Let’s Find Happiness Everyday

Happy EverydayLately I’ve seen quite a few posts on social media from people worried that they haven’t found their life purpose. The assumption is that we all “should” have a purpose. While I’m not saying that finding your purpose is wrong or bad, if you’re stressing out or worried about it, that’s probably creating a barrier to you finding it. For when you struggle to find something, you’re going to create more struggle and you’ll keep searching. When you compare yourself with other peoples’ versions of themselves,  you can end up feeling you don’t measure up to their version of success. This is destructive to your own self. Self-love and acceptance are pre-requisites to finding your passions and purposes in life!

If we think about life in general, isn’t being happy the point of it all? What makes you happy may not be what makes another feel the same way. That’s the beauty of the diversity of our choices in life: there’s no “one size fits all.”

What makes you happy may change over time.  What made you happy at age 7 might not be the same at age 47. What brightened your day yesterday may not be the thing that brightens it today.  The journey of life serves us well in discovering our passions, in creating a life of joy, and following what may be more than one “purpose” in our lives.

In my own life, I have been aware of having many passions over time. Growing up, music was my life. I loved to sing and perform and thought I wanted to become a professional singer. I played the clarinet, and taught myself guitar and a bit of piano. I also loved to write and wrote poetry, songs and short stories. I loved theater as well and did every play and musical theater that was offered in my school. I loved taking pictures and photography and took many photos over the years. I loved learning languages, too, and ended up studying abroad twice in high school and once in college and eventually earning a degree in Spanish. I also loved discussing things and felt particularly drawn to politics and law. I also felt drawn to serving others which led to a Master’s degree in Counseling. I also dabbled working in the travel industry, and in elementary bilingual education, as well as in teaching English as a Second Language classes to high school aged kids and  adults. I had a passion for learning, which led me back to pursue a doctoral program in International Comparative Education.  I discovered from these experiences that I felt really “at home” in a university environment, to working with college students, and in the field of international education.  In this journey, I became a mother of two children and that was the best thing that could ever happen in my life.

So is being in international education my purpose? Or did I miss out on a fulfilling singing career? Looking back on my professional career, I realize that I often followed my gut on what came next and I was happy in my choices.  So I choose to look at this with no regrets. I choose to be happy right now. I choose to find  happiness in the everyday moments because it makes me happy over time. The core of finding purpose and passion is not about the career we choose or the number of kids we have, but what makes us feel joy. If you follow the joy, you’ll discover your purpose (or two or three)!  Life will be exciting!

Life is not meant to be planned out in detail and then struggle to make all of that happen. It just doesn’t work that way if you want to feel and be happy. While we can create intentions on what we want and visualize ourselves there, it’s so important to appreciate where we are right now for alignment in getting to where we want to be. When we appreciate, we find more good things that come our way and more to appreciate from it. In that journey, we may get inspired to do something else than what we originally intended. It’s all ok.

As you go through life appreciating, you will be inspired to follow certain paths. So follow your heart in what feels good to you. In the meantime, let’s find happiness in every day!

Do What You Love and Love What You Do

A brief “faster than a New York minute” video message for today: If you want to be happy, you have to do what you love and love what you do. That means accept and appreciate your current circumstances and do what feels good!

I Appreciate My Life

How much and often are you appreciating YOUR life each day? I made this video to remind myself and others of the beautiful power of appreciation and love. EnJOY!

Busy is for the Bees–Not Me!

It’s been 7 months since I last posted here. My, how time flies by! I haven’t been active here since I dedicated my time to other areas of my life during that time, and I admit that it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been busy!
In fact, I was so busy I kept telling myself and others how busy I was and guess what happened? I just got busier! 
For people that understand the power of our thoughts and feelings, it should come as no surprise that as I practiced the story of being so “busy,” I kept getting busier and busier.  For what we think, feel and speak about becomes our reality. That’s the process of creation and I wasn’t being very deliberate about it in my “busyness.”  
Suffice it to say that while I was working long hours and days and weekends during this time, I wasn’t taking care of me very well. While I was busy as a bee, I wasn’t making time for me.  So then my story became how “exhausted” I was, which led to more exhaustion! 
I reached a point of extreme contrast in this exhaustion that served me well in that I’d had enough. I got so tired of being busy that I made a conscious decision to shift my energy to better feeling thoughts and to make time for me everyday. These are things I know, practice, mentor and coach, but I let my “busyness” preoccupation get in my own way of self-care and self-love. 
So this week I am taking a break from it all to reflect and relax. I’ve been reading Teal Scott’s book, “Sculptor in the Sky” and came across this quote that served as a reaffirmation of how being busy does not serve us. She writes, “You must simply remember that constant busyness will not satisfy you. It is the reason for a good deal of suffering.” 

