Brighten Your Day

In Celebration Of My Ordinary Life

An ordinary life doesn’t equate to a meaningless life. And an extraordinary life doesn’t equate to a successful life, even though we’ve been taught that it does. An accomplished life in the United States is associated with having a lot of money, fame and power. Used in the right way, they could be, but they aren’t ... [Read more]

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celebrate ordinary life

An ordinary life doesn’t equate to a meaningless life. And an extraordinary life doesn’t equate to a successful life, even though we’ve been taught that it does.

An accomplished life in the United States is associated with having a lot of money, fame and power. Used in the right way, they could be, but they aren’t necessary in order to leave a mark on the world. 

The external validation, achievement, power and status that we’re lured into never leads to joy.

Our acute need to be or feel exceptional or special only intensifies the need to compare, compete and impress others. It only causes us to feel rushed, ashamed and isolated.

Magic happens when we are present and aware of what we have: a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, an early morning walk, a cool breeze on a hot summer day. 

Extraordinary relationships don’t come from physical beauty, exotic trips, big houses, fancy clothes and cars. I’m not against these things; I just don’t like being fooled by them.

Ordinary relationships are transformed to extraordinary through simple acts of kindness, compassion and love. They are mined through the fire of hard work, tragedy, and disappointment.

I’m on a mission to celebrate my ordinary and magical life. It’s easy to do when I pay attention and take in the wonder and joy that I find in simple things, everyday activities and experiences.

The significant and unusual events, the highest achievements and biggest accolades all eventually seem familiar and ordinary after a little time has passed.  But beauty and magic lie in the ordinary moments that fill the space in-between. We only need to be present to discover, savor and take them in.

These are not trivial or mundane moments. These are moments that define your life! Your actions reveal your character and values. These are the times that shape who you are and the legacy you leave behind.

7 Steps to Make Your Life Meaningful and Worthy of Celebration

1. Love who you are and where you are. Appreciate the person you have become and your life exactly as it is in the moment.

2. Treat the taxi cab driver, the barista and the bathroom attendant as sacred people. Make these interactions meaningful. Show them interest, make eye contact, small talk and add a smile.

3. Make others feel special. Help low-paid workers feel visible. Give a larger than normal tip. Make them feel that life is on their side. Help them believe the world is a generous place.

4. Choose to see everything with amazement and wonder: a new blade of grass, the shape of a cloud on a sunny day, the wrinkled hands of a grandparent and aroma of dinner cooking on the stove.

5. Notice and appreciate the most ordinary things: running water, sand between your toes, the color of your eyes, the coziness and comfort of your bed.

6. Slow down. Turn off your electronics. Reflect, pause and breathe deeply. Be still. Pray. Meditate. Love.

7. Don’t miss an opportunity to be of service. Be a giver. Come from your heart.  Help heal the world. Make it a better place. 

I have found that when I celebrate the ordinary, my life feels extraordinary. Happiness doesn’t elude me and all is well with my world.

Life Is Good: Mantra To Live By

Life is good. I often wear a baseball cap when I run. Embroidered on the front is “life is good.”  I believe that. I always have. I always will, no matter what. Live gives us what we expect it to. I can live in fear and experience more fear or I can expect the best and ... [Read more]

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life is good

Life is good.

I often wear a baseball cap when I run. Embroidered on the front is “life is good.”  I believe that. I always have. I always will, no matter what.

Live gives us what we expect it to. I can live in fear and experience more fear or I can expect the best and get what’s best for me. Life can be that easy, if we allow it to be. 

But we often get in our own way.
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We say we want more abundance but we don’t allow ourselves to receive. We say we want to be healthy but we are unwilling to do what it takes. We want to be in a loving relationship but we refuse to love and accept ourselves.

If you want a good life, create one. It’s yours for the taking. Nobody is stopping you but you. Here’s how:

Dial into the positive. Learn to be an optimist. Build on the positive. Bet on yourself. Allow yourself to enjoy life. It’s your birthright.

Don’t settle for normal. Don’t go for ordinary. Reach higher, work harder. Do what nobody else is willing to do. You deserve the best.

Be a doer. You build courage muscles by doing courageous things. Speak up. Be heard. Try new things. Practice acts of bravery. Believe in your worthiness. Go after what you want. Do what it takes to get it.

Trust your gut. When big decisions need to be made, don’t allow fear to paralyze you. Get in a quiet place, go within and just quiet down. Listen for guidance. You’ll feel energized and empowered.

Quiet your inner critic. Don’t listen to the voice in your head that causes you to second guess yourself and feel crazy. The one that says, “you can’t,” “it won’t work,” or “you’ll never make it.” Tell it to just shut up and keep moving.

