Do more of what makes you happy.

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1. Eat the ice cream first.

2. Use the good dishes for YOU.

3. Dance in your underwear.

4. Laugh with your kids.

5. Draw, paint, get craftsy.

6. Take a cooking class.

7. Join an adult league for softball, soccer, etc.

8. Go on an adventure.

9. Hunker down and get lost in a book.

10. Go out with friends for some good face time.

 

I have a friend who put herself out there and took back up singing, something she’s missed. Tonight after her first rehearsal in many years, she posted: “It felt so. damn. good. Like, better than a piece of really good chocolate cake or a fabulously cold martini or a mind-blowing orgasm, good. I feel like I released a deep breath that I’ve been holding inside for 10 years. Ahhhhhhhh…”

That. That is the deal here. Do more of what makes you feel alive, what makes you feel like you can breathe. Do more of what makes you happy.

Love,

Mikita

Have you seen this?

AP Photo/Mlive.com, Jake May

AP Photo/Mlive.com, Jake May

 

A mysterious billboard in Michigan. All it read is, “I’m concerned about the the blueberries.” As this ADWEEK article details, it was put up by a business man after a trip he took to Alaska. He met a 21 yr old tour guide who was concerned there wasn’t going to be enough rain for the blueberry crops that year. It struck him that this young kid was concerned about other people’s issues and not focused on only his own issues.

So Blueberries are metaphorical here. Blueberries are, “the concerns and the hurdles and the struggles that all of us deal with in a day.”

From the article:

The goal was essentially to make people see the world from the perspective of others. While vacationing in Alaska, Shaltz met a young tour guide who, when asked how things were going, said, “I’m concerned about the blueberries.” Specifically, he was worried there wouldn’t be enough rain for the state’s blueberry crop.

At first, Shaltz felt like the 21-year-old was naive to be worried about such a specific issue, but he began to respect the young man’s perspective and found himself wishing that others could be motivated to think about what’s concerning the people around us. “We all go through the day and we see people who have blueberries—their own issues—and we don’t do anything. Even when it’s not about rain, when it’s something we can impact, we show just how desensitized we’ve become. We aren’t as helpful to the common man in even the small things in life.”

I’m concerned about the blueberries too. I’m thinking about my friends near and far, my family, my co-workers, even the people in my community that I pass in the grocery store but never know what they might be dealing with in their own lives. This reminds me to do what I can, even if it’s just to extend some patience or kindness to those whose paths I cross today.

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Be Kind. Be Concerned About the Blueberries.

-Mikita

 

 

I hate operating reactively to things. It puts me on my heels. I don’t feel like I make good decisions when it’s instant reactions. I feel off-kilter and wobbly. I grow more tense, anxious, worried and frustrated. Every decision feels of equal importance. I lose my perspective. I’m not myself.

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Lao Tzu gets it. Being reactive isn’t being present; it’s fear or anxiety about the future based on the past.

When I’m operating from my center, the decisions are clear, not rushed. I feel confident and at ease. I can assess situations, concerns and needs accurately and swiftly. I can prioritize. I feel like I have a magic wand. I feel a bit like She-Ra.

One of the things that keeps me most centered is a good long yoga class on Sundays. A way to close out the past week and embrace the week ahead. For that hour or so, there’s no digital devices, there’s no thinking about what to do next. There is only focus on the pose in that moment. It requires me to be absolutely present. It’s a wonderful reset button for me.

I have other tools to help me keep my center, but I have noticed the absence of a good long yoga class on Sundays. I remember how centered it kept me. I’m working my way back to a regular routine.

What’s your reset button? What keeps you centered?

Find it, and make it a priority, it will resolve a lot of stress and anxiety and keep you operating at your best, it’ll make you feel like the Princess of Power you are 😉

-Mikita

 

 

Patience is a virtue. Some days my patience is all worn out by 9 a.m. As a teacher I find I have a lot of patience for my students. I get that things I’m teaching are new to them and they are learning. They are cramming a lot of new data into those craniums. Some days the brain is all maxed out by the time I get them. I get it.

I notice I don’t grant myself that same amount of patience. I sabotage myself. Like Tiger Mom, I set the bar so immeasurably high that I begin to already list the rationalizations for why I’ll fail, and then I never take any action. I keep myself ‘busy’ instead – reasonable excuses for why I’m not able to work towards my goal. I’m changing that. I grant myself patience when I know I’m being persistent in pursuit of my goals. If I’m not taking measurable action consistently, then I know I’ve not earned any patience. Trying and failing earns me patience. Hiding does not.