Intellectually and intuitively I knew this all along: I just got on a roller coaster of focusing on all the “action” of my days and nights and less on the “stillness” of the present moment. I can now reflect and appreciate the busyness for its reminder to make peace with where I am right now. Making peace and appreciating “what is” is an important practice in finding happiness and creating a space of where we want to be.

But the contrast can also be appreciated.  Teal writes,  “If there is no dirt, there is no flower.” I appreciate all those circumstances in my “busyness” that allowed me to experience new things, meet new people, and to clarify my ideal working environment. I am very appreciative of these experiences within my busy days and nights and can truly say that without the bees, there’d be no honey for me!

So let’s leave the “busyness” for the bees (and find time to appreciate that they do it so well), so that we can taste the honey sweetness of life! Find time to be still, relax, breathe, exercise, and appreciate what is happening in your life at this very moment: even if it’s not the sweetest thing right now.  There is always something, someone or some aspect in your current situation to appreciate. It’s a practice that I intend to remember the next time that “busy story” shows up on my bookshelf.

P.S. I started a new space in Google Plus called The Appreciation Station. You’re welcome to stop by and post there, and/or join to read the good vibes of others who post. Relax and rejuvenate in an energy of appreciation and joy!

Feeling the “Mega” in the Millions of Moments

The past few weeks, the “Mega Millions” lotto game jackpot continued to rise to last night’s $640 million dollars- the highest ever in the world.  The excitement in the past week across the nation made headlines, national TV stories, and people everywhere were talking about how their lives would change if they won the jackpot.

Last night, as I went to buy a ticket with my own numbers at a local deli, I was struck by the energy of the people around me.  People were smiling, laughing and conversing with one another.  I heard things like, “Everyone has to have a dream,” “Visualize,” “I’m going to spread the wealth with everyone,” and “You gotta be in it to win it!” One guy joked to his friend while I was completing my card, “Use HER numbers.” LOL  I left that deli, giggling and smiling and everyone around me was doing the same. The energy that was flowing was one of joy, anticipated excitement, and fun.  Everyone was in a great mood, with an excited anticipation about great things to come and sharing personal details with complete strangers. What a great feeling!

Want more abundance in your life? Cultivate good feelings like that!  When you focus on these high vibing positive emotions and use your imagination, examples of abundance will show up in your life. The exact “feel good” emotion might be different for everyone, but if it feels really great to you, that’s the way to aligning with the energy and to attracting more “good stuff” into your life.  Whether abundance shows up as winning the “Mega Millions” jackpot, attracting a new friend, getting a promotion at your job, entering or strengthening a great relationship, success in your career, a diagnosis of great health, or even finding a penny in the parking lot, celebrating and appreciating the feeling you believe you’ll have if you were to win the lottery jackpot (or whatever else it is your heart desires) is the key to attracting more abundance in your life.

“Mega” means enormous or huge. I thought to myself, “Isn’t this great how we’re all exercising our imagination with MEGA feelings and thoughts that can only bring more good things? Wouldn’t it be nice if we put the “Mega” into our million moments everyday? Just imagine where we’d be and how we’d all feel! It’s world-changing in MEGA ways!”

So to the millions who didn’t “win” last night’s jackpot, I’d like to suggest we all continue with this line of thinking and feeling. While I’m not suggesting that we regularly play the lotto, I am certain that if we celebrate and genuinely feel good about the people who’ve won in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois, we’ll be attracting more abundance into our lives. (So if you’re feeling jealous or judgmental about the winners, now is the time to get your feelings in check.)  While you’re at it, celebrate what is going right for you right NOW. Find ways to appreciate things and make it a daily habit. You can start by appreciating that you were “in it to win it.”

Practice these habits throughout your MEGA millions of moments everyday and you’ll see MEGA results! After all, we’re all winners when we play the “MEGA millions of moments appreciation game!”

