Home

road_trip

I’m thinking HAPPINESS! The summer sunshine must have something to do with it! Like me, do you get happy when you see the sun rise, or when you feel its warmth on your body? Things seem to slow just enough during the summer, kicking up my HQ, or Happiness Quotient! But when there’s no sunshine (literally or otherwise) what happens? 
 
Today, my thoughts are on happiness. What does being “happy” really mean and how can we be happy more often? In fact, how can we be conscious enough to know exactly when we need to turn it up and make it more present? After lots of thought, including looking deeply at my own happiness patterns, I believe it is possible to switch it on at a moments notice. (I don’t know that I’m capable of believing otherwise, but many of you probably know that about me by now! 🙂 )

So, what are those things that tend to turn down our happiness or keep it at bay? There are certain “buttons” that may be unique for each of us, but for the most part, these may be some of the culprits:

  • Stress
  • Conflict
  • Overwhelm
  • Sudden change
  • Loneliness
  • Loss or grief
  • Poor health
  • Financial distress

You get the picture, and I’m sure you can add more items to this list. The specifics behind the culprit may not even be that drastic and yet still can bring us into a state of unhappiness. I’ve written many times about moments when little things threw me way off, like a silly comment by someone. Perhaps my HQ was a 10 before that comment, but suddenly fell to a 4! My mind chatter grew stronger and stronger as I realized how I let that comment drown my sunshine—my happiness!

So, in moments like that, or even heavier ones, how do we pick ourselves up quickly and turn up our HQ? Well, here’s a simple to remember tool that I whipped up that may work for you. And, it happens to be called “H.A.P.P.Y”!  Ask yourself one or more of the following questions when you feel your HQ dropping quickly, and see it rise just in time to put you back into an optimal state.

 

H – (Hope) – How can I be hopeful right now?

When we feel frazzled and unhappy, most of the time our mind chatter spirals down into dark, negative thoughts. For example, if the state of your home is drowning your HQ, instead of thinking, “There is no hope for this house today. My weekend will be ruined because I’m going to have to spend all my time cleaning, and then I’ll be exhausted and will have no energy to do anything!”….we should instead question—“Where’s the hope in this situation? It looks like I will need to do the dishes, wash a few loads of laundry, and organize the toys. If I break up these tasks throughout the weekend, including getting one out of the way right now, I should be able have the kind of weekend I envisioned!” See the difference? The moment you shift your thoughts from despair to hope, your feelings follow right along and pick you up.
 

A – Acceptance – How can accepting this situation help me?

In Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, Tolle explains the power of “awakened doing”, that is, being fully engaged (conscious) in what we are doing. According to Tolle there are three modalities of awakened doing: (1) acceptance, (2) enjoyment, and (3) enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. In essence, at least one of these needs to be operating at all times whenever we are engaged in doing anything. If not, then we are most likely creating suffering for ourselves and others, or unhappiness. Tolle concludes this idea by saying that, “On the surface, acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it is active and creative because it brings something entirely new into the world”—peace, subtle energy and surrendered action.So, in moments where we have no desire to be joyful or enthusiastic, we can employ acceptance and we’ll be bringing peace and surrender to the situation.

P – (Patience) – How can I bring patience to the situation?

Is it realistic to drive up our emotions when some things are not within our control? With regard to the house chores, I could ponder if I need to do everything right now? What can wait? Is my need to ‘do it all now’ typically lower my HQ? An important question I could ask and see if there is a pattern within that need.

Using a new example, let’s say you had an argument with your significant other and are very eager to state your feelings and get the conflict resolved. If you are angry in the moment, how do you think the conversation will go? Would it be better to create some space between your intended discussion to think of what and how you will communicate to him/her? Patience provides this space, and most of the time, a more positive outcome.

 

P – (Perseverance) – How can I persist; rise above?

Some situations that keep us from feeling happy are difficult and may not be resolved as quickly as we’d like. For example, perhaps we are dealing with a very sick relative and we are anticipating their loss. The feeling of loss is one that can easily permeate throughout all areas of our life. Understanding what healing we can bring to the situation and creating within us a feeling of fight and survival can really pull us through. We may not know what the outcome will be, but wouldn’t it feel better to intend for a positive result? Perseverance can lift our spirits, and therefore our HQ, because we are fighting for something that is worth our time and attention, regardless of how negative it may seem in the moment. Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going!

 

Y – (You!) – How are YOU responsible for your unhappiness?

This is my favorite. The key to happiness is within each of us…its power is within YOU! We have all heard this before, but it is always worth repeating and believing it—the only person that can make you happy is YOU. We must take personal responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions. Understanding how our thoughts often sink us is important. YOU create your thoughts…so create powerful and empowering thoughts in every moment for many happy moments!

