Let’s all do the Happy Dance!

 

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Let’s talk about happiness, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things that can be, let’s talk about happy!

Finally, today is the day!!!. Today, March 20, 2013 is the first ever “International Day of Happiness”, as declared by the United Nations. The decision for this day to be appointed was a unanimous vote of all 193 of the UN members.

The goal of is to bring a global awareness around the concept of “Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.”

Last year the UN released their World Happiness Report. (Free to all, read it and talk about it with everyone you know) The report concluded that:

“The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”, as such more and more governments are now including ‘happiness’ for measuring the prosperity of their country. It also concluded that while the GNP has risen 3 points in the last half century, the GNH has remained the same, completely and utterly stagnant.

This morning the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, announced: “On this first International Day of Happiness, let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”

The purpose or goal of this day is to have the world acknowledge the importance of happiness and encourage countries to take note of the importance of happiness by holding events and activities that would embrace compassion and teach us to direct our kindness towards others. Today (I say make it a daily practice) you should put aside your stresses, your boring daily routines, and do something kind for someone else, in doing so happiness will prevail for all.

Dr Mark Williamson, the Director of ‘Action for Happiness’ which is one of the main organizations behind the International Day of Happiness, agrees. “Extensive research shows that making other people happy activates the same reward sensors in your brain, so it’s a win-win situation, Even if you just hold a door open for someone, spare some change or simply smile at someone in the street, it can really make a difference. These ideas may seem trivial but they can transform our psychological health.”

The political, economic and social systems of the 9 billion people who inhabit the earth need to live in harmony to support, sustain and save the planet we share. All 9 billion people have the responsibility of combating obstacles such as poverty, illiteracy, disease, etc. and to see that changes are made. That’s every single one of us responsible. We all want a happy healthy and sustainable future don’t we? Think about it this way; unhappiness breeds crime, insecurity and conflict, imagine 9 billion unhappy people?

Not to be a cynic, but setting aside one day for happiness? It’s a really lovely thought and it’s a start, but considering that “happiness is a serious 21st-century global issue,” I’m thinking it should become top of mind daily for all. How about making every day a day of happiness? You and I have that choice every morning when we wake up.

A Gallup Millennium World Survey that poled almost 60,000 people in 60 countries, ranked ten things that matter most to humans.

From the top:

1.  Health

2.  Happy family life

3.  A job

At the bottom or least important:

1. Standard of Living. (this is what the GDP supposedly captures)

So what have you been reaching for to make yourself happy?

  • Money
  • Sex
  • Keeping up with the Kardashians
  • Power
  • Fame
  • Keys to a new BMW
  • Lifetime membership to a VIP room
  • Bigger house
  • A relationship

All that stuff’s nice, and you’ll survive with it, but it has nothing to do with happiness or life for that matter. You won’t find happiness in conquest or the desire for more, that is not where accomplishment or happiness thrives and life is as much, if not more, about thriving as it is about surviving.

The “Light”of happiness does not exist in possession and desire but you can find happiness by exploring human possibility, your human possibility.

It exists in not just in you mind, heart, soul, and body but in the practice of empathy, humility, passion, imagination, compassion, gratitude, vulnerability, authenticity, kindness, and it exists within each and every one of us.

Instead of grasping at mass consumption, excess and status, why not put these things into practice, talk about happiness with your family, friends, coworkers, employer etc. connect and encourage.

  • Reflect on what a good happy life looks like for you, how does it feel? Are you just surviving or are you also thriving?
  • Let someone into your lane on the way home.
  • Smile at a stranger
  • Hold a door open
  • Ask someone if they need help carrying their grocery bag, let the person with less in their cart and seems to be in a hurry go ahead of you.
  • My Fav – if you’ve paid for parking and haven’t used all your time, ask the 1st person you see parking if they would like it or if there is no one there I put it pack in the meter and hope someone will see it before they pay.
  • Talk about happiness with your family, with your friends, with your co-workers and employees/employers, talk about it in your communities, politically, post more ideas on your Facebook or twitter page.
  • Talk about it.
  • Plant dreams, imagination, creation, transformation and love into every moment of your existence and that of those around you.
  • Transform the daily stuff that “sucks” into something that matters.

We all have the capacity to do this. It is the significance of being human, to not allow ourselves this is to be reckless with our potential. It’s our obligation to engage in ourselves and in each other and the world.

Happy 1st International Day of Happiness! May all your days be happy.

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Relationship Bliss or Amiss?

 

I truly believe that life will never hand you more than you can handle, and whatever life hands to you, it gives it to you exactly when you need it and the trick is figuring out what exactly it is that you need out of it at that time. Good or bad there is a lesson to be learned, being self aware, or self actualized means you’re able to pull that lesson out of each experience and use it to move forward in your life and to better the relationship you have with yourself.

Relationships are a massive part of our lives, just think of all the ones you have, family, co-workers, lovers, friends, the barista at your coffee shop, and of course the most important one is the one you have with yourself. Some relationships flourish and some fail.

We’ve all been in a love relationship that wasn’t going well or that ended badly. We’ve all been in the midst of despair and a broken heart and we’ve all eventually seen incredible hindsight.

