself out there to point to the truth. I was just being self-righteous. I wanted others to know how smart and intuitive I was. Because of that motivation, my actions weren’t deeply rooted and could be knocked out easily. It also didn’t produce the satisfaction I was looking for.
Real courage is based on inner-knowledge and thus wise and deep. Real courage is brave without having to call upon the whole world to see it is taking place. Real courage happens because it must.
Noise due to self-righteousness is frail and is a reflection of an ego in need of pampering. It might feel good for a minute or two, but it will soon crumble.
So, next time you feel motivated to speak-up or stand on a soapbox, ask yourself what your true motivation is. Go deeper than the ego chatter to find out what the self really wants. By doing that you will be in harmony and coherent with inner-self; a goal worth standing on a soapbox for.
Please read on.
Soul-Talk: Are You Courageous or Just Self-Righteous?
By Russell Bishop
What’s the difference between true courage and the sometimes foolish or insensitive dogged determination that runs roughshod over other people in the name of some sacrosanct goal?
True courage takes many forms, few of them characterized by bravado and none of them insensitive or unkind…Continued
The below post by Mark Nepo discusses three important ideas: 1 – our journey in rediscovering who we truly are, 2 – the acceptance of life as is and 3 – finding love and peace in the struggle.
Regardless of where we come from, the concept of being like everyone else and the acceptance of a formulaic idea of happiness get imbued into our psyche at a very early age. “You must be someone”, “You must have a bank account”, “You must own things” gets beat into us as the only way to live a life. No space is left for originality and individuality. And then we suffer because society’s concept of how to live a good life might be in direct opposition to our own ideas. I’m not saying having a bank account or owning things is a bad thing. Every quality for a life chosen and every path taken is right when it is in accordance with one’s being. And so recouping our own way becomes imperative to our journey.
Positive thinking sells book, newspapers and magazines. That’s it.
I’m not down on being positive. I’m down on a simplistic approach to finding greater contentment in life. Let me explain what I mean:
I don’t believe repeating I’m beautiful time and time again will actually get me to feel beautiful unless a lot of other personal work gets done.
I don’t believe posting notes all over the house with the words “I’m happy” will actually get me to be happy.
But I do believe in hoping for the best as it takes as much effort to dream of things coming out to our satisfaction as it does the other way around.
I also believe in not attaching such absolute qualities as good or bad to everything that happens. Life is more complex than that. In every “bad” situation there is a possibility of good. But if we only see it as bad, then that possibility is not available.
Building a sense of gratitude, appreciation and connection with the self, I believe, will give anyone more satisfaction than the old “Don’t worry be happy.”
Repetition in and of itself is just that; repetition.
The below post by Dennis Merritt Jones talks about the importance of saying of hearing the words I love you. In his blog, Dennis points out that the impact of these words is great even if they come from complete strangers. I couldn’t agree more.
While reading it I was reminded how much a touch, a nod or a word from a complete stranger while caring for my terminal husband helped me.
I was reminded of the kindness I found in various waiting rooms or treatment centers of hospitals. Sometimes the gestures were as simple as the handing of a tissue but its impact profound and transformative.
As people we have an innate need to connect to share happiness or sadness. We want to connect to feel we belong.
The words I love you carry such meaning in them as to make both the giver and the receiver instantaneously feel connected.
So why don’t we say it more often?
Sometimes because we believe those words should only be uttered to others that make our hearts skip a beat. But what if we thought of love as a way of being? Wouldn’t we then have love for all?
How happier wouldn’t we all be if we heard often that we are loved? How happier wouldn’t we all be if we could tell others we love them?
Changing the way we all relate can start with each one of us. It can start with us feeling love within and wanting to share it with all that cross our paths.
What if every day of your life you heard I love you. What if every day of your life you said I love you. What would your life feel like? Take a minute to imagine it before you respond.
I know what my answer is:
I LOVE YOU.
Please read on…
I have always liked having older folks as friends. I’m talking about people in their 80s and 90s. The reason is pretty simple: they’ve been there and done that.
At some point in our western social and cultural development the pendulum of wisdom swung from the elders to the young. Experience became secondary to the glow of youth and in the process we – young and middle aged – lost plenty.
In our shortsighted view of the world we have forgotten that regardless how many diets we follow or how much cream we buy, we will all age or die. But instead of having a road map from the people that have gone through the process before us, we end up having to discover the way all over again by ourselves. Questions like: is life still worth living when we look like prunes, can we still have fun when we have to move a little slower, can we love, can we have intimacy, what are the things in my life now that when I get to be in my 80s I will realize were not worth losing sleep over, go unanswered.
My neighbor is 87 years old and she lives by herself. She travels either to Hawaii or Vegas once every two months. She flirts and her social life is intense. I ask her questions. From her I learned it is possible to be content at any age. It is possible to still be curious about life. It is still possible to want to love. And it is still possible to be physically active. I look at her and I realize – unlike what I hear and see from the media – that life is worth living at any age. She inspires me.
I hope I will have her around for a long time so I can continue to get directions as I travel through life’s journey.
Please read on…
Get Happy: 5 Surprising Resolutions from the Wisest Americans
By Karl A. Pillemer, Ph.D.
Work. “Ask yourself: Are you glad to get up in the morning?” When it comes to your job, the elders propose a diagnostic test: How do you feel when you get up on a workday morning? You may be ambivalent about your job and have your ups and downs. But when it comes down to it, how do you feel when you are having that first cup of coffee?
Are you at least in a tolerable mood, looking forward to something about work? If instead you feel dread and foot-dragging, the elders say it may be time for a change. As Albert, 80, put it: “It’s a long day if you don’t like what you’re doing. You better get another job because there’s no harsher penalty than to wake up and go to work at a job you don’t like.” …Continued
Interesting post below; it divides coming to the understanding that other people’s behavior often has nothing to do with us in a two step-process.
The first step of course is to realize we are not the center of the universe — although many of us would like that to be the case. The second is seeing people’s reactions in a deeper way; compassionate, understanding and a reflection of how they see their world.
The first step is easy the second can be a little harder and most likely a lifetime endeavor.