It’s Always Something…..Good

Photo Credit: Skiwalker79 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Skiwalker79 via Compfight cc

Your vehicle’s check engine light is glowing like the sun. Your dog needs to go to the vet, which will take you a year to pay off. You stub your toe on a shallow stair, and you and your coffee take a tumble. Somehow, a splash of bleach makes its way into a load of darks.

What do you say? “It’s always something.” You roll your eyes, puff out a sigh of frustration and defeat, and say, “It’s always something.”

The postman delivers a packet of coupons for things you actually need. You get a promotion or a raise at your job. You have a warm body, which you love more than life itself, to snuggle up against each night. You make it home safe after gnarly traffic on the freeway. What do you say?

Nothing. You say nothing.

Sure, we feel our happiness. We are grateful for it. Occasionally we may even list that with which we are blessed. However, we tend to dwell more on the rotten aspects than the good. We give them more attention. They hit us harder. But it shouldn’t be so.
When the bad things arise, go ahead and say, “It’s always something.”

But, when the good things, especially the little good things like not burning dinner, happen, say, “It’s always something.” Wouldn’t it be nice to let out a sigh of satisfaction instead of a grumble and say, “It’s always something,” with genuine gratitude and pleasure? Every idiom has an origin. But who’s to say we cannot alter them or give them a new place?
There are as many little good things as there are bad, so why not? Why is it always something bad? Why can’t it always be something good?

A little tweak in mentality, in practice, can have a great impact on your life, your attitude, and your happiness. Making yourself more aware than ever before of the little good things will make you a happier person. Seriously. It sounds simple, but everyone knows that a change in vision, perception, and way of thinking takes time, concentration, and practice. However, it is worth it, I promise. So do it. Thank ALL your lucky stars, not just the biggest ones.

 

 

Posted in Positivity | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Two of the Most Grossly Overused Words

Photo Credit: expom2uk via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: expom2uk via Compfight cc

Like a great song overplayed on the radio, words can lose their shine if used excessively. Their weight gets lighter and their power fizzles. People throw them around without even realizing they are chipping away at the strength of their meaning.

 

1. Love
Some may say it’s impossible to overuse this word. On the contrary, each time someone uses it in a flippant manner, the power is diminished.

Excessive use strips the trueness from the word. Someone may say, “I LOVE cheese,” when they sink their teeth into a gooey grilled cheese sandwich or roll around a mouthful of rich macaroni and cheese.

Cheese is wonderful. But think about it, do they really love cheese, or just like it a lot? There is a difference. Sometimes the line is blurry, but it is there.

Think about love for a moment. What does that word feel like? Does it feel like satisfaction of your taste buds? Or does it feel like your wedding vows, the moment you set eyes on your child for the first time, or your dog’s big eyes begging you to play?

It’s a fabulous thing to express how much you appreciate the good things in life, like cheese, but choose the right words. You would never compare how you feel about cheese to how you feel about your spouse, your child, or your dog.

You may say, “But, love is tiered. There are many gradients to love.” Maybe, but still, cheese? If you really do love cheese, then great. But if you just like it a lot, don’t disrespect the power of the word love by just throwing it out there willy-nilly and slapping it on a thing like cheese.

2. Hate
This is a strong, solid rock of a word. Just like love, it packs a punch. While I wish it were never used, I wish even more that it were never felt. However, it’s a valid, true feeling, and a valid, true word. Sometimes blind, heat-of-the-moment anger feels a lot like hate, and I won’t touch that one. I know the difficulty of rationalizing when rationale seems to have skipped out on you.

Assuming rationale is alive and well within a situation, one may say, “I hate the wind! It messes up my hair, it kicks sand in my eye, it makes me sneeze, I HATE wind!” Well, it is a pain in the ass, that wind, but hate is still a very strong word. We should use it with care. Sparingly. Especially because it is so negative, you should reserve it for when you really feel it. Maybe not even then.

Think about what hate feels like. If you are unfortunate enough to know the feeling behind this word, that’s easy to do. If you are blessed enough to have never honestly hated anything or anyone (yay for you!), then just do your best to imagine what it might feel like. Hate is a word too often used frivolously.

Besides, don’t you think the world would be a little better if people didn’t throw this disgusting verb around so much?

Posted in language | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Own Yourself: The Consequence of Being You

Photo Credit: Furryscaly via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Furryscaly via Compfight cc

For all our lives, we are taught how we should be. Influence, example, circumstance, and direction all push us to perform in certain ways. The truth is we can be whatever, whomever, and however, we want. We just have to live with it.

