Category Archives: Happiness/Joy

Extended Break

I just wanted to leave a quick note that I will be taking an extended break or hiatus from posting to this blog until at least the end of 2009. I will be working on several other projects (including my book) during the upcoming holidays and into 2010. I will begin regular posts to my other two blogs towards the last week of December 2009. You can find them at:

Hope eveyone has a fantastic holdiay!


Dealing with the Same Old Problems

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year. – John Foster Dulles

I think this is also a good measure of personal growth. Since dealing with problems is a component of life, we shouldn’t shy away from problems and their associated solutions. These are the things that make life interesting; that infuse our minds with creativity and vigor; that allow us to step beyond who we are now and move towards something even more fulfilling.

But, if it is the same problem you had last year or the year before, then maybe you are not growing as much as your potential. Dealing with the same old problems should be your indicator that something needs to change. Maybe you have some negative and habitual thought patterns. Maybe you have a belief that is not flexible enough. Maybe you have simply refused to look at the root causes of the problem you have been regularly confronted with.

Regardless of the problem, there is always a solution. The discovery of that solution has to do with your attitude. A negative or optimistic attitude will slow or block your access to the solution, while an optimistic outlook will drag you to multiple solutions.

Dealing with the same old problems requires you to change something in order for the problem to either be resolved or replaced by a new or improved problem. It’s as simple as that. Monitor your growth by being conscious of your problems, but not so much that you forget to apply the solution.


Opportunity is Within

Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. – Napoleon Hill

The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment; it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone. – Orison Swett Marden

Opportunity can’t be found hidden under a stone or waiting around the next corner. It’s not in the next job or new relationship. Opportunity exists in one place and one place only. That place is ourselves.

It may be a strange thought to some because we are led to believe that opportunity is something we pursue external to ourselves. Or that an opportunity is an event that happens to some and not to others. Others believe that luck is the magic ingredient.

But, the search for opportunity is no harder than finding yourself. We determine the opportunities that flow our way by our attitudes, beliefs, perspectives and overall outlook of life. Those personal attributes can indicate how open you are to see opportunities that exist in your world right now. Negative attitudes, poor self image or beliefs and constrained perspectives will have the same effect as putting blinders on.

An increased positive outlook, optimistic attitudes and beliefs of sound self-worth all contribute to the potential for unlimited opportunities. It’s simple. When we feel good, we see further. We notice more. We pick up on clues that would remain unseen if we were grumpy or out of sorts all the time.

Remember, all the opportunities we desire are within us. We only have to open our eyes.


Everyday and Moment is a Miracle

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein

If you can view the moments of your life as small and consequential miracles, your life will take on a different flavor all together. The world will seem like a less frightening and more peaceful place. As you recognize the little miracles, your hope and attitude will climb to new heights.

Levels of optimism will fill the moments between the small miracles. You will be cultivating the belief that all things are not only possible but achievable. Each breath we take is a small miracle in itself. That breath gives you another moment to decide where you want your life to go and how to get there.

Each breath gives you the option to choose what your attitude will be; positive or negative. Each second of your life enables you to move closer to what you desire or further away. Our power to choose our destiny lies in those brief moments sandwiched between the miracle of each breath.

It’s an amazing gift and we should take advantage of it. By acknowledging and embracing these small miracles we forever change the color and fabric of our lives. That is our most important task and what makes the journey of life so rich and rewarding.


Happy Moments

A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment, because they’re so busy trying to get a happy life. – Abraham-Hicks

I think this quote will be my new philosophy of living, though I’ve been practicing this for quite some time now. I strive for the happy moment, the small things that make me smile, the quick laughs that give me a few seconds of happiness. When I add those moments up I find that my day has been mostly happy. When I add those days up, I find that my weeks and months are happy. Before you know, I’m leading a happy life.

It’s those moments that are important. If I’m feeling negative emotions, I try to quickly understand why, make a correction and move on. Why should I waste my time holding on to things that make me feel bad? I try to quickly deal with them. That’s an important distinction. I don’t repress negative feelings. I strive to understand them and then find ways to move past them. Repression of negative feelings does not lead to happy moments or a happy life. Bottled up emotions always stay with you and then come out when the pressure becomes too much.

As I find ways to enjoy the moments in my life no matter what I’m doing, I’ve discovered that it becomes easier and easier. My attitude stays in a good place. I can easily make a mundane activity something that is more fun. I’ve noticed that I don’t complain as much. I’ve noticed that I’m almost always optimistic.

Initially it takes a very active approach to manage happiness in the moments and seconds of your life, but after awhile it becomes second nature and much easier. Don’t wait on the big things to come; better relationship, better job, vacation or etc. Focus your attention on the moments and the rest of your life takes care of itself.


Every Day is Important

There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day. – Alexander Woollcott

Every day gives us the opportunity to manage our attitude, adjust our perspective and evaluate the effect of the thoughts we are thinking. These activities can dramatically change our direction and help to increase our minute by minute level of happiness.

If we look at each day as an opportunity to make small changes in our behaviors and thought patterns we can slowly but consciously re-direct our lives towards something more desirable. It’s like exercise. A little bit of exercise every day or regularly will significantly increase your overall physical health over time. Our behaviors, thoughts and beliefs are no different.

