Right or Happy? Not always an easy decision.

“Would you rather be right or happy.”

– Hugh Prather


I was on a beautiful bike ride yesterday on the new Hauraki Rail Trail.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and stunning.

The only problem was that on the first part of the journey, my husband Jeff and I were in an argument.  The argument wasn’t huge, it was a revisit of a common theme.  I tend to hyperbolize things . . . (OK and occasionally make stuff up to make a better story), and Jeff tends to want the TRUTH with a capital T in most situations.  On this particular occasion, I was talking about something financial, and I did a bit of spinning a tale, and Jeff reacted, in my opinion over-reacted.

I won’t bore you with details, but suffice it to say that it somewhat ruined the first half of the ride for me.  At the spot where we were going to turn around, Jeff put on his goofy grin and said, so “Do you want to be right or happy?”  Which allowed me some space to see the humor, which opened up our communication and we could talk about this latest argument.  We talked about the workshop we did with Hugh and Gale Prather in Tucson, AZ back in 1989.  It was a relationship workshop and a central theme was Right or Happy.  Sigh – I usually want both.

The important realization I had  though, was that after talking at that mid-way point on the ride, I had such a better time on the second half of the ride.  Although I didn’t prove my point and make him see that he was wrong and I was right, I was so much happier after we were able to communicate through the difficulty and move on. The ability to communicate through it was the central key.  We both listened and tried to understand the others’ point of view – not to say that the other person was right or wrong, just to understand the other side and accept it as valid for that person.

Please don’t get me wrong, this is not an easy decision, and anyone who knows me – knows that I really like to be right!  But usually (always?)  in relationships there are two sides of a story, two experiences in an argument and both are usually valid depending on which angle you are viewing it from.  And yesterday, on the bike ride I viscerally felt the feeling . . . I’d rather be happy.  But damn, it is not always an easy decision.

For those of you who have not read Notes To Myself  by Hugh Prather – it is a beautiful book, well worth a read.  Here is a very short clip by Hugh Prather about Attitudinal Healing.

 

 

Please let me know your thoughts on Hugh Prather and any experiences you have being Right or Happy.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

Cooperation . . . we can make beautiful music together . . .

“We could make beautiful music together. “

– Gary Cooper


As I thought about my last blog post, Our Need For Connection, I started to wonder what is it that helps us connect, or fail to connect.  The first thing I thought of was communication. We need to communicate, to listen, to be present  with one another to find connection.  When we don’t communicate with respect, we fail to connect.

Someone once said: ” The basic building block of good communications is the feeling that every human being is unique and of value.  Communication and respect.

And then I thought of cooperation. We need to practice cooperation, working together with respect.

I think this music video by Walk Off The Earth is a brillian example of cooperation.  The song is pretty, the words are fine – but it is the cooperation between the artists in this video that, in my opinion, is absolutely stunning!  Watch how they work together.  It is Awesome!

 

I hope you enjoy this music video, and if you hadn’t heard of Walk Off The Earth before, watch them on YouTube, they are great.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

Who was your teacher?

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

– Zen Buddhist Saying


“Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen to them.”

When I first read that statement by Shakti Gawain, I felt a tingle inside, and luckily for me, I finally listened.  I was finally ready to make some changes in my life.  If I had read Shakti Gawain’s timeless book, Creative Visualization a year earlier, it probably wouldn’t have moved me in the same way.

http://www.shaktigawain.com/

But because of where I was in my life, as I read her book, I felt the shift, I had the Ah-Ha Moment that I had heard others talk about.  I credit Shakti Gawain with waking me up, with being my teacher when I was finally ready.

Although actually, to back up a step, I would say that my sister Karin Clark would have been my real first teacher.  She saw in me my search for meaning, my longing for something more.  She saw that alcohol and partying was not only no longer enough to make me happy, but was actually beginning to destroy me.  It was my sister Karin who gave me that book, and who was and continues to be my teacher. I have never formally thanked her, so I want to do that now.  Thank you Karin, from the bottom of my heart.  In more ways than one, you saved my life.  I love you.

