Better Because I accepted the 100 Days of Happiness Challenge … Again!

A video popped up on my Facebook memories on August 8, 2019 … a full five years after the last time I accepted the challenge … and … at first when I started watching it, I was put off by my own energy.  I thought I sounded really sappy and far too ooey gooey. I was tempted to turn it off, but then, as I focused upon the content rather than the delivery of my message, I was actually inspired to take The 100 Days of Happiness Challenge again! And … as I now come to the completion of another 100 days, I am exceptionally grateful that I did!!

As I mentioned in the video, this ‘challenge’ is not in the least bit frivolous, gratuitous or self-indulgent. It is not intended to be an opportunity to use social media to show off the great things in my life. It is, in no way, a self-focused effort to draw attention to myself and take up space on-line.  Rather … it is a deliberate attempt to rewire the brain.

Yes … we are neurologically wired to notice what is wrong … not … what is right.  And, as the most prominent neuroscientists are teaching us, we must make a conscious effort to wire our brains in the direction of honoring the things that are going right in our orbits.

Rick Hanson, PhD.

Its a great question to ask ourselves!  Where has your mind been resting over the past week or so?  I have experienced that The 100 Days of Happiness Challenge can actually shift where our mind is mainly resting!  It invites us to recognize, acknowledge and savour all the positives that already exist in our lives. Without our deliberate effort, many of these ‘good’ things would unwittingly go unnoticed … they would simply slide out of our awareness like an egg in a Teflon pan.

And … posting on social media is a way of deepening the experience!  It is a way of holding the ‘good’ in the brain for long enough for new positive neural pathways to be generated … and … for older ones to become more highly myelinated. The time it takes to find a picture and to write a little bit about what made you happy sustains your focus and prompts the protein synthesis for rewiring our neural networks.  It’s kind of like sitting around the fire on a cold night … if you want to stay warm, you need to throw another log on the fire!  With each and every positive that we hold in our minds for at least 10 seconds, it’s like we are tossing a log onto the fire of positivity in our internal systems.

The other magnificent benefit of taking on this project is that I instinctively find myself looking for what is ‘right’ as I make my way through the day. Metaphorically speaking, I am always looking for ‘the logs’ to add to my wood pile so my fire won’t fizzle out.  In order to be able to keep my public commitment to posting something on social media that makes me happy (on a daily basis for 100 days) means that I need to really pay attention to what is making me happy every single day … the big, the little and all the shapes and sizes in-between.  It effectively shifts my gaze from unconsciously focusing upon whatever is wrong to consciously noticing what is right. Because … both dark and light co-exist in our lives. Only always.

Source Unknown but deeply appreciated!

And, believe it or not, doing this ‘Challenge’ has shifted my focus so that I am deliberately seeking out that little dot of good, even on the most challenging days.  And, in doing so, the hard stuff (that is also concurrently going on in my life!) is just a little easier to bear.  The unwelcome stuff can’t take me down as far or as fast when it is being balanced by reminders of what is going well in my world. Perception is so powerful!!

And, it’s actually been quite interesting to recognize that as I have collected my ‘happy moments’ through the day, I rarely find just one. It’s fascinating to notice how ‘what you are looking for’ is actually shaping ‘what you see’!! And, there were quite a few day when it was really hard to narrow down my options in order to choose just one of them to post.  And, on a couple of occasions, I think I even posted a ‘part 2’. 🙂

Source Unknown

And so, I would also like to point out that, for me, making a public commitment to post my ‘happiness’ on social media is a conscious strategy to ensure that I keep looking for what is right and well with my world.  At the risk of mixing my metaphors, it’s a deliberate effort to ensure I throw enough logs on my fire … and/or … that I keep watering my grass. I am a person who likes to keep my word … so … I am far more likely to keep making the effort if I make a public promise to post for 100 Days. Otherwise, in all honestly, it would be pretty easy to get busy and simply let it slide off my radar for a few days.  And then, it wouldn’t be long before I simply stopped doing it.

Source Unknown

So, as I arrive at this 100th day of my second Happiness Challenge … there is a part of me that is actually reluctant to stop. I really appreciate the way this project has shifted my gaze and filled my spirit.  I like the way this project has obviated many of the things I tend to take for granted. I like the way this project has added a sense of lightness to my perceptions. I am grateful for how my brain is being rewired. I can literally FEEL the difference.

I have been so very grateful to the others who joined me over the past 100 days.  I thoroughly enjoyed all your posts too … and … even found myself searching them out if they didn’t show up in a timely manner in my Facebook or Instagram feed.  And, I very much enjoyed the comments from those of you who weren’t doing the challenge yourselves, but were engaging with me as I did mine! Thank you for meeting me on the page!! You made the whole experience even richer for me! ❤

And so, in all honesty, it is really tempting to just keep doing it.  But, I don’t really trust that I will unless I have made a public commitment to do so. The good news is that I will get to keep doing it for a while.  I had started a secret group on Facebook with a couple of people who wanted to try it, but didn’t want to do it so visibly. And, I am happy to say that we have agreed to keep doing it together for a while longer!

