Monday, January 2, 2023

Theme 2023

Being isolated on and off for the last couple years made people crave being close, yet we were all a little rusty with our social skills. So while it was great to be with people, I still found things to be kinda... surfacey.

This year I want to get DEEP with people and myself. And not like tell me about your childhood deep-- just not shallow, small talk, busy making. I was also reminded while visiting my family in Florida over the holidays that low-tide leaves things mucky and to get to calm and clear you need to go deep into the water and away from the choppy surface 🌊

So that's where I hope to spend 2023... in deep conversations, in deep thought, in deep work, in deep love! Even if it's just dating with an openness to not be stingy and closed off from the possibility of all the ways love can show up in our lives or checking in with friends and getting to the core of how they really are doing not just the pleasantries. 

What about you? 

Come join in if you haven't created your year yet and check out past themes if you want to get some inspiration. And remember: there is no right way to create a theme or year- you do you!

Cheers to 2023 πŸŽŠπŸ₯‚ and all the DEEP JOY that can be for YOU and for ME πŸ€—

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Creating YOUR Year ... 🎊 πŸ–Œ️

2022 was good (and Happy Happy) ... but I believe 2023 is going to be even deeper, richer and more ME! Hope the same for YOU!!

Happy Mapping and Cheers to a DEEP & JOYFUL 2023

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy Life

How can we have a Happy Life?

Well I think it's going to be a unique recipe for each of us and it's not often going to come in the exact way, form or timing we are always hoping for. Ugh, that's annoying!

But for me, it's gratitude, perspective, and remembering how lucky we are to be alive! 

You can read my opining on How to Happy in this year's posts

But I wanted to leave you with a little gem my sister recently shared when she was talking about finding the best family to adopt the pets she helps volunteer for. She loves the animals and wants to find the "perfect" home for each of them, but often reminds herself:
 Sometimes a good life is a great outcome.
Same for us. I thought I was going to have a different life. Whatever I pictured, this is not it! 

So I try and find happiness in the one I am living. AND explore what might make it great while enjoying the good. Am I thrilled to be dating at this age? 😳  Not quite- but I put it on this years map and found two guys I really liked and had a wonderful time with 😍. Is it fun to watch my folks age? No, but they are still a blast to be around and well so I enjoy them at a slower pace. My body, my finances, my relationships, name a category- I'm not where I would ideally like to be. But I practice being happy where I am and it does actually make things better. 

Take a quick inventory of 2022 and appreciate all the happy moments you've had... 
now see if you can let go of the perfect and enjoy the good. And from that place create a 2023 that will bring you joy going forward. Cheers to having a Happy Happy life 🍷 😘

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Happy Hugs

I'm a hugger πŸ€—. I think hugging someone you care about is one of the greatest highs there is. I would also throw hand holding and general non-sexual touch into that category as well. 

When I saw this clip with Trevor Noah I got chills because it is so so true and so so avoided as a topic regarding both physical and mental health. Sex is great, but touch is essential to life!

Even before Covid we were a world with too little touch and since then it's part of the reason I think we are still a little crispy and numb. And not just for the reasons Trevor mentions. I think a lot of women are hesitant to give out affection to not lead others on and to protect themselves from creepy behavior that is unwanted and unwelcome. But I know how folks long to be held and connected with so we need to find a way to bring closeness into the way we are with people we can trust and care about. 

There are many men in my life who have shared how lonely and affection starved they are. Of course some women as well, but they often can get their touch from other women even if it is as simple as getting a hug from a friend or the touch from a pedicure. Men are just not as touchy with each other or in their everyday life.

I was in a car accident a few weeks ago and my back, neck and shoulders were sprained and/or twisted and so I've been getting therapeutic massage. The other day while on the table with my masseuse Scott working his magic, all I could think is there would be less war, hate and sadness in the world if people had this kind of touch as part of their lives. And yes a trained professional is not something that we all can (or want to) avail ourselves of regularly, but a hug, a touch, an energy exchange with people we know and care about is.

