Life goals

•March 7, 2018 • Leave a Comment

There are numerous scientific studies about stress, happiness, and the role that self-imposed stress plays on our psyche. In general, it’s said that if we are under extreme stress by our own doing, it’s somehow easier to manage, or at least we are more willing to manage it, than if we are not the designers of our own fates. For instance, I’m far more likely to put in 14 hour days for the same salary, since I’m furthering my own means and interests. However, at my former job, 8 hours seemed like eternity and getting me to stay even a minute longer was simply non-negotiable.

Meanwhile in research land, they’ve discovered that not all stress is bad, and it can often lead to tremendous growth and discovery about oneself. It’s the focus and dedication to a thing that strengthens the mental state and physical body. Without the added pressure, we’d never grow stronger, as weightlifting has shown us with muscle definition. But I believe there’s a defined line between too little stress and too much. Once we cross that line, it becomes a detriment to our health and mental capacity. We have a harder time focusing, remembering things, and doing multiple tasks.

So how do stress (but not too much) and pressure relate to happiness? Obviously when the periods of stress are over, there’s a sense of relief, but more than that it’s about self mastery. It may be unconscious, but you feel good having overcome obstacles, completing a challenging task, or learning what you’re really made of. More to the point, focus and dedication also spur happiness, especially if you’re doing something you love, or that brings future possibilities.

Our bodies and minds are meant to stay sharp and fit. By throwing ourselves through the wringer a little bit, we are better adapted to life’s challenges as well.

But in the flip side of this, the modern world has created an environment packed with stressors and it’s actually proving to be harmful. Our primitive brains simply cannot keep up with high speed internet and 24 hour news cycles. So instead of causing us to flex our physical and proverbial muscles, it’s wearing us down. We are showing the greatest amounts of depression, anxiety, and loneliness that we’ve ever known in human (testing) history. We are showing greater incidences of sicknesses and diseases, despite having the most advanced medical technology ever seen on this planet.

As with weightlifting, after a period of tearing the muscles, to heal, we must also have a period of rest. If we do not let the muscles heal, we will not build muscle, but rather, we destroy the gains we could have made, and break down those fibers completely. And this is basically my point today. We have to find ways of resting and self-care in this uncertain world of stress we live in. As an American, I’m well aware that a ‘vacation’ in the traditional sense isn’t in the cards very often (unlike most of Europe with generous holiday leave), but even so, it’s entirely possible to rest and recharge in ways that are helpful to us.

For example, I attended a meditation class on my birthday with a friend. I could have gone out and whatever, but I chose to look inward, to provide myself with something that has proven to be the most helpful thing I’ve done in ages for myself, and essentially by myself (in a room full of people). Obviously, this isn’t everyone’s jam, but I encourage you to find what works for you.

It’ll recharge your mind, body, spirit, and allow you to focus better in everyday life, whatever it is that you choose. And maybe you have to try a few things on for size, because too often we have no idea what self-care looks like, or we’ve not been ‘ourselves’ in so long, we’ve forgotten who we are and what we’re about. I can attest that it’s a serious challenge for me too, taking care of myself once in a while, but it’s worth it. You are worth it.



•December 31, 2017 • 2 Comments

As I sit here enjoying my coffee on the eve of the new year, I’m compelled as many are, to reflect and imagine.

2017 was a challenging year for many of us in a variety of ways: politically, socially, and more. I’ve experienced this year as a roller coaster, for sure. However, roller coasters are usually much more enjoyable.

I have created the framework for my employment future, lost longtime friends in the process. I’ve struggled in many ways, but also experienced such joy that my heart felt like it could explode. I’ve never been so focused, while simultaneously distracted.

For a lot of people, this seems to have been the year of dichotomy, opposition, and imbalance. My sincere wish is that 2018 bears no resemblance to this year, and only provides opportunity for growth, prosperity, and success for everyone.

