2017 Is Already Different #FridayReflections

2017 Is Already Different #FridayReflections

One of our #FridayReflections prompt this week asks me to share three things that I plan to do differently in 2017. It seems to me that 2017 is already different, mainly because of one specific  change I’ve made. While declaring that my word of the year is ‘happy’, I quietly promised myself that this would be the year of ‘no guilt’, and 6 days later, I’m happy to report that it’s started to work. I know I have many days ahead, but I can sense the big difference this is making. (No guilt about posting this late, for example!)

3 Things I Plan To Do Differently in 2017

  1. Plan my days better – and here’s where I’ve started to see the use and the wisdom of a bullet journal.  Yes my bullet journal, albeit a crude and self-made one, is working for me. The best part of this is the ease with which I can carry jobs forward. Once again, reduced guilt.
  2. Do my Morning Pages within the day even if it is not necessarily in the morning. When I don’t do a day, I’m not going to allow guilt to stop me from restarting.
  3. Go for a walk as many times a week as I can. The difference this year is that I’m not going to focus on weight loss, but on getting healthy.

What are you doing differently in 2017?

#FridayReflections

If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away. Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life and Everyday Gyaan give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up between Friday and Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.

Feel free to add our Friday Reflections badge to your post or sidebar! Follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group. Share your post on social media with the hashtag #FridayReflections.

Everyday Gyaan

Our featured writer this week was Mithila for her take on saying goodbye to 2016. You can be our featured writer too. All you need to do is write on one of the prompts and link up below. Remember to read other posts and share the love. Don’t forget to come back on Monday and vote for your favourite post!

Prompts for this week:

1. Favourite book of all time
2. The driving force of your life
3. Three things I’d do differently this year
4. “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi. Use this quote within your post or as an inspiration for one
5. Picture Prompt (credit: http://everydaygyaan.com)

Image of welcome 2017 text on cloud shape chalkboard via Shutterstock

Happy In 2017 #FridayReflections #WOTY

Happy In 2017 #FridayReflections #WOTY

For the last few years, I’ve been choosing a word for the year ahead – my word of the year. Last year, my word was ‘simplify‘. The year before, it was the phrase ‘daring greatly‘.  I’ve been thinking on my word for next year and I’ve decided that I’m going to be happy in 2017.

Happy in 2017

What does the word happy mean to me? I’m listing it all out as thoughts occur to me – there will be a lot more as the year progresses.

  • Learning to accept myself more
  • Putting less pressure on myself
  • Enjoying the simple pleasures of daily life
  • Laughing a lot
  • Being grateful in all circumstances
  • Loving others as they need to be loved
  • Taking responsibility for my words and actions
  • Forgiving others
  • Being genuine and authentic in all my relationships
  • Working with joy
  • Listening to a lot more music
  • Reading less, and conversing more
  • Making meaningful connections online
  • Being a motivating presence to others
  • Taking more photographs
  • Being more creative
  • Trying out new ideas
  • Walking more
  • Being healthy
  • Singing loudly
  • Resigning from being general manager of the Universe. The paragraph below tells you what I mean by that. 😉

As Aunt Naomi was listing all the things she was going to do to help this person, her friend stopped her in mid-sentence. “Naomi, girl,” she said, “you need to resign as general manager of the universe. You need to learn that sometimes the best way to help a person is to let them help themselves. Otherwise, they never learn how. And they are always going to make their problems your problems.” –Patti LaBelle

My Happiness Project

I’ll be revisiting Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project  and restarting my My Happiness Project. Stay tuned. 🙂

What’s your word for 2017?

 #FridayReflections

If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away. Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life and Everyday Gyaan give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up between Friday and Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.

Feel free to add our Friday Reflections badge to your post or sidebar! Follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group. Share your post on social media with the hashtag #FridayReflections.

Everyday Gyaan

Prompts for this week:

1. Write about the month you were happiest in 2016
2. Reflect on 2016, the year gone by
3. Write on any of the prompts from December
4. “Realize that if a door closed, it’s because what was behind it wasn’t meant for you” – Mandy Hale. Use this in your post or an inspiration for one.
5. What is your Word of the Year for 2017? You’re welcome to link your post here and also on Laurel Regan’s blog.

