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What I Know about Happiness.

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I know it’s been awhile since my last post, I sure missed you all. The truth is I think about writing a lot but only when my heart is truly saddened do I actually make time to write. I find it therapeutic.

A friend of mine, close to my heart is suffering from some depression. It makes me sad. They just look totally wiped out as if their happy soul has been completely stripped away and I want to help. Of course that is just an achy desire because I 100% know you can’t help someone else with their happiness. That is completely an internal thing but still my heart aches to help.

In all this thinking of them I started thinking about my own happiness….. It’s something I deeply ponder from time to time. It baffles me to think of all the horror I’ve endured but still remain truly happy.

In advance I’d like to personally apologize to anyone this post offends. It is not my intention to hurt anyone but this is my life and these distant memories make me who I am. These next couple paragraphs may be hard for some people to read.

My dad left my Mom and me for a younger woman when I was four. My mom remarried when I six or seven. By eight, my step father had taken me in as his new “bitch’ I was sexually assaulted. Butt patting, inappropriate comments, boob grabbing (and I didn’t even have tits yet) and other varies, tormenting things went on until I was at least 13. I was terrified by the thought of being alone with him. My external “life” at the time was pretty awesome, I was known by all my peers, I was the first ever junior to make cheer captain and I played every sport there was, but I still hated the thought going home. I never told my mom even though we were very close. I thought this was the first time in a long while, she was really happy. The summer I was going to be a junior my step dad kicked us out, he was having an affair. We had to move and I had to start to a new school where I didn’t know anyone except two cousins.

When I was 19 I met the first love of my life. It was also the first time I was introduced to drugs. At first I used while parting with this boy and that short time was exciting and fun. But the fun quickly left. He was mentally abusive. He made me feel like I was worthless, like I was dumb. He made me believe that no one loved me besides him. I ran to the few family members I had around at the time, but I always went back to him. Two years later my family had just stopped talking to me or maybe I stopped talking to them? It is a fuzzy recollection. Either way by that time I had no friends and no family nearby. Then I started using just to survive staying alive. Mental abuse quickly turned to physical. This boy beat me. He abused me every way possible. He’d leave me alone for a week at a time while being out with other girls. He slashed my tires when I threatened to leave him. He made me commit credit card fraud. One time he even made me cut up every article of clothing I owned so I couldn’t leave. I thought I could never escape him so I bought a hose and duct tape and a bottle of sleeping pills and tried to escape the best way I could think of….. But then he found me.  Lastly after slamming my head against the console of his truck multiple times he pushed me out of a moving F-150 pickup truck…. I had a broken cheek bone, a swollen eye and stitches in my chin for over a month.

I was able to leave him thanks to my Mom, but I wasn’t able to leave the drugs. Not for a very long time.  I felt worthless. In such a short time I pushed away all my family & friends, failed out of college (and I had a full ride scholarship), been beaten every way possible and became an addict. What the fuck was left for me? What was left OF me? I continued making bad choices… When I was twenty-six I had Jaya, as soon as we found out I was pregnant I was able to stop using completely. This baby gave me a purpose…a reason. And I stayed clean until she was about two. Then I went back to making bad choices. A few years later Phoenix came along, I stopped using while I was pregnant with him, until he had baked for seven months, then with one bad day and a visit from an old friend I used. I was so disgusted with myself, I thought I was stronger than that. A better mother than that. I worked myself up so much I felt sick so I took myself to the ER to check and make sure I hadn’t hurt him. He was fine but I wasn’t. DCFS came the next day and removed Jaya from my home. This was the worst kind of pain I have ever felt. How could I hurt my baby like this? This was the lowest point in my entire life. I just wanted to die but I still had this little baby inside me. DCFS got me into rehab. I was grateful for this opportunity. I did everything they told me to do, I was going to doing it the best I possibly could to make things right for my babies. It was a very difficult time but I took in everything I possibly could…and you know what? I got better. It didn’t happen fast, and it certainly wasn’t easy but I got better. Not just being off drugs but internally, mentally I got better.

I know it seems as though I’ve gotten off topic but hang in there with me, my life stories are relevant.

Everyone that knows me is always asking how I’m always so happy? I have two and a half jobs, three kids, no romantic partner, go to school full time, and have over two grand a month in bills and debt. I struggle, but still wake up every day annoyingly, grateful and happy!

The most important lesson I’ve ever learned (in all my many learning experiences) is that YOU are the ONLY person that can make you happy. And it’s not just one of those things you can just decide to do. It takes drive and work, A LOT of hard work. It takes bravery and practice and patience with yourself. You are the only one that can give yourself confidence, they only one that can make changes.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you cannot change it, you must change the way you feel about it.

Change it? That sounds scary! The truth is a lot of folks are scared to make changes. It requires taking a leap of faith. It requires guts. And what if you take that leap and things don’t work out? Well guess what: you didn’t like how things were before so it’s not like you left something good! If the results are bad you change things again. And again, and again, if it’s necessary for your happiness. This ability of change is one of the freedoms as humans. It can be scary and uncomfortable but it CAN be done.

Don’t like your living situation…. Move!

Aren’t happy with your partner…..Leave!

Aren’t happy at work…..Get a new job!

Need more money…..Get another job!

For anything you could possibly be unhappy with (excluding some health issues) there are changes that could be made. They will require pushing aside your fear, deep breathing, having faith and a whole hell of a lot of hard work, but it is POSSIBLE.

