Category: Joy

Happy Feels Good. This Is Guidance.

“Feeling good is important, or it’s not.
Only you can choose which is for you.” 

 — Albert K. Strong

[Classic post from 3-15-14]

Earl Nightingale, one of my early mentors, said it very nicely: “Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”

I was having lunch with a friend today, and somehow we got on the topic of goals. I said that now my one overall goal is joy. He didn’t seem to think that was a goal, but as we discussed the idea it seemed to make more sense to the point that he began to agree with it.

I said that at the top of my to-do list every day now is, enjoy myself! And it has been on that list for time enough now that I think about enjoying myself all day long. It doesn’t matter one iota what is going on in my life, or how others around me are feeling. I am the only one–yes, the ONLY ONE that can make me happy. I practice it all day long by doing simple things while I’m doing chores or work tasks or driving somewhere, etc.

As I was going to my lunch appointment today, I was behind a person turning left onto a major road. As soon as they negotiated the corner, they stopped briefly. I thought, “Wow! I’ve never ever seen that done before. That was strange and interesting. I wonder what caused them to make that move?” Then, I was laughing with joy and having a great time enjoying that amazing maneuver. I might be working on the computer and then desire a little break, and I will go watch the birds take a bath in the birdbath, or walk out into the back yard, or maybe I’ll just sit in my recliner for a bit and think enjoyable thoughts.

One of the things that came up today was the idea of stress and being under stress as if that was something that someone else gave him or created for him to deal with. I hear that often from a lot of people. Stress is self-inflicted 100% of the time. It is purely how we are thinking about a situation or event. That emotion of stress, or often more likely, frustration is an excellent indicator of our thoughts. Our emotions don’t tell us what to think. They tell us what we are thinking. Change the thought, change the emotion.

Often we think that if only the events would change I would feel better. Or, if only the right person was my mate, I would be happy or happier. It is never things outside of ourselves. They cannot create happiness or joy in us. Only we can do that for ourselves by what we are thinking, how we are thinking about someone else, or an event. We are 100% in charge.

Another thing that came up today was how to have joy show up. There is only one way: Choose it. Again, it cannot come from outside, only from the inside. We can choose joy, enthusiasm, love, appreciation, and such by thinking thoughts that cause those emotions. I find that the fastest, easiest, and surest way to find joy or be happy is to find things to appreciate. And here’s the key: They are all around me and always have been every single moment and day of my life. I wasn’t always paying attention. Now I give it most of my attention!

“You See, You’re Giving Others Too Much Power As You Even Acknowledge How They Make You Feel. What You’ve Got To Decide Is How I’m Going To Feel.” — Abraham, Esther Hicks

Spread Some Joy Today–It operates the same way as spreading sadness, only infinitely better feeling!

The Spring Of Kindness

“No kind action ever stops with itself.
One kind action leads to another.
Good example is followed.
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions,
and the roots spring up and make new trees.
The greatest work that kindness does to others
is that it makes them kind themselves.”

– Amelia Earhart

Ain’t it the truth!

One of my favorite authors who really helped me get going in sales way back in ’72-73 is Frank Bettger. His book, How I Raised Myself from Failure To Success in Selling, is a classic and is very encouraging for someone new to sales (or a veteran in sales, for that matter). In it, he talks about getting fired from a professional baseball team because he looked like he had no energy and he seemed to be dragging the team down. So, he decided to change and to become the most enthusiastic player anywhere and he created the popular phrase, “to become enthusiastic, act enthusiastically!” This became his central theme and I have several copies of his signed books, all of which say “Enthusiastically, Frank Bettger.”

The quote above is very similar to me: To become kind, act with kindness! Ain’t it the truth. We already know it. We know when we act with kindness that we feel great and can see on the face of the other that they feel great too. The thing we don’t see is how that great feeling is passed on by that other person throughout their day or even into days ahead.