Step up your self-care. Slow down. Say ‘no’ more often. Set boundaries. Learn to pause. Take time to feel. Rest and recharge. End the craziness. Get used to nurturing your soul. It’s golden.

Create routines. Exercise. Meditate. Express your gratitude. All three lessen depression, moodiness and anxiety.  They also decrease fearful thoughts and increase your well-being.

Find your tribe. Spend time with people you love. Keep them close. Lean on them. Allow them to hold you up when you feel that you can’t go on. Accept their love and understanding. Express your gratitude.

Create peace in the midst of chaos. Know how to calm yourself down. Take time-outs. Center yourself. Practice deep belly breathing. Don’t allow anyone or anything to know off center.

Get outside. Sit. Run. Walk. Hike. Swim. Paddle board. Kayak. Roller-blade. Rock climb. Find something you enjoy and spend time in nature doing it. Nature heals. Feel the sun on your face and the wind on your back. It’s there to comfort you.

Forgive yourself and others. Everyone is doing the best they know how to do. Resentment and bitterness cause you pain. Let it go. Give yourself a break. Simply bless others and move on.

Don’t fight the naysayers. Learn to respond versus react. Release them from your life. Bless them and let them go. It can be painful but remember this is your one precious life. You have the right to live it your way.

Serve. Help others get ahead. Volunteer. Be a mentor. Give your time, talents and money. Give when it hurts. Give when it’s difficult. Give! It’s the biggest secret to an abundant life.

Forget perfection. It doesn’t exist. Life is messy and unpredictable. Find beauty in that. Do your best. Be brave. Be worthy. Create a fearless future. Life is good!

It has been said you watch your life flash before you when you die. I'm going to make sure mine is worth watching. Please join me.

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"Joyfulness keeps the heart and face young.” ~ Orison Swet Marden

Life without fun is like the sky without the sun or the ocean without water. Fun is all about creating good times for yourself. Fun adds color to a black and white world. It's essential to your well-being.

Lately, I've spending a lot of time with my 2 year old grandson. We've visited the zoo three times in the past 10 days.

He loves the petting zoo, the red barn, and all of the animals. He chases the roosters, caresses the soft feathers on the hen as she sits on her eggs and giggles as the pigs twirl their tails.

This week I invite you to increase the amount of fun in your life. It's a good responsibility to have. With a little planning you can visit new places and see and do new things. With a little willingness you can look for humor, be flirtatious, play games, and enjoy people and activities. 

Read on to discover. how to get your fun meter running.

"A day without laughter is a day wasted." ~ Charlie Chaplin

1. To have fun become a fun person. 

I grew up on an 88 acre produce farm. My siblings and I began working when we were five years old. When we were ten we were expected to work up to eights hours a day planting, harvesting, and selling produce at the Farmer's Market. My mother, with her playful, attitude taught us how to make work fun. In all types of weather, we sang, laughed, and made up games, and contests to pass the time together.

On April Fools Day silliness and practical jokes are the norm. We make an intentional choice to adopt a playful attitude that brings joy and happiness to those around us. 

2. Write down 5 things you like to do.

Coffee with friends, a Saturday morning group run or browsing a bookstore are a few inexpensive ways to add enjoyment to life. Attending concerts, the theater, or sporting events at a nearby university can make an ordinary weekday feel like Friday. Participate in activities that will free you from your routine.  

"At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities." ~ Jean Houston

2. Carve out time for fun.

Create a plan to make the things on your list happen. Decide what day and time works for you. Clear your calendar, hire a child sitter in advance, and break free. Turn off your electronics and give fun your full attention. 

"The essence of pleasure is spontaneity." ~ Germaine Greer

3. Be spontaneous.

My sister has third row, season tickets, for the Detroit Red Wings games. She invites her best clients to attend but they often refuse to take the time off of work. Unplanned fun is often the best kind. Accept the next five invitations you receive. Get in the habit of saying “yes” to pleasure and fun!

“Fun is good.” ~ Dr. Seuss

4. Experiment with life.

Try something new. Meet new people. Learn to explore. Take a dance or cooking class. Instead of your usual movie and dinner on Friday night, plan an evening hike or bring out an old board game. 

"Time spent laughing is time spent with the Gods." ~ Japanese Proverb

5. Make fun a habit.

Create a ‘to be’ list and put fun at the top. Choose to smile and laugh more, learn how to be silly. Watch stand-up comedy both on and off line. When ever I’m in a line waiting, I challenge myself to see if I can get one person around me to laugh. It's rare that I fail. It only takes practice to learn how to make others laugh.

