It’s Never Too Late to Be hApPy

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I like to think of happiness like wanting to be skinny or let’s be real, and maybe just 5-10 pounds lighter.

It’s a journey and a process and takes work and mindfulness and dedication.  Kind of like belonging to Weight Watchers. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could measure our happiness and we learned best practices to help us increase our happiness quota? What if we could join a group and share stories and have measurable goals to increase our happiness?

The cool thing about Weight Watchers is that it is a mind set, a way of thinking about what we eat and why we eat and developing life skills and portion control to enjoy all that is good and to attain healthy weight goals.

What if we could do that with happiness? What if we could set goals and measure and be ok with where we are on our personal journeys?  Wouldn’t that be cool? I’d sign up!! I’d love to join a group that was talking about our happiness goals and sharing our stories and what worked for us and learning from each other, but maybe that would be weird? Just a thought.

What I’ve learned from participating in Weight Watchers, is that we get to choose our goals. We get to choose when we decide to follow the plan and when we decide to cheat and the good news is we can always start again. I also like doing WW with friends and having a leader that guides me and gives out stars for success and measures me each week. What if we could do that with happiness?  Hmm…

I like to think that it’s ok for us to not always be happy. We might be chugging along and doing ok and happy with who we are and what we’re doing, and then some days we’re not. That’s ok and doesn’t mean we have to give up.   I think we just have to give ourselves permission to start again and to do the things we know that create happiness for us.  Just like with weight loss. Some days are good and some days we binge and then we get to begin again.

Every day is a new day to start over. And just because we got mad or are unhappy doesn’t mean we have to stay in that state of mind.  We can begin again just as soon as we are ready.  I love that.  I think we just sometimes need a reminder to let go of the negative and to embrace the positive and do the work that helps create happiness for us. And as we practice, we become successful and happy again.

Believe me, I am not always happy… just ask my kids or my husband! But I always strive for happiness and finding ways to increase the general happiness of my family and to start over to create joy whenever and as often as possible.  I’m still learning and make PLENTY of mistakes.

Luckily it’s never too late to be happy and I choose happiness.  How about you?

“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through. ” Karl Marx (thanks LB)

Be happy, BeLovers!  It’s better than the alternative.  xo

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I Want A Relationship With You

“Good relationships are not just about the good times you share; they’re also about the obstacles you go through together…and the fact that you still say I love you in the end.” – unknown author

Several things happened today that made me think of the importance of relationships. I learned about the importance of forgiveness, letting go, compassion, being grateful and do-overs. I’ll share one of the stories today, and perhaps save the others for another day.

My youngest has been needing lots of attention lately and I’m not sure why. He does things a little bit more slowly, a little bit more noisily, he’s a little more needy, and a lot more demanding.  Basically he’s irritating all of us all, well most all, of the time.

This morning when I asked him to get busy with his chores and to get ready for school, he just sat. He then moved to another near by chair and laid over the arm and spun around for a bit, not really hearing my words for whatever reason. This happened repeatedly, as you can imagine and possibly even happens in your home. When I asked him to sit quietly, he tapped his pencil. If I asked him to stop tapping his pencil, he stomped his foot. It was like he couldn’t hear me, or maybe he did, and he rather enjoyed the negative attention he was receiving from his irritated housemates.

So when I told him he was in trouble for not behaving and for creating conflict in our family, he didn’t like that. I sent him to his room, and told him he was to come straight back there after school.  This agitated him because “he did nothing wrong,” of course, and didn’t understand why I was so mean. I explained myself and told him that was it. He disappeared for thirty seconds and returned, asking for a do-over.  He was sorry for being irritating and wanted to start over again. I said no. He hemmed and hawed, and walked away and then came back again with his bed made, dressed and ready to try again. 

He came and sat on my lap and asked for a do-over again. I said no. He then said, “Mom, I want to try again. I want to have a relationship with you and I want to play with you and I don’t mean to ignore you. I don’t know why I do that and I am not trying to be irritating.”  Again, I said no.  I felt like I needed to be kind and firm and I needed to be a disciplinarian and enforce the rules, so that he’ll learn.

He left again, did more work (or messed around) and came back again, asking for the same thing, again with more emphasis:  “Mom, I just want to love you and I want a relationship with you. I learned my lesson and I’m sorry. Please let’s start over again and have a do-over mom.”

This time I listened, even though I didn’t want to. I wanted to do what was right and teach him a lesson. But what I wanted more than that was to have a loving relationship with him, just like he wanted with me.  I looked at him, and opened my arms, and asked him, “Why are you so smart?” And he said, “Because I am.”  

I believed him and gave him a hug and told him I wanted a relationship with him too and we needed a do-over, to begin again and to respect one another. He smiled and let me kiss his face.  I told him how much I loved him and I think he heard me this time.  

Love wins.  

And hopefully we’ll keep practicing the discipline thing together, learning together and loving one another as we grow our relationship.  I want a relationship with him too.

Namaste.

 

Do-Over

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I believe in positive thinking and focusing on the positive, despite the chaos of life. But sometimes I lose my focus and feel frustration and anger. Thank God, I’m normal, right?

Usually I lose my positive mojo when I’m overtired, because what ever is agitating me takes over my body because I’m too tired to reverse my thinking.

I have this little FitBit thing that motivates me to workout and also monitors my sleep. I press a button when I get into bed and press it again when I wake up and it tracks the hours and minutes I’ve been sleeping and the minutes I’ve been restless. It’s fascinating to see the patterns. The last several nights I’ve been getting about 7 hours of sleep with several minutes of restlessness throughout the night.  I have to admit, that I’m feeling tired just knowing that I’m getting less than 8 hours of sleep. I love sleep!  It feels like a luxury to get at least 8 hours, which is what we’re “supposed” to get on an average night. I guess I’m falling short.

