Tag Archives: Happiness

Little Things and a BIG Life

My friend Roseann has said for years that it’s the little things, like sharing dinner at the table with her husband, Mike, that make her life rich.

This view of life never resonated with me. For 14 years, I ate by myself on the couch while we each “did our own thing.”

I became the queen of the grand gesture.

The trip to Normandy…the lavish birthday parties…the Tag Heuer watch.

To me, it was a “go big or go home” approach to life.  Little?  Ha!  That’s for losers.

Now that I look through the lens of lessons learned, I see that my grand gestures were desperate attempts to bring meaning and satisfaction to a life lacking in what mattered most.

Tenderness. Connection. Laughter.

My grand (and expensive) strokes were also my stabs and finally doing the great, big thing that would make my life WORK.  

Do you remember when old cars took some work to “turn over” on a cold winter morning?  You’d turn the key and pump the gas; the car gasping for life…

…yes, that’s how I see many of the years in my rear view window.

This is not a post about regret, however!  No, no, no!  This is a post about finally seeing the light!

It’s about really and truly and finally understanding that no external thing could fix something wrong on the INSIDE.

That no grand or lavish gesture can evoke love that isn’t there already.  And that nothing you do can make other people happy if they choose to be miserable.

And most of all, if you are not happy, no one else and nothing else can make your motor run.

Finding peace within my heart and falling in love with ME has changed everything.

I beat this drum with everyone now, and I’m sure it is a bit annoying.

But can you really say that you’ve settled into a full-blown love affair with yourself?

Can you boldly say, “I’m wonderful!”

When you think of yourself, is it with the tenderness that you would offer an innocent baby?

This seismic shift changed everything for me.  It took a trek to Costa Rica and a visit with a shaman to get there, but man was it worth the journey.

Now friends, you don’t have to go to Costa Rica or take a psycho-spiritual journey to get there, but whatever it takes, please get there!

Oh please forgive yourself!  Oh please stop regretting the past!  Oh please…because life is too short to put a band-aid on and we were never meant to be the walking wounded.

How tragic to get to the end of our days (and gee, we don’t know if that will be TOMORROW!) and consider that we wasted it all being unhappy and that unhappiness served NO purpose.

And how tragic to numb ourselves or empty our bank accounts in the attempt to compensate for a broken heart we never forgave.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of picking up Shasta for a play date.  Mark and I wandered around until we ran into an arts and crafts festival.  We meandered hand in hand.  I bought a cheap anklet, we sampled kettle corn and Shasta was loved on by every passerby.

And I said to myself, “What a wonderful world.”

Louie Armstrong, I get it!  Roseann, I get it!

In a lifetime of talk about having an expansive life, I realize just how BIG little is.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE sniffing the air at any Ritz-Carlton.  I plan to visit Greece and publish a few books.  And birthdays?  Puh-leeze!  I love an excuse to party plan!

But those things will all be the icing on a cake that is sweet already.  And I wish the same for you, too.

Here are my closing thoughts on EXPANSIVENESS and a brand-new, never before received Word of the Weeks!

It’s a week to speak up!  (And to listen…)

May these last two weeks of February bring riches to your heart.

Love, love, love –

Brenda

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A Resolve to be Happy (and the New WOW)

Some people hate the whole resolution ritual. To me, it’s a tradition that sort of forces me to establish my priorities for the year and resolve to take steps in support of them.

Hmmmm…that sounded a bit too much like a corporate memo.

Take two:  I think about the stuff I want to happen and dream about what I can do to make them burst forth into reality!

I really wish I had learned this earlier in life.

My approach through my teens, twenties, thirties and most of my forties was to “wish, want, hope, pine, yearn” with feeble faith that I could impact any outcomes.

Something clicked in recent years. I was acting like a tennis ball, being directed by forces beyond my control instead of being the tennis racket and directing my life in the way I wanted it to go.

This does not preclude my dependence on God, the Holy Spirit or Jesus. But I do feel that the heavenly host has been sitting in the bleachers all these years saying, “Will you finally take a swing? We can’t do it ALL for you!!!”

Well, when you put it THAT way, Jesus…

We’ve got the equipment. We were BORN with it.  Our gifts, our talents, our special sauce – it’s all there, waiting to be whipped up into a unique and remarkable treat for the world -and us – to enjoy.  But too often we spend time focusing on what we DON’T have when it’s actually irrelevant.

