Smiley Things (Or: Let’s Talk About Blogging)

You may have noticed that I haven’t updated this blog in a while.

Or maybe you haven’t, maybe you were just passing through, read a post, and moved on.  That is okay, too.

It turns out that blogging has the capacity to stress me out, particularly if any of my posts become popular in any way (popularity to me equals a hundred or more people reading any given post, because that’s a lot of people, even if it doesn’t translate to massive, worldwide, Gangnam Style success).  I get stuck inside my own head.  What if the next thing I post doesn’t inspire anyone?  What if people are rubbed the wrong way, what if no one likes what I have to say?  And who am I to say things, anyway?  Just another voice on the massive expanse of Internets.

I gave my blog a theme, and then immediately froze.  I ran out of ideas, or the ideas I had weren’t good enough, or I didn’t think my mood was appropriate for updating a blog that I started as a way of helping/inspiring/motivating others. 

So what do I do?

Simplify. 

Quit talking myself in circles. 

Every post doesn’t have to be a sweeping, epic, moving analysis of the human condition.  It doesn’t have to address any deep fears, solve any problems, or change any lives. 

I just have to enjoy writing it.  Blogs are, at their core, an outward expression of the person writing them.  And no person is just one thing all the time. 

Most of my posts are about being happy, changing your attitude, getting healthy, etc.  But me, the person, has had a rough several months in all of those areas.  I want to post, but I don’t want to bring everyone down.

So what do I post about?

The little things that make me smile.

For the next indefinite amount of time, my posts here will consist of things in my day that made me smile.  Even if those things are silly or small. 

Recognizing the smiles might help me realize I’m smiling more than I may think.

So to start, here’s what’s made me smile so far today:

What’s made you smile today?

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Month 2 – Gratitude


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For the second thirty day chunk of happiness, I’ve chosen to focus on gratitude. It’s so easy for me to forget that I intentionally chose to have another desk job in order to save up for teacher training. Instead I get stuck in the whole, “Blah, having a job sucks” spiral, when in reality, I could be flipping my attitude around and feeling grateful for the fact that I have a means to fund my dream.

I’m still going to yoga every day, but I decided to add daily gratitude as my next 30-day “layer” of happiness, so to speak. I took some blank pieces of paper, stapled them together, and created a little Gratitude Booklet.

Since I love doing things incrementally, I started the first day by picking one thing I was grateful for (I picked Green). I then went through and added one number on each page, the final page is numbered 1 through 60. Even though I’m only spending thirty days “focusing” on gratitude, I want to keep in incorporated in my daily routine, just like the yoga. So, like the yoga, I opted for 60 days, adding one thing each day. After that, I plan to put together another Gratitude Booklet where I list sixty things a day. My hope is that it will keep me busy the whole day, so that I am constantly seeing things and thinking, “Oh, I’m grateful for that! How lucky I am that this is in my life!”, and writing it down.

I’m halfway through, on day fifteen, today. (Which means, if you’re keeping track and I explained well enough, that I had to list fifteen things.) I’m trying to list different things each day to push myself to really realize just how much I actually have.

For some reason, this exercise is harder than it has been in the past when I’ve done it. Usually, it instantly pulls me into the present moment and turns my focus on abundance rather than lack, and I can list things forever. Right now, however, it seems like a struggle to come up with my lists each day. I don’t know why this is. On days when I am excited about something, it’s easy. For example, when I went to see the Hooping Life in Austin (which was FANTASTIC and well worth the wait, by the way), I filled the page with ease.

I’m finding that I have a mental block that’s keeping me from viewing work favorably. It’s almost as if something in me doesn’t WANT to be grateful for work. Like admitting that work is a good thing will somehow be admitting defeat, or joining the dark side or something.

Logically, I know that’s not the case, and that it would be much better for me emotionally to look at work from a place of acceptance rather than resistance, and I’m hoping my gratitude lists will help with that. And if they don’t, at least I’ll be reminded on a daily basis that I have plenty to be grateful for, and I also have ten more months after this to get to that place.

I hope you are having a wonderful day!