Somethings you physically just CANNOT change. In these cases you must first accept that you cannot change the situation, issue or person then mentally evaluate what steps you must take in order to CHANGE the way you feel about it. This is more difficult. This takes much less bravery but a lot more patience and hard work but again, it is possible. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said it beautifully more than 2,000 years ago: “People are disturbed, not by things (that happen to them), but by the principles and opinions which they form concerning (those) things. When we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles and opinions.”

Here are some ways to achieve this:

  1. Admit to yourself that you’re not happy: You can’t change anything if you aren’t aware that something needs to be changed. Stop the cycle of wishing things were different and take control of your thoughts and reactions to events and people.
  2. Realize optimism is a choice: You are not born with a positive or negative attitude. It is something you become through your perspective of experiences. Very few situations are completely bad. Always try to come up with three to five positives of any challenging situation and write them down so you can remember them.
  3. Look at the issue from a different perspective: This takes practice, but after lot of practice you’ll find you’ll start doing this naturally.

So how do I stay so happy? I am not afraid. I’m not afraid to make changes. I’m not afraid to say what I feel (well sometimes I am, but I do it anyway). I keep a ready list of all the many things I am grateful for. I find a way to find humor in hardships. I hug people a LOT. I work my ass off to get everything done that needs to be done, and to accomplish goals, which makes me feel proud. I accept that I am who I am, and while I always try to be the best Heather I can be, I let go of things I can’t change. I just let go in general, I let go of desires that can’t be filled. I let go of negativity. I let go of frustration or anxiety.

Make goals. Work your ass off. Enjoy the simple things. Smile. Touch people… and if all else fails… Fake it till you Make it!

You don’t find a happy life, you make it. It doesn’t matter what you went through. It doesn’t matter what happened to you. It doesn’t matter who your parents were. Nothing determines your happiness except you. Everyone deserves happiness, but not everyone is willing to make it. Be brave. Put in the hard work…it’s worth it. It’s really, really worth it.

All the things I’ve endured are not who I am, the work I’ve put into my personal happiness is who I am.

Free Natural Xanax.

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Well hello! It’s been awhile… I am terribly sorry for my absence. Life has been well…faster, busier and also fuller. Besides all that, I hope you know that I missed you and I will try to be more present.

I have kind of been on a hugging rampage! I’ve been finding that I am making more of an effort to do so more often than usual. I love the feeling that I warmed someone’s (anyone’s) heart, but more so I find that it warms my heart. And, not only have I been doing it much more frequently but I’ve also become quite infatuated with learning all about Hugging. I know how silly that must sound but it is terribly interesting!!!

“[H]ugs don’t need new equipment,

Special batteries or parts –

Just open up your arms

And open up your hearts.”

~Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr.,.

Here are varies ways of Hugging:

Name

Description

Meaning

A-frame hug (or triangle or teepee hug)

Leaning forward a long way, touching at top (forming triangle shape). Quick hug and push away. Little or no eye contact. Formal greeting, often uncomfortable for both people.

Air hug

Open arms slightly to indicate beginnings of hug. Maybe hug oneself. One or both people may do this. Greeting at a distance where real hug is difficult or could be embarrassing.

Bear hug

Full body touch, tight clasp. Possibly with growly noises or belly laughter. One person often stronger. Strong and open affection from extraverted character. Risk of discomfort. Can be an act of domination.

Back pat

Brief hug, often upper-body only, with patting of shoulders or back. Possibly no eye contact. Back pats are friendly but may be indicator of limited affection. In a longer hug, a back pat signals a desire to end the hug.

No eye contact says ‘I’m being polite but don’t really care.’

Back rub

Longer and close than back pat, with rubbing of the back either up and down or in a circular movement two or three times. More familiar and affectionate than back patting. Rubbing is closer to caressing and emulates a parent rubbing a baby to ‘burp’ them. When not done immediately may be a request to end hug.

Body hug

Standard hug, with both people vertical and most of the body touching. Warm embrace, not for too long. Smooth and uninterrupted disengagement. Standard greeting of friends. Shows relaxation and comfort with the other person. May be many variations on this.

Bomb

The hugger runs up to the other person and leaps wildly onto them, possibly bearing them to the ground. There may well be multiple huggers for one person hugged. Often congratulatory or celebratory, as when a sports team member scores points.

Butt grab

Full body hug with hands grabbing the other person’s bottom, squeezing it or pulling them in. Kissing may also be involved. Hands may go straight to the bottom or may slide down to it from back. Romantic, with strong sexual overtones. May be unwanted act of domination.

Cheek touch

Leaning forward, very light shoulder clasp, touch cheeks, possibly with kissing noise. Polite greeting, respecting the other person’s body and space.

Clinger

One person holds on for too long. The other tries to pull away but often ends up having to give in and return the longer hug. Need for extended comfort. May be signal of desire for closer romance. May also be act of dominance.

Comforter

Hugger holding tight or maybe just gently. Hugged person may well be holding tightly. Comforted person rests head on shoulder or breast. Comforting person leans head on head of other person, patting or stroking them. Administering of comfort to distressed other person. May be between friends, partners or parent-child.

Crusher

Overly tight bear hug. Often held for slightly more than normal hug. May be accidental ‘don’t know my strength’ but likely dominant show of power.

Cuddle

Full-body with heads touching and firm clasp. May include caressing and comforting words or ‘mmm’ sounds. Longer duration. Very similar to the comforter hug and often with this purpose, although may also be romantic or of benefit to both people.

Dancefloor hold

On the dancefloor, one person puts arms around the other’s neck, who puts arms around the waist. They move slowly in time to the music.

