Good Things

Life Lesson

Saw this the other day and thought I should share it with you:

RUN THE DISHWASHER TWICE.

When I was at one of my lowest (mental) points in life, I couldn’t get out of bed some days. I had no energy or motivation and was barely getting by.

I had therapy once per week, and on this particular week I didn’t have much to ‘bring’ to the session. He asked how my week was and I really had nothing to say.

“What are you struggling with?” he asked.

I gestured around me and said “I dunno man. Life.”

Not satisfied with my answer, he said “No, what exactly are you worried about right now? What feels overwhelming? When you go home after this session, what issue will be staring at you?”

I knew the answer, but it was so ridiculous that I didn’t want to say it.

I wanted to have something more substantial.

Something more profound.

But I didn’t.

So I told him, “Honestly? The dishes. It’s stupid, I know, but the more I look at them the more I CAN’T do them because I’ll have to scrub them before I put them in the dishwasher, because the dishwasher sucks, and I just can’t stand and scrub the dishes.”

I felt like an idiot even saying it.

What kind of grown ass woman is undone by a stack of dishes? There are people out there with *actual* problems, and I’m whining to my therapist about dishes?

But my therapist nodded in understanding and then said:

“RUN THE DISHWASHER TWICE.”

I began to tell him that you’re not supposed to, but he stopped me.

“Why the hell aren’t you supposed to? If you don’t want to scrub the dishes and your dishwasher sucks, run it twice. Run it three times, who cares?! Rules do not exist, so stop giving yourself rules.”

It blew my mind in a way that I don’t think I can properly express.

That day, I went home and tossed my smelly dishes haphazardly into the dishwasher and ran it three times.

I felt like I had conquered a dragon.

The next day, I took a shower lying down.

A few days later. I folded my laundry and put them wherever the fuck they fit.

There were no longer arbitrary rules I had to follow, and it gave me the freedom to make accomplishments again.

Now that I’m in a healthier place, I rinse off my dishes and put them in the dishwasher properly. I shower standing up. I sort my laundry.

But at a time when living was a struggle instead of a blessing, I learned an incredibly important lesson:

THERE ARE NO RULES.

RUN THE DISHWASHER TWICE!!!

An excellent reminder, don’t you think?

Xxx

Good Things

Rainbow Connection 🌈

Do you find it easy to connect with people? I do – on a surface level. I’ve never met a stranger, only friends I haven’t met yet. I can find common ground and something to talk about with pretty much everyone…which makes life really super-fun. However, as friendly as I am, I have a lot of difficulty finding people that I can connect with, that I feel that I can trust, and that I feel safe, comfortable, and happy with. Those people are super-rare, unicorns walking amongst us – they are really hard to find.

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How do you know when you meet someone that they are going to be good and trustworthy peeps that you want to have on your Phone-A-Friend list for ‘Who Wants to be a Millionnaire?’ I have done A LOT of thinking about this issue, and have spent considerable time researching this idea – because, obviously, I have made some grave errors in judgment in this area in my lifetime. I’ve trusted people I shouldn’t have, I’ve been wary of people who were probably very worthy of my trust – and I blew it because of my own stupidity. I came across this article on trustworthiness that touts the “CRAC” method : Credibility, Reliability, Attention Ability, and Communication Ability. The author suggests using these 5 core questions to guide your assessment of someone’s trustworthiness when it comes to figuring things out.

Credibility: Does the person speak truthfully? Not in partial truths, but in complete truths. Does the person speak with accuracy? Can the information shared be verified? Is the person consistently and proactively transparent? Do they proactively share ways for you to validate their credibility? Can what you see and hear from them be validated by others? Do they demonstrate competence? Do they provide information in simple, uncomplicated terms – terms that you understand?

Here are some questions to consider about a person’s Reliability: Does the person consistently do what s/he says? Is there consistent follow through? Does the person have a reputation for being reliable? What do others say about the person’s reliability? You can often glean great information on reliability via comments made in various social media channels, especially Facebook. Is the person consistently on time? Look for patterns of meeting/not meeting time commitments and deadlines. Are they surrounded by other reliable people (social network)? If not, watch out. People of a feather tend to flock together.

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Here’s a few to think about when determining a person’s Attention Ability: During conversations, does the person consistently focus on him/herself? If someone shows strong signs of inward focus (overuse of “me”, “I”, and “them”), be careful. Trustworthy people demonstrate an “other” focus by using terms of inclusion and collaboration such as “we”, “our”, and “us”. Does the person consistently do brand promotion (lifting other people up) or brand assassination (tearing other people down)? Does the person demonstrate under-appreciation for your thoughts, comments, and ideas while over-promoting the value of their own? If so, you have a clear warning sign of concerning behaviors.

Finally, one of the greatest ways to determine if someone is trustworthy is their Communication Ability: Does the person demonstrate active listening? This is evident by virtue of the person… Restating what has been said to check for understanding Demonstrating appropriate body language such as navel intelligence Asking open-ended questions during conversations Does the person set expectations that are clear and specific? A bonus question that is also a great one to ask involves availability.

