Category Archives: Happiness

The Colors Of Flowers

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Human beings first used natural colors centuries ago. During those times synthetic colors were not available. Flowers were the main source of color. This article does not intend to go into how the colors were extracted and so on, but how colors of flowers can make our life a better living experience. Let us examine.

Look at flowers. You will find a range of colors -from purest white to black. Some flowers are single colored while many have colors so beautifully mixed that no painter can do something similar. The first observation we can make is - all colors look good on flowers. We may hate a color, for example you may dislike yellow. But if you pick up a yellow colored flower, you may not dislike it. Why? Because the color merges so well with the structure and texture of the flower that it does not remain separate but merges totally in the flower. I hope I am making myself clear. What I mean to say that even if you hold a yellow colored flower, you will not be noticing only the color, but the touch, the shape, the fragrance and the symmetry of the flower. Color has merged itself with other qualities to create something beautiful. Is this making sense?

I have been talking about the colors. But I could have been as well talking about any other quality of the flower. My contention is simple. If a quality does not overpower other qualities but merges with them the result can be great. We as human beings can do the same - as the members of a family, a team or a part of business group or as citizens of our nation. Instead of overpowering others with our qualities, if we try to merge and create a whole, the outcome will always be much better. The focus is to dissolve one's individual ego and work together in tandem.

Stop Waiting On Your Life

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This week I was sitting on the phone with tech support, and over and over again, I thought of things I could have done while I sat there -- waiting -- not living my life.

Are you "on hold" in your life?

Are you waiting for a spouse to come along, or for him/her to act better towards you? Are you waiting on the motivation to get your home organized? Are you waiting on a great job to fall into your lap? Are you waiting on winning the lottery to plan your retirement?

Stop waiting on your life! The only difference between you and the people who are getting what they want, is that they kept moving and you didn't. Here are some ideas to help get you started again.

Focus on the who, not the what.
If you find that you've been stuck in a goal for a while, try restating it in "who am I" terms instead of "what I want" terms. For example, instead of saying "I want to lose 30 lbs.", say "I am someone who takes care of herself by keeping my weight around XXX which is a healthy range for my height and age." Be as specific as possible. Notice that "I want to be someone who helps others" could mean anything from a clerk in the grocery store to a heart surgeon. Focus on who you want to be. Then ask yourself what actions would be fit with your desire "to be" instead of "get".

Analyze it.
Did you know that a full 80% of your problems come from 20% of your life? It's true! Determine what that 20% is that's affecting so much of your life, and start working to make it happier, more efficient, more satisfying.

Assign Value.
A big mistake I see in my coaching clients is not assigning a true value to your time, to your energy, to your money, and to the "real estate" (space) of your home or office. Realize that for each thing you say Yes to -- from a pair of shoes to watching a movie -- you have said No to something else. Always ask yourself - is this *valuable* enough to me to crowd my life with, or even to bump something else from my closet, my schedule, my money?

Establish routines.
I know you have "pizza night"-- so why not "bills night" or "clean your room night" as well? Like the pizza night, routines show up in all kinds of ways in your life. While they sound boring and confining, routines are actually freeing. The same way you don't have to think about dinner on pizza night, instead of being worried and anxious on Monday morning wondering if you remembered to pay the car insurance, you'll feel calm knowing that you always go to the bank on Friday afternoon and pay bills on Wed. evening. Routines take the stress out.

Accept Control-ability.
We've all heard about deniability from political spin doctors. I'd like to introduce the concept of 'controlability' in your daily life. You can't control world politics, but you can vote. You can't control terrorism, but you can be prepared in your own home. You can't control the construction crews on the freeway, but you can control how much time you allot for a trip. Knowing what you can control and exercising that, and letting go of what you can't, puts you in the driver's seat of your life.

Feeling good about yourself will come naturally when you stop waiting and start creating the life you really want to live. Stress and frustration will be reduced as you make choices instead of being pushed around. You'll experience a higher sense of self acceptance, and the self improvement will become easier and easier.