Every society holds its own rules and taboos. Individuals adhere to their own scale of morals. Life doesn’t dictate how you behave, you do. However, we must accept whatever comes our way as a result of our choice of being.

We can be nasty, jerky, unforgiving, and overly critical. We have the right and the power. No one can make us otherwise. But what comes our way is what we bring our way.
If you are rude to people, don’t blame others for the rejection you feel when they refuse your company. If you put in minimum effort at your job, just enough to keep it and get a paycheck, don’t blame your boss for passing you up for a promotion or a raise. If you’re mean to your dog, don’t beat him because he bit you.

You can choose to be kind, peaceful, meaningful, and generous. More often than not, the consequences will be positive. When you emanate compassion, sincerity and kindness, it will gravitate back to you. When you are good to others, you feel good.

Everything you feel as a result of your being is on you. If you don’t like it, change your being. If you do like it, keep doing what you’re doing. Make the choice to be who you are and deal with how the world responds. Granted, many times we get things we don’t deserve from nasty people even when we are kind. But remember, they must deal with their own consequences.

What you give is generally what you get in return. Be who you want. Be how you want. Only blame and praise yourself for the trials and rewards that are the direct result of your actions. As we all have the power to be, we all have the power to change.

Look at how you live, how you feel about people, how you treat people, and how the consequences cause you to feel. Do you like it? Are you okay with it, or do you crave something better? Whatever you choose, it is a choice. It’s on you. Be the person who you can live with.

 

Posted in Responsibility | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Help Yourself Without Hurting Others

Photo Credit: Visualogist via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Visualogist via Compfight cc

To stand above others and be recognized, count on your worth rather than someone’s flaw.

Most of us know what it’s like to be stepped on. When people build themselves up by putting others down, it stinks.

You see it in product advertisements. You find it in competition of every kind. It shows up in the workplace and within families. It comes from peers, colleagues, and rivals. Pointing out the faults of others isn’t the best way to build yourself up. It doesn’t make your work any better; it’s just a deflection. And not a good one.

In an attempt to shine, it is always better to let hard work, good attitude, and skill speak. That is what elevates people. Good merit declares itself. If someone must rely on another’s insufficiency, they are not as good as they think.

Sweeping someone else into the shadows, stepping on their backs, to get into the spotlight paints a person not only as a bully, but also as insecure and amateur.

Critique is one thing. So is comparison. There’s nothing wrong with those. However, if the argument for performance quality is that someone else sucked worse, that’s not much of an argument. Good work stands out for being good. Poor work stands out for being bad.

Do what you do well. Learn and get better. Take the hits when they come. Don’t disparage others in order to put yourself on a pedestal. Show people what is great about you, not what is awful about others.

Most of us are guilty. We are also capable of overcoming. The cream will rise. The rot will stink. Be the cream.

Posted in Responsibility, Success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Play More, Stress Less.

mark playChildren laugh, scream, run, jump, fall down, talk in weird voices, make odd animal, alien, and robot noises, make up stories, and put their wild imaginations on display for everyone and anyone to ooh, ahh, laugh, and wonder at.

In short, children are crazy. The good kind of crazy, mostly. Adults often wonder how and when they became so grown up, like their childish ways just stood up and walked away from them one day. They wish they could find that silly mentality again, look at things innocently again, and be carefree. This wish is especially present in the minds of adults who spent their childhoods simply surviving, not having the carefree days that all children should have.

If we swirled a little childlike silliness in with our rigid adulthood, we would not only be happier and healthier, we would see the world in a better light. Stress would be easier to deal with. Our minds would create more. Problems might even be simpler.

When is the last time you roughhoused? When was the last time you had a water fight? We have at least one every summer. The neighbors may think we are nuts while we run around in the middle of the street with water pistols, super soakers, and garden hoses. But we don’t care. We don’t pay attention. Because we are too busy having fun, playing like children. ace play

There’s a time and a place, many in fact, to carry the woes of the world upon your shoulders. But occasionally, you must shrug them off and be a kid. Think like a kid. Play like a kid.

Now, I don’t mean that you have to neglect adulthood duties in favor of sitting in the yard and making mud pies. That would be strange. After you have done your taxes, go play. When the workday is over, summon some energy for silliness.

rough house playThe simple, easy things amuse children. Little things make them happy and entertained. Do that for yourself. When you don’t have time or opportunity to play, look around you, every day, find simple things that bring a smile to your face. Wipe that sourpuss off and find the good, dammit.

