The joy of remembering our wedding day 27 years ago and the life we’ve made together.
Fun times at one of our favorite breakfast spots- the 59 Diner
My Happiness Project- An Update
It’s been eight months since I posted My Happiness Project. So how’s it going?, some of you might be interested to know. Are you happy? Yes, most of the time. Did you stick with all 12 commandments? I’d have to say I try to most of the time and if I don’t and for very long, it’s usually the source of why I’m becoming unhappy.
Here’s a quick review. It started after a paradox of sorts. I’d just returned from paradise, a Bahamian Cruise and was unhappy. I decided to read Gretchen Ruben’s The Happiness Project and discover what she might have to say about it. I quickly learned she had many wise comments and thought provoking questions, one of which was “Is this all there is?” to which I answered “yup, but I should be content, but what was getting in the way of me enjoying my own life.” The answer was MYSELF. You see, we know what we should be doing, but what keeps us from doing the things we know are good for us? Gretchen Ruben had a powerful suggestion. Come up with 12 commandments for yourself, 12 things that speak to you and make you happy. Sounds easy? At first it does, but you need to actually take the time and listen to yourself and what is important to you, not your neighbor, your boss, kids, husband, best friend but YOU. Have you done that lately? It’s important. What I discovered that I was running around being too busy to really listen to me, but when I took the time I came up with the following list.
1. Prayer and meditation daily- make this a top priority to set my day on the right course.
2. Resist negative self- thought- the above helps with feeling badly about myself, encourages positive thoughts, positive actions and pretty soon you are on a positive cycle rather than a negative one.
3. Don’t compare- Be Kathy, you can’t be someone you are not, embrace who you are while trying to improve.
4. Seek affirmation from yourself not others- Please yourself, don’t do things for other’s approval because it won’t always happen. You can’t please everyone.
5. Exercise daily- Even if it’s walking the dog. Exercise gives you more energy and a positive outlook.
6. Be kind- When in doubt choose to be nice, even if something is true it doesn’t mean it is kind or should be said.
7. Be patient- With myself and others, don’t give up and keep on trying.
8. Have fun- Be silly and do something just because, at least once everyday. Laugh, tell a joke or make someone else laugh. Laughter is healing.
9. Organize- De-clutter, mess is stress.
10. Be generous- With my time, abilities and resources, don’t keep score and give without expecting anything in return.
I realized I had only made 10 commandments so I added :
11. Add some music to your day
12. Keep a gratitude journal each day and include not only these daily goals but list some long term goals
I have to say that the first commandment helps me set the right course for the rest of my commandments, it put me in the proper frame of mind and kept me focused. I’ve begun to add meditation to my routine, it’s very good but I’ve discovered how stiff I am. Hopefully the stretching will help. The second commandment is truly important. I used to focus on my actions but it’s what you think about and your cognitive life that can truly interfere with your happiness. Fill your mind with affirmation and positive thoughts and your actions will follow! I think one of the most influential of the commandments was to stop comparing myself to other people. When I confessed this to some of my friends, they also told me that they had compared themselves to me. How can you be two people? Embrace your strengths, work on them and try to encourage yourself to be your very best self. Support those areas that need growth, otherwise be realistic and kind to yourself. The energy that is wasted in comparison can be put to such better use, like say truly investing what you’d like to do with your time.
I took that time to reflect on what I wanted to do with the next years in my life after raising my children and discovered that I wanted to return to graduate school to become a couples and family therapist. I also wanted to self-publish my caregivers book. These are goals that I set and worked to achieve not for someone else but to see how I could best use my abilities to help others.
I also found it was important to share affirming thoughts with others so I try to say something kind to someone each day and not try to get a compliment in return or keep score. Is this always easy? No, but it’s important to share and give to others just because and to be kind just because It’s also important to take time to have a little fun every day. There’s not always time to go out but you can share a laugh, make a joke or just be silly. Joy and laughter are important. While on our cruise, music played nearly all day long and I realized I missed that. I made sure music played in my car and in the house. Remember when we were teenagers? We always had the radio on, or were listening to the latest music. What happened? I also realized I used to play the guitar from age 10-18. I decided to brush the dust of it and start playing again, just for fun.
It’s been a good project, I’d recommend it to anyone! Make it your own and have fun!!
And there are days when we need to choose Joy…
Here’s a family favorites passed down to me from my Nonna. My son Conner was heading off to college and I decided to make a plate of these for him. They are his favorite and why not? With only 4 ingredients they are so easy!!
24 large mushrooms cored
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage
1/4 cup Salsa
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Fry the sausage and rain, combine the cheese and salsa and chopped the mushroom stems. Fill the mushrooms with a spoonful of the mixture after brushing with olive oil. Place the mushrooms in a greased 9×13 in pan using the remainder of the olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
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