Archives for posts with tag: happiness

It’s Sunday!!  We have made it through another week and another one is beckoning us. Take a moment for a deep breath and a personal high five!

For some of us it was an amazingly fantastic week. For some of us it was hell on wheels. Some were able to Rise Like Air and others teetered on the precipice edge.

There were tears of joy, success and happiness. Tears of frustration, pain and fear.

That’s what life is. Amazing ups and downs and lessons and perspective. It’s about choices and learning and trying.  It encompasses falling down, crawling and getting back up. But today I think it’s most about simply living and loving and liberating.

Today I’m making one choice. To smile. Maybe it will make a little difference. Maybe a big difference. Maybe someone else will notice, maybe they won’t. But I will notice.

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Have a fantastic Sunday. Make it yours. Do it your way.  No regrets, no apologies. No shame, no blame, no guilt. Just love, light and living.  And of course….

Rise

Like 

Air…

See 

Beautiful…

It’s

All 

Good…

 

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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As 2016 winds down I thought I’d share a story that warmed my heart as a mother and as a human being. Sometimes our kids just do that.

My son works at a hardware store and one of the things he does is cut keys and rekey locks.  The old keys get thrown in a discard bin. So one day when a woman came in requesting to buy new keys for a craft project my son offered to give her an ample supply of discarded keys free of charge.

…And being the typical 19 year old he thought absolutely no more of it.

The next day the same woman arrived back at the store seeking him out. She had a thank you gift for him, a necklace. The key was now stamped with the word HOPE  and an accompanying tag stamped YOU MATTER.

She was on a mission to spread an important message – there is hope and we all matter – every one of us. No matter our past, our present or our future – we all matter. And there is always hope.

My son was fairly blasé about the whole affair.  He came home and shared the story with a somewhat puzzled look on his face. He said he really didn’t understand why she felt the need to thank him (sigh) and while the idea was sorta neat, he didn’t really  think he’d ever wear it. And then this look dawned upon his face and he turned to me. “Mom, this is more like something you’d like…” I graciously accepted the pay it forward gift with a very big smile.

I’m far from perfect, I have to embrace my “flawsome” every single day. Somedays there seems to be more flaw than awesome, but I embrace my humanness as best I can always. Because, after all, that is what I am, human – designed, created or a fluke of nature – unique and human is all I can guarantee. And I always keep a smidgeon of hope tucked away for those days where I’ve misplaced all the rest.

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Today, I pulled the necklace out again, knowing that I would finally take a few minutes to sit down to tell the story.  My daughter noted it with an air of admiration and interest.  She knows sometimes we need to be reminded we matter and there is hope. Some of the best reminders are a little rough around the edges.

With the Pentatonix “Hallelujah” playing in the background my eyes are searching for a place where this necklace can be constant reminder of this oh so important message that strangely, so many forget at this time of year of celebration. I realized today that this necklace isn’t really mine, it’s meant for anyone who needs a little extra reminder that YOU MATTER and that there is most certainly HOPE. So like the other sets of keys in this house, it will hang accessible to anyone who may need use of it at any given moment.

Don’t ever forget….

YOU MATTER

and there is

HOPE

I promise

Don’t ever forget….

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I love Marcel Proust quotes and this morning seemed a good day to remind myself of a few of my favourites.  While curled up waiting for my tea to steep I thought that just maybe someone else would enjoy his wisdom on this Tuesday as well.

 

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

My personal favourite. I have never ceased to be amazed at how  a different perspective can literally change my world.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Is there a better feeling than experiencing a soul blossoming?

If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.

So many argue this point, but those I know who have given up on dreaming seem to have given up on the joy of life too.

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.

Probably the hardest lesson I am still learning. And what a journey it is.  I am honoured to a part of so many wonderful people’s journey.

We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full.

Being a procrastinator and avoider I argued this one for a very long time and still like to put my fingers in my ears and go “lalalalala” but, yes, “what you resist persists” And boy oh boy, does it ever……

Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.

Sigh, need we really say more….

Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces.

Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING but…… you have to admit there does seem to be a possible connection…. maybe…

Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees.