If we don’t have it, we don’t need it to fulfill our calling.  We are completely equipped for our purpose in life.  And if you read this and start to protest, ask yourself, “Why am I fighting?”

So you’re flawed.  Join the crowd.  So you think your flaws or ailments disqualify you from certain joys in life?  Only your faith in that faulty line of thinking keeps you there.

My resolve every year is to be happy.  And I am.  Annoyingly so!  (Except to those who also are fans of happiness.)

Some people are as devoted to being miserable as I am to being happy.

Every ache or pain or bend in the road is a license to complain or make excuses or blame someone for their station in life.

Seriously, how’s that working for you?

No, I do not live a perfect life. I’ve had my share of broken hearts, physical challenges, disappointments and paralizing fears.  I choose, however, at this later stage in my game – with time fleeting and tomorrows not promised – to see the disappointments as a detour because something better is coming my way.  I acknowledge my fears and then do the work to get back to love because I don’t to waste one moment of this beautiful life living like a deer in the headlights.  I have a weird bump on my leg that needs to be biopsied next week and I am positive that it is either nothing, or if it is something, I’m going to beat it.

Can you tell I’m fired up this week?

I put some of that energy into this week’s message:

Isn’t that sweet?  What a lovely way to start 2017!

Be gentle with yourself first, my friends. It makes it a heckuva lot easier to then be gentle with others.

Hello, 2017.  I welcome you with open arms, an open heart, and a full expectation that you will be my best year ever.

And I wish that for all of you, too.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Enthusiasm is to be Taken Seriously (& the New WOW)

Enthusiasm is NOT to be taken lightly.

It’s not for the fainthearted (or boring, for that matter.)

Knowing this has helped me stand up a bit straighter this week and walk in a little more power than usual.

I have ALWAYS lived an enthusiastic life and my zest for even little things like greeting cards and puppy dogs is sometimes met with a head shake.  Really?  C’mon Brenda, it’s not THAT exciting, is it?

I once interviewed an elected official in my previous job as a Public Information Officer, and I found one of her answers to be so interesting I responded, “WOW!”

She literally (on camera) said, “Wow?  What’s there to wow about?”

Fast forward 15 years and I’m still “WOW-ing” with my Word of the Week.

Only on a few occasions have I considered ramping down my approach to life a bit – particularly when it is met with an eye roll – but this is the way God made me and I’m sticking with it.  

And, if I need further reinforcement, here are a few good ones:

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And one final kicker:

opportunities

Why do we curb our enthusiasm?  It’s the old “Don’t get your hopes up and you won’t be disappointed” scenario.

In my early teen years I lived that way and it didn’t work for me.  Since then, I’ve always got my hopes up.

Each week, I literally EXPECT to win the lottery.  (I haven’t.  YET.)  When I check the numbers I say to myself, “Oh…not this week.” (With full enthusiasm that it MIGHT be next week…)

I could list a million things that make me enthusiastic…but one of the tricks in life is to summon enthusiasm for what OTHER people find thrilling.  Instead of accompanying them under duress, it doubles their joy if you get into it, too.  So while at first, the band YES was a no for me, I am now completely taken in by Jon Anderson’s voice and wouldn’t miss a chance to see him in concert.  (YES is definitely a Duane thing.)

No, I don’t like to eat blue claw crabs.  But I am enthusiastic about the picnic tables at Peace River Seafood where you sit with strangers for hours.  Duane gleefully tries to beat his world record and I make friends.

I will never be enthusiastic about the Dallas Cowboys, but I’ll gladly go to a game (enthusiastically wearing my throwback Randall Cunningham jersey.)

Some of my greatest experiences in life have been those where I swallowed my LACK of enthusiasm and just joined in (parasailing, zip lining and snorkeling come to mind.)

Interestingly, all of the above involved my friend Anita.

You may not be enthusiastic about WHAT you’re doing, but if you are stoked about who you are doing it with, it can still fan your happy flame.

So no matter what this new WOW will be, let’s keep the fires of enthusiasm stoked (and stay stoked about life.)  It just may be the fountain of youth!

Here’s the reveal of the new #WOW:

With all of your sweet comments about Duane’s special guest appearance last week, THIS week is a bit more subdued.  (Hopefully we can get him to come back in the future and jazz things up.)

For now, may it ALL COME TOGETHER – for all us this week.

Love,

Brenda

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