They say that the best things in life are free. If that is true, then why do I want to go shopping so much?
I am happy and grateful to say I really do have everything I need. It is the things I want, that I crave, that drive me a bit crazy.
Recently, one of my favorite stores had their semi-annual 50% off everything in the store sale. Oh my gosh – I cannot resist amazing deals like that, yet this time, the first time in five years, I chose not to visit my would-be outfits and shoes. In a previous post about instant gratification, I’ve been paying attention to my insistent need for wanting things now! On the flip side, I’ve spent more time with my ten-year old niece, Emily; talking to her about saving money for the things she must have. Oh yes, I ‘m starting to sound like my parents and grandparents when I talk to my niece and nephew, and it is scaring me a bit.
As I look at my decision-making process around the things I want and the things I need, I notice that it all comes down to what my passions and intentions are in my life right now . One of the things that brings me immense joy is to travel and everything that goes with that; the research, planning and dreaming about the trip. The preparation and anticipation of going on a journey is as fun as the adventure itself.
When I have a trip or two on the calendar, they become my touchstone for my superfluous spending. Do I want those pants, or do I want to have those extra dollars for Portland? Those shoes are cute, but I bet they will have fabulous shoes in Italy. It all comes down to making conscious choices, choices that are in alignment with the things I really want. Now don’t get me wrong, if I need a new pair of shoes, I buy them. I’ve started to keep my eye on the prize, opting for holding out for the grand finale rather than just the door prize.
What I am noticing about this seemingly adult decision process is how good I feel about myself. This process boosts my self-worth and self-esteem because I ‘m actually doing what I told myself I’d do. When my Joy Factor increases in this way, all things are possible and I am the winner of the best prize every day.
Now, where is that shoe catalog?
If you would like to learn more about how to raise your Joy Factor, click here to receive my free e-book, 9 Tips for Living a Joyful Life.
I crave to quench my thirst for more; more of the things that make my heart soar.
Those are simple things, like someone who pays attention when the light turns green and makes the arrow-
yes, I am talking to you, canary yellow 1978 Firebird!
Or the joy of using a public restroom without having sprinkles of someone else’s p-p on the seat-
yes, I am talking to you, the lady who used the bathroom before me at the Starbucks in Decatur!
And, meeting delightful people at the tables around me as we all get cool and caffinated.
That is what makes my heart sing, bringing my internal temperature down to cool and joyful.
She went out to play Thursday afternoon, and didn’t come home that night. Or Friday, or Saturday. Nor Sunday or Monday. I put notices on the neighborhood message boards, asked friends to hold the vision of her return, and tried not to fret. Cats do these things, sometimes.
There were moments of imagining the worst, then of knowing she was fine. Moments of intense longing, and wishing.
Finally, she came bolting in, mewling loudly, demanding food and water. I filled her bowls, and waited for her to tell me about her five-day adventure. But noooooo. No explanation. No apology.
I tried to be at least a little ticked at her, but wasn’t able to. My friend Christina said of four-leggeds: “ . . . they know not the ultimate depths of how they touch us… which may be part of the charm they hold.”
Dictionaries say joy is “great happiness,” which I think of as a big emotion. But what I love most is her rubbing up against my ankle, or nestling against my side or my neck on the sofa. Sliding under the covers to curl up in the crook of my knee or at my feet as I sleep. Her purr after she dines or when I scratch her neck. My elation at her homecoming was somewhat short-lived, yielding quickly to the simple pleasure of her presence, her company, her touch. Is there something smaller than “great happiness” but equally as grand? As important?
I don’t know what it’s called, but every day Miss Kitty brings me sustainable, consistent, unadulterated joy. I’m glad and grateful that she’s home, and I think she feels the same way. She’s been stuck to me like Velcro ever since.
What is it about adorable dogs that fills my heart with joy? It is there sweet faces and adorable personalities.
Spend some time with Denver and you will know what I am talking about.
This video raises my Joy Factor in less than 2 minutes. I am sure you have already seen it. Watch it again and let yourself feel the joy……mmmmmm….bacon flavored….
Wikepedia suggests that active listening includes, “suspending judgment and avoiding other internal mental activities to fully attend to the speaker.” Suspending judgment and avoiding internal mental activities? That’s a lot of work!
Indeed it is. However, I find that the more people I meet that have successfully manifested joy and fulfillment in their lives are adept at the practice of active listening. Think about the people you know who demonstrate the highest levels of happiness and fulfillment. They are often the ones who cease multitasking, who maintain steady eye contact and who even go so far as to verbally recap what you just said.
There is another aspect to active listening though that takes it to the next level insofar as truly connecting with others.…and that aspect is empathy.
As the queen of physical and mental multitasking since childhood, hearing my mother tell me, “I lost my mother when I was eight-years old there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her,” was an uncomfortable nudge in the gut. I listened enough all those years to hear what she said, but I resisted the connection. I never really truly heard her. My listening didn’t include the empathic aspect, which would allow me to consider her as a woman with all her experiences rather than just my mom.
Until I was able to find my own strength, joy and fulfillment in life and work, I was not able to stand in someone else’s shoes. And until I was able to truly stand in someone’s shoes while I listened, most of what I would hear from others registered mentally as either background noise if I was deep in the throws of multitasking, or as bits and pieces of factual circumstances.