Still mulling this one, but I have to admit there is something about those aha moments….

Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey.

I really really want to argue this one but there is at least some truth in it for far too many of us.

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.

Oh to have the days of childhood and endless reading.

 

So there you have it, some of my favourite Marcel Proust quotes to ponder this terrific Tuesday.  And if it’s not so terrific?  I have a suggestion….. go back to quote #1 and give it a shot.  Change up your eyes and shift that perspective.  You might just be amazed.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I went to the lake for three days. On my own. Because I said I wanted to. Apparently, this raised some eyebrows, caused some speculation.

Though I owe no one an explanation I’ll tell you. I only hope you can handle the truth and it is all you thought it would be.

I had a most delicious rendezvous with an old love. And oh my, shhhhh, but it really was delicious. Time stood still and disappeared all at once.

Now I admit that at first I felt more than a little trepidation, but it disappeared when I caught my first glimpse of them. It was like no time had passed at all.

It was cold so we curled up in blankets, sipped whiskey and water while we read books together, taking turns flipping the pages. We laughed and reminisced, finishing each other’s sentences. We went for walks hand in hand, telling each other stories. And when we got back we shared our thoughts and feelings, our dreams and relationships and our regrets because we genuinely wanted to. We played our favourite music and danced with abandon, laughing until our sides ached and tears ran down our cheeks. And when we couldn’t laugh anymore, we drank in each other’s spirit, curling up to sleep peacefully each night. We cherished each other unabashedly and it was divine and peacefully beautiful.

As the end drew near we looked into each other’s sparkling eyes and promised we would never let time or distraction separate us again. We hugged until we melted into each other and then it was time to leave. We never said good bye, because it wasn’t. It was hello.

When I arrived home I felt no guilt or shame as I walked by the mirror. Pausing, I recognized the smile. I winked, and my re-found love winked back at me. “Hello,” I grinned. Delicious.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I was at the Dollar Store yesterday. It was the usual fascinating experience of eclectic people and merchandise.  I happened to be with my mother so we were taking our time wandering down the aisles.

A young man turned into our aisle and I noticed him right away. There was just something about his presence that made me turn my head. He was average build, blond and had on a rather large white T-Shirt with scrawled signatures. In his hand I noticed 2 markers.

He looked at me and in a firm but quiet voice made a single request, “Would you mind signing my shirt? I need to get 85 signatures.” It seemed a rather odd request, and he looked like he had a long way to go.  For some reason, I really wanted to sign his shirt. So I did. And so did my mother (on a side note, pretty huge step outside my mom’s comfort zone. Rock on mom!) As I was signing I asked him what it was all about.

As he began to explain I could see the flush of red creep up his neck but he kept right on explaining.  It was part of a self help class  he was taking. He had to write his biggest fear on his shirt, and then face it.

He said, “My biggest fear is striking up a conversation.” I spread out the back of his shirt and sure enough, in crooked black marker was “I’m afraid to strike up a conversation.”

“Wow, 85 new conversations!” That is really something to be proud of I told him. We spent a few minutes chatting and wished him well.  I could hear him in the next aisle, “Hi, would you mind signing my shirt.”

Now the evening  before I had faced one of my own fears. I had to give a presentation to maybe 30 people.  Something I’ve done before, and I faced it well, didn’t even break a sweat though I was happy when it was over. But I well remember the days when sweat would have literally been running down my back at the thought of doing that.

I really empathized with that young man. As my mom and I reflected on his bravery, I remarked, “You know just talking about what he’s doing is making my heart race and increasing my anxiety and I’m not even the one having to do it!”

Another woman who had been in our aisle and witnessed what happened turned to us and said, “I feel exactly the same. I’m almost in a panic thinking about it! I feel like asking him what class he’s taking because I want to make sure I don’t!”

Facing our fears, publicly.  Never an easy thing to do. But like so many things, so very worth it. I sort of wish I would have stopped him and asked what class he was taking. So I could be sure to sign up. Facing fears never ends.

What are you writing on your shirt? What are you going to finally face today?

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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You may have heard this or seen this on social media but when I came across it this week it really has been sitting with me.

 

I am enough.