This list is by no means exhaustive….there’s a lot of other factors at play. Think about the person you’re wondering about – are they consistently available? Availability requires intentionality, and people who can be trusted always make themselves available to invest in others. Think about how you feel when you’re with them – do you feel comfortable? Safe? Content? Engaged in the conversation? All of these are good indicators of comfort and trust in someone. Some people just feel inherantly more trustworthy, and you pretty much feel it from the first moment you lay eyes on them – others take awhile. (they’re the grow-ers not the show-ers…surely you’re familiar with them 😉 )

I often wonder how I come across to other people. Do they think I’m friendly? Open? Trustworthy? Honest? The kind of person that they want to be around? I hope so. What does it mean to have a sense of presence? I have always wanted to be one of those people who makes a place better simply by being there. I’m just not sure how to make that happen? Maybe I’m just too hard on myself, which made me think of this article that I read awhile back: 29 Signs You’re Doing Fine (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

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You have the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it. – If you often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc., be grateful. All details aside, this means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.

You are courageously walking your own path. – When people argue with you and challenge your decisions, remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree.

You are making difficult decisions and acting upon them. – How well you play the game of life comes down to the sum of your choices. You know this. Whatever you decide, don’t be the chess piece, be the chess player.

You are working hard for people and causes you believe in. – Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something you love is called passion.

You are choosing to be happy in your own way. – When you stop chasing everyone else’s definition of happiness, you begin to see that the decision to be happy has been available all along.

You see obstacles in front of you because you are not settling. – If you settle for just anything, there wouldn’t be any obstacles in your way, but then you would never know what you are capable of either. Because your obstacles are your opportunities. Obstacles are put in your way to help you determine if what you want is really worth fighting for.

You have made the best of some tough situations. – Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything. Sometimes it just means you’re strong enough to accept it and make the best of it.

You have come a long way. – Do not judge your failed attempts and mistakes as an indication of your future potential, but as part of your growth process. Your past has given you the strength and wisdom you have today, so celebrate it and use the knowledge you’ve gained. Don’t let it haunt you and hold you back.

You haven’t quit and you aren’t planning on it. – People rarely quit over the last thing that happened. Instead they quit a tiny bit each day. Trying to fix the last thing misses the point. Keep this in mind.

You do your best to accept what you can’t change. – Moving on is never an easy thing, but if you start accepting things for what they are it’ll be a lot easier. Acceptance is always the key to moving forward and making positive changes that are within your control.

You aren’t scared to fail forward. – The biggest difference between wildly successful people and total failures is that successful people fail more often, instead of just once.

You haven’t let fear get in your way. – You have to wonder how many people are afraid to die, in part, because they often realize too late that they were afraid to live.

You still believe in the possibilities that lie ahead. – Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what could be. Remember, life does not have to be anywhere near perfect to be wonderful.

You dare to dream every day. – Dr. King gave the famous “I have a dream” speech not the “I have a plan” speech. It’s our dreams that change the course of history, not just our plans. Keep dreaming.

You have a vision for your future. – “Vision” is the ability to talk about your future with such clarity, it’s as if you are talking about your past.

You haven’t let the judgments of others stop you. – Keep listening to your intuition, and make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.” Say it to anyone who passes judgment on something you strongly believe in.

You are doing what you can with what you have. – The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams, right now, to any degree that you already can.

You are doing your best to provide value. – No one is entitled to success. To remain successful, you must constantly find new ways to add value. Keep putting your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is one of the great secrets of lasting success.

You go out of your way to help people. – Service is not doing what is required of us. Service is doing more than is required of us. Remember, successful people are always looking for ways to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”

You aren’t scared to express your love, openly. – Love is great when spoken, but greatest when shown. So if you care about someone’s wellbeing, show it. Keep doing little things daily to show the people around you that you care.

You continue to make a difference. – Have you ever thought about how much your actions mean to others? Maybe that smile you gave to a stranger today made their bad day better. Maybe that hello you gave to a colleague today made them realize people actually notice them and care. Maybe that money you gave to a homeless man today gave him hope. Maybe spending time with someone special today made them forget their problems for a while. Keep it up.

You have enough right now to live comfortably. – You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head. You had a choice of what clothes to wear. You have access to clean drinking water and electricity. You are online right now. You have plenty to be comfortable. Being wealthy is a mindset. Want less and appreciate more.

You haven’t let rampant materialism get the best of you. – Our lives are not defined by the things we possess. Our lives are defined by the things we pursue. Make sure what you own, never owns you.

You are reasonably healthy. – In other words, if you got sick today you could recover. Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live.

Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be. – Keep forgoing the drama and ignoring the negativity. Don’t let ignorance stop you from being the best you can be. Just keep doing what you’re doing – being sincere and kind, and promoting what you love, rather than bashing what you hate.

You have escaped from some very toxic relationships. – Don’t worry too much about people who don’t worry about you. Know your worth! When you give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you’ll never get back.

You know deep down that you are not alone. – Next time you feel all alone, remember, again, that you are not.

You have great people in your life who are standing beside you. – Know that it’s less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. And remember, it’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you. Don’t take these people for granted. Look around and appreciate them, right now.

You have a home. – A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul. But a home isn’t always a physical structure, or a specific location on a map. Home is wherever the people you love are, whenever you’re with them. It’s not a defined place, but a space in your heart and mind that builds upon itself like little bricks being stacked to create something stable that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.

