Archive | August 2012

Be Happy


Since 1994, Robert Holden, Ph.D., has been running an eight-week happiness program entitled, Be Happy. Additionally, he created an eight-day mini-version of that program which I have abbreviated below. It was designed to be completed over eight consecutive days, with at least 15 minutes devoted to each exercise.

Not only is the information very beneficial but the video I’ve included should get you smiling as well.

Day 1:  Defining True Happiness

What is your definition of a happy life? Are you living it? If you think happiness is outside you, you will turn happiness into a search, a pursuit or a destination; whereas if you know happiness is inside you, then happiness becomes a compass, a guide and an enabler that helps you to live a rich life.

Exercise 1:

There is a world of difference between searching for happiness and following your joy. Reflect on the question, ‘When am I at my happiest?’ Identify what inspires you, nourishes you and fans the flames of joy within. Being clear about this will help you to be true to yourself, to be honest, to make better choices and to have the courage to say a big YES to what really matters most to you in life. Say YES to joy today.

Day 2:  The Happiness Contract 

As a child, you experience happiness as being natural and easy. Happiness is your original energy. Playfulness is your true nature. Joy is your spiritual DNA. In the years that follow, you become filled with learned ideas and false beliefs that limit your daily allowance of joy. Some examples of this conditioned thinking is, “too much happiness is selfish,” and “it’s not okay for me to be happy if others are not.”

Exercise 2:

Complete the following sentence 10 times: “One way I limit my own happiness is…” and fill in the blank. Don’t think too much. Let your answers flow. Afterward, examine your answers carefully, looking for any learned rules that you can let go of. Happiness is free—there are no conditions.

Day 3:  I Choose Happiness

Most of your choices are “to-do” choices, like taking a shower, getting dressed or fixing breakfast. There is another category of choices which are your “to be” choices, like being present, being loving and being happy. From 0 to 10, how happy have you decided to be today?

Exercise 3:

Some people chase happiness, and other people choose happiness. Set a positive intention right now to let today be even more enjoyable than you thought it was going to be. Now, turn your positive intention into action by doing three things that make your heart glow.

Day 4:  Beware Unhealthy Sacrifice

To be happy, you have to know the difference between healthy sacrifice and unhealthy sacrifice. Healthy sacrifice is giving up something that is not helpful, authentic or smart.  Unhealthy sacrifice is when you sacrifice your happiness, health or your integrity for something or someone else.

Exercise 4:

One way to undo unhealthy sacrifice is to focus on receiving. Today, try to be more open than usual, to let life support you and to let people give to you. Being a good receiver is what helps you to give yourself fully without giving yourself away.

Day 5:  Putting Yourself First

Life can get busy. If you don’t stop, you become estranged from the real you. You probably promise yourself that you will catch up with yourself soon, but how soon is soon? By not stopping, you get lost and you end up being a corporate version of yourself. The longing to be more authentic is what saves you. You cannot be inauthentic and happy. Committing to happiness is the key to living an authentic life.

Exercise 5:

You cannot neglect yourself and find happiness. Tune in to your well-being. Ask yourself, “What are my needs right now?” “What messages is my body giving me?” “How does my heart feel?” and “What is my wisdom telling me?” Maybe it’s time for you to ask for help. Life gets better when you treat yourself better.

Day 6:  Your Inner Smile

“Most of the time, I don’t have very much fun, and the rest of the time I have no fun at all,” quipped Woody Allen. Sometimes life can get so demanding that you end up setting your sights on getting through the day rather than genuinely enjoying it. You run on autopilot. You are reactive rather than creative. The heavy tiredness you feel in your body is a sure sign there is a better way.

Exercise 6:

Happiness studies show consistently that most people who score higher levels of happiness do not experience markedly better life circumstances. So why are they so happy? Well, one answer is they know how to enjoy their life. The word “enjoy” means to bring joy to something. Find your inner smile by reminding yourself of what energizes you, what you love and what inspires you. Remember to enjoy the miracle of existence today.

Day 7:  Practicing Forgiveness

Sometimes to be happy in the present moment, you have to be willing to give up all hopes for a better past. Forgiveness is the key to releasing the past and recommitting to your life now. It’s impossible to carry wounds and be happy. You can’t be a victim and be joyful. You can’t keep neglecting yourself and feel whole. Forgiveness helps you to find your heart again, to be true to yourself and to let go of the past and be free.

