Tag Archives: happiness

Sometimes Those Good Things Do Not Happen, But Other Good Things Do

30 Mar

I had one of those days today.

You know…those days when something very simple is expected to happen, only it doesn’t happen, and the simple thing not-happening means that those grand things that would have made your life so much brighter are also NOT happening.

And still the sun shines, and the flowers bloom, and the children laugh, and a guy named Mike publishes a blog post called Welcome to Blue Sky, Rhode Island. Population: One Totally Plibbed-Out Sixth Grade Girl Who Goes by The Name of None-of-Your-Beeswax-if-That’s-Okay-With-You-Mister-Flibbertijeepers and it surprises the heck out of me with its creativity, widening my eyes and possibly my horizons. (When you read Mike’s post — because you must read it — be sure to notice the tags at the bottom.)

Life is beautiful, even if you are hiding in the closet and feeling plibbed-out.


Wanting Less, Being Happy, Living Now

16 Jun

I was thinking about writing a post on the topic of being happy with less, and losing the urge to accumulate things.

While researching quotes, I came across a blog post from Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha about just that topic, which saves me some trouble.

To absorb the wisdom of Tiny Buddha, click on the link below.

How to Want Less and Be Happy About It | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In.

To absorb the wisdom of A Clean Surface, keep reading.

There have been times in my life when I have had more, and times when I have had less.  During my early adulthood, I worked long hours and had no family, thus I had income to spare. Sometimes, I had so much cash flow I would forget to cash my paychecks.

These days, everything is reversed.  I work fewer hours, I have a family, and I don’t have a penny to spare.  I never forget a paycheck.

Was I happier when I had money?  No, not really.

Was I more relaxed when I had money?  Oh my, yes.

I would not trade my family for all the money in the world, eternal youth, or pure relaxation.

I am living now — not in some theoretical future life or idealized fantasy of perfection.

I choose now.  I choose love.

What Remains Shall Be Beautiful

20 Nov

The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination.

~Elbert Hubbard

Likewise, when our lives and homes are simplifiedwhen the unnecessary clutter and pointless tasks have all been chipped awaywe are left with the essential beauty of life and of ourselves.

Be the sculptor of your own life, chip away the parts not needed.

What remains shall be beautiful.

The above photograph, and those that follow, were taken during my trip to Prague, where I was fascinated by the unique surfaces on some of the buildings.

The designs on these walls were made using the technique of sgraffito, a method of etching away plaster to reveal another color under the surface.

Amazing isn’t it?


To learn more about sgraffito click here… and to see more sgraffito examples from the Czech Republic and other countries, click here.


7 Oct

Today’s topic:

What do you want more of?

(Seriously…  Think of a few things.  I’ll wait…)

Do you want more experiences, or more objects?  When you were small, adults probably asked what you wanted to BE, or what you wanted to DO when you grew up.  Now that you are grown, do you still think about what you want to BE or DO in life?  Or do you think about what you want to buy?

Generally speaking, the first step to a simpler, more fulfilling life is to avoid unneeded possessions.  When we own more than we can realistically use, our belongings can get in our way, and prevent us from living the life we truly wish to live.

It helps if we consider the true value of whatever things we own, or are thinking of buying.  Do they serve a function?  Will they give us lasting joy?   Compare that value with the amount of time, income, and living space these possessions can steal from our lives.

What do you want more of?


Do you want more relaxation?


I’ve been reflecting on why we sometimes buy things we don’t need.  Reading a magazine recently, I noticed that advertisements often don’t describe the product, they describe the way we want to feel.

Discover, Celebrate, Transform, Engage, Create, Capture, Awaken, Dare, Choose, Empowered, Inspired…

These words were taken from a series of magazine advertisements for everything from yogurt to perfume.  I’ll bet you didn’t know a cup of yogurt could do all that, did you?  It can’t.  It’s got calcium and protein, sure…but it’s not going to awaken your soul.

If you want those kinds of feelings, it’s no use looking for them on store shelves.

Buying things you don’t need–or keeping all those things you already own but don’t really like–will not bring you any closer to the life you want.  These behaviors will only fill your house, and empty your wallet.

Think about the life you want.


Do you want more travel opportunities?


Think of the kind of work that always holds your attention, the activities you enjoy, and the people you love.  Now, visualize a way they can all come together in your life.  Move yourself in that direction.

Remember:  Happiness has no price tag, and it doesn’t take up any space in your garage.

I’m No Einstein, But I Knew This!

18 Sep

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life.  All that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”

~Albert Einstein~

In other words, to be happy, we don’t need to have a lot of STUFF, we just need to have FUN.

Get Simple, Baby!

10 Sep

I asked one of my kids if he thought his life was simple or complicated.  He didn’t know what complicated meant, but he said his life is less simple than it used to be.  He meant that life was only “simple” when he was a baby– because he “couldn’t really do anything, so there was nothing to do”.

