- Notice what you are thinking. Do your thoughts make you feel good? Do they give you energy or are they draining? If the thought doesn’t feel good, then why are you choosing to continue to think it? It’s habit, it is auto pilot. Once you notice, you can then make a different choice.
- Decide that you want to feel good. There are a lot of people out there who enjoy their misery. That is their choice. We are actually wired to feel good, but throughout life, we somehow learn to wallow in the suffering that comes with the drama in our lives. A positive vibration is going to allow you to manifest the things you desire in your life. In my book, The Joy Factor Recipe Book – A Common Sense Approach to a Delicious Life, I share the perspective of using your MSU to feel good. This is a made-up degree, that gives you permission to Make Stuff Up. Make up that you feel good, and eventually you will.
- Replace the negative thoughts with the positive thoughts so that you feel good and accomplish your goals. Take a minute and think about something that you love. It could be a delicious meal, being in nature or cuddling with your children or partner. When you think those thoughts, how do you feel? Yes, your thoughts create how you feel. When you feel good, you can easily move into action to achieve the results you desire. You do not have to monitor every thought, that would make you crazy. You will know if your thoughts are serving your or not by how you feel. When you think good thoughts, you feel good. And when you feel good, the possibilities are endless!
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Life will throw you curve balls. It’s not what happens to us, it’s how we choose to respond. Is the glass half full or half empty? When one door closes, does another one open? You get to choose your perspective. You get to be the chef! If you choose each day to live a more conscious life, I applaud you. Living a fulfilling life is a radical act.
What is fear? A.K.A.: False Evidence Appearing Real. In this sense, fear is neither “good” nor “bad”, but it does serve a REAL purpose in your personal growth. In the recipe for greatness, fear is a necessary ingredient. Without it, we would not know success – just like we can’t know light without darkness. While contrasting shadows and light doesn’t soothe the pain, fear is part of the “chiaroscuro” of life that turns on positive change. The key lies in knowing the purpose of fear – but how?
Get Quiet. Fear is often masked at first by guilt, sadness and a plethora of other misnomers. Get quiet and unmask the first set of feelings. I guarantee you’ll find fear underneath. Then ask questions such as, “What is this fear showing me ABOUT me? Am I doing something out of step with myself?” Lean into it. Interrogate it with curiosity. Engage it in a line of questioning.
Allow: Become tolerant of uncertainty. Get comfortable with allowing time for the answers to evolve organically. The universe is not a cosmic crystal ball but a fascinating, unpredictable set of intricacies that is there for the taking. For example, the phenomenon of taste perception called layering explains how we perceive flavors sequentially rather than altogether, offering sophisticated blends that pique and fade across the palate. (A good curry sauce!) The universe can provide clarity through layering. So, fear can be the precursor to pain, followed by emptiness, followed by more fear, followed by clarity, etc.
“The only way out is through” or “what you resist persists.” Without welcoming the fear and asking what it serves, we not only miss an opportunity for potential but we’ll probably have to face the same thing again in another form. In sum, we delay our greatness - a greatness that we often “pooh-pooh” with doubt and trepidation.
Caution: This post may create fear in you. Use it in a conversation with a trusted friend or use it as fuel for your own private inquisition, but please accept it as your invitation to greatness.
My son, Andrew, has this “money antenna.” It is truly amazing, he can set his mind that he wants to buy something and then the money magically appears. The other night he told me he wanted a 3GS I-phone. I asked him what that would cost and he said somewhere around $30 for a refurbished one. As much as he is literally attached to his cell phone I know that it means a lot to him, and he would get the utility out of it to justify the purchase price. About an hour later the phone rang and the caller asked for Andrew. Upon asking her why she wanted Andrew, she told me that she was calling from a research company and wanted to pay him $40 for his opinion on some new snack foods. Okay, so she basically called to tell me that she was going to buy him a 3GS I-phone, feed him, ask him some questions and then give him an extra $10??? What a money antenna!
So I took him to the research center and we sat in a waiting room full of other teenage money magnets, who all seemed to be texting their friends, too. I have never really watched the process of a kid texting before, and that night I was blown away. The skill and dexterity that those little buggers have is amazing!
As I sat there waiting for my “snacker-for-hire” I thought about the teachings of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. That book is in my Library of Ten books to read. “For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you can not visit, not even in your dreams.” I reflected on this, Andrew, his generation, the I-phone and my secret desire to use a Smart Phone myself. On the way home I asked him if he would teach me how to use an I-phone if I also bought one for myself. After he agreed, I thought back on Gibran’s commentary. Yes, they belong in tomorrow, but they can still teach us tomorrow’s apps today!
