“Don’t let this silly world trick you into starving your soul for material things. Cause someday you’re gonna be sitting out under the sun and realize how little you actually need to be truly happy.” ~Brooke Hampton
Three years ago, at the height of pandemic, I made many pitchers of lemonade from scratch. This newfound ritual was one of the better things about being on lockdown.
I’d hand squeeze a big bag of lemons for about one-third cup of juice, and experiment by adding vanilla extract, mint, and tablespoons of honey. I’d bring my drink outside, where I sat for …
There’s little more frustrating than feeling stuck or trapped—like you have to accept things that aren’t good for you and can’t do the things you need to do to feel and be your best.
I think we all feel this way at times, and sometimes we do have to accept things that aren’t ideal, at least in the short term while we figure out a plan to make things better. Until we address our health issues, or find a less stressful job, or slowly unravel layers of grief or trauma to find some modicum of peace and healing.
But when …
“The most confused we ever get is when we try to convince our heads of something that we know in our hearts is a lie.” ~Karen Moning
It’s painful and stressful to feel like you’re living a lie. Like you’re hiding how you really feel, saying what you think other people want to hear, and doing things you don’t actually want to do—just because you think you’re supposed to.
But sometimes we don’t recognize we’re doing this. We just know we feel off, or something feels wrong, and we’re not sure how to change it.
It makes sense that a …
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~Leonardo da Vinci
There’s a funny thing with us humans.
We spend our lives trying desperately to find happiness, and yet we don’t even know what it is. We can’t explain, describe, or define it. We just know that we want it because it’ll make everything peachy. Time and time again, though, studies have shown that our never-ending quest for happiness is quite often the very thing that makes us miserable.
Trying to find happiness is an exercise in futility. This is a truth I did not easily come to realize. It took a …
“You create your future based on your energy in the present.” ~Unknown
I’m usually a pretty happy person, but about a year ago—perhaps due to a lack of social connections and laughter—I experienced a few dark months. During those months, I spent most of my waking hours (and probably nights as well) consumed with negative thoughts.
I woke up feeling angry in the morning, continued having negative thoughts most of the day, and went to bed in that same state of mind.
Luckily, I didn’t have many opportunities to spread my negativity to others because we were in confinement.
“There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom.” ~Robert Henri, The Art Spirit
In my twenties, I worked for a Fortune 500 company at 401 North Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. It was fun to work in the city, and my office overlooked Lake Michigan—I never got tired of the stunning view. Weekends were spent with friends eating at unique ethnic restaurants and visiting comedy clubs, blues bars, art galleries, museums, and …
“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” ~Rumi
“Isn’t this a miracle?” I asked myself in the milk aisle at Whole Foods.
It was a Wednesday night after work, and I was buying a few staples to get us through the week. It was a completely ordinary moment in a completely ordinary day, and it was miraculous.
Rewind a few years, same Whole Foods, same shopping list, and you’d find me absentmindedly wandering the aisles, lost in a head full of worries. I couldn’t tell you …
“Why are you so enchanted by this world, when a mine of gold lies within you?” ~Rumi
Happiness, love, and joy—we spend our lives in search of them. We often look to external things to fulfill our desire to experience them. A relationship, a trip abroad, a career, or maybe that shiny new car. We can spend our lives chasing these desires and believing that once we check everything off our list of life accomplishments, we will experience them all.
But what if I shared with you that all of this—happiness, love, and joy—exists in you right now? That …
“Remember, being happy doesn’t mean you have it all. It simply means you’re thankful for all you have.” ~Unknown
I remember sitting on the New York City subway, tears streaming down my face, armed with valium and lithium along with other antidepressants that my psych had just prescribed.
I was desperate, in that cave I had come to know as depression. Dark, hopeless, fearful depression. The cold metal seat of the subway made me feel raw and exposed. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t stop crying. I was panicked that I would be like this forever.
That was an example of …
“I really believe in the philosophy that you create your own universe. I’m just trying to create a good one for myself.” ~Jim Carrey
If someone had told me years ago I’d one day be serving mushroom mafalda to a former VIP client, I’d have laughed in their face. Not an “I wouldn’t be caught dead doing this” type of cackle; more with an “I haven’t waited tables in twenty-five years, why would I start now?” kind of incredulity.
But it’s true. I’ve gone from defining myself as “Career Girl Sam”—toiling in an industry that was killing me—to a far …
“Happiness is like being cool, the harder you try, the less it is going to happen. So stop trying. Start living.” ~Mark Manson
I am a lucky person. In this crazy pandemic, my entire family and I have made it through in one piece. My husband has been out of work for half of a year and my son’s school has been closed. But I still have a job that can support my family.
I am grateful.
Every day after dealing with crazy deadlines and pressure at work, I go home and see my son’s sweet, cute face.
I am …
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
Balance is everything and is really what we are striving to find in life. Balancing work and play. Balancing food and exercise. Balancing a social life and solitude. Balancing being and doing. Finding balance is finding freedom.
Once I was truly able to comprehend this it was a game changer on my healing journey. Any suffering you experience in life can be attributed to a lack of balance.
What is balance? The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu speaks of The Dao, which …
I think I know you pretty well. I know I don’t know you, know you, but I’m guessing since you’re here, you’re a lot like me.
You want to be your best self. You want to make the most of your life. You want to be the best you can be, physically and mentally, for the people around you. And you quite possibly will take a little time today to think about what you should embrace or release in the year ahead to boost your happiness and make a positive impact on the world.
Maybe you’ll make a list …
“We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” ~Joseph Campbell
It’s been just under five years now since I had a head injury that changed my life forever.
Unfortunately, I spent more than two years going to multiple kinds of therapy and doctors several days a week and ultimately had to stop working. I was devastated.
I loved my career as a special educator and school administrator. I’d been in classrooms since I was twenty years old, and here I was at fifty-seven, suddenly unable to return to a school in any capacity …
“Putting yourself first is not selfish. Quite the opposite. You must put your happiness and health first before you can be of use to anyone else.” ~Simon Sinek
If you’re someone who cares deeply for the people in your life, you may want to do anything you can for them. This devotion isn’t always reciprocated. Not to say we should only think of things in a transactional nature, but sometimes we can selflessly give ourselves away to people who are careless with our own needs.
It often leaves us feeling like we’re being taken advantage of.
It often leaves …