Interestingly enough, we also can do something as simple as smiling to lift our spirits. In an article I once read in Oprah, the author explains how when we smile, or even sigh (release), our Vagus nerve is working behind the scenes to reduce our heart rate and calm our immune response. Cool! No wonder smiling feels good.

Additionally, the article sites the importance of the hormone, Oxytocin, which releases when we do things like watch sentimental commercials, or laugh at funny tv shows. It is the hormone that uplifts us. Ahh! Evidence that we simply could sit on the couch, eat popcorn, and watch funny movies, or cry at heart tugging commercials!

So, although happiness can be explained scientifically (via the Vagus Nerve and the creation of Oxytocin) and we can cause it by smiling and laughing, we also can drive happiness in our lives by paying close attention to our thoughts— changing them, and acting upon our new, powerful thoughts.

What new thoughts and actions will you create to shift up your HQ? I’d love to hear from you!

In closing, here’s a great quote that is woven into a beautiful dish towel that my wonderful friend Lou gifted to me a while back—“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself!”

Now, smile, laugh, and go create your fabulous, HAPPY life! 

Monique

Advertisements

galaxy1

We look to the New Year as “the time” to decide who we will be and what we will achieve in the next year. And although that is a natural time to create ourselves anew, if we so wish, there also are other times during the year when, energetically, it is optimal for us to take these steps.

According to astrologers this month of April is one of those unique times, due to the activation and transit of these very powerful planets: Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto and Mars. We are informed that it may be a wild ride, and that we will be tested. But, in the same, it is an excellent time to clean our slate and claim our power and purpose.

Whether or not you believe in astrology — or anything else for that matter — symbolism and/or rituals are things we can look to, to provide us with motivation to accomplish amazing things and tap into the many miracles in our lives (as well as experience new ones!).

Seeking out these energetic moments is one of my personal strategies for success. Our lives get full quick, and in no time we’re in Quarter 2! In the New Year I always go through the process of intending what I hope to experience, but just as we revisit our business plans, we also should do the same with our New Year goals.

What did you set out to feel, start or accomplish? Are you on track? What’s changed? Where have you succeeded thus far? What’s next?

Energetically, April is the right time to investigate and continue the process of intention and tapping into our personal power.

Want to join me for this “Alchemic April” exercise? Let’s go!

To make this super easy and achievable, I’ve taken the dates of the major planetary transitions for this month as detailed by Astrologist Maya White, and based on the potential “Power Outcome” of their transit, I’ve suggested a question for you to ponder upon, or a small action for you to take. Print this out and follow along daily during the month April. Most importantly … have fun with this!

  • (Today) April 3What do you want? Write it down now.
  • April 4What one small thing in your life needs to change? Take one small step today toward that change.
  • April 5 – Show compassion today. How will you show it and why is this action important to you?
  • April 8 – Is there an obstacle in your way? How can you begin to overcome it now?
  • April 11 – Connect with someone you love. What does your heart and soul want you to do? Do it.
  • April 14– What’s holding you back? How can you express your truth to get you closer to your destiny?
  • April 15 – Work on the relationship with yourself. What do you need to do for you? Do it.
  • April 16 – Caring what others think of what you need to say or do? Do it anyway – now!
  • April 17– Practice abundance! Make a list of the five major things you are grateful for. Pay it forward today.
  • April 20 – Get in the game. Where do you need to claim your stake? Take that action now.
  • April 21 – What’s the right thing to do? Do it.
  • April 22 – Connect with your authenticity. Share your truth in some way today & know that others will resonate with it!
  • April 28 – Write down your new, updated vision for yourself. See it and feel it. Through this action know that the energy of the world supports your vision! Believe in it and walk toward it.

I hope that you take advantage of these energies to help manifest your core self and core vision for your life. Placing energy into our goals and desires helps us to focus on them and push them forward. And in the end, let’s remember that leading others is only as effective as leading ourselves.

Please share your experiences with me below by commenting.

Enjoy your weekend!

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Monique

This month I’m blogging about Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. I’m really enjoying her book, mostly because of the way she really puts herself out there. Connecting with her through her very human experiences is easy to do. I love this excerpt in particular, because it touches upon several things—working on ourselves and not others, learning how to be in a state of non-judgment  (a trait of highly successful people), and not sweating the small stuff.

Here it is…

I had come to understand one critical fact about my happiness project: I couldn’t change anyone else. As tempting as it was to try, I couldn’t lighten the atmosphere of our marriage by bullying Jaime into changing his ways. I could work only on myself. For inspiration, I turned to the twelfth of my Twelve Commandments: ‘There is only love.’