–this message was sent from my I-phone
I have a confession. I feel happy to shut the door on 2010. I am eager to move on from this year. It was twelve months of rough and tumble stuff. After a challenging twelve months, asking for an upgraded experience next year feels a little like stepping up to a Craps table in Vegas… C’mon, 2011!
I was thinking about this and I realized that I turn 50 next year. I had to ask my (mildly?) vain self how I could tackle 50 and stay away from the grumpiness and angst that sometimes accompanies a milestone birthday. How can I make next year a truly great year? So I came up with a plan. Happiness studies show that people who give back are much more content than those who don’t. I am a pretty helpful sort, but there has never been any real structure around it. So here’s my pledge: In the year 2011 I will do 50 things to help someone else. At my advanced age, that averages out to almost one good deed a week, but I am up for the challenge. It might be as simple as buying the guy behind me in line at Starbucks a cup of coffee. It might be an all-day park clean up. I don’t know exactly how this will take shape. It’s exciting and I feel a little peppy just thinking about it. I will report my progress on this fabulous blog. Being very intentional with this year long adventure may prove to be quite fun. I invite any and all to join me on this journey.
It feels like less of gamble already.
Day 10 of Reverb10 has me pondering the wisest decision I made this year and the results.
It is easy to think of a few of the not wise decisions, like eating dessert after a big meal last night-oy. It was my mom’s birthday cake, how could I resist?
It was what I did not resist this year that supported my wise decision.
At the moment that I said in fall of 2008 that I was going to ride my first Century (100 miles on my bicycle), in fall of 2009, I had no idea what I was getting into it. That happens alot for me. And I like stretching myself that way.
The training started and stopped, started and stopped , started and stopped. The day of the ride came and thank goodness, it rained. I love riding my bicycle in good conditions, I am not willing to suffer to reach my intentions.
I was disappointed and grateful in the same breath. Intuitively I knew that I was not ready. I also knew I would be soon.
Fast forward to this year. I made the commitment to riding my century at Beautiful Backroads in September of 2010. I trained both mentally and physically for this audacious goal. As the day got closer, I knew I was ready and set myself up with the right gear, snacks and peeps to support me. Ready to go–off I went and I completed the ride with ease, joy and a lot of fun!
The wisest decision that I made about that ride is sticking with me each and every day. I broke the 100 (actually 106 miles!) into smaller pieces. There were SAGs (rest stops) every 15 miles or so. I focused on riding 15 miles and then 15 more miles and so on, for 7 stops, including the finish. Those bites sized pieces were easy for me to digest. As I move forward in achieving other important things in my life, I remember to break them down into smaller bites, so that I can enjoy it more. Just like I really did enjoy that birthday cake last night!
The power of a “gratitude – attitude” is delicious. Deborah Norville in her book, Thank You Power, says that two small words, thank you, can change your life. She goes on to say, it is not just about the words, it is about the mind-set that accompanies them. I love that!
If you are someone who is focused on raising their Joy Factor, you know that being conscious about the yummy combination of your positive thoughts, feelings and actions will move you in the direction you want to go with joy and ease. Gratitude is another piece of the gumbo.
I am a fan of acronyms. Here is one that will help you to embrace a gratitude - attitude. It will not only make you feel better, Norville shares studies that show it will improve your health, optimism and resilience in tough times.
Grow where you are planted. You are where you are in your life for a reason. When you can remember that and go with the flow, it will be easier to express gratitude for what is, rather than always focusing on what could be or what was.
Reset your mindset. When you notice that you are spending more time complaining or blaming, push the reset button and notice what you are thankful for. It could be the car you are driving, the food you are eating or the house that you live in-you get to choose. Keep track of these delicious nuggets by writing them in a gratitude journal.
Accentuate the positive. Where do you want to shine the light? On what is working or what is not working? Choose what is working and share that with others, they will thank you for it.
Treat every day as a gift. Unwrap it and find the wonder in the newness and possibility that is there. Be thankful for it and savor the gift of today.
Imagine the possibilities. If you do not like what you are experiencing right now, use your thoughts to shift it. Say thank you to yourself for choosing to get yourself out of the doldrums of the day.
Two words. Thank you-use them often. Say thank you not only with your words, but also with your eyes and smile.
Unite with others. We are all connected human beings that desire to be appreciated, loved and acknowledged-act accordingly.
Delight in beauty. Nothing enhances gratitude more than spending time in nature. You cannot help to feel thankful for the glorious sights, sounds and smell. Step outside today.
Enjoy the journey. Don’t worry about getting there; because once you get there, it is time to go someplace else! Savor the everyday moments, relish in all that is so you can truly enjoy this adventure called life.
Sprinkle a bit of gratitude into each and every one or your days. You will feel amazing and so will others around you. I will have seconds of this gumbo please.
