When I was 19 and a freshman in college, my oldest older brother once said to me: You should write a book called Opinionated Thoughts, by Ruth. He was 25, so cooler than I by tons and tons. I took his comment as the ribbing it was but also as the veiled compliment it also was.
I recounted this event to my husband and his response was a tweak to the title. Shouldn’t that be Opinionated Facts, by Ruth ? More ribbing!
Oh, well. Like most ribbing, it is based in an accurate observation. It’s true, I have always been one to think about stuff, a lot, and come up with passionate opinions.
I really do hold the opinion (fact) that life is better when you decide to notice the little details. Enjoy your morning cup of coffee more by
• holding the warm cup against your face
• inhaling deeply the luscious smell
• adding just a tad more cream or sugar and then appreciating this little gift of decadence you’ve just given yourself.
I really do hold the opinion (fact) that life is better when you slow down. Walking from point A to point B without also doing another task.
• no cell phone calls
• no mental To Do checklist
• no re-playing in your mind some old drama.
• Simply enjoy feeling in your muscles from the walk, the smells in the air, all there is to look at, etc.
I really do hold the opinion (fact) that life is better when you give yourself and other people a break.
• No biggee that you didn’t get everything done you’d planned for today.
• Sure, take the right of way even though it’s my turn.
• You speak in a harsh way: I won’t rise to the bait, but rather figure you’re having a rough day This is the perfect time for me to say something nice instead of something to challenge your hostile words.
It is my opinion (that I believe to be a fact) that we mostly make the life we have by choosing how we react to stimuli. I invite you to do the work of disciplining your mind to choose to the more positive interpretation of every situation. It has made my life better.
Smile. Be Happy.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Smiley
Best enjoyed (in my opinion)
slowly with eyes closed, all senses alert.
Often I hear artists chided for having too much time on their hands. What? Are you crazy? I totally disagree. All the artists I know feel there are not enough hours in the day to make all the glorious things that her/his imagination begs for him/her to make!
True, artists may not be discovering new rocket fuel or curing disease or unlocking mysteries or saving endangered species. But by making art, in a very profound way, artists make the world a better place.
Here’s to applauding the performers, viewing the artists’ exhibits and reading the words of those whose talent compels them to write. Remember that by supporting artists with your checkbook, you enable them to continue to bring pleasure to the world.
Smile. Be Happy.
Piece of a Peace Sign Smiley
Installation at the Oakland Museum, Calif.
“Yellow Peace Sign” by Tom Labat
As the days lengthen I am reminded of how much I love anticipating and noticing the change of seasons. I am joyous to see the daffodils break through the soil when winter is still chilling my bones. I watch those shoots push upward and anticipate the arrival of the yellow blooms and the warmer days.
Similarly, the Acacia bursting into bloom signals that we are heading into Spring. But before the buds burst like yellow cotton candy dusting my car with a delicate, powdery pollen, I happily watch the branches grow more and more heavy with the promise of all that glorious yellow.
I love how anticipation gives us the opportunity to enjoy something before it even happens. By being aware of the changes in nature that we are able anticipate, we are opening ourselves up to enjoying them in more ways. Enjoy the anticipation. Enjoy the actual occurrence. Enjoy the memory.
You have to choose to remember the beauty that nature provides us on its repeating calendar of the seasons. Anticipating your life’s pleasures is also a choice you can choose. So many of the things we enjoy in our lives repeat as the calendar rolls from year to year. There is a deep pleasure to taking the time to anticipate the upcoming rituals of our lives.
Smile. Be Happy.
The happiest moments in our life deserve more than a cursory nod once a year. I suggest that pausing for just a moment, every day, to remember the joy associated with these events is a way to have a happier life.
To that end, my cell phone send me a little musical message four times a day (a.k.a. an alarm goes off).
