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Posts Tagged ‘joy’

March 13, 2019

Weather or not…

11:49 am - Posted by Gregg

One only has to tune in to see the exhausted look on virtually every TV weatherperson’s face to know that Mother Nature has many of us on a weather-related rollercoaster ride. This is just as true here in Southern California. While we are always in need of rain, the precipitation has been fast and furious this year—often arriving in torrential downpours that have lasted hours or even days at a time. Because this region is normally so dry and also due to recent fires, these storms have caused quite a bit of havoc.

One recent, very rainy Saturday, I was doing my best to not let the heavy downpours impede my normal routine. I know that may read as silly to those of you swamped by snow, but trust me when I assure you the streets were flooding and you could even spot mini tidal waves crossing the roads whenever heavier vehicles passed by.

It was while stopped at a traffic light that I noticed what seemed like a calamity unfolding across the intersection. A mother and her young daughter, both outfitted with umbrellas, were trying to safely cross the street. While there were no nearby vehicles inhibiting their journey, the rain was excessive. So exaggerated in fact, that accompanying wind caused the little girl’s umbrella to invert and immediately begin filling with rainwater (since it was now a virtual bowl aimed toward the storm clouds).

I watched with concern from my car as the little girl called out for her mom, who immediately turned around and tried to help the little girl navigate the mini swimming pool that the girl’s umbrella had become. Mom and daughter were trying to dump the water from the inverted umbrella without splashing it all over themselves. Then, suddenly, another gust of ferocious wind swept the mother’s umbrella from her hands, onto a nearby grassy embankment.

Concerned for them both, my Superman instinct took over and I immediately looked for a way to park and get across the street to help them (even though my traffic light was still red). I then looked back to the mother and daughter—finally realizing that they were both laughing with delight in the midst of their soggy adventure.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. But sure enough, they were both positively giddy as they (eventually) gave up on un-inverting the daughter’s umbrella, then scurried to the side of the street they’d originally been on to retrieve the mom’s umbrella. At this point, the traffic light changed to green—meaning that mom and daughter would have to wait for another cycle before they could attempt to cross the street again.

As my car passed by them, I was able to see not only their laughter and smiles up close, but also their palpable bond. While keeping a careful eye on the road (AKA mini lake at this point), I offered a quick smile and wave from the conveniently dry interior of my vehicle. The little girl looked at me with glee and waved back. And this was when I offered them both a silent “Thank you” for reminding me that nothing in life has the power to ruin our day—unless we let it.

This mom and daughter would have had every reason to get angry or to throw a temper-tantrum as the rain changed the course of their morning. In fact, I was initially a little nervous the mom might get angry with the little girl for lollygagging behind and accidentally getting her umbrella inverted. But no. Instead, the mom chose to smile despite the odds—surely reemphasizing lessons she must have previously taught her daughter about adversity. Because this little girl was clearly on board with the age-old edict to “Let a smile be your umbrella.”

There will be those who read this that roll their eyes. But I never want to be one of them. I really do consider the mother and daughter’s cheerful attitude to be a gift. A gift that has the potential to remind us all that no matter what we’re going through, there is a joy to be had—if we allow it. It’s all about getting out of our own way and accepting whatever so-called roadblock (or inclement weather) might be thwarting our intentions.

There will always be surprises in life after all. And Mother Nature will often have the upper hand. So trust me when I acknowledge that this reminder to find joy doesn’t mean we won’t be challenged by hardships. But we have the potential to make better, smarter and more informed decisions if we do so from a place of resolve and—if we so choose—a place of amusement.

No inverted umbrella required.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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September 27, 2017

Who loves ya, baby?

5:59 pm - Posted by Gregg

One early morning while sucking down my coffee like it was oxygen, I looked out of my kitchen window, down into the courtyard of the apartment building across the way. I noticed a man placing a box with a small plant into the sunlight. At first, I assumed he was doing some gardening. But then noticed he left the box in the sunlight and had walked away. Upon further examination (AKA “not minding my own business and staring out the window”), I saw that the small plant was actually a beautifully maintained Bonsai Tree.

