I’m trying to remain steady and at ease

meditationClick here to watch the video

Today, I decided to sit outside and meditate.

I came outside, got my music on and set my timer for 12 minutes.

You’d think 12 minutes would be easy enough to do, right?

I’m trying to remain steady and at ease …

Meditation IS really difficult when there’s a lot going on.

I totally understand that meditation is difficult, especially when you’re going through difficult times.

And yet, that is when we need it the most!

Do the best you can and persevere …

I, ultimately, had to stop after 8 minutes. (Click here to see why today’s attempt was so challenging)

At least I got a few minutes to let go and think about the wonderful things in my life.

Love and Blessings,

lisa-gold-signature

 

 

 

I want to help you connect with yourself … with your peace and happiness that is within!

 

 

meditation-zen-saying

Meditation is truly one of the most rewarding and life changing activities that you can explore and ultimately use to expand your life experience.

Click here if you are ready to embark on an entirely new way of being and believing sign up today and start your journey of peace, relaxation and connection.

Generic, Somersby,

A big part of leading a life of happiness is being able to stick to your guns when you need to, and not bending over backwards just to be a people pleaser.

Now, this does NOT mean refusing to help others, being unkind, or anything of the sort – there’s nothing wrong with pleasing others. The problems happen when your concern for pleasing others comes at the expense of your own principles, your own happiness, or gets in the way of other things you need to accomplish for your own life.

The unfortunate reality is that there will always be people who try to take advantage of others (and some people who will without even realizing it), and if you allow yourself to be manipulated – sometimes by your own internal desire for acceptance – you’ll eventually be doing so many things for others, you stop paying attention to your own needs.

It’s fulfilling to help others, but can be very stressful to allow others to demand support from you. It’s all about making choices that satisfy the greatest good – helping others should not become such a burden that it impacts your ability to live a happy life.

Similarly, a pattern of “people pleasing” may prevent you from speaking out in opposition to something you disagree with – and if you’re not standing up for what you believe in, it’s going to take a toll on your self-worth. Staying close-mouthed just to avoid rocking the boat will ultimately turn into regret.

It should go without saying that upsetting people on purpose is NOT the path to personal happiness – but being prepared to navigate a situation where you can’t please everyone (and not feeling guilty about it) will go a long way in helping you keep your head held high, even when you have to be the bearer of bad news.

The best approach is to strike a balance between what’s good for you and what’s good for the people around you. Total selfishness is not the answer, obviously, but neither is letting yourself become a doormat.

7676623576_d520bb004f_b
If you’ve never tried meditating, I can’t recommend it enough! The lasting effects on your personal well being are just so massive, and this is something you can do in your own home – without spending a dime or even going out of your way to prepare or set up.

Meditation encompasses a rather large portion of different, more specific practices, but at its root, meditating is about relaxation, controlling your mind and body, and clearing away the cluttered thoughts that cause so much tension in all of our lives.

And people have long understood the benefits that meditation can bring in terms of an overall sense of calm, better sleep, relieving physical tension in the body, and a lasting sense of peace – but studies have shown that meditation actually helps the brain reduce stress reactions and increases brain activity in areas associated with compassion, self-awareness, and happiness!

Meditating even one single time makes these positive effects all the more apparent – the good vibes and calm sensations stick with you throughout the day, and as it becomes a part of your normal routine, these feelings of calm acceptance and harmony with the world around you only last longer.

The same sensations of relaxation and oneness actually prime our brains for increased empathy, which means we have an easier time connecting with others (another important element of happiness). Not only does this happen in the first few minutes after meditating, regular meditation can also change your brain chemistry in a long-term way, rewiring your brain for increased happiness!

You don’t even have to take my word for it. Try it out and see!

There are plenty of great meditation aids available out there, that will walk you through steps to relaxation and controlled breathing, and once you’ve got a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to do it all on your own.

Just give it a shot, and I promise that you’ll immediately see the benefits!

4099849737_f98194d750_b

How often do you stop to reflect on what you have? Do you tell the people in your life how much they mean to you on a regular basis? Do you feel thankful for good weather, for new opportunities, for simple pleasures and little conveniences that make your life easier?

If not, it might be time to start thinking this way.