The Happiness Project


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I recently finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The book was my reward to myself for not quitting my job in January. It didn’t quite live up to what I was expecting. I certainly liked the CONCEPT of the book (taking a year to explore happiness and what that means to the individual, and how to create more of it), but I really didn’t like the author and the things she chose to work on for her happiness project. I read the whole thing (despite wanting to give up because it was making me more upset than happy at times), and while I enjoyed the chapter where she focused on writing and books (clearly her passion, so it made for the most interesting reading), and some of her conclusions at the end of the project, I didn’t enjoy her overall tone and default attitude about things. Particularly the way she acted as if it were such a huge task to not yell at her husband all the time. *shakes head*

Regardless, the project is a good idea, and like Gretchen says repeatedly in the book, “Everyone’s happiness project is unique.” That is very true. I am definitely NOT Gretchen Rubin (I probably wouldn’t even be friends with her), but I do know what makes me happy.

I also know that recently, due in large part to working behind a desk, something I swore I’d never again do, I haven’t been the happiest person in the world. I haven’t been the happiest me I can be, and I know, because I have experienced real happiness, and this ain’t it.

I’m working behind a desk in an effort to save up for the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training I’ve wanted to attend so badly for so many years. I’m working behind a desk in an attempt to earn a job that will help me keep my promise to myself to never work behind a desk again.

In an ironic twist of fate, I am sitting in a chair (which is horrible for your body) eight hours a day, answering phones and directing calls for the healthcare system. A system I myself constantly buck in favor of doing yoga and eating healthy.

The job has made me so miserable that I hadn’t been going to yoga, I’ve barely touched veggies, and I’m pretty sure I’ve gained at least fifteen pounds since being here. (They said I would, too. With an almost bizarre sense of pride, while showing off their fitness equipment, even, they laughed as they mentioned that we new hires would likely gain the “company fifteen”.)

In other words, I’m in danger of succumbing to the system I’m working for but otherwise carefully avoid. It’s a battle with my conscience on a daily basis, that’s for sure.

I keep telling myself that if I can just stick it out, the reward will be so wonderful and I will be so proud, but the cost is a year of misery.

Reading The Happiness Project reminded me of something I already knew: That I could not settle for a year of misery, I had to figure out how to get and STAY happy during this time. I can’t just wait for happiness until I get to teacher training. I have to BE happy when I get there. Or else it won’t make me happy, either.

I had started a new 60 day yoga challenge on January 11th, and I realized I’d inadvertantly started my own happiness project. I’ll be approaching mine differently from Gretchen. Instead of picking a whole bunch of things to focus on each month, I’m picking one. One thing, for thirty days. The goal is to have each thing carry over into the next month, so that by the end of the year, I’ll be more in tune with my own happiness. And instead of doing it each month, I’ll do each thing in thirty day chunks.

Included in this happiness project is blogging, because I’ve realized just how much I gain by blogging, even if no one reads it. Whether I like it or not, there is a writer living in my head that won’t leave me be. When I was a kid, it would narrate everything I was doing for a future novel. These days, it narrates everything I think for a future blog post.

Blog posts I’m not writing.

Hopefully blogging again will help clear up some of the mental clutter I’ve gathered since having this job, and also inspire me to think thoughts that would inspire (in turn inspiring me) others rather than depress them (or myself). Blogging regularly, though, is not on the schedule until May. Before that, I’ll be working on some other projects (and blogging when I can make myself).

My happiness project is as follows:

Jan 11th – Feb 9th: Yoga – Go to yoga every day. (completed)

Feb 10th – March 10th: Gratitude – Write down things I am grateful for in my life as it is every day, to remind myself how lucky I am and that everything is perfect as it is. (in progress)

March 11th – April 9th: Food – Re-introduce veggies and juicing into my eating habits.

April 10th – May 9th: Hooping – Hoop every day, and post videos at least once a week.

May 10th – June 9th: Blogging – Blog daily.

June 10th – July 8th: Meditation – Meditate for fifteen minutes daily.

July 9th – Aug 7th: Hug Nation – Watch back episodes of Hug Nation daily, download Halcyon’s Morning Meditation and listen to it in the morning.

Aug 8th – Sept 6th: Creativity – Start and work on This is Not a Book daily.

Sept 7th – Oct 6th: Friends/Socializing – Go to Open Stage every week, make efforts to attend other social gatherings.

