Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sustainable Happiness

Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?

And yet, I see examples of sustained happiness all the time. People who exist in this world, who have problems and difficulties (and even tragedies) who continue in a general state of joy and contentment.

Why? This is the sort of oddball goofy philosophy that I obsess on close to a birthday and here are a few of my answers (not mine alone, these are answers that other people have mentioned time and again that I have noticed WORK in my life).

Practicing gratitude, all the time. This includes the "little" stuff. Which is why there is a photo of roses from my rose garden. The roses sustain my happiness.

Focus on now. Sounds so simple. And maybe that's why it's difficult. But I've noticed the people who live in the moment and when I live in the moment, that's where happiness resides. Those who are always waiting: until the children grow up, until they are in a relationship or out of a relationship, until there's more money, until the novel is published, until vacation, the list is endless, aren't living at all.

Realistic and transmutable expectations: This one is tough, too. Life is change and we can't control much of that change. We have hopes and dreams BUT rigid and unrealistic expectations just leads to tears.

AND #1: Follow your passion! Which of course is what this blog is all about!

What makes you happy? And even more important, what makes you sustainable in your happiness? Something I've listed above--or?

Monday, July 23, 2007

You can't get there from here...

...unless you take the time to travel the path. This is another way to mitigate the dreaded anniversary blues.

In other words, when I was just beginning to write, when I was young and eager and energetic and stupid with all that youthful enthusiasm, I believed in the myth: I could sit down and write the Great American Novel in, say, six weeks. Uh-huh. That's what Hemingway did, right? Uh-huh.

And when I was young, I did write a novel in six weeks--boy, did it suck. You would pay me big bucks to not read this horror. And while I learned a lot (why people do NaNoWriMo) what I mostly learned is that things that are difficult to accomplish take time, and practice, and most of all: experience. Which takes it own sweet time.

So why be on some imaginary clock? Why freak out when a birthday or other anniversary comes speeding by? Probably because of our American-instant-success culture. So why not break out of the box? Throw away the calendar and focus on what matters: love.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Do you freak out too?

Okay, there's a reason for no postings for way too long: my birthday is coming up! So, am I the only person I know who freaks out around any sort of anniversary? No? Why do we do this to ourselves? It's excruciatingly painful--and really doesn't gain us more time or more energy.

Why? Now, I could wax philosophical here (and why does philosophy come in a wax?) and yammer on about perceptions of mortality--YUCK.

Instead, how about a couple of ways to avoid those horrid and exhausting and useless thoughts of: ohmigawd, I was going to, by this age: fill in the blank here. Since I haven't done: fill in the blank here I'll never do it. Or the worst: Now I'm too old to: fill in the blank here.

One way: take a deep breath and make a list of all that you have accomplished over the past six months, year, decade, whatever. ON THIS LIST INCLUDE: the normal day-to-day accomplishments: housework, job, groceries, mow the yard, the list goes on and on and as adults we do them and don't count them. But they count the most! Think about it, if you didn't do all the daily tasks, what would your life be like? Pat yourself on the back for being an adult!

And then: list all the accomplishments for your dreams and DON'T DISCOUNT. A writer and not published? Have you written and finished anything? A poem? An article? A short story? That counts, big time. Have you worked on your craft? Read a book about writing? Attended a class, workshop or conference? That counts, big time. Have you submitted anything ever? That counts, regardless of whether it sold or not, BIG TIME. COUNT COUP.

What else have you achieved? Weight loss? Healthy eating? Exercising? Pursuing a dream?

What would you consider as an achievement? If it's a big thing: selling a novel, for example, how much have you already done on the process? That's a process of mine, and I'm about to finish a strong almost draft of my novel. THAT COUNTS.

It's not always the end result that matters.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

July=fun! AND 5 Bucks off

Hey all, just a quickie post on my upcoming classes and workshops. July is going to be a blast, with my manga classes and my workshops on How to Edit and Market your Novel, Creating Creativity, and How to Focus and Succeed. Check it out at True North Creative Learning Center for more info.

AND as always, mention my blog and get $5.00 off any class or workshop!

P.S. I'm considering adding a manga workshop as well as the classes--comment and tell me what you think!