A friend of mine was the source of that commandment. She came up with the phrase when she was considering taking a high-pressure job where she’d be working for a notoriously difficult person. The person handling the process told her, ‘I’m going to be honest with you. John Doe is very effective, but he’s an extremely tough guy to work for. Think hard about whether you want this job.’ My friend really wanted the job, so she decided, ‘there is only love.’ From that moment on, she refused to think critical thoughts about John Doe; she never complained about him behind his back; she wouldn’t even listen to other people criticize him. ‘Don’t your coworkers think you’re a goody-goody?’ I asked. ‘Oh, no’ she said. ‘They all wish they could do the same thing, too. He drives them crazy, but I can honestly say that I like John.

If my friend could do that for her boss, why couldn’t I do it for Jaime? Deep down, I had only love for Jaime—but I was allowing too many petty issues to get in the way. I wasn’t living up to my own standards of behavior, and then, because I felt guilty when I behaved badly, I behaved even worst.

From reading the passage you can assume that this “John Doe” truly is a difficult person, so what exactly did Rubin’s friend do to allow her to totally suspend judgment of her boss? Why couldn’t her co-workers do the same? I’d really love to know! In fact, if I knew her I would ask her:

  • “Why was it okay for you to take a position working for someone you knew was difficult?”
  • “What made it okay?”
  • “What are you doing, exactly, that others are not?”
  • “How are you able to completely ignore John Doe’s behavior and negative actions?”
  • “What have you learned about him that others have not taken the time to learn? How much of a difference has this made to your relationship?”

Her mantra, “There is only love,” definitely seemed to have worked. If you repeated this mantra in your head over and over in the moment someone was upsetting you or pushing your buttons, do you see how it could defuse your anger or aggression? For some people, especially in corporate environments, embracing others with “love” may seem a little mushy. I get it. But, if you bring compassion to the situation (instead of love), perhaps the results would be the same. What do you think?

If you continue to read The Happiness Project you will see how well this mantra, or commandment, works for Rubin. In fact, she decides that giving proofs of love will bring her loads of happiness. So, in closing, I’d like to share a quote by Pierre Reverdy, as Rubin did later in the book, as well as one of my daily inspiration reads from the Daily Kabbalah, which suits this discussion well:

“There is no love; there are only proofs of love. Whatever love I might feel in my heart, others will see only my action.” Pierre Reverdy.


“When we apply resistance in a situation and our opponent throws a bit of time into the space between resistance and reward, the spiritual Light we generate might not shine immediately. This creates the illusion that goodness doesn’t pay. Today, don’t seek an immediate result from your actions. Develop patience. Build your  certainty.”Daily Kabbalah

Give  only proofs of love and suspend judgment: a great recipe for happiness, I believe.

Have a great week. Happy reading.

Monique

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership,leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.

Turn up the Happiness!

April 13, 2009

This month I’ve been pondering happiness. What does being “happy” really mean and how can we be happy more often? In fact, how can we be conscious enough to know exactly when we need to turn it up and make it more present? After lots of thought, including looking at my own happiness patterns, I believe it is possible to switch it on at a moments notice. (I don’t know that I’m capable of believing otherwise, but many of you probably know that about me by now! 🙂 )

So, what are those things that tend to turn down our happiness or keep it at bay? There are certain things that may be unique for each of us, but for the most part, these may be some of the culprits:

·        Stress

·        Conflict

·        Overwhelm

·        Sudden change

·        Loneliness

·        Loss or grief

·        Poor health

·        Financial distress

You get the picture, and I’m sure you can add more items to this list. The specifics behind the culprit may not even be that drastic and yet still can bring us into a state of unhappiness. For example, today I woke up feeling a bit under the weather. It took every ounce of energy I had to force myself to get to work. Needless to say, by the time I got home with my energetic four year old, I was a bit frazzled and ready for a break. On a scale from 1 to 10, one being the weakest and 10 the strongest, my “Happy Quotient” (HQ) was about a 6. When I stood in silence for a brief moment to observe the state of my home (the cleaning lady could not come today!!) and how I was feeling, I about lost it. My mind chatter grew stronger and stronger as I realized how chaotic my environment was and how much work I would need to put into my home to get it back to a normal enough state where I could relax and enjoy my time with my daughter and later with my son and husband. My HQ quickly dropped to about a 4. I was upset, not feeling up to par, and not wanting (at all!) to clean up and organize.

How do we pick ourselves up quickly and turn up our HQ? Well, here’s a simple to remember tool that I whipped up that may work for you. And, it happens to be called “H.A.P.P.Y”!  Ask yourself one or more of the following questions when you feel your HQ dropping quickly, and see it rise just in time to put you back into an optimal state.

