Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

“When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.”

Chief Tecumseh

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In the morning, light pours into my bedroom.  It’s kind of a pain to fall asleep with the blinds open and the curtains pulled back, but it’s worth it to be greeted by light.  Then, for me, it’s baked oatmeal and one shot of espresso.  I’m not a morning person, and I probably haven’t had a single thought about anything worth remembering until I’ve begun to absorb some caffeine.  A quick aside- I’ve never understood why people don’t drink more espresso, is it the whip cream thing?  And then, a clean shave.  I (almost) always use a sharp razor, not a Gillette, and have replaced that blue goop with fluffy and fragrant lavender shave soap applied by a badger hair shave brush.

I’m sharing my routine with you, because I’ve found that from the first ray of sunshine to the first bite of oatmeal, the last sip of espresso to the last bit of shave soap, I tend to concentrate on how lucky I am to enjoy these little luxuries.  They are simple joys.  When you appreciate your situation first thing in the morning, you start the day off right.  And when you start the day off right, the rest of the day tends to follow suit.

If you’re a snooze button 12 times, rush out of bed and into the car to sit in traffic on the way to the job you dread kind of person, consider what you give up each morning.  You’ve missed the chance to be gracious, to take a few minutes to yourself to think about your day, to think about what you can do for someone else today.  By the time you’re expressing you’re road rage, you’ve given up the chance to work out that day or your opportunity to reflect in your journal.  Approaching the beginning of your day differently might change your outlook on school or work, especially if you’ve taken a few minutes to give thanks that you have gainful employment and think about how you can make a difference at work that day.  An improved outlook is often the key to improved performance.

So much of this blog is about having a positive and gracious attitude.  The reason is simple- life is better that way.  The time to establish that attitude is first thing in the morning.

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“Thank goodness for all the things you are not, thank goodness you’re not something someone forgot, and left all alone in some punkerish place, like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.”

— Dr. Seuss

We haven’t forgotten about you. So don’t forget about yourself.

Do something good for yourself. Read a book. Take a long walk. Breathe in the crisp fall air and savor the sunshine while it’s here. Make your life unimaginably good and fulfilling. Find a way to make each day your best day.

Be good to you, so you can be good to others this week. And as part of our practice of gratitude, be thankful for exactly who you are. Because that is exactly what the world needs you to be.

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“Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five.”

Ben Franklin

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Personally, I am most comfortable when I can get into my routine.  I am very careful to plan my week on a calendar, create a to-do list with sub-to-do lists just to make sure everything gets accomplished.  And it’s the deviations from this routine that causes stress and makes me uncomfortable.

But is that really living life- commuting to work from 9-5, getting in a workout, and catching a few reruns of the Big Bang Theory before bed?  Is that as good as it gets?  Honestly, that’s the trap that Ben Franklin realized a lot of 25-year-olds (okay, I know you’re just pretending…) fall into.  And, after all, isn’t that why we call it ‘the grind’?

Ben Franklin was definitely a character with many interests and hobbies.  I think he encourage those of us who have sailed into the doldrums of life to bypass the Lethargians and find some ways to spice things up.  It might not be a big life-altering decision, but maybe there are some little place you kind add excitement in your schedule.  I’ll help you brainstorm.

Wake up early enough to enjoy breakfast in a new restaurant, or leave the lean cuisine at home and try a new restaurant for lunch.  Cook a new recipe- autumn’s here so why not something pumpkin?  Host a dinner party for some friends, or suggest a Friday night dinner outing at a new place.  Switch out the Coors Light for a festive microbrew.

Try a new kind of workout- can you rent a kayak or a bike?  Give a spin class or zumba or fly-wheel a shot.  You could even change up the route you always run or just run it backwards.  Find a mountain, and take a hike.  Go fishing.  Maybe you don’t work out- take a walk or a swim.  Ben was an avid swimmer.  Invite someone new to join you.  Really not into working out?  What about following a new sport- become the expert.

How long has it been since you read a book?  What about a mystery or a new genre?  What other hobby’s could you find interesting?  Homebrewing?  Ben’s recipe was called “Poor Richard’s Ale.”  I just brewed my first batch last weekend.  It’s not that hard to get into, and I’m confident you could do it.  What about canning?  Maybe it’s just an arrangement of fresh cut flowers on your desk.

Could you take a course in something you’ve always been interested in?  Join a bible study or a small group?  Join a book club or start an investment club.  Meet some new friends.  Travel.  Take a day-trip or a long weekend.  Find out what beautiful landmarks are around you and go photograph them.  Then make a rainy-day hobby out of photo editing and make some art out of it.

I don’t know what it is that will make your life more fulfilling and exciting, what that something is that will make you excited to get out of bed.  And honestly, one thing probably isn’t enough.  If it’s just one thing, it’ll become part of your routine.  But always be learning.  Experiment.  Live.  These little things are what make life worth living.

Have a great week, everybody.