Today, I find that active listening has become a wonderful tool in my relationships. In both work and play I am watching the effects trickle in – from a warm response from a friend to a successful business interaction. To improve relationships and enhance the connections that I have with those around me, I am committed to tweaking my listening skills. I still love to multitask, but if you need me to hear you, I’m listening!
It is amazing watching a baby learn how to walk. They move forward a step or two, fall down, get back up and try it again…and again…and again. It always makes me wonder what is going on in their mind. Are they thinking, “I can do this?” or “This is so hard?” or “I think I will just keep on crawling?”
After two life changing experiences a couple of months ago, I felt like I was learning to walk again. I found myself affirming all 3 of those statements at different times of my journey. Each one made me feel different and of course, those feelings determined the actions that I took.
I went into both of those experiences with a tremendous amount of optimism. That optimism kept me afloat as I realized things were not going to be as good and easy as I hoped they would be. First, I did not make it past the first round of a contest I thought I was going to win. Second, I had a surgical procedure I thought I would heal from in two weeks and I was not fully back to Wendy until 7 weeks after the procedure-yikes!
Both of these experiences taught me some wonderful lessons – imagine that?! The funny thing is I thought I already knew these lessons-not! The learning continues….and I pass it on to you.
1. Slow Down – When I drive to fast, I miss my turn. When I move through life at breakneck speeds, I miss the beauty of the moment. Each moment contains what I value in life-connection, joy, peace and love. After surgery, I could not do anything – I had to stop and then recalibrate to a slower speed. You do not need an operation to do that, all you need is the desire to enjoy the moment and use it to make intentional decisions that will create your best life.
2. Don’t Try So Hard – Abraham-Hicks talks about letting go of the oars and moving downstream, rather than paddling hard to go upstream. When I allow the my passions to fuel the direction that I am going in, I am able to reconnect with spirit and disconnect from my negative ego and move forward with more ease. I incorporated sitting with spirit each morning and journaling my desires. Taking this time for me was just what I was craving. The craving was satisfied as I moved forward in my life with ease.
3. Honor my Passions - Each and every day I connect with what is most important to me – my Top 5 Passions. From there I make decisions as I slow down and let go of the oars. Magic happens from this place. With so many things to do, places to go, people to see and so much information to absorb, my passions are the compass that guide me in the direction that feeds my spirit. When my spirit is fed, I am creating the life I love with ease.
Today, when I fall down, I get up, wipe my knees and move forward one small step at a time. This moves me towards my destination, while truly enjoying my wonderful journey! What will your next step be?
I was thinking today about my friend Mark Pekar and what a joy he was in my life for more than twenty years. This time last spring he was gravely ill and mere weeks away from hospice. In mid-summer, I was blessed to speak to a large crowd at his memorial service.
I shared that he “loved being the center of attention, yet he loved watching others shine. He loved succeeding, and equally celebrated other’s successes. ‘A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.’* His was a generous spirit.”
Memory of Mark was keen today as I visited with other long-time friends:
Sylvia is so proud of her grandchildren that she beams.
Donna had a breakthrough in establishing and enforcing emotional boundaries.
Betsy earned an A in a class from a professor who does not give A’s. (Free tuition at state colleges and universities in Georgia is a bonus that comes with Medicare and Social Security! I only have ten years to go.)
Charlie is also a returning student (though not even old enough for an AARP card) and will graduate Sunday, to embark on a new career for which he is splendidly suited and prepared.
Peggy and Gibbs are in a new home that fits them perfectly and makes them smile.
And my friend Carol, having regained some of the vision lost in one eye, is doing nearly everything she wants to do with resourcefulness and élan. She’s piecing a new quilt, and loved one of the fabrics so much that she hugged it.
There used to be a road sign on Lakewood Freeway that read
Give and take. Take and give. Everyone gets his or her turn to lead, or follow. Then it changes again.
Recent months have been exceedingly challenging, but the successes of treasured friends or family can make my spirit soar. Some days I share joy by lighting the candle. Other times, I find joy by having my candle lit.
* Quote from Father James Keller
PassionFruit and Possibility-the video–click to watch!
Joy comes from connecting with other like minded people. Leigh Layton with The Possibility Spa is one of those people. She and her partner, Laura Calandrella are up to something delicious at Serenbe in June. The video here touches on some of the yummy topics they will be sharing at this event. Take a few minutes to learn more about Rule #6 and other delightful possibilities in this conversation. Enjoy!
My mastermind team is reading a chapter from Napoleon Hill’s “Think & Grow Rich” on the subject of Persistence. With this, I’m reminded just how important a ‘never give up attitude’ is to ultimate success. I often hear people say, “I just need one break, one chance, but nothing is happening for me.”
Hill says that “breaks” happen to those who make them happen, to those who are willing to continue on no matter what, to those who have an intense desire despite being surrounded by friends, neighbors and media all telling you, “You’re crazy, don’t you know it’s a terrible economy? Stop trying so hard, wait till things settle down and get better.” Wait? If Thomas Edison waited for a better economy we’d still be in the dark. If Henry Ford waited for a better economy we’d all be in better physical shape from walking all the time. No, they continued, they persisted, they did whatever it took to accomplish their burning desire.
Persistence is the key element to success. Breaks come when you continue moving forward in the face of fear, in the face of “no.” Breaks come when you continue connecting and creating relationships with people, when you continue educating yourself. And most of all, remember the JOY is in the journey. Enjoy each step. Enjoy every moment. Be persistent, keep moving forward and believe that with persistence you will achieve your ultimate success. Because you will.