As Thanksgiving approaches, thoughts turn to gratitude. For some, it’s the once-a-year holiday ritual around the dinner table as each person proclaims what they’re most thankful for. Family. Health. My job. This meal.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude throughout the year, however, is nothing short of transformative. That’s because of the universal law that states: What you focus on expands. In other words, what you appreciate appreciates. And, where attention goes, energy flows.
Here are three ways to demonstrate the power of gratitude every day.
1) Feeling fearful? Who isn’t these days? The good news is that fear and gratitude cannot coexist. Peak performance expert Tony Robbins promises, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” The next time you’re worrying about money, your business or your children, stop and take a moment to count your blessings. One of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep is to write in a gratitude journal before bedtime.”
2) Dealing with challenging relationships? It might be your boss, client, spouse or teenager. For one week, refrain from criticism (what you think, as well as what you say). Instead, focus on the qualities you most appreciate about that person–even if it’s just that they teach you to be more patient. You’ll begin to notice that the energy will shift and the relationship will be more positive and productive.
3) Turbocharge your goals. As you begin to plan for the New Year and list your resolutions, be thankful for what is right now and what will be in anticipation of your success.
Over the years I have invested lots of time and energy to raise my Joy Factor. What I have noticed is that sometimes I have to “clean out the closet” to make room for new thoughts, perspectives and beliefs to live a life I love. Here are a few tips from a master on what you may want to “get rid of” in your internal closet of a mind to allow space for all that you deserve and desire. Enjoy!
Most of us want to go in the direction of what we have envisioned, what we want for our lives. Most of us want to be happy, successful, and healthy. When we end up going where we don’t want to go, we assume something is wrong or someone made us take a wrong turn. Does that mean we are robbed of our joy? Does joy disappear when things seem “wrong”?
What if nothing’s wrong? What if joy is still breathing underneath, but life is designed to give us a few challenges so that we learn to navigate reality as the continuum of ebb and flow? What if it just takes something major to wake us up, to shake us up so we see how we were blocked from letting joy work for us?
It’s a humbling experience when we can climb out of the bottom of the hole, sit on the periphery and gaze over the big picture. By the same token, it can soothe our ruffled feathers and remind us that there is so much more going on in our galaxy than the issue with this person at work or that person at home. It’s then we can understand that our joy is still very much alive, using our daily experiences and challenges to expand. This awareness keeps makes us larger than our minds and lightens things up.
Can we see discomfort as a gift offering growth and something better? Bearing witness to that discomfort and how we respond (or react) can impede joy or welcome it in. Joy is out there regardless of whether or not we let it in. During the discomfort, we can trust that there is an ebb and flow to lead us to the other side. And on the other side, we will evolve and grow with more courage – because we held onto trust.
This spring, I went to the hospital for some big-time surgery. When I awoke and learned that I didn’t have cancer – as my doctor thought I did (yee ha) – the recovery, even with several bumps in the road, became a great opportunity to practice turning up the volume on joy.
Getting up and walking around the day after having my belly sliced was a requirement for healing, but it wasn’t an easy thing. Somehow, re-writing the lyrics to Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out and singing them each time I did (I’m getting … up. I’m inching off the bed, shufflin’ cross the floor … ) helped. Eating the pudding they served with lunch did too. (Hospital food is notoriously bad, but pudding is almost always good.)
A few days after being discharged, I wound in the emergency room with a high fever/infection. My sister went with me, and as we waited for tests, and then for the results (dragging on until the wee hours of the morning) she took photos on her cell phone commemorating the adventure. One of the residents looked in on us as we were giggling and snapping photos saying: You are far too upbeat for someone with a 102 fever. I replied: Doc, I don’t have cancer; this is nothing.
Later, waiting for an MRI on a gurney in a hallway, I heard U2 pumping out of a radiologists’ office: It’s a beautiful day … don’t let it get away, and I bobbed my head in a makeshift dance. An attendant gave me a quizzical look as he came to wheel me into the room. Dancing? he laughed. How can you resist this song? I replied. He slowed down, listened and said, Yeah, I guess it is a beautiful day.
Even though I wound up having to be admitted to the hospital for three more days to fight the infection, friends brought magazines, I listened to plenty of great music on my iPod, wrote out my gratitude in my journal… and ate plenty of pudding.
While I’m sure it would’ve been a whole lot harder to be joyful if the surgery had gone another way, or if the docs didn’t get to the bottom of the infection quickly, still, with this experience, I saw clearly that when the going gets tough, choosing to be goofy, upbeat and joy-filled really can be the sugar that makes the medicine go down.
( … now, don’t let it get away, this beautiful day …)