30 habits for happiness

Be kind

Eat well

Exercise

Meditate

Be honest

Dream big

Be patient

Judge less

Smile often

Love yourself

Forgive easily

Show gratitude

Think positively

Drink lots of water

Believe in yourself

Keep an open mind

Put your needs first

Don’t make excuses

Speak well of others

Listen to understand

Choose faith over fear

Make the most of now

Exercise self-discipline

Look on the bright side

Avoid social comparison

See failure as opportunity

Don’t take opinions to heart

Select friends that lift you up

Let go of what can’t be changed

Have a healthy sleeping pattern.

(I didn’t write this. I don’t know who did. But it still needs to be shared.)

You can’t wish depression away.

This is a conversation I had online about how to cure depression. I read something in a group I belong to that I felt needed some comments from someone who had been there. However, it was a waste of my time to even try.

You can’t wave the victim flag and the victor flag at the same time. As long as people are stuck in the same old broken story that people’s mental health is entirely due to their attitude, they will continue to be sick. This is victim blaming at its finest. We don’t blame people who have diabetes for their bodies not working properly.  So why do we blame people with depression for their minds not working properly?  We must get over the idea that body and mind are separate in order to heal.

The Original post – “This is a special request that only a true friend can give and I appreciate all you Beautiful people out there,so I post this- I have a Beautiful Friend called Ruth who fights depression every day,She has an Absolute heart of Gold so I thought what better way than to show how much she is loved by others.Would you be so kind as to post a lovely heart or picture that you have done so I can save it to show she has support and well wishes because she just could do with that extra boost that she can’t do for herself right now!!! Thank you kindly and I can’t wait to share with her your Beautiful posts and love- God bless you All.”

I waited for a few hours before replying.  It was a knee-jerk response, and I wanted to cool down first.

I replied – “From personal experience – take her for a walk outside. Take her out for lunch and feed her healthy food. Depression is fed by inactivity and junk food – fried foods, few vegetables, too much carbs, too much sugar. It is something that can be overcome. It requires a lot of work, but the results are worth it. Pretty pictures will not do it.”

One person commented – “Anything done with love is a great idea. Maybe it isn’t a solution. But, it may put a smile on her face. Or even stop the tears. And that is positive.”

My reply – “Yes, love and positivity are good. However, I’m aiming for something more permanent than a quick fix. It requires a lot of self-discipline, which is super hard when you are depressed. It is like pushing a heavy ball up a muddy slope. But – the view from the top is so much better than the one at the bottom. We don’t treat diabetes and heart disease by kind thoughts. They require complete lifestyle changes. Depression is the same. Full disclosure- I am bipolar and have hospitalized myself twice. I take medicine daily. But the best medicine I take is self-care. Journaling is part of that. So is eating well and getting regular exercise.”

Another person replied – “Art journaling would be a great thing for Ruth – Art heals, for sure.”

By this point I was getting frustrated.  Nobody was listening.

The original poster said  – “I appreciate your comments and Ruth does try very hard with diet but its abuse from others that causes alot of her depression its not just from not trying other methods because she does really try,she just needed to know people love with a genuine love right now xxx”

 

Can and can’t

The difference between “can” and “can’t” is the Cross. Look at the two words. Notice that letter at the end of “can’t”. See that letter “t” as the Cross of Jesus, the one where he proved to the world that even death has no say over us.

Take that “t” off. Take it and hold it close, put it into your heart. Remember the love that God has for you, love that caused God to send God’s only-begotten Son to you, to redeem you, to heal you, to show you the path of life. Carry Jesus with you into that thing you thought you couldn’t do.

In the church tradition I was raised in, when you were being baptized you were asked questions before you were dipped into the water. The answer to each of the questions is “I will, with God’s help.” Take the “t” off “can’t” and it becomes “can”. You can do it, with God’s help. Remember the exhortation from an apostle, who tells us “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

Quotes from my phone

There is nothing original here. These are quotes that I’d saved as screen captures on my phone. I realized recently that I had way too many pictures so I’ve been culling them. I’ve gone through and typed up all the quotes/ideas/words that I had saved, so here they are.

