Pursuing Happiness

My pursuit of Happiness

I’ve been reading self help books lately, most with the word “Happiness” in their title.  I’ve had this nagging unhappiness most of my life.  Even when I was happy, I’ve never felt a genuine sense of well being.  So I set out on this journey about a year ago to pursue happiness, and wow, my journey has taken me through more dark valleys than I ever imagined.  I thought surely by seeking new ways to be happy I would be happy.  What I found however was a plethora of advice that just didn’t add up for me.

Professors of Happiness

There are so many happiness guru’s out there today, and while I’m thankful for them sharing their experiences of how they found happiness, I discovered it’s a very personal journey.  There is no one program, no one self help book, no one counselor that can give you all the answers.  Somewhere amongst all of these, you’ll have to figure out your own way and what works for you.  So I”m not here to tell you the “right way” or the “only way” or the “perfect way” I”m just here to tell you what’s helping me to find more happiness in my everyday life in hopes that you may take a few ideas from me, add them in with your own ideas and it will equal out to be a better life for you.

My Ideas + Your Ideas = Happiness for you

What causes Unhappiness

One thing I needed to discover before I could find happiness was what exactly was causing my unhappiness.  It seemed that there were very few times even when I felt very happy that I was genuinely happy.  While I discovered many reasons that I won’t go into now, one of the things I found was that I had an overwhelming sense of never being quite good enough. There are many reasons why I’ve always had this nagging feeling, but I’m focusing on the present and in the present my feeling of not feeling good enough was caused solely from myself.  I would see my adult children struggling and think, “I must have done something wrong raising them.”  I went an entire year without speaking to one of my sisters and felt an enormous guilt about not being a good enough sibling.  My business would go through a hard month and I’d blame myself for not being a good enough owner/coach/manager.  I would gain a few pounds and feel not good enough to take pictures with my kids or just of myself.  I think this feeling of never being quite good enough, no matter how good I really was, took away my happiness. In a book I read by Chris Prentiss titled “Zen and the Art of Happiness” he explained that what causes stress, anxiety and often depression are our thoughts.  These emotions are caused because we think that an event in the future isn’t going to turn out well.  Someone’s going to hurt us, we’re going to fail, we’re going to be embarrassed or ashamed or even hurt someone else. This worrying about the future takes away our happiness, causes sleepless nights, causes illness, causes us to live empty lives. I learned that my worries of not being good enough were senseless worries. I am good enough, I am good enough because I do my best, and that’s all I can do, the rest I have to let go, because I choose to live in this moment. I can’t go back and change the way I raised my children, I can’t take away the year I didn’t speak to my sister, I can’t totally control the fact that people enroll and un-enroll in my business, it’s just life.  I can only control my thoughts right now at this moment. You see a pattern here? My feelings of unworthiness all stemmed from thinking about the past…

So….have I found Happiness

While I haven’t perfected the art of happiness, and I’m not sure I ever will, I can tell you that my life is changing for the better.  At this time last month, probably even last week, I wouldn’t have written this blog because I’d worry that it wouldn’t be good enough, that someone would criticize me, that it wouldn’t make sense, etc. etc. This morning when I woke up, I had this on my mind.  My intuition was telling me to share my experience with this subject and that is how I’m choosing to live, in the present moment.  When I start to feel anxious I immediately realize it’s because I’m thinking about something later today or tomorrow or next week or next year, and I turn my thoughts instead to what needs to be done right now.  I truly believe if that is our focus then we don’t need to worry about the future because we’re preparing for the best future in this moment.

Find your Happy

The best advice I can give you to get you on the right path to finding happiness is to take some time to figure out why you’re unhappy. I don’t want you to dwell on it too long, because if you start going back to your childhood and things that happened years and years ago you can wind up stuck in a muck that’s hard to dig out of.  But instead, ask yourself, “Why am I unhappy today, why am I stressed, anxious, not feeling good enough, today?” Then go from there.  I think you’ll find that your thoughts are not on the present, but they’re on the past or the future.  Try today in just the little things to acknowledge what makes you smile, what warms your heart and what makes you happy. I woke up this morning alone, the sun was shining, I got to have my coffee in silence, I got to spend two hours writing with no one asking me for anything, it made me happy. After I finish this blog I have to get to work on some accounting for my business, but I chose to not think or stress about that while I was writing this, because I knew it would cause me anxiety.  Practice staying present today, then practice it again tomorrow and the next day until it becomes a habit.  There are going to be times of stress and anxiety and unhappiness, it’s inevitable, but when those moments come, handle them for what they are: The way you react to the stressors, the anxiety, the feelings of unhappiness or unworthiness make all the difference.  When I have those feelings of not being good enough, and I do still have them, I just pause for a moment, remind myself that I’m good enough right now, I’m the doing the best I can right now, and that’s got to be good enough, cause it’s all I’ve got, that’s all we’ve all got, Right Now….