Earlier in the year I was dating a guy who you might remember as the great kisser, and though our chemistry was tingly one of the things I remember most is when we were sitting on the couch and he picked up my foot and put it on his leg and just held it there while we talked. 
It wasn't sexual it was just he wanted to feel connected while we spoke to each other. Melt!

And trust me if you were on the dating scene you would be startled by how many men list physical touch as their love-language. Or how they desperately crave a partner who will kiss them. Again, I think this is less about the sex and more about the intimacy of being connected to someone. You know I love words but I think touch is probably the thing most needed by men and the one they are most afraid to ask for so it often comes out as being related to sex. 

Recently I reunited with an old male friend and when we hugged it was like we hadn't been apart all that time. Nothing sexual, all emotional. That is what touch can do-- it can reconnect us with each other and even the good vibes in ourselves if we involve an expert like Scott. 

Not the lean, but you get the idea.
My Dad and I have this thing where when we are in the kitchen waiting for something to cook or for my family to get ready to leave for dinner we lean on each other (from the side). I can't remember exactly when it started, for sure by highschool when I got to be almost his height. He can't do this with my sister- she would tip over, or my brother- he would tip him over- so it's our thing. I treasure the feel of his lean and I know it's his way of being affectionate with the daughter who maybe needed it a little more than my siblings.    

So I leave you with this... who would welcome a hug/touch from you today? Who needs to feel your physical presence? Give a hug, get a hug... Happy Happy touch to you πŸ€—     

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Happy Moments

Many years ago while in search of a therapist I ran across a woman who looked almost exactly like this pic of Goldie Hawn, including sitting legs crossed on her couch while she spoke to me. I can't quite remember her name, but I can remember this nugget clearly:
the key to happiness is to notice the little moments of our life
I remember thinking she was lovely and all but that was way too hippy-dippy for me so I moved on.

Well now that I'm older I totally see what she means. We don't remember the hours in our days, we remember the brief moments that made us feel alive and stick with us. One of my first real stick-with-me-moments was the day I was graduating from high school and not for the reasons you might think. It was because I noticed how my forest green gown perfectly matched the venue we graduated at: Ravinia. It felt like we were all one, in this big group of people (friends, family, teachers) I cared about, in this beautiful place 🌲🌳🌲🌳... and that felt emotional and magical.

I have attended many concerts there since and I always make a point of pausing for a moment to feel the audience sing in unison. Yes, I like the performer/s on stage, but it's the unison that gives me chills. People harmonizing together in joy is one of the best things to ever be in the middle of.

Seeing my book on the shelf after a year and half of work to write it- a moment!

When I feel sad or stressed I try and look for little moments of joy and it changes my mood immediately. And it doesn't have to be anything big. The other day I enjoyed a perfectly ripe mango and the moment was wonderful - the color, the smell and the taste- JOY!

Last week my family and some dear friends got together at a lovely winery to surprise my step-mom Bobbie for her 80th. The wine, food and chocolates were fantastic but the moment for me was when I read a poem I had written and I looked up and and she was teary (which is very rare for her). She said as a step-parent you don't always know if you've made a difference in your kids' lives and it meant a lot to hear she had 😊

Music, plants, food, wine, loved ones, a movie, a song lyric, a sunset, a kiss ... there are many things that make me stop in awe of how beautiful life is. So yes, that therapist was right all those years ago-- moments are what make our lives happy. Therefore if we want more happy, we need to stop and breathe in a few more as we live ours.

And if this reminds you of anyone who's helped make a happy moment for you, please share that with them, it'll probably create another one just enjoying the memory of it together.  

Cheers to Bobbie πŸŽ‚ and all the bonus parents that enrich our world, to the therapists that leave us with nuggets, and to the Happy Moments of our lives 🍷 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Happy Conscience

For those that don't know I at one time had a little thing for Louis CK. I know, I know but gather yourself and let's move on to the insight this brings me to...