Who was your first teacher?  When did you have that Ah-Ha Moment?

The video below is an excerpt from an interview with Shakti Gawain about the process of creative visualization.

 

Please let me know what you thought of Shakti Gawain’s interview.  And I’d love to hear about how you found your own teacher.

As always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

How much is enough?

“Materialism can negatively influence well-being.”

– Ed Diener and Martin Seligman


We often get lost in the Myth of More – believing that “more” will make us happier – more clothes, more wine, more food, more money, more stuff!

In my post Finding Joy,  Michael Norton describes that people believe that the prospect of possessing things will make them happy.

https://patticlark.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/finding-joy/

But Diener and Seligman, leaders in Positive Psychology argue that from an economic point of view, materialism can actually negatively influence well-being.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2007/10/14/why-money-doesn-t-buy-happiness.html

And even when a business magazine  The Business Insider explored what will make you happy, more stuff was not on the list:

http://www.businessinsider.com/things-that-make-you-happier-2011-1#

So how much is enough?  In many articles, including this one on Zen Habits, it is argued that we already have enough now.

http://zenhabits.net/key-question-how-much-is-enough/

So instead of more stuff, most psychologists and even some economists are suggesting a change in attitude.

This wonderful video illustrates our rediculous attraction to more stuff and the damage it is doing to us and to our planet.

It is appropriately called The Story of Stuff.

 

Please let me know what you thought of The Story of Stuff.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”

– Margaret Mead


I am humbled and honored to have been nominated by Rev Dani Lynn for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Dany’s Blog “Life is Your Piece of Art” is inspiring and wonderful. I recommend a visit to her site!

http://lifeisyourpieceofart.wordpress.com/

Here are the requirements for this award:

1. Display the award logo somewhere on the blog.

2. Link back to the blog of the person who nominated you.

3. State seven things about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.

5. Notify those bloggers that they have been nominated and of the award’s requirements.

Seven things about me:

  1. I was born and raised in Northern California and imigrated to New Zealand 20 years ago.
  2. My family is the most important thing in my life and I love my gorgeous sons Lukas and Devin, my husband Jeff, my sister Karin and my neice Chelsea.
  3. I absolutely love my work – facilitating workshops with my dear friend Deb through our business Figjam Workshops. (www.figjamworkshops.co.nz )
  4. I have recently completed my book A Woman’s Guide to Transformation and am currently looking for the perfect agent and publisher.
  5. I totally believe in the 7 Tools of Transformation that I write about in my book and I try to use the tools on a daily basis. (https://patticlark.wordpress.com/7-tools/)
  6. I believe we are all creative beings and are all capable of changing what we want to change (read or listen to any of the recent talks on Neuroplasticity)
  7. I absolutely believe that Happiness is a choice we can all make on a daily basis!

It was hard to narrow down my list to only 15 bloggers to nominate because I enjoy so many of the blogs I have been following.  I have chosen these 15 blogs because they inspire me:

Vinyl Record Face   http://vinylrecordface.wordpress.com/

Smirk Pretty  http://smirkpretty.wordpress.com/

Of Love and Creation  http://ofloveandcreation.wordpress.com/

Paradoxical Wisdom  http://paradoxicalwisdom.wordpress.com/

Quelling the QLC  http://www.quellingtheqlc.com/

Tuesday Morning 10AM  http://tuesdaymorning10am.wordpress.com/

How it Turned Out  http://howitturnedout.wordpress.com/

Known is a drop Unknown is an ocean  http://arganesh3.wordpress.com/

365 to 30  http://365til30.com

Be fearful of  Mediocrity  http://afirmin.com/

Mountain Top Journals  http://mountaintopjournals.com/history-2/

Between Fear and Love  http://betweenfearandlove.com/

You were born to succeed  http://youwerebornthatway.com/

Inside Out Cafe  http://margekatherine.com/

20 Years from Today  http://20yearsfromtoday.wordpress.com/

Thank you again Dani for nominating me.  And may we all keep writing and inspiring, because as Margaret Mead reminds us:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”

Life is not linear!

