“It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful.” ~David Rast
Every New Years Eve I make a list of resolutions that I never keep up with and it just makes me feel guilty every time I don’t. Lose ten pounds, get more involved, go to the gym, develop better relationships.
Every year I aspire to be more, do more, get more, never living within the present moment.
My stress to do more comes into play in every aspect of my life. The stress of joining more clubs comes from the competitive environment of …
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” ~Cynthia Ozick
How often do you pause to appreciate what you have in life?
When I was young, I took things for granted. I believe many other kids did so, as well. After all, we were young and we didn’t know what life could be like on the other side.
One thing we took for granted was education. In my country, it’s compulsory for all kids to go to school, so it was a given. We never thought about how lucky we were to be educated.…
“Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.” ~Chuang Tzu
My niece is nineteen months old and the most present person I have ever hung out with. If you have children or are around them, you know exactly what I am talking about.
I know you want more joy, health, and lasting happiness in your life, we all do.
Could it be that instead of only teaching our children the lessons of life perhaps we should let them teach us the lessons of happiness?
I don’t live in the same city as my niece so time with her is very …
“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant.” ~Paul Coelho
My husband had been unemployed for more than two years before it hit me that I was dealing with it all wrong. During that time, I kept thinking that any day he would find a new job. And every day that went by I was disappointed, frustrated, unhappy, and even angry at times.
For two years I felt like we were in limbo. I was always thinking, “We’ll do this or that after he finds a job.” Everything seemed to be put on …
“A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” ~Tom Stoppard
Just the other day, I was at my daughter’s school to watch her participate in a spelling bee. As the kids came into the room, I took notice of their manner and their faces.
They looked excited, frightened, and some, decidedly uninterested. The teacher led them over to their area and promptly told them to sit on the floor, in two straight lines, and no talking please. They complied.
Some kids pushed at the others to “move over!” Some held …
“Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” ~William Shakespeare
I thought I knew what happiness was. I experienced it, and did so for a while—that is, what I thought was happiness.
What I was calling happiness was merely an emotion. Emotions, feelings that arise in the body, come into existence when we have thoughts related to them.
When I have certain thoughts having to do with anger, then I will feel, actually physically feel, angry. When I have thoughts that are positive, then I will feel the feeling, or emotion, that we call happiness.
“The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now.” ~Robert G. Ingersoll
In The Four Noble Truths, the Dalai Lama wrote, “It is a fact—a natural fact of life—that each one of us has an innate desire to seek happiness and to overcome suffering.”
Regardless of religion or creed or upbringing, I think we can all agree on this most universal of statements. Underneath whatever personalities we project and whatever lives we lead lies a foundational truth that applies to all of us: We want to be happy; we don’t want to suffer.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou
Today as I walked down a trendy suburban street heading to an appointment, my phone rang. I was not having the best of days.
I was walking past chic cafes and designer shops displaying tempting wares. However, having been laid off for the second time in two years, with a mortgage to pay and months without an income, these trivial symbols of indulgence were almost too much to bear.
Over the past two years, I have felt …
“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.” ~Paulo Coelho
As the day of my daughter’s second birthday approaches, I have found myself reflecting more and more on the first few months of her life.
She arrived on a Sunday morning as winter gave way to spring, full of life and ready to embrace her humanness as only a brand new human can. There was snow lingering on the ground, and the sunrise that day was full of anticipation and the unknowing that comes along with waiting for something that is impossible …
“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.” ~ James Allen
We all have a picture of ourselves in our minds. A picture of what we believe we are like. A picture we choose to believe no matter what.
We can cling to this idea about ourselves all we want, but that will not make it true. This is not as easy to realize and even harder to accept, but it’s an important step toward a conscious life.
I believe we all go through dark phases when our image of ourselves breaks …
“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” ~Denis Waitley
I like to tell the story of how I changed my mind about myself and what I was worthy of, and how that change almost immediately led me to my husband—or, rather, how it led him to me. On Craigslist.
But unlike a fairytale, we didn’t go straight from point A (boy meets girl on a sometimes-shady website) to point B (boy marries girl in the church she was baptized and grew up in, …
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I was raised in a family where outward appearance and reputation were important. Standing out was only encouraged if it was within the bounds of what was considered “normal.”
No one ever explicitly told me, “What other people think of you is more important than being your true self,” yet that’s what I learned to believe. It became my mission to be accepted by others, because I thought that only then would I be worthy of love.…
“Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.” ~Proverb
Glancing at the ceiling, I waited for the prick as the nurse began to draw blood from my vein.
My mother, patiently sitting in the chair next to my hospital bed, looked at me with comforting and hopeful eyes. This was not the way we had envisioned spending our Saturday.
My mom and stepdad had drove hours up from home for the first time to visit my college for parents’ weekend.
I had spent the past weeks planning activities and college …
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” ~Marianne Williamson
After lying on my apartment floor for an hour, I walked over to the mirror, leaned in, and looked into my eyes. This was the moment I came face to face with the truth: I was afraid to stand up and be who I wanted to be in this …
“If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” ~Daisaku Ikeda
As kids, we are beings of wonder. Spending hours inspecting blades of grass, hoping to discover lady beetles, rocking fairy wings or a cape at the shops because we feel like it, laughing for the silliest reasons, and finding unadulterated happiness in special treats, our favorite cartoon, or a game of hide and seek.
As teenagers, we often become too cool to find joy in the simplest things but still manage it hanging out with friends, falling in love …
“Until you make peace with who you are, you will never be content with what you have.” ~Doris Mortman
As I sit here writing this, I am still in the middle of a huge shift in my life, a shift that has seen me move from living by other people’s values and expectations to identifying and living by my own.
The catalyst for change was a health scare when, on my thirtieth birthday, my doctor told me that I may have cervical cancer. Luckily, I got the all clear, but something had shifted and I realized how dissatisfied with my …
“You must love in such a way that the other person feels free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I’ve read a lot of articles about loving without attachment and respecting other people’s choices, but it wasn’t until one day that I truly got it. And I will tell you what happened to me that day.
My boss and I have a very special relationship. He’s the boss everyone would want to have. He appreciates me for my work and for everything I do. He thinks that I’m a great kid. Every time he has the chance, he praises my results and he …
“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” ~Hafiz of Shiraz
I have been on a quest to be happy for as long as I can remember.
I thought I had looked everywhere. I tried relationships, work, adventure travels, and a life filled with friends and activity, but still I felt anxious. I was disenchanted with life. Years of therapy attempting to work out my problems didn’t give me the sense of peace I somehow thought was possible.
I knew there had to be more, and I …
“Live your life for you not for anyone else. Don’t let the fear of being judged, rejected or disliked stop you from being yourself.” ~Sonya Parker
Our common culture is one that values acceptance from the group over self-acceptance. We base our self-worth on how we measure up against who society tells us to be, and our culture views those who are different as being anomalies that could bring the group down.
And yet deep in our hearts (and in the books that tell our collective history) we know that individuals who go against the grain are the …
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~Anna Quindlen
I finally learned I wasn’t Superman.
It was a hard concept for me to grasp. You see, I was always the good child. The one that did everything without complaint or supervision. I was the one who didn’t need help in school, who knew how to plan, who did the chores without having to be asked twice.
As I grew older this idea that I was “the good child/person” grew. My grades had to be perfect. …