“People are often unreasonable and self centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world your best and it may not be enough. Give your best anyway. In the end it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” – Mother Teresa

The fact that no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.

“Salvation is not about what happens after we die, but what begins whenever we realize God Loves us.” – from “If God is Love” – by Philip Gulley

“The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.” – Thich Nhat Han

The Jewish notion of the Lamed Vavnik – that there are always 36 people standing up for justice.

The word “afflatus” – it is used in the literal form of inspiration. It is the “staggering and sudden blow of a new idea, and idea that the recipient may be unable to explain.”

“Take a moment before a meal to reflect on the work and the wonder, involve in the process that brings food from the earth to your table in order to eat it with both more pleasure and more consciousness. Whether you actually say grace out loud or simply reflect in silence on this everyday miracle, the practice fosters more mindful eating. And mindfulness helps us to eat more slowly and more sanely. “This meal is the labor of countless beings,” goes one Zen blessing offered before eating. “Let us remember their toil.” – – unknown book of blessings.

“There’s force in the universe, which, if we permit it, will flow through us and produce miraculous results.” – Gandhi.

“Everybody talks about leaving a better planet for the children. Why does nobody try to leave better children for the planet?” – Facebook meme.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” – Lao Tzu

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Every day is a good day to celebrate.” – seen on a reusable shopping bag from Publix

“When you give Gratitude for everything that comes in life, even trouble – magic opens up.” – Amma

“We all have different faces, characters and names. If God wanted us to be all the same, He would have done it. Not to respect the differences, to accuse the others for our faults is not to respect God.” – Shams Tabrizi

“Rastas say that Jah, in the form of the Holy Spirit (incarnate) lives within the human, and for this reason they often refer to themselves as “I and I”. Furthermore, “I and I” is used instead of “We”, and is used in this way to emphasize the equality between all people, in the belief that the Holy Spirit within all people makes the essentially one and the same.” – Wikipedia article on Rastafarianism, and the word “Jah” as a name for God.

“What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.” – Rumi

“Whatever happens to you, don’t fall in despair. Even if all the doors are closed, a secret path will be there for you that no one knows. You can’t see it yet but so many paradises are at the end of this path. Be grateful! It is easy to thank after obtaining what you want, thank before having what you want.” – Shams Tabrizi
“The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God!” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

“Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.” –Rumi

“Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity” – seen on a FB meme.

“We are all connected; to each other biologically. To the earth chemically. To the rest of the universe, atomically.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

“There are more fake guides, teachers in the world than stars. The real guide is the one who makes you see your inner beauty, not the one who wants to be admired and followed.” – Shams Tabrizi

“Countless paths / lead to the mountain’s summit / yet from it / the same moon shines / over the land.” – Ikkyu

“All God’s angels come to us disguised.” – James Russell Lowell

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“…the total combined weight of human beings on Earth now exceeds 287 million tons. A third of that global human biomass exists in North America, although we account for only 6 percent of the world’s population.” – from the New York Times Well Blog (the blog used the term “voluntary physical inactivity” to explain why North Americans are so huge)

“The best time to plant a tree was always 20 years ago. The second best time is always today.” – Old Chinese Saying.

“I free myself from hatred through forgiveness and love. I understand that suffering, when it cannot be avoided, is here to help me on my way to glory. I understand that everything is connected, that all roads meet, and that all rivers flow into the same sea.” – Paulo Coelho (from “Aleph”)

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

“Your way begins on the other side. Become the sky. Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape. Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.” – Rumi

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

“I said – what about my eyes? God said Keep them on the road. I said –what about my passion? God said Keep it burning. I said –what about my heart? God said Tell me what do you hold inside it? I said –pain and sorrow? He said…Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” – Rumi.

“Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.” – Matsuo Basho

“There is a simple way to become buddha: when you refrain from unwholesome actions, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no desiring thoughts or worries, you will be called a buddha. Do not seek anything else.” – Dogen Zenji

“Water which is too pure has no fish.” – Ts’ai Ken T’an

Phrases to use with people who are recovering. – I love you. I’m here for you. Is there anything I can do?
Phrases to use with caution (may be not taken well) – Everything is going to be OK. I know how you’re feeling. You’re in my prayers.
Phrases to never use – I know someone who died of that same health condition. How did this happen?

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” – Rumi

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lifves are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” – Rainer Maria Rilke.

“I am grateful for all my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties.” – James Cash (J.C.) Penney

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” – C.S. Lewis

“Know then that the body is merely a garment. Go see the wearer, not the cloak.” – Rumi

“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” – Mark Twain

“To change the world is not your mission. To change yourself Is not your duty. To awaken to your true nature is your opportunity.” – Mooji

“Watch over those who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends on each other’s toil” – BCP

“No one wishes to be ‘rescued’ with someone else’s beliefs. Remember your task is not to convert anyone to anything, but to help the person in front of you get in touch with his or her own strength, confidence, faith, and spirituality, whatever that might be.” – The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

Kintsukuroi – “to repair with gold” – the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver laquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

“To be scientifically literate is to empower yourself to know when someone else is full of bullshit.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Keep silence, be mute; if you have not yet become the tongue of God, be an ear.” – Rumi

“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.” – Eckhart Tolle

Fane – from the Latin “fanum” – temple, place dedicated to a deity.

“When superior people hear of the Way, they travel it diligently. When mediocre people hear of the Way, they seem aware, yet are as if oblivious. When lesser people here of the Way, they laugh at it out loud. What they don’t laugh at couldn’t be the Way.” – Lao Tzu

“The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts.” – Dalai Lama

“The object of art is not to make salable pictures. It is to save yourself.” – from Sherwood Anderson’s letter of advice on art and life to his teenage son.

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasure of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. The very cave that you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for. The damned thing in the cave that was so dreaded has become the center.” – Joseph Campbell

“Happiness follows sorrow, sorrow follows happiness, but when one no longer discriminates happiness and sorrow, a good deed and a bad deed, one is able to realize freedom.” – Buddha

“When I say ‘Be yourself,” I mean the spiritual freedom fighter who’s scrambling and finagling and conspiring to relieve your fellow messiahs from their suffering and shower them with rowdy blessings of laughter.” – Bob Brezny

“Hekau is the Medu Neter (Ancient Egyptian) term meaning “words of power”. It comes from the idea of creation by words.” – from a blog called Hekau

“The way other people practiced a sport, learned a dance, I sat with feelings to learn who I am.” – S. Kelley Harrell, Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma

Namaste – (Sanskrit) – my soul recognizes your soul, I honor the light, love, beauty, truth and kindness within you because it is also within me. In sharing these things there is not distance and no difference between us, we are the same, we are one.

“The arets are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” – Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

“Reexamine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul.” – Walt Whitman

Regret

I often feel like I should have started yoga ten years ago. I wish I started my boundary work 20 years ago. I wish I’d taken advantage (or even noticed) the walking path at my work when I started working there 13 years ago. I wish I wish I wish…

And then I decided to change it around and think about it differently. At least I started. At least I got over the entropy and malaise and started to take care of myself.

And five, ten, twenty years from now I’ll be glad I started now and got going.

Focusing on what I don’t have only makes it worse. Thinking of myself as a victim only reinforces it.

Every time I catch myself sitting with my shoulders slumped, I have the option of good or bad ways of thinking. I can choose to be grateful I caught it and can fix it. Or I can get upset that I’m slumping again.

It is all about choice.

I can choose to get upset when others complain that they can’t get healthy and they seem to come up with more excuses than answers. I can choose to get upset if they refuse to take my suggestions, hard learned that they are, on how to get better.

Or I can remember that it is their choice to be miserable.

Or maybe it just isn’t their time to start yet. Maybe their complaints are just birth pains and they just aren’t ready to be born yet.

My spiritual director says that things come to is when we are ready to deal with them. I’m trying to remember that to have more patience with myself, and with others.