Gratitude is perhaps the single most powerful component of living a happy life. We’ve talked in the past about the importance of connecting with others, of using your energy to improve the lives of others, and even touched on SoulPancake’s study on gratitude – but a lifestyle of thankfulness involves ALL of these topics.

It’s about appreciation for what’s in front of you, and looking for the elements worth appreciating in every experience, both good and bad.

When you learn to live with gratitude, it’s like seeing the silver lining of every cloud – but even beyond making the most out of unfavorable situations, thinking and living in this way opens you up to looking at the world with a very different set of eyes.

Gratitude is more than thankfulness (even though feeling thankful is part of it). Sure, you’ll feel “thankful” when someone does you a favor or pays you a compliment, but a mindset of gratitude will allow you to see the goodness within those people, to appreciate all of the moments that have built up to their kind words or actions (in both your life and theirs), and ultimately prepares you to articulate how important such acts of kindness really are.

It’s like accomplishing multiple goals with a single state of mind! A grateful attitude helps you look on the bright side, it makes you more open to connecting with new people and appreciating the people already in your life, it makes you notice and celebrate small successes (and look for lessons in failures), helps you feel confident and brave, and gives you a reason to smile!

Notice that every one of those things mentioned above is a pathway to happiness on its own – and gratitude helps bring about ALL OF THEM.

Living a life of gratitude is a gateway to greater happiness and more connection with the world around you. You can start small – look for things to appreciate in your immediate surroundings. Look to the things that make you the happiest, and start making it a regular practice. Soon you’ll be looking for things to appreciate everywhere – and then you’ll do it without even thinking about it!

This is your chance to totally change your approach to daily life. Get started now!

 

Love and happiness

Today, March 20th, is the United Nations International Day of Happiness! On this very special day, the United Nations Foundation is teaming up with Pharrell Williams and many, many others to spread a message of happiness to the whole world!

If you’re not familiar with Pharrell, he’s the man behind the hit song Happy, and the world’s first 24-hour music video to accompany it. With this “24 Hours of Happy” in tow, the United Nations is using this day to raise awareness for both the importance of individual happiness, and the global need to make human happiness and wellbeing a fundamental goal for all governments, businesses, and every single person on the planet.

Through non-profit programs and public service announcements, the folks behind the International Day of Happiness are helping to improve the way we think about the world around us, and inspire every last one of us to not only embrace our own happiness, but to take action to increase the happiness of those around us.

The methods, as you well know, are countless! Everything from making sure you’re getting enough exercise to making a point to smile at strangers will help your own levels of happiness – and on a larger scale, helping others in need, choosing businesses known for high ethical standards, and simply exuding kindness in your daily life will go a long way in making the world a happier place to live in!

There are a few online resources dedicated to the International Day of Happiness, with information on how to get involved in the big–picture goals, learn about the physical benefits of personal happiness, and connect with other people around the world who are committed to building a world of happy people!

For starters, visit http://www.dayofhappiness.net/ for details about the International Day of Happiness mission and the UN’s resolution to build a happier, healthier global community.

At http://www.actionforhappiness.org/ you’ll find even more wonderful resources, tips, and activities to help promote happiness in your community (and learn why it’s so important).

And as a bit of a bonus, put a little pep in your step with the 24-hour music video for Pharrell’s Happy here: http://24hoursofhappy.com/

Let’s celebrate happiness together – today, tomorrow, and every day after!

hand clouds faceLife is too short.

This is maybe one of the hardest facts of life to contend with, but it’s true – all of the people we care about will die one day. And even though this will never cease to be a tragic reality, and losing someone we care about will always, always cause emotional pain, we can use this honest, realistic knowledge to everyone’s advantage.

With this realization that our time on this earth is temporary, we can start to really feel appreciative of the time we get to spend with our loved ones. I’m not suggesting that you consume yourself with worrying that each time you see a friend, it might never happen again… but you should keep that thought somewhere in the back of your mind.

When we see our time with loved ones as a gift – one that we don’t know if and when we’ll ever get again – it makes the time that much more valuable.

This knowledge should prevent you from ever leaving important things unspoken; it should prevent you from walking away from a loved one in anger. Each moment we share with the people close to us is a gift, and wasting that time angry or letting problems go unresolved is an absolute squandering of that gift.

