The holidays are over and winter stretches ahead like a long, dark, daunting tunnel with only 1 exit. I can choose to keep my head low, plod along muttering about the arctic cold and wind or I can sit back and enjoy the warmth of the fireplace and the good company I keep. I remind myself frequently that my perspective on any given situation makes all of the difference. If my perspective does not keep me on the path I have chosen then it is time to change it!
Work has been slow for the last week which is no big deal, however I have to stop myself from getting anxious about an upcoming tiny paycheck. When I don’t work a typical 9-5 gig it is easy to lose focus, forget why I work per diem instead of harnessing the security of a full-time job.
I have been on vacation for the last 1.5 weeks visiting Mother Fran and Child #7 in sunny Florida. I usually visit in February at which point in time, I am desperate to get away from Upstate NY and the frigid winter temperatures. We didn’t have any snow to speak of when I departed but it was cold and getting away was just what the doctor ordered.
Child #7 works really long hours this time of year so I didn’t get to spend much time with her. I did however get lots of quality time with Mother Fran. We shopped, went to a nature preserve, read in the sun and played lots of Canasta. We watched football, assembled her new patio furniture, weeded the garden and played more Canasta. Mother Fran may be 90 but she still has plenty of interests to keep her engaged. I want to be like Mother Fran as I age!
Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about having written a letter to a friend expressing my gratitude for her having such a positive influence on me when I was growing up? Well I got to see her twice this week and she mentioned that letter a few times. She said it was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her!
The fact that I not only felt grateful to her but shared my gratitude with her obviously made her day. Not only did expressing gratitude make me feel good, it made her feel good as well. That is a WIN-WIN in my book.
This is the holiday season, don’t quarantine your gratitude! Let someone know how important they are to you. When I get home from my December vacation, I plan on writing another letter to an old boss who was an incredible mentor to me in my early 20’s. She deserves to know that I am thankful for the positive influence she has had on my life! We don’t speak often but I know our friendship is important to both of us and the longer we go without talking, the harder it is to pick up the phone.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Mappy Chrisukah and Happy Holidays! I hope each and every one of you are spending the holiday season in a manner that maximizes health, wealth and happiness. I will be hanging out with Child #1 and her honey eating yummy food, playing games and enjoying family time. Life is Good in My Little Blue Kayak!
I can remember sitting around the table and my sister-in-law asking everyone for their highs and lows of the day. She wanted to know the high point and the low point of each persons day. It was a great way to connect with each other, to share some important aspects of what happened that day and how you were feeling about it. On Thanksgiving, she would ask each of us to state what we were grateful for that day. She was ahead of her time in terms of understanding the benefits of expressing gratitude.
I’ve read about a gratitude exercise where every day you write down on a slip of paper something for which you are grateful. At the end of the year you can pull out those slips of paper and review them. Right here in My Little Blue Kayak, I have written about gratitude many times, including here and here. It seems that being grateful is all the rage!
Do you want to increase your happiness? There is more than enough to go around and it is free to make more and more. One could argue the supply of happiness is endless.
Then why are people so unhappy all of the time?
I think we live such busy, hectic lives that we are stressed out most of the time. We don’t spend time doing things we love and eventually we forget the joy we once derived from simple pleasures. We get caught up in daily chores, work, responsibilities, and commitments and forget to do the little things that bring us joy.
I would argue that if you want to increase your happiness, if you want to be a better person, if you want to be the best YOU possible; that it takes work. It takes some introspection and quiet time. But all of the time and effort is worth it once you can find ways to maximize your happiness, reduce your stress and spend time with the people who bring out the best in you.
I love to cook. I usually have a main ingredient in mind and then start perusing the fridge and the cabinets to see what else is on hand that I can toss in the pot. I think about what protein I want, what fresh vegetables I have and the spices that will bring it all alive.
Preparing dinner is my down time at the end of the work day. I usually drink a glass of wine or an ice cold IPA while cooking and sing along to my favorite tunes. I start a meal while still thinking about what else to add to it and the final product is often nothing like what I had in mind when I started. I will stop what I am doing to run out to the garden to pick some fresh basil, parsley and tomatoes or at the last minute prepare some type of sauce or salsa to top it all off.
You see, I am not a perfectionist when I cook in the kitchen. I am more of a creator or a sculptor.
Laughing out Loud!!! Ok, Ok. That is a stretch. No one has ever accused me of being an Artist in any way, shape or form.
I have been in vacation and family mode for the last few weeks and have not managed to carve out time to work on my blog or to study for my health coach exam. I have managed to spend actual time in my little yellow (sit on top) kayak, the canoe and relaxing in the lake. My honey and I spent a week vacationing in the Adirondacks with a group of friends and Child #1. That week was full of laughter, games and lake time.
Do you let the weather determine your plans? Let’s go kayaking next week. Let me check the weather first. Let’s go for a bike ride. What day is the rain going to let up? Do you want to have a picnic? No, it is going to rain.
Once upon a time, I was getting together with a friend to check out the sand castles on a beach in Maine. I was getting ready to go and the weather looked a bit iffy. I called my friend and asked if she still wanted to meet up as it looked like rain. Her response was…
The long winter of 2017 is over and spring has been pretty wonderful, although a bit rainy. I managed to plant my small garden several weeks ago which is pretty early for this area. I have tomatoes, basil, parsley, scallions, and peppers. I have been doing lots raking, weeding and planting in my own yard and with others.
You know the feeling when you get stuck in your head? When your little inner voice just won’t quit with the negative comment and the criticisms?
Please tell me this happens to you…
It is time to turn off that voice and invite the positive voice to lead the ongoing dialogue in between the ears!
When people tout the benefits of positive affirmations and mantras they say a lot of really cool things. I look at positive affirmations as simply the self talk I need to hear in order to drown out the negative voice, the self talk that is helpful vs toxic. Mantras are a simple word or sound that you repeat to yourself over and over again. I recently started listening to OM mantras on YouTube to check them out.
This site claims that mantras can cleanse your body of stress, allow you to experience more synchronicity and serendipity and unite our left and right brains allowing us to access our gut feelings, intuition and creative problem solving.
This one states “It is our self talk that creates our self concept, and there is a one-to-one relationship between our self concept(s) and our level of performance.” In other words if my self talk tells me I am stupid and lazy I will perform at a stupid and lazy level. I have read that positive affirmations, self talk and mantras help you plug into the universe which will then conspire in your favor to reach your dreams.