I keep telling myself that. It does’t mean I can’t do more, or be better, or be different or that this is the end or the time to stop, or that I’m perfect or finished. But it does mean, for the most part, we can all stop sweating life. We are enough. We really are. I know it’s easy to argue that, I can come up with lots of evidence that may “prove” I’m really not enough, but either or, those are just opinions, perspective.

 

Now here’s the wow moment I got last night. When I believe I’m enough, I actually become enough, find my flow state and shine.  When I believe I’m not enough, I struggle, I shrink, I slow down and I stagnate. Wow!

 

Here’s the other thing I realized. While I try my best to get my validation from within – because I know in my head that’s the only true validation there is, some external validation is still nice and something I think most of us require at least a little of. When I surround myself with people who believe I’m enough and tell me and show me sincerely that I’m enough, I shine. I glow. I am motivated, I have power and focus and direction and and and and life is good!  However, when I’m with people who do not help me feel like I’m enough…. well you get the picture.

 

I think most of us are very much like this. As well, most of us also have both kinds of people in our lives. I love the posters that say surround yourself with the people who help and let go of those who don’t. I believe that so much, but also know that in the real world, while it might be just that simple… it isn’t that easy.  Wow, so not easy. Because sometimes those people are pretty close to you. I’ve also learned though that you can not change anyone. They can only change themselves. You can be a catalyst, you can help but you are powerless to really do any more than that. So…. you can set boundaries, make requests, but you can’t actually make them change or treat you the way you want. What you do about that becomes your choice.

 

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I realized something else. Some people just seem to be jerks, they want to bring themselves up by bringing you down. But there is another, more subtle way most often used by those who actually care a lot about us, that constructive criticism. Now personally, and many will argue with me I’m sure but I don’t believe there is such a thing. You’re either critical or you’re constructive. I get what the goal is, but it seldom works. At least, in my humble opinion, it doesn’t work as well as pretty much anything else you could choose! Now sometimes, used sporadically and at the right times with the right person sure, it’s all good. But too often the message received isn’t wow I can do better! It’s, wow, I didn’t do well enough. Therefore, I’m not enough. I believe it takes a pretty strong person and a very determined person to weather regular “constructive criticism” well.

 

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My editor  was a perfect example motivating me and setting me up for success. She did not give me false praise, she did not tell me my manuscript was perfect, because we both knew it wasn’t. She did however tell me all the good things and work in the things I could improve. But she always made me feel like I’d done well. She made me realize I am enough and that made me want to make every change she suggested.  Here’s an example from her notes.

 

You and I must be kindred spirits because you seem to love using the semi colon as much as I used to. My professors had to break me of the habit. They aren’t really very necessary – especially in fiction for young adults. They are used to tie together two complete sentences (not fragments), which, together, form a whole idea. But usually it’s better to just end one sentence with a period and start a new sentence. I’ve removed most of your semi colons, as my profs always removed mine. Welcome to the club! 🙂 – Natasha Morrow

 

I admit I am sensitive to criticism even when I ask people to review things or give me honest feedback. May I say, my editor could have shredded me and made me feel like an idiot but she didn’t, she ensured that she made me feel like I’m not only enough, but part of a club, I’m freaking normal for pete sake! And by starting out her feedback so positively she as able to be a bit more forthright later on without me feeling bad at all, I was actually craving more info so I could make my story the best it could be – without feeling like it was “not enough” as it was either. Thank you Natasha Morrow, you are wonderful.

 

I am definitely enough. So are you. So is the person that is driving you nuts today. And the person who cut you off in traffic, cut in front of you in line, took your parking spot, and left the toilet seat up or the milk on the cupboard.

 

We are all enough, masterpieces, works in progress. That doesn’t mean we are done, or that we’ll always agree or get along. But I have started to say under my breath when someone makes me want to snap.  You are enough, just the way you are and I am enough too.