Peace & love & happiness to you

Cause I’m not there yet, but perhaps, Soon Enuff……

Amy

A little poem I wrote about getting thru nights of anxiety and over thinking.  I’m getting better and better at this and I hope you will as well.

sun 2

The Moon and Me…

Tonights Super Snow Moon will be the biggest and brightest of 2019! With it there seems to come a lot of energy.  I’ve heard from several friends they’ve had a hard time sleeping, their brains won’t shut down or they’re feeling anxious.  I believe this is all coming from the Full Snow Moon tonight.  My best advice is to use that energy to your advantage.  Perhaps get started on a project you’ve been putting off, maybe work on solving a problem that’s been plaguing you for some time. While it’s true, the atmosphere is very emotionally charged today/tonight it doesn’t mean you’re going crazy, it means you need to channel the energy you’re feeling into something healthy.

You know I have this thing about the moon….I believe it’s at our darkest time when we are shown the most light.  You see, the sun, it sees us when we tend to be at our brightest and best, our best face on, out to conquer the world.  But the moon, it hears our deepest thoughts, the ones we don’t share with anyone, maybe the ones we’re ashamed we’re thinking.  The moon doesn’t judge, the moon loves me even at my worst.

     The Moon & Me

     The sun sees me

when I’m at my best,

but the moon, the moon

knows all my secrets and

loves me nonetheless….

Written By:  Amy Lopez

 

Be mindful today of all the swirling energy around you.  Be present in your day and love your life enough to be aware of what’s happening around you.

Cause I’m not there yet, but perhaps, Soon Enuff…

Peace & love, Amy

Disappointment…

So I know it’s been awhile, glad you guys stuck it out with me.  I’ve been on a bit of a spiritual journey.  I knew I was slipping and have been trying to do some self help, self love, whatever you want to call it.  Basically digging into my soul to see how I can make myself better.

There are so many notions (ideas) that I’ve read and totally agree upon.  But this notion of learning not to expect anything from anyone else so you won’t be disappointed really is the hardest thing for me.

I think it’s in our very nature to expect certain things from other humans…we expect them to treat us with respect, dignity, and love if they are our children our spouse/lover, and when that doesn’t happen I’m not sure how we are just supposed to be okay with that.

She found herself disappointed in the notion that she shouldn’t expect anything from anyone so that she’d never find herself disappointed...” -Amy Lopez-

So here’s what I’ve come up with in my own heart/mind.  I think it’s not that we shouldn’t expect certain things, of course, it’s obvious that we do.  But I think it’s kind of like this, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”  Meaning, just because someone doesn’t react to something the way we want them to, we can’t let it devastate us.  Just because someone doesn’t love the exact same way we do, it doesn’t mean we can’t still love them.  I think it’s natural and really okay to find ourselves disappointed in other humans, and also in ourselves.

If you have a significant other, even your children, it’s a good discussion to have. Communication is key! Let me them know what you’re going through, ask them to join you on your journey of becoming a better person.  If they’re up for it, awesome.  That way, at least, when you do things that may be disappointing to the other you’ll know that you are both trying, maybe you just slipped up.  Don’t let it ruin your relationship if you truly feel they’re giving it their best.  People make mistakes, lots of mistakes, and it’s totally up to you to keep giving chances or to have enough and walk away.

It’s hard to be the one (me) that is super excited about a new journey, about becoming a better person, speaking more love instead of hate, not taking things personally, not making assumptions, and then when you feel you’re doing really great and making progress, bam! Someone important in your life slams you.  You may take it gracefully the first, second, or third time, but after that, you find yourself slipping, you can’t take anymore and then you let all that negativity bog you down, you slip back into the person you used to be.  Believe me, I know, it’s happened to me so many times I can’t count. But the good thing is, I’m realizing it, I’m mindful and aware of when it’s happening, and now it’s happening less and less, which is a positive step.

