Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

JOYISNOWHERE

December 7, 2016

Ahhhh….the Holidays! It’s the most wonderful time of the year….or is it? For some, December brings parties, decorations, carol singing and visions of sugar plums. For others, it is a stressful and sometimes lonely time and the fa la las remind them of what is wrong in their lives; what they had and lost or never had at all.

Some people become cranky around this time of year and may walk around with an expression that makes you wonder if their pants are in a bunch. As those who know me have heard me say, you don’t want your pants in a bunch because it does no good and just makes you walk funny. Besides, there are certain places that are not meant to be flossed…and the pant area is one of them!

It’s important not to judge people who seem to have lost their sense of joy, because they are probably in a sad and scary place in their lives. Joy has left the building and left a big empty spot that has been filled by misery or fear or anger or another emotional troll.

Joy is not as elusive as some might think and it’s not the same as happiness.   Happiness often depends on an outside source to make it happen, whereas joy comes from within.  Joy abides with us even in times of trouble because it thrives on hope and if we keep hope alive, joy will remain even when other things fall away.

Joy is rather indescribable; it is a peace that passes all understanding. It doesn’t depend on a perfect life, wealth, success, or any of the things we have been led to believe are necessary in order to be a joyful person. Joy can be nurtured by choosing to have an attitude of gratitude and by moving away from your own disappointments, grief, and fears in order to extend kindness and help to others who may be in need.

Joy can be found in the beauty of nature, in hope for a better tomorrow, and in the face of a child. It grows stronger with each small victory over fear and when shared with someone else, it is the gift that keeps on giving! Joy is a spark inside of you that can light up the world!

The thing about joy is that you have to be on the lookout for it and invite it in. Some will choose to read JOYISNOWHERE as joy is nowhere. Hopefully, many will read it as joy is now here! If you meet someone who seems to have lost track of their joy, I hope you will give them some of yours.

I wish you all a Merry and JOYFUL Holiday Season! If you open yourself up to it, joy is NOW Here!

 

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Here’s to Better Success!

January 9, 2015

Happy New Year! Here we are, embarking on a new journey around the sun, which will take about 365 days to complete. When the clock strikes midnight on December 31, people usually welcome the year with toasts and kisses, and in my case; chocolate. In my world, chocolate is always appropriate.

This New Year, I noticed how many people expressed their hope that this year would be better and more successful than the last one. That started me thinking about what “better” really is and how most of us would define “success.” The word better is often defined as “improving on or surpassing” and success usually indicates that one has reached a goal. So how do we have a better, more successful year?

I guess it all begins with one’s assessment of what has happened. If there have been losses, trials, tribulations and struggles in the past, it would seem to be an obvious conclusion that a year without hard times would be better. But looking back on troublesome days, consider the fact that you survived! Anyone who makes it through a dark tunnel usually emerges with a new wisdom and a renewed strength! I would consider that a success!

We do ourselves a disservice when we categorize challenges or imperfections as failures. We all live in a flawed world and there will always be disappointments and losses. When we speak of success, I believe that we often place too much emphasis on the concept of winning. In truth, the measure of our success is in direct proportion to the obstacles we are willing to overcome.

If we want to have a “better” year, we are going to have to go about it with an attitude adjustment. Better can mean that we navigate life’s curves with the knowledge that we have the ability to keep going and not fall apart when things don’t go as planned. Better can mean that we accept the fact that life can sometimes disappoint and even hurt, but we only have one piece of the puzzle. We can’t always see the whole picture, which could very well be more wonderful and beautiful than we can imagine.

I wish us all a new year full of wonderful experiences, abundant laughter, healthy attitudes and of course; lots of chocolate!

Monkeys Don”t Keep Score

December 3, 2014

After reading the title of this article, I am sure that most of you are pleased to learn that if you are planning any activities or sporting events with primates, you need not worry about them cheating on their scores.

Researchers at a primate research center have apparently determined that monkeys are prosocial, which is defined as having the motivation to assist others regardless of benefits. In other words, the monkeys don’t seem to keep track of past favors. They respond to the needs of their companions, rather than responding to the rewards offered by their companions.

So, we can assume that monkeys could teach humans a thing or two about relationships. They may not have the social graces needed to dine in Five Star restaurants, but why would they want to do that anyway? They are pretty content to eat while swinging in trees. But it seems that the little hairy guys have it all over us when it comes to giving to others without expecting something in return. People tend to keep tabs on favors.

Keeping score can be exhausting and it is the opposite of giving with grace. When we expect reciprocity for our good deeds, they cease to be gifts and become IOUs that we expect the recipient of our favors to repay. The truth is that we are not always going to get back as much as we think we have given. And that’s OK because it is almost impossible to balance these things out. The healthiest mindset to adopt is one of finding joy in giving and not expecting anything in return, because only then is your gesture genuine.

There are times when we don’t help someone in need because we know they won’t repay us. Sometimes we pass up an opportunity to make a person’s life a little better because we don’t think they really deserve it. We tire of being asked to donate or to lend a hand because there is nothing in it for us and everyone should make their own way. We hang onto our tally sheets and we keep score.

During this Holiday Season, maybe we would all do well to emulate the monkeys.

A New Year and New Possibilities!