I do not have a concrete plan for 2018, as I have in years past. Instead, I’m going to continue to strive for positivity, love, and prosperity. I wish all of my readers and beyond the happiest of New Years. Hopefully next year, I’ll be able to write more regularly, but that is an ongoing battle, as we all know. Thank you for your continued support. 💜


•July 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

5 years ago today, I wrote a blog on honesty. It can be found here.

Today, I wrote something personal, and now, I’m writing something public.


The oddity of cycles is something I’ve always been fascinated by. I find it fascinating that I have similar life experiences during the same times of year, often times, for many years. Similar things happen to people during similar times. It’s pretty weird.

Looking back to where I was last year, the year before, 4-6 years ago, I have the same heavy heart. So many things are happening to where life is squarely “in flux”, but the timing could be crappier. I’ve got a lot of important dates in the summer and all I want to do is nothing, or at least swim my life away. I want to spend time with those I love, and not be worried about stupid adult obligations. My heart is full of love, but heavy from the weight of life. It’s enough to consume a person. But at the same time, I feel hollow and empty.

So the questions are this: 1) What does this all have to do with happiness, since this is a happiness blog, after all? And 2) What does honesty have to do with anything?

To answer #1, it’s really quite simple. Happiness is not just the act of thinking positively, or acting happy all the time. It’s striking the balance between what we want, what we are, and where we are in life.  Which leads to #2: Being honest with yourself is the first step toward being honest with the world. Living as your authentic self and representing yourself honestly and kindly to the world are just as important as only allowing the truth escaping your lips. It’s a tight rope to walk and if you’re not careful, you will end up on the pavement. It’s difficult to keep going when the rope wobbles, but once you’re out on the rope, you are at risk, and you can go forward or backwards, but it’s extremely difficult to stand still. Standing still is certain death, and it’s not respecting the rope (life) or the walk. Only when we live honestly and authentically in all things, while walking gently through this life can we really appreciate that the wobbles remind us that we’re alive.

What would we learn if things were easy? If we just walked through each day without resistance? First, it would be boring as shit, and second, we would never learn a thing about ourselves or about the world. We’d never have the opportunity to find our inner selves, our inner strength, the strength to keep moving forward… so many things would be lost without turbulence.

During times of stress and chaos, I find myself trying to reflect on these ideals. It brings life back into perspective and reminds me that I’m still learning and that I’m still alive. I don’t “feel” alive some days, but it’s only when I’m just going through the motions. Don’t just go through the motions.

Thanks for reading!


Intelligence and the gift

•June 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I came across a brief video online today about the 6 things that prevent intelligent people from being happy. Of course, considering myself a smart person, I watched it. It was less than a minute long, because, come on now. There’s no way we’ve got time in our busy lives to watch something much longer than a minute.

Anyway, the following things are what this video (substantiated by unknown sources):

  • Overthinking
  • Having high standards
  • Being hard on oneself
  • Reality isn’t enough (always looking for meaning, lessons, or purpose)
  • Feeling alone or misunderstood
  • Higher IQ’s have been linked to psychological issues like anxiety and depression

So of course, since I’m an intelligent person, all of these things resonate with me. I am notorious for basically every single thing on this list. But the question is, does it inhibit my happiness to a certain degree? You betcha. All the time.

I agonize about virtually all aspects of my life, internally and externally. It’s an impossible position. I can never be good enough, nor can anyone else. Every single misstep, I turn it over and over and over and over in my mind. All the things that I should have said differently, done differently. Every bit of it. It’s extremely stressful to be human. I feel as though it cannot possibly be just me who does this. Other people, regardless of intellect, MUST have a similar human experience, right?

I watched another brief video the other day about sacrifice versus “giving”. For instance, giving your time to a cause that you feel passionate about is a gift. But feeling obligated to go to a function because it’s expected of you is sacrificing your happiness or your desires, which is placing you as a victim, rather than a benefactor of your time and energy. This also struck a chord with me. I often find myself in situations in which I feel pressured to attend or to do something that I’m not particularly interested in. Like going to a birthday party where I am going to be ignored by the hosts because other guests are “more demanding” and require doting, where I will not know anyone else, or the other attendees are generally unpleasant to me.

