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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happily Ever After - Let go of it and live each day.

"Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness." ~ James Thurber


"Happily Ever After" is a fairytale - ironically that's the words all of them end in.  From the time we are born, we are raised by society to believe that if I have this, that or something else then I'll be happy.  So, we put all of our focus on obtaining those things that we think will make us happy. What happens if you get what it is you want, are you then happy? Maybe for a little while, but then you start wanting something else.  What happens if you can't reach what it is that you want?  Then it sends us into a tailspin of misery and frustration.

While there is nothing wrong with dreaming and wanting,... too many of us put our entire focus and happiness on it.  Well, that's just a recipe for the never-ending cycle of heartache and disaster.

What can we do to break out of that cycle?  Here's just a few of my ideas, I encourage you to think of your own as well.

1) Let go of the "Happily Ever After" concept.  Your happiness cannot be given to you by anyone else or any outer circumstance. Contemplate for yourself what is it that I can do today to feel happy.  For me it's going to the lake that I love, reading a book to go to another place for a moment, or reminding myself to appreciate all that I have with me right now.

2) Stop focusing on the past or the future and be in the present moment.  Have you ever noticed how animals are always happy and if they are ever unhappy, it's only for that moment.  They are so focused on their immediate environment... they aren't thinking about what they did 5 mins ago or what they will be doing 5 mins from now.  As highly advanced human beings, of course, we have the ability to think forwards and backwards as well.  But instead putting all of our focus on doing that why not invest some of our energy and time on enjoying the present moment for what it is.  That reminds me of a time which is one of my happiest days in life.  A friend of mine was adopted and managed to find some of his biological family (brothers, grandma, & uncles).  He and I went to a family gathering to meet them all, it was one of the most amazing experiences.  I can remember so many details of that day, because I was soaking in each and every moment instead of thinking about something else.  I believe that we were both so smiley and happy that day, because all of our focus was on the here and the now.  Wouldn't it be worthwhile to try and have more of that and less of the worry and fear of the past/future?

3) Realize that your happiness is inside of you.  It may be hidden right now, but it's there.  You can't get it, all you have to do is go inside and find it.

Wishing you much love and happiness,
Val

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spread Love Around and It Will Come Back.

"If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life?  It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning.  This is harmony.  We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth." ~ Mitsugi Saotome


What would be the purpose in life, if there was no love?  I'm not only talking about romantic love, but love in general... love for your children, love for your family, love for your friends, love for animals, love for all beings, and love for yourself.

When we are first born, we are tiny beings that only know love.  As we grow, many of us learn that love is conditional, love can be cruel, and our hearts become jaded.  This cannot be true... for it it were, we would not be born as fully loving beings. I was one of the lucky ones that was able to experience both unconditional love and conditional love in my childhood.  I say that I am lucky, because I know what it means to experience both which has helped shape who I am today.  By having had both types of love, I often find myself being one who provides unconditional love to anyone who's in need of it.  I have to extend my appreciation to my grandparents (may they rest in peace) for being the source of unconditional love in my life.

What does unconditional love mean?  For me it means, loving another no matter what they say, do or think.  Always being that person that they can go to and talk to without fear of judgement or prosecution.  Always being that person to gently bring them back to love and life, help whenever and in whatever way possible without the need for it in return, and spreading your love to them knowing that it may not be reciprocated.

One of the most important things I've learned about love is... when you love yourself and spread that love around, it WILL come back to you.  As I've reflected back on my life, I see that on a whole I was always a very loving person.  I was the child that would make sure to hug and tell everyone that I loved them before leaving and I can say I always felt very loved.  I'm still that person today.  I also see the times in life when I was unloving towards others and judgemental towards them.  It's in those moments that I've felt the most unloved.  So, I say love with all you have and that love will be returned to you in one form or another.

Can you imagine how much better a world we would live in, if we all lived from a place of love instead of a place of fear, hate, and anger?

Wishing you much love and happiness,
Val





Monday, June 7, 2010

Everything is a Choice - Finding your Inner Power

"They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them" ~ Mohandas Gandhi

I often hear people (including myself) say I have to do this or they made me do this.  I continually remind myself there is nothing I'm forced to do and no one can make me do anything... it's a choice.  I first heard this concept a year ago when listening to Neale Donald Walsh.  He challenged us all to recognize that we are the chooser of everything in our life and each of us must ask ourselves the question... "Why am I choosing the things that I am?" By doing this, you can define your choices or make different ones.