A few days later, I saw the same man once again placing the box with the Bonsai into the sunlight, then leaving it there for a couple hours. I now deducted that after allowing it to soak up some Vitamin D, this man then takes his carefully cared for plant back into his home. (Who says I couldn’t run a detective agency?)

Seeing this man take care of his Bonsai Tree (which is clearly thriving) from time to time warms my heart—and it’s a sight I look forward to seeing when I’m lucky enough to notice this ritual in motion. Whether witnessing the man placing the tree into the sunlight or even just seeing the tree already in its spot fills my heart with joy. This man’s beautiful ritual reminds me of the level of care I need to make sure I’m giving to myself. And this is also the same level of care you might want to be giving to yourself, as well.

When we care for something, it thrives. This can be seen in my neighbor’s Bonsai Tree or even in the happiness level of my dog, Latte. It’s therefore important that we give the same kind of love and care to ourselves—as well as our health-minded goals. This might initially seem like common sense. But often, when we discuss our goals with others, we frame things in the negative: “I haven’t been able to do this” or “I am such a loser when it comes to that.”

When people I know tell me they need to lose weight, I can often detect a degree of self-loathing in their tone. I can relate—knowing how much I hated myself when I weighed over 450 pounds.

This disdain for ourselves is an approach we’ve been taught is beneficial and will likely facilitate change. The thinking being, “You hate how you look, so do something about it.” But after learning to love myself at any size (both before and after I took off 250 pounds of excess weight), I am grateful to pass along what I’ve learned. If we actually love and care for ourselves — even as we are now in this very moment (no matter how many pounds overweight or how far from any goal)—we become more likely to encounter faster success.

If you know a good friend or family member that’s facing a challenge, you want to help them. But if it’s someone you have distaste for, you don’t really care if they succeed in their quest or not. Well, time for you to think of yourself in a more affectionate way and afford yourself the very same degree of care that my neighbor gives his Bonsai Tree or that I give my dog.

Do something kind for yourself today—throughout this day and everyday. And remind yourself why you’re a supermodel (which, for the record, you are). Suddenly, if you’re wanting to lose weight or reach any goal you’ve set out for yourself (health-related or otherwise), you’re doing it because you care, not because you’re disgusted. That’s going to make the journey a lot more pleasant and, I imagine, a lot more successful.

Just like my neighbor’s Bonsai Tree, it’s time for you to position yourself in the warm sunlight of tender loving care—and thrive.

Photo Source: Non Profit Self-Care

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8:35 pm - Posted by Gregg

finding-joy-juststopeatingsomuch-com

Admit it… As the Christmas holiday approaches, are you more “Oh, no!” than “Ho! Ho! Ho!?”

Even if you don’t have your car radio tuned into one of those Lite FM stations that play nothing but Christmas music during this time of year, you’re still likely to hear the carol “Joy to the World” at least a few times during the holiday season. It’s definitely a festive song with a happy message. But next time you hear it, I suggest changing the lyrics a little in your head. Instead of “Joy to the world,” think “Joy to yourself.”

Now, I realize this might seem like a selfish take on things. But when you find (and declare) joy within yourself, you’ll then actually be bringing joy to the world.

I don’t have to remind you that there seem to be so many challenges going on right now. Whether getting your news from the internet, from television or from a newspaper (whatever that is), we are all bombarded with reasons to not find any joy in the world — much less within ourselves. We then often use these happenings as reasons to live life without any joy. This kind of attitude can adversely affect our lives in so many ways — whether by having a shorter fuse with people we care about, cheating on our diets, slacking off when it comes to our to-do list or simply keeping the faith that life is innately good and there are real miracles happening around us (even despite some of the recent disturbing — and tragic — headlines). These are all reasons why now (today — this very moment) is an important time to declare ourselves vehicles of joy and then use that joy to help light up everyone else’s lives.