Lastly … I would never expect you to believe my experience. However, I would certainly invite you to consider taking the 100 Days of Happiness Challenge if you ever get a chance. You might be surprised by the gifts you might gain.

With much gratitude for my newest neural pathways, Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video

[GUEST POST]: How to Love the Sinner and Hate the Sin: 5 Easy Steps

In honor of PRIDE month …  and … in an effort to honor the human souls and tender spirits of those in the LGBTQ+ community, I invite you to let this meaningful message land in your heart.  And, perhaps it will invite each of us to consider alternate ways to truly live our lives from a place of love … despite our differences.

In less than 4 quick minutes, Emily Joy gives us some very prickly but potent points to ponder if we are seriously committed to loving one another ……………….

Thank you Emily Joy for your intense, brave reminder of what the dark side of our beliefs can look like … Karen

Video

“To The Brave Ones” … An invitation to change the world by Glennon Doyle

Yes.  In response to the school shootings … an invitation to change the world … in the name of humanity! We need it more than ever!

Here’s a full transcript of Glennon Doyle’s speech:

To The Brave Ones,

This is cruelly specific to you. No generation before you has ever faced anything like this: Students being shot and killed in classrooms while adults do nothing.

What’s happening to you — it has a new face — but underneath? It’s oldest story known to humanity. It’s the story of evil born of greed.

Because there are two kinds of evil. There is the visible evil This is the evil you see on the news. The evil that happens when a kid shoots up a school. That kind of evil is often sparked by illness, pain, circumstance, hopelessness.

But we’re here today to talk about a different kind of evil: a behind the scenes kind of evil — not the evil that led the shooter to pull the trigger — but the evil that put a weapon of war in his hand.

Brave ones, that kind evil is harder to see because it hides behind fancy suits and degrees and good arguments and slick smiles and fake patriotism. This kind of evil is born in boardrooms and private jets and golf courses and handshakes between powerful people who plan how to divide us. And it’s not complicated, Brave Ones, It’s born from nothing but old-fashioned greed. It’s born when the love of money and power trumps the love of people. It’s unleashed when power decides to sacrifice lives for money, and when they wrap their decision in the American flag, in the name of God, in the name freedom –- so we’ll smile and cheer while our deaths line their pockets.

This kind of evil, Brave Ones, is not new – it’s when the greed of a few , in order to profit, strategizes to divide us and convince us to be afraid of each other. To convince us that we are against each other, when really these greedy few are only for themselves and We the People – We the People – who have been taught to fear each other, have the very same interests: our freedom, and our safety, and our children.

Greed is powerful – always has been. But you know what’s even more powerful, Brave Ones? Courage.

The story of our country is that humanity’s greed only reigns for so long – only until the people being sacrificed rise up and together say: ENOUGH.

Like the abolitionists rose up. Like the suffragettes rose up. Like the freedom riders rose up. Like the Vietnam War protesters rose up. Like the civil rights heroes who marched with King rose up. And the civil rights heroes who knelt with Kapernick rose up. Like women all over the world rose up to say TIME’S UP because ME TOO and like the young gymnasts — who joined arms and stood on that witness stand and shook with fury and conviction as they looked Larry Nassar dead in the eye and took him down together — rose up. Like the Parkland Prophets rose up in the face of their own pain and with their passion and intolerance for hypocrisy awoke our entire nation.

And Like YOU. LIKE THE AMERICAN STUDENTS OF 2018. Who — on February 23 — rose up together to say to power: “WE SEE YOU. Your greed is not patriotism. WE ARE THE PATRIOTS and we say: No country is free whose children are not free. “

YOU, who on February 23rd, became the BECAME THE LEADERS YOU WERE WAITING FOR.

You are not alone as you make history today. You are taking your rightful place in the long line of American freedom fighters. You are staking your claim on the side of history that knows and has always known that the Power of Love Overcomes the Love of Power Everytime. History shows us again and again, Brave Ones, that the game is long but when love shows up LOVE WINS.

On behalf of us parents, as you continue to rise and overcome the world’s greed with your love – I beg you, we beg you, to remember two things.
FIRST: Please- as you rise- Honor each other’s humanity.

Our generation got this wrong, Brave Ones.

We demonize people and groups who think differently than we do. We pledge blind allegiance to tribe and party and turn up our noses and close our minds and hearts to each other. We reduce each other to headlines and clickbait. We allow power to keep us afraid of each other – arguing with each other so we’re too busy hating each other and loving our own self-righteousness to make any real change at all. We allow power to use the oldest trick in the book: Keep them afraid of each other so they don’t turn on us.

And that’s why we failed you. This is why we haven’t kept you safe. Because we –as a generation — decided that being right is more important than doing right.