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I’m pretty crazy about this list, because it brings up a lot of great points – especially for someone like me who is so bloody hard on herself all the damn time. When you think about it, I have a roof over my head, a beautiful family, a great job, and a pretty decent life. Maybe I do bring a certain presence when I move through the world around me…and maybe I’m not doing half bad, after all. 😉

xxx

Good Things

If It Makes You Happy

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Here’s a little something that I thought you might like to read, especially these days when the world is so difficult and people are stressed :

5 Things That Will Make You Much Happier

Dr. Travis Bradberry

There’s enough advice on happiness floating around out there to make your head spin. Yet, this is understandable, as everyone is different. What makes one person happy might make another miserable.In the face of so much contradictory, and often subjective, advice, what are you supposed to do if you want to live a happier life? Just forget about all that subjective advice and focus your energy and attention on science-proven facts.img_1136 “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has spent a great deal of time studying the effects of different happiness strategies on the brain. His findings have a lot to teach us about what actually works when it comes to boosting happiness. Korb’s research demonstrated that your thoughts—and the emotions you feel in response to those thoughts—have a profound impact on surprising areas of your brain. Guilt and shame, for example, activate the brain’s reward center, which explains why we have such a strong tendency to heap guilt and shame upon ourselves. Likewise, worrying increases activity in the prefrontal cortex (the rational brain), which is why worrying can make you feel more in control than doing nothing at all.

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1. Gratitude creates happiness. I’m not advocating worry, guilt, and shame as the path to happiness. The illustration shows why we tend to succumb to thoughts that fuel these emotions. The real neural antidepressant is gratitude. Gratitude boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine—the brain’s happy chemicals and the same chemicals targeted by antidepressant medications. The striking thing about gratitude is that it can work even when things aren’t going well for you. That’s because you don’t actually have to feel spontaneous gratitude in order to produce chemical changes in your brain; you just have to force yourself to think about something in your life that you appreciate. This train of thought activates your brain to make you feel happier.

2. Labeling negative feelings dilutes their power. There is an amazing amount of power in simply labeling your negative emotions. In one study, participants underwent fMRI scans of their brains while they labeled negative emotions. When they named these emotions, the brain’s prefrontal cortex took over and the amygdala (where emotions are generated) calmed down. This effect doesn’t just work with your own emotions; labeling the emotions of other people calms them down too, which is why FBI hostage negotiators frequently rely on this technique.

3. Making decisions feels good. Similar to naming emotions, making decisions engages the prefrontal cortex, which calms the amygdala and the rest of the limbic system. The key is to make a “good enough” decision. Trying to make the perfect decision causes stress. We’ve always known that, but now there’s scientific research that explains why. Making a “good enough” decision activates the dorsolateral prefrontal areas of the brain, calming emotions down and helping you feel more in control. Trying to make a perfect decision, on the other hand, ramps up ventromedial frontal activity—which basically means your emotions get overly involved in the decision-making process.

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4. It helps you to lend a hand. Taking the time to help your colleagues not only makes them happy but also makes you happy. Helping other people gives you a surge of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, all of which create good feelings. In a Harvard study, employees who helped others were 10 times more likely to be focused at work and 40% more likely to get a promotion. The same study showed that people who consistently provided social support to others were the most likely to be happy during times of high stress. As long as you make certain that you aren’t overcommitting yourself, helping others is sure to have a positive influence on your happiness.

5. Our brains are wired for touch. Humans are social animals, to the point that our brains react to social exclusion in the same way that they react to physical pain, with activity in the anterior cingulate and insula. Similarly, our brains are hardwired to interpret touch as social acceptance. Touch is one of the primary stimuli for releasing oxytocin, which calms the amygdala and, in turn, calms emotions. There are even studies that show that holding hands with a loved one actually reduces the brain’s response to pain. You might think that’s bad news for people who are socially isolated, but studies show that a massage increases serotonin by as much as 30%. Touch reduces stress hormones, decreases the perception of pain, improves sleep, and reduces fatigue.

Bringing It All Together Kolb’s research highlights just how amazing the brain is, and he summarized his findings succinctly when he said, “Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision-making. Decision-making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, makes you happier.”

How happy do you think that you are, friends? Here’s an amusing quiz to evaluate how happy you are with your life – my results came back as Very Happy (yaa me!!!). What’d you get? 🙂

xxx

Good Things

Happy

In the spirit of sharing something positive, have a look at this piece courtesy of MindBodyGreen:

11 Encouraging Truths To Accept For A Happier Life

by Sonia Kumar

Life can seem like an uphill battle if we meet it with resistance. There are circumstances beyond our control and expectations that will be shattered. Rather than resisting life, if we meet it with acceptance, compassion, and an open mind, it will begin to flow more freely. Acceptance is the key that sets us free.

Here are some truths I’ve learned on my journey that keep me on the path to happiness:

1. You are doing the best you can.You are only doing the best you can with what you know. Once we accept this, we begin to be much more gentle with ourselves. There’s no point in beating ourselves up about past choices and actions, as we only did what we thought was best at that time. We are all a work in progress, and we are all constantly learning. Let go of perfection, and let go of harsh judgment.

2. Everyone’s journey is different.Your path will be different from that of your friends or your family. Whether you put your career aside to travel or get married much later or earlier than your friends, there’s no need to compare. Your life journey is completely unique; it’s OK if not everyone understands it either. It’s about you, not them.

3. You can’t keep everyone happy.This is a losing battle. Everyone has different likes and needs, and they will be different from yours. Not everyone will be accepting of you and your decisions either. And that’s OK. That doesn’t mean that you need to keep trying to please them or gain their acceptance. You could lose yourself in trying to do so.

4. You can’t change people.Maybe you’ve been in a relationship in which you thought you could change the person for the better. Or maybe you have a friend or family member who you think needs fixing or saving. Most of us have learned the hard way that we cannot change people. No amount of pushing, preaching, or nagging can change a person. Change has to come internally from them. All you can do is accept them as they are and set an example.

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5. What goes around comes around.Every action accumulates karma. Be mindful of your actions and how you react to situations—even when you feel wronged by someone. Wayne Dyer said, “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” Remember to think before you act and take responsibility for your actions and their consequences.