January 3, 2012

 The gift giving is done. The hectic days of frantically shopping for just the right gift and last minute preparations for Holiday dinners are over. What seemed so important a few days ago…the things that caused some people to be so stressed that even their teeth were tense, have come and gone. At my house, all of the hustle and bustle; the planning, the shopping, the wrapping and the opening of presents culminates in 10 1/2 minutes of chaotic package ripping, wrapping paper flinging and food gobbling. Then I find myself sitting in a house that looks like Christmas exploded, with tinsel behind my ears and a sink full of turkey and pie encrusted dishes. The house is in such disarray that it would be easier to just move, rather than to clean it.

The gifts that were exchanged were fun. We always try to give what we think our friends and loved ones would want, even if it is a fragrance with a sexy sounding name in a foreign language, which actually translates into “Scent of Healthy Hedgehogs” or an exercise video which focuses on tightening loose armpits. But there are always the unexpected and entertaining offerings that surprise and amuse, like watching 87 year old Aunt Flossie opening up a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret and wondering if that store carries bras in a size 38 long.

Next, we commenced with the New Year’s festivities. Since New Year’s Eve is my birthday (which is, of course, why everyone in the world celebrates), my grandchildren traditionally take me out to play Laser Tag and eat pizza. So this time of year is really special to me, and full of non-stop celebration. But, then comes the New Year and the partying is done. No more gifts and no more decorations. Time for real life…ouch.

I’m trying to be mature about it because I’m allegedly a grown up. But I must admit that I feel a little let down when I have to put my Holiday stuff into storage and the world is finished commemorating the day of my birth by dropping a ball in Times Square. (Yes…I know that’s not really why they do it, but don’t take my fantasy away from me.)

So, as we head into the next 365 days, I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with them. It’s really metaphorical to think of a New Year as a new beginning, because really; every day can be a new beginning, but for some reason, it seems as if we are given special permission to wipe the slate clean and begin anew when we take down the old calendar and hang up a fresh new one. Every January 1, I feel like whatever happened in the past year is history, and I get “do-overs.” It’s like when I used to clean out my desk at the end of the school year; gathering up unfinished homework papers, broken pencils and chewed up erasers; throwing them into the trash can and knowing that they didn’t matter anymore and I’d have a new start next school year. Even if my life was a natural disaster, there would be a new beginning and a new opportunity to do things differently and maybe even better. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who chewed on erasers.)

We know that every moment is a choice and no matter what goes on in the world, we have the ability to decide how we’re going to deal with each situation. When we listen to the Terror Trolls and the Negative Nellies, who constantly focus on the woes of the world, we are taking time and energy away from the positive possibilities and opportunities that can provide us with joy, success and peace. Remember that this group of letters can be read in two ways, which one will you choose?

OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE                         

Play it Forward

November 30, 2011

Yikes!  By now, everyone has heard about the strange and disturbing events of Black Friday.  A woman pepper spraying other shoppers in order to get to a video game, riots breaking out over $2.00 waffle irons and people stepping over each other when they fell…all in the name of “competitive shopping.”  I don’t know about you but I’m afraid to go into a store for fear I’ll be conked on the head with a toaster or strangled with an appliance cord! Tis the season to be jolly….and there will be blood!

Obviously, these are tense economic times but some people are really losing it! I think part of the problem is that we are becoming a panic driven society; we are saturated with bad news and impending doom…and we have forgotten how to play nicely with others!

Remember the movie, “Pay it Forward?” the concept was to do a needed favor for three people and ask nothing in return except for those people to do the same for three others. It was the idea of an 11-year-old boy with the hope of making the world a better place.  I think we could use some of that right now and I’d like to adapt it a little and suggest that we “PLAY” it forward, as well.

What if each of us were to make a commitment to laugh with three people every day…or at least smile with one person? What if, instead of leaving our houses every morning expecting to run into problems in traffic or at work, we adopted an attitude of altitude and decided to rise above annoyances and be determined to find some joy in the day? Maybe it would catch on and courtesy, patience and friendliness could make guest appearances!

It makes sense to me that if we were to try very hard to avoid walking in fearstorms and try equally as hard to add some fun and play to our lives, we might be better off, but it’s not always easy! It is difficult to find humor in stressful situations, especially when we’re constantly faced with what’s wrong in the world. People are losing jobs, worrying about money, fearful of their futures and consequently, they are clobbering each other with waffle irons while Holiday shopping during the “most wonderful time of the year!”

To maintain a healthy balance and prevent road rage, shopping rage and general “snarkiness” to others, I think it’s imperative to occasionally shift mental gears and readjust our thinking patterns to include more playing….good, old fashioned silly playing that is accompanied by lots of laughter.  It begins with a daily attitude shift; a personal vow to choose your battles, keep your cool and refuse to be sucked into negativity.   And if you feel like adding some stress-breaking toys into the mix…so much the better! Each of us measures the success of a day in our own way; some by how many battles we win and some by how many people with whom we’ve shared a smile.  If we play it forward and share some fun with others; maybe they’ll be inspired to do the same. Then, maybe we’ll have less people snarling and more people smiling. It’s worth a try and it sure can’t hurt! And if you anger someone because you smiled at them, and they conk you with a toaster….at least you’ll go down with a smile on your face!