So, Brave Ones, decide differently. Don’t fear each other. Talk instead of tweet. Ask Questions. Be curious instead of judgmental. Seek first to understand. Listen to the kids whose parents have brainwashed them differently than your parents have brainwashed you. Fight bad policy instead of each other. Think beyond. Beyond party, beyond race, beyond gender, beyond sexuality, beyond tribe, beyond your parents, beyond Congress, beyond the Presidency…. YOU ARE THE GENERATION of BEYOND. The categories we’ve made for ourselves are killing us. Disregard all of them, and be humans among humans. When they tell you to fear each other, LOVE each other.

And Second: Honor YOUR own humanity, Brave Ones.

Rise and fight, Yes, but don’t forget to laugh and dance, too! It’s okay to be heartbroken and angry and it’s also okay not to be. Life is brutal, yes, but life is also beautiful, and the sun still shines, and art is still being made, and food is still delicious, and people are still AMAZING!

Listen loves, in the face of fear and oppression and danger, Joy is the fiercest act of resistance.
So as you fight for your lives, Brave Ones, don’t forget the things that make life so worth fighting for.

Keep Marching, Yes, But dance while you march us into the future you are creating for all of us.

So Brave Ones: Your parents are so proud of you. We are sorry that we didn’t protect you. We were confused until you rose. It all felt hopeless until you rose. But you have restored our hope and cleared our minds and strengthened our hearts. Your courage has helped us find our courage. And we will follow you and fight beside you until till we’re all free. Because you are the ones we’ve been waiting for, too. We love you.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Everytown for Gun SafetyMarch for our Lives Elizabeth Gilbert Cheryl Strayed Brené Brown Women’s March Never Again

Video

Byron Katie talks with Oprah about making peace with challenges like weight loss … and even … the death of a loved one.

In this remarkable interview, Byron Katie invites us to consider that the challenges we are having with things are because we are believing stressful thoughts about things.  She invites us to consider how a shift in our beliefs can reduce our stress and sadness around weight loss struggles …and/or …even the death of a loved one.

Powerful shifts in perspective … k

Video

What is Addiction … ?

THIS is such a critical shift in perspective! These three little minutes may alter the way you see it.  And when we ‘see’ the problem with new eyes … the solution looks very different than our current approach.

I’m committed to being part of the solution, Karen

Video

iO Tillett Wright: 50 Shades of Gay …

A profoundly uncommon conversation …

You may think you can’t  find/spare the 18 minutes it will take to watch this.  I would like to suggest that you might not want to rob yourself of viewing this short clip because you might not be able to find a better way to INVEST 18 minutes of your life … whether you are interested in the conversation of sexual orientation or not. THIS is a most unique and remarkable invitation to dwell in the spaciousness of love.  I hope you’ll accept the invite because … our humanity needs it.

I’d love to hear where this compelling and uncommon conversation takes your mind and your heart …  Karen

Video

A Little Inspiration …

Thinking Out Loud / I’m Not The Only One MASHUP
Sam Tsui & Casey Breves singing Ed Sheeran And Sam Smith At The Same Time.  

From where I am looking, exceptional music is one of life’s little miracles …

May this extraordinary and highly creative collaboration delight your senses and stir your soul … Karen

 

 

Video

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

My Tributes: Better Because of You ...

An Advent of Love … Better Because I’m bringing You Home For Christmas Momma!

Those of you who read my “Better Because you Spared Me …” blog will already be aware that Christmas 2019 marks the 30th Anniversary of my Mom’s passing. You will also know that I didn’t even realize the loss of my Mom had remained so unprocessed … until the words, tears and unspoken grief spilled […]

Better Because You Spared Me …

Do you suppose this is true?? I am purposely pondering this possibility because … I don’t even know the man.  I do know who he is, though. And because we have lived in the same small, rural community for the past quarter of a century, I have seen him out and about every now and […]

Better Because of your Shining Spirit Kori!

Better Because of your Shining Spirit Kori!

My first introduction to the sweetness of Kori’s spirit was not even in person.  Although we had never before met … many, many years ago when I was in charge of soliciting donations for something … she voluntarily dropped off a donation for our cause. Who does that?? Unsolicited?  I suspected, in that moment, that […]

The World is a Better Place Because of You … Fatemeh!

I was inspired to become a social worker given my passionate commitment to help people ‘live a great life anyway’ … despite all the people, circumstances and situations that often compromise our best efforts to do so.  As such, I attempt do so in a variety of ways. I am a counsellor working with people […]

Better Because … at 60 … I FELT it!!

Better Because … at 60 … I FELT it!!

February 5th, 2018 made it official. 60! Yes. Six decades. 6-0.   I wanted this milestone to be something that really tickled my heart and kindled my spirit … and … I am delighted to report that this birthday exceeded all my expectations and fondest hopes!!  And, in all honesty, I’ve been struggling to make […]

%d bloggers like this: