Day 1 – Happily Ever After – Pay it Forward, or…

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Greetings and salutations, sunshiny people! Or potential sunshiny people? I realize maybe some of us, or all of us, are less than social lately and less than optimistic and probably not as happy as we’d like to be. We don’t have to discuss why. We all know why. We all have our own individual reasons and, certainly, collective ones! Our circumstances and status of the world should not be allowed to zap all of our happiness. Easier said than done, I get it. If you’re anything like me, you focus more on the negative surrounding you rather than all the completely fantastical things and people you have in your life to be grateful for. Why the heck do we do this?! It’s crazy, right?!

I mean, I have this and this and that and that and all this to be thankful for – it adds up to like 20 things just off the top of my head I can think of in two seconds of thought. Yet, one negative thing happens and BLAM! I’m crying in my coffee, asking, “Why?” And then it’s all I can focus on for days…and days…and weeks… And I go into a state of what I like to call mentalpause where I cannot focus on anything good, or anything happy – I’m just completely blocked off from everything. Do you get this way? It’s pathetic, right?!

It’s time to stop it. I’m talking to me, too. I know one thing for a fact about happiness – it is a conscious choice we make every minute of our lives and it should not be swayed by incoming change and catastrophe. We have a choice – if we don’t like it and we have the power to change it, then we take action to change it. If we can’t change it, then it is what it is and we have to accept it (or try to learn how – while not having a major motha of a meltdown), and (dare I say) be thankful for it. Thankful because the change and growth that occurs inside our souls is transforming us into higher beings, but only if we let it. Our souls are strengthening, learning and growing to higher states of being from all the good, the bad and the ugly.

(And if you’re happy constantly? Well, good for you.)

I’m going to keep each day’s post somewhat short and sweet. This, day 1, will probably be the longest one. And without further ado – let us cultivate and share happiness, shall we?

Day 1 is about Paying It Forward, but there’s a twist – you can choose that or you can choose to Engage in Conversation with a Stranger.

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I’ll choose Social Engagement for $100, Alex.

I’m not talking about on social media, not blogging – it’s not about technical devices today. That’s why I’m starting it on a Saturday – a day when people are usually out and about, getting their grocery shopping done, running errands, spending time with family and/or friends, and perhaps going out for a meal somewhere.

So the assignment for all of us today (and yes, that includes me) is to engage with at least one person – a stranger – for either a conversation, even if it’s just to say “How’s your day going?” or compliment them on their outfit, how they have a great smile, nice shoes… but then, you have a great imagination and I know you can come up with something on your own – Or to pay it forward by buying the person behind you a $5 coffee or $10 lunch, buy someone’s groceries, however much you want to spend – it’s totally up to you. I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of this one and it’s the most incredible feeling!!!

Either of these actions will fill your heart up with gladness!!  I cannot express how much happiness it brings to engage with others that you don’t even know, open up a little, smile, talk to them, pay it forward, whatever feels like the thing to do.

Extra points if you do both today.

And if you’re too po to pay it forward, you will probably continue to be po, because if it’s one thing I’ve learned over the span of 40+ years, it’s that when you give, you get back, usually x 10, so you do the math. And it’s not about the amount of money you spend. It’s about sharing what’s been given to you with others. It’s called spreadin’ the loooove. Send out the love = get love in return. Don’t share (with joy) what you have = you’ll get more of nut’n.

Let me know what you did. It’s not about bragging. It’s about loving. It’s about sharing your soul with people and spreading happiness. It’s about honoring yourself as well as those around you.

And one additional thing that may help you on your happiness journey – a gladness journal. Try to spend just 10 or 15 minutes at the end of each day writing out those things and occurrences and people that you are so very grateful and happy and thankful for. It will help place your mind in a state of joy and peace, while also focusing on the positive, which we are trying to do here – focusing more on what’s good. Doing this will not only aid to your happiness but will better your overall health – emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.

If you want to cultivate even more happiness around the globe just from where you are, share this post with your friends, so they can give and receive happiness, as well. I’ll be posting each of the 30 days at midnight (Central).

Love ya! C-ya tomorra!  xoxo

Carol

#happilyeverafter

 

Happily Ever After 30 Day Challenge Begins at Midnight!

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Are y’all ready for the challenge?  That happiness will start creeping in at midnight (Central). Almost time to get yo happy on!  Don’t forget to share with your friends – we all need to cultivate some happiness.  Remember, it’s only located on the blog or on the Facebook page.

#happilyeverafter

2 Days till Happily Ever After 30 Day Challenge Begins!

happy 2 days linkedin

2 days and counting till the challenge begins! Are you ready for happy? Share with your friends and help them cultivate happiness, too.

#happilyeverafter

3 days till Happily Ever After

happy 3days till

Hey guys! 3 days till the Happily Ever After 30 day challenge begins! Join us here at the blog or through the Facebook page.  Gear up and get ready to cultivate more happiness in your life!

#happilyeverafter

 

30 Day Happily Ever After Challenge

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The world has gone completely berserk. It’s no wonder so many are depressed and withdrawn. Do you find that it seems nearly impossible to focus on the positive and actually feel happy?