“Life is not linear  – it is organic
we create our lives symbiotically as we explore our talents in relation to the circumstances they helped to create for us.”

– Sir Ken Robinson


“Life is not linear  – it is organic – we create our lives symbiotically as we explore our talents in relation to the circumstances they helped to create for us.”

I rewrote that quote purposely so you could read it twice.  I love that line – think about it, we create our lives symbiotically as we explore our talents in relation to the circumstances they helped to create for us.  When I read that I think of an infinity sign, a figure 8 on it’s side, with each experience that we have feeding into the life we are creating as it goes on into infinity.  I just love it!  It feels like such potential to me, that interweaving and the symbiosis.

So in my opinion, it is essential that we keep paying attention.  We must pay attention to our talents and to what is unfolding as we are creating our lives.  Are we on the right track?  Do we like the direction we are heading.  What does our life feel like?

Remember, This is Not a Dress Rehearsal!  This is it!  We are creating our life each step of the way.  Pay attention!  Perhaps today choose to watch one hour less TV and journal instead; pay attention to what is going on, even when it is not comfortable, and change direction if need be.

The video I have chosen today is another by Sir Ken Robinson, a follow up to a previous post I had on creativity:

https://patticlark.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/imagination-and-creativity/

In this YouTube video, Sir Ken urges us to bring on the revolution!  I hope you enjoy it:

 

Please let me know what you think Ken Robinson’s talk.  And I’d love to hear how you are creating your life.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

Life’s too short not to be happy!

“Life’s too short not to be happy!”

– Dr. Timothy Sharp


On The Happiness Institute, one of my favorite websites:

http://thehappinessinstitute.com/

Dr. Timothy Sharp (AKA Dr. Happy) told a story about a friend of his who died suddenly:

Happiness is…telling someone you love them, before it’s too late!

Just over one year ago a very good friend of mine died. He was only 42 years old, stepped out on to a road without looking, and then he wasn’t with us any more.

Just a month or so ago, on the anniversary of his death, quite a few friends were reminded of our loss and quite a few emails and messages and conversations were sent and had about how much we missed our good old friend and about what a fine chap he was.

It was nice in many ways, to remember our dear lost friend, and nice, also, to hear so many positive words spoken about Sam.

And I don’t want, in any way, to detract from what was done and said in those days by many of my good friends and, by me, but I do want to pick up on one element of the occassion that made me feel just a touch uncomfortable…

…I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if we’d said these things to our dear friend while he was alive!

Rather than delivering a eulogy at his funeral, rather than saying so many wonderful things to each other a year after his death, rather than…what if we’d all expressed our love and admiration and respect and liking for Sam while he was still alive?

Surely this would have been good for all of us?

So I did just that; unfortunately, it was too late to tell Sam but thankfully, it was not too late to tell a few other friends, and my wife and children. And thankfully it’s not too late to tell others in my family and social network which is exactly what I intend to do more of and…

…what I invite you all to do!

Tell someone you love them…go on, do it now! 

 

Reading this is especially poignant to me today as I just found out that an old friend died yesterday.  I hadn’t spoken to her in a few years, but I liked her a lot.  She was funny and caring and generous.  She made me laugh when I was with her and really listened to me when I spoke.  But I never told her how much I appreciated her; how much I appreciated the fact that I really felt heard by her when I spoke, how much I appreciated the laughter we shared.

Today I plan to tell several people that I love them.  Now before it’s too late.

I want to post a music video today – a song to remind me to say it now, before it’s too late.  A song by

Mike & The Mechanics  –   The Living Years

 

 

As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  I appreciate it.

 


Want happiness? Change your Attitude!

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. .”

– Maya Angelou


Earlier this week, a fellow blogger put out a challenge for a few of us to write some posts on Happiness:

http://margekatherine.com/2012/05/09/happiness-care-to-share/

This isn’t a tough challenge for me – those of you who have followed my blog know that this is one of my favorite topics.

