Tag Archives: happiness

Sleep comes very naturally to most of us and in our family it isn’t uncommon to find many the beings fast asleep.  Below is a compilation of five images, each with at least one member of the family asleep, and two of the images (top and bottom) contain four family members snoozing.

Sleep

With sleep come dreams.  Perhaps it’s the dreams that make sleeping so enjoyable.  I’m sure that Daisy, Franklin, Sadie have chased a rabbit or two in their sleep, and that Suki and Dino have captured the birds in the bushes outside the kitchen window more than once.

Or, perhaps it’s taking the opportunity – with those who you feel safe and love – to rest up for the challenges that we face each day.  Either way, may we all hold on to and pursue our dreams and enjoy the time we have with those we love.

Thanks to A Word in Your Ear for this week’s A Word A Week Photo Challenge: Sleep!

As spring matures, we’ve had a few house finches hanging around the yard.  Here is a shot of two males and a female:

Three's Company

The male at the top of the branch spotted me and gave me the following look:

Male House Finch

Eventually the female took her own path to the feeder.  Here she is planning her move to the seed:

Female House Finch

Spring is a great time of year.  Watching the natural world awaken from its slumber brings a smile to my face, and the birds that come to visit make the smile even larger.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Special

My grandfather lived into his early 90’s.  He was a lifelong learner with incredible curiosity and passion for life.  After he passed we were going through the items in my grandparents apartment and we came across this piece of paper:

asanas

An asana, at least in the west, is typically defined as a body position, often within the practice of yoga.   Based upon the location and placement with other papers, it was clear that this was a recent project.  Not once had my grandfather spoken of a yoga practice, and yet, here is a man in his late 80’s or early 90’s taking the time to develop a practice.

I’ll never know if his intent was to improve physically, spiritually, or both, but I take from this piece of paper the lesson that we’re never too old to learn something new.  We’re never too old to begin a new practice or skill.  As long as we remain curious, passionate, and engaged, we continue to grow.

That’s why this piece of paper is my answer to Across the Bored’s question, “What is special for you?”

The Great Outdoors

Child on Bike

The smell of grass and leaves. The warmth of the sun.  The steam that each breath produces when warm air meets cold with each breath.  The burning of lungs and the soreness of muscles.  All of these sensations remind me of my childhood.

There was a ravine in our neighborhood that we loved to explore.  Sometime there was no water, and sometimes it was a running fast.  We’d ride our bikes, mine was a Murray BMX, to the ravine.  On the other side was a field.  We’d play football or baseball, whatever the season dictated.

No matter the season we’d walk our dog.  I remember one walk that was especially cold – below zero – and bundled up and made a real adventure out of the experience.  We’d survived the extreme cold!

Metro parks and state parks were special spots.  Once we went to beach, but it’s always been the forest and hiking trails that draw me in.  A summer cabin in northern Michigan provided row-boat adventures and fishing stories.

There is a peace that comes with sitting quietly, listening to the wind in the leaves and songs of the birds.  Hiking a trail creates a similar peace.  It’s when I disconnect from the human-made world and integrate with the natural world that I feel most at home.

Yes, being outside, in all the mid-western variations, can trigger a memory from the past.  These memories often produce a smile, sometimes laughter, rarely a tear.  Perhaps that’s why I enjoy being outside so much as an adult.

It’s the experience that matters

Happy Runner

Focus on what it’s like to be outdoors, to feeling your body move, to the relationships you may have built through running. These are experiences that can be reproduced with every run—you don’t need a good finish time to produce them. By shifting the focus from results to running itself you’ll feel empowered.  

Jim Taylor, Ph.D., a sports psychologist and author of Prime Sport: Triumph of the Athlete Mind, The Bliss List, Runner’s World.com

from Runner’s World Quote of the Day email, March 18, 2013

I’m into a good groove and consider myself fully recovered from my calf strain.  The process of recovering from an injury is never easy, and if I focus on the end rather than the process, it’s even more painful.  It’s like I’m trying to escape from the injury, or worse, speed up time. Time is the most precious gift of life, and if we can focus on our current “location” and not wish we were “somewhere” else we can lose minutes, hours, days, weeks, even years.

I know, it’s happened to me.  I’ve spent way too much time wishing I had a different job, new skills, more friends, less friends, better physical capabilities, a stronger memory, more creativity – you name it, I’ve wished for it.  I wanted to escape being me and before I knew it there I was, in the same place I was when I started thinking about my escape plan!

No more.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I have what I need, and that what will make me happiest is to be okay with me.  As stated in the quote above, I want to focus on the process, and less on the results.  Life is a journey and if we’re always thinking about the outcome, which is inevitably in the future, we can miss the journey.

Running is a great way to get into the current moment.  In my experience, it’s not unlike meditation, only moving.  When I silence the music and take off the watch (or hide it since I can’t live without the post-run data), and don’t worry about pace or time or even weather, and I focus on the process of running, the rhythm, it really is amazing.

Photography also is helping me get into the current moment, but I’m finding that I need to be careful and not focus too much on the result of the picture.  I’m still a rookie and use automatic settings most of the time, but I’m finding that it’s when I forget about the picture and settle into the moment that I get some of my favorite images.

Below is a chart (click here to access the article from which I pulled this graph – there’s also a great TED talk that accompanies this information on the page) that supports some of the above comments, as it shows that people are happier when in the present moment than when their mind wanders:

I’m extending the concept of “mind wandering” to “escape,” but I think that’s relevant.  If our mind isn’t in the present moment, we are escaping.  Our bodies haven’t moved, but our reality is significantly altered.  I haven’t researched the methodology or dug into the data that produced the chart, but I can say that this is consistent with my experience.

I do understand that there are real, dangerous and painful circumstances from which many people do need to escape, and that I’m lucky to not have to deal with that type of pain.  Yet, I’ve still found myself wishing for something else.  It’s not easy to stay in the present.  I think that’s why people who try to live mindfully call it a practice.

What do you think?  Do you struggle staying in the present?  Are you happier when you’re able to stay in the present?  Do you have any tactics you can share to help others stay in the present?

Thanks for stopping by and reading through this post!