The path to happiness can seem long and daunting … even when we know we hold the key to happiness now in our hearts and our hands. If you’re feeling stuck on the long path, register (free) for Deepak Chopra’s next 21 Day Meditation Challenge “Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude.”
BTW, this hits at least three of the 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life: Getting to Source (#1); Making Rituals (#9); and Giving Thanks (#10). It’s like a trifecta of blissyness for your soul.
And if you haven’t meditated before, don’t worry about a thing. These guided meditations offer a lovely introduction to the art of meditation, with step by step guidance and encouragement. Thirty minutes a day for 21 days could quite literally change your life.
The advice is all over the internet. We know we should get enough sleep, eat right, exercise, connect with friends, volunteer, take a walk. But there’s one thing that seems to be missing from a lot of this happiness advice.
Quit spending so much time on social media. Like, right now. Stop it.
“Every day there is another article, video or piece of content that tells us we need to do or not do something because science has proven it’s ‘bad for us,’” Levy writes in Entrepreneur. “As a human behavior scientist, it drives me crazy that so many people are still surprised by these so-called discoveries. Did you really not know that sleep is important? Or that obsessing over your Instagram posts is unhealthy? This isn’t new.”
Levy advises us to stop being proud of how well we multi-task (it’s not a good thing, really, it just means we’ve forgotten how to focus). And he believes that much of our distraction, stress and unhappiness comes from our little phones.
“Put away your phone and smartwatch while you’re in a meeting. Close all those browser tabs, shut off notifications, and focus on one task at a time. Be where you are at the moment and nowhere else,” Levy notes.
It’s great advice. Be happy … now. Love you all.
A fun little image from 10 Little Rules for Your Creative Soul author Rita Long. Thanks, Rita, you made our day!
Love it, hate it, need it, avoid it — we are all on there for various personal, social and professional reasons. And yeah, it’s got its challenges.
Making peace with this reality is neither easy nor quick, and lately it’s been top of mind for me as I go through my work day.
A couple days ago I made a comment on a friend’s post. He was really upset about something going on in the “larger” world — I could tell because of the giant black letters against a blood red background. I may not catch every nuance, but this one was pretty unmistakable.
And I believed he was wrong in how he was looking at the issue. I posted a civil response with my point of view, coming from my 20 years in the online publishing industry.
He deleted the comment, and made a comment about his right to do so. Okay.
At first my ego said “Ha! He knows I’m right; that’s why he deleted my comment.” Then I backed away, gave my ego a gentle but firm hug, and whispered “time out” in her ear.
I browsed through his timeline, reading some of the news sources he shared, trying to gain an understanding of where he was coming from with his opinions. Gradually I began to see what scared him — I could see where the fears were, and how they were being amplified. And I began to realize that his fears — loss of freedom, control, livelihood, ideals — aren’t that far from mine. In fact, they come down to fairly common fears and anxieties we all experience on one level or another.
The only apparent difference? The reasons — the people and policies that are exacerbating these fears in each of us.
In the larger dialogue, these differences can seem vast and insurmountable. But in that personal moment, the commonality of our human anxiety was what struck home. From that point of view, our differences didn’t seem that far off at all.
We all have a circle of immediate influence — in that circle, we can do good, do harm, make change or support the status quo. And then there’s the larger circle, in which we have a voice, sometimes a powerful voice, but changes comes more slowly.
And then there’s the social circle, in which we all have a voice but it often does little to advance our own intentions. It’s just adding noise.
Beyond making our own voice heard, however, is another powerful agent for change. Listening. Trying to truly discover where the other person is coming from, their fears, their motivations and intentions. It’s not easy to go there; but it’s critical if we expect to find long-lasting solutions to the problems that plague us.
“Always do your best.”
It’s one of the Four Agreements, the seemingly simple yet profound book on Toltec wisdom by Don Miguel Ruiz. The idea is that, no matter what you’re doing, do it to the best of your ability. No half-assing it, no sweeping the dirt under the rug, that sort of thing.
But there’s a critical part to understanding this. We are human, and some days our best is not quite what it is on another day. When we are tired, or stressed, or anxious, or sick, or in the middle of chaos, our “best” might just look like survival.
That doesn’t mean we get a free pass; bliss comes at the other end of doing what you’re doing with presence and intention, immersing yourself in the moment. And sometimes, that means we have to care for ourselves, with the same commitment and passion we put into taking care of others, taking care of business.