6. Age is just a number.Age is just a concept created by our minds. It’s easy to let age-related expectations interfere with our lives. Some of us have arbitrary ideas of when we should have our career in a certain place or when we should get married. Life can’t be lived on a schedule. Do what feels right for you. Don’t let anyone else’s idea of what’s “right” or “normal” influence your choices. You’ll be much happier.

7. There’s no such thing as a right or wrong decision.If we put too much pressure on ourselves to make the “right” decision, we may feel paralyzed and be unable to make any decision at all. Try to think less in terms of the right and wrong polarity. Even if we feel that we have made a mistake or chosen the longer road to get to our goal, you learned lessons you wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Same goes for our career and relationships—even if we make a slight detour, we learned from it. There’s never a wrong choice.

8. Judgment only limits our minds.Every time we judge a person for their actions or appearance, we only end up limiting ourselves. A closed mind is a breeding ground for ignorance. Try to foster an open mind. Learn to see others with compassion, empathy, and understanding. Likewise, if someone judges you, that is a reflection of a limitation in their mind. It may not have anything to do with you on a personal level.

9. The world is a classroom, and we are the students.Life will give us many lessons—some more painful than others. Our job is to look for the lessons in every situation and every person we come across. We attract people that will give us growth. Next time you feel hurt or triggered by someone, look for the bigger lesson behind it. A lesson will keep repeating itself until it is learned.

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10. Setting boundaries is not a bad thing.There are times that we will need to put some boundaries in place. We may have come across relationships or situations that feel toxic and leave us feeling depleted rather than refreshed. In situations like these, give yourself permission to say no or limit the time spent in draining situations. You are allowed to protect yourself. You deserve it.

11. If one door closes, another will open.Try not to spend too much time grieving over lost opportunities, jobs, or relationships. If something doesn’t work out, take it as a blessing. Know that there’s something much more suited to you out there. When doors close, we are forced to think in new directions, and eventually we open our eyes up to bigger opportunities and healthier relationships.

I have struggled more than once with workplaces during my time here in the US, so I am putting my concerns out to the universe, and hoping that a power so much higher than me will take care of me and put me where I am meant to be. I spend A LOT of time at work, so it’s best when it’s a place that you like to be. 🙂

What do you believe is necessary for a happier life, my friends? Whatever it is, I hope that you find it!! 🙂

xxx

Good Things

Accentuate the Positive

I wrote what’s below about five years ago; I’m so happy to see how far I’ve come in that time. Let’s walk down memory lane together, shall we?

I marvel sometimes at the level of sheer stupidity that walks around us…if you ever need confirmation that you are smarter than the average bear, read the annual Darwin Awards coverage – you’ll feel like a Mensa candidate, guaranteed. I, too, seem to attract more than my share of stupid people and things – and this is something that has got to change. I’m done wasting my time on people who are unworthy. Done. Finished. Kaput. Life is way too damn short – as I have been reminded of too many times. I’ve not a second to waste.

I’m interested in the idea of attraction, and how we can attract the things that we want into our lives. However, my wee brain happens to play host to some ugly-ass little demons with vulgar mouths, so attracting positive things to come my way when I keep hearing a soundtrack of negative thoughts running through my head is really difficult. So, I’ve decided that the best way forward with this is to work on removing the negative things from my life, toss those demons out of my head once and for all, and then I can focus on attracting the good stuff in. It’s a multi-step process, but I’m up for the challenge. 🙂

So….let’s start with some ways to remove negativity from our lives! Now, let me preface this by saying that I am not an expert in this area, and I don’t play one on TV. However, I do seem to have an amazing arsehole sonar that brings all the jerks and jackasses to my yard (in droves), so…I certainly have picked up a few tips to chase them away over the years.

Here are my suggestions:

Don’t spend time with people who are toxic – if you’re related to them and kind of stuck with them, I’m sorry….get in, get the visit over with, and get the hell out. Carry Jackass Repellent in your bag (take a can of Deep Woods Off and make your own Jackass Repellent label – the smell is offensive enough to scare away most people, plus it’s an excellent conversation starter), don’t listen to a word of the crap that spews from their mouths, and just be your usual, awesome self. Don’t spend a second more than you have to around people who harsh your mellow – it’s not worth it.

Set boundaries with everyone in your life, even those you like. In order to get people to respect you, your needs, and your personal space, you must make sure that everyone knows where your personal ‘bubble’ ends. We all put up with too much shit from those around us (says Understatement Queen herself), and the only way out of this kind of hole is to be very clear about your expecations. Stick with them! If you say that you aren’t going to be treated like shit anymore – don’t. It’s as simple as that. Say what you mean and mean what you say. 🙂

Like attracts like, so….find some positive people! Don’t join the Moaning Myrtle Club at your work place – instead, find the most optimistic people around and pull your chair right up beside theirs! Call those people who always have nice things to say to you – and, for the love of all that is sweet and holy, stay the hell away from the chronic complainers!! They suck the life out of EVERYTHING!! For realz!!