Oct 7th – Nov 5th: Writing – Write every day, participate in LJ Idol.

Nov 6th – Dec 5th: Knitting – Start a new sweater, and/or work on the Masters Knitting Program from the Knitting Guild Association.

Dec 6th – Jan 4th: Singing – Sing every day. Possibly in front of people.

Ask For Help, Part II

Click here for Part I


“I’ll give you all I can…”
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Before I get to far into this, I feel it’s important to say just how stressful it can be for me to ask for help. Somewhere deep down, I don’t feel like I deserve help to get myself out of my own messes. I mean, things wouldn’t be quite so bad if I’d just sucked up my pride and kept my job. Or looked for a new one with more gusto. What right did I have to ask anyone for anything when I clearly couldn’t help myself?

(I should mention that Green had also quit his job, and for a span of at least a month and a half if not more, both of us were unemployed.)

I continued struggling through each day, determined to be solely responsible for digging us out of this mess, too embarrassed by my own foibles to even fully reveal the details of our situation to anyone.

I’d been reading a lot, and one of the books I’d been picking up for a few pages a night was Live the Life You Love by Barbara Sher.

In the book, Sher lays out ten steps to take toward putting your life in the direction you actually want it to go. In lesson seven, “The Idea Bank”, Sher writes:

“This is probably the simplest and most effective way of getting great ideas that I know of. All it requires is that you tell as many people as possible – friends, colleagues, people on the bus – what your wish is and what obstacle you face.”

She goes on to say that the reason this works is because when people hear someone talking about their wishes and their obstacles, they immediately go into problem-solving mode and try to come up with ways to help. Even if that person can’t help directly, they may be able to point you in the direction of someone who can.


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I read this and thought about a group I’d recently joined on Facebook called DFW Bartering Artists. The group encouraged artists in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to connect with one another, asking for things they needed in exchange for their artistic skill, or whatever they could provide. The only rule: No monetary exchanges. Bartering only.

The creator of the group set it up because she wanted a haircut. Within one week it had 500 members.

I’d spent the week of the group’s inception scouring the page looking for barters I could help with. I didn’t find any, but I did know people who might be able to help with some, and I pointed those people in the direction of the group. Watching everyone trading with one another so willingly really touched me, and reminded me just how good humanity can be.

So when I read Sher’s description of asking for ideas, I realized that I’d just watched that very concept in action.

It occurred to me that I didn’t have to ask anyone for money, or to fix my situation for me. But I could definitely ask for help with ideas, for nudges in the right direction. I began to compile a list in my head of the things that would help me out the most: a job, tubing to fill some hoop orders, but more than anything else, I needed a morale boost. I needed help remembering that the world is on my side.

I wrote up an open letter and posted it to Facebook, describing my issues with asking for help and how I could really use some good vibes and help coming up with ideas. I addressed the letter to friends, family and the Universe. I felt that if nothing else, putting it out into the world that I was finally open to help could shift things up a lot.

It did.

Within minutes, I got comments from friends sending their well-wishes, which reminded me that no matter how bad things got, I had people who cared about me. I had people tell me about places I could try applying. I had people offer to donate rolls of tubing in exchange for their own hoops or payment when I could afford it.


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But the thing that made the whole endeavor worth it for me came in the form of comments from people who related to what I said about being too embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. I had people I’d never met before tell me they were inspired by my note, that they saw themselves in it and felt they could have written it themselves.

In other words, my asking for help directly helped others.

The note signified more than just a request for help, it was a declaration of upward momentum. From that point on, I would look at what I had, the things I was grateful for, and watch things get better.

A couple of days after I posted the note, I got a call back from the interview I thought I had bombed. The next day, I received an e-mail inviting me to interview at the company my friends had told me about. I got hired on at both jobs. I went from feeling convinced I may never work again to having to choose between two excellent job offers. There is no doubt in my mind that the abundance came as a direct result of changing my attitude about my situation and opening myself up to aid from the outside. They may have come otherwise, but would I have been in the right frame of mind to receive them? Would I have gone into the interviews in a bad mood and continued my unemployment streak? Very probably.