As we work to decrease our reactions to life and increase our ability to direct our lives, then we are truly on the road to a more fulfilled and happier life. The work is not monumental. It’s really only a little bit of effort every day. The big changes come from regularly and consciously working on changing old habit patterns of thought.

Remember that going from pessimism to optimism drastically increases our world of possibilities. Being pessimistic is like sticking your head in sand. You can’t see very far or very clearly while an optimistic viewpoint is like traveling in a plane high above the ground. You can see everything at once.

In summary, work a little bit each day to improve your thoughts and beliefs. Focus on the small changes and before you know it, you’ll be in a better, more desirable place.


Tidbits about Charleston, SC

The city won a key, early battle in the Revolutionary War. 300 men in Fort Moultrie defended the city from multiple British warships that outmanned and outgunned the small group of South Carolina soldiers. The critical factor for their success was palmetto logs. Apparently they absorbed the shock of the British cannon balls preventing damage to the fort while allowing the newly independent Americans to fight back.

Charleston is the 6th wealthiest city in the U.S.

The oldest building in Charleston was built in 1670.

Charleston was the center and peak of the slave trade up to 1865.

The first shots of the Civil War occurred between Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie.

The original settlement was several miles up the Ashley River, but the settlers moved to the peninsula because there were fewer mosquitoes and less malaria due to the ocean breeze.

40% of the Charleston peninsula is land fill.

It’s called the Holy City because it has so many church congregations.

The people are incredibly and genuinely friendly.

The best way to tour Charleston is to eat your way across. The food is wonderful!!

Rice was the main crop grown in the surrounding farmland as it got too cold for sugar cane. Most of the early fortunes were based on rice.


Goats, Plantations and Swamp Flowers

Yesterday, Erica and I visited Magnolia Plantation which lies a few miles north of Charleston, SC.  Originally it covered 3000 acres but its area is now around 500 acres. The grounds around the plantation are a wonderful mix of very old gardens, wild areas, meadows and miles of paths with the Ashley River meandering along one side. Magnolia is one of the few plantations that are still owned by the heirs of the original family that build it over 200 years ago. I believe it is the 13th generation of the Dratyon family.

The current plantation house is the third one erected and is somewhat smaller than the original one. The first one burned. The second was destroyed in the Civil War. The majority of the furnishings are all antiques and from the early 1800s. There was also a room that displayed a lot of old photos, maps and documents detailing the history of the plantation and its owners.

Erica and I spent several hours touring the lush forests, swamps and planted gardens. We decided to visit a small petting zoo that contained farm type animals; goats, peacocks, roosters, chickens, pigs and turkeys to name a few. At the gate we were greeted by a very precocious chicken that Erica dubbed Henrietta. She was obviously looking for food, but we pretended she was there to welcome us to the zoo.

After entering, we walked around a bit. I turned and saw one of the goats coming up to Erica. Erica had an expression of excitement as she thought a friendly, cute goat was coming to say hello. But, before she could blink an eye, the goat grabbed out of her hand our map to the plantation, the ticket to get into the plantation house and my receipt for the entrance fees. I tried to grab them from the goat, but he was too quick. After laughing for some time, we made our way to the plantation tour where Erica had to explain that a goat ate our ticket. Apparently, they believed her as we were not the first to meet the same fate!

Rain started to come down after lunch, but we decided to tour the Audubon Swamp to view the lovely cypress trees and vibrant yellow flowers blooming all over the swamp. It was quite nice to walk in the rain with the umbrella. A peaceful feeling enveloped us during the 1 ½ mile walk. It was very relaxing and a wonderful end to a fantastic day.


Enjoying Charleston

Erica and I are in Charleston, SC for a few days. Neither of us had been here before, so we arrived in high expectation.

The city is situated on a peninsula surrounded by several rivers and islands. Walking the streets, gives you a New Orleans French Quarter feel but it would be remiss to compare completely. Charleston has its own flavor. It has a deep colonial history going back to the 1600’s.  It was a key city during the civil war.

The food here is amazing. Some people we met suggested that we eat our way through Charleston. In other words, go to one restaurant to eat appetizers, go to another restaurant to eat the entree, and finally choose another one for the dessert. It seemed like a good plan. The food we have tried up to this point has been amazing. Our favorite restaurant so far is place called FIG. Strangely enough, it stands for Food is Good. And indeed it was.

Charleston is a great walking city with lots of nooks and crannies. The people are very friendly. The art scene is huge. There’s a lot of history. We’ll do and see as much as we can in the short amount of time we have. It’s a tough job, but we are up for it.


Passion for Travel

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. – Robert Louis Stevenson

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu

My passion for travel is neck and neck with my passion for photography. When I combine the two together, the feeling is close to overwhelming!

Travel has become quite an addiction for me. It doesn’t really matter where I go or how far. I love seeing what is around the next bend or over the next hill. Though I may have a destination in mind, I especially love what happens along the way.

Unlike photography, my intense love of travel began much later in my life. But, I’m working hard at catching up for lost travel time. Really, though, I haven’t lost any time. I’m fortunate to have visited 45 of the 50 U.S. states, 16 countries, and four continents to date.

The people I meet, the new foods I get to try, the incredible places I visit, the experiences I have that change me for the better and the sheer joy of the journey are why I’m passionate about travel.

Here’s to the next trip.