You never know what might happen – our loved ones can be taken from us at any time, for any reason. Make the most of every moment you have together. You never know when it will be your last.

The real purpose behind the Art of Living Happy is helping people to find and harness happiness in their lives – not just in the average day or when things are going well, but when everything is falling apart. Finding the means to create your own happiness is most important when things are at their worst – it is the truest test of your happiness.

If you don’t know my story, I lost my husband Ian after a seven-year battle with cancer. He was 44, and I was 37.

It was the most difficult part of my life, and I struggled to find any kind of happiness. Only by connecting to my own inner wisdom and seeking divine guidance (daily) was I able to find just enough happiness to keep me going.

One of the hardest parts of the whole process was how most people treated Ian during his final few months of life. The phenomenon is called avoidance – when even friends and loved ones are too uncomfortable with the prospect of death, they avoid the subject, and with it, avoid the person who is nearing the end of their life.

Death is scary. No one likes to talk about it. No one likes to deal with it. Yet this seems absurd because every last one of us will someday meet our end, and perhaps even more important to realize: it’s safe to assume that all of us will have to deal with the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives.

I came across this video featuring the wonderful Stephen Garrett, author of When Death Speaks: Listen, Learn, and Love, and it’s a fitting description of how many people clam up when it comes to confronting the death of a loved one, as well as some great advice on how families can overcome this fear.

The video is less than four minutes long – and is worth every second. I highly recommend you watch it.

The lesson Stephen imparts, simply put, is this: when you know that someone is dying, don’t avoid them! Embrace them and ask what you can do for them! Confronting the scary topic of death is only a matter of facing the fear holding you back.

When we can overcome this fear, we can share our love and support with a loved one as they approach the end of life. We can reminisce happily, offer comforts, make the necessary plans to ease the process and settle affairs, and above all, spend quality time with our dying loved ones that isn’t shrouded by unspoken discomfort.

It is only after we step through the door of fear that we can learn our greatest lessons and offer our greatest gifts.

I’d love to hear about the ways you’ve dealt with loss and death in your life. Leave me a comment so we can continue to learn and grow together.

Love and blessings,

Lisa

Today I received an email from Leanne Ely, who runs www.savingdinner.com – an amazing website for people like me who struggle everyday with what to make for dinner.  If you get a chance check out her website – I highly recommend it!  Anyway, Leanne is always happy to share her information so I did.  Her article today ties in with what I blogged about yesterday; Art of Living – Stay in the Moment.

I also remember those times when I had two small children at home and wished the time away.  Especially when I was also caring for a sick husband.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy her message as much as I did!  Cheers, Lisa

Cherish Your Children

By Leanne Ely CNC

Indulge me for a moment, will you? Today’s column is more about food for the soul, then for the tummy.

Leanne Ely with her child

Years ago, I was watching TV and I saw a commercial for diapers. I don’t remember the entire context of it, but they showed a little baby in the crib, then later, he’s a toddler learning to use his pull up diapers and go potty like a big boy.

I almost got teary over that commercial! I don’t know what it was about that ad that landed so hard in my heart. After sleeping on it all night, I realized exactly what it was.

I spent a good portion of my children’s childhoods wishing it away. Instead of cherishing the moments, I would say to myself, “This is so hard. It will be so much easier when they’re older.”

My children are there now at 18 and 20 years old. They’re close in age, 21 months apart. When they were little, I had double everything: stroller, car seats, diapers, you name it. Their babyhoods were a blur–I was nursing one and trying to keep another happy. I was tired, stressed out and wanted motherhood to be easy and perfect–like it is in magazines. The reality was quite the opposite–I was overwhelmed and spent an inordinate amount of time looking ahead instead of loving their sweet heads. “When they are older, THEN I will (fill in the blank).”

Why am I telling you this? Because I have guilt and regret and can’t move forward? No, because I finally realized that even if I did wish away too much time when they were babies, now that they have gone away to school, I thoroughly cherish each moment that I have with them. Oh sure, there are times that they’re rotten and need straightening out, but I am not trying to tell you that life becomes perfect when you’re looking wistfully back on their childhoods. The root of all discontent however, is expecting perfect out of anyone (child or adult) or any situation; I am thankful I learned that while they were still home.