Today I was feeling more agitated than usual. Usually, I’m able to feel gratitude for my blessings, but today I ran short.  I had a “free” day and was going to head to the beach, but it was foggy and overcast here, which made it less than a desirable journey. I decided I’d stay home and work on my big photo project, which is like a gigantic elephant in the room. Let’s just say, I didn’t make much progress and accessing my digital backups was a slow and painful process.  Every step forward was two steps back, which left me frustrated.

I did manage to get rid of all plastic storage boxes from my historical printed photos and made our inventory look a little more organized and pretty, but  I was still harboring frustration as I moved through the day, feeling frustrated by this HUGE “problem” facing me that I wanted to conquer and organize.

The point of me sharing this story, is that I felt ugly on the inside today and short tempered. When I picked up Charlie from school today, he was also overtired and short tempered too. The two of us together were ugly. He said that I was being mean and he was right. I didn’t have any patience and was snappy.  He was snappy too because he was overtired and had some issues at school too. Nothing major, but he wasn’t his happy self either.  The two of us were feeding off each other and it wasn’t good.

I felt the storm brewing. I felt how my negative attitude brought out the worst of his negative attitude and how the circle continued until I asked him for a do-over. He didn’t know what that meant. I told him it was when two people decided they were done feeling yucky and wanted to start over again, at that moment just because someone declared a do-over to allow us a chance to start again, and to be happy again despite our feeling badly.  I met him at the table and gave him a hug and we started over again.  Just like that, and we both smiled and felt relief that we didn’t have to hold on to our frustration anymore. Starting over is such a good feeling. Knowing that you’re feeling off and then being able to do something about it to change the way you’re feeling is powerful.

So if you ever feel like we did today, with someone you’re in close contact with that’s bugging you, just ask for a Do-Over. It’s a great way to start again and feel better and to let go of all the stress that was keeping you from feeling connected.

Life really is good.  

 

Day 214: I Need A Day Do-Over!

It’s 8pm and I wish it was bed time already! It’s been a long last day of winter break with the kids and I’m so excited to go to yoga tomorrow morning and begin this do-over thing!

You know how some days you just feel off? Well today was my day. And I have to say how thankful I am that most days I don’t feel like this. I also had a long, tough parenting day…they’re good kids and they were pushing their boundaries today and didn’t want to do what they were asked to do. It’s all ok, it’s just part of the growing pains and maturity process, and boy am I tired! I think parenting is harder too when you’re tired and not feeling your best. Can you relate?

There were some fun points amidst the chaos. Charlie is passionate about science and we did a science experiment together, just for fun. This moment made me proud and countered some of the reading tantrums that occurred today.

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We had a nice grilled dinner and Jeff prepared everything while I worked on a project. That made me smile! I am thankful that he took care of us, AND even poured me a glass of wine!

The last moment that made me laugh while being frustrated was when Christian put on my boots to go outside and then couldn’t get them off his huge feet! His foot is bigger than mine now and I don’t know why he forced his bare feet into my rubber Hunter boots, but he did, and they wouldn’t come off. They wouldn’t budge. Charlie tried. Juliana tried, and I tried. No luck. I thought my boots were going to have to be cut off his feet.

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Luckily Jeff was home and was able to get them off without falling out the door and down the stairs and this made me laugh!! I wish Juliana would have caught a photo of him!, The house is quiet now… And my boots are both ok. I’m thankful for school again tomorrow. And you? Hope you had a good weekend!

Day 181: Classmates

There were highlights and low lights today. Both involved learning. Some learning came easy and some came the hard way, where you wish for a rewind button or a do-over!

Let’s just say the morning was rough. I learned what didn’t work trying to get everyone out of the house. There was lots of whining and delay tactics and missing items and complaints strewn everywhere. There was yelling and stress (mostly from me!) and snow to slow us down. And by the time we dropped the kids off, no one was happy and that’s no way to start a day. D you ever have days like this??

I felt sad afterwards, and later decided that just as we won’t go to bed mad, we won’t start the day off mad either. From now on if things aren’t going right, we’ll wait until after school or work to resolve whatever the daily issue is, so that we can better enjoy the day.

So when I picked the kids up from school, I apologized for how the day began and explained why I was frustrated and sad and explained what needed to change. They all agreed, surprisingly. No one likes to stay mad and we usually resolve conflict pretty quickly, thank goodness! What I learned, was that I (still) need to micromanage the details of the morning routine (which I hate), and be a better facilitator. Kids might know what they need to do, but actually doing it in a timely fashion is another story. I practiced my parenting skills by facilitating and guiding and managing expectations for the evening routine, and guess what??? It was such a peaceful night and the house is clean and organized, homework was reviewed and completed, and there was time for reading and play! Why do I forget and want to check out? I think it’s because its exhausting telling people what to do and how to do it and to repeat yourself, but it works! Lets just hope it lasts!

Phew! Now that that lesson is over, the more fun part of my day was going to Dutch class today with my friends and husband! I don’t think we’ve ever taken a class together, except for Lamaze class but that doesn’t really count! It was so much fun learning and practicing together and taking a break to get coffee. Our teacher is really good and the conversational style of learning flys by so quickly! The class is three hours long but when she says its time to go, I don’t even feel like its been that long and I want to keep on going! I hope the feeling lasts!! I really want to learn Dutch and practice every day, especially now that I have this really cute Dutch partner!

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