Friday, November 22, 2013

November Round Robin Blog

It's time for another episode of the Round Robin Blog! November's Round Robin topic:
Mass emotion -- tell about one incident you've experience where a large crowd of people shared the same strong emotion.
Whoever said laughter is the best medicine wasn't far from wrong. It has a long shelf-life and is even more contagious than a foul mood, especially when shared with others. How many times have you seen or heard something funny that hasn't affected your mood for the rest of the day?
Recently one of my lovely friends celebrated her birthday by inviting a few other couples to a local comedy night. Six of us sat around the table in a sea of nearly 500 other people. As show time came and went, anxiety was palpable, but most people simply went and got another drink. Once the show began and the laughter started, there was no turning back. Funny lines or not, one audience member after another got swept up in the swell of giggles and chuckles that broke into crests of laughter. Even people who started the evening stressed and sour-looking found something to smile about - were contaminated by someone pointing out the silliness of daily life. Sucked in by the undercurrent of other people finding something to poke fun at.

Two of the people we sat with are parents of a local comedian. They know funny. They live with funny on a daily basis. To be perfectly honest, they are both amazing, hilarious people. So are the other couple we were with. To be caught up in a storm of laughter with people who love to smile and laugh was a plus.
The best part of the evening, beyond the laughter, was "the dance circle". My two lady friends and I danced together in a circle that reminded one of dancing in clubs with a pile of purses on the floor in the middle. Like witches in a coven.

And so we danced, sang and laughed with not a care in the world, infected by the energy in the air and the laughter in the room.
And now onto a more somber tone with our lovely hostess, Robin Courtright:
Be sure to also check out: Beverly Bateman :
Looking for a good read?  Check out my novel The Bookstore Lady!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Another step in the Happiness Project - Hitting the Highway

Okay, decluttering has gone by the wayside. Christmas is upon us and I always find it even more difficult to keep the clutter down at this time of the year. Decorations, a six foot tree and gifts filling all the spaces I'm trying to empty out, do little to help.

Step back and take a deep breath. What can I focus on instead? Join me while I take a wild leap...

I got my driver's license when I was 16. Across the aisle from me in the classroom was my 64 year old grandma. I kid you not. Holy inspiration! If my grandma could go back to school at 64 and learn to drive, what was there to stop me? Over the years, I drove less as I went through University and when I married and we were down to 1 vehicle. Then it became a necessity for me to drive 3 kids to school, doctor appointments and play dates.
Even so, I was afraid to drive.
Afraid of the big city. (We lived in Edmonton at the time, which is nothing compared to Toronto!)
Afraid of getting lost.
Afraid one of the kids would start to throw up in the back and I'd be stuck hurtling down the highway smelling like...
But I digress.

Moving across the country to unknown terrain did little to build my confidence. Until recently. Sure, I've done trips with my kids before, but always with friends  I've met since we moved here and with hubby. This past year, with my oldest at University and facing the unknown, I've become braver. Driving in downtown Barrie to pick up my son at the bus terminal. Taking the kids on vacation and driving all over the Ontario countryside. Braving driving into another city to get some paperwork done - and having to go back again in 2 weeks. And this time, I know exactly where I'm going!

Confidence plays a huge role in my not wanting to venture far from home alone.
I found as I drove down the open highway (definitely NOT during rush hour, thank you!) that I was happy.
Happy I'd made the trek on my own.
Happy that I can rely on my own resources to find my way, get the job done and get home without incidence.
Happy that I'm seriously thinking about wandering farther the next time I go out.
Happy that when I get anxious about the trip ahead, I can think about my grandma who took a leap of faith in her sixties and learned to drive so she could hit the open highway on her own without having to rely on others.
Funny how something we all take for granted, can give us so much happiness without us ever even realizing...

Join me Saturday for the next instalment of the Round Robin Blog!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank you for being a friend....

Over the end of the week and the weekend, I'd planned to continue decluttering and making our space work better for our family. I was derailed from my cleaning mission by several visits with friends. Lunch on Thursday, breakfast Friday, lunch Friday, Christmas shopping with the kids Saturday morning, a comedy show Saturday night and Sunday my middle son "had" to take me out shopping. Busy for sure, but happy busy.