How simple can life be, for non-babies?  I don’t know, but I’d sure like to find out.  I believe that for almost everyone, life can be simpler and more organized than it is now.

Commit to finding  at least one way to simplify your life this week.  Protect your free time and your home from the clutter of habits and objects that suck all the time and space from your life.  You don’t need to color-code anything, you don’t need to buy anything, and you don’t need to make anything perfect– just make something in your life a little simpler, or faster, or cleaner.

Decisions, Decisions.

3 Sep

Some decisions are easier than others.

I recently read in an old magazine (Real Simple, February 2010) about a woman who once took five years to choose a set of curtains for her house, but married her husband after knowing him less than two weeks.  Decades later, the husband is still a keeper…no word on the status of the drapes.  Colors and patterns tend to go out of style, so I’m betting the curtains were replaced.

When I was about twelve years old, my mother took me to buy a much needed winter coat.  We went to only one store and I didn’t see anything special.  I looked at coats, and tried them on, feeling unimpressed and noncommittal.  My mother stood around while I gazed at my own reflection.  Finally, she gave me a time limit to decide.  If I didn’t choose something in that time, we just wouldn’t buy a coat.

So, I chose a coat.  It was a poor choice: a puffy gray knit that got fuzzballs and made me look like a linty marshmallow.  I wore it for a while, until my vanity got the better of me, and then I decided I would rather be cold.  Ultimately, it was waste of money.

I’m still not sure what lesson to take from the experience.  A slow decision wasn’t working, and the quick decision didn’t turn out well either.  The best lesson may be: only buy what you love.  Otherwise, wear layers.

I feel an affinity with the woman who married quickly but couldn’t choose a window treatment for five years.  I married fairly quickly, too, and became an instant parent of three ready-made children.  Maybe I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I would happily do it all over again.

Today, we celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.

I have several coats now, and thankfully, none of them make me look like a linty marshmallow… but it’s love that keeps me warm.

Why Making the Bed Makes a Difference

29 Aug

This year, I renounced my former bed neglect and became a daily bed maker.

Previously, my bed making was sporadic, at best.  “There Is No Point in Making the Bed Since it Will Just Get Messy Again” was my motto.  Well, now I need a new motto.

It’s Peter Walsh’s fault.  In one of his anti-clutter themed books, It’s All Too Much, I read that the bed sets the tone for the room.  (What??  My room has a tone??)  It sounds silly, but it’s true.  I know because I experimented with made bed days and unmade bed days, and there was a distinct difference.

I am typing this while sitting on my bed–and, yes, it is made.

I am sure my mother told me many times to make my bed, but it didn’t stick.  I don’t recall any discussion of the psychological benefit I might receive from bed making…I suspect she was thinking more of the benefit to her.  Anyway, she was right, and now I finally understand why I should make the bed:  because it will relax me each time I walk in and see the made bed.  It sets the tone of the room as “restful”.

With the bed made, I see a place to sleep, rest, sit down, read, or even write.

Unmade, the bed was a place for none of those things.  It was more like a place to unload whatever items I was carrying.  These unsorted items often led to a discouraging sight later on, when I wanted a place to sleep.

Visually, less is more.  A made bed is a clean surface, an open space.

A tangled bed, on the other hand, looks like a stack of dishes that need washing, or 517 emails that need answering.  It looks like work.  It makes us tired just to see those twisted covers.  It might seem that by leaving the bed unmade we are escaping work, but simply looking at an unmade bed can feel like more work than actually making it.

Would you enjoy a hotel stay quite as much if the housekeeping crew didn’t come and make the bed every day and hang the towels so straight?  There is something very relaxing about that, not just because someone else did the work, but because a made bed looks relaxing, like a beach at sunset.

I like the restful feeling.

I haven’t spent too much time thinking about the “tone” of all the other rooms, because I might start to worry that my whole house is off-key.  But my bed is made, and that makes a difference.

Rags and Riches

26 Jul

I would make an excellent rich person.  I have never been in such a position, nor do I expect to be, at any time in my life…  But, naturally, I am convinced if I ever were to become wealthy, I would be good at it.

Films depict such miserable wealthy people—“people with more money than sense”, as my mother would say.  They always seem to be boozing it up, cheating on spouses, shouting at people, taking over companies in a hostile manner, complaining about trivial details, ignoring or spoiling their children, and planning unnecessarily elaborate social events in order to impress people they don’t even like.

This is not what I meant by saying I would be good at it—this is not the “it” to which I refer.  I could do much better.

I do not assume that this is an accurate characterization of all those with excessive funds.  In fact, I believe these portrayals to be designed to make average film viewers feel smug about their own happiness in less grand circumstances.

It works…on me, at least.  I am happy, and smug.

**(Photo Note:  This photo was taken at my wedding, credit to Mark Stover of Santa Cruz, CA, 2005)