Stop waiting, Start today!


Simple Happiness

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If you aren't happy, why aren't you?

Chances are it is because you want something which you do not have, objects or conditions. This is probably not a good enough reason and a review of your situation and perceptions may be in order.

You may have seen video of children in very poor countries laughing and playing, unconcerned that they should have more to be happy about. They are happy because they are playing, because they have their friends and family, and some food to eat that day. Everyone has the right to be happy, and if they can be in their situation, shouldn't you?

"Happiness consists more in small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life." - Ben Franklin (1706-1790)

Happiness is inside us, in our minds, in our thinking. It is not external material things or experiences, but the enjoyment of our thoughts and feelings. This is good because our thoughts, and therefore our happiness, are up to us.

Start by reviewing the things that you have to be happy about and dwell on these. Don't overlook the little or basic things that you take for granted.

Make a habit of substituting unhappy thoughts with happy thoughts. Whenever an unfavorable picture enters your mind, eject it and replace it with a pleasant one. We all have some nice experiences to recollect and there are usually little pleasures around us most of the time. You can even imagine enjoyable experiences, and it will have a similar positive effect.

"Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." - Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

Establish good principles and conduct yourself according to these principles. Love, or at least be tolerant of, your fellow humans. Don't strive too hard for that which, in the end, will not make you happier.


The Dance of Life

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Waking up as a little boy the excitement for the day's adventure pumped through my veins and lit up my eyes. I'd look out the window at the bright sunshine, the hay fields, and the expansive blue skies and magical clouds. Once out in the freedom of the day, with no responsibilities, I'd hop, skip, jump, and run with joy, wonder, and excitement. Somewhere along the way, I began to remember and learned about cause and effect. Suddenly some limitations came into existence. Continuing to grow and mature, I learned to reason and apply my own critical thinking to situations that may or may not happen. I was creating a new reality within the context of my mind and my past experiences. The horror!

Now, with another level of awareness that has developed, the spiritual awareness, it's like walking the tight rope between this world we live and work in, and the uninhibited freedom of a child at play. There is something more to this experience of life. We are not just conditioned beasts of labour and love. We are not just confined to living a life sentence in suburbia. There is, and always was, so much more available to us. It exists everywhere, including suburbia, at work, in the mundane, at the most extraordinary and ordinary. The only way I can explain the discovery is to dance.

One day hopeful, the other day destitute, one day in love, the next day hateful, one moment playful, the next moment serious, and one day success, the next day failure. We're constantly moving and changing. The only constant is the silence, the stillness, the quiet place deep inside where spirit connects spirit. We feel it in the closest moments of intimacy with family or significant others. It is experienced in the greatest profound moment of joy and all words, all senses, all comprehension has escaped us. There is nothing left to figure out, there is only to forget.

Everyday we would do well to forget many of the happenings of our yesterday. No bias, no fear, no limitations, no expectations, just wonder. Wonder and curiosity accompanied by joy and love. This intrigues me greatly. How would tomorrow look? How would my world interact? This ideal leads me to believe that more is available for all of us. As an idealist, many things I say may seem unattainable. This is the peak possibility, of that there is no doubt. While the ideal is beautiful, any measure or occurrence of that ideal is welcome. A grain of salt to flavor each day for a fantastic experience of life. Each day, I need to be that grain of salt too, and dance!


Passion: Fire In Your Soul

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Many people try to hold a raging fire within themselves, but it restlessly and relentlessly gnaws at their core. Some have tried to cover it up with alcohol, numb it with drugs, hide it with shopping, kids, work, or religion, or fuel it with sex. The Baby Boomers looked for eternal youth and to change the world. They thought they would never grow up, but they did. They thought they would change the world and they did.

The previous generation looked for the American Dream. Some found it. Many did not. The present generation seems to be seeking success. Yet, the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" widens. Each generation and each individual, in turn, searches for something, but it often slips from their grasp.
The fire carries both energy and discomfort. The key is to use the discomfort as a motivator and the energy as fuel.

