A Morning Dose Of Happiness!

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
~ Lemony Snicket

 

Something wonderful happened to me yesterday morning!

I woke up with energy. After months of being unwell it was a precious gift. So we did something with all of that feel-good. We took an early morning drive down to the beach for a walk and then some breakfast.

Byron was golden with the early morning light. The sun was warm, the water too, and Ben and I walked hand in hand as Cafe Dog frolicked in the shallows. Meanwhile young Rufous was home having a big puppy sleep-in. He is still so excitable on beach walks, and seeing it was my first in a very long time, and being still weak as I recover from my recent illness, we left him napping – and he didn’t mind at all!

As we walked I found just the right beach rock. It felt good in my hand so I asked permission of the beach, and the Elders and the nature spirits, and I brought it home with me. I have a lovely little collection of Byron Bay beach rocks here that I have gathered over the past twenty years, just waiting for a special project I have in mind for them. I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

After our sunshiney walk we headed into a favourite haunt – Dip Cafe at Byron Bay. If you get a chance, do pop in! They have a fabulous $15 French Specials menu right now, as well as their regular delicious repast. I can highly recommend the savoury crepes, which I had for breakfast. So good. 🙂

How about you, dear friend? What acts of self-nurture and care are you taking for yourself this week? Please be good to yourself and live from kindness. For yourself and for others.

I’m slowly recovering, and grateful to be back to my regular morning meditations and blog writing sessions.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole <3 xoxo

Rufous, napping on the day bed. And yes, he’s managed to thoroughly coat himself and the day bed in mud!!!

Ben and Harry racing ahead while I stop to admire every shell and rock strewn before me…

Follow the paw prints!

A lovely beach rock, just waiting for me…

This one felt so good in my hand – a perfect meditation stone.

Delicious savoury crepes from Dip Cafe, Byron Bay

Cafe Dog, just waiting for a bite of something to fall from the sky…

Extra Links for You!

I’ve been singing the praises of Dip Cafe for a while now. Want to know more about the magic? This post pretty much sums it up: Magic – Byron Bay Style

Have you met Rufous yet? Find out more about our latest pup here: Meet Rufous – Brother to Harry Dog

And details on Harry, our Cafe Dog here: Harry – Cafe Dog!

Day 5 – Gratitude Challenge

Image from revroher.blogspot.com

 “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

~ Buddha

So here we are at Day 5 of our 30 Day Gratitude Challenge.  Pull up a seat.  Let me give you a hug and make you a cup of tea. I just want to encourage you, and to remind you that you’re doing so well.

Have you encountered any resistance yet?  Have there been any moments where it’s been hard to muster your enthusiasm, or when finding five things to be grateful for, and really feeling that gratitude in your heart, has been an effort?

If you’re answer is no, then hooray for you – being in flow is a wonderful thing! But don’t be discouraged if you have already encountered some of this energy. And don’t be despondent if it visits you in the next days of our challenge.  Not every day will be sunshine, puppies and lollipops. And it’s precisely on those harder days, and flatter days, that we need gratitude the most.

Image from cakalusa.xanga.com

When you wake to find that an attitude of gratitude isn’t coming easily, or where you’re struggling to rouse any positive emotions, then I suggest you start with counting much smaller Blessings.

Start with safe Blessings that don’t lead you back to where you’ve been. Don’t look to areas in your life that are charged with negative associations.  Do all you can to be in this very moment – do all you can to be here right now.  For example, be grateful for the taste of a cup of tea, the smell of your favourite soap, or the sound of birdsong at your window in the morning.

When gratitude is difficult, understand that you are seeing your BRAIN conforming to its habitual patterns that create depressive or negative thinking, and that is why you need to keep going with this – so that you can retrain it to know how to feel good naturally and to look for more of those feel-good emotions and thought patterns.

Really work to live in the moment, with things you can be grateful for right now, and don’t overthink it. Don’t worry if you don’t get a raging ball of happiness in your heart every day. Just surrender and trust the process. I promise that it works.

