Monthly Archives: December 2006

Goal #1 for 2007

There are many things I should be doing today.  What am I doing instead?  Writing.  My other options sound rather dull to me.  Here’s the list:  Shovel snow from storm #2 (it kept me home today, but I don’t really feel the need to shovel it); write reports (can’t those be done later?); enter banking in the computer (this list is really starting to be a drag); and paint my office (it’s too cluttered for that right now).

I am full of excuses.  I probably always am. Let’s reframe that – I am full of reasons.   I probably always am.  Given the to-do list, which exceeds the above list by countless tasks, I have many reasons I’d rather write, rather rest, rather do any number of things than my list. Today, I’m doing the fun thing first, then I’ll tackle a task.  It’s like a game I play – two drudgery tasks then a fun thing or 4 hours of work, then a cross country ski.

Today, Rob Brezsny (Free Will Astrology) http://www.freewillastrology.com/horoscopes/gemini.html  gives two tips for all the Gemini’s in the world in order to be inundated with love in 2007 (1) Make yourself supremely lovable; (2) increase your capacity to give love.  I think #2 is right on the money. It could probably apply to everyone, not just the Gemini’s out there.

Just a little breathing

Today while reading Rebecca’s blog http://cloud9000.typepad.com/rebekita/atom.xml, I was thinking about how easy it is for the holidays to drag us down, instead of doing what we would expect, which is uplift us.

Right now DIA is snowed in.  Who knows how many people are standing, sitting, sleeping along the walls, floors and drapped over chairs in the main concourse of that huge airport. My guess is this is quite a drag for many people and this is just one example of how the holidays get us down.  We have expectations and when they are not met, even due to unforseen circumstances, we can respond by getting distressed and upset.

Family is another challenging part of the holidays.  We see relatives we haven’t seen in a long time.  Maybe see some relatives we don’t really want to see.  We drink too much, eat too much and all this stimulation can make us, our kids and other family members feel worse, not better.

I ask you all to be gentle with yourselves.  Follow Rebecca’s suggestion and recite the serenity prayer.  Find a quiet corner (or the toilet!) and take a few deep, cleansing breaths before you turn around and have to talk to your mother-in-law or least favorite uncle.  If the inside air feels stagnant (or you do) take a step outside and breathe for a minute or two. Don’t forget that this season can also be about self-care and relaxation.  Instead of just planting yourself in front of a football game, you might try taking your brother or father (or both) for a walk around the neighborhood (maybe before the game!)  A little fresh air is good for the heart and the soul.

Happiness at a time like this

God grant me the
serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

A week before Christmas and instead of the festive feelings of love and joy and brother/sisterhood to all beings I woke up today in a foul mood for no particular reason. I just felt irritated. Even though everything is going so well. I have experienced miracles this weekend. We found a plumber who came out on sunday at 8.00pm after we had gone to the movies and fixed a leak for £25!! I played football in the park with my 7 year old stepson and his friends. My flat is being renovated and slowly transforming from a cozy studio flat to an office/living space. The process is almost complete and I feel this is an important step for the flowering new business I set up in May of this year with my partner Carlo.

All the plans and intentions we have put out into the universe are coming true. I should be joyful, happy, grateful for the wonderful things that happen in my life everyday. But I am not. I am great in a crisis. In fact I love a crisis. It’s when things are going my way that I start freaking out!!! It’s as if I have to worry about SOMETHING, ANYTHING, just to feel normal. The truth is I don’t know how not to worry because I am so used to worrying. I have been doing it all my life.

And Christmas is just the best time to have a really good anxiety trip!!

Some of my worry is genetic and racial – I come from a long line of Jewish worriers – but it is also a programme, a tape that plays round and round in my head – constantly supplying subtle negative thoughts and feelings. This tape is my way of controlling the environment around me. It acts as an insurance broker, and I am its slave. BUT during the last year I have been fortunate enough to become aware of it. I can now discern what it is saying and I am realising I don’t have to react to it. Carlo and I call this hidden part of our personalities the ‘Saboteur.’ The dark side of us that lurks in the shadows ready to unleash its irritation, frustration and anger on the people closest and dearest to us.

This time of year provides ample opportunity for the saboteur to create mischief and mayhem. If things get too much and you can feel yourself reaching boiling point, remember to breathe, as this will automatically calm you down and if you can, leave the situation before it goes out of control. Things are said and done in the moment that can create years of bad feelings and resentment.

Repeat the serenity prayer until it becomes a mantra – once we accept we cannot change the situation or others we are in a more constructive place to deal with the issues. Take responsibility for YOUR actions and no one elses and let go of the behaviour and attitude of others.

Happiness at a time like this does not come easy but with a clear intention and a positive outlook this could be the best Christmas ever!!!

Tornado hits London

On Thursday afternoon a tornado hit London. This unusual and unexpected event shocked the city. There was a lot of damage and over 100 homes were destroyed. On TV most of the people looked devastated and shell-shocked and costs will run into millions of pounds. The thing is, as global warming continues to increase these events are going to happen more regularly.

This got me thinking that we need to look at our attachments to physical objects and comforts. Its ok to have these things but our happiness should not be dependent on the things we have. The devastated looks on the faces of people who had lost their homes showed how traumatic the experience had been and one woman looked as if she had aged twenty years.

The more objects reflect us the easier it is for us to lose our centre, our balance and our inner harmony. Buddha said that when we are attached to anything we are automatically creating unhappiness. Attachment to people and material things keep us locked in our cycles and programmes. In order for things to change on this planet WE have to change. This means letting go of attachment and trusting.

