Monday, April 30, 2012

Pets + Sunshine



For three weekends in a row (since the weather has been so amazing in Seattle) I've spent a lot of time outside and with my dog.  It's made me realize (once again) that the simple, cost-free "adventures" are what make me the happiest in the end.

What is something simple, perhaps mindless, and cost-free that brings you joy?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Letting go of a (24/7) clean home

Happiness as a quality of thought

Take a breath and count your blessings

 
"Take a deep breath. It’s just a bad moment, or a bad day, not a bad life. Everyone has troubles. Everyone makes mistakes. The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles."  Source: http://www.marcandangel.com/

Friday, April 27, 2012

Serving for your own happiness

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. "
Mahatma Gandhi (Photo Source)

I'll admit that I've been a bit behind in blogging - for a good reason.  Tomorrow is a special day.  It's my biggest work day of the year (this means the past month has been one of my biggest work months of the year).  Tomorrow 1,000 volunteers will restore the homes of 22 low income homeowners and nonprofit facilities in one day.  Volunteers will help 15 elderly homeowners, 11 families with disabilities, eight nonprofit organizations, six veterans and their families, and three families with children. 

As I worked my way through the afternoon and thought about all that will happen tomorrow, I thought "Wow.  I believe in the goodness of humanity."

As I've talked about before on this Blog, I believe that service is truly a component of wellness.  Giving of your time and your SELF to OTHERS is a powerful thing.

The other day, I read (yet another) fabulous post by marcandangel.com entitled "12 things you should be able to say about yourself." Number 3 was: "I am making a difference."  Marc and Angel write: "Is it true that we all live to serve?  That by helping others we fulfill our own destiny?  The answer is a simple ‘yes.’  When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.  Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less" (Source). 

I love that service provides happiness both to others and ourselves.   What a peaceful thought.  Goodnight!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The "perfect" partner reality




"Remember that you will never find a PERFECT partner to love you in the exact way you had envisioned, only a person who is willing to love you with all that they are.  Someone who will accept you for who you can and cannot be.  And although they will never be perfect, finding a partner like this is even better."  Source: www.marcandangel.com

Wisdom from MLK


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Gifts of Imperfection


During my recent trip to Boston to see my friend Erin, I read the most incredible book on the plane. I can easily say that the The Gifts of Imperfection (by Brene Brown) is the best book (in the realm of "self help") that I have ever read, hands down.

I stumbled upon this book when I was on Amazon looking for The Happiness Project (a great book which I'm currently reading). The book description talked about to the overall concept of letting go of perfectionism and embracing exactly who you are (and letting go of what others think). I was immediately intrigued by this subject.

In the Preface, Brene states: "we all struggle with shame and the fear of not being enough" (x). The word "enough" is something that (ironically) hit me hard one day earlier this year. I was with my friend Emily, having a venting session about the challenges I was facing.

After chatting for a while, Emily stops me and says: "I know what your problem is. You aren't enough."
Me: "What do you mean?!"
Emily: "You don't think you are ENOUGH. All these situations we are talking about have that exact same theme."

It hit me like a lightening bolt. Holy crap - I don't think I'm enough! What a liberating thought. If I did, I wouldn't beat myself up for not having a perfectly clean kitchen, not working out x days per week, not having the perfect relationship, etc. I would embrace exactly who I am, through both successes and failures, and say "I am awesome. What I accomplished today IS enough," and have a lot less stress and anxiety as I navigate through life.

...

Back to the book. :) As you can see, it loved it so much that I wanted to blog about it and do a series of posts sharing some of my favorite insights (stay tuned). In the meantime, I would highly recommend this book to anyone, and encourage you to check it out. It's smart, funny, insightful, practical, and only 130 pages long.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Letting go of the past

"You’ll never see the great things ahead of you, if you keep looking at the bad things behind you. To reach up for the new, you must let go of the old. You are exactly where you need to be to reach your goals. Everything you’ve been through was preparation for where you are right now and where you can be tomorrow."
Source: www.marcandangel.com

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The gift of a view

This morning it looked like it was going to be an overcast, rainy day in Seattle. Around noon the sun came out, and 30 minutes later it turned into the most unexpectedly beautiful day! I was inspired to go to Carkeek Park to walk the trail and check out the view...