So I grant myself patience. I know if I try again tomorrow, that it’s worth the effort. That I will be pushing past my comfort zone and I’ll fail a lot. But I remember too, I will get better if I persist.

Patience and persistence. It’s both of these things, not just one or the other.

Each day you decide – a step closer or further away from your dream. Step closer.

-Mikita

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We award gold, silver and bronze to the top three in each Olympic sport. At the Kentucky Derby they award cash for win, place and show. Three is how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop according to Mr. Owl.

A common practice to boost the happiness in your own life is, at the end of the day, to jot down three things you are grateful for/wins you had that day/things worth celebrating.  These can be big or small. Engaging in this daily practice that takes less than a minute is that it shifts your thinking toward the positive in life. And that focus gives us something to build on. Big wins are built on the cumulative effects of small wins.

I find this especially helpful when I find myself in a shit mood that I can’t seem to shake. I stop and list three things I’m grateful for. It keeps me from spiraling into a worse mood. It reminds me that really what I’m pissy about is temporary. It helps me redirect my energy.

As a daily practice over time, it helps me capture the beauty of life in each day. That might sound a little corny or over the top, but really it does. I enjoy the journals I’ve kept where I can go back and see what little things were the highlights of the day. I notice patterns too – a lot of my three things involve teaching and my students, and a fair amount involve food (specifically Salted Carmel Mochas, goat cheese – who doesn’t love it?, and fresh berries).

Steal away a regular moment to stop and take notice of your life. Appreciate the bright spots. Maybe do it as a family over dinner. Jot it down right before bed.

As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Don’t miss it.

-Mikita

What’s the price you paid for breakfast this morning? I don’t mean just in dollars. If you had coffee and nothing else, what’s the long term price you pay for fueling up on caffeine? If you got up a bit earlier and made yourself some eggs, was it worth the price of less sleep? Did you eat alone? with your loved one(s)? Was the price you paid worth the breakfast you had?

The things we want all cost us in some way. It’s not just in money. It’s our time. It’s our mental and emotional energy. It’s the tradeoffs. Some might say it’s the sacrifices we make. I’m not sure I agree with the terminology. Sacrifice makes it sound like we are giving something up. It’s saying, “I have to do X” instead of saying, “I choose to do Y.” And for some, sacrifice turns into martyrdom. Sacrifice also makes it seem like we are owed something – because we sacrificed so much for it.

I remember being a teen and wanting some pretty big ticket items. My mom encouraged me to work and save for it. After many hours of babysitting or office work, I’d save up and sometimes, after I did all of that, I no longer wanted the suede outfit with the fringe like Cindy Mancini rocked at the last party (please someone tell me they caught the reference I just made). Sometimes though, I happily ponied up the cash for the object of my desire. I remember I coveted this one pair of Daisy Duke shorts.

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The Original Daisy Duke shorts!

They had white eyelet ruffle on the edge and three rows of grommets on the side with white satin ribbon that laced up about 1-2 inches up the side. They were AMAZING. I totally saved up from babysitting, had my mom take me to the mall and came home with the most awesome pair of short-shorts ever. I lived in them for an entire summer. They were totally worth the price. They were worth the hours I traded watching kids. It was never a sacrifice; I was willing to pay the price.

For anything you want, ask yourself the following three questions:

1. So what is it that you want? financial stability? travel and adventure? a luxury brand car? to be home every night at 5?

2. What’s the price to be paid? what’s the tradeoff? what’s the impact to the rest of our life?

3. Are you willing to pay that price?

Number 3 – that’s the question you really have to answer. We all want our dreams, but we aren’t always willing to pay the price for them, and that’s the difference.

Pay the price – happily, and then go rock the hell out of those short-shorts!

-Mikita

p.s. If you didn’t catch my reference, you are now obliged to go watch Can’t Buy Me Love.

Today’s post is coming in at the 11th hour literally. It’s 11:16 pm. I’ve had a full day: work, my teaching gig, a stop by store #1, gas fill up, then home to tackle more projects before the weather turns, a trip to store #2, cook up some steak and chicken for protein for lunches for the Mr., some house cleaning and I’m now sitting down to blog.

All I can really say is that when you’re tired, no wait, exhausted in the middle of a project, you need to summon Dory.

JUST KEEP SWIMMING.

ellen-dory-finding-nemo-2__oPt

It’s not a blind or aimless swimming – no sense being a hamster spinning your proverbial wheel, but when there’s a lot to do, there’s nothing except to do it. Don’t analyze, just turn that part of your brain off and get with the flow.

Dive in, swim, keep swimming.

-Mikita

Every once in awhile it’s good to unleash your Inner Monica.

Monica from the 90s TV show Friends was a super neat freak who would run organizing circles around Martha Stewart. She’s your total Type-A personality. One of my favorite moments from the series is during a trivia game in season 4 – about how many categories of towels Monica has (jump to 3:10):

If you didn’t watch the video, she has 11.

I have an inner Monica. I don’t let her out very often because she’s hard to put back once she’s out. But every now and then it’s worth it to get the extreme attention to detail and momentum to tackle a big project.

Inner Monica totally geeks out on making order out of chaos. She doesn’t need breaks, in fact she can’t stop until the task is done. Set aside a weekend. I like using her for purging and organizing mostly (she’s excellent at the tupperware organization), though she also comes in handy when I have a garden to plan or a flower bed to dig up and redo. Every task I’ve given to her, she’s totally nailed it.

I’ve been keeping her penned up, but today I let her out, and I felt unstoppable. A project that probably would have taken another week or so to finish got done in 12 hours today.

I’m totally spent, but also gratified.

Inner Monica is like having a superpower.

 

-Mikita

 

 

 

 

 

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What do you see when you look at this photo? Some pink roses. Maybe you find them pretty or maybe roses aren’t your thing.

What I see when I look at this photo is a night in early June. A lovely summer night, where the air smells fresh and full of anticipation of what the rest of summer will bring. A simple night where people walk their dogs and sit on front porches after a long day at work. A night where I met some friends for pizza.

Parking for the pizza place was a block or so into the surrounding neighborhood. It made for a lovely little walk to the pizza place. I noticed these pink roses on my way; they were really quite striking and just seem to sing of summer, so I stopped to grab this one pic.

When I look at this pic, I’m instantly reminded of the good memories made that night – sitting in the giant corner booth with eight or nine of some of the loveliest, creative minds I know. Just talking, laughing, eating the most enormous pizza you’ve ever seen (seriously, it’s over 2 FEET in diameter). It was one of those perfect nights.

So long after the pizza is gone and we’ve all driven home and plunged back into the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, I look at this pic and am transported to that evening.

For everyone else, this is just a pic of some roses, for me it is a memento. I stop and look around at my desk here at home and see I’ve surrounded myself with little notes, objects, etc. that hold special meaning to me. I know the same is true for you. Take a moment right now to notice something you keep nearby and what memory or feeling it sparks for you. If you can, share the story behind the photo, trinket or note with someone in your life.

And if you are feeling so inclined, I’d love for you to share one of your objects and stories with me in the comments below.

-Mikita

I was driving home from dinner tonight. I had family in from out of state and met them in another town about 60 miles away. Cruising along the highway tonight reminded me of the daily commute I used to have. No, it wasn’t 60 miles, but it still took about 50-65 minutes most days.

This is a significant chunk of time. Time spent sitting in traffic. I could have focused on how long it took, how crappy the drivers were, or the never-ending construction. I could have been annoyed and irritated, thinking of all the things that commute was robbing me of. And I think I would have arrived home on those days in a pretty rotten mood.

Knowing that I really couldn’t change or affect the traffic, I decide to use the drive home to call loved ones. Some days I’d spend the whole drive home talking to my father-in-law. Other days I’d talk to my grandma or my mom or a close friend. I’d get to hear their voices – the excitement if something good happened, or the flatness in their tone if something was bothering them. I got to connect with them.

These days I have about a 10-15 minute commute. I never call anyone on my way home because I’d have to wait until I pass the regional airport (where I always drop calls), and then it hardly seems enough time to have a decent conversation, so I figure I’ll call when I’m home. But I hit the door, and there are dogs to feed and walk, projects around the house to do, dinner to make, etc. I never call anyone anymore. I don’t hear my friend’s voices. I zip through Facebook, to stay up to date, but not really connected.

I drove that hour-long commute for about four years. If we average 22 working days a month, that’s over 1,000 hours just spent driving home during that period of time. I don’t remember all the traffic jams. I don’t remember hating it, or being terribly irritated by it – maybe on occasion, but it’s not what stands out to me. What I remember, what is ingrained in my memory, is having an HOUR A DAY to just talk to people in my life I care about.

I’m not ready to trade my teensy commute for the one I used to have, but it struck me how situations can definitely be about HOW we perceive them, how we choose to respond. It’s the cliche, “LIfe gives you lemons, make lemonade.” We have the power to make the most of any given situation and I think we forget that. So this is my little nudge, my little whisper to you, “find the silver lining in a current situation that’s less than ideal for you right now.” None of these things last forever. One day it will change, so do what you can to find the bright side.

– Mikita

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