Redfield in the "Celestine Prophecy" talks of the need for a historical perspective. The first man or woman met his/her physical needs. Then he or she explored and conquered the world and put it to their collective service. Now we seek something and we don't seem to know what it is.

When we are connected to our roots and our souls, passion rises quickly and pushes us the next level of life or learning or love. It does not have to be love of a mate. It could be creative passion, fueling what we do for ourselves, work, community, or family. Anything where the totality of who you are is absorbed in the doing, requires passion. To loose it, is soul death, or at least deep sleep. It will cry to be heard when it sleeps.

I've sometimes been afraid of my passion. It seems so fierce at times. I guess I fear it will consume me and nothing else will matter. I know that can happen. I've had a small taste of it when I work for hours into the night, so absorbed by my work that I forget time, sleeping, and eating. But, I also know that I must have time in my life to live the every day life of doing the mundane things that must be done. Balance is probably still the key, but you must not loose your passion all together. Your life will be too dry and dull without it.

Remember your first love? Nothing else mattered. You felt as if you would walk to the ends of the earth for that love. Remember that? While that first passionate, all consuming love does not last, it gives us a taste of a force within ourselves that carries tremendous energy. Look for your passion and it will find you.


Managing My Resistance: Learning to Flow with What Life Offers

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One of the things that interests me most about conflict is the tendency to resist it and the ways in which this resistance causes me to miss key moments, when I might respond with purpose and intention but do not. Resistance is a reactive habit. When I resist, I'm on automatic, and I fail to spot the opportunity to respond with the conscious engagement of being fully present.

Aikido -- the martial art I practice and teach -- suggests that resistance escalates conflict. When I push, the conflict pushes back. Aikido replaces resistance with alignment and redirection. I change my view from "this person is attacking me" to "this person is offering energy that I can use."

Aikido (pronounced eye-key-doe) is Japanese for "the way of blending with energy." Ki means universal energy or life force. Moments are those in which we are fully aware of our life force and our ability to influence our environment.

In aikido, the attack is inevitable, a part of life. We can influence the outcome of the attack by the way in which we engage and direct it.Will I resist and create a contest, ensuring a win-lose outcome? Or will I practice aikido and transform the attack into a gift of energy? How do I make these choices when I am feeling attacked?

To begin:Have a positive and useful purpose.Without a purpose to guide us in the conflict, we end up falling back on habitual patterns of reaction. Refocusing on purpose answers the question "What am I really going for here?" and directs the conflict toward a useful outcome.

Practice skills and techniques that move us toward our purpose. We have reactive habits that -- in the heat of the moment -- take us away from the goal. Changing our conflict "habits" requires skill building, practice and persistent application.

My work focuses on bringing aikido principles to life in "off the mat" scenarios -- the life "attacks" that we experience in the workplace, in our relationships, and in difficult life events that can occur at any time. How can we turn daily conflicts into life teachers?Just by asking the question, we begin to transform conflict moments into moments and attacks into energy we can use to build the kinds of home, work, and community environments we want to live in.

Money Can Not Buy You Happiness

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I am sure there will be many people who read this article and will think I am rather mad. Quite frankly I do not care. In this article I write about what in my humble opinion are the most importants things in life, health and happiness.

All that most of my friends talk about is money:

What car do you drive?

How much is your house worth?

How much do you earn?

How much did your suit cost?

Where are you going on holiday this year?

I find all of this very boring and think that they are rather sad. They seem to be in some sort of competition and they are basically obsessed about money.

I will give you an example of one such friend, his name is John. He never seems to talk about anything else and is always looking into get rich quick schemes. He is also in a lottery syndicate, of which there are about fifty members. Each member pays around ten pounds in per week. John likes to go out socialising on a Saturday night, however soon gets itchy feet at the time of the lottery draw. A few minutes later he will go to the toilet where he will then phone his girlfriend. He takes with him to the toilet a piece of paper with his numbers on and a little pen. After his girlfriend has told him which numbers were drawn, John will then then spend around twenty minutes checking his numbers, and then re-checking to see if he has any winning lines.