What I want to talk about is hanging onto dysfunctional relationships or the attachment to expectations of a what that relationship “is” supposed to or “was” supposed to be or “could” be. Again, another area where hanging on leads to “stuckification” which can lead to a feeling of imprisonment in you own mind and ultimately suffering.

It’s important to learn, and here we go again (seems to be a hot topic), how to let go. When you’re in the middle of that heartbreak or feeling of despair, try focusing on the relationship you have with yourself. Go back to you. Thinking that it was good once so it must be good again is probably a deep fear of change and a deeper fear of looking within to see what it is that keeps you hanging onto that suffering? And maybe if you look further you’ll see a pattern? Here is where you read all the signals and pull that lesson right out and run forward with it!

If you want to be free, you must let go.

When we were kids we were taught to play nice in the sandbox, we were taught to treat others as we would like to be treated. Good lessons indeed but who taught us how to treat ourselves? Holding onto the dysfunction or the expectations is bad for you. It’s stressful, it’s unhealthy, it’s like eating a mouthful of sand, you only did that once I’m guessing. Maybe that was just me.

If you are looking elsewhere to fill your time, space, needs and desires or always looking for that next relationship or just “a” relationship, then you’re never going to find happiness. Think about that, making it someone else’s responsibility for your happiness? That’s a lot of pressure, on them and on you, I mean how can someone else make you happy if you can’t make you happy?

Stop that and do this:

  1. Learn to love yourself more. Wake up smiling, go to sleep smiling. Be grateful every moment of every day for what you already have. Look around and see the beauty in the small things, and look into the mirror every day and see the amazing person you are. Have you seen you?!
  2. Put that amazing love of yours into action. Eat healthy food, REAL food. Be active. Share your time with good people. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.
  3. Hang out with you, have a party! Date you. Lose the dependency on others for companionship. Prepare a nice meal, play some music, sing, write, go to the movies alone, have a drink in a bar alone (I did this recently and it was the most enjoyable experience, I made two new friends!)

Doing this daily will open you up to all kinds of possibilities and believe it or not, a healthier and deeper connection with others all as a result of the one you have with you.

Have you seen you? I mean really seen you? Have a look, you’re pretty awesome, I bet you’d want to date you.

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“Talking ’bout A #socialmedia Revolution. You know we all want to change the world”

I’ve been removing negative things in my life. I don’t buy magazines with all those suggestive ads and images that tell us we are supposed to be a certain way, look a certain way, dress a certain way. I haven’t had a T.V since 2008 because I couldn’t stand watching the news. I found it depressing. I believe in staying informed, so I read the newspaper online, while the same news is often in the papers I get to choose what to read and what not to read.

I’ve also done tiny experiments within my small community of social media interactions by only posting positive or helpful information or by posting negative information. What I began to notice is that there was a ripple effect. I’m not saying I started it, at times I followed it. While I was on my mission to only post positive things I would easily get pulled by some post that I liked or felt strongly about but had a negative undertone and it would stir negative feelings in me and I would share it and then what I noticed was a lot more negative things showing up in my news feed.

But when I posted happy thoughts, or helpful thoughts and articles, what followed in my feed was more helpful and positive things for me to read. I didn’t shy away from the things I felt strongly about, I just made sure what was being shared was helpful in overcoming whatever it was that was ailing me, in turn hopefully helping others.

Taking into consideration the shocking stats about social media that this incredibly impactful video lists, wouldn’t it make sense to use the most POWERFUL source with the widest reach of INFORMATION SHARING (in history) to help each other and gain more knowledge?

As much as the power of our subconscious minds has at driving our life (which is 100%) and as much as the messages and content we put into our subconscious minds with our conscious minds effects us mentally, physically and spiritually (100%) so too does what we put out on social media affect others. We must use it for good and be mindful.

Let’s talk about sex.

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In Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory that remains valid today for understanding human motivation and personal development and is probably more relevant now more than ever says that humans are motivated by needs. Some different from others, but the very most basic needs, the ones at our very core that are necessary for human survival, or motivation, and the way  to achieve self  actualization, are  (basically) the same for all of us.

The most basic needs of humans have evolved over thousands of years.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs suggests that we must meet each need in turn and that after, and only when the lowest order needs are met (these are physical and emotional needs) will we be motivated to reach the higher order needs. And If we completely take away the lowest oder needs we can not maintain the higher order ones.

So everyone, get outside more, breath in fresh air, keep your breath calm, drink lot’s of water, eat healthy and nutritional food, get enough sleep, stay warm, and have sex.

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Is your goal to live with no regrets and in peace? Goal accomplished.

When people are asked what a really scary thing in life would be?

The majority say regret.

Making the wrong choice creates a feeling of regret.

Think of all the choices we make in a day.

How would you like you’re coffee? Caramel Brule Latte? Vanilla Spice Frappuccino? Skinny peppermint mocha? Eggnog Lattee? Caffe Mocha? Iced Caffe Americano?

Ever had order regret?