(I'm paraphrasing here) He told a story of a woman at one of his workshops.  She came up to him telling him that she HAD to go pick up her kids. He knew she was unhappy about this by her demeanor and how she said it.
So, Neale said "You don't HAVE to, if you don't want to."
The woman responded "Yes, if I want to be a good mother, I do."
Neale "Aha! You don't HAVE to, but you are choosing to be a good mother.  There are many mothers out there that would make a different choice."
In realizing this, the woman felt better about going, because she knew that she had made the choice not her circumstances.

I think... that by understanding that everything in life is a choice that you have made, you are taking your inner power back and no person or situation can take that away.  Even in seemingly forced circumstances, you have a choice.  Maybe not a choice in it happening or not, but a choice in how you react to it.

This reminds me of an interview I heard with Fran Drescher (The Nanny).  She told of a time when her home was invaded and she was raped.  She talked about, in that moment, she had a choice to either fight and most likely die or not to fight.  She chose not to fight and let her assailant rob and rape her.  Afterwards, she then chose to forgive her attacker, because she recognized that she had made the choice based on the current circumstances.  By doing this, the seemingly dire situation didn't derail her from her life's journey, because she knew she had control over how she reacted to life's situations.

After contemplating all of this, I realized what this all meant.  In every moment, we make a conscious or unconscious choice.  Once we know this... we have the ability to make all of our choices consciously.  Therefore, we have the power of ourselves no matter what our outer circumstances are or what others expect us to do.  But most importantly, if we find that we've made the wrong choice, we can always make the choice to change it.  

I urge each and everyone of us to question ourselves and find the choices we make in every situation.  Once you've done that, feel good about the choices that suit you and work to change the ones that don't.

Wishing you much love and happiness,
Val

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Emotions - Allow Yourself to Feel Them

"Emotions are celebrated and repressed, analyzed and medicated, adored and ignored -- but rarely, if ever, are they honored" ~ Karla McLaren

As a society, it seems as if we are always trying to focus on positive/good feeling emotions, and ignoring our negative/bad feeling emotions.  We are taught that being angry, sad, hurt, upset, jealous (etc.) are all bad emotions and we shouldn't feel that way, so we push them aside, lock them away, or hide them.  When we do this, underneath the surface those emotions are still there and won't go away until we release them.

I was a perfect, shining example of this... always putting on a smiling face no matter what I was feeling inside.  I could have been falling apart at the seams, but no one would have known it (unless you knew me well).  Okay, Okay... I still have a tendency to this day to want to do this, but I've taken a slightly different approach in dealing with it.  You will still often find me with a smile on my face, but that is truly because I feel that way. The reason that my smile is genuine is simple... I allow myself to feel the negative emotions as they come, so I can release them and get back to being happy again.

Now, I'm not saying that we should all go around, being crabby, crying or angry all the time.  But if you're feeling that way, feel it.  If you're in a situation where it wouldn't be wise to feel that way (at work, with your children... etc.), then set aside a time for yourself that day or very soon to feel those emotions.  I find for myself, I give myself a time limit on how long I will allow myself to feel that way.  If the emotion is strong, I'll take an entire day, but I make a promise to myself to let it go when I'm done.  So far, it's worked like a charm.  I'm able to deal with it quickly and move on to better things easily.

If we don't allow ourselves to feel the negative feelings, then we are just a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.  Eventually, something will happen, that makes you feel it.  But instead of it being for that moment, it will encompass all those moments that you locked away.  Wouldn't it be easier to deal with one moment at a time, instead of many moments?

Don't mistake this for me saying, that we should take it out on the ones who made us feel that way.  We all do from time to time (me included), so when I have done this, I always go back later and apologize.  I explain how I felt and that it wasn't fair of me to take it out on them.  Why make someone else suffer for how you feel?  If it was that person that caused you to feel that way, maybe someone else was hard on them earlier?  Take responsibility for your own emotions, it's puts the power squarely back in your court not someone else's. That is a whole other subject that I can go into later.

My wish for you is to honor your emotions (both good and bad), feel them, let them go, and get back to being the happy individuals that we are all meant to be.

Wishing you much love and happiness,
Val