Eventually he returns to the group who seem very keen (apart from me) to find out how much he has won/lost. To date he has only won small amounts, however is convinced that one day he will become a millionaire. He will then start talking about the lottery, asking other people what they would buy if they were lucky enough to ever win. At this point I become very bored and start to wish I had stayed at home and watched the football.

For me the two most important things in life are health and happiness. These are two things which money can not buy. A few years ago, my dad was taken ill. He was in a real bad way and had to spend around five months in hospital. Him being ill was a huge shock to me as he was only fifty-seven. I feared the worst, even though I was trying my hardest to think and stay positive. I remember thinking, if I gave those doctors everything I own in the world, it still would not help him. I felt powerless and at that moment realised that money is only paper.

Happiness is the same, I remember having lots of money and had been surprised that I was depressed at the same time. At other times I have had next to no money and have been extremely happy.

Seven Keys To Happiness

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This article summarizes much of what I've learned thus far on my journey to self-discovery and positive growth. Along the way, through many of life's ups and downs, with the help of many awesome teachers and mentors, I now most often live in a state of happiness and contentment. I still have lots to learn but I wanted to share with you what I've found most helpful thus far. I truly believe that all people have the capacity to choose their mental attitude. Therefore, if happiness is what you desire, then you must choose it. Here are some helpful ideas to help you do just that.

1. Self-Worth
Self-worth-without it, happiness will always be just beyond your grasp. Self-worth is, of course, something that can be measured along a continuum. It isn't like you either have it or you don't. You can possess varying degrees and those degrees can themselves vary depending on the circumstances of your life.

Generally, the person who is happiest has a healthy amount of self-worth without an inflated view of their own self-importance. This is the fine line that must be walked between confidence and arrogance.

Confidence implies a certain sense of surety while recognizing that each of us is just a different cog in a very big wheel. No one person is any more important than anyone else. Those with high self-worth know their life's purpose. They are in tune with what their mission is and proceed to make it their life's work. They also recognize the value of everyone else with whom they share space.

Those who are arrogant recognize their own self-worth but then proceed to look down upon those they deem as unworthy. Then at the other end of the continuum, there are those who recognize the importance of others but don't believe they are worthy to breathe air.

A healthy balance of self-worth is the key.

2. Gratitude
The second key to happiness is gratitude. It is human nature to enumerate the things that are NOT the way we want them to be. We are programmed to notice when things are off, and not necessarily appreciate when all is as we want it. This makes maintaining an attitude of gratitude a challenge but nonetheless something we should strive for. I have mentioned before that Universal Law tells us that we attract those things we think about most often. When we are grateful for what we have, more is bestowed upon us.

I know someone who believes, "No good deed goes unpunished" and lives his life accordingly. Another person I know always says, "I have the worst luck. Nothing good ever happens to me." And you know what? They are right! The Universe delivers to them exactly what they expect. There are others who have similar bad luck but who persevere or find the lesson in the situation. These people find more happiness and contentment in return.

Another point about gratitude is to be thankful for what you have. I love the line in the song that says, "It's not having what you want; it's about wanting what you got!" There's nothing wrong with wanting to do better than you are as long as you are grateful along the way. Even when things are bad, there is always good to be found in it. Life is in perfect balance and order. Anything with a great deal of pain associated with it also has a tremendous positive side if we are of the mind to see it.

3. Positive Life Framing
The third key to happiness is positive life framing. There are three ways to view any piece of information-positively, negatively or neutrally. Viewing information as neutral is the best way to go through life. It allows us to accept everything as it comes and to stop resisting what actually is in any given moment. However, many of us have great difficulty with that one.