Exercise 7:

Practice self-forgiveness for all the times you have treated yourself in loveless and careless ways. Self-forgiveness is the key to loving yourself. It is impossible to love others and not love yourself. Also, the more you love yourself, the easier you make it for others to love you too. Forgiveness is the key to love and happiness.

Day 8:  Being Grateful

Gratitude is often referred to as the shortest shortcut to happiness. It helps you to remember what is important in your life and helps you to be more receptive.

Exercise 8:

Make a list of at least eight blessings, breakthroughs and benefits you have experienced. The more you practice gratitude, the more things you find to be grateful for. The gift of gratitude is that it helps you to participate more fully in your own life and to notice what is already here. In the final analysis, the only thing that is really missing in your life is more of the real you. 

Action Step:

Share a smile.

Enjoy the Ride

Think about the best trips you’ve ever taken with others. Have you noticed that the joy was in the experience and connection you shared with the people you were traveling with? That it almost didn’t matter where you were headed, as long as you were with the right group on the journey?

This is true in life as well. We want to be traveling with the people we love and exploring our many adventures and experiences together. Life is short, which often becomes much more noticeable when someone we love passes away. These experiences make us realize just how important it is to savor every minute, and places more emphasis on the things and people that matter most.

This is preferable to focusing on every bump in the road. It is easy to get bogged down by the distractions of life, and miss all of the truly important things right in front of us. We can end up wasting days, weeks and even years worrying about what others are thinking of us, and other negative concerns that removes us from the moment.

This is not to say that troubling or unpleasant situations are trivial, and should be ignored, but rather that we ought to make as good use of our valuable time as possible.

Hopefully, we won’t let our fears keep us from trying new experiences, as we may miss out on the best times of our life! Quite often we hear of regrets from those who allowed trepidation to prevent them from pursuing their dreams.

My dad is a great, but unfortunate example, of someone who deprived himself of many joys in life. Rather than enjoying any of his hard-earned money, he scrimped and saved, never spending a dime, even during his retirement. The expression, ‘You can’t take it with you’ is definitely true, and I would have loved to see him delight in more of his earnings and the comforts it could have brought him.

It is important to save money, and equally important to use it to treat yourself as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending a large amount in order to have fun, because money can’t buy you happiness. However, it can buy you access to many pleasurable things and places to travel and explore, when you allow yourself to use it. Enjoy the ride!

Action Step:

Treat yourself to something fun today.

Free Book Download Offer

I recently received nine e-book download promotional codes from the publisher of my book, The Right Relationship Starts with You: A 21 Day Personal Development Guide for Creating Your Ultimate Connection.

I thought it would be fun to give them away to the first 9 people who type, “Yes, send me a free e-book promo code” in the comments section of this post.

For those of you, who have already purchased the book, thank you very much.

I hope you will feel free to participate anyway, and give away the code as a gift to someone you think might enjoy it.

For the giveaway winners, I will email you a unique promo code to go along with the instructions below:

  1. Click here to order the e-book download
  2. In the search box type: 9781452548791
  3. Once the search is complete, scroll down and click ADD TO CART
  4. Enter promo code: This will be emailed to you if you are one of the first 9 to comment as instructed above
  5. Click Update
  6. The price will reset to zero, and you can click CHECKOUT




The Liebster Blog Award

I was recently nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Andrea Kelly at The Hand Written Life! It is always an honor to be recognized in this way, and I really appreciate it! Thank you, Andrea.




It is my understanding that this award is meant for people with fewer than 200 followers, as a fun way to get to know them a little better. However, because it is difficult to tell which blogs fit that criterion, this award can be used as a wonderful way to connect with others regardless of how many followers they have!

The rules of the award are as follows:

  1. Answer the 11 questions proposed by the person who nominated you.
  2. Select 11 people for the award.
  3. Pose 11 new questions to the new nominees.

Here are the answers to the questions posed to me:

If you could be any household appliance, what would you be?

An electric heater because you get the summers off.

Why did you start blogging?

To exchange thoughts, ideas, and inspirational information with others while sharing our passions as well.

When was the last time you embarrassed yourself in public? What did you do?

Fortunately, I can’t remember embarrassing myself in public recently, so I will sidestep this question for now.

