Getting Back to Happy

Have you ever gone through a vibrational rough patch? When you experience low energy or emotional numbness, not just for an hour or a day, but for several? That happened to me a few months ago. I couldn’t seem to shake the funk I’d been dragging around for so long, I was concerned it had become part of me. It ticked me off, actually, because I wanted *so badly* to get back to being happy. I kept saying, What’s wrong with you? Come on, get happy! BE HAPPY!! Berating myself into happiness wasn’t working. As you’ve probably experienced in your own life, that never works.

How do you get back to happy? 

I commanded myself to walk to a nearby park, even though all I wanted to do was lay in my bed. It was a bright day that sharply contrasted my mood. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. I wanted that too. I took a seat on a step leading down to an expansive pond, and turned my face to the sky, looking for answers. Looking for a way back.

What do you do when you’ve temporarily lost your joie de vivre?

The pond rippled from the wind. It was beautiful. Effortless. Everything was going with the flow. The twigs, patches of pollen, multi-colored leaves, and ducks were going with the flow of the water. Not resisting. Not second guessing or asking why. Just going with it. The grass and tree branches were bending with the breeze. Allowing nature’s abundance. None were saying, No, that’s not good enough. No, that’s not the right way. No, I don’t want that. 

Seeing all the raw beauty and noting its effortlessness grounded me into the present. The dialogue loop in my head shut off, taking all my concerns with it. I was thankful for the warm kiss of the sun through the chilled air. I was thankful for my sunglasses that allowed me to easily gaze at the sky. I was thankful for the punctuations of laughter and gleeful yelps from children in play. My focusing in on what was right before me brought me into a state of gratitude. And I remembered…

Life is a bowl of cherries

Photo by Kristin Rath

Gratitude is the way back to joyfulness.

Gratitude isn’t about guilting yourself into thankfulness for the things you *should* be appreciating, but about what you can appreciate in the moment. Whatever it is. The sun, the sky, the soft blanket around you, a really great cup of coffee, breathing. My mom has said to me–when I’ve griped about some minor thorn in my side–“Well, at least you have two legs that work. Not everyone does.” Not always what I wanted to hear, but she’s right. That was indeed something to be grateful for.

Gratitude is the answer. It can lift you back to what’s really important.

How could I have forgotten this simple but powerful practice called gratitude? We take things for granted. It’s just human nature. The trick is training ourselves to consistently bring our focus back to what we have and what’s going well in our lives, instead of focusing on what we don’t have and what isn’t working.

Gratitude is a gift. One that we can conjure up in an instant and gift to ourselves and others in a moment. And it doesn’t cost us anything. Rather, it gives back to us in the form of joy, peace, love, compassion.

In gratitude, we raise our vibration. With gratitude, we can get back to happy. Even when it seems impossible.

What can you be grateful for, right now?

Experience the Moment on a New Level

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Friday, 2:00 p.m.

I’m on my way to Washington, D.C. for a girls’ weekend/birthday celebration with some cousins and friends.  I didn’t plan on going at first–I had too much to do, my schedule was kinda packed, and I knew I would be in less than optimal shape after a weekend of wine, fine food, and late nights.  All these thoughts flying about in my head were suspended by my heart’s reminder of how infrequently I see this birthday-girl cousin and how I needed a break from work and NYC.  Oh, and it would be fun.  I figured no matter how tired I was as a result of the trip, my heart and soul would be fuller and happier when I arrived home.  I decided to seize the day and booked my bus ticket.  This carpe diem decision got me thinking about a related phrase…

“Savor the moment” (Words Are Food Phrase #3)

This is such a great phrase because it gets you to think about relishing the moment in a different way.  It’s obvious that you can use your sense of sight, smell, and hearing to experience an event.  But to wrap your brain around tasting a non-food moment means a deeper, more satisfying, total body experience that will stay with you long after the moment has faded.

Smell and taste are two of those senses that can instantly bring you back to a moment years or decades ago, flooding you with a sense of déjà vu because you literally feel you’ve had the exact same experience before.  Talk about a strong impact!

While every moment you’d like to remember won’t have that same level of recall, you can make a lasting impression by using every one of your senses, as you might do when dining on an extraordinary meal.  Draw the moment in (taste and smell), focus on each detail (savor flavors and textures), and nail it down to memory (digest).