 

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 Marisa Peers video about how so many of us have this overwhelming feeling of not being enough and just how important reminding ourselves and each other that we actually are enough really is was very interesting. (50 minutes)

 

 I fell out of gratitude for a while and it resulted in me seeing less good so I started with small again. Things like I’m grateful for the sun. I’m grateful for 5 minutes alone. I’m grateful no one knocked on the bathroom door (ummm no, I don’t have small children).
My gratitudes have evolved in the few weeks I’ve been dedicated to doing them. I’ve also found that for me at least for now, mornings are my best time to reflect on my gratitudes so that’s when I write them down. I review them in the evening and sometimes add a few more. Here are todays. 🙂

 

  • I am grateful for all the good in my life, even when I don’t recognize it
  • I am grateful for all the challenges in my life because they enable me to grow
  • I am grateful for all the opportunities in my life because they give me hope
  • I am grateful for all the people in my life because they are my teachers
  • I am grateful for my life because within it I find my purpose
 
 

 

Even on the bad days, it’s important to remind yourself, there’s plenty to be grateful for if you are willing to practise being present and look for it with an open mind and an open heart.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I’ve been doing extensive reading about how our beliefs affect our thoughts which affect our outlook on life which affect our perception of our experience. It’s not only interesting but has the potential to create the change in mental health treatment globally that is so desperately needed, but that’s another topic.

In “My Happiness Project” Gretchen Rubin says, “It takes at least five positive marital actions to offset one critical or destructive action, so one way to strengthen a marriage is to make sure the positive far outweighs the negative. When a couples interactions are usually loving and kind, it’s much easier to disregard the occasional unpleasant exchange.”

Wow, if that doesn’t say something about the power of actions and words and what we do with them.

In the TED talk, “Getting Stuck In The Negatives (And How To Get Unstuck) Alison Ledgerwood’s research found that negative information trumps positive information given to us regardless of which information is given first. Failures stick with us longer than our successes.  Positive versus negative framing matters. (10 minutes)

My good friend Debbie Hyde wisely reminds me regularly, “We all have a choice. We can let go of what we don’t need. Or we can hang on and be dragged.” She believes this so strongly that she wrote a fantastic book about it (yes, free plug, my blog, I can do that. Trust me, I personally think the book is really well worth reading.) You can check it out here.

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The last while letting go has been on my mind a lot. I’ve got too much clutter of all sorts in my life and at some point you have to do something about it or keep tripping over it.  As always, when you need something, I’m a firm believer it shows up. Although I’ll be the first to admit that I get anxious and doubt my own wisdom about that when I happen to be the one having to patiently wait. Human. Masterpiece and a work in progress. Yep, that’s me. What happened was a brief piece that came across one of my feeds. What caught my eye was the phrase let it go. As I scanned it  a technique to “let go” intrigued me.

  • Simply tear up pieces of paper.
  • On each piece write something you are willing to let go. For example: anger, hate, jealousy, judgement, labels, neediness, chasing people, self harm, my job. You get the picture.
  • Light a fire (nice, piece it emphasized safety first. The internet isn’t all bad)
  • Put a slip of paper into the fire one at a time as you say “I release -fill in the blank- because -reason why-.

I added the reason why part. It came to me as I was throwing my first piece. “I willingly and happily release anger because it hurts everyone.”

Heck it was garbage burning day anyway so why not. It seemed appropriate to throw what I wanted to let go of into a fire fuelled already by things that were being let go of. My son can thank me later for doing one of his chores. I’m a nice mom some of the time.

My envelope was filled with slips of paper. It took me a while in the peace of a beautiful morning to complete what I had set out to do, to let go. When the last piece had curled into white ash I said, “I let go of all that does not serve or is harmful to allow for the space to embrace all that does and is helpful.” I was actually very surprised at how light and peaceful I felt when I was done, even if I smelled more than a little smokey.

I’m glad I saw that little blurb the other day. My son should be too since it got him out of a chore. I think I’ll do it more often, maybe even make it a habit. Maybe it’s one of those things that’s supposed to fill up that space I just made.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Thank you. Thank you for showing me that I could be seen, that I was something more than a walking ghost filled with other people’s stories but my own dreams. Thank you for telling me you loved me when neither of us knew what that even meant. If it weren’t for you, I’d never know […]

via To The Men Who’ve Left — quirrk

I don’t think this blogger has ever written anything I didn’t like but somehow I fell in absolute love with this piece, poignantly straight from the heart.  One of the kindest souls I know eloquently reflects that everyone is in our life for a reason, even those who are here to teach us lessons are very much a blessing. Relationships are always an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s especially grand when we recognize the lessons and are able to reinvent pain into grace and gratitude.