If you could only listen to the music of one singer/songwriter/band/group/whatever, for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Smooth Jazz

What is your favorite book?

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. Of course, I’d have to include my own book as well, The Right Relationship Starts with You.  🙂

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

Being told that my help changed someone’s life, by providing a different way to view their world.

What is your favorite day of the week?

That would be Friday, because it means the end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend.

What is one word you can never remember how to spell?


What is the last thing you said out loud?

Thank you!

When is the last time you did a cartwheel?

When I was about 12 years old.

Where’s Waldo?

Peacefully lying on the beach under his red and white umbrella.

My nominees:

It will be a pleasure to get to know you better. If you have more than 200 followers already, you can still participate if you wish.

  1. It Started With A Quote
  2. Share Chair
  3. Evolving Yogi
  4. Staying Peaceful
  5. Thinking Is Write
  6. Valerie Davies
  7. 100 Square Metres
  8. Gardens for Goldens
  9. Grandparents Plus 2
  10. For the Love of Clouds and Living Things
  11. Little Skew

My Questions to the nominees:

  1. What inspires you?
  2. What is your favorite dessert?
  3. What is your favorite comedy?
  4. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  5. Why did you start a blog?
  6. What is your favorite part of blogging?
  7. What would be the name of your ‘reality show’ to describe your life?
  8. If you were to give a speech on any topic, what would it be?
  9. If you changed your name, what would you change it to?
  10. What is your dream career?
  11. If money was no object, where would you live and why?




Pay Attention to Your Thoughts

I enjoy sharing the many inspirational books and films which have influenced my life in very powerful ways over the years and the movie, You Can Heal Your Life, is one of them. This film is based on the book by best-selling author Louise L. Hay, which discusses her remarkable personal story and describes how to achieve self-esteem, abundance, and self-love through the use of affirmations.

Affirmations are powerful positive statements about yourself, which radically changes the way you feel and experience life.

Repeating simple declarations such as those listed below, will completely alter your self-perception by replacing negative thoughts with something much more healing and nurturing.

I love and approve of myself  

I deserve the best, and accept it now

Affirming these statements will make you feel much more worthy of the life you want, and help you move in that direction.

The value of paying attention to your thoughts and changing them is discussed at length in the film, along with personal insights and stories from many of the leaders in the self-improvement field.

They discuss how changing their thoughts, has vastly improved their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Enjoy the movie trailer below!

Action Step:

Watch the movie in its entirety when you have the time.

Review the Laws of Success

Many of us grew up with the rigid belief that achieving success requires relentless struggle and desperate striving. As a result, even upon achieving many of our goals, we may have ended up feeling exhausted, and wondering if this is all there is to life.

Deepak Chopra addresses these ideas in his transformational book and film, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams. He provides a clear explanation of each of these principles, and how to tap into their unlimited power.

I have briefly outlined the laws below, as written on his website, and included a video clip of them as well:

The Law of Pure Potentiality
Take the time to be silent, meditate and just BE. Silently witness the intelligence within every living thing. Practice non-judgment.

The Law of Giving
Today, bring whoever you encounter a gift: a compliment or flower. Gratefully receive gifts. Keep wealth circulating by giving and receiving care, affection, appreciation and love.

The Law of Karma
Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. Choosing actions that bring happiness and success to others ensures the flow of happiness and success to you.

The Law of Least Effort
Accept people, situations, and events as they occur. Take responsibility for your situation and for all events seen as problems. Relinquish the need to defend your point of view.

The Law of Intention and Desire
Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment. Make a list of desires. Trust that when things don’t seem to go your way, there is a reason.

The Law of Detachment
Allow yourself and others the freedom to be who they are. Do not force solutions—allow solutions to spontaneously emerge. Uncertainty is essential, and your path to freedom.

The Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life
Seek your higher Self. Discover your unique talents. Ask yourself how you are best suited to serve humanity. Using your unique talents and serving others brings unlimited bliss and abundance.

Action Step:


Get Your Body Moving

Many of us find it difficult to stay motivated when it comes to exercise, because we tend to wait until we feel ready. For example, when we are tired or depressed, the last thing we want to do is work out, which would actually help improve these lethargic conditions or help prevent them in the first place.

Once we are physically in motion however, our feelings become elevated with a sense of well-being as a result. In spite of this knowledge, our brain may still continue to fight against exercising when we think of all the effort involved. Ironically, much of our effort is expended in all the ‘thinking’ and indecision around exercise, rather than the exercise itself.