Each morning at 10:28 I am reminded that this was the moment that my wonderful little boy Lyle was born. To be clear, my phone chimes at 10:28 everyday, not just on the day of his birth. Everyday my heart takes a moment to swell with the love I have for this now all grown up little guy.
In the middle of each afternoon, I am reminded of the moment of our wedding. I hear the chiming and take just a moment to mentally step away from my busy day to visualize something from the wedding and to remember how joyful I felt.
Every day as the afternoon draws to an end, at 4:48, my phones lets me know it is time to remember the birth of my sweet daughter Hillary. I decide, the moment I hear the music, to consciously stop and think of that happy event when I first became a mommy and how much joy she has brought to my life.
The final reminder comes as I settle in each evening for a cozy night. At 7:45 my phone reminds me of the birth of my last child. I pause to think of the happiness Darren brings me today and of the wonder and awe I felt when he arrived.
I hope this inspires you to take out your cell phone and program in some alarms to mark the Smiley-est moments of your life. It is a simple joy. Joy usually is.
Smile. Be Happy.
Cell Phone Smiley
I pretty much never get sick. Incredible but true, I haven’t had a cold in over 5 years maybe even closer to 10 years. I’m just lucky that way. It wasn’t until 5 days ago until I realized how lucky.
The flu hit me super hard on Thursday. I keep thinking: How can people do this several times a year? I am so glad this doesn’t happen to me. I mean really, really glad. It’s awful being sick. I have so much newly discovered sympathy for people who get colds!
How many other things are we lucky to have, but don’t ever experience the opposite, to remind us just how lucky?Really made me think. I drank ice cold water and felt so lucky for indoor plumbing and safe drinking water. I burrowed deeply into my cozy bed and felt so lucky to have a warm home. I just can’t imagine how awful it must be to be sick and on the street.
Every day, all day, there is so much about which to remember to be grateful!
I know I’ll be grateful to be able to get back to my normal life once this flu is finished with me!
Smile. Be Happy.
I forgot comfy headphones, bubble bath, my favorite CDs, nail clippers, Sharpie pens, my camera bag, sunglasses, soap, bobble-heads, strike anywhere matches, the Statue of Liberty, serrated knives, glow in the dark anything, extension cords, ice cream, heated seats, baseball caps, fingerless gloves, butcher paper, garden clippers, tempera paints and tank tops. Did I say books? Yes, books, too. I love everything!
Well, everything but the vacuum cleaner.
Heading out to 2 events. iSure am glad ihave the iPhone ’cause iAlways get lost! iLove iMap and the little blue dot.
I heard a man interviewed about writing thank you cards (http://www.365thankyounotes.com/). The idea made me smile from ear to ear. His idea had nothing to do with the obligatory thank yous one is supposed to write, but rarely does, after receiving a gift. His lesson was to write thank yous to the people in your life for the things they do that bring you happiness.
For years I’ve done something very much like this. My version of writing the thank you note is to bake chocolate chip cookies. I’ve delivered cookies to the frame shop for cutting full sheets of mat board into the size I needed and to the key shop that took the time to track down a blank to duplicate a very old key and the guy at the Quik Stop who helped me when my radiator blew, etc. There’s nothing quite so fun as showing up the next day with a plate of yummy thanks.
But thank you cards can be passed out on a much larger scale. I was quick to start forming my list: the smiley guy at the drive thru coffee place, the cashier at grocery store who without fail tells me about a Spontaneous Smiley she’s found since the last time I stood in her line, the janitor for my classroom, the giggly woman I sit next to at Board (bored) Meetings, the volunteers at the White Elephant sale, and on and on.
I’m adding thank you notes to my New Year’s Resolutions (that and no more eye rubbing). I look forward to handing them and mailing them to people who’d never have imagined getting acknowledged. Showing gratitude not only makes them happy, it will make me happy. I know that showing appreciation makes you appreciate even more!
Smile. Be Happy.
(note prominent radiator, that’s how it fits this blog entry)