How about I just try to be happy with now, and not what wasn’t, or what isn’t, or what I think it should be?

Forward progress -beads and good habits

Part of my blog is about the lessons that I’ve learned from beading. One of the most valuable lessons I learned was when I was making a rosary. It took forever to work on, and I took a lot of time in between. I’d work on it, get bored, or my hands would hurt, and I’d put it aside. I finally realized that when I got back to it, nothing had come by and taken away the work that I’d done. No “rosary elves” had shortened my project by five links. What I had done was still there. The same is true of our good deeds.

Any forward progress is forward progress, no matter how slow.

The only difference with good deeds is we don’t have something to look at to see our progress, so we tend to forget. We look at the time we took off, rather than the work we’ve already done. We look at the fact that we stopped, rather than the fact that we started again.

When we are trying to start a good habit, like sitting up straight, we will find ourselves hunched over, and suddenly remember to straighten. Then, five or ten minutes later, we are back, hunched over. This is normal. We straighten again, and we tend to think “Ugh! Why do I keep hunching over?” It is healthier to think “Hey! I remembered to sit up straight!”

Focus on what is working. Focus on what you are doing right. Ignore the mistakes and the pauses. That is part of the package deal of being human. It will become habit to do the right thing, but it takes a while. All good habits are learned, just like bad habits.

Having patience with the process is part of the process.

“Be anxious for nothing.”

Be anxious for nothing. Fear not.

Jesus tells us to not worry, not be anxious. So what does it mean to not be anxious? Be perfect? We can’t be perfect. That isn’t possible for humans. And trying to not be anxious makes me anxious. I get all wound up about how wound up I feel, and then I wind myself up even more.

There has to be another way through this or into this.

Both my parents were anxious. My Mom lit up a new cigarette every twenty minutes. When she had to quit because she got lung cancer the anxiety was still there. In fact it was worse.

Her coping method had caused her problem. When we took it away she was of course worried and anxious about her cancer, but she didn’t know what to do. She’d reached for a cigarette every time she felt the least twinge of a bad feeling. She still had all the anxiety that she had before she had cancer, with the added anxiety of cancer on top of that. It overwhelmed her.

I stepped in. I gave her massages every time she wanted to smoke. I gave her some creative visualization techniques to try. We worked on breathing. In the end she still felt that she needed some outside means to calm down, so she got put on Valium. It wasn’t called Valium – it was Elavil. Same thing, new name. It was a benzodiazepine. I find it interesting that she didn’t want to take her pain pills because she was afraid she would become dependent on them, but she happily took those mood drugs.

My Dad was the same way. He smoked himself to death too. He was on various drugs from his shrink as well. He was constantly nervous. He too didn’t know how to deal with his feelings.

Perhaps anxiety is “normal” for my family. Perhaps it is the same as needing glasses. Perhaps it is hereditary in the same way that being short is.

I am anxious. I have been for years. I used to smoke pot and clove cigarettes to calm down. I finally decided I needed to grow up and quit doing these dangerous and expensive things, so now I drink a glass of wine with supper instead.

I have other stress-busting techniques. I walk. I work out. I do yoga and write and walk and draw. I used to do most of those every morning before work. Then I’d not do all of them because I was running short on time and I’d freak out and think I was slacking. Somehow I got to the point where I’d realize that just trying to cram all those activities in every morning was causing more problems and more anxiety.

Funny how the things we do to relax can end up causing us more problems.

So I prayed.

And I got back that perhaps my anxiety isn’t something to be anxious about. Perhaps it is who I am. Perhaps I need to face it and embrace it. See it as a gift and not a problem. Perhaps God needs me to feel this way, and is using this feeling as a pathway, an opening.

Perhaps I need to see my “anxiety” as not a problem, but just a feeling. Or perhaps see it as the same as my need to wear glasses, or that I’m shorter than the average person. It isn’t a defect. It is my normal.

God doesn’t want us to compare ourselves to anybody else, either good or bad. God loves us exactly the way we are. God made us this way.

Be anxious for nothing. Fear not.

“I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged. I am the LORD your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9