Happiness Is An Inside Job

Happiness is Family. From L to R, sister Cally, Mom, Me, sister Mary
Happiness is Family. From L to R, sister Cally, Mom, Me, sister Mary

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

I was reading the paper this morning and the news is depressing and discouraging. Some of us are unhappy and miserable; worse yet, we are taking our anger out on other people.

Companies expect more and more from their employees. Boundary issues creep up when you want to keep your job but more and more is dumped upon you. What’s a person to do besides chuck it all and head for the hills?

Deep down inside of me there is a little voice that will sometimes cry in the wilderness. If the forest gets too thick, I don’t hear the voice. When I go for a walk with myself, I walk towards the voice. As it gets closer and closer, I slowly regain my sense of self.

What does the voice say to me? It will sometimes say “You are a good person” when really, I am not feeling so good about myself. It will also say “You need to slow down a bit, stop and smell the roses.” Ah, that is a good one. It will also say “You are eating too many mini Snickers left over from Easter.” To that one, I usually laugh and we have a good chuckle together.

I finally consider myself good company. There was a time when I spent no time with me because I was too busy, buried in responsibilities and other mind consuming functions. Rarely did I stop and listen to myself. I sometimes didn’t like what my own inner voice said to me.

Truth is, when I am tired and stressed, my thoughts are not calm. They can be hurtful, toxic and mean. A good night’s sleep and simple food can sometimes restore them. Getting out for a walk or being among nature almost always restores my center.

Happiness is an inside job. Since I cannot change others, I can only change myself. The responsibility to create a happy life is mine and mine alone. So I can either change my thoughts or reposition my own life. Stress management techniques can help us center ourselves better. It is not a sign of weakness to reach out for help. It is a sign of strength.

I bring with me the tools I learned in the past to help me cope with the present. Sometimes I need more tools in my happiness toolkit. These tools I find in great books, awesome people and spiritual encounters. It takes a bit of humility to open myself to a different way of thinking but it is worth it. I am in charge of my own happiness.

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Join me on my graceful journey.

Thank you!

Artwork by Rae 02-01-81 – 06-06-09

Every afternoon when I leave work, my boss says “Bye! Thank you!”

When I make dinner for my grandson Gavin, he says “Thank you Nana!”

My husband Jim loves to open his sock drawer and find it filled with clean socks. He says “Thank you!”

It sounds like such a little thing but really when you think about it, it’s not. How many times a day do you say “Thank you”? I try and say it all day. Honestly, I say it to strangers in the supermarket, customer service people on the phone, the receptionist at the dentist office. I bet those are people who don’t hear “Thank you” much.

Princess Willow

My favorite way to hear “Thank you!” is when Amy’s granddaughter, Willow, will say Grace before a meal. It was her third birthday last week and I was there to share in the special occasion.

When we sat down at the table, we all held hands. Amy asked Willow if she would say the prayer. Willow’s face lit up and she said “Thank you!” with a big smile. It was a joy filled moment!

Many of my dear friends say that gratitude is the way to live a more peaceful life. I agree. I try and be grateful every day and I want to share that feeling with others. By saying “Thank you”, I appreciate what others do for me and I keep gratitude front and center. It may be hard to believe, but saying it in a heartfelt way and with a smile can change someone’s bad day to good.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’d like to start a world wide movement to say “Thank You” more. I’m going to start right now by saying “Thank You!” to all my blogger friends, email subscribers, Twitter and Facebook fans who read my stories on a regular basis. You have no idea how much your comments, “Likes”, private emails and personal comments (when I get to see you!) mean to me. I love writing stories and I appreciate all your heartfelt support.

I think “Thank you” can be a pathway to peace of mind and a happy heart. Give lots of “Thank you’s” away and just watch how it changes  your life!

Are you with me? Say “Thank you!” a whole bunch today!

Join me on my graceful journey.

Inspired Expression

I saw a beautiful community mural on the side of a brick building last weekend. It was on the Southside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I couldn’t help myself and walked over to it for a closer look. The colors were what really drew me in.

I have been thinking about the artists who painted such a work of color. Wondered from where they drew their inspiration. My guess is, it was from deep down, in their heart and soul. Perhaps they love color, just like me, and perhaps they love their city. Together those feelings would come together in such a divine way. To have a passion for something that manifests itself in such an expression is truly an inspired gift.

I believe that inside of us all there exists a creative voice. Whether it presents itself through earthy pottery, magnificent culinary creations, delicious baked goods, nature inspired gardens or a comfortable home, it’s there, given to us by divine grace. If we trust the voice and listen, it will be a source of inspired expression. It will fill us with a sense of well being and peace.

For a long time, I worked, focused and lost myself in the day to day grind of things. My poor creative voice must have thought it lost me forever. It feels good to take time and write my Katherine’s Daughter stories. Writing is my divinely inspired expression.

How do you yield to your creative voice? What form does it take? Do you make time for it? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Join me on my graceful journey.