I’d love to hear your feedback, maybe some of you are struggling with the same issues, I’d love to help.

Cause I’m not there yet, but perhaps….Soon Enuff

Have a beautiful week!

Your Garden….

Not sure how many of you will be able to relate to this blog post, but I suppose if it’s meant for you, then you’ll understand it…..peach daisy I’ve been struggling a bit mentally, which in consequence, is making me struggle physically as well.

Yesterday, I decided to go out and shoot nothing but weeds, ha.  And you know what I discovered, upon adjusting my focal point and length.  Weeds are beautiful, you just have to look a little closer!

“At times I feel I’m struggling, like I can’t have a beautiful garden because I can’t get rid of the weeds.  But maybe the garden is already there, and it’s not full of weeds at all, it’s simply a big field of beautiful flowers and I’m just to damn busy and stressed to even realize it.  So I adjusted my focal point and it changed what I saw, I began guarding my thoughts, and it is changing my life….” -Amy-

Hope your weekend is beautiful and you begin watching the thoughts you let yourself think.

Cause I’m not there yet, but perhaps, Soon Enuff…..

 

Are you your own worst enemy….

Have you ever really thought about how you speak to yourself?

Are you praising yourself, giving yourself a pat on the back, loving yourself, looking in the mirror and being proud of who you see?

Or, like most of us, are you condemning yourself. Telling yourself that you’re not good enough, pretty enough, young enough, talented enough. Are you looking in the mirror and pointing out to yourself all your flaws and how you wish you looked better?

We don’t realize it, but we hurt ourselves far more than anyone else can ever hurt us. We don’t realize that what we say to ourselves, what we think about ourselves, that’s the most that anyone else can ever think about us.  Though it’s true another person may be saying to you, “You look beautiful today…” In your heart, if you don’t believe it, because you have said too many times to yourself, “I’m disgusting, I wish I were more pretty,” than you won’t even hear when a person gives you a compliment, you’ve already condemned yourself.

The energy that comes from within you is what others receive from you.  If you are negative towards yourself, people sense that, and it makes them negative about you.  Conversely, if you have positive energy, and you really love yourself, others will love you and want to be around you because your energy is so positive and people, especially in these times, crave positive energy.

I have come to realize one thing about myself….I need to sincerely work on this.  I am a very positive and uplifting person…but only for other people.  I have started really listening to what I say to myself, and it’s not pleasant.  I’m never happy enough with how I look.  My writing is never quite good enough, my house never clean enough, and on and on….I think I’ve become very good at putting out a “false positive energy.” I can seem like a very nice positive person, but on the inside I’m not feeling it.

So if you are struggling like me, let’s start today to really listen to ourselves.  And when you catch yourself saying something negative to yourself, stop for a moment, change your attitude and you will eventually change your behavior.  I don’t think this will be any small feet.  I think we’ve trained our brains from childhood to think the way we do, maybe we were raised with over bearing parents, maybe a love in our life, hurt us so deeply that we began to self-doubt ourselves.  But whatever it is that started this awful trend in ourselves, I know one thing for sure, we can break the cycle.

So: Do you ever realize the way you speak to yourself?  Maybe you ought to listen….

Peace & love

Cause I’m not there yet, but perhaps, Soon Enuff….

Inspiration…

I had a challenge today to write on the subject of “Inspiration.”  As I pondered what to write about, thoughts kept coming back to me about my son.

Perhaps because I had him so young, we are very close.  Him, being my first child, I had to grow up quickly, and always strove to be an inspiration to him, but almost 30 years later, I’m realizing he’s been my inspiration all along.

I’ve watched my little boy go through his life, graduating from College, confused about his future plans.  I’ve watched him struggle with a drug and alcohol addiction, that changed him from a sweet loving child to a mixed up, disillusioned man.  I’ve seen him struggle with love and loss, winning and losing.  But the thing that most strikes me about him is how he’s managed to dig himself out of the pit of addiction and totally change his life around.