Our featured writer for last week as voted by you, was Linda for her beautiful post on Christmas Contrasts. You can be our featured writer for next week. All you have to do is write a post on one of the prompts, share and link up. And don’t forget, you can now vote for your favourite post of the week from Monday.

Image credit : 2017 happy new year with word faith, hope, love on the river stone via Shutterstock

Success Or Happiness?

Success Or Happiness?

He heard the knock and answered the door.
“We have come to take you,” they said.
“I’m not ready. I have so much to do – spend time with my family, go on those holidays I promised them. I want to go to the children’s plays and watch them in action. And then I want to be able to paint and have fun like I planned. Please give me more time.”
“You were given 40 years, a loving wife, two beautiful children. What stopped you spending time with them over the past 15 years?”
“I had to make CEO first.” (100 words)

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.
– Jim Rohn

 

Success

He saw them tentatively enter the gallery. Shocked, he wondered what they were doing here. One part of him was worried that they might make a scene, another was so proud that they’d come. He held back while he saw them looking at the paintings, taking in the crowd, and yes, even looking proud. They began to furtively look around for him. Unable to resist any longer, he went to them and was enveloped in a warm three-way hug. “We’re so proud of you. You were right! You can be happy and successful at the same time.” whispered his father. (100 words)

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Albert Schweitzer

Our #100WordsonSaturday prompt over at Write Tribe is : Success first then happiness (agree or disagree). It’s obvious from my two little pieces of fiction which side I take in this argument.

No one says this better than the Dalai Lama:

I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.

What do you think about this?

My Happiness Project – March & April

My Happiness Project – March & April

Today the internet seems to be flooded with happiness, thanks to the fact that many bloggers have chosen the word Happiness for the letter ‘H’ on  Day 8 of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.

I am merely continuing my happiness project reports that I started in January. I missed writing one for March, so I’m combining the two months today.

my happiness project

I didn’t actually launch a blog (that was Gretchen’s plan). Instead I took a hard look at this blog and re-evaluated what was working and what was not. I tweaked a lot things to make sure there was an improvement in loading time and Alexa ranking. And yes, I did reach out and ask for help when I needed it.  But the best thing I did in March was to ‘enjoy now’.  Our week long holiday at Mahabaleshwar consisted of sleeping, eating and reading and taking short trips around that beautiful place. The perfect recipe for happiness – add to that my choice of ‘disconnecting’ from blogging and social media and it was blissful.

Then the madness of preparing for the  A to Z challenge took over and before I knew it we were in April.

myhappinessproject_april2014

Now this is a tough one. As you know I’m not a parent to begin with. But I can think of a few things I can certainly do – starting with, parenting myself. I need to focus a little lot more on my health and spend more time offline. If I were to take the A-Z as a project, then I’m doing that – but I don’t have the joy I had when we did it last year.  I definitely need more time for introspection and writing.

I am also struck by this ‘acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings’. Often, I think I know exactly how another person feels – I guess and respond based on that. Not a very good thing to do at all. I can see some amount of self-protection rearing its head in my interactions with others and this not ‘me’. I need to get back to being the way I was with people – more spontaneous, more open – but minus the naivete of my past.

Whoever said that happiness was easy, huh? Seems to be a lot of hard work! You’ll find an interesting perspective on the ‘skills of happiness’ in a book I recently reviewed – Happiness: The Art of Living With Peace Joy And Confidence. Vidya Sury says that Happiness is a habit. I agree.

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It seems like I’m in heaven –   I get  free books and blog about them. Another cause for happiness, no?

Today I’m doing a review of a book based on my belief that nothing brings happiness like having a good belly laugh. This one I received from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

So here is Laugh Your Way to Happiness: The Science of Laughter for Total Well-Being by Leslie Lyle.