The planet is hotting up and unusual weather patterns will become more frequent. We need to start preparing ourselves for change. Letting go of material possessions is one of the first steps to a more simpler, easier and more harmonious life.

I have written a poem about this called THE GODDESS its on my website at http://www.rebekita.com/p_goddess.php

From a very early age I had to learn to let go of material things
because the moment I became attached to something
it would disappear or break. I have lost and broken some beautiful stuff and recently my
stepson broke my crysal merlin wand that was a very powerful healing and journeying tool… I couldn’t tell him off because
I knew he didn’t mean it. It was just another letting go. The key is to eventually realise that all the power you need is within you. The moment we believe the power is outside of us e.g. in a crystal, we disempower ourselves.

Letting go is always difficult and that is the divine paradox – because if it were easy the rewards wouldn’t be as sweet.

What i have found is that the more we trust life and let go of our attachments and expectations the easier it becomes……

xxxx

Resigned

Have you ever “practiced” a resignation letter?  It can be fun to do so because when practicing you can say every little, minute thing that you can never really say.  Things like: “Hasta’ lavista”,  “I’m outta’ here” and “adios amigos” (I’m sure there are other choice words out there that could be added to the list!)

In the last week, I have “practiced” my resignation letter many times and having verbalized it on Friday, I will be submitting it officially on Monday.  There is an endless amount of relief as well as other emotions that follow this letter.  My goal is to increase my happiness.  That may sound trite, but working 60 hours in a week doesn’t give me alot of time to do “fun” things that add to me being a well-rounded being.  I have been happy working two jobs; I believe in being happier. 

Anxiety

Last summer, while reading the Fort Collins Weekly, I was introduced to a poet, Gloria g. Murray.  I googled her name, emailed her and purchased four of her self-published books of poetry.  She has a wonderful ability to transform daily life into poetry.  This poem is what I’m sharing today:

FIVE AM ANXIETY

at five am
to ease my anxiety
I make tea
sit in the velour recliner
turn on cable TV
catch the weather
the ads for flat abs
and wrinkle free skin
at seventy
and the evangelists
who offer us Jesus
before we’ve even had
breakfast

then scribble out
a poem
on the back
of a grocery list
try to remember
my dream
for my next therapy
appointment

and by now
the sun and the world
are up
the world
I grab on to
like a train I almost miss
until a caring commuter
sees me waving
frantically
and holds open
the door because
dammit
I still need
to get
on

–Gloria g. Murray

Happy weekend, Flo

Can’t byte me love?

In line with my earlier post about whether money can buy happiness, I wonder if the Net can? If the interconnectivity of information it fosters isn’t the the most momentous change in modern history, as some claim, it’s certainly right up there. It touches every aspect of our lives, from the way we buy things to how our kids spend time after school, so I’m surprised that more hasn’t been written about its effect on human happiness — or have I missed what’s out there?

Relatedly, what are the sites you go to when you are in a bad mood and need some cheering? I have several that fit my particular interests. For example, I like art and illustration, and a quick visit to Drawn always makes me smile. I find that’s one site that I seek out when I’m in a bad mood, unlike others that I’ll go to kill time in the same way that I’ll flip on the television.

But I’m also always on the hunt for sites that provide concrete advice about small ways to make my life better. To highlight one, I’ve taken on board some tips from Lifehacker, and I think they really have improved my general level of happiness. One that has proven particularly helpful is to create mailboxes in Gmail that I use to send notes to myself. I send messages about my achievements, for example, to “myname+yayme(at)gmail.com.”

Any other examples of good sites that people can share?

Money and happiness

Jonathan Clements of the Wall Street Journal has another good column today, this one about whether money can buy happiness. The basic answer is “no” for most of us above the poverty level, but it’s a little more complicated than many think.

Generally, research shows that using money to improve the “quality” of your life by buying a bigger home, fancier clothes, or dining out more often simply causes you adjust your expectations, leaving you in need of still more to make you happy. This so-called “hedonic treadmill” is the main reason that Americans across the economic spectrum think that a 15% increase or so in income will make them happy–but we keep chasing the rabbit.

However, as Clements shows, money can do certain things if deployed properly. These include buying memories in the form of celebrating special events and using it to see friends. (As I can attest of the well-spent money this summer that allowed me to get together with fellow Cloudster Nat.)

Unfortunately, Clements’s column is behind the WSJ firewall (there’s that pesky money thing again), but he mentions the work of Daniel Gilbert, who I see has a blog with some interesting samples of his work. I read much of Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness this summer and found it very valuable. Unfortunately, I had to return it to the library before finishing (dang money thing again).

Making a list and checking it twice

Maybe this goes back to my first list to Santa, but a surefire way to cheer myself up is to make a list of things I enjoy, things I appreciate–or, if I’m in a selfish mood, things that I want Santa to bring me.

In that vein, this is an enjoyable collection of “best ofs” lists for 2006 posted on the web.

Disillusioned

This weekend, I thought often about the concept of disillusionment. Some aspects of how I allow this to be a part of my life and how much I allowed it in the past.

It has been two years since I moved from the small Colorado town of Gunnison to the town of Fort Collins.  I’m surprised and saddened by the friendships that are not as close as they used to be.  That’s a small part of the disillusionment I’m processing.  My own lack of reality, thinking that somehow these relationships could stay as close, warm and caring as they came to be after 20 years living in that small community.

There is something about the holidays. I think about friends I no longer see on a daily basis, about how much I miss their presence and how challenging it is to integrate this sense of loss into my life, without responding to it by being sad, mopey, whatever.    I find grief to be a frustrating and necessary path that I stumble along.  It reminds me of how much I value relationships in my life.