Action Stations 2 – dream advice

Back to Barbara Sher‘s philosophy (think I will forget Picasso. I have digressed too far).

boo

boo

So, if we figure out what we were put on this planet to do, what we would feel unfulfilled in life on some level if we didn’t do. Would we rush to do it?

Hell no, probably not! Our resistance rises up and stops us. It would make us anxious doing that thing we want to do, so some part of our brain says don’t do it, be safe, stay here on the sofa and eat and watch TV instead. And I do!

Do you have anything inside you, which you often ponder on and even sometimes declare you will do, but don’t even get started? For me I would like to write a book (fact or fiction) on relationships and love, or paint paintings, or create videos or an online magazine, or be the next Oprah or be a career/life coach and help people like Barbara does, or be the person that escorts VIPs onto their private jets and yachts, making brilliant conversation in 4 languages (when I’ve fully mastered them) and making them laugh along the way (most odd I know, why am I sharing my weirdest secrets here?), or write hit songs in the style of Christina Aguilera for my singing daughter Katrina Capell, or in the style of Adele for my singing daughter Lucia Capell, or be a public speaker on some subject or other (yup, got over my fear of public speaking luckily) or, or, or….. Do you see my problem? A true Scanner (jack of all trades, interested in far too many things to settle on just one).

But less about me. Have you ever brainstormed like that? Perhaps if you did it every day for a week and exercised that muscle, you might find further dreams hidden in the recesses of your wishing brain. And just maybe if you found/created a large enough group of people, they could help you achieve one of your dreams and remind you to keep going until you got there even if you had to back off for a couple of months in the middle of your journey and be mentors to each other.

And who knows how you’d feel if you achieved a dream? You might hate it. Am I afraid of success? You bet. Why would anyone pay me large sums of money to do anything which I find easy and surely anyone else could do? I would feel almost guilty. Well I plan to overcome all of that and just bloody do it! Forgive my potty mouth. It seems appropriate.  If it brings in money which I can accept, great.  If not, at least I will feel fulfilled.

Wow this was a bit open, even for me. If you don’t laugh at some of my dreams, above, I won’t laugh at yours. Apparently you should never share them with friends and family, only to strangers and preferably strangers who have already praised you and you feel comfortable sharing with. So I hereby say that you are all awesome people for being bloggers, being open enough and motivated enough to want to give you time free of charge to other bloggers by sharing your wisdom and thought with us. You are all even more wonderful for reading my blog at all and reading this far today.

Do you dare to reveal any dreams here in the comments? They don’t have to be something necessarily achievable, in case you hadn’t noticed :)!

Action Stations!

Action is the foundational key to all success – Pablo Picasso

now clock

The best time to take action

Pablo Picasso – he brings up such images that he must be an exciting fellow, right? This quote seems so obvious and boring but because it’s him, I will use it. Plus of course it means something to me today. Blogging has made me more aware of many things – which is always a good thing. One of those is my moods over time. Weeks where I am subdued (for me anyway, just call me Tigger!) and weeks where I am the most energetic person on the planet. As I prefer that last one and consider it a form of success, I have decided to ‘fake it until I make it’. By being that person of action, even though I don’t feel like it, hopefully I will find my next ‘thing’ which grabs my attention and I will be off. I read recently that to be happy, you need a project and a community. You are my community (you’re low maintenance, guys, thanks!) so now I am on to projects.

I am soon going to be taking some major ‘action’. I am gathering my holiday leave and some serious savings to go and spend 5 days at a retreat in France (from here in Sydney) with the great and wonderful Barbara Sher (please look her up). She is a no bullshit, hilarious lady who will help you find ‘success’ (achieve the essence of your dreams), even when “you have no goals, no character and are often in a lousy mood”. Barbara is an arch enemy of magic thinking, positive thinking and chanting slogans.

She says she sees people like ‘gardens’, each one a genius in their own right because we are all unique and have our own way of seeing and doing things which nobody else on the planet can do. We deserve it to the rest of the planet to spend time doing what we love so that we can develop those innate skills and share them with the world. Take action!