HopeHow can I be hopeful right now? When we feel frazzled and unhappy, most of the time our mind chatter spirals down into dark, negative thoughts. Instead of thinking “There is no hope for this house today. My weekend will be ruined because I’m going to have to spend all my time cleaning, and then I’ll be exhausted and will have no energy to do anything!”….we should instead question—“Where’s the hope in this situation? It looks like I will need to do the dishes, wash a few loads of laundry, and organize the toys. If I break up these tasks throughout the weekend, including getting one out of the way right now, I should be able have the kind of weekend I envisioned!” See the difference? The moment you shift your thoughts from despair to hope, your feelings follow right along and pick you up.

Acceptance & AppreciationHow can accepting this situation help me? What about this situation can I be grateful for? I threw in two “A”s for this one, because I feel they are equally important. In Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, Tolle explains the power of “awakened doing”, that is, being fully engaged (conscious) in what you are doing. According to Tolle there are three modalities of awakened doing: (1) acceptance, (2) enjoyment, and (3) enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. In essence, at least one of these needs to be operating at all times whenever you are engaged in doing anything. If not, then we are most likely creating suffering for ourselves and others, or unhappiness. Tolle concludes this idea by saying that “On the surface, acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it is active and creative because it brings something entirely new into the world”—peace, subtle energy and surrendered action. So, in moments where you have no desire to be joyful or enthusiastic, employ acceptance and you’ll be bringing peace and surrender to the situation.

Here’s another example to make this more clear. Let’s say I decided that doing the dishes would alleviate some of my stress. So, instead of cursing the act of doing the dishes, therefore adding more negativity to my mood, I can accept the chore and bring more peace to myself and the situation. Make sense? Please comment if it doesn’t and we can chat more about this.

What about appreciation? There is an opportunity in everything—both good and bad. Ponder upon what’s conflicting you and brainstorm about what good can come from it, or what learning may be behind it. I challenge you to find the opportunities behind these issues that bring you down. Using the same example, I realized that my problem seemed much larger than it was because I was not feeling well. I also became very grateful for the dirty dishes and laundry because I knew that many others didn’t even have a home in which to live. Grateful I became quickly!

PatienceHow can I bring patience to the situation? Is it realistic to drive up your emotions when some things are not within your control? In my case, do I need to do everything right now? What can wait? Feeling sick was not within my control, and therefore, it may suit me (and everyone in my family!) to get some rest before tackling these tasks.

Let’s say you had an argument with your significant other and are very eager to state your feelings and get the conflict resolved. If you are angry in the moment, how do you think the conversation will go? Would it be better to create some space between your intended discussion to think of what and how you will communicate to him/her? Patience provides this space, and most of the time, a more positive outcome.

PerseveranceHow can I persist; rise above? Some situations that keep us from feeling happy are difficult and may not be resolved as quickly as we’d like. For example, perhaps you are dealing with a very sick relative and you are anticipating their loss. The feeling of loss is one that can easily permeate throughout all areas of your life. Understanding what healing you can bring to the situation and creating within you a feeling of fight and survival can really pull you through. We may not know what the outcome will be, but wouldn’t it feel better to intend a positive result? Perseverance can lift our spirits, and therefore our HQ, because we are fighting for something that is worth our time and attention, regardless of how negative it may seem in the moment. Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going!

You!How are YOU responsible for your unhappiness? This is my favorite. The key to happiness is within each of us…its power is within YOU! We have all heard this before, but it is always worth repeating and believing it—the only person that can make you happy is YOU. We must take personal responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions. Understanding how our thoughts often sink us is important. YOU create your thoughts…so create powerful and empowering thoughts in every moment for many happy moments!

Interestingly enough, you also can do something as simple as smiling to lift your spirits. Oprah magazine (May 2009) has a great article about happiness. In it, the author explains how when we smile or even sigh (release), our Vagus nerve is working behind the scenes to reduce our heart rate and calm our immune response. Cool! No wonder smiling feels good.

Additionally, the article sites the importance of the hormone Oxytocin, which releases when we do things like watch sentimental commercials or laugh at funny tv shows. It is the hormone that uplifts us. Ahh! Evidence that we can do nothing— sit on the couch, eat popcorn, and watch funny movies ,or cry at heart tugging commercials! 

So, although happiness can be explained scientifically (via the Vagus Nerve and the creation of Oxytocin) and we can cause it by smiling and laughing, we also can drive happiness in our lives by paying close attention to our thoughts— changing them, and acting upon our new, powerful thoughts.

What new thoughts and actions will you create for your life today? I’d love to hear from you!

In closing, here’s a great quote that is woven into a beautiful dish towel that my amazing friend Lou gifted to me recently—“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself!”

Now, smile, laugh, and go create your fabulous, HAPPY life!

Monique