Don’t worry about things until they are real – this is rich coming from me, I know. I am the fretting queen, and if catastrophizing was an Olympic sport (is it even a word?), I would be a multiple medallist. However, there really is no point in worrying about things that might happen – that only cultivates further anxiety and misery, and who wants that??! Not this girl! When you find yourself fretting and feeling crappy about what might be, take a moment, step back, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, ‘Is this the hill I choose to die on?’ The answer will likely be no (since nobody really aspires to bite the dust on a hill) – so just let it go. Worry about things when and if they become realities. It’ll save you a lot of misery, heartache — and wrinkles! 😉

Spend as much time as possible doing the things that you enjoy. While I know that very few of us will ever choose to devote our days to housework and other chores, they are necessary evils – but get in, get ’em done, and get out…and do what you love! Read the books you fancy, go to the movies (whether you’ve got a date or not!), window shop, try clothes on your pets (maybe it’s just me that really enjoys doing that….), whatever it is that you like to do, be like a Nike wearer and JUST DO IT. Find ways to do the things that make you the happiest every single day – and, if there are people who try to stop you from doing the fun things, tell them to go to hell. We don’t need that kind of crap in our lives. 🙂 One of the things that I enjoy doing is eating appetizers for dinner while having a night in at home – so, this weekend, this is what I shall do! I will hit up Trader Joe’s for all of my favorite yummy goodies, I will put on some of my favorite movies, cuddle up on the couch with candles going and vino in my hand, and just eat, drink, and be merry to my heart’s content. It will be AWESOME! 🙂

Fill your home with things that make you happy, and focus on making your abode a happy sanctuary where you want to spend your time. Surround yourself with pictures of happy times and people you love, paint your walls whatever bloody color you please (if you fancy having a bright orange bathroom, I highly recommend it – one of my amigas from Canada did this in her casa, and it’s positively STUNNING!! Gorgeous – just like her!), have treasures all around you, and let your heart feel super-happy when you lay eyes on them. In mi casa, I have rose quartz crystals all over the house (there are dozens of them, no lie) – they look pretty, they remind me to feel the love that’s all around…and I love them. Yaaa! 🙂 I recently repainted/redid my bedroom, and I’m crazy for it – I still need to finish hanging pictures and sprucing the place up, but so far so good. I love it! 🙂 I didn’t do anything big or fancy, but the vibe in the room has somehow changed, and I’ve been sleeping SO MUCH BETTER lately – woohoo!! Mission accomplished!!! 🙂

Try to love what you do for a living. This one has been a struggle for me over the years – I’ve always loved the work that I did, but I wasn’t always enthralled by the locations where I did it. Thankfully this changed dramatically a couple of years ago when I was hired in my current position. Even though there are days when I am as annoyed as a person could possibly be at my job, I have never stopped loving what I do, and I have never stopped loving where I do it. When I was stuck in my miserable jobs, I worked like a friggin’ mo’fo to get out of there, and I eventually did. Was it easy? God, no!! Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!! If you aren’t happy where you are, do everything in your power – and then some – to change it. We spend more time at our jobs than we do anywhere else (at least I do), so it had better be somewhere that we don’t mind to be. Do what you love, and love what you do – and you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s the truth. 🙂

How do you combat the negativity that seems to thrive everywhere around us these days? What do you do to make your home a retreat from the madness of the world around you? I can’t wait to hear from you – hit me up with some comments! 🙂 xxx

I’m so happy to report that I have made SIGNIFICANT progress with this over the past few years – wow. It’s humbling to see how far I’ve come – we should all find ways to check in with ourselves like this, you know? I have become greatly more discriminating when it comes to how I spend my time – if I don’t enjoy someone’s company, I don’t see them. Simple as that. Of course the pandemic has helped with this considerably, but I was already well on my way. I’ve learned how to say no to people and mean it, and I’m really getting good at setting boundaries. I rarely have to deal with toxic people anymore (apart from the ones in my family), and I minimize contact and always approach like Teflon, ensuring that their bullshit bounces straight off me. And it feels GREAT. Highly recommend!

I’ve tried finding others who are as positive as me, and while that has presented some challenges, I am making progress. Being around optimism is EXHILARATING, and we all need to do it more often.

Same thing with focusing on things that make you happy – I’ve struggled with doing what I think I should do, or being what I think others want me to be for years…and been so miserable. I’ve made real headway with this one in the past couple of years – I’ve taken up painting which I love, I’m signed up for Transcendental Meditation training this weekend (SO excited!), all sorts of things designed to make just me happy….and I’m so much a better person for it. Funny how that works, eh?

I would love to hear from you, and hear what you do to focus on YOU – drop me a line, friends! ♥️

Xxx

Good Things

Wannabe

All those years ago (more than I care to count), modern-day prophets The Spice Girls sang, “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends (gotta get with my friends) / Make it last forever friendship never ends,  / If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give, / Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.” Deep stuff, eh? I know. If you take these words as gospel (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t), you would think that it would be super-easy to win a woman’s heart, right? Wrong. It’s much more difficult than this. However, prepare yourself, friends…I have found the definitive list of things that need to happen in order to win the woman of your dreams (or me, whichever) – this list is GOLD. For realz.

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According to this article, these are the things that women want – and, to be frank with you, these are EXACTLY THE THINGS THAT I WANT!! The article is right!!! Woohoo!!!! Give it a read! 🙂

1. Humility For most men, our competitive nature and desire to get ahead leave our ego to lead the way. We are constantly trying to prove our worth to ourselves and others, trying to be seen as better than others. In relationships, this is a losing proposition. Women don’t want conceited, aloof, or jealous men. Women want humility, equality, and decency. They don’t want to be put on a pedestal, but they don’t want to be demeaned or looked down upon either.

2. Vulnerability This is something we try to hide, suppress, and run away from. While women don’t necessarily want us to wear our emotions on our sleeves, they do want us to share what’s bothering us. If we’re feeling stressed or upset about something, they appreciate hearing from us. It shows them that we trust them enough to share our emotions. It may be hard for you to do because you’ve not practiced being vulnerable, but the more you open up, the more appreciative the woman in your life will be.