So I am hoping she will see through me and sort out this grab bag of a person! It is thanks to her already that I am blogging, meeting you people and realising that it’s OK to be a Scanner; a jack of all trades and master of none. She calls us Ideas Factories, I guess as we can link our different interests together to come up with ideas in the real world. Where do you find a suitable career for one of those?? Diva-ish art director at an Ad Agency? Entrepreneur or inventor? I may not necessarily find a new career but will hopefully find a group of people who will be lifelong friends (10 people only on this retreat) and hold each other accountable for following up on making things happen.

Anyway, back to the quote. Who doesn’t have things, ideas, must do’s in their heads? And how often do we take action on them? Or on what percentage of them? This is where Barbara comes in. She has also been called the Resistance Whisperer. She knows full well how you get on a high with an idea, think you’re brilliant and then crash and think you’re stupid. She talks about the third phase, which is where you get back to normal and go find all the detailed notes you hopefully made while on your high and pick them up again. She says it’s a ‘sin’ not to share your gifts and take action on them. Do what you love, even if only for 5 minutes a day. Isolation is the dream killer so have someone else hold you accountable to do what you love.

To be continued…..

 

Criticise at your peril

Don't ever run out in the road again!

Don’t ever run out in the road again!

This little post is a reblog in a way of someone else’s words. Or perhaps it’s just a very long quote from a Master!

Yesterday I watched a Barbara Sher video on YouTube where she says to be very careful of giving criticism. “One piece of criticism is not overcome by 20 forms of praise. First of all you might not know what you are talking about and secondly even if later down the track it turns out that you are right, they won’t remember what you said. They will remember the hurt.” Wise words indeed from one of my favourite people (more on her later, but I am spending over two months pay soon to go and meet her!!).

The bit that spoke loudest is that ‘maybe you won’t know what you are talking about’. There have certainly been times that I have gotten the wrong end of the stick and have maybe put in my two cents worth to an organisation and then been politely responded to in way which showed I had it all wrong. Ouch! but no biggie – I can do failure and sorry really well. A heartfelt apology and we are all on our way. I don’t hang on to my failures too long – too scatty to remember them, luckily. And of course sometimes ‘you have to learn to accept the apology you never got’. I like that one too. Got a few of those under my belt, sadly.

What about the times when you don’t criticise or give feedback, don’t speak up for yourself? Is it because you know you are speaking to someone unable to hear you or because you fear the venom that will pour out of you once you let loose? Nobody wants venom inside. That leads to cancer, right? So should you speak?

And again, if that venom is somehow misdirected, you will only end up feeling bad, especially if you hurt the other person and have any kind of compassion in you. Time to consider what you say before you open up. In some cases I choose not to ‘stand up for’ myself, no matter how much I am invited to. And in others I speak where clearly it is not wanted. But that is tomorrow’s post….

How to know the difference?

This quote I just found on Pinterest sure helps!

He has the right to criticize, who has a heart to help.

 

Clear as Mud but Twice as Satisfying

Look around you

The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened – SAKI

When I was younger I dreamed of being many things and not once did I want to be a writer, as I do now. At seven I wrote stories about magical dolls based on my Tiny Tears and ‘April Love’. I wrote about talking bluebells and I even penned a LOT of poems which I haven’t done in years (unless you count the rap song my boyfriend and I wrote together, 2 lines each at a time, as a series of playful text messages recently). I even won a local council writing competition at seven; the pinnacle of my career thus far.

Although my childhood aspirations never came to pass, it’s only because I didn’t want them enough. In fact I never even tried – ballerina, tv actress, hairdresser, air hostess, artist, model, psychologist and more; quite the array. Instead I got an Economics degree and NOT ONCE did I aspire to be an Economist or Mathematician, despite studying those subjects at great length!

So I believe my aspirations are waiting in the wings now that my ‘second life‘ as Barbara Sher puts it, is here. There will be an empty nest someday soon, I am older and wiser, still full of energy and my focus is to a large degree on me now; not on building home and family. This second life is our gift to do with as we please and I am grateful to Barbara for writing a great book on this subject. It’s only too late if you don’t start now.