Moving our bodies on a regular basis is often thought to be predominantly valuable for the body, but it is equally beneficial for the mind as well. When moving our bodies, we don’t have to expend as much mental energy ‘trying’ to feel better emotionally, because our body movement creates a natural physiological remedy.

Think of exercise as ‘medication’ for your brain. “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning,” claims Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. According to Ratey, “Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.”

Knowing that even 10 minutes can greatly affect our mental state, may help to alleviate our concerns around any time constraints we may have. For work out periods beyond 10 minutes however, it may help to schedule certain days of the week ahead of time, thereby reducing the vacillation process and providing more structure.

It is important not to shame yourself into moving your body however, as it will defeat the whole process, and is not very motivating. Rather than saying to yourself, “I should go to the gym”, try “I could go” instead. Using the word could removes the shaming aspect, and makes it much more of an empowering decision.

It is also very inspiring to focus on the following positive benefits of exercising rather than any negative aspects that may inhibit us:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of various cancers
  • Enhanced mood and energy
  • Reduced tension and stress
  • Increased self-esteem  and body image
  • Increased sense of well-being
  • Decreased pain and depression

Whether you choose the gym, a walk in nature, or an exercise tape at home, it is a goal well worth your time, not only for your body, but for your mind as well. However, make sure to consult your physician, if just getting started.

Action Step:

Change your brain by moving your body today, in spite of how you feel.

Be Aware of Cause and Effect

The law of cause and effect states that for every outcome in our life, there is a specific cause; that everything happens for a reason and all actions or inactions have consequences which produce specific results. The choices we make are ‘causes’ and will produce corresponding outcomes or ‘effects.’

We are usually introduced to this law when we are children without even knowing it. For example, we probably heard our parents say something like the following:

“If you finish your homework (cause), you may watch television (effect).”

The ‘cause’ piece of the equation represents a powerful position of choice; whereas the ‘effect’ embodies the result determined by the actions we choose or choose not to take.

Therefore, if we had chosen to do our homework, then permission would have been granted to watch television, which would have felt good. However, if we had chosen to procrastinate and wait on our homework, then we’d have been denied permission to watch television, which would have felt bad. We may have even blamed this dissatisfying result on our parents, rather than ourselves for choosing not do our homework in the first place.

We can carry this thought process and behavior into adulthood, continuing to blame others for the results of our choices. This creates an endless cycle of living in reaction to the problems and pain we create by not choosing wisely, or failing to take the necessary actions that would have given us more successful results initially.

It is much more effective to focus on the place where we have more power, which is before we make a decision rather than after the fact.

In order to make better decisions, we need to start by putting our energy in the right places:

1) Review daily habits and self-care activities

We make better and more nurturing decisions when we are taking care of ourselves. Additionally, we gain higher self-esteem which in turn creates confidence.

Examples of self-care decisions:

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Eating healthy food and exercising
  • Engaging in positive self-talk and activities
  • Creating a healthy balance of giving and receiving

Examples of self-destructive decisions:

  • Settling for a friend who constantly puts us down
  • Staying in a relationship with a partner who is mistreating us
  • Working in an abusive environment or dissatisfying career

2) Study what makes others successful

If we desire to achieve the results others are realizing in their relationships or careers, then we need to find out what they are doing to obtain those outcomes.

We can try and uncover the following information:

  • Books they have read
  • Courses they have studied
  • Beliefs they hold
  • Actions they have taken

According to the law of cause and effect, if we can emulate these actions taken in order to be successful; we will achieve the same results over a period of time. We are not trying to be someone else, but simply learning someone else’s successful habits.

3) Speak to professionals or loved ones about decisions we are going to make

If, over time, we are not experiencing success in life, it is likely because there is something we could be doing differently, or there is some vital piece of information that we are missing. Therefore, we can run it by others and get some much needed perspective. This is not to get approval, but a way to help us sort out and process through the possible consequences of a given choice.

Whether we are aware of certain life laws or not, they still apply because nothing occurs by chance in the Universe.

The good news, and truly wonderful thing about life laws, however, is that when we learn them, and operate within them, we are able to avoid self-created emotional ‘pitfalls’. We begin to experience a more harmonious life by focusing on our self-care, and making better decisions as a result.