Ever had technology regret because you didn’t realize that a brand new version of your phone was coming out just 2 weeks after you bought the old version?

That’s the problem with having too many choices, we’re always going to be afraid of making the wrong choice. (pssst….what we have doesn’t actually matter)

In actuality becuase of all the choices we have, we live in a state of regret.

Think about it.

Think some more.

That in itself is living our life on replay, a combative state of the conscious and subconscious mind, we keep skipping a beat.

We’re living in the past and the future, we are never in the now, there is no referee keeping the game fair.

What can we do?

We can defiantly eliminate the pesky past thing by being in the now, right? We cannot grab onto the past and hold it here, that is what holds us back and ties us down and stops us from moving forward, so we simply have to let it go.

The past, or the chatter that goes on in our subconscious mind will never go away, but when it comes up we can now acknowledge it, we can thank it (it taught us something, everything taught us something, we know that), and then we can send it on it’s way, let it go.

That’s some of the fear of regret gone.

We can most certainly eliminate the anxiety one gets of not knowing what will happen in the future, (and come on, really? we all know we will actually never know this, there is no way in the world that we could ever know this, it’s a completely unrealistic idea or goal to think we can know the future, so we should really stop setting unrealistic goals on ourselves while we’re at it, however, don’t get too excited… we do know that we can somewhat predict the future by seeing patterns in history remember?) anyway, we can eliminate the anxiety and the expectations we have of the (completely unknown) future by coming into the present moment. We can not keep looking to the future or only focusing on the goal, that’s what sets up expectations and we find ourselves always disappointed, like we missed a step along the way, we skipped a beat, we overlooked something, missed the on ramp, didn’t catch the wave, like we didn’t get it quite right, we missed something along the journey, so we go back and do it again, and again. That’s our subconscious mind on replay. That’s history repeating itself. That’s the internal conversations with ourselves, screaming at us to learn the lesson already so we can all move on!

We won’t get it right, the balance, the flow, riding the perfect wave, enjoying the journey, until we refocus on the present moment, on the day to day, on the steps we take to reach the goal or the future we imagine, not until we bring our goals and our aspirations into the present moment will we we enjoy the ride, will we embrace the journey, will we ride the perfect wave, when we will be grateful for what we have and not suffer for more.

Our goals should consist of what we want to feel, what we want to see, and what we want to hear in the environment of which we imagine ourselves in when we reach our goals. It’s our imagination. POWERFUL.

It’s not just about the business we want to start, or the finish line we want to cross, the house we want to buy, that we want to be debt free so we can buy more or to loose ten pounds.

It’s about remaining true to ourselves along the way. It’s about how we feel, see, hear.

Our goals should align with our core values.

How will we feel now that we have that house?

How will we feel when we are 10lbs lighter?

How we will feel when we are debt free?

What will we hear ourselves say, or what others will say to us when we have the house?

When we’ve lost 10lbs?

When we’re debt free?

What will our house look like?

What will we see ourselves as when we are 10lbs lighter? how will others? What will people say

If we quiet the choices we have by being present in every moment and thankful for what we have we’’ll find we are experiencing a much more fulfilling and enriching life and authentic life. We’ll start feeling how we want to and our enviroment will become what we want without even noticing.

We must quite them at the same pace as our breath goes in and out.

That is how often the conscious and subconscious mind come into play with each other.

Every moment you breath in and breath out.

So keep you’re breath calm or it’ll be a full blown boxing match between the minds and people might get hurt.

If we do this, not only will we become more aware of ourselves, but inherently we’ll become much more aware of our surroundings, of our environment and more aware of each other. As humans we inherently make sure everything around us is safe and where we feel content, nurtured, authentic, where there is enough food, water, and a sense of community, a sense of family, where our basic human needs are being met, where we’ll most likely thrive and reach our full potential. Where we’ll plant our garden.

It’s how we’ve thus far survived as a species.

We will take better care.

We will pay more attention to all the tiny details.

We will take care of the earth in which we occupy.

We will nurture ourselves.

we will nurture others and the relationships in our lives

We will come together as a community.

We will help each other which will in turn help us individually and will ultimately help all of humanity.

Much like an elephant can step on a twig and not break it, or gently step over a tiny birds nest on it’s path to water, so too shall we be gentle with the planet and humanity.

When people are asked what they wish for humanity or for the world?

The majority say peace.

When we all step into the present moment, the world will be a much more peaceful place.

Live Light. Live with no regrets. Live in peace.

Going through old photos and came across this. I took this in Cape Town on the 2nd of Jan 2012. It was an Art Installation that I had been eyeing along the waterfront a couple of times as I walked by it. I stopped at a couple of the statues along the way, but not long enough to read and catch that there was a story. Shame. However I remember being extra drawn to this one from afar and spent some time there and read the message underneath and it struck me, but looking at it now just over a year later and it’s struck me even harder. Go to www.walkingtheroad.comThere is a a very profound and beautiful message, and the art installations brilliantly tell it. Bravo to the artist.

South Africa

Walking the Road 

http://www.walkingtheroad.com

Date yourself

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here, Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who know you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life
-Derek Walcott