Anyway I digress. I really picked this quote because I have been thinking a lot recently about how we clean up our reminiscences; or our stories. I have this unfortunate need to tell everyone my life story and also to ‘talk in detail’ when I am not aware of myself, not present. I do waffle, as you would know if you follow my blog! When I am ‘present and aware of myself’, I can summarise, just a little. In order to relay as much information as possible in the shortest time we try to capture the essence of our stories. We miss out details and clean the stories up. Quite often if we are presented with any written evidence of our past such as diaries, we realise that we have changed the story as well as forgotten large chunks, perhaps subconsciously. You only have to hear 5 eye witness versions of the same event to know that they can’t all be right and yet each witness genuinely believes they are recounting what happened.

So we can give ourselves the benefit of the doubt in many cases, due to an unpredictable memory, and in other cases we have to forgive ourselves for rearranging the story to protect our egos, our image of ourselves.

My story of my marriage and its eventual dissolution is quite different to my ex husband’s. The story of our current financial situations are so different that you would hardly know we were the same two people. Of course it’s how we see things.

So how do you want to see things? What image of yourself are you clinging to? Battler, Tragic, Lucky, Brave, Unlucky, Martyr? See how your stories are shaped by this.

Have you ever been at some course where you have to turn to the stranger next to you and tell them your life story in one minute only? Try it. What are the bones you pick out? Your age, marital status, kids, job, tragedies or triumphs that changed your life course? Now try it again but relate the essence of who you think you are inside, what your hobbies and aspirations are, your current joys and anxieties. Your face as you recount this second version will more likely be real, showing emotion, being present and aware. That’s how connection is really made; between real, vulnerable people.

I think I digress again but my point is to be aware of our selective memory and the fact that things aren’t always what they seem – for others or ourselves. Our stories are as clear as mud; as fake as the imperfect egoic mind they are created and rearranged in. For they are arranged to satisfy the ego, whether to say Look at Me or Poor Me or Lucky Me. Each has its purpose.

It’s only when we are here, now that everything is real and true. Look around you. Enjoy this moment and the clarity of what’s around you. You can’t doubt that lovely colour you see, or the friends near you or your home, or the sky or the music you hear. The smells are real, the tastes and the feelings. Clear as a bell and music to your soul, if only you realised it.

 

Close the door on guilt

This seems a little controversial to me. I was introduced to the works of Paulo Coelho by a man I got talking to at the beach 5 years ago. I read a few of Paulo’s books and couldn’t really understand at first why he was so extraordinarily popular as he seemed to be a little egotistical and also simplistic. I think I am drawn to the honesty in his writing. Perhaps that is the drawcard. Honesty takes great courage in the face of society. We hear so many ‘shoulds’ in life that say you mustn’t close the door on this or that, that it’s lazy to give up or rude not to stay in contact with someone or you should persevere with this or that because it builds character. I have heard that family is everything and you should stick with them no matter what. But that ‘what’ is sometimes too high a price to pay and we are all free to walk away if we can be courageous enough to be ourselves and give ourselves what we think we need at any given moment. What is the price of doing something we want instead of something that someone else wants? Guilt usually. Guilt creates a no win situation if you let guilt creep into your life. Banish it immediately!

 

So I love this quote of Paulo’s. You won’t find too many like it. I love Barbara Sher because she also give you permission. We would find inner peace if we could give ourselves permission. Permission to be ourselves and to ‘do’ ourselves.

 

When we are bombarded with messages daily, we can choose whose opinions resonate and sit well with us. Barbara Sher gave me permission to stop blogging at any time and it is obvious of course but nice to be reminded. I will blog as long as it suits me which may be another week or forever! She actually gives you permission to stop doing anything you want; that’s it’s OK to do something only for as long as you want. I am a jack of all trades and get wildly excited by certain new things. It could be a song, a handbag, a YouTube video, a person, a recipe, quantum physics, the colour of something, whatever. But if I had to stick with something for too long I would miss out on discovering new things. I would ‘fall off my energy beam’. I think the general consensus is that you should settle down, become an expert in something in order to be successful, or stick with a spouse forever in order to have a successful marriage or have friends you’ve known since kindergarten. How about working at a job for a decent amount of time in order to look good on your resume? There are many examples of where we are encouraged to do, be, know something long past it’s due date.

Paulo implies that we get accused of pride, incapacity or arrogance if we don’t stick with something. Harsh judgements. Who are the people who want you to stick with them? Scared people usually. Why should you stick with a job? To become an ‘expert’ and therefore be a ‘success’, but it’s not a success if you are miserable. Why would you stick with a course of study? To get a certificate you may never need to prove to the world.  Why would you stick with a partner?  If it’s for what the proverbial neighbours think, you are giving your power, freedom and happiness away unnecessarily.

 

Is there something you keep in your life, some door you are afraid to close because of guilt even though it leads you nowhere? I close doors with love. Love to go and do your own thing while I go do mine. I long ago learned the lesson that guilt serves absolutely no purpose ever. Who wants more bad feeling in the world that resolves nothing? Does it really make you do something different next time; be a better person?

 

If you have the courage of your convictions and walk away from a person, an exercise class, habit, group of people, or even way of thinking, it frees you up. I have so often heard that when one door closes a window opens. I think it’s supposed to mean that a door has closed against your will and the thought of something new coming along cheers you up. I believe that. But if you have closed that door yourself, you may be ostracised. What’s the difference?

 

This is where freedom and courage to make your own choices comes in; to truly be yourself. Those that love you understand why you are making these choices. They agree that you are free to make them. Those that don’t love you will never understand anyway. Those that call you these names are not free themselves; they are caught in the shoulds of life. Perhaps they wish to be free also.

 

Anyway thanks to Paulo for being a voice you don’t hear too often which says walk away when something no longer serves you. If we are truly strong inside we don’t need his permission either but it’s great to see it in writing. If we want to walk back later that is OK too, why should we have our ‘tail between our legs’? It is always our decision.

 

Chasing Butterflies

Defeat strips away false values and makes you realise what you really want. It stops you from chasing butterflies and puts you to work digging gold – William Moulton Marston

I have another confession. I think I let something silly get to me, unless it was the eclipse of the sun playing havoc on our collective consciousness 🙂 . From the high of enjoying rising blog views in the 50s or 60s, now for the last week I barely register over 25 per day and it’s slowly falling. Because I let the numbers bother me I will say I tasted defeat. I temporarily lost my exuberant self. Taking a day off blogging yesterday was perfect. I sat in the morning sun and watched the rainbow lorikeets. I let the slight breeze cool my coffee and the sun kiss my cheeks and I listened to all the bird noises. When I got back from work I didn’t rush to check my computer but picked up 3 books and read each of them for a while. I ‘felt’ my way through Fifty Shades Freed, started (waded through) A Course in Miracles and then moved on to Barbara Sher‘s ‘It’s only too late if you don’t start now‘ which seemed like light reading in comparison. And this is where I found this quote.

Just what I needed to hear! I was writing and digging for gold deep in the ground within me and then got distracted by butterflies – beautiful growing stats, a myriad of countries listed every day on WordPress, amazing new friends. I tried to rein myself in a couple of times and get back to basics, but along came another butterfly and off I’d go, thinking about them and not why I need to write. And so the shiny gold I was finding stopped appearing and the butterflies stopped being attracted because there was nothing left to catch their attention.

So my learning is advancing. Barbara is not saying in this book that you give up your dreams. She is saying that when you stop chasing butterflies – wealth, standing, admiration etc you rediscover who you were, what you really loved as a kid, who you still are, what nourishes your soul and you start digging again. And the results of your labour mean more to you than keeping up with the Joneses. The results may well be the things you strived for in the first place but they won’t come at a cost anymore, because your natural talents come easily. Because they are enjoyable you put in the fun hours and what you thought was a natural lack of discipline doesn’t come into the equation. Rewards come in all forms, internally and externally because you are more engaged, you give out a better energy (I am guessing) and you are authentic.

The authentic me laughs a lot and chokes up at many things including youtube videos, kids hugging, donating to charity, people saying hello and goodbye at the airport. The list is growing. My experience seems vivid compared to many people and the high energy levels grate with some who want me to be more level, calm. But I am calming on the inside and if anything the real me is getting more exuberant on the outside. An eccentric English lady. What a cliché.