Action Step:

Take care of yourself today. Think and speak with others about the possible consequences of your actions. Make sure to do this before you make a decision, rather than suffering the unpleasant results after the choice has been made.

The Blog Tag Game

Recently, I was tagged ‘it’ by Stefanie at Kokopelli Bee Free Blog to participate in the ‘Blog Tag’game.

Thank you Stefanie, for including me!

1. Here is how it works:

  1. Post the rules.
  2. Answer the questions proposed in the post by the person who tagged you.
  3. “Tag” 11 people, including a link to your post, informing them that they’ve been tagged.
  4. Create 11 new questions or re-use the existing ones for those you’ve tagged.

2. My answers to Stefanie’s fantastic questions:

How would you describe yourself in three lines?

Someone who desires to live a holistic life, while inspiring those around me. I find great joy in the results that come from improving my thinking, and taking positive actions to further enhance the quality of my life.

What do you enjoy most doing?

I enjoy spending time with my husband, particularly walking on the beach, joking around, and engaging in meaningful conversation.

If there was one gift you had for this world, what would that be?

To find a way for everyone to love themselves, as this creates an abundance of peace within.

When you think about the ones you love, can you describe three things that symbolize what you love about them?

They are kind, genuine, and unselfish.

What was a heart-warming compliment that someone gave to you? Or, if you can’t think of one: What heart-warming compliment would you give to yourself?

When a friend told me that my help changed her life, by providing a different way to view her world.

What was an inspiring insight that you learned from somebody?

That personal growth is a process of identifying internal issues, and taking the necessary actions to change my thinking, and behavior in order to alleviate pain, rather than looking for others to change in order to feel better.

If you could go back in time line and talk to your eight year old self: What would you thank him or her for? Or, if you are still there or on the way: What would you like to thank yourself for, now?

For the internal knowing that peace, love, and happiness were attainable through perseverance and a willing spirit.

If you could go forward in time line and talk to your eighty year old self: What would you thank him or her for? Or, if you are already there or beyond: What would you like to thank yourself for, now?

For the understanding that I was able to create my life exactly as I wanted it to look. 

Imagine your perfect day. How does it feel?

It feels calm and peaceful, filled with love, joy, and humor. It feels like a day at the beach.

Imagine one of your dreams coming true. How does it feel?

 I am filled with gratitude for realizing that what matters most in life is who you become as a person, rather than the amount of material possessions you obtain.

Imagine one loving message you could give to the world, right now. What would it be?

By learning to love yourself, many of your problems will fall away. Additionally, you will then attract more situations which reinforce this same feeling, and others will benefit from your authenticity, warmth, and kindness.

3. Tag, you’re it! – (optional) If you’d like to participate, great and if not, no problem! It is supposed to be fun and not a duty. Enjoy the day, either way!

  1. The Hungry Mum
  2. Solo Dialogue
  3. Travel Culture Food
  4. Northwest Photos
  5. Inspiration Import
  6. Charming Trinity
  7. Discover and Devour
  8. Green Light Lady
  9. The Why About This
  10. Claire Cappetta
  11. Hannah Meiklejohn

4. My Questions for those who choose to participate are:

  1. Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
  2. What is your favorite pastime?
  3. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
  4. What is your favorite place to vacation and why?
  5. What do you like the most about yourself?
  6. If you could do anything and money was no object, what would it be?
  7. What is the most memorable time in your life so far?
  8. What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
  9. How did you become interested in blogging, and what is your favorite part about it?
  10. What would you like your legacy to be?
  11. Are you able to accept a compliment, why or why not?




Let Life Unfold

I’d like to share the following words of wisdom by best-selling author Cheryl Richardson, written for a struggling friend who needed love and compassion. My hope is that it provides comfort to those of you who feel in need of similar support as well.

Don’t worry, you’ll be okay
Slowing down is good
Wisdom simmers and steeps and grows with time
Stop pushing yourself

You are enough just as you are
There is no need to perform
Just relax
Let life unfold

You have what it takes to handle anything
Good things come from patience, not pushing
Let space and time reveal something miraculous

Trust life
Accept where you are
Right now
Stop the judgment and internal lectures

Just be here
Don’t run or think or eat or scheme
Return to yourself in this moment
Where life is perfect and peaceful and safe

Action Step:

Just take a deep breath and relax.