So now let’s start our day with the activities that form the foundation of our 30 Day Gratitude Challenge:

Part One – Count Our Blessings and Use our Gratitude Rock

If you need a detailed reminder of the process, you can review it here in Day 1 of the Gratitude Challenge.

  1. List five Blessings in your journal, explaining why you are grateful for each one.
  2. Count your Blessings off on your fingers, summoning positive emotion and saying Thank You from your heart for each one.
  3. Tonight before you go to sleep, hold your Gratitude Rock and affirm I am richly Blessed. I have an Abundance of Good in my life. Visualise one thing you have been grateful for today. Swell that positive energy up in your heart like a beautiful golden light, and give a heart-felt Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to the Universe, then imagine a tiny shower of golden light travelling from your heart into your Gratitude Rock.
  4. Still holding your Gratitude Rock, bless your fellow travellers on this Gratitude Journey by sending them golden light, and saying Thank you.  I Bless You.  I intend for you Love, Miracles and Abundance. Know that as you are saying this for them, they are also saying this for you. Feel that connection and gratitude and know that there is real love and support for you here. Place your rock back beside your bed, and go to sleep, cocooned in this good energy.

If all you do each day is these first four steps, know that is enough.

If you feel especially flat, then carry your Gratitude Rock with you, or lie/sit in bed at the start or end of the day, and hold it over your heart so that its energy can recharge you.

If you have an abundance of gratitude and feel-good energy, send some extra to your fellow travellers on this journey, with the intent to uplift those who need it.

Your Gratitude Rock can recharge your heart, and fill you with energy.
Image from yoganv.blogpost.com

Are you ready for more of a challenge?  Today we are going to practice gratitude for the simple things.

It’s the simple things in life…

When I have talked to loved ones at the end of their lives, when I have held their hands and waited with them in those final days, it has always been the simple things that they have summoned forth in their memories – the little things that have given happiness or comfort or meaning somehow.

Image from annmichelesworld.blogpsot.com

A husband who always got the toothbrush ready with just the right amount of toothpaste for his wife whose eyesight had failed her.

A mother’s mashed potatoes – no one else’s ever tasted as good.

The smell of clean sheets.

The lovable way a dog’s teeth always snaggled its bottom lip into a toothy grin.

Coffee from your favourite cafe.

The exquisite perfume of a fresh gardenia or jonquil.

Sunshine.

Diving into the ocean, or surfing the perfect wave.

Hearing your favourite song on the radio.

The joy of paint on a brush, or a completed crossword.

Today, spend a minute or two and really savour one of life’s simple pleasures. When you are done, build up that energy in your heart and say Thank You to the Universe, which provides you with an abundance of little things that make your journey more memorable, more comfortable, more colourful.

If you remember a simple pleasure from your past that you haven’t included in your life for a while, then maybe make the effort to reconnect with that thing, or treat yourself to a whole new positive memory.

Life is for living, and happiness is in the moment.  Bless ♥

Simplicity is a choice…

Life is not complicated, only that we make it so.

♥ Nicole Cody

Yesterday, on my facebook page, someone told me that they longed for more simplicity in their lives. How could they make it so, they asked.

That’s a valid question given that we are surrounded, even bombarded, by media telling us we need this, we have to have that. To be successful our lives need to look a certain way, and we need to be able to measure up to certain expectations. Perhaps that is why shopping has become the number one pastime in so many countries.  And, of course, in order to have those things we need to work harder, and longer. We rack up more debt. We lose our freedom bit by bit, without realising what is happening.

I realised this after living in Palau. My life shrank down to one suitcase, an old but large hotel room, a smaller budget. Access to a car, but needing to go most places on foot. That smaller space, with few possessions was a major readjustment, but I soon found myself happier, freer, and filled with creativity. When I came home to Australia I walked around my house wondering how I had accumulated so much stuff.  There was so much to pay for, so much to keep clean, and I used so little of it!

Simplicity, like happiness, is a choice.

On first appearances that might seem unfair, or even impossible.  But think about where you are now.  Every single choice you made, every decision you took, led you to where you are.