There are so many things that make me happy . . . so many things make me unhappy too – but what I’ve come to notice is that more often than not, it’s my attitude that is affecting my happiness level.  I love Maya Angelou’s quote above – the only thing I can really change is my attitude.

This fantastic video emphasizes three things:

Attitude, Awareness and Authenticity

Superb!

 

 

Please let me know what you thought of Neil Pasricha’s video.  And as always, thank you for visiting my blog.  I appreciate it.

 

Optimism!

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.”

– William James


I just read a fascinating book called The Luck Factor

http://www.richardwiseman.com/books/luckfactor.html

In his book Richard Wiseman explores why some people seem so lucky. It turns out that these lucky people don’t have special powers, like ESP, or anything extra-ordinary.  Most of them are no different than you and me.  But he did discover a few special things about lucky people:

Lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.”

He discovered that lucky people tend to be more optimistic in general and to expect good luck in their lives.  He noticed that people who expect luck have a more powerful ability to notice opportunities in their environment. Optimistic people’s field of perception is literally greater. And the great news is that he discovered that when you train people to expect luck, their field of perception increases accordingly!

Isn’t that wonderful!  This can be taught!  It’s not really a surprise, considering everything that has been written recently about neuroplasticity.  But still – how marvelous, people can be trained to expect luck and their field of perception will increase.  I just love that.  And I love the by-products for the research participants:

The results were astounding with almost all participants reporting significant life changes: including increased levels of luck, self-esteem, physical well-being, confidence, and success.”

I’d like to end this post with a video of the person I consider the The Ambassador of Optimism – The Dalai Lama speaking about Optimism in the Face of Adversity.

 

 

Please let me know what you thought of The Dalai Lama’s video.  And  I’d love to hear about your experiences being lucky.

As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  I appreciate it.

 

 

Thinking Thoughts

“We can think of only one thing at a time.”

– St. Thomas Aquinas


If we believe that we can only think one thought at a time, as St. Thomas Aquinas, Jose Silva and so many others have said, then why do we spend so much of our time wasting our precious one thought to sabotage ourselves?  If we take the time to actually pay attention to our thought process, it’s amazing how many of our thoughts are negative.  In one of my past posts, Our Magnificent Mind I explored this phenomena.

But once we get stuck in that negative spiral, how can we get out?  One thing that I have found helpful is using very simple affirmations.  For example, if I’m dwelling on a pain in my body and my thoughts, like a terrier,  won’t let go of focusing on the pain and even worse, catastrophizing the pain (you might have experienced that one, a small pain in the body suddenly becomes cancerous and death inducing) – I invoke a a simple sentence.  I say cancel/cancel, and replace the blah blah in my head with “I am Strong, Vibrantly Fit and Healthy!”  A short, simple sentence which replaces the negative chatter with a positive statement.  If I’m awake at night worried about money and catastrophizing that one, I say cancel/cancel and replace that negative spiral with “I am Powerful, Abundantly Prosperous and Wealthy!”  I find that the secret is to keep it short and simple, and to focus it directly at the specific negative thought.

Of course I didn’t make this up!  This technique has been used for years by millions of people.  Here is one fun article about the use of affirmations from Scott Adams, the man who created the Dilbert comics:

http://www.mindpowernews.com/DilbertAffirmations.htm

This is from a great site called Mind Power News.  They have a wonderful newsletter I highly recommend.

I learned this technique at a Silva Mind Method Course.  For those of you who have not heard of Silva, I urge you to explore their site and read Jose Silva’s book The Silva Mind Control Method.   For those of you living in NZ, you can explore Silva at:

http://www.thesilvamethod.co.nz/

There are several videos on YouTube of Jose Silva discussing his technique.  Here is one that I found informative:

 

Please let me know what you thought of Jose Silva’s video.  And If you have done a Silva Mind Method Course I’d love to hear about your experience.

As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  I appreciate it.