 “Ask not what fun does for you. Ask rather what you do for fun.” ~ The Oaqui

6. Make small changes.

Watch a sunset or sunrise, ride your bike, or watch an old movie. Experiment with unusual music. Wear a new color or change the way you wear your hair. Go barefoot. A life lived in a rut is like waiting to die. Change one small thing today, color your world happy.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” ~ Walt Disney

7. Save your change.

For one year, everyday, save all of your change. Put it in a large, clear container. Think of it as your fun money. Plan a road trip. Each time you make a deposit, mentally plan where you’ll go and what you’ll do. Repeat this every year. If you live 25 more years imagine what you could see and do!

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” ~ Unknown

8. Shut off your television, cell phone and computer.

Free your mind. Be present. Notice your surroundings. Make eye contact with strangers. Engage in conversation. Get connected face-to-face. It’s good for your soul.

"Have fun in your command. Don't always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you've earned it, spend time with your families." ~ Colin Powell

9. Slow down.

Taste your food. Turn off you inner critic. Savor quiet moments. Stop thinking and talking about your work or your 'to do' list. Enjoy being with yourself. Become someone who is fun to be around. 

"Sometimes when I'm talking, my words can't keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we think faster than we speak. Probably so we can think twice. ~ Bill Watterson

10. Refuse to gossip, complain. End the comparison game.

Nothing good comes from participating in these things. They will suck the energy, life, and joy out of your existence.

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” ~ Dr. Seuss

11. Don’t take life so seriously.

If you find yourself full of fear, worry, or dismay seek outside help. Commit to taking action for what you can change and let the rest go. You won’t be able to enjoy life until you do.

"We never have to tell small children to have fun!"

12. Feed Your Inner Child.

Play board games. Join in a pick-up game of basketball or football. Paint. Roller blade. Run. Swim. Visit a farm or a country fair. Get outside. Go to a friend’s house and play. Have a slumber party. Play charades or truth-or-dare. If I sound like I'm repeating myself, it's intentional!

"We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun." ~ William Glasser

13. Enjoy the small stuff.

Find time to notice, appreciate and enjoy, a cup of coffee, a quiet morning, a cool breeze, a full moon, a joke, the stillness of a mountain, the laughter of a child.

"I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot" more fun." ~ Charles R. Swindoll

14. Rent a cottage with other friends or family.

Share the expense and the joy. We did this each summer when our children were in high school. My memories of those times with our friends and family are priceless.

"I don't have a normal job, so I really appreciate having friends who are writers and artists. It's fun to have a group of people you can call in the middle of the day to go for a hike." ~ Natalie Portman

15. Spend time in nature.
Go camping. Plant a garden. Visit the botanical gardens. Pick your own strawberries or blueberries. Build a tree house.

Life is too short to be anything but happy. I believe we are here for joy, fun, and adventure. Why not make it a priority!

Want a perfect opportunity to get the needed support for changing your life? My friend Anastasiya Goers is offering a one month 'Live a More Balanced Life Challenge' FREE! 

Creative Commons License photo credit: chris friese

Tell us how do you experience fun and joy?

On a Rampage of Gratitude and Appreciation

Photographer: Francesco Marino  We expect things, we feel entitled…our ego's shout, "I should have this or that...now!"   I know half of the people in India don't have a roof over their head, they sleep outside, unprotected from the rain.   Ego: I want to monetize my blog.    If you have an income of at least $3 a ... [Read more]

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Hand And Heart
Photographer: Francesco Marino
 

We expect things, we feel entitled…our ego's shout, "I should have this or that…now!"

 

I know half of the people in India don't have a roof over their head, they sleep outside, unprotected from the rain.

 

Ego: I want to monetize my blog. 

 

If you have an income of at least $3 a day, you are better off than 1/3 of planet. Even after hubs lost his job, in less than a year, we've bounced back even better than before. 

 

Ego: I want more subscribers and better statistics.

 

If you have a refrigerator, electricity, food, a phone…half of the people on the planet don’t have these things. 

 

Ego: I want a new laptop and iPod.

 

Take a minute now and notice what you have that people in third world countries do not. They are happy with a pair of shoes.

 

Our problem is we're never satisfied. We always want more and when we get it, our ego moves the line. 

 

We're never satisfied for very long. We continue to look for the next best thing.   

When we fill ourselves with gratitude and appreciation, we can be joyful now. We can be generous now. We can live in the moment now. All of our needs are met. 

 

I think happiness depends on external things. Joy comes from within, our soul.

 

The following is an exercise from the Institute of Heart Math that I was taught in a Jack Canfield seminar. I'm putting my own twist on the end of it.

 

It's called appreciation breathing or breathe into your heart.