Synopsis – Lesley Lyle presents the surprising scientific evidence that reveals the importance of laughter for our mental and physical health, our prosperity, our relationships, our careers – in fact, every aspect of our lives. Drawing inspiration from Laughter Yoga, a movement founded in India by Dr Madan Kataria that uses laughter and breathing exercises to bring about changes in the health and well-being of thousands of individuals, Lesley reveals:

The scientific evidence of laughter’s beneficial effects on our health, including lowering blood pressure and improving concentration

The emotional aspects of laughter and how it can alleviate anxiety, stress and depression

The spiritual aspects of laughter and how it can help provide a sense of connection and wholeness

My views – While I’m all for laughter and fun, I take issue to laughing for the sake of laughing – especially the type that is doled out by the Laughter Yoga Movement of Dr Kataria. I’ve attended a couple of sessions of this at Jindals and just couldn’t get myself to laugh when I’m told to. Anyone who knows me, will tell you that I’ll laugh till I’m red in the face at the silliest of things – however, something in me just refuses to do these exercises!

So as nice as this book might be, I don’t buy the concept. What made it worse for me was Lesley including emails from Dr Kataria, that ended with “Ha ha ho ho ha ha”. I think that was carrying the joke too far! 😉

I’ll be honest and tell you I skimmed through this book. Don’t get me wrong the whole concept might appeal to someone else and the writing and presentation of the of book are fine. Only I was the wrong person to read it.

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To completely contradict what I said about happiness being hard work (I was not serious about that), let me remind you that happiness is all about the simple pleasures – enjoying and learning to draw happiness and contentment from them.

wisdom from a flower

A Zen roshi is dying. All of the monks gather-and eagerness restrained-around the deathbed, hoping to be chosen as the next teacher. The roshi asks slowly, Where is the gardener?”
“The gardener,” the monks wonder aloud. “He is just a simple man who tends the plants, and he is not even ordained.”
“Yes,” the roshi replies. “But he is the only one awake.
He will be the next teacher.”

Happiness is learning to ‘stay awake’ – to be aware of all that’s wonderful around and within us. Life is good, and happiness can be simple!

What does happiness mean to you?

This post is written for the letter ‘H’ for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014. Jose and I are doing the challenge on our From 7Eight too.

My Happiness Project – February 2014

My Happiness Project – February 2014

I had promised that I’d keep you posted on My Happiness Project. Perhaps you’ve noticed that I quietly updated My Happiness Project on the sidebar to February 2014.

Let me report my progress or lack of it from January.

Some of the main highlights were that I actually went for a walk more than half the month – which is good by my standards. Towards the end of the month, I got the ‘flu and then just gave up the walks. But I think resuming them will be much easier. However, I desperately need to work on going to bed earlier, so as to get up more energized.

I’m happy to report that I managed to clear out and give away quite a lot of household stuff, clothes and books. That made me feel so much better. I still have that nagging task to handle, but I’ve made a start with it, so I’m hoping to crack it this month.

This is what this month’s Happiness Project looks like. It’s all about love – very appropriate in February. While Gretchen Rubin’s project for February revolved around her husband, I’m trying to move beyond to family and others in my life.

myhappinessprojectfeb

I know that my whole effort to be more grateful for what I have, including a great relationship with Jose, has made a big difference to our marriage. I am more understanding and accepting because I’m grateful for having such a wonderful companion in my life. However, I can be quite a nag and poor Jose gets the worst of it. This is something I’m focusing on letting go of this month. So far, I can safely report, it’s going well. But that’s my side of the story – you’ll just have to ask him if he sees things any different! 😉

There is something I’ve learned after being married for seven years – we can and must improve ourselves as individuals, but we must always be striving to be better companions to our spouses. I can only work on being a better me, but when I become a better me, I find that the quality of my relationship with my spouse improves too. Less expectations and more focus on improving ourselves. I know it has worked for me. 

While it’s easy to give proofs of love in gifts and fine words, it’s always hard to give proofs of love – in small daily acts of kindness to our spouses and family. What better proof of love than to spend more time with them listening, understanding, laughing. I’m attempting to do that.

Will be back with more of My Happiness Project, next month.

My Happiness Project

My Happiness Project

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When I first read about Gretchen Rubin’s  The Happiness Project, I was totally fascinated with it. I signed up for updates from her website, but found her book way too expensive at the time. However, I put the book on my wishlist and finally bought it at a much more affordable price, last year. But you know what? I only scanned through it, thought ‘How nice!’ and ‘I must read it’ and then it lay on my shelf unread. However, I must say it kept beckoning me.