While the kids and I didn't buy a lot, we walked and talked.
Catching up with friends I haven't had the opportunity to spend time with in months was well worth putting aside projects.
The comedy show Saturday night was hilarious. The comedians on stage were pretty good and the ones at the table made me laugh just as hard. It's great when you can sit with friends who love to laugh, love to dance and love to just have fun and be silly. There were about 500 people at the event and my friends and I only knew a handful of them. It was like being at the wedding of a distant third cousin. We seemed to be the "old people" table, but didn't care. Even one of the pics my  hubby took of me showed me relaxed and smiling. Happy.

The weekend gone, everyone back to work and school, I'm hiding in my cave to do some writing today. I haven't taken time to write since early October. And I'll make time to exercise. Two more things that make me happy.
Have a wonderful day!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Christmas Wish List Promotes Decluttering

Just when I'm getting discouraged with a lot of things, I found this in my inbox!   If you watch the whole thing, you'll see cover for The Bookstore Lady!

What a fun idea. I have worked on a trailer for The Bookstore Lady, but haven't put it to music yet so it's stuck in my "To Do" pile. Why haven't I finished it? Time. Fear. Anxiety. Whatever. Truth is, I have a whole pile of things left undone that haunt my computer and my closet.

In keeping with my Happiness Project, my theme this month is clearing out clutter and building energy. I've been going for daily walks and suddenly have more opportunities to meet with friends. Great energy builders. I've also been making healthier meals. (mostly for myself because the boys just won't eat chicken in spinach sauce for no amount of money!)

I have cleaned out my novels-in-waiting and have a stack of paper to shred. Not projects I'm giving up on, just things that are old copies no longer needed. I have also found a use for the huge file of writing prompts that I've held onto since 2007. I've typed them into my computer for a friend who wants to bring them to writing meetings. Next I'll cut them into strips and put them in a box to draw from when my imagination is stuck for an idea.

Old magazines? Every year I make an inspirational collage of things I want in my life. Maybe this year, I'll make it a party. Have a few friends over to create Vision Boards.

Old clothes and books? Just so happens the charity pickup drive comes past here in 2 weeks. Yippee! They'll love the bags of stuff I set out once I ransack the garage this weekend.

Funny how cleaning out my inbox can change my mood for the day!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happy Energy

Still keeping in with my Happiness Project, I started looking for things that make me happy and give me energy. This brought me to a realization. I am an empath.
There I said it. An Empath is a person who can psychically tune in to the emotional experience of a person, place or animal. Being so strongly affected by the emotions of others, crowds overwhelm me, the negative moods of others send me into a funk and I can tell when something is wrong with certain people in my life. Not only do these things affect me mentally, but it can become a physical reaction as well. Racing heart, anxiety, the works. Sometimes I know where the feelings are coming from, sometimes I don't.

What does being an empath have to do with being happy? I thought at first it was just the reactions to others that exaggerated my moods. After some trial and error, I've discovered the foods I eat play just as big a role.
This spring I started a cleanse with the help of my naturopath. No caffeine. No alcohol. No sugar. Within days, I felt lighter and happier. Once I added exercise into the mix, the effects were amazing! While I still felt the emotions of others, they didn't affect me as deeply. I was able to brush off the negativity so much easier.

After spending the past two months feeling like I wanted to spin off the face of the earth, the realization dawned on me that eating right and exercising daily made me feel grounded and happy. I had energy. I smile more because I feel good. Light. I also am able to deal better with others and love to cook the foods that make me feel good. Healthy foods.

So, what would I recommend for those just starting on the Happiness Project journey?
1) Eat better. Notice how foods affect your mood. Too much caffeine and sugar can make you jittery, anxious. Water, water, water is the best medicine for mood! I even add coconut water or citrus just to change it up.

2) Sleep! There are so many hours in a day and our bodies need to rest and regenerate. Without sleep, we are cranky and crave something to wake us up. Back to the coffee and sugar.

3) Smile. So many days, I don't want to smile. I have to fake it just to get through the day. By the time I fall into bed, however, the smile is genuine and I've had nicer interactions with most people than I would have otherwise.

4) Exercise. Go for a walk. Stretch. Dance around the livingroom with your kids. Take a fitness class. Do something that moves your body and raises your heart rate.

5) Find a passion. Have a hobby you love? Make a few minutes every day or even once a week to indulge. Spend some time doing something you love. I love to write as well as paint. While I try to make time for both, some days that's not always possible due to kids, work, whatever the excuse. There's no harm in taking fifteen minutes a day to feed your soul!

That's it. My top five. The things I'm working on in my own life.
Let me know what works for you!!