Finding joy within ourselves (and being determined to do so no matter what the scale says we weigh, how our jeans fit, what’s going on around us or what’s happening in the world) really can help to make the world a better place. We can’t necessarily change other people around us or other people we read about. But we can lead by example.

One of my favorite motivational speakers, Byron Katie, often writes and speaks about “Saving yourself first.” In other words, if you’re not okay, how can anyone you care about be made okay by you? She likens this to being on an airplane, when the flight attendants are giving their safety speech. They remind us that should the oxygen masks drop down from above, we should put one on ourselves before helping a child or someone else in need put on theirs. In other words, if we don’t get the oxygen into our system, how can we help anyone else if we pass out due to lack of oxygen? Make sense? We really do have to save ourselves (and ensure our own lives are joyful) before we can effect change in anyone else — much less the world around us.

Declaring joy within ourselves doesn’t necessarily mean walking around wearing rose-colored glasses, oblivious to what’s going on around us or in the world. But it can mean looking for the good in every situation, counting our blessings and embracing an attitude of gratitude. Only then can we approach life (and any of its challenges) with an open heart. By strengthening our “joy muscle,” we can be better in any situation we’re facing. Whether one involving a high stakes challenge or even when seeing the scale go up a couple pounds (which, for many of us, is a high stakes challenge in itself).

So next time you hear the lyrics to “Joy to the world,” please remember that you are the world. You reflect the world. You create your world. And, most importantly, you affect your world.

By finding as much good (and joy) as we can in the everyday, our attitudes will start to shift, our goals will start to fall into place (not to mention be met) and we will finally begin to be the change in the world that we all want to see.

This holiday season, I wish you days, weeks, months and years that are all full of joy. The very joy that you deserve.

Photo Source: Eat Live Glow

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2:46 pm - Posted by Gregg

Even if you don’t have your car radio tuned into one of those Lite FM stations that play nothing but Christmas music during this time of year, you’re still likely to hear the carol “Joy to the World” at least a few times during the holiday season. It’s definitely a festive song with a happy message. But next time you hear it, I suggest changing the lyrics a little in your head. Instead of “Joy to the world,” think “Joy to yourself.”

Now, I realize this might seem like a selfish take on things. But when you find (and declare) joy within yourself, you’ll then actually be bringing joy to the world.

I don’t have to remind you that there seem to be so many challenges going on right now. Whether getting your news from the internet, from television or from a newspaper (whatever that is), we are all bombarded with reasons to not find any joy in the world — much less within ourselves. We then often use these happenings as reasons to live life without any joy. This kind of attitude can adversely affect our lives in so many ways — whether by having a shorter fuse with people we care about, cheating on our diets, slacking off when it comes to our to-do list or simply keeping the faith that life is innately good and there are real miracles happening around us (even despite some of the recent disturbing — and tragic — headlines). These are all reasons why now (today — this very moment) is an important time to declare ourselves vehicles of joy and then use that joy to help light up everyone else’s lives.

Finding joy within ourselves (and being determined to do so no matter what the scale says we weigh, how our jeans fit, what’s going on around us or what’s happening in the world) really can help to make the world a better place. We can’t necessarily change other people around us or other people we read about. But we can lead by example.

One of my favorite motivational speakers, Byron Katie, often writes and speaks about “Saving yourself first.” In other words, if you’re not okay, how can anyone you care about be made okay by you? She likens this to being on an airplane, when the flight attendants are giving their safety speech. They remind us that should the oxygen masks drop down from above, we should put one on ourselves before helping a child or someone else in need put on theirs. In other words, if we don’t get the oxygen into our system, how can we help anyone else if we pass out due to lack of oxygen? Make sense? We really do have to save ourselves (and ensure our own lives are joyful) before we can effect change in anyone else — much less the world around us.