1960s Costume 2009

Anyway I digress. My false values are hugging the numbers to myself, using them to tell others who have no interest in my blog, that up to 63 people in exactly 25 different countries have been interested in what I have to say! And what I really want? To finish writing each morning feeling like I have grown just a little and surprised myself with what I found inside. ‘To be more than I thought I could be’ to quote Whitney Houston.

Looking Out, Looking In

Do you see what I see? – a song I heard recently

Today I am ready to self combust!! I couldn’t put a good (Barbara Sher) book down and now feel late and pressured. Maybe because of it, my mind is racing, full of ideas I want to write about. I ran rather than walked today, forgot to smell the jasmine, hear my iPod or take in the view. However when I snapped out of the mindstream and ‘came to’, I examined with ‘new eyes’ two houses that I always pass, as I waited to cross the road. And I just stopped. Present. Aware.

The spectacularly different houses are butted up next to each other. What they have in common is a close view of the water but that’s almost all they have. One is new and very modern, rendered dark grey, mostly glass, no redeeming features except for a few designer cacti to break up the squareness and masculinity of it all. And the other I call the ‘lacey’ house due to its white iron fretwork on every conceivable surface and railing. It is traditional brick with three peaks, very detailed with multi-paned windows and fluffy curtains. They look most conspicuous next to each other.

Looking in at the houses I would have to say I feel more in common with the pretty, feminine one, all cuddly and cosy, however having been inside it and having seen the view from the other in a magazine shoot, looking out I would probably prefer to live in the modern one. Fresh, open, outward looking, simple and uncluttered, making the most of its surroundings.

Every choice we make is a reflection of our personality including the homes we live in. Do we prefer our homes to look good from the outside looking in, or from the inside looking out?

Do we look out or look in at ourselves? Do we prefer that others look in and see us as something to admire or do we prefer to work on looking out, on our outlook and be someone who we ourselves can admire and live comfortably with?

This seems like an obvious question but it can be conflicting.  Some of what I do has been labelled selfish by others looking in, but looking out I see it as the right thing to do and until I can fully realise the value of looking out versus looking in I may question myself. I guess my point is, listen to yourself.

 

 

 

Different and yet the same

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same – Anne Frank

This would be an easy quote to read on your daily calendar and forget in an instant. It bears more scrutiny most of all because of the author – Anne Frank. When I was her age at school in England, we were made to study the book, made all the more compelling by the connection in our age. We could relate to her and yet of course we absolutely could not. She was hidden from the Nazis in an attic in Holland for 2 years with the threat of discovery and death hanging over her and little but her loved ones and the meagre possessions around her for entertainment. She was at an age (13 – 15) where certainly nowadays you would want to start being independent of your family and yet she was forced into the complete opposite. She appreciated them all the more because it was all she had.

Imagine if most of the things we currently love, value and take for granted and those we think we are striving for were suddenly taken off the table? I often think about that actually. Imagine you had a stroke and became ‘locked in’ to your body? What would you do then? Imagine you were hideously disfigured in an accident and assumed you would never find romantic love again? It’s like the opposite of the ‘imagine if you won the lottery’. A useful exercise either way to put things in perspective. What a lot to think about. I have heard that if either a tragedy or a lottery win happen to you, that within 2 years you return to the same level of happiness you had before. What is that level of happiness you have right now? Are you prepared to live with that for the rest of your life? Is it worth cherishing because now is life, (Joy Is Now of course) right here, right now?

You can’t escape yourself (your attitudes etc) no matter how far away you go because you take your thinking with you. To me this says it’s all the more important to examine what’s in your mind basket. What attitudes and feelings are you taking with you? What situations keep on appearing in your life as a direct result of what you bring to the table? If you had something nasty growing on your skin which you feared might be the end of you, would you not eventually go to a doctor to sort it out? The problem with insidious, negative thinking is that it is not always visible, like a virus inside your body. Sure you can see the results of it – the sniffles or a cough etc, but until you take a closer look and work on the cause not the symptoms (being unhappy perhaps) it won’t go away.

