Quotes of the Week | Happiness

Happiness is not something ready made.
It comes from your own actions.
-The 14th Dalai Lama

No one is in control of your happiness but you;
therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself
or your life that you want to change.
– Barbara DeAngelis

For every minute you are angry
you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Learn to let go.
That is the key to happiness.
– Buddha

All happiness comes from the desire for others to be happy.
All misery comes from the desire for oneself to be happy.
– Shantideva

Not Every Improvement Is A Meaningful One

As I get older, I long for simplicity – less things and less clutter.  The beauty of simplicity on the outside is that it’ll somehow make more room on the inside.  I’d like to share a chapter from Magic Words – 101 Ways to Talk Your Way Through Life’s Challenges:

(Magic Words #92)

Why do we feel we have to improve things all the time?  Nose too long?  Shorten it.  Hair gray?  Darken it.  Kitchen not as modern as the one next door?  Remodel it.  Breasts not as big as Madonna’s?  Well, you’ve got the idea.

There are some changes that matter and some that use up money and energy better spent on other things.  When Alexandra mentioned that someone we both knew, a woman named Sandra, had just hired yet another artist, this time to paint a new mural on her living-room wall, Howard muttered the Magic Words about improvement.  Just a week before, Sandra had turned down a plea from one of Howard’s colleagues who was raising money to support a theater group that gave free performances in poor neighbourhoods.

“Sandra always has the money to improve her living room,” Howard said, “but I’ve never seen her take the time or spend the dime to improve her mind or soul.”  So although we’re not against improving the way you look or the place you live, we believe that if you use these Magic Words, you may pause long enough to consider whether you’re just giving in to a passing fancy, and whether you might be better off doing some real “interior decorating” – dressing up the mind and soul.

Some things we’ve found that decorate the mind:

1) Reading a book that you’re read before and really liked.  You’ll understand even more clearly why you liked it the first time.
2) Buying a copy of a magazine you’d ordinarily never buy.  Let’s say Scientific American.  Maybe you won’t understand everything you read, but maybe you will – and maybe you’ll find a new interest that will light up your life.
3) Going to a poetry reading.  Boring?  Not anymore they’re not, and, believe us, from the inner city to the hinterlands, you’ll find poetry reading scheduled every week.
4) Starting a journal.  It’s a secular confession and a nice way to spend time with a person you sometimes neglect:  yourself.

It may be tough to locate that little thing we call the soul, but you don’t have to see it to spruce it up.  You can:

1) Call the friend you had a fight with.  Maybe you won’t go back to being best buddies, but it hurts you both to cut off the connection.
2) Read to the blind.  Or spend a few hours helping at a soup kitchen.
3) Tell the friend and family member who owes you money that you’ve torn up the IOU. If you can’t afford to do that, what about asking for only a partial payment?
4)    Give someone who needs it a) A pat on the back, b)  A hug, c)  A kiss, or d) all the above.

Because we believe that the relentless drive to “improve” our outer world can sometimes leave us with a diminished inner world, we find these Magic Words make us pause before we plunge.  Investing more “capital” in improving what’s inside pays its own form of interest, teaching us to savor the constant, small pleasures wherever we find them.

Magic Words – 101 Ways to Talk Your Way Through Life’s Challenges
by Howard Kaminsky & Alexandra Penney (pg. 252-254)

Poste of the Week | Happiness is a choice. Choose happy.

If I Don’t Start, I Don’t Have a Problem

I love reading books especially the ones that are filled with pockets of wisdom for everyday living.  Today, I’d like to give you a simple and practical tool from Magic Words – 101 Ways to Talk Your Way Through Life’s Challenges.  Thank you to my good friend, Nisha, who recommended this book to me!

(Magic Words #31)

Betcha can’t eat just one: that old potato chip commercial definitely hits a very deep nerve.  Think Ben & Jerry’s, M&M’s, whipped cream, French fries, triple chocolate-chip cookies…even pickles.

Jeri, a newspaper reporter, was working on an important investigative piece on a labor racketeering project.  Since she was on a tight deadline, she found herself getting takeout lunches from the gourmet shop next door to her office.  For the first week she stuck to her usual turkey sandwich or tuna-from-a can with Diet Dr Pepper, but then she spied a row of large round glass self-service containers of nuts and dried fruits behind the deli area.  Knowing she had a weakness for unsalted cashews, she stayed away.  But one day, just as a special treat, she scooped a handful of jumbo nuts into a plastic bag.  The next day she was back, snapping up some more.

A week later, she was eating cashews for afternoon snacks and popping a few on the subway ride home.  Two months passed, and she’d gain seven pounds plus a couple more from overdosing on morning Danish and wolfing down chunks of Taleggio cheese with an evening glass of wine.

We told her about Dr. Stephen Gullo, a well-known weight control expert who would be able to help her quit the cashew habit.  She made an appointment with him for the following week.

Jeri’s problem is a common one.  Many of us, according to Dr. Gullo, have “trigger foods” that activate a “can’t resist” process.  Potato chips are a great example.  Ice cream, bread, cake, and cookies are all culprits, as is almost anything that contains chocolate.  How do you stop the process?  Dr. Gullo prescribes these magic words: If I don’t start, I don’t have a problem.

Jeri wrote them on a piece of paper, which she Scotch-taped to her change purse.  If she surrendered to her urges and loaded up on cashews, when she reached the checkout counter she’d give them back to the cashier.  If she was at a party and a bowl of nuts came into view, Dr. Gullo advised that she move out of range immediately and repeat the magic words to herself.  At the end of three weeks, Jeri had shed half a dozen pounds and was well on her way to zipping up her Levi’s again.

Dr. Gullo’s magic words also work for problems that don’t involve food.  For instance, it’s easy to start complaining in today’s stressful employment climate – the boss is inaccessible, the hours are excruciating, the pay is unfair, blah, blah, blah.  Complaining begets more complaining and inevitably the boss finds out who started the griping, so it’s bad for the complainer – and for general morale.  A lot of people have a tendency to air grievances around the water cooler.  If you’re one of those who sets up a negative situation, do yourself a favor and say “If I don’t start…” and you and your co-workers will steer clear of a common problem.

Nagging is another prime area where “If you don’t start” has a positive effect.  Unfortunately, women have been stereotyped as naggers, though in many cases they nag for a good reason.  Men nag too.  We think it can easily be stopped by changing the magic words slightly, to “If I don’t start, WE don’t have a problem.”

From nachos to nagging, cashews to complaining, the best approach to stopping something you shouldn’t be doing is not starting in the first place.

-Magic Words – 101 Ways to Talk Your Way Through Life’s Challenges
by Howard Kaminsky & Alexandra Penney (pg. 87-89)

Quotes of the Week | Love

Every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says,
‘Make me feel important.’ If you can do that, you’ll be a success not only in business,
but in life as well.

-Mary Kay Ash

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
-Mother Teresa

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive.
-Dalai Lama

Love will find a way.
Indifference will find an excuse.

-Ukrainian proverb

Quotes of the Week | Give It Away

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

You cannot do a kindness too soon
because you never know how soon it will be too late.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kindness is more than deeds.
It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch.
It is anything that lifts another person.
Neil Strait

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
Scott Adams

Kind words can be short and easy to speak
but their echoes are truly endless.

Mother Teresa

Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Mark Twain