Often the woman puts arms around the neck and may rest her head on the man’s chest or shoulder.

Simulation of intimate embrace, even if it is ‘just dancing’. May be a precursor to more romantic events later.

Entwining

Usually lying or sitting down, the whole bodies including legs are entangled together. Highly sexual. Making two bodies ‘as one’. May be used before, during and after intercourse.

Family hug

Long and firm embrace. Often between parents (or grandparents) and children (even when they are adult). Heads touching. Display of family affection. May be for comfort, greeting or on departure.

Forced kiss

One person tries to kiss (and maybe succeeds) whilst the other pulls away or only allows a quick peck. Poorly-judged attempt at romance or otherwise dislike of kiss by other person.

Full-on kiss

Mutual and extended lip kiss. Successful romantic move (by both).

Group hug

People stand in circle with arms around the backs of persons either side. Heads often down and touching in the middle of the circle. Celebration by group of people. May be ritual confirmation of togetherness.

Hand hug

Looks like shaking hands but other person’s hand is grasped with two hands rather than one. Often used by politicians. May well say ‘I would like to hug you but I am too polite.’

Person with hand on top may be signalling dominance.

Head envelope

The other person’s head is enveloped by the arms and pulled into chest. Hugger may well be taller. Protective and comforting. May be a a part of the comforter hug.

Lap hug

A lateral twister that leads to one person lying in the lap of the other. Romantic. Classic sofa action.

Lateral one-arm hug

People standing or sitting side-by-side. One person puts one arm around the others and gives them a quick hug. Quick and safe sign of approval or affection. If extended may be a comforter.
Romantic if in setting such as movie seats.

Lateral twister

People standing or sitting side-by-side twist towards one another and do as best a frontal body hug as possible. Hugging when constrained by seats. Maybe when lateral one-arm hug leads to more.

Leap and lift

One person (usually the woman) leaps into the air towards the other person and clings onto them, possibly wrapping legs around them. Other person lifts them up, possibly stepping back to absorb the impact. May continue into spin hug. Excited and open greeting, with significant trust and affection.

Leg wrap

During close hug, one leg is wrapped around the back of the other person’s legs. Typically done during long hug with caressing and kissing. Indication of desired and actual intimacy.

Look at you

Head of other person held between two hands for short eye contact and possibly a few words. May be done before or after (or even without) body hug. Eye contact creates closer contact and words may be significant. Can be light admonishment of a child before a forgiving hug.

Lover hug

Slow approach with touching, sliding into embrace with extended stroking and caressing. Romantic and caring. Who knows where it may end up?

Man hug

Quick grab, touching upper body only. Patting back a couple of times. Often avoiding eye contact. Quick release and step back with brief smile.

Similar in some ways to shoulder touch.

Greeting between straight male friends. Friendship but clearly nothing romantic.

Neck grab

One person throws arms around the neck of the other person and pulls them in, with heads touching closely. Often a sign of affection. May also be seeking comfort. Can be dominant.

Open man hug

Fuller body than standard man hug, with more extended hugging. Maybe with cheek hug and head-on-shoulder. Direct affection. May be gay or just liberated.

Pity pat hug

In a romantic situation, one person pats the other quickly a couple of times on the upper back. This signals ‘I don’t want any romance.’ A higher pat shows less interest and quick pats indicate a desire to disengage.

Reverse hug

One person approaches the other from behind and puts arms around waist with full-body touch and possibly leans head on shoulder. Hugged person puts hands over hugging hands and possibly leans back with head against huggers head. Relaxed affection between trusting partners.

Rocker

Standard body hug with rocking from side to side, often with smiling and laughter. Expression of fun-loving personality. Similar to twister hug.

Sandwich hug

One person is hugged by and between two others. The huggers’ arms may reach around one another. Typically parents hugging a child. Show of affection, comfort or celebration.

Self hug

Wrapping arms around one’s own body. Maybe top arm clasping other arm. Possibly some twisting or rocking. Self-comforting. May signal ‘I would like to hug you’ or ‘I want you to hug me’.

Shoulder drape

One arm casually over shoulder of adjacent person. That person may have arm around hugger’s back or waist (especially if the other person is shorter). Long duration. Not so much a hug as an expression of closeness (and possibly jealous possession).

Shoulder grab

Approach as if to hug but only get as far as grabbing shoulders. Likely to have continued eye contact and arm patting. Often used by men who see hugging as too familiar. May be tactic by one person to prevent a full hug.

Shoulder touch

Hands clasped in handshake followed by pull together, hands still holding and brief touching of shoulders or chests. May be accompanied by ‘ayyy’ sounds. Very often done by men as ‘safe’ and not-too-intimate greeting.

Spin hug

One person (usually the man) puts arm under the other person arms, lifts them and spins them around. Open affection. Shows closeness and trust. May indicate possession.

Spoon hug

When lying down with other person (typically in bed) and they are facing the other way, pressing part of all of body behind them (like two spoons fitting together) and put one arm around them. Like a horizontal reverse hug. Often sustained and may occur as unconscious connection during sleep.

Twister

Body hug with oscillating rotation about a vertical axis. Similar to the rocker hug. Shows stronger affection.

Unequal height hug

The shorter person puts arms around the waist and possibly rests head on chest. The taller person wraps arms around upper body and maybe rests head on shorter person’s head. Typically taller man and shorter woman in romantic embrace.

Upper-body hug

Similar to body hug but only touching in the upper body. May be quite quick. Avoiding touching genitalia. Often between man-woman with no romantic connection or between two men.