Two years ago I went to a one day seminar by Ben Harvey in Australia. He taught us that the way to have a higher happier resting state, after the tragedy or lottery effects had worn off was to use what he termed Imaginaction yes, a combination of Imagination and Action, I didn’t spell it wrong. He is saying that everything happens twice. First in your head and then in real life. You get a thought (action) – I’d like to eat lunch – and then you actually eat lunch (action). Twice. Imagination is critical as it allows you a chance to practice for an event and not spike (and therefore not be crashed back down by your nervous system). By practising imagining the things you want, including being happier, you are changing the hardwiring in your brain to accept those things. You are getting your head around them, ‘creating new grooves’ outside the boundaries of your actual brain cells and physically affecting your nervous system. You comfort zone grows (around how to cope with loss or gain). Apparently everyone experiences a crash after a big high. You go back to what your brain knows; what you expect out of life. He suggests leaving triggers and reminders around so that you remember what you want and take action to get some of what you want. Triggering your imagination triggers action. Barbara Sher also suggests for us Scanners (multi-interested people) to leave ‘avocation stations’ around – small ‘kits’ of some of the things we love to do, ready to go and enjoy for even just a few minutes, to remind ourselves to take the time to be happy. We don’t have to wait until we get a chunk of time and conditions are just right to do what we love and be happy. Otherwise with the amount of interests I have (about 400) I would feel overwhelmed by my life, thinking I will never ever get to pursue them.

Anyway I digress of course. Back to Anne Frank. One particular thing I remember from the book (remember I only read it at school 33 years ago – and now I want to reread it) is that she wanted to give her family Christmas presents but she only had available what was in the attic. With love and care she made gifts out of what she could find, examining each object I imagine for its inherent value as a gift and using her imagination to create something else. What a great thing to do with our things, our lives, ourselves. Where are the gifts in your life? And how can you use your imagination to make the most of them?

When Anne says our lives are different, she could not be more accurate. How many people experienced what she did – hidden from mortal danger in that way? And yet like Victor Frankl in the Nazi Camps, she managed to keep her spirit. She didn’t know it but her mind – her innocence, attitude, tolerance and imagination among other qualities – stayed the same and kept her going through the ordeal. Hopefully few of us will be faced with such events and have to test what mental reserves we actually have. But it can also be a godsend to some, with the right thinking. And I call it right, I judge it as right because they are happy, thriving, energised. More than most people. Often people deemed as heroes who react quickly in an emergency, are not recognised as such in their day to day lives and they say ‘anyone would have done that’ given the circumstances. I like to think I would. I like to think we all would. I believe we all would if we went by gut instinct and not irrational fear.

Anyway Anne was obviously a huge thinker, an explorer of everything and luckily for us, a journal writer. She was forced in a way to examine life and people more closely and came to realise at such a young age that we are all the same; that the differences on the outside – what we do and have – simply mask that there are no differences on the inside. She championed tolerance. We hopefully don’t need a huge life change for the ‘worse’ (depending on how you judge it of course) to teach us these lessons. If you are reading this, you may be looking for answers already which means you are 9/10 of the way there. Congratulations.

PS my son is now up so I asked him what he knew about Anne Frank. “Jewish person hidden from the Nazis in an attic.” He was made to read it in year 6 apparently – age about 12 – but didn’t realise why – that she was also a young child when she wrote it.

Enthusiastic Failure

Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”Winston Churchill

Yesterday I was staggeringly rich (see my post if curious) but today I am inordinately successful. My high from yesterday had disappeared by the time I woke up this morning. It was tempting to wallow and take the unhealthy path of thinking I must be bipolar afer all and that I had no magic formula to retrieve my happy mood; that it is granted by the sleep fairies and I have no control.

However I decided to examine it. If I was completely honest I realised that my already good mood had been prolonged by the fact that I got my first ever follower – a real person, a courageous young woman in Scotland called Lisa who is taking 6 months to force herself happy – http://forcingmyselfhappy.com/2012/08/06/forcing-myself-happy-what-is-this-all-about/, swiftly followed by four more. It wasn’t because my writing improved, became more succinct or more interesting. I just put tags on my blogs. Today, already feeling a bit off, I looked at my stats, the pinnacle of which was 16 views in one day over the month, (thanks to Barbara Sher) and realised that only 3 people had actually viewed my blog yesterday, and none in the countries of my ‘followers’. That leads me to deduce that people who follow my blog don’t actually read it; they just want me to follow theirs.