-R

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“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”

Arthur Rubinstein

One incredible attribute of the universe, which I have discovered, is the law of attraction.  Your thoughts and feelings tend to materialize into the things, people, situations, and events in your life.  That’s why it’s important for us to find ourselves thinking positively.  Success attracts success, and misery breeds failure.  You attract people like yourself.  When we wake up grateful for the wonderful things in our lives, they tend to stay in our lives.  When we are excited and engaged in our work, work is exciting and engaging.  Love life.  It will love you back.

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Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.

Goethe

When you swim out to Black Rock, the cliffs don’t seem very high.  But as you climb the boulders, the coarse stone cutting the bottom of your feet, the fish in the tidal pools start to seem tiny.  When you peer over the first wall, you realize that you’re climbing a bit higher than your comfort zone.  But you keep climbing, because no self-respecting thrill seeker jumps at the first chance.  So you keep climbing to the top and try not to look down.  After all, if you look down, you might not jump.  Now’s your chance to back out, but it’s a long climb back down.  You take a deep breath and two steps to fling yourself off the ledge.  The second step isn’t necessary because you’re already plummeting towards the water below.  You’re not really thinking about anything.  All you can do is tuck your arms in at your sides and… SMACK- you plunge beneath the cool salty water.  You feel the rush as you break the surface and take another deep breath.  Congratulations- you just took the plunge.

Take the plunge.

Live a little.

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“What day is it?” It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. My favorite day,” said Pooh.”

— A.A. Milne

A little throwback from childhood to remind us that every day should be our favorite day.

What makes something our favorite? It could be new and exciting. It could be comfortable and familiar. It could be short and sweet or long and everlasting. The best thing about a “favorite” is that it is as unique as we are.

Fill each day with comfort and familiarity. Surround yourself with new and exciting things. Do something every day that makes it feel like your favorite.

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“The important thing is to keep the important thing the important thing.”

— Albert Einstein

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It was sitting in the grand ballroom of a Marriott in Boston that I heard this quote for the first time. I was surrounded by a group of individuals who have dedicated their lives to working with children. We were there to regain some of our playfulness and bring this energy and other techniques we had learned to help children dealing with trauma. It was this weekend in which I became a Life is good Playmaker. It is my hope that future interactions and involvement with such an amazing group will bring even more enlightenment to my teaching and towards my writing for all of you.

It was in my usual fashion that I received this quote: I copied it down knowing that I would use it to motivate myself. I hope this week you might use it to motivate yourself as well.

Sometimes in life, we forget what is most important to us. Whether it is family, friends, a passion for our life’s work or simply doing what is best for ourselves and each other, we lose it. Unfortunately, it is often with this loss of importance that we can lose a part of ourselves.

This week, I would like all of you to think about what is important to you. Start by making (and keeping) a list of what is important to you. These things could be the people that are most important to you.  If spending time with family is important, make it a priority. Just because you put something on the top of a to-do list does not mean it is important. You must actually make an effort. If you are not willing to put forth the time towards it, ask yourself… Is it really that important? If it is, make time for it. If not, make a change. These things could be choices you have made in order to be a better, stronger person. Regardless of how you categorize them, you should spend a few minutes deciding what is most important to you. Make those things most important this week. Even if you only focus on one thing this week or one of these each day, you are already making a conscious effort to keep the important thing(s) the important thing. 

I encourage those of you who feel comfortable to share what they hold most important. As sense of accountability can be a great motivator to hold yourself accountable.

I wish all of you a week of astounding hope and continue progress as you work to keep the important thing(s) the important thing. Please remember one very important thing: YOU ARE IMPORTANT, TOO. In this training, I was reminded that if I did not have joy myself, I could not spread joy to others. Be sure to remind yourself of your own importance so that you can work towards creating a more joyful, meaningful life this week.

Love and Light,

Carly

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Life is good.

This song is from my childhood. It is one that I hold very near and dear to my heart. It is carefully that I share it with you. When we find something good and meaningful, it is a crime not to share it with those who need it and will appreciate it.

Listen carefully to the lyrics. Take them all in.

I hope you can find a line or two that mean something to you.

In the meantime, we can all get behind the chorus…

“Give your all to others and it all comes back to you.” Life certainly is good.

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How Many, How Much

Put good in, get good out. Let the world show you that all of your hard work, optimism, and love pays off. Wait for the pay-off.

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“It’s not like people abandon optimism. In fact, optimism, we’ve learned, is at its most powerful during trying times… People need something to help them keep their chin up.”

— Bert Jacobs

Another wonderful day spreading good vibes with the wonderful people of the Life is Good Festival.

This quote meant a lot to me when I realized that this blog could be “something to help keep (your) chins up.”

Sounds like a pretty great deal to me. These two guys know what it means to spread the message of optimism all over the world.

I know it feels pretty great to try the same thing in our little corner. Thank you, as always, for stopping by.

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