 

My personal favorite is the Leaping or Flying hug! That one really makes me feel good. Okay so there are a million ways to actually do the hugging and probably even more reasons why you would hug someone. Maybe a greeting, to comfort, to bond, so affection, for romance, which are all great reasons, BUT did you know that Hugging has actually been scientifically proven to enhance your own health? Pretty neat! Hugging therapy is definitely a powerful way of healing. Research shows that hugging (and also laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress. According to MindBodyGreen.com research shows a proper deep hug, where the hearts are pressing together, can benefit you in these ways:

 

1. The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication. (Sounds good, right !?!)

 

2. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin (a mammalian neurophysiology hormone) levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger. (Healthier and cheaper than Xanax.)

 

3. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness. (Instant High.)

 

4. Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free. (Free Anti-Biotics.)

 

5. Hugging boosts self-esteem. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self-love. (If you can’t love yourself, how the Hell are you gonna love someone else?)

 

6. Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues. (Hugs > Painkillers)

 

7. Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic. (Again, Cheaper than Xanax.)

 

8. Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways. (The giving is good!)

 

9. Hugs are so much like meditation and laughter. They teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart, your feelings and your breath. (If you can’t make time for Yoga, just get in some good hugs.)

 

10. The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding. And, it’s synergistic, which means the whole is more than the sum of its parts: 1 1 = 3 or more! This synergy is more likely to result in win-win outcomes. (This is my favorite, the actual physical exchange of energy between two people.)

How awesome is that to be able to exchange energy with a simple act, like hugging? One can actually pass good vibes threw their skin and into anothers body. That is terribly fascinating to me!!! That’s actually a real thing. I did a little investigating about the possibility of energy transfer through touch and I read this: “One study involved wiring pairs of subjects up to electrodes and having them sit five feet apart. The researchers found that one person’s heart energy waves (electrocardiogram output) were not detectable by the electrodes on the surface of the other person’s body at that distance. However, when they were holding hands, each person’s heart energy waves were detectable on the surface of the others body, and even in the others brain waves.” Fascinating!

“Millions and millions of years would still not give me half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around me and I put my arms around you.”  ~Jacques Prévert

I hope you enjoyed this valuable information as much as I did! Take care of yourself, and each other. Please give yourself a hug for me!

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Trust me, I’m the sunscreen.

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Much of the Christmas season is spent worrying over what to buy for your significant other, your kids, relatives, friends, and co-workers. You think and you shop and eventually decide on some sweater that won’t fit next year or a toy that will be forgotten in a months time. I propose a change! This year instead of focusing on Christmas gift let’s focus on New Year’s resolutions.

Think about this: Ultimately the people who really love and/or care about you just want to see you happy and when you really are genuinely happy you spread it to others around you, so don’t think that’s ultimately the best gift you could give to yourself and those who love you?

There are 32 days until next year, that means 32 days of planning to get a fresh start to the new year, to improve the quality of your life, and to map out a plan for happiness. A New Year’s resolution is a commitment that a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. A key element to a New Year’s Resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year and new beginnings. People committing themselves to a New Year’s resolution generally plan to do so for the whole following year. This lifestyle change is generally interpreted as advantageous.

You can do fun things to help you prepare for a New Year and a fresh start. One thing I am doing is…

Make a “Future Heather” book. I got this idea from the movie “The last Holiday”. This will be a book composed creatively of things I wish to see or do in the future. I may make a page with photos of Australia because this is somewhere I’d like to go at some point. I may make a page full things I’d like to learn. A page with pictures of a home I’d like to own….You get the idea. This is a fun, creative project that may help you visualize what you want, and if you look at it often, the visualization will spark your brain to do the things you need to do in order to achieve these goals. (Beware… if you happen to cut out a picture of a bride and groom and cut and paste your and someone else’s face, be careful where you leave your book, if that someone see’s their picture pasted over a grooms face, they will probably get super freaked out, and ect…)

There is really no end to the things you could do to prepare yourself to be a more bright and shiny you. You can work out. You can stop smoking. You can change jobs. You can get more education…..but the thing that all those things and endless others, have in common is that any of them will improve the quality of your life, make you healthier, and happier. So, I encourage you to spend more time on this for the next 32 days than you do stressing about shopping. Improving your life WILL benefit   the ones who love you…

And I leave you with this……You’re Welcome!

Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis or reliable then my own meandering experience.  I will dispense this advice….now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind, you won’t understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded, but trust me in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind: the kind that blindsides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts; don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy.  Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.  The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive; forget the insults. (if you succeed in doing this, tell me how).

Keep your old love letters; throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.  The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives; some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of Calcium.  Be kind to your knees — you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t.  Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t.  Maybe you’ll divorce at 40; maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either.  Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body: use it every way you can.  Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it; it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance…even if you have no where to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions (even if you don’t follow them).

Do not read beauty magazines; they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents; you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings: they’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but what a precious few should hold on.  Work hard to bridge the gaps and geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old; and when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you.  Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse, but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you are 40, it will look like you’re 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it.  Advice is a form of nostalgia; dispensing it is a way of wishing the past from the disposal–wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me, I’m the sunscreen.

Giving Thanks.

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I know a lot of people who have been posting on Facebook something they are thankful for everyday through the month of November, well I am putting it all together. It makes me feel insanely happy to see all the love , laughter, and light in my life, all in one spot!
Happiest Thanksgiving!

 

1)      I am thankful for my Un-shakable optimism.