I was a little despondent thinking that maybe all of us bloggers, no matter how many followers we have are not really helping or amusing anyone else in any way. We are joined for all the wrong reasons, falsely thinking we are doing some good in the world. But here is where the quote comes in. I quickly found my enthusiasm again after this apparent ‘failure’. I remembered why I am writing each day. It’s because I love it, I feel I have really done something creative with my day, and I learn from it more than any follower possibly could. Exploring the quotes and seeing where I really stand is a learning experience. Exposing my thoughts and myself to the air is liberating. Putting my life’s learning and reading to some use is fun and a good test of how far I have come in my life. In fact this morning I didn’t write before work like I usually do – I wasn’t yet in the mood – but I read some of my own posts! It’s like learning from another person sometimes – the real me, the sensible, optimistic me and the one I love the company of. By blogging I strengthen that side of me. The inner critic/top dog depressed me rarely gets a look in these days and this morning it was so fleeting. And that is what I wish for everyone. I see those top dogs howling all around sometimes and want to hug those people deafened by their bark and muzzle the beasts. I find myself telling all and sundry to start their own blogs, just because they can. I have even created accounts for people on the spot!

So today my ‘failure’ caused a wonderful rocket launch back up to enthusiasm, purely by existing and giving me something to overcome. It’s easy to be happy when all is going well and you are completely free to enjoy your Sunday. But how proud am I to get really happy on a Monday morning when my mini dreams were shattered? Very.

What do I secretly want out of blogging? Fame and fortune; for the world to go ‘Wow that woman really is brave and remarkable, creative and full of wisdom, and has such a good heart?’ Heehee. Maybe. But I have learned that I have to let myself accept that before it will happen. I couldn’t accept it because I don’t feel I deserve it. So I resist improving and editing past blogs even though I know they are too long (and boring) for people to have time to read. I resist making them original and putting my own photos on. I resist all but the thing I love – the outpouring of everything I have learned. So it’s like I am doing it only for me. And that is the real reason to blog.

So, on I go through life. I fail all the time – when I talk too much and see people’s eyes glaze over. When I write long emails to new acquaintances for a while but then they just stop writing. When friends stop calling. I am enthusiastic because I am no longer hurt by it, not in spite of being hurt. In fact these failures give me a chance to realise how far I have come because I would have been devastated in the past by these things. Now I know it is just how things are. People get busy. It can be daunting to reply to a long email. People find me too intense. Not everyone likes me. I sometimes think they see me as a stalker because people don’t know me and how enthusiastic I am. They might worry that I expect too much of them. But that’s OK. I read a book called Brief Encounters 15 years ago which explains the value of them. I think I secretly knew that already. There is no need to cling to people forever. You change too much. If you walk the same path for a while, really appreciate it. It is spontaneous and natural and it’s fine to wish each other well when you choose to part. I am grateful for all the people I have connected with in any way. Even the old supermarket queue encounter is always enjoyable.

Anyway I love this quote (and I appreciate most of Winston’s wisdom) because it defines my success and tells me why I am one, in the same way that yesterday’s told me why I was rich. Rich and successful? I’d better believe it!

Needlessly Happy

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

Unknown Author

Today I am a staggeringly rich man. Only I am not a man and I do not have a huge bank account. But according to this quote, I am a billionaire. I am so happy, that as my undiscovered artist friend Leanne Wilkes says ‘Sometimes Stella has so much love that she could hug the world’. Leanne has a beautiful sketch to go with that but I don’t know how to put up pictures so all I can do is link to another image of her cartoon character Stella having the completely opposite day to mine today.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/lost-reserves-leanne-wilkes.html