I’m now working at a company I am EXCITED about. A company that rewards its employees for a job well done, that shows its workers in innumerable ways how it values them as human beings, not numbers. It’s helping me change my attitude about employment, as well. Soon I’ll begin receiving paychecks, which will continue the upward momentum as I begin putting things back in order.

The moral of this story is: If you feel like you are stuck and you can’t get out, think about the things that you need and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is a second step that might be even more important: Don’t be afraid to be open to receiving help. It’s the openness that allows opportunity to flow into your life. Getting rid of the resistance that’s keeping you from asking opens more doors than you might expect.

Try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Cycles of Self-Respect and Self-Neglect

I haven’t been posting too much recently because I haven’t been in the best of moods, but I’ve felt that if I’m trying to post stuff that makes other people feel good, I should probably feel good myself.


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Unfortunately, the truth is, I’ve been in something of a slump. I haven’t been going to yoga, I’ve been eating lots of ice cream, and I’ve been spending hour after hour locked in front of my computer watching Project Runway on Hulu. (By the way, I’m officially out of Project Runway episodes to watch, does anyone happen to have seasons 1-6 on DVD that I could borrow and watch obsessively?)

I’m getting dizzy spells when I stand up and I’ve broken out in my yearly summer rash. I’m a non-stop itch machine. Green and I are trying to move out of our apartment and all I want to do is lie on the floor and play Animal Crossing. (That’s not true, all I want to do is lie on the floor and watch Project Runway. But I’m out.)

In addition, I’ve noticed my waking temperatures (which I’ve been tracking every morning since going off the pill) are extremely low, in the 95 – 97 degree range. This could be a sign of thyroid issues, which might explain my dizzy spells, my rash, and why I’m lethargy-prone. I really don’t want to get it checked out, though, because I’m terrified of a positive diagnosis, and I do not want to be on thyroid medication.

The tipping point came yesterday, when I broke down in a fit of tears for no discernible reason.

And all this time, I’m thinking, “I should really blog about something,” but I’ve been avoiding blogging about my miserable mood because Jessica Mullen recommends only blogging about what you want more of, and I certainly don’t want more of my miserable mood. The “post-what-you-want” method works in theory, except for the fact that avoiding posting because I’m not in a great mood is just making me feel worse, and less authentic.

The truth is, I am a cyclical being. Ever since I started to be more health conscious, I’ve gone through cycles of being super on top of things and feeling great, to lying in slumps of absolute misery. It happens. I think it’s almost worse to get my hopes up thinking THIS TIME it will be permanent, because then when I fall off the wagon, I spend extra time beating myself up about the fact that I’m not being healthy like I know I should (and can) be. Which sets me back even further.

So my new motto, which I’ll repeat once more, is: IT HAPPENS. There are times when I let my health slack and I pull inward, staying home more than I go out. It happens, and I know I’m not the only one it happens to, either. So perhaps reading about my current temporary setbacks might make someone else feel less guilty about their own, because I think it is natural to be cyclical. It can’t be summer all the time, there has to be winter to balance things out.

Learning this stuff is a lifetime journey. Living healthfully, especially in a society that promotes dis-ease and quick fixes, is tough.

The good news, however, is that the more years I spend learning about health, the shorter my slumps get, and the longer my good stretches last. If nothing else, I can look forward to the fact that it can only get better from here. Not only that, but because of how much I’ve learned in the past, I know exactly how to fix it.


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My constant search for curing the problem and not the symptoms will never end. When I get to the point where I feel so bad that I know it’s time to get back on track, I ultimately find articles or books that point me in the right direction. This time, I’m giving cutting out sugar another shot. Five years ago, I did it for a month, but I ate lots of fruit and honey and felt miserable the entire time. It turns out that honey and fruits are just as bad for your system as refined sugar.

The stars seem to be aligning on this one: I know it’s sugar that’s slugging me down, and I’ve been reading Sarah Wilson‘s “I Quit Sugar” series on her blog for tips and support. Incidentally, Sarah Wilson also blogs about naturally healing and living with auto-immune disease (which includes thyroid issues).