3. Emotional awareness Women appreciate a man who can sit comfortably with his emotions and be open to discussing issues without yelling or running away. Our emotional maturity and growth are what women want from us more than anything else. So, be willing to listen without judgment or trying to resolve a situation. Listening helps her let go of strong feelings that might be holding her down. You don’t have to solve a problem either—just listen with your presence and your understanding.

4. Attention How often are you multitasking when you talk to the women in your life? How often are you working when conversing with them? Women cherish the quality time they spend with us. They want us to be attentive and show up fully when we are with them. When you’re spending time with women, focus! Carve out time when you’re with the women in your life and be as attentive as you were when initially dating.

5. Gentleness It’s not in our nature to be soft and gentle. We grow up learning to value roughness and competitiveness. But when it comes to our relationships, gentleness in words, thoughts, and actions will save the day. Treat women with respect. Be kind. Speak softly.

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6. Love in action While “I love you” is one way to communicate your love, women want to see our love in action. This means showing up for them, planning things with them, and being present with them. Your quality time, presence, and involvement is what women want more than sweet nothings and chocolates. Love in action means being thoughtful, considerate, forgiving, and compromising. Say loving words, yes, but also show it with your actions.

7.Affection Along the lines of love in action, how about some romance? Women like the small things, the thoughtful gestures that show them that we’re thinking about them. Yes, this could be an unexpected text, doing something for someone that’s important to them, picking up their favorite food or running an errand without being asked. It also means a gift for no reason, a greeting card telling her how you feel about her, a love note on the mirror, or a simple lunch date during the workweek.

8. Appreciation So much of what both people do in a relationship goes unnoticed. Couples are quick to pounce on each other with complaints and disagreements but hardly share what they value about their partner. Women usually juggle many things at once and are often taken for granted. Letting her know that you appreciate what she’s doing or that you’re noticing her many sacrifices will help her feel valued and cared for.

9. Acceptance Instead of challenging, making fun of, or questioning the woman in your life, why not accept her? Unconditionally. Don’t point out her flaws, don’t complain about particular traits, or make her feel bad about something she’s already feeling bad about. Women are used to feeling judged. If we simply drop the judgments and accept women unconditionally, we will help them feel loved and safe in our presence.

10. Strength Women appreciate our strength. This doesn’t necessarily mean we need to go out there and beat up someone who got on her bad side or rush to solve every problem that comes her way. A gentle strength simply means listening to her, validating what she’s experiencing, and reminding her that she has the courage and ability to deal with whatever life situations arise. Letting your partner know that you’re there for support but that she’s got this is often all the strength she needs to go forward.

11. Straightforwardness We don’t tend to overthink things or complicate things. We worry less about what others think and don’t spend too much time projecting the unknown. Continue to keep things light by finding the simple answer in complex situations and bringing that healthy perspective to any problem.

12. Humor Life’s too serious already. Women want to laugh. Humor is a great way to reduce tension. If you’re a funny guy, play up the humor in your relationship. If you’re not the humorous type, work on finding what you find funny and share that with your partner. Laughter, more than love, is the shortest distance between two hearts.

YES!!! Isn’t that brilliant???! I KNOW!!! The part about acceptance? Awesome!!! Appreciation?? Affection???! Gorgeous stuff!!!! This list really is great – and, if you’re a dude reading this, please use these strategies to make your woman feel special. It’ll be worth it, I promise. 🙂 xxx

Good Things

Don’t You Want Somebody to Love

It became apparent a long time ago that I must not be a very easy person to love. I’m not high maintenance, my heart is most decidedly not black, I am not mean, I’m not cranky….none of that kind of thing – I’m just a different kind of kitten. Part of the problem is that I am a very creative person – my mind never stops going, I’m not known for my finely-tuned logic skills, and I’m also quite averse to seriousness (which is a polite way of saying that I am a raging jackass most of the time). I came across this article recently, and I absolutely LOVED it! Entitled “20 Things to Remember if You Love A Highly Creative Person”, it’s a great read. While I’d never be so pretentious to think of myself as being highly creative, I do think there’s some very decent advice for all of us on how to deal gently with each other – and, for those who may be interested, how to deal with me. 🙂 Happy reading! 🙂 image1. They have a mind that never slows down.The creative mind is a non-stop machine fueled by intense curiosity. There is no pause button and no way to power it down. This can be exhausting at times but it is also the source of some crazy fun activities and conversations. This is absolutely, 110% me – my bloody mind never stops (which is probably why I suffer from insomnia), I’m always thinking…I exhaust myself. The rest of the world must find me frustating!

2. They challenge the status quo.Two questions drive every creative person more than any others: What if? and Why not? They question what everyone else takes at face value. While uncomfortable for those around them, it’s this ability that enables creatives to redefine what’s possible. I don’t do this so much, actually….I tend to go along with things outwardly, rarely pausing to rock the boat – but you should hear the revolutions I’m starting in my head!

3. They embrace their genius even if others don’t. Creative individuals would rather be authentic than popular. Staying true to who they are, without compromise, is how they define success even if means being misunderstood or marginalized. This is ME!!! I don’t give a whooping funt about being popular or well-liked – I care far more about being me, and being true to me. I think I’m a pretty decent person – if others don’t get me, then that is their loss. Whatevah.