Declaring joy within ourselves doesn’t necessarily mean walking around wearing rose-colored glasses, oblvious to what’s going on around us or in the world. But it can mean looking for the good in every situation, counting our blessings and embracing an attitude of gratitude. Only then can we approach life (and any of its challenges) with an open heart. By strengthening our “joy muscle,” we can be better in any situation we’re facing. Whether one involving a high stakes challenge or even when seeing the scale go up a couple pounds (which, for many of us, is a high stakes challenge in itself).

So next time you hear the lyrics to “Joy to the world,” please remember that you are the world. You reflect the world. You create your world. And, most importantly, you affect your world.

By finding as much good (and joy) as we can in the everyday, our attitudes will start to shift, our goals will start to fall into place (not to mention be met) and we will finally begin to be the change in the world that we all want to see.

This holiday season, I wish you days, weeks, months and years that are all full of joy. The very joy that you — and we all — deserve.

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December 23, 2013

Joy begins with you

5:17 pm - Posted by Gregg

Even if you don’t have your car radio tuned into one of those Lite FM stations that play nothing but Christmas music during this time of year, you’re still likely to hear the carol “Joy to the World” at least a few times during the holiday season. It’s definitely a festive song with a happy message. But next time you hear it, I suggest changing the lyrics a little in your head. Instead of “Joy to the world,” think “Joy to yourself.”

Now, I realize this might seem like a selfish take on things. But when you find (and declare) joy within yourself, you’ll then actually be bringing joy to the world.

I don’t have to remind you that there seem to be so many challenges going on right now. Whether getting your news from the internet, from television or from a newspaper (whatever that is), we are all bombarded with reasons to not find any joy in the world — much less within ourselves. We then often use these happenings as reasons to live life without any joy. This kind of attitude can adversely affect our lives in so many ways — whether by having a shorter fuse with people we care about, cheating on our diets, slacking off when it comes to our to-do list or simply keeping the faith that life is innately good and there are real miracles happening around us (even despite some of the recent disturbing — and tragic — headlines). These are all reasons why now (today — this very moment) is an important time to declare ourselves vehicles of joy and then use that joy to help light up everyone else’s lives.

Finding joy within ourselves (and being determined to do so no matter what the scale says we weigh, how our jeans fit, what’s going on around us or what’s happening in the world) really can help to make the world a better place. We can’t necessarily change other people around us or other people we read about. But we can lead by example.

One of my favorite motivational speakers, Byron Katie, often writes and speaks about “Saving yourself first.” In other words, if you’re not okay, how can anyone you care about be made okay by you? She likens this to being on an airplane, when the flight attendants are giving their safety speech. They remind us that should the oxygen masks drop down from above, we should put one on ourselves before helping a child or someone else in need put on theirs. In other words, if we don’t get the oxygen into our system, how can we help anyone else if we pass out due to lack of oxygen? Make sense? We really do have to save ourselves (and ensure our own lives are joyful) before we can effect change in anyone else — much less the world around us.

Declaring joy within ourselves doesn’t necessarily mean walking around wearing rose-colored glasses, oblvious to what’s going on around us or in the world. But it can mean looking for the good in every situation, counting our blessings and embracing an attitude of gratitude. Only then can we approach life (and any of its challenges) with an open heart. By strengthening our “joy muscle,” we can be better in any situation we’re facing. Whether one involving a high stakes challenge or even when seeing the scale go up a couple pounds (which, for many of us, is a high stakes challenge in itself).

So next time you hear the lyrics to “Joy to the world,” please remember that you are the world. You reflect the world. You create your world. And, most importantly, you affect your world.

By finding as much good (and joy) as we can in the everyday, our attitudes will start to shift, our goals will start to fall into place (not to mention be met) and we will finally begin to be the change in the world that we all want to see.

This holiday season, I wish you days, weeks, months and years that are all full of joy. The very joy that you — and we all — deserve.

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