2)      I am thankful for my beautiful Children and their health.

3)      I am thankful for creativity and the freedom to show it.

4)      I am thankful for my Mother’s unconditional love.

5)       I am thankful that we have a roof over our head and warm beds to sleep in.

6)      I am thankful for laughter.

7)      I am thankful to have a job that I love so much!

8)      I am thankful for ALL my family.

9)      I am thankful for transportation.

10)   I am thankful for my sobriety.

11)   I am thankful for the forgiveness my family had given me.

12)   I am thankful for music and for what it does to my soul.

13)   I am thankful for all the love in my life.

14)   I am thankful to have a handful of amazingly wonderful, warm friends.

15)   I am thankful to have such a strong Mother and all the knowledge she has passed to me.

16)   I am thankful for the support I have.

17)   I am thankful for courage.

18)   I am thankful for the second chance I have been given to be a great Mother.

19)   I am thankful for the quality of my life.

20)   I am thankful for the ability to sing a dance.

21)   I am thankful for yummy, yummy food.

22)   I am thankful for every time one of my babies grabs my hand and holds it.

23)   I am thankful for hugs.

24)   I am thankful to have a kind, warm, loving man in my life.

25)   I am thankful that God never gives me more than I can handle.

26)   I am thankful that I can handle SO much!

27)   I am thankful for the little things.

28)   I am thankful for education.

29)   I am thankful for tickling!!!

30)   I am thankful to be alive.

Fear VS. Heather….

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I have yet to determine the origin of this defect, but I have ALWAYS been afraid to succeed. I am well aware that if I put my mind to something whole-heartedly I would without a doubt soar above expectation. I have always had an UN-shakable optimistic attitude, the skill of connecting with people on an intimate level, and I pick up on things freakishly fast. I have brilliant ideas. The one thing that has always been in my way…..is ME. I have pondered many times where this defect came from but always came up empty handed.

My addiction was the perfect meal for this defect.  I labeled myself an addict, and so to me, I was already worthless. By using I was no good so I automatically had no expectation to live up too. This may have been the cause of me falling some deep.

Now that I have remained sober for quite some time and my head is clear, I enjoy thinking about my defects. Trying to pinpoint them, learn all about them, and then figure out how to improve myself. This is something I would have not dare done during my addiction, for that would have been far to ugly to bare living with. I would have been scared to take such a good, hard look at myself but then again, at that time in my life, everything was too scary. Fear ruled my life. And that is what I want to talk about today, FEAR. During all this self discovery and just from observation it is clear to me that many people, some very close to me, are also living their life in fear. Fear that restricts them from actually living.

Let me give you a little example of how fear was affecting one  aspect of my life. Every single time I got into a relationship the following would happen: After a week or so, I would find myself needing more and more attention. More phone calls and more text messages. I would start to get angry with the other person for not fulfilling my demands. Because of this, the other would start to fill as though they would NEVER be able to satisfy me and then after much fighting, would give up and leave. For along time I thought all this happened because of a flaw I had, that I was Voracious. I even wrote a blog about it, but I was wrong. See what I was doing all this time was being scared. If the other person was constant in contact with me I didn’t have to fear that I was being abandoned. It was never about needing attention or being Voracious, it was about my fear of being abandoned. And, it wasn’t until I met someone that loved me enough to give me patience and teach me to have faith in him, that I realized all that. I ruined countless relationships because of fear.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Of course the first fear in which one must overcome is being able to take a good, hard look at yourself….on the inside. This may be one of the hardest fears to conquer, as it is difficult to see and accept ones true self. After you are able to do this and you can start to pick apart all your flaws and fears and figure out how to improve yourself and the quality of your life. Here are a few helpful hints:

1. Taking small steps

This is good for fear that can seem overwhelming at first. For instance the strong feeling – it can almost feel like a flight or fight-response – just before doing public speaking or asking someone out for a date. If you’re for instance nervous socially you might not feel able to ask people out on dates right away. The fear of being rejected and that others might think less of you if you get turned down can make many of us feel unable to ask the question.

The solution is to take small steps instead. Steps like first just saying hello to people. Or starting to talk more to people online via forums and Instant Messaging. And then try to be more involved in conversations to exercise your conversation-muscles. I guess one could say that you gradually desensitize yourself to social situations or whatever you are afraid of. Or, seeing it in a more motivating way, building courage and expanding your comfort zone in this part of your life (which is something that often bleeds over to other areas of life too.)

So, identify your fear. Then make a plan with some smaller steps you can take to gradually lessen your discomfort.

2. Getting some concrete, positive motivation

Getting to the stage where you really feel that you need to stop waiting – or need stop reading one personal development book after another – and take action can take some time. One way to get moving is to replace some of your negative thoughts – that creates negative feelings – with clear, positive reasons to get going.

Take 5 minutes. Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Write down all the wonderful ways you can come up with how making this change will improve your life.

Lack of motivation can get you stuck while contemplating how much your life sucks. If you don’t become clear on you motivation it can become hard to get going and knowing why you are actually need to change.

Writing down all the wonderful things you will gain in your life by overcoming this fear can be powerful. Focus on those positive things that get you motivated and inspired. Revisit your page of paper when you feel discouraged, uncomfortable or afraid. Even if it loses it’s inspiring effect gradually, it can be the initial trigger to un-stick you. The spark to get you started to take those first actions that sends you into an upward-spiral of thought and action.

3. Seeing failure and rejection in a new light

Often it’s easier to not do something because we fear failure and rejection. We may fear failure when starting on a new career-path. And rejection from friends, family and the people around us if we fail. Or we might be afraid of being rejected when asking someone out.