There was a time a few years back when we were talking and he was really struggling with some life issues, he asked me, “Mom, how will I ever get over this?”  I remember the pain I felt in my heart, because I knew the answer to the question but wasn’t sure it would be good for him to hear it, but I spoke to him honestly.  “You will never fully get over any of it.  But with time, you’ll come to appreciate the strong person you are because you just fucking got through it.”  It was the best way I could put it to him.  I knew the answer, I’ve been through it myself, there’s just some things in life that you honestly don’t ever get over.  You may do good for awhile, a few weeks, maybe even years, but it’s always there, and it will raise its painful head again and again throughout your lifetime.  But each time you fight through it, you’ll become stronger, you’ll see that though it feels like it’s killing you, you’re still alive, you’re still living.

It’s funny that now he’s my inspiration.  He’s turned his life around, become a teacher, an avid rock climber, a lover of nature and adventure.  He’s seen me struggle through my life, depression, smoking addiction, exercise addiction, love, loss, winning and losing.  And recently when we were in Oregon, I wondered how I was going to make it through my situation, how I would ever be able to get over things, and he said to me, “Mom, you’re never going to, but you’re fucking strong, and you’re going to keep living.”  And he’s absolutely right.

I know the parents are supposed to be the inspiration to the kids, helping them see how life should be lived, being good examples.  But honestly, my son, has been my inspiration.  He’s helped me want to continue living, to keep trying, when all I wanted to do was stop.  He’s helped me see, there’s always a way, there’s always a new path, there’s always a new journey a new adventure to take.

Look for inspiration in your life today, there’s something….you may have to dig a little deep for it, but you’ll find it.  There’s always a reason to keep living, and more importantly a reason to want to.

Peace & love

Cause I’m not there yet, but perhaps, Soon Enuff….

Reflections….

I’m as guilty as the next person, I’ve used them, lots of times, it’s hard not to.  Those apps that remove every line, every blemish, every scar….but to what extent do we become someone we’re not?  We can’t be 20, we can’t just never get crows feet, or laugh lines, we age, we all do, why has it become a trend to hide it?

I’ve lived life, and it shows.  Why am I reluctant to show that?  I’m in my very late 40’s haha, why am I hesitant to admit that or to let it be known?  I know why….the social media society that we now live in is a “perfect world.”  I dare say there are probably less than 50%, much less, of people who are real…everyone and everything is photo shopped.  I think that’s ok, occasionally, but the problem is, who are we in person?  You don’t get to carry around an app that changes you.  And why would you want to?  Of course there are always imperfections we wish we didn’t have, but everyone has them…To be honest, I think it’s what makes us unique and beautiful.  When I see a photo on IG for instance, and it’s obvious it hasn’t been touched up, or at least not too much,  I find I’m always thinking, “she’s so cute, her little nose is turned up, or her eyes are kinda squinty, but she’s so cute…..know why? cause it’s really her, and she is cute, she is beautiful.  When I look at a photo of someone that is obviously photo shopped, all I think is, wow, that lady is really beautiful, but she’s hiding it, cause she thinks she’s not beautiful enough….

Here’s my morning poem: Have you ever looked in the mirror at your own reflection, seeing only your flaws, no beauty, just imperfection.  Searching for the latest app to take care of each blemish, but look again, what do you see after your finished?  You are still you, no app can change that, at least not so far…so adjust you’re focal point, don’t be fake, be the beautiful person that you truly are… -Amy-

I hope starting today we can all learn to be more authentic…we are beautiful and unique in our own way, stop being afraid to be who you are.

Look for great lighting, not an app to cover up the real you 🙂

Peace & Love

Cause I’m not there yet, but perhaps, Soon Enuff….

Make March Memories……

Hard to believe it’s March….

Seems when we want time to stand still, it really flies by.

Spring is my 2nd favorite time of year, first is fall.  I think both seasons have such beautiful color and that is what my heart yearns for….a world of color, and less blah:)

The days here have been rainy and dreary making me feel a little tired and a little depressed.  I’ve done my best to fight through it.  Yesterday, I took a walk down my road and came upon the most beautiful little field of Daffodils.  It’s been so chilly that I was beyond surprised they had already bloomed, but there they were beautiful in all their glory:)

I hope this month brings lots of color to your days, you may have to go out and find it for yourself, but you can find it.  Start something today that’s good for yourself, perhaps a yoga class, exercise class, or just start a better healthy diet for yourself.

Make March a month of great memories:)

Love & Peace

Cause I’m not there yet, but perhaps, Soon Enuff…