Some days are better. Some days are worse. Some days just are.

But somehow, I knew this day had some good in it when I sat in a hammock overlooking a lake, gazing into a blue sky with a white fluffy heart shaped cloud right above me. Somehow, you just know it when stuff like that happens. Even if recognizing that experience is all the good you can muster. It’s pretty good.

 

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Interesting thing, I’ve learned that every single day has something good in it, just sometimes I don’t seem able to expend the necessary effort looking for it.  Now that I’ve recognized it and stopped arguing it I’m expending the effort and energy.

I’ve discovered it is very easy to see that not so good, the negative, the problems… and then to “happily” cling to them. The day can be beautifully bright, our kids remembered to pick up their toys, our spouses remembered to appreciate us and then that idiot cuts us off in traffic. Well there goes the hole dang day! We focus on that one thing that went wrong, a cloud appears over our head, our shoulders sag, our jaw sets and we do the exact opposite of what Alice Herz-Sommer advises. Instead of “seeing the bad but looking where it is good.”  we decide, usually quite unconsciously, to forget about the good and cling desperately to that one little annoyance. And like a cancer…. it grows until the blackness surrounds us.

And the weirdest part…. really, it’s up to us to choose. We choose everyday all day and way too often our choices don’t serve us or others.

So I’m taking this sign as a reminder to see the love and wonder in the world, even in the clouds.

Have a great day, find your own sign and remember – the choice is yours. Choose to look to the good, even when there’s bad knocking on your front door. May there always be a heart cloud above you showering you with mother nature’s love and a blue sky filling your own heart with hope.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Just finished my morning pick me up with The Daily Kind , #74 to be exact, from Life Vest Inside. If you want a little more kindness in your life and a great start to your day….. sign up!  Ok, sales pitch over.

The first thing I read was

“As long as we are persistence in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.”
– Denis Waitley

Yep, totally resonated with me.  We never know for sure when we will fully bloom. And that’s why it’s so important to keep going, to push through, to take time to rest, to live, to love, to think, to plan, to be patient, to hope and to dream. Because that’s the one thing… we never truly know. We can guess, we can speculate and sometimes we are right on, but other times… it’s simply a waiting game. But there’s also a little catch – you have to stay present, because you might just miss the fact that you bloomed!
I went on to read the Act of Kindness and the Positive Affirmation which was another positive addition to my day. I like positive, because like so many others, I can forget myself and tend to focus on the negatives. It’s a choice, but I have to be conscious about it otherwise I slip into old habits. I’m human, go figure. Who knew?  Ok, I guess it’s rather obvious.
And then I got to the Kindness Media section. I admit that sometimes I don’t take the opportunity to watch the videos every day. Sometimes I just feel “too busy” even though I know that LVI always makes good choices that are actually worth taking the time for. So today, even though I’m busy busy busy, I took the few minutes (and then as you can see took a few more to write this blog)
I’ve always liked the Dude Be Nice crew, and today, LVI featured one of their videos. For me, the best one to date. I love teachers that help their students grow, the teachers who don’t just “teach” but guide and inspire. Actually I like those special kind of people period, because really, we are all teachers in life.
The DUDE. be nice project is a platform to inspire people to build a positive community by recognizing a person or group in a fun, creative and meaningful way. We’re all for making people feel appreciated.
This project is fantastic at showing support and appreciation. They have been part of surprising a lot of worthy people. The kind of people who never seem to expect it, they just are who they are, worthy ,wonderful, kind and caring people. In this case a teacher brought the project to her school and her students decided that SHE was the deserving recipient. Of course, they weren’t about to let her know that. A great way to perk up your day whether it needs perking up or not.
Today, go out there and be kind to someone, anyone, and let those around you who are generous and kind, make sure you let them know how much they mean to you. They might not do it for recognition, but we all know they deserve it, and appreciate it too.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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