As an incremental step, it is helpful to find a way to reframe life's negative events into positive ones. Even in life's tragedies, there is a way to find something positive about the situation. Almost always, in hindsight, we can see the benefit. The real benefit comes when we are able to see the benefit as the tragedy unfolds, or at least stay open to the thought that there is a benefit even if you are unable to see it in that moment. Just as in physics where there can be no neutron without a proton, so it is with life where there can be no negative event without a corresponding positive one.

4. Internal Locus of Control
The fourth key to happiness is possessing an internal locus of control. People who have an internal locus of control believe that they are responsible for their own behavior and its results based on their own personal decisions and efforts. This is contrasted with those who have an external locus of control. These individuals believe that their behavior is determined by external circumstances such as other people, fate, luck or circumstances beyond their control.

Having an internal locus of control produces a "can do" attitude. An external locus of control generally results in a helpless attitude. Even though people with an internal locus of control still have situations that occur that are beyond their control, they will seek some action that can be taken by them to improve the situation. They do not spend time bemoaning the fact that something bad happened to them. They look for decisive action opportunities to turn things around.

In this way, a person is more in charge of their own destiny. They can reject the role of victim and take definitive action to create greater life satisfaction.

5. Lifelong Learning
The fifth key to happiness is to adopt an attitude of lifelong learning. Your goal each day should be to learn something new. As you encounter new people and situations, look for the wisdom that can be extracted from them. Particularly in areas where we believe we made a "mistake", seek to uncover the lesson. There is always a lesson to be learned.

When we believe we know all there is to know, that is when we are in dangerous territory. When we think we know all, then we stop learning from the people and situations in our path. When we stop looking for the lessons, we begin to blame things external to ourselves for the pain we experience instead of seeking to learn whatever we need to know for our life's journey.

6. Love
Love is the sixth key to happiness. I am not talking about having a significant other in your life who loves you. I'm talking about having love inside of you that is just bursting out of you to touch others. Unconditional love is a concept we all strive for-unfortunately, most of us are looking to receive it rather than give it. You are truly fortunate and blessed when you have the unconditional love of someone-whether it's your life partner, your mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, foster parent, friend or puppy!

Truly unconditional love is rare and a gift to be cherished. However, ask yourself the question, how many times have you extended unconditional love? Do you have unconditional love for your fellow human beings? This is the kind of love that will lead to happiness. It doesn't matter if that special someone doesn't love you back, it's what's in YOUR heart that matters. Are you someone who only loves as much as you feel you are being loved in returned? That certainly isn't unconditional! If you are seeking love in your life, then you must be loving in order to attract the love you seek. This will lead to the ultimate happiness-loving, expecting nothing in return. Try it.

7. Contribution
The last key to happiness is contribution. This is a combination of knowing and following one's life purpose. When people understand their divine purpose in this life and then go about fulfilling that purpose, they are making an awesome contribution to the good of mankind. Having meaningful work and leaving a legacy is an important key to happiness. When we do the work we were meant to do, we touch lives. It doesn't matter whether one's purpose is to clean the public restrooms or to find the cure for AIDS, following your divine purpose will bring about a strong life fulfillment that cannot be experienced any other way. Contribution is critical to happiness.

Implementing these seven keys to happiness in one's life is not an easy task. Personal coaching can be helpful as you are attempting to change some old, harmful habits into more productive, happiness-inducing ones. Jack Canfield says, "Of all the things successful people do to accelerate their trip down the path to success, participating in some kind of coaching program is at the top of the list. A coach will help you clarify your vision and goals, support you through your fears, keep you focused, confront your unconscious behaviors and old patterns, expect you to do your best, help you live by your values, show you how to earn more while working less, and keep you focused on your core genius." Why not give it a try?


Night and Day: Choosing Your Reality

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"There's nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."
- William Shakespeare

The title of this great Cole Porter song - Night and Day - also describes the sometimes changeable nature of my outlook on life.