As the saying goes, when the student is ready, the teacher appears – and right now, I’m ready and the teacher re-appeared! I decided to dust the book off the shelf and start reading it, bit by bit. More importantly, I realized how simple it was to use it as a guide.

Gretchen chronicled one year of her life, month by month, focusing each month on various aspects of her life. The beauty of the book is that she based her project on some sound principles she discovered via her research of the lives of some greats and current psychology. It occurred to me, that I could give this a try too. Why re-invent the wheel? So this year, I’m following Gretchen’s Happiness Project and see how I can make it fit into my life.

Why would I want to undertake a Happiness Project, you might wonder? Am I not happy? I am happy. In fact, I can safely say that this is the happiest I’ve ever been. And I am grateful for that. But I really want to work on improving many aspects of my life – while living this life that I’ve chosen. I don’t want to make any drastic changes. Instead I want to inculcate some habits that will increase my feeling of well-being.

This year, as I’ve mentioned in the two lovely collaborative posts put together by Vidya Sury and Suzie Cheel, I want to focus on ‘me’. And I am convinced that having a Happiness Project is how this will happen.

Every month, you will notice a new graphic on my sidebar, detailing what I am going to be focusing on in that month. This is entirely based on Gretchen’s project. So here’s what this month’s plan looks like: myhappinessprojectJan I’m maintaining a planner (don’t be shocked) to keep track of what I’m doing and what I plan to do. Oh yes, I’m getting organized in my old age. 😉

This time I’m convinced I’ll actually stick to something. But to make doubly sure, I will do a quick ‘report’ at the end of the month on my experiences and the lessons learnt. In this way I’m accountable to myself and to you, my readers.

Feel free to contact me and give me some ideas or ask me for more information on some aspects, if you wish to. I’ll be glad to share more details with you, unless it’s too personal.

Have you ever undertaken a Happiness Project or something similar? Do share.

Photo Credit: Ben Heine via Compfight cc

Goodbye 2014!

Goodbye 2014!

Dear Me,

As I say “Goodbye 2014”, I am filled with gratitude for it being such an awesome year – truly my best year yet!

I am proud of all that I have become in during the year. Remember, I said that my word for the year was going to be ‘me’. Oh, I know, some people thought I was weird (and maybe, I am) but I knew what I was about when I chose that word.

In 2014, I wanted to focus on:

My health: I planned to be more energetic and healthier at the end of the year and I’m so glad that I feel so better about my psychical self than I did when you started.

My well-being: In 2014 I wanted to pamper myself – make sure I had my regular massages and include a regular beauty regimen as well. But more importantly, I wanted to nourish my spirit with regular inputs via books, music, videos and some courses as well. I’m happy to report that I managed to stick to the plan and feel revitalized. I’ve truly enjoyed working on my Happiness Project and I can see how has helped me grow in so many other areas.

My relationships: This year I’ve worked consciously on deepening my relationships with Jose and my family of origin. I’m also glad that I’ve made some deep soul connections – strengthening old friendships and connecting with like-minded souls who encouraged me to be myself. I was also able to work on healing of some old wounds caused by misunderstandings and fall-outs. Now, I can safely say that the healing work is well underway within me.

My spirituality: I feel so much closer to the Source of all Love. I am glad that I allowed God’s healing light to flow into all those dark places within me, that I have been reluctant to work on because of fear.

vision

My creativity: What an amazing year of discovery this has been. I undertook The Artist’s Way together with many others here. My writing has really taken off – and what’s great is that I’m not trying too hard. I was able to put out one small booklet every quarter, have regular updates on Everyday Gyaan and From 7Eight and send out more magazine articles. Discovering Zentagles and rediscovering my embroidery and knitting were just added fun! And my cooking? Fantastic, Jose says!

Being able to encourage other writers/bloggers on Write Tribe too was so worth the effort.

Julia Cameron says: A productive artist is quite often a happy person. I certainly agree. I’m loving the buzz that my creativity is giving me. I’m complaining less – and much, much more grateful! And the laughter – suffice to say, it was loud!

Stay blessed!

 

No, dear readers, I did not get the year wrong! This is a love letter from the future inspired by Sandi Amorim of Deva Coaching.

Bless the past. Bless the present.
Bless the future. Bless it all.
~ Alan Cohen