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Posts Tagged ‘Happiness’

How Are You Growing the Garden of You?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

This past weekend I noticed amazing flower gardens all over New York City. As I walked through the Central Park Conservatory, I stared at flowers. Looking deep into the colors, I wondered when the seeds were planted. I became curious about the depth of the roots. I noticed so many beautiful flowers fully grown and came to realize that this is the ultimate trust in nature that exists.

How am I like that flower? Where do I plant seeds in the hope and trust that they will fully blossom? How far down are my roots and which ones will I allow to become unearthed in new and amazing ways?

In every way, I trust that I will grow.

Mary Anne

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Come As You Are

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

JourneyIn a recent conversation with one of my closest friends, we spoke about what it means to show up with strength and vulnerability. In our desire to pay attention to our Happiness Projects, we developed our mantras and actions that deepen our awareness of our bliss. We have spent over a month developing our project and getting really clear about what we want. I shared that I wanted to have more clarity with how I express myself.

A teacher recently said in class, “Clarity brings confidence.” Amen! How can we bring clarity and the type of precision needed to really ask ourselves the deep questions that unearth our soul’s answers? How can we move with what is now and not live from the past? And how can we acknowledge ourselves with love and compassion as an every day practice? As soon as those questions went from my pen to paper, I turned to see Pema Chodron’s book, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness, on my table. I opened to the following excerpt:

“Come as you are. The magic is being willing to open to that, being willing to be fully awake to that.”

“Inquisitiveness or curiosity involves being gentle, precise, and open­—actually being able to let go and open. Gentleness is a sense of goodheartedness toward ourselves. Precision is being able to see very clearly, not being afraid to see what’s really there, just as a scientist is not afraid to look into the microscope. Openness is being able to let go and to open.”

“Basically, making friends with yourself is making friends with all those people too, because when you come to have this kind of honesty, gentleness, and goodheartedness, combined with clarity about yourself, there’s no obstacle to feeling loving-kindness for others as well.”

How do you makes friends with yourself? Ask and then let go and let love lead you.

At the end of a meditation in a Yoga class, the following words came flooding in as I asked for clarity: “I will wait for you – always. In your time, I am here.”

Come as you are,
Mary Anne

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Do You Stumble Into Happiness?

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Stumbling into happinessAfter posting a blog about my Happiness Project, I received many responses from folks who wanted to join in on creating their own project. People wrote about doing art, taking walks, committing to their health, journaling, and creating a vision board. The buzz was on for ‘happiness’. I realized this is more than just a flavor of the month—it is an all out commitment to creating meaningful happiness.

If people are asking me to listen to their Happiness Projects, I had to be sure I was keeping up with paying attention to my own project. I had already committed to my three themes: self-care, connections, and taking sabbaticals. I have paid attention to my sleep habits, taking care of my body with yoga classes, and my spiritual practices with meditating everyday for a minimum of 10 minutes. I also have taken time with friends to share experiences and deeper conversations. Finally, I have practiced stillness and silence. Am I happier? I am definitely more peaceful and calm. Perhaps, I am stumbling into happiness.

Taking the Happiness Project to a new level, I am declaring my ‘Mantras’. It’s not random acts to create happiness, but rather intentional living to be happy. Here are examples of some mantras I have drafted:
Do It Anyway/Do It Afraid
Express Myself
Show Up
Be Still
Honor my Healing Journey
Follow the Compass of My Heart
Rest in Forgiveness
Show Gratitude

Samuel Johnson wrote, “It’s by studying the little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible.” By paying attention to our happiness, perhaps we can ignite it in others. We can awaken to what creates more joy.

Are you aware of what makes you happy or are you stumbling into happiness?

To creating your happiness mantras,
Mary Anne

Special thanks to all those who sent in their Happiness Project ideas—keep them coming.

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What Is Your Happiness Project?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” -Frederick Keonig

Happiness sunriseTwo weeks after attending Gretchen Rubin’s book signing of The Happiness Project, I opened up the New York Times and saw it listed as the #2 bestseller in the Advice, How To, and Miscellaneous section. For the past two weeks, I have been reading this book along with one of my best friends. We started writing our own “Happiness Project” and every few days shared our ideas. First, I had to just sit and listen to what makes me happy. Are there areas in my life I could tap into more to experience happiness in richer ways? The next step was to create a list of what I knew made me happy and name areas that could expand my happiness further.

After naming what makes me happy and listening to ideas of what could expand my happiness, three themes appeared – self-care, connections, and sabbaticals. Self-care includes everything from good sleep, yoga classes, meditation, massages/shiatsu, and taking the express bus at least once a week as my means of commuting. The topic of connections is about paying attention to whom I hang out with and what plans I make. Making my happiness list required me to really name what and who I want to have in my life. I discovered that connections are the ability to develop ‘real relations’ – ones that are open, truthful, vulnerable, and with people who show up and are present. I have created regular rituals with close friends that include monthly dinners and late afternoon coffee talks. Finally, I am at peace knowing that sabbaticals are healthy. I will build in ‘time off’ so there is space for ‘time within’. This is about taking conscious sabbaticals for writing, traveling, learning new things, and practicing the art of sitting still.

The more I talk to people about my happiness project, the more people begin to smile at the idea of a happiness project. Just by talking to other people about being happy, I noticed I felt happy. If you want to discover for yourself what makes you happy, gage where you are in your life right now. Write down everything that makes you happy.

To start a Happiness Project, I suggest asking yourself a few questions:
Are you aware of experiences, situations, relationships that are energizing and full of life?
Are there areas of your life you want to expand or grow?
Are there opportunities for reflection?
What is your roadmap for opening up for more happiness?

What is your Happiness Project? Feel free to share and I will post on my blog.

To shared happiness,
Mary Anne

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A Simple ‘OK’ Will Do

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

BlissA friend of mine wrote her words/theme for 2010 ­– “OK”. For her this represented exactly the essence she wanted for this year. As she said, “There is a ton of love and freedom in those 2 letters. Everything else flows from this spring….”

Imagine flowing from the spring of the letters “OK.” The more the word is repeated, the more I realized, that yes indeed, we are flowing from OK (or into an expansive “okay.”) Where we are in this very moment is okay. We don’t always need the big firecrackers to get going. In our “okay-ness”, life is unfolding, dreams are getting fulfilled, creative juices are flowing, and changes are happening. We can start our day from okay and move from there.

In his book, The Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner travels to ten countries around the world seeking the happiest places. He wants to find out what we can learn from various places and cultures, and what makes other people happy. While sitting in the airport after his experience in Bhutan, he writes the following words into his notebook:

All the moments in my life, everyone I have met, every trip I have taken, every success I have enjoyed, every blunder I have made, every loss I have endured has been just right. I’m not saying they were all good or that they happened for a reason–I don’t buy that brand of pap fatalism–but they have been right. They have been…okay. As far as revelations go, it’s pretty lame, I know. Okay is not bliss, or even happiness. Okay is not the basis for a new religion or self-help movement. Okay won’t get me on Oprah. But okay is a start, and for that I am grateful.

Being ‘okay’ lets us know that we can find our starting point and flow back and forth. What is your starting point? What is the spring from which everything flows? Today, a simple ‘OK’ will do.

Mary Anne

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