Celebrate 2011 and Into 2012 We Go!

It’s the last day of 2011 and a perfect time to look back at all of your successes, joys and celebrations of the year, while enjoying an excited anticipation for what’s to come! I have a lot to celebrate this year but the most important items are my relationships and my health. I’m healthy, I’m feeling great and  I love my kids, my significant other, my friends, colleagues, my Facebook and Twitter friends and everyone else who came into my life in 2011!  This year has been magical in many ways and you all have been a part of that magic for me.

And to all the people who I don’t personally know, but who have inspired me, I say “Thank you!” I applaud you! Today I had an encounter with an inspiring cashier I don’t know in the Hy-Vee grocery store in Iowa City. The cashier was such a friendly young man (as many Iowans are), and when he told me to have a great day, I really could feel he meant it.

You know how sometimes people say things, but it feels like they’re just hitting the “repeat” button and they don’t really mean it? (That’s always a sign for me that I need to slow down and be present.) Well today was not one of those days. In fact, I’d say that when I’m in Iowa, most of the time people in the service industry feel present, genuine and authentic to me. I love Iowa. I miss it sometimes and I’m celebrating that I get to spend 2011 into 2012 here!

This is not to say that there aren’t authentic people everywhere in the world. I believe there are, and often I am delighted by friendly, helpful people who do kind, caring things in places that have a stereotype for not being friendly (e.g. big cities). We can find loving people everywhere: it really is a matter in how we choose to look at people and things. If we look for the positive in people, the positive will often show up. We get what we expect. So let’s expect good things!

Since I was feeling particularly happy, joyful and relaxed, I attracted others of the same vibe. If people around me are not particularly happy or joyful and I can quietly “observe” them, rather than internalize those feelings, I know I’m on the right track to joy.  And when I don’t (and let others become the object of my own happiness),  it’s an opportunity for me to look inside at what I’m feeling, so I can shift those feelings into appreciation. When I do, it’s easy to practice sending love and seeing others happy, joyful and relaxed, too.

So I encourage everyone to take a little time today and find those celebrations in your life! It just feels good and sets the tone for this next year. You’ll be expecting celebrations, appreciating “what is” and attracting more of that back at you! And if you practice this everyday, guess what?- It might just make you happy! 

Happy New Year, everyone and into 2012 we go! Woo Hoo!

Warmly,
Barbara

Make Everyday an Appreciation Day!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I just made some delicious banana bread that I’ll take over to a friends for Thanksgiving. While I had planned on being with family today, it didn’t work out. But rather than be sad that I won’t spend this day with my kids, I’m choosing to appreciate all things and people in my life that fill my world with joy. My kids, my friends, my family, the cats that have made my back yard their home, invitations to spend Thanksgiving at someone else’s home, the Iowa Hawkeyes, college football, my clients, other coaches who give so freely of their time and talents,  the fact that I don’t have to cook a whole lot today, the beautiful sunny sky, the fresh air, my car that is so reliable, my job, my home, and Laughter Yoga! And that’s just a short list!

EVERYDAY is an opportunity to appreciate – not just today. So let’s make everyday an appreciation day!

You Can Do Anything!

This weekend’s inspiration resulted in my newest video. It’s a little over 3 minutes long and designed to get you to feel good (which is really practicing the “Art of Allowing” in Abraham-Hicks language!) Hope you enjoy it!

Appreciating What Is and Loving It for Change

So many teachers remind us of the importance of love and being loving if we want to better the world and ourselves.

Here are a few:

“Step number one for changing the entire world, is falling in love with it as it already is. The same is true for changing yourself.”
Mike Dooley

“Be the change you want to see in the world. “
Ghandi

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”  
Ralph Waldo Emerson

How are you seeing the world you’re in right now? And what words do you use to describe yourself in all of it?

If you want more friends, be a friend to someone. If you’re wanting more abundance, start appreciating the abundance that is already in your life and give generously, without expectation of a return. When you operate in a state of love, joy and appreciation, you cannot help but attract more joy and love in your life.

So what kind of change are you seeking to see in the world? What kinds of changes do you want to make in yourself? Find that place in love and joy by appreciating what is (both in the world and in yourself) on a regular basis and you’ll see your life change.