However, the definition of failure we are brought up with in society might not be the best and most useful to have. If you look at the most successful people you quickly notice that they have a different response to failure than the more common one.

They don’t take failure or rejection too seriously. They know it’s not the end of the world if they fail. Instead they look at each failure and see the good part about: what they can learn from it and improve next time.

They have an abundance-mentality. They know that if their first business-venture fails it feels like crap for a while but it’s okay in the long run. They learn from it and then they try again.

If they are rejected for a date, do they give up? Probably not. They know that next week or the week after they might find someone else that’s interesting and ask them out. Even better!

The day you learned to ride a bike you fell of it time and time again. But you just brushed yourself of, perhaps cried for minutes or two and then you got up on the bike again. And towards the afternoon, or the next day, you probably started to become pretty good at riding your bike.

The same applies here. You have work on your skills to sharpen them. See failure or rejection not as something incredible negative that might end your life if it strikes. Redefine it in your mind to lessen the negative emotional impact and the fear. See failure simply as feedback on what you need to improve on. Listen to the advice the failure gives you and you will improve. And success will come.

4. Being in the now

What this means is to keep yourself steadily in the now. Not letting your thoughts and emotions run away to the future or the past. That doesn’t mean that you don’t make plans, of course. You might think about asking someone out. You make plans on when to do it or perhaps what to say.

But being in the now means to not get your mind stuck in a kind of psychological and emotional head space that is placed in the past or future. It means not dwelling on what has gone wrong before and what could go wrong tonight or tomorrow. Such thinking will only create and ramp up your fear to the point where you feel unable to do anything. And you just feel like running away.

Instead, make your plans. Then just be and don’t think about the future. Focus on the now and what needs to be done now. The future will be the now soon enough. And when you arrive there it will be much easier to get things done when you have created a minimal amount of stress and fear within your mind.

Whenever you feel fear, your mind is often dragged into a hypothetical, future scenario where you think you might fail. Your brain is over-analyzing a possible situation, which leads for many of us, to a negative, downward spiral of thoughts. This expands and empowers your fear to the point where you become almost paralyzed. So, how do you beat the fear in such situations?

You stop fighting. You surrender.

How to surrender:

Let me explain. By surrender, I don’t mean that you should give up and go home.

Instead, when you feel fear then accept the feeling. Don’t try to fight it or to keep it out (like many of us have learned throughout life).

Say yes to it.

Surrender and let it in.

Observe the feeling in your mind and body without labeling or judging it. If you let it in – for me the feeling then often seems physically locate itself to the middle of my chest – and just observe it for maybe a minute or two something wonderful happens. The feeling just vanishes.

As you surrender to the fear instead of fighting it the negative energy will pass through you and your body will release it. And you can return to focusing on the now once again.

Focusing on the now not only reduces fear but also increases the chances of you succeeding as your mind is focused, your confidence isn’t shattered and your thoughts become clear. It also makes it easier to succeed because when you are in the now you are not that self-conscious – something that quickly can lead to insecurity – but instead focused on the outside world and people you are interacting with.

I highly recommend reading the Power of Now and/or A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle to learn about more practical advice for being in the now. Both books are excellent and have, for me, been extremely revealing and helpful.

5. Redefining you, me and reality

To change yourself and overcoming fear you have to be prepared and willing to redefine yourself.

You have to be willing to try these things out for yourself and keep practicing. No one can do it for you. But if you do that you can make what may seem to you to be big progress pretty quickly. And when you get used to it and these things become more and more habitual you will start to do them naturally.

But since it seems that just about everyone is addicted to their own personality, consistent change in behavior will still probably be kinda slow and gradual.

An addiction to positivity can lessen the fear in your mind of what might happen in a new, unfamiliar situation or how someone might respond to what you are saying. A negative view of the world can create fear and hold you back. But if you, for instance, become more positive many of the people you meet will respond in a similar manner. In general, no matter how you think about the world, people are often like a somewhat of a mirror for you.

Change will be hard if you deep down still think: I am this shy or negative or scared person. “That’s just who I am”, you tell yourself. “Always have been, always will be”. And will be the truth for you as long as you think it’s the truth. If you are prepared and ready to change, you can however rewrite what you perceive as the truth about yourself and your personality, thoughts, actions and emotions.

Something I’ve recently started to think about and apply is what’s called Subjective Reality. Although I don’t fully understand it yet – I think – basically what it means is that there is no separation on the world. There is no you and I separated from each other (like in the more common worldview many of us are accustomed to).

Instead we are one.

You might not fully understand it or internalize it – I haven’t yet – but just going into a conversation with perspective that you and the other(s) are connected and really just one can be very useful.

When you apply this perspective on the world it’s a lot harder feeling fear. Or being mean or unkind. Just like it’s hard to do those things to yourself. Without the perspective of separation it seems like you – almost automatically – become calmer, kinder, less fearful and more open. It feels like you are naturally connected to the rest of the world.

Thought for the day:

What is it that I fear? How is it affecting my life? What holds me back? How can I conquer my fear so I can improve the quality of my life?

 

 

 

So do your boobs!

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When your stomach, butt, and thighs shrink…so do your boobs!

My point is nothing will ever be “perfect”.  There will never be a time when every single aspect in your life is perfectly aligned. There will always be some problem.  When one area in your life is thriving, another will suffer. There will always be something to work on, but you know what….that’s okay.