I try to remember to give sincere compliments wherever I go, to people I see, whether for the first time or the hundredth time. I am always looking for something to compliment people on. Many times, there is no discernable reaction to my comment, but I am sincere and it feels really good to me, so that is all that matters. I know, they heard it, and they appreciated it even though they may not show it immediately. And, again, the best part is that it not only has an effect on them but on others they interact with throughout the day. How cool is that?

Sometimes I do this in bulk and in what some might think are “crazy ways.” I’ll give you just one example that I remember as a bit off the chart. I was a sales manager at a small fledgling dealership in 1989. It was gloomy and struggling. I wanted to inject some life into it and did a number of things that helped. They had a fairly strong service business. Matter of fact, that was what kept the dealership afloat.

So I had this crazy idea come into my head to give a dozen roses to all the employees (13 of them) and have a blank card on it, so they could take it home and pass some of the pleasure on to their spouse or loved ones or just enjoy it themselves.

It was a bit crazy because I didn’t have much money, but I broke out a credit card and bought 16 dozen roses of all different colors, one dozen each in vases, arranged and delivered. It was $660. I couldn’t really justify the expense when my reasoning tried to stop me, but, I was jazzed and I acted immediately. I had each employee stop by the office on their way home and I had them choose one they liked and I thanked them for their service to the company. For all they knew, the company bought them. I also gave one set to the General Manager and Owner who worked at a different location. Plus one to take home with me for my wife.

You had to have been there to see the looks on all their faces. It was priceless. And, guess what happened when they went home. I am sure that it was a hit there as well. In addition, it is the kind of gesture that you so rarely see. It was worth every cent and then some.

And guess how happy that florist must have been.  One action and so many are positively affected. It is like spreading joy!

I was only at that store for three months, when a marvelous opportunity came to me unexpectedly. Is there a correlation? It was an opportunity that changed my life, and that is still with me to this day, 31 years later!

Many times, I get thoughts like this and I am happy that I act on many of them even though some are a bit over the edge like this one. But, you know, life is all too short, and to miss an opportunity like that would be to miss an opportunity to love.

I call those thoughts inspirations. Typically, right after you get one, your reasoning facility takes charge to try to justify that thought using logic and reason. The typical result would be letting the inspiration go down the drain.

If you ever have any of these strange, yet wonderful inspirations, I hope you act on them. Think of the joy that you will create for yourself and many others! I think that is a great reason! And, you never know–that act of kindness might have an interesting side effect… on all concerned!

My Own Celebration

“When you do not love yourself, you become “needy,” and you try to get the love you need through others. When you deny your own needs, you resort to manipulation, control, or pitiful begging to get others to fulfill your needs.

In the early days of our marriage, I was “needy,” wanting love from my husband that I couldn’t give myself. Every spring, I dropped clear hints of my love of daffodils, hoping he would bring me daffodils. While he did many things for me, he never brought me daffodils. One day, some years later, as I was beginning to learn about loving oneself, I thought, “I will buy some daffodils.”

The day I bought myself daffodils was not a sad one. Instead, it was a day of victory in my realization that I could honor my celebration of spring with the beauty of the spring daffodils. In confession, I must say that I have extended this, and now celebrate fall with chrysanthemums, Christmas with pine boughs, and summer with bouquets of daisies. These small gifts nurture my heart. Having lunch alone in a cozy restaurant with a favorite book nurtures my heart. Buying a new book or an inspirational tape recording for listening in my car nurtures my heart. While my beloved nurtures me in ways he things are important, I have great joy in the self-love of my own celebration.”

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

Note: This book, Reflections of the Heart was shared with me by a dear friend and reader. Her mother published this book and I have enjoyed it so much that I’ve found some poems and other golden nuggets to share from it. Thank you, Sherilyn.

Overflowing Gratitude

“Sometimes my cup overflows
with gratitude and I am in awe
of the blessings, I’ve received.” 

— Terry Minion

[Classic post from 5-11-16]

It is delightfully amazing how something comes to you at the perfect time and as it is accepted, it becomes a part of who you are. I’ve had so many of those times, and yesterday was one such day. It is also fascinating to me how these things come into being and expand, like following a narrow path that leads into a shining metropolis.

