Category Archives: Inspiration

Choosing Joy through Laughter

Laughter is an instant vacation~~Milton Berle

Do you wish you could lose weight, find the perfect relationship or have more money?  Do you think that if you could have these things you would be happier?  I’ve worked with a number of people lately who said, my life is good, I have a good job, a relationship, money’s not an issue, but I’m not really happy.  They could spend years in therapy trying to find the underlying reason for their unhappiness…but would they find their way back to joy?

Fame, relationships and money all bring a particular energy to our life, but do not necessarily bring the energy of joy.  A life filled with joy is a choice found in the present moment.  Maybe your day can’t be joyful, but a moment can.

If you’re struggling with how to do this, one of the fastest ways to a change your mood is to laugh.  Try renting a funny movie, go to a comedy club or take a laughing yoga class.  I haven’t tried laughing yoga but recently went to Bikram “hot” yoga with a friend.  How did we end up there?  Groupon!  I wonder how many people have ended up someplace they’d never be, if not for groupon.

The temp in the room was 105° and my body drizzled sweat like a summer shower.   Face smashed in the mat while struggling to twist into the pose, I glanced towards my friend.  Her body contorted like deflated bellows of an accordion seemed disconnected from her bright red and swollen face. I couldn’t see the white of her eyes, just beady dots through narrow slits. I knew I looked worse.  I quickly turned away, biting my lip in an attempt to quell my urge to laugh.  I knew if I started to laugh there would be no stopping and I’m sure laughing in hot yoga is frowned upon.

As we left the yoga studio, we burst into uncontrolled laughter.  We laughed to our car and laughed all the way home.  Irregardless of the possible health benefits, hot yoga was definitely worth the laugh. As far as hot yoga goes, the jury is still out.

This week:  Once a day, check in and see how you’re feeling.  If you’re not feeling happy, find a way to laugh and feel the energy of joy.  It’s a choice.


Overcoming Procrastination with Bookends

“If and When were planted, and Nothing grew.” ~Proverb

Procrastination………….who me? I know how to get things done; I also know how to procrastinate. Sometimes procrastination has to do with not feeling good enough, other times it’s about a task I hate or one that is just overwhelming like U.S. INCOME TAXES. For years I applied for not one extension on my taxes, but two. I don’t prepare my own taxes; I just have to pull the information together to get to my accountant. Yet, somehow I didn’t find the time until a few days before the last extension.

Now I apply bookends to finish a task I dread like taxes.   When I decide when I’m going to work on it, I plan a pre and post project incentive. It’s my bookends. I treat myself or do something I enjoy prior to starting the project and again when I finish. Sometimes, it’s something small like a trip to Starbucks before sorting through my papers, other times it’s a day at the zoo or the art institute. Why do bookends work? I think because the first bookend marks it’s time to start and then the last bookend acknowledges the accomplishment. Sometimes the bookend at the end is something that I’m really dying to do or is time sensitive. This gives me the added push to slug through until I’m finished. So if you find yourself procrastinating, try bookends.

This week: Identify something you’ve been putting off and give it some bookends.

Dabbler, Master or Something Else

If you hear a voice within you saying, ‘You are not a painter,’ then by all means paint … and that voice will be silenced.”  — Vincent Van Gogh

My seventh grade homeroom teacher’s passion was art, so whenever we finished our work, we could go in the room next door and paint.  The room was filled with prints of Van Gogh, Monet and all the masters.  I didn’t consider myself artistic and I didn’t paint, but getting out of the classroom was worth giving it a try.  I discovered I loved to paint.  The paint brush moving across the canvas quieted any voice of self- doubt I had.  I worked with charcoal, craypas, oils and temperas.  I sketched, painted, entered contests, and even won a few awards.  I didn’t consider myself an artist, but I loved making art. 

As I entered high school, I left art behind to discover the world of music and theatre.  Again, I loved the process, but neither considered myself a singer or an actor.  I started to write short stories.  This too was fun. I decided I was a dabbler of the arts.  I’d leave being a master to someone else.   Next I was off to college, where I discovered new passions and interests. 

Over the years, I discovered that there are many things that bring me joy.  I don’t worry that the title master may not fit.  Even if it were true, the perfectionist in me would have difficulty accepting that title.  I also don’t think being a dabbler is the best description.  What I do know is I continue to sing and dance, even if it’s just singing Camelot as I dance around my living room.  I occasionally pull out a sketchpad or paints.  I write, I cook, I teach, I walk in the sun.  I love to garden and arrange flowers.  An afternoon with a good book or coffee with a friend nourishes my spirit.  Do I have one passion? No!  But I have the desire to live a life full of joy and creativity.  I find passion in the moments of my life.  I’m keeping my eyes and heart open—who knows what I’ll try next.

This Week:  Engage in moments of joy and you might just find your passion!


Dragonflies-the Wings of Change

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” –Hal Borland

It was the last week of August and the yard was full of flowers, and usually a few bees, butterflies and an occasional dragonfly. Stepping into my yard, I was surrounded by a swarm of dragonflies, swooping around like dive bombers. I love dragonflies. Their shimmering colors and luminous glow are a treat for the eye. But, I had never seen such a throng. There must have been more than 75 to 100 swirling around my small garden. Their energy felt so frenzied, I thought possibly they were responding to the nasty weather front approaching the city. Their frenetic energy almost felt like fear. I decided to sit in a chair in the middle of the yard and just watch.

I thought maybe the dragonflies had a message for me. I was amazed how they zipped right past my face. I sat there for a half hour and discovered that they were not frenzied at all. Instead they were focused, moving swiftly to achieve their goal. They twisted and turned, swooping one way and then instantly changing directions until they caught a bug. They snapped at mosquitoes, gnats and flies. Each dragonfly worked alone, yet seemed to be connected on some level with the group. Within a half hour there were very few bugs visibly left in my yard. Soon only four dragonflies were left.

Two days earlier, I officially became an empty-nester. Both of my children are away at college. For me the dragonflies were a reminder that now is the time for me to focus on my goals and work with the determination of a feasting dragonfly.

Look around and open your heart. Have you noticed any spirit messages in nature?
This week: Be open to messages from spirit in nature.

Peace and Blessings,

Mary Jo