A child’s whole world is in the moment. Their entire happiness encases them for five precious minutes when nothing matters in the universe except clacking together a pile of multicolored rocks. Take some time, if only five minutes, and immerse yourself in a happy, childlike imagination. Play.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Friends and Family, Full life, Simpler Life, Stress | Tagged , , ,

For a Full Life, Teach What You Know. Learn What You Don’t.

Photo Credit: Renée S. Suen via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Renée S. Suen via Compfight cc

Part of living a full, happy life is learning. Sponging up new knowledge and experience expands our minds and rounds our lives. It feels good to know things today that you didn’t yesterday. Not to be outdone by learning, is teaching. We are all living and learning. But where, and from whom, do we learn?

We all have something to learn, but we also have something to teach. It’s a sometimes small, but always significant, offering to the world. I applaud those who teach for a living and for the love of it, but even those who don’t realize it have something to teach.

It could be teaching your child manners and kind behavior. It could be teaching someone how to cook, fix a motorcycle, draw, speak a different language, or have greater acceptance. Everything we learn allows us to think beyond our usual, rigid ways.

We all know something that someone else wants or needs to know. We all have something to say, as well as something we need to hear. No one else in the world envisions things as you do or knows things as you know them.

Chefs show their genius with plates of carpaccio and nests of frisee. They teach by igniting palates with new tastes and by instructing others to do the same.

Tattoo artists teach art, beauty, and diversity to their apprentices, their clients, and onlookers. Tattoo wearers often teach awareness, acceptance, and sameness of humanity despite outward appearance.

Children teach us to find the wonder age sometimes strips from us. Friends teach us math and strategy with a game of dominoes. Bear Grylls teaches us how to survive in the wild by building fire and eating spiders the size of your hand.

No matter your trade, skill level, age, experiences, or place in the world, you have something to teach someone. Someone needs to hear what you have to say, so say it already. Find a way. Through art, music, books, cooking, speech, prayer, or whatever means, conventional or unconventional. Just say it.

People need to learn. You need to teach. Inside all of us is the power to show someone something important to them.

 

 

Posted in communication, Lessons | Tagged , ,

The Definition of Family

Photo Credit: micahb37 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: micahb37 via Compfight cc

One of the best parts of life is family. But what exactly is family? Everyone has their definition. The adage that claims you can’t choose your family is untrue. That is exactly what you should do. We all have the power and the right to choose our family. What a sad world it would be if blood were the only determining factor when defining family.

Richard Bach wrote, “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.”

Not all, but most, of my family is comprised of people who I have chosen and who have chosen me, without the benefit or hindrance of blood ties. I love my family. Including the members linked to me by blood, this family is the one I have chosen. It is the one that has chosen me. It is the best one for me. We love, respect, support, accept, and share with each other. We have good times and ugly times together.

We don’t just call each other family; we act like family. Because we are family. We all get it. Many have the good fortune of liking and loving those they are genetically related to. However, many don’t and have found their families outside of the blood circle. A biological bond is not a requirement for family. Too many people think it is.

Open yourself up and get rid of labels. Don’t limit yourself by considering someone who you treat as family as being outside your family.

Adopted children, spouses, and in-laws are all examples of acceptable non-biological family. Why then, is it difficult for some to extend that acceptance? Why do they refuse to believe two people who met at age fourteen and share no DNA can become brothers? Why is it so impossible that one can have a niece or nephew unrelated by marriage or blood?

Family is family, blood or no. you choose. There are no obligations, no set standards, and no cemented rules when it comes to blood. What runs through your veins cannot touch what runs through your heart and your mind. Love the ones you love. Hold them close. And if they feel like family, they are.

Posted in Friends and Family, Love, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

Less Stuff, Better Life

We accumulate things throughout our lives. Lots of things. They clutter our lives and our minds. Some people build their lives around things and don’t even realize it. They need everything they see. They think about how much more they can get. Then they spend time and energy worrying about all the crap that surrounds them. It can be a quiet, nagging obsession, or it can be a huge sickness. Either way, we can all do with fewer things.

Clutter drains energy, attention, and time. Instead of filling your life with things, fill them with good people, good times, and amazing memories.