If so, join me here on the blog for a free 30 day adventure where we will be on the hunt for happiness in the “Happily Ever After Challenge,” coming up in the next few days.

#happilyeverafter

Are you in?

Be Gentle With Yourself

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We humans, or at least the majority, have a habit of repeating the negative self talk we received in our past. Not always received in words but also in actions or lack of attention/love.  Of course, we may know a few who always seem as if they are self-assured, self-confident, adore and love themselves. Whether that’s true or not, we perceive them to have it all together and perhaps that’s what they intentionally give off.

I have a lifelong practice of habitually sabotaging myself. Always beating myself up and tearing myself down for every little thing. The way I look, not liking this about me, not liking that. Not liking this aspect of my life, being self-critical of my talents or lack thereof.  Even if I receive positive reinforcement in the way of compliments and building up from others, it doesn’t go unappreciated, but it seems I reflect and focus on the negative about me. Why is it always easier to believe the bad stuff about ourselves?  I’m sick and tired of this limiting behavior.

Aren’t you?

I think it’s high time we learn how to reclaim our lives and in ways that is right for each of us. And I believe I have found the first few inches of this pathway into enlightenment or self-love or whatever you want to call it. Are you ready for it?

I am practicing being gentle with myself.

“What does this mean exactly?” you may ask.

For me, this meant taking a mental health day, which means a day for me, a vacation day, a day off from pretty much everything except for the fact of dealing with me. And I didn’t even really “deal” with me, but I did take time for me and with me and nurtured me and romanticized me and listened to me and talked to me. Yes, I talk to myself. Am I crazy? Well, the jury’s still out on that one, but I encourage you to talk to yourself, too. Positively.

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And you don’t have to be super weird and make out with yourself in the mirror like James Franco or anything but telling yourself “I love you” is a good thing. Hugging yourself is a good thing.

This is what I did on my mental health day (if you need an example for yourself):

I cannot recall if I slept in on this particular day but I didn’t get up early. I know this. I did wake up with a smile (prob around 6/7/8), because I went to bed the night before whispering to myself to just practice happiness and be grateful for all I have in my life. Just mostly be grateful and happy for my blessings.

1. So, wake up with a smile and intention that today is going to be a free and gentle day and whatever happens, I am okay, and everything is going to be okay.

 

I downloaded an app on my phone months earlier, because I wanted to try something, and I read about it, but I’ve never been able to fully embrace it, because…well, partly, I felt it a bit new age-y and partly, because I cannot seem to still my mind long enough to fully appreciate  the benefits that this action brings. Some may call it ‘lack of action’ but without further ado, I’m talking about – meditation. On my day, I did it. And I LOVED IT!

2. Besides enjoying my coffee and biscotti, I laid on the couch, listening to the guided meditation and experienced a more relaxed head-space and presence of self that I hadn’t before. (Comment me for the free app and free meditation.)

 

I lit fragrant candles, fixed myself a long hot bath and poured in some yummy smelling bath beads I forgot I had. I turned my phone music app on to Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Etta James and the like, because that’s how I roll…or that was my mood at the time. I shaved my hairy legs. I soaked. I got carried away, not by Calgon (some of you may get this reference), but by fragrance, out of this world magical musical tones and closed eyes, allowing my mind to transport me to wherever the wings of my imagination wanted to fly. And I just breathed. And relaxed. And didn’t live by a clock or schedule, for once.

3. Soaked in a hot bath, full of fragrant bath salts, flickering candle close by, listened to mood music, daydreamed happy thoughts, listened, breathed, smelled, relaxed.

 

I took a walk outside. We live in the country so it’s peaceful most of the time, unless someone is out in their yard with a chainsaw or have a tree-cutting company hacking 3 or 4 trees for 2 or 3 days, which happened recently. It was peaceful on my mental health day, though, thankfully.

4. Walked in the grass, feeling grateful for grass. Sat in my new lazy tree swing with my feet up, staring up into the tree bark and leaves that were lovingly shading me, feeling grateful for beautiful strong trees, grateful for a family that I love, feeling grateful for me and focusing on the good stuff that I have done (and do) in my life. My intention was strictly positive, so nothing negative came to mind during this time – actually the whole day!

 

I had made a video, just because I’d never done this before, of myself. Call me insane, but I felt the need to tape myself a day or two before my mental health day, right in the middle of my funk. I wanted to address it. I wanted to say it out loud. I wanted myself to see it and hear it from my other self (if you get what I’m saying here – no, I do not have multiple personalities). I wanted to be real and authentic. Then, I watched it and listened to it as if it belonged to someone else and thought about how I’d feel for this person had it been a friend or stranger. I watched again. And really listened. And then I deleted it, because it took up too much memory on my phone and because I wanted it to remain private. On my special day, I wrote a letter. (If you’d like tips on what I covered in this video, so you can do one of your own for self-therapy, comment me.)