I could write about this experience and what I learned for days on end, but I will keep it short, though I am quite unable to keep it to myself.

I subscribe to emails from Marie Forleo. I love her videos and think she is a fascinating person on the Internet. Yesterday, she shared a talk that she did on Oprah Winfrey’s Supersoul Sessions, which are much like TED talks but range from 24-35 minutes each, and from well-known authors and speakers. I’ve heard of Supersoul Sunday, but never really plugged into it, and knew nothing about all that is going on at Supersoul.tv until Marie shared her talk and I saw the Supersoul.tv website.

I very much enjoyed Marie’s talk about how everything is ‘figureoutable,’ a term her mother taught her at a young age about self-reliance and creativity. In the video window was four thumbnail-sized video images of other talks in the SuperSoul Sessions, so I watched another by Eckart Tolle that I enjoyed very much. Then, I watched a talk by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, who I was unfamiliar with, and I was fascinated by her talk about parenting that was so insightful and deeply touching, yet so simple as to feel perfectly wise. I was very impressed with this unique talk.

Next, I watched the talk by Kris Carr about living a crazy, sexy life, as she has learned how to do with cancer in her body. Then, I watched Oprah’s own talk about shedding the weight to a better life which addressed her own struggle with her body and the path she is now on, appreciating the journey as a whole. Next, I watched the video of India.Arie of whom I was completely unaware, but became a huge fan from this short ‘songversation’ expressing her life, lessons, and journey.

Then I watched Deepak Chopra, one of my favorite authors, then Elizabeth Gilbert gave a moving talk, along with Janet Mock. I was completely blown away by one of my favorite authors and speakers, Marianne Williamson. This talk about Universal intentions, and much more, was so profound to me as to feel like the top of my head blew off like a volcano of insight and understanding. Wow!

In so many of these talks because they were personal and touching, I shed tears–many tears, many times. I spent virtually the entire day yesterday watching, learning, feeling emotion, being amazed, and absolutely and completely full of gratitude. I hardly knew who to thank. Of course, Marie Forleo sent me the email with the link that led me to the other talks, and Oprah Winfrey created the environment, exposure, promotion to the entire range of talks. I haven’t yet seen all of them because there are so many. I wanted to write Oprah and gush my thanks and I’m sure she hears stuff like that all the time. I wanted to write each of the people I watched in the videos and express how moved I was with their talk, and sharing themselves and their travels. I felt stifled almost not knowing how to express my gratitude for such a moving day that moves me still just thinking about it.

Then, I thanked God, the Universe, The All-That-Is for this. I was thanking the Creator of the Law of Attraction which helped bring this to me and ultimately, it is the Creator, God, the Universe, All-That-Is, and a thousand other names to describe this that guides all that is responsible and my gratitude here is perfectly placed. I am also thanking those involved as I have so briefly described above, and sharing it all here to express my gratitude and joy outwardly. I am blessed greatly. Thank you.

Sometimes Your Cup Runneth Over And It Feels Like Gratitude Isn’t Enough. But Gratitude Is ALWAYS Enough Because It Is Love. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by sharing your joy. That’s how easy it is. Share it in a text, a letter, a blog, yelling from a mountain top. You get to choose the venue.

Jenna

She is nine
and she asked me,
“Grandma,
are you rich?”
“Am I rich?”
What does the
wisdom of my heart say?

“Yes, Jenna, I am rich, for
I own the golden
sunlight of the morning
and the evening star
of the north.
My emeralds are the oak leaves
and my diamonds their dew drops.
More beautiful than rubies
are the crimson roses
that climb the picket fence.

My home is large and very beautiful
stretching from daybreak
to nightfall.
Decorated with fields of wild flowers
and flocks of flying geese.

For you see, Jenna,
the deep blue ocean
with its dancing waves
and the great pines
that sing in the breeze
belong to me.

But most precious
of all my riches
Are the people
of my life.