4. They have difficulty staying on task. Highly creative people are energized by taking big mental leaps and starting new things. Existing projects can turn into boring slogs when the promise of something new and exciting grabs their attention. I am natually inclined to be this way, but years of conditioning has forced me to learn to stay on task, hyper-focus and finish the job at hand. If I didn’t have to worry about keeping my job, I’d probably be loopier than a shithouse rat!!

5. They create in cycles.Creativity has a rhythm that flows between periods of high, sometimes manic, activity and slow times that can feel like slumps. Each period is necessary and can’t be skipped just like the natural seasons are interdependent and necessary. I can definitely relate to this – sometimes, my creative juices resemble the rushing waters of Niagara Falls, and I can’t get all of the ideas whirling in my head out quickly enough. Othertimes, it’s like the friggin’ Sahara around here…dryer than hell. Ebbs and flows, friends…ebbs and flows.

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6. They need time to feed their souls. No one can drive cross-country on a single take of gas. In the same way, creative people need to frequently renew their source of inspiration and drive. Often, this requires solitude for periods of time. I am a girl who definitely requires ‘me’ time – I need to be left alone to read my favorite websites, slide through my Twitter feed, catch up on my favorite shows on my DVR…all of these things feed my creativity, they inspire me, they get me thinking, and they make me feel good. Does anything life-shattering ever happen after I watch a bunch of shows on Saturday mornings? No. Does it make me feel as if I’m ready to take on the world and I am going to be okay after an exhausting week? Absolutely. Bring it on. 🙂

7. They need space to create. Having the right environment is essential to peak creativity. It may be a studio, a coffee shop, or a quiet corner of the house. Wherever it is, allow them to set the boundaries and respect them. I wish that I had a quiet space to work and think and just be, but I don’t. Instead, I set up shop on my bed most of the time, or I park it in the living room on the love seat, and get down to business. I used to love writing outside on my deck, but the yard is a shithole of a mess and I don’t have time nor arm power to clean it up, so…I’ve taken my show inside. 😦 In other news, I’m currently holding auditions for intern yard boys/pool boys ( even though I don’t have a pool) – all interested applicants are encouraged to apply through the Comments section. 😉 PS: Shirts will be optional! 😉

8. They focus intensely. Highly creative people tune the entire world out when they’re focused on work. They cannot multi-task effectively and it can take twenty minutes to re-focus after being interrupted, even if the interruption was only twenty seconds. This is partly me – I am a focusing fool….but I can multitask with the best of them. I think it must be the years of conditioning in the work place -plus the fact that I’m a girl. 😉

9. They feel deeply. Creativity is about human expression and communicating deeply. It’s impossible to give what you don’t have, and you can only take someone as far as you have gone yourself. A writer once told me that an artist must scream at the page if they want a whisper to be heard. In the same way, a creative person must feel deep if they are to communicate deeply. I can definitely relate to this one…I feel all the feels, all the time. When I get my feelings hurt, it cuts me to the core. When I care for someone, I love them with all of my heart and want to build a shrine in their honor on the regular. I spout love declarations, I sing their praises, I compose them bad love poems – the whole nine yards. When it comes to feelings, I am a believer in the ‘go big or go home’ philosophy. This probably explains why I’ve been hurt/shattered so damn many times. Oh well….nothing ventured, nothing gained.

10. They live on the edge of joy and depression. Because they feel deeply, highly creative people often can quickly shift from joy to sadness or even depression. Their sensitive heart, while the source of their brilliance, is also the source of their suffering. I don’t suffer from depression – I get sad and bummed, of course, but I generally try to keep that in and hide it from the world. However, thankfully, my moments of melancholy are mostly few and far between. I said to someone recently, as I was pissed off and ranting and raving like a lunatic, that I work so hard all of the time at keeping my feelings between the lines, keeping everything on a real even keel…never allowing myself to swing to extremes. Why? Why do I feel that I have to do that? I suppose it’s the years of my mother telling me to tone it down, to stop every time that I showed any extreme of any sort – she still does it, in fact. I’m 46 years old…perhaps it’s time for her to realize that the ship has sailed???! There are days when I would like to just let’er rip, show all of my feelings and emotions to everyone around me, whether they asked for it or not. I can’t imagine the carnage that I’d leave behind! 😉

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11. They think and speak in stories. Facts will never move the human heart like storytelling can. Highly creative people, especially artists, know this and weave stories into everything they do. It takes longer for them to explain something, explaining isn’t the point. The experience is. I don’t know if I am a good storyteller, or if people think I am boring as shit and wish I’d shut the hell up when I talk….I hope that I am interesting. 🙂

12. They battle Resistance every day. Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, writes:“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”Highly creative people wake up every morning, fully aware of the need to grow and push themselves. But there is always the fear, Resistance as Pressfield calls it, that they don’t have what it takes. No matter how successful the person, that fear never goes away. They simply learn to deal with it, or not. This is so me. Every day, I know where I want to be, the things that I want to do….but I seem to lack the knowledge of how to bridge the distance between the two. I certainly don’t lack the motivation, though…so perhaps some day I will figure it all out. 🙂

13. They take their work personally. Creative work is a raw expression of the person who created it. Often, they aren’t able to separate themselves from it, so every critique is seen either as a validation or condemnation of their self-worth. This is something that I struggle with…I take criticism very personally, which I really ought to get over. With the amount of shit and abuse I take from the world, you’d think I’d be better at it!

14. They have a hard time believing in themselves. Even the seemingly self-confident creative person often wonders, Am I good enough? They constantly compare their work with others and fail to see their own brilliance, which may be obvious to everyone else. Amen. That’s all I’ve got to say about this one!!!