Attending this party feels forced. I’m not going to enjoy myself, and the other people around me aren’t going to be enjoying my presence. It’ll be awkward and lame for us all. However, because I feel guilty and other people place blame on me for “not supporting” the person who’s birthday it is. So I go to the thing. I sit there quietly, until it’s acceptable for me to quietly bow out. This is sacrificing my time, my energy, and my dignity, since I am a grown-ass woman who cannot set and maintain healthy boundaries with people.

Meanwhile, the same weekend there’s another birthday party. This party I’m excited about. This one is for a person that I really enjoy spending time with. I also like their family, who will also be attending. These folks like me and my family. We can sit and bullshit for hours and I love it. I literally cannot get enough of this group of people. This is a gift. I’m receiving a gift by attending. I get the gift of surrounding myself with people who appreciate my presence not only at their party, but also in their lives. Not only do they bring value to my life, but I theirs.

Being of value is something that I personally hold very dear. I don’t buy things that I do not need, because the things I purchase must bring value to my life. They must be useful and enrich my life in some way. I feel the same about the people in our lives. If they don’t enrich us and make us better people, they are a sacrifice, not a gift. Constantly sacrificing for the sake of others leaves us hollow shells. It does not give us the opportunity to enrich the lives of others or to bring value to those around us. We cannot share our gifts, and that is a shame indeed.



Worry and the art of letting go

•June 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Anxiety, worry, fretting, and similar feelings or actions are really just the inability for human beings to let go of something. It could be a person, a situation, the “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s”… but the crux is that there is something that we are attached to, that we cannot let go of.

I am just as, if not more so, guilty of this. I have severe anxiety about things that are TOTALLY out of my control. It’s so very easy for me to point out to other people, their turmoil and anguish is simply because they won’t let go of something. I recognize these traits in myself all the time, but I often feel powerless to stop the train. I end up rolling things over and over and over in my head, obsessing until things are blown so far out of proportion that it barely is recognizable to the initial problem. So not only can’t I let go of something, but I also explode it until it’s a mountain, instead of a molehill.

Clearly, not all issues are “molehills”. Some things that cause stress are exactly the opposite of a molehill. Some of the things in our lives are literally life and death. These things are not what I’m talking about here. Very serious issues warrant a certain amount of “letting go” too, but often come with a number of smaller problems that also must be dealt with.

However, with all things, there’s perceptions and levels of sensitivity. It’s important to focus on SOLVING the problems, rather than obsessing over how they’re impacting your life. The best way to “let go” is to solve the problem, so that it goes away. Dwelling has never solved a problem in and of itself, nor has holding on to pain and hurt feelings. I know many people who are close to me that are literally giving themselves physical health problems due to their inability to let go of pain. Old relationships, “what-ifs” and more have caused debilitating anxiety, heart issues, weight gain, fatigue, depression and more in these folks. It’s painful to watch from the outside, and it’s difficult to be on the receiving end of their struggle.

It’s extraordinarily hard to be an empath, dealing with your own struggles in this life, to then be the dumping ground for other people. This causes worry for both of us. In now in your boat, feeling what you feel… stressing with you. It makes you feel better that I’m there to comfort you, but it makes people around you feel worse. Letting go of the need to rescue those in need is a serious struggle toward self-care. It’s a battle I often lose for the sake of being “there” for those that I love. And the struggle is real.

I don’t have any advice for learning to let go, however, recognizing is the first step I guess. But I can say for sure that I’m good at recognizing but bad at letting things go, and also creating healthy boundaries. It’s something I work on daily.

Good things happen to bad people…

•May 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I often find myself wondering exactly how it is that bad things happen to some of the most wonderful people and how great things can happen to some of the Earth’s most abhorrent.