Some days I’m a tornado of productivity. Other days, like today, it’s all I can do to keep my eyes open at the keyboard. So I must intentionally decide — is my “best” right now pushing this next piece, even if my creative energies are waning? Or would doing my best look like taking a little time off, maybe a nap, or a long walk, or a hot shower?
There’s a trap in this. It’s too easy to take the easy route, putting off what truly needs doing for the sake of “self-care” or even indulgence. The solution for me lies in listening to that still, quiet voice. It knows if I’m phoning it in, or not engaging as well as I should. It calls me back to the task to bang out the blog post or finish that client proposal, no excuses. And then, job well done, it knows when I should back off, rest and recharge.
It all comes back to listening. Be attentive to what your instincts are saying. And learn to separate those gut feelings from the tapes in your head that might say you’re not being successful enough, or working hard enough, generally in comparison to others. Doing your best compared to what? Your best days? Or somebody’s else’s idea of what your best should look like?
Today i’m not sure. Nap? Keep going on work? Something else? Maybe I’ll take hubby’s lead who says, quite simply, “I’m having a banana.”
Maybe for today’s that the best I got. <3
When I ran across this image in my feed the other day, I shared it without hesitation.
With all the negativity in the world, we need more focus on the positive, the lifting up, the heartfelt good.
Later the next day, I found my self scrolling the #PermitPatty feed on Twitter, seeing all the nasty things being said about the white woman who called the cops because a young girl of color was selling water to raise money for a trip.
I wrote — then deleted — at least five different tweets offering my snark to the mix. I never posted any of them. Not because I support what she did — I certainly do not. FFS I was selling handmade tissue paper flowers on the side of the road alongside my lemonade stand before this woman was even born. Let the kid sell and don’t be a jerk.
Regardless, I resisted the temptation to chime in and add my voice to the drubbing. Then I started thinking about this image again. Breaking it down, a simple platitude with many layers of meaning.
First — be the one who lifts people up. This is always good advice. Yet there’s a sad blow back to doing this in our current climate, where it seems everyone assumes you’re on one side or the other based on one comment. If I said something as simple as “we don’t know the whole story,” (which, face it, we NEVER do unless we are personally and directly involved, and even then, it’s sketchy), I’d be labeled a supporter of her ugly behavior.
Seems we are only “allowed” to lift someone up when we agree with their political/social/whatever view … or risk alienating others or being labelled incorrectly. Gross.
Second — don’t tell the world her tiara was crooked. This is for the ego. Lifting up for love’s sake, not for that “I did a good thing” moment. This is an eternal struggle, isn’t it? This woman clearly had her crown on too tight or something — does she have someone in her life to help her adjust? I sure hope so, or else all the hate flowing her way is only going to solidify her fears and support harsher actions.
Our crowns slip occasionally. Our tiaras get dusty. I’m grateful for my friends who quietly help me set things right.
Rule #9 in 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life is “Make Life a Ritual.”
There is a certain comfort in routine. The morning cup of coffee is a perfect example. While some view it as a chore or a necessity, I see it as a way to reconnect to the waking world.
So much of our lives rush by in a blur. We find ourselves doing the same things over and over again, like dropping the kids off at school, or tossing a load of laundry into the washer, dashing off emails to the clients, or paying the bills. It’s too easy to become automated, almost unthinking, as we scurry through our lives.
One way to bring more connection into my life has been through rituals. Growing up Catholic, we had plenty of proscribed rituals. Tuna noodle casserole became a Friday staple during lent. Even stopping for donuts after Sunday Mass, which explains my ongoing craving for a good jelly bismark one day a week.
I have found new joy in recognizing and celebrating the rituals in my life. Making the bed is now an opportunity to bring my bedroom back to a state of beauty, and prepare the space for another restful night. Checking the mail is gives me just a minute or two to think of someone I’d like to hear from, and plan to write or email them. Cooking dinner goes from being a chore to celebrating a healthy offering for my body.
But what happens when change interrupts our rituals?
The last two weeks have been all about chaos — sorting, packing, storing, selling our home and moving in with a friend while our new home is under construction. The comforting rituals are turned on their heads. And with it, my sense of balance. It’s no wonder I’ve had vertigo in the mornings, as my physical body expresses what’s in my heart and mind.
Yet overturning the familiar is where we find new joy. Creating new order out of the chaos — even though I know this too is temporary — restores my balance while allowing me to be open to new experiences.
My latest ritual? Morning coffee on the dock, feeding the baby turtles at my friend Melissa’s beautiful home. Who knew watching tiny little shell kids bob for food could be such bliss?
I may be out of my element, but that’s no reason to be out of my mind.