We had been chatting about a Happy Mind and one of the keys to that is a clear conscience free of shame, guilt, regret and bad vibes. If we are haunted by things we've done, even if we have lots of happy in our life, this shadow of darkness will follow us.

There is a reason that 12-step programs include steps of inventorying and making amends to people that we've wronged and most religions have some form of atonement for bad acts we've committed. 

Recently an ex texted to say they were sorry about how things didn't work out with us and they hope I will forgive them someday. And it reminded me of Louis CK's big SORRY sign 😏

Sure it's nice to hear someone is sorry but it only counts in my book if they clean up the mess they made along with the words they speak (or in LCK's case, stand in front of). The onus is not on the person that's been wronged to forgive someone if it's just blah, blah, blah to make them feel less guilty. True forgiveness is earned by correcting the behavior, owning what they did, and restitution to make things at a minimum as repaired as possible. 

You're sorry?
What for? 
Where did you own what you did? 
What have you done to clean up your mess? 
And where is the restitution to make up for the damage you wrought?

We all mess up. We all cause pain even when we're not trying to hurt someone; but when we know we did something truly bad we can't just text/statement it away. 

LCK used humor and the fact that some fans didn't care what he did to salve/ignore his guilt. Not good enough. He owes the women he harassed compensation for what he did to them. There were women who suffered career and other real damage from his actions. The 10ft tall sign was bright and flashy alright and I did actually watch his special to see what he had to say- but there was no sorry in his act or actions. 

Again, the human condition is we all have a level of meanness in us, none of us is so saintly that we don't ever do anything wrong. It's hard, painful and sometimes costly to clean up our messes so we mostly don't go there. What a waste because if we cleared our conscience and did the hard part we would have a happy healthy mind, heart and future. 

How important is cleaning up our conscience? Well, it's the second chapter in my book, only the one about love comes before it. Because a festering ick in our life just gets ickier!

Someone once described a clear conscience as being able to walk into any room with your head held high no matter who you might run into and I think that's a pretty good visual. 

The irony is if we summon the strength to own our messes there is a pop of relief, peace and closure that is worth the effort and humility on the other side. 

So if you're regretting something you've done or your conscience is not clear, don't let your pride, stubbornness or fear stop you from getting things handled. Map out what is there for you and don't get overwhelmed, but just do a little step at a time to clean up your karma.

Otherwise, you'll be the one sorry you didn't 😌

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Happy Birthday

Today is my Birthday!! When we went out last weekend my dear friend Vickie asked me a question her husband Bill, also a close friend and talented artist, asks her on her birthday

What have you learned about yourself this year? 

and so I wanted to share what I told her.... 

What struck me is how we are back to almost normal again and I'm not sure that's entirely a good thing. Of course the return to living is truly wonderful but that we have seemingly forgot all that we went through (and lost) is a bit surreal to me. 

Two years ago at this time I was celebrating my birthday on the phone/zoom with my friends and then alone with a cocktail on my deck having a drink to my health; my birthday wish was for the end of the isolation once the vaccine was approved

As you can see by my cheeky post thanking my friends for their bday messages- what I was looking forward to most was hugging and being with people again πŸ€— . And here we are two years later and I think we've forgotten and are taking for granted how great it is to be back out in the world. I know I have.

I actually was getting ready to push meeting Vickie until next weekend because I was feeling tired Sunday morning and then I remembered how two years ago I would have done anything to be able to be out to lunch with a friend. 

Bad dates, family obligations, long check out lines-- pick a gripe we have now and boy would I have loved to have been doing any of them that summer. 

So much has changed since around that time. New home, new job, have had some great dates (and kisses) and gotten settled into my blondness. All in the last two years. 

Lucky me, I got to spend time with my sister at the art museum and strolling around Long Grove with Vickie last weekend and some more plans in the upcoming days... so my birthday this year has been fantastic!! But what has made it even happier is remembering how precious it was to have all that alone time so that I now treasure even more the time I get to be with those I love (or even like a lot πŸ˜‰).