I have this overwhelming sense that the world should be “fair” but simply isn’t and shit happens to people who are largely undeserving. Recently I read an article that tackled this exact thing. So, part of the hangup about bad things happening to good people is that we see the world as “just” or have a deep sense of “justice”, and good things for bad people is contrary to that ideal. However, this article posits that YES, the world is in fact “fair”. Simply put, the Law of Attraction- we create our own reality.

In essence, even if horrible people BELIEVE they are deserving of good things, they’ll get them. And on the flip side, if amazing people BELIEVE they’re not worthy of all that the universe has to offer, they’ll simply attract the negative things they worry about. Like attracts Like.

Now, the rationalist in me says that’s total bullshit, because again, justice. I mean, I cannot fathom that when horrible things happen: poverty, assault, kidnapping, murder, etc. these people are “asking for it” in the form of attracting it with their “vibrations”. That simply cannot reconcile in my head. At the same time, I’ve seen people quite literally manifest miracles out of thin air. The dream job, a sudden windfall, and more, have fallen into the laps of people, myself included.

So that really begs the question: Why cannot good things happen to only the “good” people? This is assuming that the construct of good and bad are based on sort of the collective conscious that things like rape, murder, theft, lying, etc are bad and charity, selflessness, joy, service, honesty, trust, etc are good things. Are they just not positive enough about themselves?

The article goes on to point out horrible employees as an example. How is it that shitty people who do nothing but brag, step on others, are disrespectful, and more manage to be continually promoted and held in high regard within organizations? It’s because they are CONVINCED that they’re great, so much so that they never shut up about their achievements, and they truly BELIEVE they deserve it, despite their clear character flaws. Whereas the “good” people, tend to be humble, with a deep sense of humility and candor. Rather than bragging and stepping on others, they will generally SHARE the accolades with their teams, or humbly and quietly stay out of the limelight.

So, my natural train of thought is how can one be humble and true to oneself, while also attracting good things? In other words, how can I gain and still not be a dick? Personally, I’ve found this a tough balance to walk. I am not one to brag about my achievements, but at the same time, I know that I am deserving of good things. I’m convinced that I still need to work on shifting my mindset to really solidify my stance that A) I am deserving of all the good things the universe has to offer and B) That I can still be humble while knowing this fact.

Thanks for reading!

Social media unrest

•February 20, 2017 • 4 Comments

I’ve been sort of back on fb just over a week now. It’s exactly the same as I left it. The same bullshit politics and tragedies. The same people lamenting or embracing where they are in life. The same pictures of food, memes of animals, and photos of stupid people being themselves. 

Several people I know have recently taken breaks from not just social media, but all media and even become reclusive. Because of the terrible things, the bullshit politics, and the really awful things being spread, they simply had to take a break. These individuals are some of the strongest people I’ve ever known. That’s how you know the environment is toxic. When the people who can withstand the most get out, you know it’s beyond time. 

Social media has been an exceptional tool in our modern world. It’s successfully brought closer the furthest corners of the world. But at what cost? Are we truly to believe that spreading vitriol, trolling, cyber bullying, and hate crimes online are what these tools were meant to be used for? I certainly can’t imagine the creators could have even considered to what lengths human beings will go to hurt others, even in virtual spaces. It’s almost easier in these arenas because there’s an element of anonymity. 

While I’m absolutely not the first person to posit these questions or make the ties between hate and being anonymous, I am discovering the true nature of things for myself. I can’t say I’m a fan of what I see. It’s actually really sad. Moreover, it’s frightening that so many people are misinformed (probably myself too) and spreading hate and lies. It seriously makes me wonder if it’s worth it. 

My husband has gone about a week after removing all his friends from his friends list. He only still has his account because a couple of the groups he’s part of are really important to him. A couple car groups, an insect group, and a plant group- all of which he uses to ask questions about things that matter. The insect group is for our garden, and the plant group was for him to figure out what ‘weeds’ we had in our backyard. Both have proven quite helpful. 

But isn’t this what social media was designed for? Sharing information with people sometimes a half a world away? It seems like we’ve come a long way from that aspect. I’m hopeful that we can get back there before it’s really too late.