 

Locate your heart, just left of the middle of your chest. Now close your eyes.

 

Imagine your nose and mouth are located in your heart, in the middle of your chest.

 

Next inhale through your heart and exhale right below your heart.

 

Inhale slowly, count silently to yourself as you lengthen your breath…1-2-3-4-5 breathing in and lengthening your breath.

 

Next exhale, counting silently 1-2-3-4-5 lengthening your breath below your heart.

 

Now think of who or what you love: your spouse, child, music, dog, cat or a parent.

 

You want to feel the love…like when you’re watching a small child in bed sleeping and you’re filled with appreciation for the joy the child brings into your life.

 

Feel it, get that higher level of feeling and think of a balloon. Begin expanding your heart like a balloon , inhale and fill it with love…blow in and fill the balloon.

 

Then pinch off balloon so it won’t come out as you exhale. Do this breathing in and out into your heart, expanding your heart and filling it with the love you feel for what or whom you have chosen.

 

The original ending from Heart Math requires you to focus on a vision, dream or your desires when you're in the altered state of love.

 

Keep breathing in and out, lengthening the breath in your heart while visualizing how your life will change and what it will look like if you take action.


Because of our never ending desire for more, I've changed the ending.

 

When I'm in the altered state of love, I see a vision of love and basic needs being met for everyone in the world. This takes me out of my greed and ego state.

 

Another change you can make is instead of seeing a person, animal or object you love you could envision all of humanity.

 

This change, I've added, reminds me it's not "all about me." We are interconnected.

photo credit: mardy78 I thought I'd inspire you today with 3 authors  and quotes that have touched my soul. The following quotes are by - Elizabeth Gilbert  Eat, Pray, Love "I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, 'There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, ... [Read more]

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dsc09186.jpg
Creative Commons License photo credit: mardy78

I thought I'd inspire you today with 3 authors  and quotes that have touched my soul.
The following quotes are by – Elizabeth Gilbert  Eat, Pray, Love

"I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, 'There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who's in charge?" 

"Someone has to write all those stories: why not me?" 

"You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings." 

"Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing – right in the hub of the wheel – not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness – that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace." 

"To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous." 

"To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice." 

"You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control." 

"And what will I be able to do tomorrow that I cannot yet do today?" 

"The great Sufi poet and philosopher Rumi once advised his students to write down the three things they most wanted in life. If any item on the list clashes with any other item, Rumi warned, you are destined for unhappiness. Better to live a life of single-pointed focus, he taught. But what about the benefits of living harmoniously among extremes? What if you could somehow create an expansive enough life that you could synchronize seemingly incongruous opposites into a world view that excludes nothing?" 

"So tonight I reach for my journal again. This is the first time I’ve done this since I came to Italy. What I write in my journal is that I am weak and full of fear. I explain that Depression and Loneliness have shown up, and I’m scared they will never leave. I say that I don’t want to take the drugs anymore, but I’m frightened I will have to. I am terrified that I will never really pull my life together. 

In response, somewhere from within me, rises a now-familiar presence, offering me all the certainties I have always wished another person would say to me when I was troubled. This is what I find myself writing on the page: 

I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long. I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it—I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and Braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me." 

"When the karma of a relationship is done, only love remains. It's safe. Let go." 

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Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

"For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die." 

"Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship."  

"It's good to do uncomfortable things. It's weight training for life." 

"Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere." 

"Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you're conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, in the pictures you have painted, and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of." 

"This is our goal as writers, I think; to help others have this sense of–please forgive me–wonder, of seeing things anew, things that can catch us off guard, that break in on our small, bordered worlds. When this happens, everything feels more spacious. Try walking around with a child who's going, "Wow, wow! Look at that dirty dog! Look at that burned-down house! Look at that red sky!" And the child points and you look, and you see, and you start going, "Wow! Look at that huge crazy hedge! Look at that teeny little baby! Look at the scary dark cloud!" I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world–present and in awe." 

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Quotes by Julie Cameron author of "The Artists Way."

"The creative process is a process of surrender, not control." 

"Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise." 

"I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow."

"Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite – getting something down."

"Creativity – like human life itself – begins in darkness."

 “Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.”

 “Life is a creative endeavor. It is active, not passive. We are the yeast that leavens our lives into rich, fully baked loaves. When we experience our lives as flat and lackluster, it is our consciousness that is at fault. We hold the inner key that turns our lives from thankless to fruitful. That key is "Blessing."

 “Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.”

Today I'm a guest at Jean Saraurer's blog, Virgin Blogger Notes, 14 Tips On For Turning Bloggers Into Friends. 

What books and authors have you enjoyed this summer?