So why today? And how can I capture this feeling, put it in a bottle and take a large spoonful whenever I need it? I am having one of those days where you are so excited that you start ‘spinning’. You know, where you start to walk towards one corner of the room to make a coffee, say, but then you think, ‘Oh I will just wipe down that sticky surface’ and as you go to find a cloth you find yourself turning again to go do something else, until you end up literally turning on the spot with a huge smile on your face? That is the best feeling. You are enthusiastic for everything, even cleaning!! I have so much to do and I really want to do everything. I don’t even know where to start. I realise this is as good as it gets. Life does not get any better than this. Joy is Now. This is all I could ever hope for in life. Having billions and getting to meet Barbara Sher could not even improve on this mood. If I felt like this every day, you’d probably buy me one of those awfully long sleeved, tight fitting white jackets that only do up at the back. I have actually arrived at that fabled destination somehow without passing go and without enjoying the journey along the way, and I wish I had the coordinates on my GPS to work out how on earth this happened!

It doesn’t happen everyday. I don’t take drugs (or smoke or drink) and I have not eaten anything special. In fact I forgot to eat until 11am today which was so unlike me that I can’t ever remember doing that before. Everything seems to be falling into place for me and yet nothing in particular has. I have the same financial obligations, house and garden chores; everything that can stress me when I am in the wrong frame of mind but today it’s not wrong. It’s all right! It’s the opposite of getting out of bed on the wrong side. So I remembered this quote and sought it out on the internet instead of finding a quote in my calendar and forcing myself to examine it for its inherent wisdom.

Therefore today’s post may be a bit different but I am still looking for answers. Capture this feeling, examine it, be able to recreate it, Emma!! I know from experience that feelings are like quick sand. You can cup the sand in your hands, and do things to hold on as long as possible but one by one the grains slip through your fingers and get replaced with new feelings. Life would be boring if they didn’t and we wouldn’t be able to know just how good a good day was unless we referenced it to a bad one. So that’s OK but I can’t help being greedy.

One piece of advice I found when I was looking for answers to my depression a few years ago, was to keep a journal of when you were happy, and not just when you were sad. You had to write out exactly what you were feeling, what had happened to make you so happy, what you had just done that day etc. It was good advice and I still have some of those journal entries. The objective wasn’t to recreate exactly what you had done that day (and today all I did was wake up and read for a bit in bed), though it could certainly help because we all forget what makes us happy. The reason to write it down was to read it again when you were sad to remind yourself that you would be happy again. This too shall pass. And knowing and believing that I wouldn’t always be depressed was the best comfort ever!!  When you are depressed you somehow think ‘this is it, this is all I have to look forward to, more of this’. No wonder people get desperate. I had my ups and downs and still do (the full moon has a lot to answer for) but I observe my moods rather than jump into them. I have not had ‘depression’, nor taken the drugs for them, in 7 years and nor will I need them again now that I ‘self-medicate’ with healthier thinking.

Anyway, I digress. I think the answer for capturing some of that richness, (well happiness really), could be in this quote perhaps.

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

What is the direction, the cause and effect? I am happy as it states because I don’t need anything right now. I need the least and I am therefore ‘rich’. But it also works the other way.  Because I am so happy I then don’t need anything more in my life in order to keep enjoying this happiness.

So how do we make ourselves ‘need the least’ in order to feel rich and happy? I think perhaps I am happiest when I narrow my focus down to my immediate surroundings and activities. Joy is now, here.  I realise for example that I am reading a book in order to be relaxed and happy while I am reading it. I am not reading it to get to the end! There is no special prize for finishing it; in fact I will be sad when I do. By remembering that I get happiness from reading, I enjoy reading it even more.

I feel rich by forgetting or not focusing on the things that I sometimes think I need. I only seem to need an amazing holiday involving hot black stones and Frangipani flowers when I look at a Luxury Travel magazine. I don’t need them today because I can see how happy I am without them and that they could not add anything more to my life.

So what have I learned today from the unknown author?

I have learned that if I take a moment to observe my happy moods and appreciate them while they are here, then in these moments I learn that I truly don’t need anything else in order to be happy. And if I can hang on to that wisdom when I am being tempted by glamorous things I can’t ‘afford’, then I am less likely to think I ‘need’ them in order to be happy.

It is a great mood to learn from yourself in. Get out your pen or computer next time you are happy. It’s a really good investment.