Here’s a way to put this important lesson into practice; instead of constantly trying to correct and PERFECT your children’s table manners, consciously try to have a dinner table that welcomes the stories about your son’s day, your daughter’s dreams and laugh together! My heart’s memory book is filled with memories from those kind of interactions and (thankfully) not the guilt of nagging at them constantly.

My children grew quickly and were gone before I knew it. One thing that really helped me enjoy them and love them each day was breaking bread each night together at the table. Having dinner together not only blesses those at the table, but it blesses the hands that make it.

Wherever you are in your journey as a mother, you can begin to cherish your babies now–no matter what age, even if they have children of their own! You are still a mother and you still have moments (God willing) left to cherish. The past is one thing we can do nothing about, but we have today!

Take a moment today and look at your children’s faces and understand that they are there in your care by Divine appointment. It is no accident that God gave you that child or those children. They were hand selected to belong to your family–no one else’s. What a gift!

So tonight, when you are gathered ’round your family dinner table, thank God for giving you each child even if you can see their tonsils with mouths full of spaghetti. Treasure your sweet children and love them like there is no tomorrow. They are gifts to be cherished at each meal, with each moment.

Copyright (C) 2010 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Every morning I take my dogs, Bronco and Tux, for a walk across the street through an enchanted little forest which leads to a secluded town park. Today I was hoping for some inspiration to help me write this blog – and I got it.  A basic principle of the art of living happy is to live in the moment and not worry or fear what may happen – because if you worry or fear what might happen, then most likely you’re going to ruin the current moment for no good reason.  That’s exactly what happened to me today.

Magical Forest Trail

Most days we don’t run into anyone.  Only twice in the last three years have we run into kids doing drugs – the park is across the street from the high school – so you would think we would come across students more often, fortunately we don’t.  The minute they see me they drop their bong and go tearing through the woods back to school.   More often – and again maybe once every two weeks or so – we run into neighbors walking their dogs.  Java, a scrappy little Cairn Terrier, is a friendly little guy and my small dogs love to greet him and then go on sniffing and running around.  The problem is with Ginger, a 50 pound Pit Bull/Doberman mix.

Ginger was rescued by some very nice people.  The problem is these very nice people don’t know how to handle a Pit Bull/Doberman mix.  Ginger has been very aggressive toward my dog, Bronco.  Tux is smart enough to stay away and usually stands between my legs when Ginger comes bounding up.  Bronco, however; is overly friendly and races up to Ginger and the next thing you know Bronco is on his back and Ginger is barking,  growling, and snapping.  This confrontation in the park has happened three or four times.

Well, then it gets better.  Ginger’s owners allow her to run around off leash – and in fairness I allow my dogs, all 16 and 12 pounds of them, to run off leash too.  The issue is the fact that Ginger will run through the forest, cross the road and dart into our yard – when we are sitting on our front porch minding our own business.  The three times that I’ve seen it happen – God only knows how many other times it’s occurred – I was able to get my dogs inside before Ginger got up to our door, frothing at the mouth.

The last time it happened, sometime last week, I firmly told the owner that she had to keep her dog on a leash as it was obvious that she couldn’t keep Ginger under control.  She contritely agreed.

The whole point of this involved story is that this morning, as the dogs and I cleared the forest path, I saw a parked car.  I immediately feared that it was Ginger’s owner’s car.  I started to look around and worry.  I kept my dogs close and was concerned and terrified that Ginger may be on the loose.  I wasn’t sure if the owner would keep her on the leash or if she would suddenly appear around the corner and leap on Bronco.  So for the entire 20 minute walk I was consumed with these horrible feelings.  When we finally rounded the last corner to the summit of the park, I realized that Ginger was no where to be seen.  Sigh…

The problem was, I had just ruined my tranquil morning walk, because I feared the unknown.  Granted, I had very good reasons to worry – as past events had proven.  However; in order to create more happiness in your life, you must not react to events that aren’t occurring.  In retrospect, I should have noticed the car and just kept on walking and breathing in the luscious green colors and observing the small bits of blue sky peeking through the clouds.  If Ginger had shown up, I could have dealt with it then.  Tomorrow I’m going to practice the art of living happy, and stay in the moment.