When you find yourself in a moment you would love to remember, try experiencing it with all your senses.  The more senses you use, the fuller the experience and the more permanent the memory will be.  See it, smell it, hear it, touch it, taste it and…

Savor the Moment


The power of focusing on what you have right now


[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=joy&iid=5271682″ src=”2/5/e/4/portrait_of_a_bf05.jpg?adImageId=12705212&imageId=5271682″ width=”380″ height=”380″ /]“You don’t know what you have until you lose it.” Boy did that adage fall on deaf ears in my youth.  Well, I’m starting to understand it now.  My body is getting a little older, just as all those wise adults said would happen one day.  My mind may be a full-fledged adult, but my body has become an impudent teenager.  She talks back when I tell her to do something, flat-out refuses to complete assigned chores, and ducks out early when I ask her to hang out late, claiming she’s “too tired.”

Sometimes I get a little depressed over my defiant body and fondly remember the times when I could fit in a full day of school and activities, have energy to spare to go out with my friends, and the brain power to ace a test the next day on a few hours sleep.  Although I’m not jealous of that kind of schedule anymore, the thing I miss from my younger years is never experiencing stiffness, soreness, aches, and pains that accompany life in general.  Man, those were the days.

Do you find yourself resenting the things you’ve “lost” and muttering those five words above?  We all have those things we used to be able to do, things we took for granted.  Some of us lament our past vibrant health, feats of greatness, popularity, freedom, or lack of responsibilities.  Since growing up, moving on, and getting older are inevitable facts of life, perhaps a better way to look at this situation is to focus on what you have now that you didn’t in your glory years.  Maybe you’re a whiz at juggling multiple tasks at once, can whip up a gourmet meal in minutes, or know how to live fabulously on a budget.  Perhaps you’ve found your passion career, are an inspiring leader, or are known as the person “that can get it done.”  Maybe you have laser focus or impressive problem-solving skills.  How about those of you who have found your soul mate, the person who knows you better than you know yourself?  Or you proud parents who consider raising your children an absolute joy and adventure?  Would you really want to go back to your youth and give all that up?

Let’s concentrate on what we have now that we didn’t then.  Let’s bring our focus to the skills/people/wisdom we presently have that we would never trade in.  When you think about it that way, you’ll realize you would rather be who you are right now, than go back to your teenage years and lose all that accumulated life knowledge.  It puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?  I’m not saying that we can’t have it all, but there are just some things that aren’t going to happen.  So the next time my disobedient body starts mouthing off, I’ll smile and thank her for sticking with me for 33 years and doing an outstanding job. I’ll focus on the positives…that should shut her up.


Why we could all use a little Dr. Seuss in our lives

Green Eggs and Ham. Yum.


Oh, Dr. Seuss, may I gush praise bombastical? For your stories are magical, creative, fantastical.  You’re a master of words that are funny and silly– some decidedly fake like that Milli Vanilli.  Your characters are wise with the plans they devise, and they grow from life lessons right in front of our eyes.  Oh, Dr. Seuss, your work’s such a prize, I think everyone could use a little you in their lives!

The paragraph I wrote above pales in comparison to the skills of the great Theodor Seuss Geisel–aka Dr. Seuss.  However, it serves its purpose as an intro to an adored writer of children’s books even adults gladly admit to loving.  I remember eagerly opening his books as a child, the enticing titles catching my instant attention.  My eyes widened and darted about in an effort to soak up all the colorful pictures and delightful rhyming words.  In one sitting, I could come away from a Dr. Seuss visit with a deeper imagination and a little life lesson too. What more could you ask for from a kid’s book?

Why children of all ages love Dr. Seuss

  1. Whimsical, fantastical worlds.  Only someone who is young at heart and posses a childlike sense of awe and excitement could create such vibrant characters and places.
  2. Wordplay.  He uses tasty, juicy words and phrases…and then somehow rhymes them.  And a great deal of his words are completely made up. Wouldn’t you love for it to be socially acceptable to create your own words whenever you wanted?  I know I would!
  3. Valuable messages.  His stories and characters may be figments of the imagination, but we can apply his messages to a very real world.
  4. Pure joy.  I’m sure he had a great time writing those books.  He put a lot of love and joy into his work, and as a result, got just as much love and joy back from his readers.

I hope our appreciation for Dr. Seuss books doesn’t fall by the wayside on our journey through adulthood.  Being an “adult” doesn’t mean putting a lid on imagination and scoffing at all things unserious.  We should have time to be silly and play, and practice looking at things from a child’s point of view.  Schedule it in if you must!  Making these actions a habit will result in us becoming more well-rounded, happier (may I even say more evolved?) adults.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some funsillyrific adult responsibilities to cross off my to-do list!

What do you think?  Do you agree with me, or do you think I’m writing this post from a padded room?