...So glad I did. I was only at the park for about 30 minutes and that's all the time I needed for the perfect pick me up. What an incredible Sunday!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mental motivation

Today I woke up and felt a bit exhausted. I wasn't feeling motivated to do anything. I didn't want to sit around, but I couldn't find one idea that interested me. I thought "Well, it's too pretty to sit at home this morning, and so since going for walks always makes you feel better, you need to get off your butt and go."

And so I did! Even if we don't have much energy to do something, it sometimes helps to stick to our instinct of what we know is guaranteed to make us feel better. It will always be worth out time.

What is one of your 100% guaranteed pick me ups?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The truth about self talk


"You're such an idiot."

"You have such a fat stomach."

"You screwed everything up."

...

Talk about a theme today! I have never read a quote that puts me more in my place in regard to unneeded (negative) self talk. Frankly, I should read this each week (and so should you, unless you are perfectly kind to yourself every day :).

Forgiving yourself


"Let me think about the people I care about the most, and how when they fail or disappoint me, I still love them. I still give them chances, and I still see the best in them – Then let me extend that generosity to myself” -ze frank (Source)

Today I came across this quote and wanted to share with all of you. It's a great reminder about how hard we can be on ourselves, and how important it is to forgive - OURSELVES. I love the phrase "extending generosity to myself."

Happy (almost) Friday!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Feel better instantly!


Today I read another brilliant article on mindbodygreen.com: "7 Things You Can Do to Feel Better Instantly." I liked the sound of it based on the title alone!

Here were the pointers (the abbreviated version):

1. Breathe more deeply (I'm in full agreement on this one after meditating for 30 minutes on Sunday!)

2. Drink water as soon as you wake up (for sure).

3. Add spinach to your smoothies
Interesting finding - according to this article, you can hardly taste spinach in a smoothie, and it has such good nutritional value that it's totally worth it! I'm definitely going to give this one a try.

4. Go outside (duh!)

5. Throw on your favorite song

6. Put down your fork between bites

We hear this so often and it's such great advice, but we do this so rarely! I think you have to be pretty intentional about this (aware) to make it a true practice. The article states: "This technique also helps to balance your weight and allows you to get to know your body." Love it.

7. Smile more!

Hooray! Read the full article (by Abigail Christens)!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The simple smoothie


I've always liked smoothies but have never been a huge fan. The sugar load (especially in store bought or processed brands) is way too much for me, and I don't end up feeling satisfied. In the past I've tried to create elaborate, protein rich smoothies, but never really liked the way they tasted.

Today I had a new discovery: the simple smoothie. The thing I like the best about smoothies is that when you make them at home, you know exactly what is going into them. The ingredient list is very straight forward - no mysteries! This afternoon I made a smoothie that was the perfect little snack.

Strawberry-Banana Simple Smoothie

-1/2 of a fresh banana
-4 fresh strawberries

-3 ice cubes
-approximately 3/4 cup of Silk soy milk


YUM!

Easter blessings

Today is Easter! When I arrived home this afternoon, I started thinking about what the day meant to me. I landed on the concept of "simple blessings" - being thankful for the little things that make my day better and brighter. Today I felt fortunate to simply BE with my family on Easter. It was the most beautiful day and my friend Shawna was able to join us for brunch. I can't put a price point on any of these things.

At the end of the day, it's the small things that make a day special and meaningful. It is my belief that being mindful of one's blessings is part of living a balanced and peace filled life.

Thank you for this day...


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pink nails on Saturday

Today is another beautiful day in Seattle. I started the day right by getting a latte at Starbucks and heading to Golden Gardens with Lucy. The water was just amazing (along with the Olympics) and it was the most peaceful, happy morning.

After a long walk with Lucy I went to get a manicure at Hoa Salon in Ballard. I pretended it was Summer and got bright pink nails! They turned out perfect and it was the best pick me up. After my manicure I went to run an errand and then took Lucy to the dog park. We're now at home, getting things done. I might even head up to the roof for champagne in the sun.

How are you going to enjoy your Saturday? Hint: the answer includes doing something for YOU.