Spend less time cleaning and organizing (or thinking about it) and more time living. Take a good long look around your life (home, car, office) and make a list of things you haven’t used in a while, can’t see yourself using in the near future, or didn’t even realize you still owned. Get rid of them. Make a list of places you can sell or donate your excess. Think about homeless and pet shelters, churches, flea markets, online garage sales, or recycling centers.

That blanket in the darkest corner of your linen closet that you haven’t used in 5 years, but can’t part with because it has your favorite cartoon character on it, needs to go. Donate it. Someone else will use it. You won’t miss it after a few days. That fancy-shmancy all-in-one, as-seen-on-TV cooking appliance you used twice 3 years ago but you keep just in case must go. Get it out of your life and never think of it again.

We don’t have many tchotchkes in our home. Most things we have, we can and do use. If we haven’t used something in a while, we pitch it or donate it. Then it’s no longer around for us to think about.The less material we hoard, the simpler and better life is.

Try to live by the rule that when you bring something in, take something out. There are exceptions though, like books and cats. De-clutter your life and de-clutter your mind. Be at peace with your surroundings. Pay attention to experiences instead of stuff.

Posted in Full life, Simpler Life | Tagged , ,

Less Worry, More Living

Photo Credit: rachel_titiriga via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: rachel_titiriga via Compfight cc

We spend much of our time worrying. It’s something that I have been working on for a long, long time. I used to worry incessantly about everything that came my way. I worried from the time I woke up until I went to sleep; then I worried in my dreams. I worried about small things like getting caught in the rain wearing Vans instead of Converse or the grocery store running out of asparagus. I worried about big things like the end of the world or if my husband might crash on his ride home.

However, it’s gotten much better and I am happier for it. I still worry, but not as much. Some worry is inevitable (and healthy) for most of us, but we can choose what we worry about.

Worrying is kind of like picking battles. Some worries are worth it, and some are not. Don’t waste precious life stressing about the wrong things.

Don’t worry about what others think. Be who makes you happy, and those around you will be happy. Assuming you’re not a complete jerk, those who love you want you to be yourself; they want you to be happy. If someone has a problem with that, it’s their problem, not yours.

If you don’t have control over something, if you can’t have control, don’t worry about it. You can prepare for most disasters, but time spent worrying they will happen is a waste. Make emergency plans, create a will, clean up your finances, baby-proof your home. Whatever worries you, prepare to either prevent it or live through it, then walk away from it. Push it away before it consumes you completely.

I worry when my husband is on the bike, but then I put it away because if something happens, there is nothing I can do about it. Constant worry does not change any outcome. It just eats away at life.

So put your mind to something else, something more productive, something positive. There are so many things to do with your time other than fret. Occupy your worry time with reading, music, a friend, or creation.

When you catch yourself worrying, sing a song, call a friend, paint a picture, or think of something in your life that is so right and beautiful that you can hardly stand it.

Stop worrying and live.

Posted in Full life | Tagged , , ,

Celebration of Life: The Importance of Birthdays

Photo Credit: Aih. via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Aih. via Compfight cc

My husband’s birthday is in a week. His attitude towards it is that it’s just another day. Until recently, I shared that sentiment about my own birthday. I know several people who feel the same, which causes me to wonder how common this way of thinking is.

The anniversary of the day my husband entered the world is not just another day. His birth was a momentous occasion for me because eventually he would change my life forever. Meeting and marrying him is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It is the best thing I have ever done. Obviously, it couldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been born. Therefore, I say his entrance is undoubtedly a cause for celebration.

I have come to believe that no birthday is just another day. Every birthday marks the beginning of a life. What is a better thing to celebrate than life?

Unfortunately, it is difficult to contact every person you love every day and express your gratitude for them and all that they bring to your life. However, at the very least, we can spend one day celebrating their life. On their birthday, of course.

Here’s to my husband, who I am grateful for having in my life. Beyond words, I am happy for his existence and all the joy he has brought into my life. More than that, he decided to share his life with me. By celebrating his birthday and his life I celebrate our life, and that can never be just another ordinary day.

So it is for everyone we love. When we take the time to make a big deal of their birthday, we make a big deal of their life. Celebrate those you love and their existence. Celebrate all the things you appreciate about them, how they have changed you, how much you love them, and the fact that they are a part of the world and your life. It is time to realize once again the importance of birthdays and know that your birthday is not just another day.

Have a party, send a card, or make a call, and tell someone you love you are happy they are alive. If you are one who believes your birthday is nothing special, think again.

Posted in Friends and Family, Holidays | Tagged ,