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass… it is about learning to dance in the rain.” ~ Vivanne Grenne

First of all every problem has at least one answer, usually several. The thing is you have to be pr0active about seeking out that answer. I have also been learning that a part of doing all that, is patience. Most often when a problem arises it takes me a whole 5 seconds to think of at least10 ways to solve that problem, so when I am faced with a problem that I can’t instantly see an answer for….I get super upset & frustrated. If I can’t find an immediate answer, I will usually just put it off or occasionally, just give up. However, I have been learning that a big key to all this answer business is having patience and having patience is equal to having faith. You must practice one to practice the other. I’m learning that sometimes the answer is not immediate, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t one.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff” ~ Zig Ziglar

Secondly, unless your engulfed in flames and also sinking in quicksand… there really isn’t any problem that is too big to handle. I think often times, a problem arises and instantly we get swallowed up by it. All the sudden everything is wrong, everything is worse…… and of course, everything always happens to you.  Pity party for one.  When ultimately if we’d just instantly look for the solution instead of focusing on the problem, it really wouldn’t seem to be that big of a problem at all . But just like with Faith and patience….being able to react like this, also takes practice.

I believe a big part of problem management, minimizing problems and finding problem solutions (here it comes again!!!!) is counting your blessings. When something problematic comes up,  you have to be able to find the ability with in yourself to say ” Self: okay this is not ideal, but I have (fill in the blank) good friends, a significant other, family to help me through it. ” By reminding yourself of all the positive things in your life, it is much easier to confront to bad. Plus, I think keeping a constant count of all our blessings, empowers us. It makes us feel powerful, brave, and hopeful. All great weaponry against problems and negativity.

Try to think of problems are more like puzzles. It makes them seem more fun and less stressful. And try to remember that they will always come, and not just to you….

Remember your boobs might have gotten smaller, but then again so did your stomach, butt and thighs!

 

Don’t get CUT!

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We like someone because, we love someone although.
–Henri de Montherlant

Families are like scissors. They are joined in the middle but often spread wide apart, moving away from each other. When we’re not feeling close to other family members – when it’s hard even to like them – it seems as though we’ll never come together again.

But pity the scrap of paper that comes between our scissor blades! The scissors works together again and slices the trouble clean. When trouble threatens our family, we can slice it through if we move together in love and acceptance.

No matter our small differences, we are part of the same living organism, in a way. The family we live in has been together for many generations, and we are just the most recent members. When we look at one another, we see the products of centuries of love.

When I feel distant from my family, can I locate where we are still joined together?

Isn’t that so true? No matter what happens within families, no matter argument or action: more times than not we eventually are able to forgive and pull back together. I have been seeing this a lot in my life more recently.

Sometimes my brother and I fight, not like bicker about little things but full blown screaming matching filled with unforgettable word daggers. Every time this happens I always tell myself that I’m sick of feeling hurt. That he really doesn’t care or love me and I should cut off all ties. But, even though these thoughts occasionally linger in my heart, within a few days we are right back where we started. No matter our differences of opinion, how we choose to live life, or how we show affection: he is and always will be my brother, and somehow the fact that he can’t change that… is comforting to me.

My father wasn’t around much growing up. Randomly he would pop up but just as fast as he came, he was gone again. I don’t think I ever felt too much anger or resentment toward him, however I just didn’t want much to do with him I eventually became conditioned to just not feel anything in regards to him. Today he and his lovely new wife are coming to visit us, for the second time. While I will never forget my Father’s absence or false hope, I harbor no ill will and look forward to the future because he is and always will be my Dad.

These are just examples of blades split apart for my family scissors, but the bolt or joint in the scissors has always been my Mom. I say this for a couple reasons. In one way she’s the joint because through all the f’d up stuff I’ve been through she has always, always been there to ground me. She’s always been right there to catch me when I fall and she’s always been such a good best friend to keep us connected. In a whole different way my Mom is the joint in our family scissors because the way she chose to raise me, the examples she set for me gave me the ability to easily love unconditionally. She taught me how to forgive and move forward. She raised me to be a good, kind, caring person and all that ultimately gives me the tools I need to connect to all my other family. Because of the person she taught me to be soon I will be able the be the joint. I’ll be the one who holds everyone together.

I wrote a blog awhile back called “A simple recipe for happiness” within that blog I talk about Worshiping your support system. Well remember this: Even if at this very moment you and your brother are not speaking and haven’t in a year…He is still your brother and if you can find the place where you once met, he will in the future be your support system.

Friends and lovers will come and go, but blood is blood. I challenge you to think about your family (your support system) and find the place where you once met. It’s worth it!!!

 

being Perfectly Imperfect

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I do not waste my time striving to be perfect. The term perfect is so very abstract.  What I do aim to do every single day is the be the best me that I can be. I am happy being Perfectly Imperfect! If I didn’t have something to work toward everyday, what would be the point? I think in my addiction,  I was always working toward maintaining two goals: one being getting my poison, the other being able to hide my addiction from everyone. And I was dangerously good at it. I didn’t care about being a better person because inside I felt dead and worthless, and I had already given up on myself. I truly thought that what I was, was as good as I got and that’s how I lived my life.

I was wrong though. I could be a lot better, in fact every single day I can be better than I was before. I can be more patient, kind, generous, productive. I am always striving to improve myself. To be better for myself and those around me.  But, when I am not living up to my full potential I will not be too hard on myself. I will gently analyze the situation, see where there is room for improvement  and then get right back at it.
I will continue to work hard at turning negatives into positives- anger into super-energy- fear into a chance to be courageous-hatred into love and loneliness into trust.