So Happy Happy Birthday to ME!! And here's hoping this reminder is a little gift to you that each year is to be celebrated and to be out in the world and healthy is the greatest of joys! 

Cheers to You, Me and all there is yet to be 🍷🍸🍹

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Happy Sadness

Since we started last post talking about a happy mind I figured I'd share my other big revelation from taking Landmark coursework. To set the scene it's the Advanced Course weekend and that Friday night they give you this big buildup that we'll end the night doing an exercise they guarantee tens of thousands of people have done and NO ONE has ever not disappeared whatever they are suffering about. They ask us to write down the one thing we have the most suffering about and that is what we will focus on in the exercise. Now you already know this was a super shitty year for me so I had lots to choose from but I decided I would focus on this relationship I couldn't get over that I was sad sad sad about. 

I will respect the process and not give it away, other than to say once you and your partner dissolve your suffering you are free to leave for the night. Cut to me, and my partner had already an hour before resolved her suffering and so they put me with different partner. Another hour or so passes and I'm still not only deep in the suffering but have a throbbing headache because I was crying so hard and had worked up so much (sorry for this visual) snot that I had gone through almost an entire box of kleenex and still could not resolve it. I'm now the sole sufferer left and they have no idea what to do with me. Did I mention in the thousands and thousands over decades and decades they had been doing this no one to my instructors' knowledge had ever not resolved their suffering?

Well I know I'm gifted and all, but this was not what I wanted to be a champion at... 😫

So after some whispers in the corner they share that I would need to go home and they would have to help me again in the morning since it was late and they weren't sure what to do with me.

On the drive home I'm now suffering about how great and overwhelming my suffering is! 

Well as often happens with my unresolved issues, I awake at 3am with the answer:
Suffering is when we try to stop our sadness from being fully felt. 

I got this image of a box on a shelf and that we suffer when we try not to be sad about something ever again instead of putting it on a shelf and then taking it down and being sad whenever we needed to be sad. Suffering is resisting our sadness. Suffering is trying to numb our pain instead of feeling it. 

It wasn't that I was never going to sad about something ever again, but that I didn't need to carry it with me. I could actually put it down and not drag it around like an anchor.

What a revelation and relief! Life has sadness and sometimes it feels good to be with it and get a good cry in and feel the loss. And then we can put it back where it belongs and not lead with it and not sprinkle it on our current happy life. I now don't avoid being sad, I feel what I'm feeling and sometimes I cry out, and even wallow in, how much I miss Chris and Ted or wish my Nonne was here to make tortellini with.

To love deeply leaves scars but they are better than never having had the experience. I can actually be happy when I get to be sad because I know it means someone and something was that important to me. Love is sometimes going to be sad and that's OK. Be happy we have the capacity to know and feel it at all.

When I went back the next morning I was greeted with concern and kindness and then relief that I had figured out how to release my own suffering. I hope to save you the suffering you might be doing about your own suffering now that you see how happy we can be to be sad sometimes. Keep your sadness as long as it takes, and as close as you need to. But I offer up that it doesn't need you to keep it with you. 

No one you love would want you to suffer in their absence (whether because of death or circumstance), it would not be their wish to be the source of your pain. You know they would want you to live a happy life in their honor not in your darkness. Not to mention, if your suffering isn't about love but about trauma that was done to you, be clear... nothing that was done to you is worth stealing your present and future joy. Feel your sadness, and then take a deep long breath, add a loud sigh if called for, and then release it until you're ready to be with it again. And if it is still deep inside and clinging to you, please get help to put it in its proper place and free yourself of that burden.  

Time has healed most of my wounds but sometimes when I need a good cry I'm happy that I loved a few deeply enough to be worthy of my tears. 

I hope you take the time to feel your sad tears as well and they bring you some relief. And when you're ready, that they dry and you can get back to a Happy Happy life.