The icing on the cake: A friend of mine on Facebook announced that she’s about to start her own 60 Days Without Sugar Challenge, and would anyone care to join her? Well, I love me a good challenge (and this one comes with a prize for the winner! A $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com, heck yes!), so I’ve signed up. The challenge starts July 6th, but I’ve already started, because I’m sick of feeling terrible. If anyone else wants to try this with me, check out Sarah Wilson’s blog and we’ll rock this out.

During slumps, it’s important to remember that they are only temporary, and that you have the power to get yourself back on track. At the same time, it’s just as important not to beat yourself up. We are human beings after all, and if the worst thing we’re doing to ourselves is having a few pints of ice cream and sleeping late for a month or two in between long stretches of honoring our bodies, I’d say we’re doing pretty well.

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Positivity Bracelet!

I was fiddling around on YouTube because I do that from time to time, and I watched Alex Day’s Life in a Day video. And it was going on as most Life in a Day videos do, but at the end, Alex made mention of a bracelet he was wearing.

And the bracelet is actually pretty cool!

Hear Alex describe the bracelet (he starts talking about it around 3:03):

If you either can’t or don’t want to watch the video, here’s what he says:

“The idea of this bracelet is that you have to keep it on, and count every day that you have it on, and when you get to twenty-one days, you can take it off. BUT, every time you complain about something, you have to take the bracelet off and put it on your other wrist, and start again from zero.

“Apparently it takes twenty-one days for repeated action to become a habit. So the idea is that if you can go without complaining for twenty-one days, it’ll be because your mindset has just altered and become more positive.”

I really like this! I like the idea of a tangible reminder to think positively, because it is so easy to fall into complaining. Especially when you’ve got someone to complain with, because then you both sit back and forth trying to “out-complain” each other. It’s addictive and draining at the same time.

What if you were both wearing positivity bracelets??

This is a habit I’ve put a lot of effort into breaking, but I never considered anything like this! Anyone else up for it? The best part is it doesn’t have to be a special bracelet, it can be ANY bracelet, you could even make your own! Make them for your friends! Let’s all make positivity a habit!

Today Green and I WENT FOR A WALK. (And Other Things I’m Grateful For)

So a few years back when I was feeling like things couldn’t possibly get much worse than being forced to sit in a tiny square for nine hours a day (which wasn’t really true, I had the Internet the WHOLE TIME and I got paid for it, so in reality, that was pretty awesome, except for the part where I had to spend nine hours a day pretending I wasn’t on the Internet), I used to make posts about the things I was grateful for because realizing how much you have is always a good thing.

I’ve been reading Jessica Mullen’s School of Life Design and she actually recommends doing this, and I forgot that I used to do it all the time before anyone ever told me to, and I think it would be a good idea to do again.

So here goes! Things I am super grateful for RIGHT NOW (in no particular order):

1. Green and I are working on spending less money, so instead of driving to the store around the corner, we walked to it. The sun was shining but it was not ungodly hot, it was actually quite pleasant, and we purchased some groceries and then walked home in a delightful mood.

2. Green is now cooking dinner while I read funny things on the Internet. ❤

3. I have THE INTERNET.

4. And FUNCTIONING APPENDAGES. Like fingers. And legs. And elbows.

5. We have a cat and it is very soft.

6. There's a roof above our head!

7. I have a car that can get me from point A to point B.

8. Yoga!

9. Hoops!

10. My first ever FAM chart shows that I am ovulating like a normal human lady, as I have experienced my first (recorded) THERMAL SHIFT!! (This is probably only exciting to me, but it doesn't mean I'm not going to post my chart when this cycle is over. So get PSYCHED FOR THAT.)

11. I can breathe! Air!

12. My feet work!

13. I HAVE THE INTERNET.

14. I got some Barnes & Noble gift cards that I got from work for doing a good job before I quit work because of how much time they spent telling me I don't do a good job, and I used them to purchase the new Tim Ferriss book and the new Rachel Brice DVD! They should be here any day now.

15. I’ve got NEW HOOP TAPE on the way!

16. I have a cell phone with which I can contact people I love!

17. I can SEE with my EYES!!!

18. I can HEAR with my EARS!!!!

19. I can type REALLY FAST.

20. YouTube! I love YouTube. It is on the INTERNET.

That is all for now. What are YOU grateful for? 🙂