Each a rare jewel
an original,
a gift.
Each with a smile
like no other,
a beauty
to melt my heart,
a flower
to fill my bouquet of life.

Yes, Jenna
When you run
to hug me;
when the gentle night
holds me in my sleep;
when the sun
warms the day;
when your grandfather whistles–
I am rich beyond measure,
for I have known
the wonder of Love.”

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

My Pretty Hat

I ask,
Two worlds,
one material
one spiritual;
two natures,
one human
one divine.
Can I have both?

The world is
so tempting.
My new hat,
so pretty;
my ring,
so shiny.
The party is tomorrow
can I refuse?

The Christ answers,
“The world is for living,
the Spirit is for loving.
Live fully,
Love fully
and you will know both.”

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

Christmas in July

[This was written in June 2017 and published in a magazine,]

I often sing Jingle Bells in July and celebrate holidays whenever I want. I see no need to wait until there is a majority agreement on a date to celebrate something. It’s so much fun to make my own celebration dates. I like living in the present. There is no time like right this moment to choose to be happy, have some fun, spread some joy, and enjoy myself. In fact, now I celebrate every single day.

Michael A. Singer asks, “Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.” In his excellent book, The Untethered Soul he has a whole chapter on the concept of practicing unconditional happiness. He adds, “You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy. And you have to mean it regardless of what happens.” 

We often have so many rules about how we allow ourselves to be happy, and that sadness, grief, depression, or some other thing gives us permission to disconnect from happiness. We may think that we don't have any control over things and situations that create these feelings, but it isn't any event or situation, but only our choice that rules. 

To say, I want to be happy, but. . . or I want to be happy, except. . . is to choose not to be happy. People might say, “Of course I want to be happy, but my wife died, or my husband left me, or I got fired, or I'm deeply in debt, or someone crashed into my car, or I can't pay all my bills,” or fill in the blank. There's always some reason we can come up with when we only allow ourselves to have conditional happiness by saying, yes, but, or yes, except.

I love how Abraham, Esther Hicks discusses the subject:

“We are really advocates of just getting as happy as you can be–which takes care of everything. Even if you don't have reason to be happy–make it up. Fantasize it. Make a decision that you're going to be happy one way or another–no matter what. “No matter what, I'm going to be happy! If I have to ignore everybody; if I have to never watch television again; if I have to never pick up a newspaper again, I'm going to be happy. If I never have to see that person's face again, I'm going to be happy. If I have to see that person's face, I'm going to find something to see in that person's face that makes me happy. I'm going to be happy. I'm going to be happy. I'm going to be happy.” 

Some people say, “well, you just can't be happy all the time because there is a lot of ________ all around.” OK. That's a choice to be happy when we think it is acceptable or appropriate to be happy. Fine. Have it that way. But the statement that we just can't be happy all the time is purely opinion. We can be happy all the time. We can respond to events without reacting to them. We can decide to be happy no matter what goes on outside, no matter what anyone else thinks, no matter what. All we need do is choose it–and mean it.

Once we choose, our path is clarified. We see life with different eyes, different emotional responses, different perspectives. We can choose and allow ourselves to be happy regardless, and as we practice that, life takes on new meaning. I know this to be true because I made this choice and practice it daily, hourly, constantly. When an old habit of how I should feel comes up, I see it for what it is: an old habit. I then choose to let it pass by as I decide to be happy and at peace anyway.

Where Do You See Yourself?

[I wrote this in Jan 2016 and it was published in a magazine.]

Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years?

I’ve always loved movies. I’ve watched thousands of them in my life beginning as soon as I could change the channel on the old black & white TV, watching all those movies from the 30s and 40s. 

My latest favorite is called, The Intern, with Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, and Rene Russo. The reviews weren’t very good, but I love it (tells you what critics mean to me. . .) because it makes me feel good, and I like feeling good. If you haven’t seen it, Robert De Niro’s character applies for a “senior intern” position at a start-up clothing company and is assigned as a personal assistant to the CEO, Anne Hathaway, but she isn’t thrilled to deal with that. He overcomes her resistance with patience and by providing value, which I think almost everyone appreciates.