Example: It is late evening, and I'm thinking about all I have to accomplish in the week ahead - book publishing details, workshop preparation, handouts to finish, that audiorecording script I want to write, a call to my sister, plane reservations to Chicago, and so on, not to mention the minutiae of phone calls, email, internet searches, and follow up associated with each project. I feel overwhelmed, tired, self-absorbed, and incapacitated.

Next morning: I awake before dawn and do some deep breathing. I meditate, watch the sun rise, and eagerly anticipate the day. Today, I will learn the ship date for my book, have the opportunity to create a new piece of writing, plan a workshop, and maybe take a walk and enjoy some fresh air.

The same circumstances that seemed daunting, scary, and impossible to manage the night before appear filled with potential this morning. I am doomed - I am lucky. I'll get sick - I feel great! I will certainly fail - My day is filled with promise.

My husband Jim and I call these "Night and Day" viewpoints the Good Reality and the Bad Reality. I would rather be in the Good Reality - positive, pleasant, and full of possibility. The sun is shining, birds singing, and life is easy, flowing and fun. Problems exist, but I can handle them. My energy is strong and resilient.

But sometimes I drop into the Bad Reality, where life is difficult, depressing, and stressful. I feel weighed down, inadequate, and powerless. I can't find my energy or my spirit.

Is it a choice? I think it is. Something is happening out there, and my viewing lens changes my experience. My thinking makes it so.

Sometimes I can get there on my own steam. I just change my mind, or laugh at myself, or both. When I'm too tired to find the road back, I rest or take myself out for a cup of tea. When I am kind to myself, the Good Reality always returns.

And so I experiment with the Reality channel and how the external world changes with my viewing lens. Shall I live in the Good or Bad Reality today? How about you? Which one are you in now? Can you cross over?

I would love to hear from you on these questions. The capacity to believe that by changing my thinking I can change my reality is a gift. I know this. Partly, my life is about sharing this gift.

I hope you're in the Good Reality today.

Positive Thought Positive Action Equals Successful Life

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Can you name one negative person with a successful life? Every successful person has had either a very positive person behind them or they had a very positive attitude. We need to start instructing or teaching our children the values of goal setting and planting or having a positive attitude. So many parents don't present a positive outlook or instill a can do attitude.

We have so many problem finders. We need more problem solvers. It's just a matter of how you look at it. The negative and the positive approach. It is so easy for so many to sit back and say,
"whoa as me". Those are the negative peoples that fall deeper and deeper into failure.

A positive person will accept the situation and go right into solving the problem. The whiner is to busy complaining to look for a solution for their problem. They will usually blame everyone else for their problems or troubles. Every single success story had obstacles that had to be overcome. Successful people just solve the problem and move onto the next. The whiner fails because he doesn't believe he can solve the problem or succeed. They just give up. That's where the BIG SIN is!

You stop and think, look back in your life. I bet you can find times where something came up and you said NO PROBLEM and you solved or fixed it. Then other times you just said awe what do I do what do I do? Then the minute you got back on the horse you solved the problem in no time.
I think it's a Universal Law. Success comes from belief and action and failure from doubt and inaction. If you do nothing, nothing will come from it. If you act upon it you will find an answer.

This is where we need to start teaching or instilling within our young people that anything canbe accomplished with positive thought and action. Even a mountain of dirt can be moved one shovel at a time. Sometimes some of us give our children and young people excuses so they don't keep trying.
Instead of telling them them can do it they can figure it out, we let them slide on many things that they actually could have down. So instead of making them stick to it or at least saying okay lets do it together then. You just let it slide.

The kids that are inspired to do well usually will. There are always exceptions to the rule. The kidsthat are slammed or knocked all the time, you can't do it, you won't do it. You will never be anything.

Most the time they won't. Now then again there are the ones that do turn things around, but it is because they became a positive person themselves for some reason. But it still goes back to being a positive person. So important to understand Attitude is success or failure.


(c) 2013 and beyond. Change Your Life Praxis.