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

Get into the Spirit of Spirit! As we approach the holiday season, I invite you to join me in slowing down, in appreciating what’s in front of us in each moment, to paying close attention to those significant relationships in our lives, and to connecting with our spirit—what never goes away!

I love this time because I feel more connected to myself, to others, and to the world. If you think about what spirit is, it’s what we came into this world with—naked! And it’s what we’ll leave with as well. No matter how successful (or not!) we are on this earth, our spirit won’t judge us. And best, it won’t leave us! It’s ever present. And it contains that SPARK of something special that we can never truly put our finger on, but we know we have it, and we know we’re lucky for having it!

This time of year is a great time to soften our intensity. To be reflective. To be grateful. To be giving. To be LOVE. And it’s a great time to connect with our SPARK to light things up for our new year.

As part of my Journey to Wellbeing program, which is wrapping up it’s 3rd month, we are now working on TWO things:

  1. Becoming clear of any deeply held thoughts and beliefs that don’t serve us. We are allowing them to rise to the surface. We are acknowledging them. Thanking them for their service, and we’re bidding them adieu!
  2. Choosing ONE overarching Intention for our New Year. It’s not a goal to achieve. It’s not an item on a checklist. It is a new Thought. A new Belief. A powerful, authentic, and empowering Feeling that will GUIDE our decisions and the small, yet effective steps that will take us to our destination.

I invite you to join us and do the same! What’s that one thought you need to get rid of and kick to the curb? What’s that inspiring intention that will be the tipping point for all that you do in 2015? Please share them with me in our comments section below, or on Facebook.

My husband may kill me for this, but I want to share a story that I feel will help all of us get into the SPIRIT of our SPIRIT! Here it goes…

When my husband was a boy he had a lot of energy (that’s the nicest way to describe it! LOL!). In fact, there were very few things his parents could do to calm him and get him to sit still and/or rest. In fact, he usually just collapsed at the end of the day, falling asleep in unusual places, like chairs, or under tables, etc. BUT, the one thing that did calm him—in fact it mesmerized him, was sitting in front of the Christmas tree and staring at the lights! Who knows what thoughts he was thinking. Who knows why it calmed him. But, I’d love think that in those mindful moments, he was at peace; at one with his SPIRIT.

So why not try it out for yourself? Whether it’s a Christmas tree, or a menorah, or a child playing in the snow. Indulge in the simple things of the season and just BE with WHO YOU ARE. With what is unchanging.

With SPARK,

Monique

Image

…Well, young Skywalker, it has EVERYTHING to do with it!

(Yes, I’m a Star Wars fan!)

“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.”   – Marianne Williamson

Yeah, I know, talking about “love” especially in professional settings can feel inappropriate or “soft”. But, is it really? What is love? What does it represent to you?

For me, when I think of people I love (including those I work with), I think about how much I respect them, how much I learn from them, and how much I enjoy being around them. Perhaps they lift up my spirits, or give me tough love and show me how to be a better person and leader. What’s so soft about that?

Now, let’s take a look at fear. What does it represent for you? I fear people because their values are opposite to mine, or they represent what I want to become one day and that vision is scary to me! Of course, fear also represents true danger – situations that put me or those I love at risk in some way.

When we talk about the personal choice we have and can make at any moment, if we pay close attention, we can see how ALL OF OUR CHOICES, whether conscious or not are either based in LOVE or FEAR. If you are practicing your awareness then you can begin to make more choices based in love (or similar emotions, like compassion, caring, appreciation, concern, excitement, joy, synergy, etc.)

Doesn’t love feel better than fear? It does. And, I can tell you that in the world of energy, love resonates very high (attracts/expands) and fear resonates very low (repels/breaks down). It’s very simple, when we choose fear we get stuck and stay stuck. There is no growth, no health, no vision, no risk, and lots of worry and stress!

Let’s play with this a bit. Here’s a scenario some of you may be familiar with:

There is one promotion available in your department and it will be offered to someone from within. Several of your colleagues are also interested in the promotion and are going for it. When you hear this, you can feel excited or scared, challenged or angrily competitive. You can think in your mind… “Wow! Can you imagine if I get it? If they see in me what I’m worth and how I can grow and develop in this role?” You can also think…. “Damn that Sally! I knew she would go for this, that B_ _ _h! She can’t get it. I won’t let her!” Do you sense the love and fear in these thoughts? You should be able to because thoughts and emotions are directly linked. You cannot have one without the other. So, I pose this question to you?

If you could make more conscious choices based in loving thoughts rather than fearful thoughts, how much more joy, peace and success would you feel in every moment?

Here’s a simple request… Just take one day to track all of the decisions you make (or avoid!) —large and/or small—and investigate if they are based in love or fear and how you feel.

You can change your choices and you can shift the fearful ones immediately with awareness and practice. Love is one of fear’s worst enemies! Douse your fear with love! I know you will feel better as a result. If you need to do it privately, that’s allowed too! No one needs to know! Now go do it.

Wishing you a life well led!

Monique

 

One sure way to poo poo on yourself is by continually poo pooing on others. I received a quote in my inbox the other day and it struck me how often and unconsciously we do this. It goes like this…Hurt people hurt people.