And even if life has forced certain circumstances upon you (Global Financial Crisis, unemployment, illness) you still have power, because you still have the ability to choose your thoughts and actions.

If you’re in a place of complete overwhelm, I suggest you start here – with a post I wrote recently on burn out, how to recognise it and what to do about it.

Reverse Engineering

You could also try a process of reverse engineering.  This is where you pull something apart to figure out how it was made, so that you can copy or rebuild it, or even modify it. We need to reverse engineer your life, so that you can work out where to begin making changes.

Start with these questions:

  1. What is my daily routine?  Do this for each day of the week.  If there is no routine, just write down how much time you spend on the key areas in your life each day for one week by observing yourself honestly and recoding your actions.  It will average out. You can also do this for your partner or children too.
  2. What are my financial commitments? This is a biggie and some people have never taken the time to work this out. If you’re one of them I know it can be scary and confronting, but if you don’t have a true picture of where you are, you won’t be able to make sound decisions about where you go next.
  3. Look over your answers.  This is the critical part.  Is there time left over at the end of each week?  Is there money left over at the end of each week?Spare time is vital for a feeling of well-being, and for having adequate coping mechanisms for life. Being too tightly pinched for money generates great stress, which has a huge negative impact on health, relationships and energy levels.

Life is precious. It’s worth making changes to give you a more satisfying life. From experience I’ve learned that most stuff doesn’t make you happy. Certain stuff can make life easier and more pleasurable though.  Maybe you need a good computer, or a comfy arm chair, or a nice teacup, or a great holiday adventure. But what about the rest of your life?  How much of what you own do you actually use?

Can you get by with smaller, fewer or none at all? Are you giving time and energy to what really matters in your life. Maybe it’s time to actively simplify your life, bit by bit. Downsize, divest, say no to extra demands upon your time and energy. Look to places, jobs and people that support a more fulfilling lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be five-star to be enjoyable! Change doesn’t have to happen all at once, but when you have a plan it is far easier to create a new reality.

 

All change requires effort, but change is possible. In the end, imagine the choices and relationships in your life. Imagine removing them.  Is there a sense of loss or panic, or a sense of relief?  Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

Happiness is a choice

Someone commented recently on how lucky I was to have such an awesome life, and that having my life would make anyone happy. I told them that happiness was a choice.

Fact is, I AM happy most of the time, and more and more my life is beginning to be shaped in pleasing ways. But all of this has been by deliberate creation. And there are still many things in my life that are challenging, and sometimes downright devastating, be it health issues, floods and droughts, deaths of friends, family or livestock.  None of us are immune to pain and suffering.

I came to a realisation years ago, that I could either focus on the good things or focus on the bad.  And focusing on the good helped me feel better.  Feeling better helps you climb out of the hole.  When you feel good you are magnetic to more good.  When you feel bad and ooze that vibration of misery and gloom, more of that stuff seems to come your way.

So, understanding that happiness is a choice, a discipline as much as a philosophy, has helped me to heal, to heal relationships, to attract more love and friendship into my life. I’m not saying it’s easy to choose happiness, but it’s ALWAYS better than the alternative.

Activity

Time for some self reflection.  Take your journal, and over the next few weeks carefully and honestly answer the following questions?

  • Who supports me in my life?
  • What have I always been good at?
  • What activities or things make me feel good about myself?  How often do I experience these?
  • Does my home environment reflect who I am?
  • Does my work environment reflect who I am?
  • How can I make small changes to help my surroundings mirror the inner me?
  • Who erodes my sense of self?  How do they do this?  What can I do about it?
  • What six small things can I do right now, in this next week, to reflect my inner worth and personality?
  • What ten things have I always wanted to do, and that will be beneficial to my Soul and Sense of Self, but that I have not done yet?

Now use these answers to start making some changes.  Thinking is always useful, but DOING is what makes the difference!

Sending much love to you, ♥ Nicole xx

Actually, Nickelback sum it up pretty well…