15. They are deeply intuitive. Science still fails to explain the How and Why of creativity. Yet, creative individuals know instinctively how to flow in it time and again. They will tell you that it can’t be understood, only experienced firsthand. This is a weird thing that I go through all of the time…I get these wonky feelings about stuff, and I am usually right. I feel it in my gut, and there is little that I can do once that feeling settles in…I don’t understand. However, I am also the dimmest person in town about some things, and you damn near have to hit me over a head to catch on to them. Grr! I am maddening!!! 😦

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16. They often use procrastination as a tool. Creatives are notorious procrastinators because many do their best work under pressure. They will subconsciously, and sometimes purposefully, delay their work until the last minute simply to experience the rush of the challenge. I’m funny about procrastination. I am SUCH a doer, 99.9% of the time – but there are a few things that I happily put off, hoping that perhaps a fairy will appear and take care of it (or the shirtless pool boy). Cleaning out my fridge is one of these things, cleaning the old toys and junk out of the upstairs of my house is another. I don’t know what the hell I’m waiting for with these two tasks, but I am clearly waiting for something!!

17. They are addicted to creative flow. Recent discoveries in neuroscience reveal that “the flow state” might be the most addictive experience on earth. The mental and emotional payoff is why highly creative people will suffer through the highs and lows of creativity. It’s the staying power. In a real sense, they are addicted to the thrill of creating. I get this. I find painting to be the most thrilling activity around…and I’m NOT a good painter. However, the act of putting colorful blobs on a canvas and making something pretty makes my heart pound with excitement, and each time I do a painting class, I’m like an addict looking for another fix, checking the calendar to see when I can go back. Nutty!

18. They have difficulty finishing projects. The initial stage of the creative process is fast moving and charged with excitement. Often, they will abandon projects that are too familiar in order to experience the initial flow that comes at the beginning. This is linked to my procrastination – I do finish things that I think are important, but…unpacking the last two boxes from when I moved in? Took me 7 years. Not important. Oops.

19. They connect dots better than others. True creativity, Steve Jobs once said, is little more than connecting the dots. It’s seeing patterns before they become obvious to everyone else. This is me, I am this – I see patterns everywhere I look in the world around me. I see patterns in people’s behavior, I see connections between our actions, I see links all the time – whether they exist or not. I am a person who makes meaning from connecting to those around me…which is probably why I’m always trying to establish relationships with others.

20. They will never grow up. Creatives long to see through the eyes of a child and never lose a sense of wonder. For them, life is about mystery, adventure, and growing young. Everything else is simply existing, and not true living. This is the essence of me…I live most days full of a childlike sense of awe and wonder, and I frequently have to stop what I’m doing to marvel at the world around me. I love to laugh, I love to have fun, and I love sharing those things with other people. I think the Wee One and I get along so well because we are very similar in our sense of glee…and I hope that never changes. Some people that I know have been OLD since they were 10 years old. I am not one of those people. I want to always feel the tingles of a new experience, and I actively combat cynicism and being jaded with all of my might. This doesn’t make me immature (much)…I think it makes me a lover of life. 🙂

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  Are you a creative bunny? Whether you are in love with a creative person or you are one yourself, embrace the qualities that make this kind of person so magical to be around….and try to love them in spite of these things. 🙂 Maybe, just maybe, you will learn to love them BECAUSE of these things – and that would be the very best of all. 🙂

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xxx

Good Things

Treat People With Kindness

This song by Harry Styles – and it’s video – have been on replay in my head for most of the day, it’s EXACTLY the vibe I need right now. I bet you are going to love it, too!

Isn’t it fantastic??? And yes, that’s the incomparable Phoebe Waller-Bridge hoofing it with Harry in the video….SO great! Good life advice, too. 😉 ✨🌟

Xxx

Good Things

Believe

One of my very favorite TV shows of recent memory – and likely to end up on my personal GOAT list is AppleTV’s Ted Lasso. If you haven’t seen it yet, I promise that it’s worth your effort- it’s beautiful. Funny, smart, touching, real….it has everything you need to have your faith in humanity restored.

Here’s the trailer for the show:

This little look doesn’t do it justice, though…the character of Ted, played BRILLIANTLY by Jason Sudeikis, has such tremendous heart….his kindness is a perfect example of what we all need more of. Kindness. Decency. Compassion. BELIEF. Ahhh…..I love this show – time to watch it through again. ♥️

Xxx

Uncategorized

Steal My Sunshine

I had a tough day recently which started with someone close to me telling me that they felt a shift in my energy and that I was off, asking what was wrong. This was all news to me as I was in the middle of living yet another kick-ass day, so I replied that I was good, all was well, that I wasn’t sure what was meant by me being ´off ´. A fair response, yes? I was then met with: ´You don’t know? Oh, really? Alrighty.’ Gotta be honest, friends….this exchange (via text, yet) REALLY pissed me off. Big time….and I don’t often get angry. Grr.

A few short hours later (after my sparkly morning continued to deteriorate by my supervisor trying to pick an argument with me – I refused to take part so she had to give up), I saw this little gem:

Brilliant, eh??? I KNOW!!!! It’s true!! Whatever was being perceived had bugger-all to do with me, and everything to do with the perceiver…which is okay. I don’t have to own it, I certainly don’t have to feel badly about it – because I did NOTHING wrong. NOTHING. It’s like a twist on the old adage ‘What others think of me is none of my business’ – I’m just gonna keep on doing me, and let others work their own issues out. Yaa me! ✨

What’s rockin’ your world today, friends?

Xxx