I’m okay with being Perfectly Imperfect.

I’m a Monster!

 

A Simple Recipe for Happiness

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Many people ask me how it is that I stay so happy…after much consideration, I have created  a guide in which I believe to be the answer.

Simple ways to create a happy life.

1) A friend of mine text me a little picture, and he wrote “This reminded me of you”. The little picture read “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, They just make the best out of everything.” This is first and foremost the essential part of maintaining happiness. I think life is so much more precious when we spend it not wanting, but cherishing what we have. Think about it, when you spend all your time feeling blue because you want this or need a better that, you are disdaining the good things that you all ready have. When you figure out how to stop wanting so much and realize all the amazing blessings that you already have, you’ll find that there is so much more in your life to rejoice about.

2) Worship your support system! There are certain people in my life which I consider to be my “support system”. These rare gems are the people in my life that I can cry on, that check up on me, that call me on my bullshit. I know 110% that these people will be there for me no matter what. I can remember a time when I felt as though I didn’t have much of a support system (although looking back I always did) during this time, I felt worthless, lonely, and hopeless.  But, at this point in my life, I can feel, see, and appreciate my support system and that makes me feel: blessed, validated, lucky and just really really happy. The thing is…. these people are RARE. You may only have one or two of them…..do EVERYTHING in your power to keep them close to you. Everyone needs a support system to have a happy life! Figure out who your support system is and WORSHIP them, always.

3) Count your blessings, all of them, even the teenie tiniest  of them. Did you eat today? Did you sleep in a bed last night? Do you have a job? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you ARE blessed. I actually started keeping a gratitude journal. At the end of each day I start writing any and all the things that happened to me over the course of the day that I felt grateful for, and it was AMAZING! What’s even more crazy is all the little things that happen to us throughout the day that we “should” feel quite grateful for, but just don’t take the time to appreciate it! Start to write down any little thing that you are grateful for today, I’m quite faithful that by the end of it, you will feel a bit more happy and more fulfilled than you did when you started!

4) In the famous words of Janet Jackson “What have you done for me, lately?” But seriously, when was the last time that you did something for someone else, expecting no form of payment? Doing something for someone else…for me, gives me a sense of worth. It makes me feel pride in myself, and it makes me happy to know that I am helping out. So, okay, I guess all in all, maybe it is just out of selfishness, but regardless, finding ways to help others makes me feel super happy. Almost like a natural high. I find often times that when I am going through a rough spot, I can ease it by doing what I can to help others. Maybe it diversion, maybe it goes hand in hand with being grateful but whatever it is….it works! Trust me.

5) Work hard, Play harder.

A) I am so sick of people whining about how their broke, fat, lonely….ect, when these people do NOTHING at all to help themselves! Get a second job, workout, learn to be a better person so you can keep a man!!! My point is, if you are unhappy yet you do nothing to help yourself…you are only going to get more un-happy. Yet, if you pinpoint what it is that is causing your un-happiness and follow through with a plan to correct the issue, what is going to happen is: You will solve your own problem AND you will have UN-knowingly have built up your self respect and self value…which I believe play key parts in inner happiness!

B) While I believe that there is nothing better than putting your nose to grindstone to relieve stress and un-happiness, I also wholeheartedly believe that the secret to happiness is PLAYING. Don’t take things to seriously. Laugh….A LOT. And play every single second you can.

Well, there you have it people, YOU ARE WELCOME! No but seriously, I believe these are simple things that anyone can do, and I also believe these things to be the main ingredients to my happiness. Just be making a few small changes, you could improve the quality of your life…and those around you.
It’s okay to be happy. YOU deserve it!

P.S. With Conviction

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There is change coming. I can feel it all around me, thick but not stressful. The energy in the air is different. It is not stressful, but I am aware of it all the time. On top of that I have been feeling a lot of pressure on me. It feels as though the weight that usually rests on my shoulders is getting heavier by the day and I feel like I am structured the same as a house of cards that may soon be blown over by the slightest gust of wind.

Some of that pressure is caused by the lack of answers in my repetitive quest to move forward in life. I wholeheartedly  believe that I have all the tools I need. I am open. Talented. Motivated, and have a good work ethic, but…..I have no idea what to do with these tools. And although day by day I am praying for the eyes to see ANY opportunity that could help me make a leap, still I spin around and around, not moving in any direction. It is quite frustrating. This issue spreads like warm butter into the next, which is Money! I am financially f*cked! It’s not like I want or need a ton of money, actually I have never felt very comfortable  with large sums of money. All I want is to be comfortable. Not to live pay check to paycheck. Not to be a financial burden on someone else. Not to have to screen phone calls for creditors….but, how is this possible if I can’t move??

With all this thick energy around tingling every inch of my body with the feeling that change is coming, and the lack of ability to move forward and relieve any extra weight on my shoulders, I have to honestly say, I’m a bit concerned that this change that is coming may be not an easy one. Never the less, after thinking through it many times, I can say with full conviction, that even my house of cards soon blows over, I know that I have a solid foundation to start rebuilding…

I think that’s what it is all about, having a solid foundation. Because, having a solid foundation means that then that wind blows and knocks me over, my feet will still be planted, and I would not have drifted so far away. I will have, ready to help me rebuild, my core values, un-shakable optimism, hope, faith, love and support. And that is VERY comforting.

So bring it Universe, I am open and welcome your change. Hopefully this time I’ll be pushed so hard it will knock me out of the place where I have spun for so long that I have dug a hole beneath me!