Most of the time, we think, it’s harmless. But, in the world of energy, either our thoughts and words travel to someone, or just like a boomerang, they travel right back to us!

Yikes!

Think about it, why would we bother saying or thinking something judgmental or hurtful about someone else if we ourselves were not hurt?

Do me a big favor (as I also am doing for myself, BTW!) and next time you catch yourself hurting a person either through your thoughts, statements or actions, look in the mirror and make the connection back to you.

What’s hurting you?

Why are you hurt?

How can you forgive yourself (or others) RIGHT NOW and begin to heal?

Hurt people hurt people. Stop being a victim. Take responsibility for recognizing and deleting your stuck hurts. Send Light and Love instead and you’ll get it right back.

Ahhh. That feels better!

Stop Sh$tt%ng on Yourself!

Have a magnificent and magical day!

Namaste,

Monique

I’ve always been a big fan of strengths-based leadership and personal development. It just makes sense to me. I was speaking with a student last week who was challenged with finding what it took within her to buckle down and study for a math exam she absolutely needed to ace, despite her lack-luster interest in math. Sound familiar? Well, it did to me. I resonated with her story. Although I was very good at math and enjoyed the challenge during a particular time in my life (10th & 11th grade) when I was very focused and desired to be a “great” student, I understood deeply that it just wasn’t “my thing”.  My strengths were always in the areas of communication and expression, whether it be dancing, singing, broadcasting, writing, etc.  Yet, while it may always be worth our while to place most of our energy into our areas of strengths, sometimes we do have work in and around these challenging areas. We need to do just enough to get through or by them.  And, interestingly enough, many times our strengths are what we need to rely on to help us pull through our weaknesses.

This week when I received one of my daily kabbalah tune up messages, I was reminded of how looking at solutions vs. problems can be similarly challenging.  Here’s what the tune up said:

“The solution exists before the problem. This is a kabbalistic truth that saves a lot of worrying. So often in life we freak out because we don’t think there is an answer, a cure, a way out. We needn’t worry. It’s there. We just need to find it….answers come from unexpected places….the more you feel this truth, the faster it will come.”

Then, it dawned on me…this is the type of mentality we must also have when it comes to manifestation, or the expectation of creating miracles in our lives. If we don’t look for those miracles to show, they just won’t! It takes practice to think in this manner and to expect the universe to send us what we need or desire. The same should be true for seeing solutions rather than problems.  So, if it takes practice to have this become a learned behavior and see results, why not practice it! That’s what I’ve decide to do “religiously” for one week. Maybe you can join me on my one week challenge to be completely and forcibly solutions focused?? Let’s have some fun!

My Plan.

  • Expect the unexpected. I shall write this on my mirror and in my office so that I see it throughout the day.
  • Play detective. If solutions exist before problems, then I must search for them like a detective! (I’m having fun already!)
  • Play catch. I must pay keen attention to these so called “problems” that I and others around me encounter. I will catch myself and them in the act!
  • Keep track. I will keep a journal and jot down immediately the identified challenge and the solution that I have found.
  • Start a revolution! I will share my results with you and others (see below) and launch a wave of solution thinking!

Let’s begin!

Here’s what I found…

Interestingly enough, the week began with what most would consider a major problem…my husband parting ways with his job and his career of 15+ years with no foreseeable income in sight. Overnight I have become the sole bread earner for our family. Pressure? Not really! This so-called challenge is providing me with the best of the best opportunities to practice what I preach—to think thoughts of abundance and gratitude and TRUST that our family will be taken care of and that we will receive all that we need exactly when we need it. I am frighteningly calm.


The second part of this first, very real challenge is that my husband now has the chance to fulfill a life-long passion of his, which is to pursue a career in the scuba diving industry. He is jumping into the abyss of entrepreneurship and without an iota of “lack” in his mind or vocabulary he is leaping in with tremendous joy and passion. I love to see people take risks; to pursue and live their dreams. My support he must have. This is the solution that I found.


My detective work continued thoroughly throughout the week and my journal filled with problems and solutions. Things that disrupted my days and my pre-planning, things that made my ego rage and incidents for me and those around me that provided instant occasions for learning. By Thursday I had absolutely no interest in being this detective any longer. Why? When I read through my list of so-called problems I realized how these things we call problems are simply distractions…things that take us away from our intended plans and cause frustration if we allow them to. They no longer were problems for me and I was happy with that realization.

The most important lesson I have learned this week is that we truly cannot sweat the small stuff. Yes, life will throw us some really big and difficult problems, but if we truly choose to believe that the universe only sends us problems because the solution was created first, then we have no problems, yes? I love this thought and I choose to believe and live this thought. I am at peace.


Speaking of peace…I feel the powers at hand sent me a nice gift this past week; a gentle reminder that life is about balance and trust…about ying and yang. As I was brushing my teeth and staring at my beautifully tiled bathroom I noticed what looked to be a ying/yang sign naturally created in my stone. I couldn’t help but giggle. Here is a photo of it.

YingYang

I expected the unexpected, and that is what I received.

I choose to be at peace and to trust that we will be taken care of.

Only solutions exist.

May you have a month filled with peace, light and blessings,

Monique

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