In the interview before getting the position, he is asked by a 20-something interviewer, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” His answer, “What? You mean when I’m 80?” The kid backpedals not really realizing that he is now 70 years old.

It’s one of those silly questions that employers and their representatives often ask. Heck, I asked it many times myself in interviewing potential hires. It must be one of those things that came from some expert seminar or something, but it is truly a silly question. I can remember being 20 and could not even imagine in my head being 30, so how would I answer that question? In the movie, he is 70 and at first, I laughed, and then I calculated that I am 68 this year, and could relate to his surprise at such a silly question.

It’s difficult to consider the future that far out. Heck, it’s difficult to consider it only a year from now, and the older I get in years, the more I focus on now. I can’t do anything in the future, but I certainly can do something now. 

Many want us to worry about the future, but that simply destroys our today. I get the question and its meaning. They want to know what our ambitions are, whether we have much ambition, what our goals are, how we will grow to become more, and so on. Wonderful. Why not ask those questions. But, here are some better ones to consider, I think. See if you agree.

How can I enjoy my life more right now? How can I be more loving right now? In what ways can I be of more value right now? With all my experience in life, who can I share the value of my unique perspective with for their benefit (and mine) right now? How can I love myself more right now? In what ways can I spend more time focusing on joy right now? What excites me? What causes me to want to dance? How can I find more inner peace right now?

How about this: Where do you see yourself right now?

What Inspires You To More Life?

[Note: This was written at the beginning of 2017 and published in a magazine.]

Recently, a very dear friend of mine was diagnosed with so-called terminal cancer. We spent some quality time together one day in December, and I asked him what seemed like a crazy question. I said, “do you want to live?” He wanted to know why I asked this odd question; I said that it is okay to want to and not to want to, but that it makes such a huge difference. It’s this kind of question that we are often afraid to ask ourselves or others.

This question of wanting to live is one that I was asking myself recently as I was considering what may lie ahead in my life. I had let go of some important disciplines, growing in girth and weight, generally inactive, and more. Though I was writing my daily inspirations blog to inspire others, I was in want of some inspiration for myself.

Then, in late December, I read a new book by Bruce Springsteen titled, Born To Run. I listened to Bruce read his entire book as an audiobook (my favorite way to read these days), and I was amazed. What a life he lived and he is still living it fully. I did some research and found that he and I are both 67, but that there is no way that I could keep up with him in what he does physically, let alone as a musician. He is lean and trim and strong and can do a 4-hour non-stop show singing every song from memory, and then do it again a couple of days later. I saw some on YouTube, and I was blown away by his presence on stage. I was immediately inspired to change my life. I immediately decided that I wanted to LIVE!

This inspirational moment was almost a month ago, and I am more committed than ever to reclaim my life and provide even more value to others by being the best that I can be. It’s interesting how something comes along and inspires one to make a major change in their lives. Whether it is the Law of Attraction, and that I was attracting Bruce and his book into my life or what doesn’t even matter. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have learned more about Bruce, who I knew so little about, and have him inspire me to want to move forward. We all can positively affect each other in our lives.

Do you remember some of those major turning points in your life? You’re going along, bored maybe, uninspired for sure, and then something happens—a book, a song, a letter, a photo, a friend’s concern, or a thousand other things. And then, your life is different. You’ve been inspired to change something or many things that take you from neutral into high gear. I can remember many of these turning points over the years. This one with the book, Born To Run, was another. But, it was more than the book. If I had just read the book, I don’t think it would have had the impact as Bruce reading it. His passion, determination, mistakes, successes, pain, sorrow, and joy are in his voice because he is the one who lived it and wrote it. The book is pure poetry. He is an outstanding writer.

I don’t want to live Bruce’s life. I have my path, and yet our paths have crossed so that he can help me be more inspired on mine. He doesn’t even know how much he has helped me, and yet on some level, we are brothers.

Who inspires you? Are you open to being inspired? Do you want to live?

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Mesa, AZ