5. I  wrote this friend (because we all need to be friends with ourselves) a love letter, telling her how wonderful she is, how brave, how courageous, how proud I am of her for her accomplishments, how much she has to give, how much talent, how much love. I told her she’s beautiful, inside and out and how she can do anything and I am here for her and she has others that are here for her and to trust herself and go after what she wants but to also be happy in the journey, as each step on our paths are meant to teach us something about ourselves and our lives. And to be mindful of each moment and to forgive – others, as well as herself.

 

I read a lot of different things – parts of different books that inspire me, different articles that I was in the mood to hear on this day, things I wanted to know more about, things on meditation, things on forgiveness, things on how laughing is healthy. I watched funny videos. I watched inspiring videos. I watched happy videos with the AWWW! factor – with babies and fur-babies. I put on funky music (play that funky music white boy!!!) that made me want to dance and I moved my bootie to the music. You have to pick tunes that inspire you to get up and dance a happy dance – one where you have no choice but to groove to the music, ya know?

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And hey, it doesn’t have to be a pretty dance. If ya look like a big ole weirdo, so bit it, but I wouldn’t recommend dancin’ a jig on the freeway. And if you’re super uncoordinated like this white chick (meaning me, just to be clear), just take safety precautions, okay?

6. Read things that inspire me, watched videos that inspire me and make me laugh, that uplift me, that show me how to see things with different perspective, played funky music that made me get up and dance and sing, even if it was probably scary looking and made the dogs cry.

 

I love hot tea. I know it’s summer and believe me, Mississippi summers suck. It’s hot as hell here!!!  Well, I’m guessing. Probably not, but it’s super freakin’ hot!!

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GIFSec.com

But when you have the a/c on and it’s nice and chill in your house, so much so that it makes you forget about summer heat lurking outside the door (or almost), you might wanna put a kettle on. This is a nice way to spoil yourself, or this is how I spoil me.

7. Put on a kettle of water and steep yourself a nice cup of hot tea in one of your favorite flavors with some nice raw honey, which is also healing for your body.

Did you know honey is nature’s antibiotic?

 

And, well, this post has gotten too long, so I’ll stop here, but you get the idea, right?  Have a Be Gentle With Yourself Day. Talk nicely to yourself. Focus on what you have. Focus on what you’ve done well, what you’ve accomplished. Tell yourself “I love you.” Talk loving things to yourself and just know you are awesome and you can do anything, and you still have time, and forgive yourself, try to enjoy the ride, look for the good things, the lessons, and know you will be okay.

Ciao for now. Love you!  Smooches!  xoxo

Love Yourself Enough to Shine Your Light

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We have to love ourselves. We are worth loving. We are worthy of great things. We must forgive those who pained us and learn from that pain. There is always a lesson. We need to be the love to others that we want for ourselves. We also need to be the love to ourselves that we want from others.

Life is full of lessons and at 47, I’m still learning from the past. Sometimes, we don’t learn until we are older and can come to terms with the lessons that pain has been trying to teach us. Sometimes, we never learn even when we’re old. Some people repeat the patterns of what their parents did to them, even when they know it was wrong to treat them that way. Some of us are weak and just continue the pattern while others are stronger and learn there is a better way.

Be the change in the world that you want for yourselves and for your children. Be the light in their lives, in your own life, and in the lives of all the strangers you meet. We all have a story and lessons we can teach others. There are lessons others can teach us.

We are not going to build a better future if we just repeat the patterns of bad behavior, abuse, neglect, hate, unforgiveness, resentment, disrepect and judgment. The change begins with you. The change begins with me – with each of us.

Learn from the mistakes of others and of your past. Forgive them and yourself. Move forward on a better path with the intention of helping.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m far from it. It’s so difficult to not judge, especially when you read the Bible and it says “this is bad,” and then in another place, it says “do not judge others.” But I’m trying. I’m trying to love – others and myself. I’m trying to love people where they’re at. I do not have to understand them or their ways and I do not have to tolerate or condone what they do, but I do believe it was the intention of God and Jesus for us to know our job is to love others as we want to be loved and to forgive as we want others to forgive us. We need to love each other as if we are that person. We are mirrors to each other. Be a good influence. Live your life the best way you know how and if you don’t know how, learn. There are so many great life teachers out there, on the internet, in books, in the Bible. Great spiritual teachers surround us – even in the laughter of a child in the grocery store – they teach us to laugh and be free, laugh with our belly and be happy, do not stress.

We must first learn to love ourselves right where we’re at, with all our weaknesses and failures and laziness and stuck in a rutness. Yes, I made up a word. I’m talking to me, too, by the way. I just want you to know you are loved. You are worthy. You do not need the approval of others to do your thang. There’s my southern draw comin’ out. BE YOU. You are the only one that can do that. There is only one of you and God needed you on the earth. That’s why he made you. Get it? You are special and unique and have gifts that others need. Get out there and share what you have.

Believe in yourself! You aren’t getting any younger. You don’t want to be 95 and wish you’d gotten off your ass when you were 50. Do it now!!  Time goes by sooooo fast. Stop waiting, because life will pass you by in the blink of an eye. I mean, look at last year or 3 years ago. How much progress have you made since then?