Friends, wonderful friends!  They uplift, console, and understand you.  They add joy to your life and give you confidence to take the risk of making your dreams come true.  They offer a softer place to land when life throws you unexpected curve balls.  When you leave the company of such friends you feel full and content.  Your soul has been nourished, even if it was just a quick hour and a hot cup of coffee.  My day was once made lighter and more joyful after an unexpected hug from a friend in the parking lot of my daughter’s daycare.  It was one of those warm embraces that said “I am here with you at all times, keep going.”

Who shines their light on your life?  Who do you call when you have exciting news to share?  Who are your most cherished friends?

My favorite inspirational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer says,” Choose to be in close proximity to people who are empowering, who appeal to your sense of connection to intention, who see the greatness in you, who feel connected to God, and who live a life that gives evidence that spirit has found celebration through them.”

Go out and LAUGH

Sit together and TELL STORIES

Eat dinner and SUPPORT EACH OTHER

Sip tea and CRY (let it all out, you are in good company)

Go for a walk and DREAM BIG

Talk on the phone and GET INSPIRED

Hug for an hour and BE HELD

Share your accomplishments and SHARE THE JOY

It’s all in the company you keep.

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Opportunity knocks at your door.   You are seeking excitement and pleasure.   Which do you choose: a vacation or a shopping spree? If you have the opportunity for an experience rather than stuff I might re consider your need for more stuff.  On the Oprah show a few weeks ago, she spent the show focusing on happiness.  A happiness Consultant reported that “stuff” can bring you happiness for up to 9 months; an amazing experience can bring you happiness for a lifetime.  Telling and re- telling of your adventures, showing pictures, re-living the experience continues to fill your being with joy.  Though my months of living in Honduras was over 15 years ago, I am consumed with joy and excitement when I tell those stories of adventure.  ( got an hour? ok maybe 2, I don’t want to leave out the good details!)  My kid gets a bike and he is thrilled.  He has stopped talking about it after a few weeks.  He still remembers every moment of our family vacation to the Dominican Republic last year.

Set up a Joy Fund, just like a Vacation Fund and a Rainy Day Fund but a Joy Fund is for experiences that you choose for a more joyful being.  You are worth it.  You are deserving.  Yes You!!!

In one of my favorite, definitely worth reading books called Flow by M. Csikszentmihalyi, he explains the following;

“One of the most ironic paradoxes of our time is this great availability of leisure that somehow fails to be translated into enjoyment.  Compared to people living only a few generations ago, we have enormously greater opportunities to have a good time, yet there is no indication that we actually enjoy life more than our ancestors did.  Opportunities alone are not enough.  We also need the skills to make use of them.  Surrounded by an astounding panoply of recreational gadgets and leisure choices, most of us go one being bored and vaguely frustrated.”

Get excited!  Seek the experience!  Grab a friend and go snowshoeing deep within the woods.  Go skiing and stop to breathe in the scenery.  Book a last-minute vacation anywhere outside your comfort zone (and maybe your time zone too).  Talk about it. Re-live it.  Show pictures.  Carry the thoughts, the memories in your heart and let them resonate within your soul.

Need a slower pace experience?  Only 2 rooms left at the Women’s Retreat of Rest and Renewal.  Come renew your self and nourish your spirit.  March 12 and 13th.  Grab the last room! We are waiting for you.

Seek the Experience.  Leave the stuff behind.

Are you an optimist?  Or do you see the darker view of your world? Do you believe it will all work out?  If it doesn’t go in your favor, is your glass still half full?  Or are you running on empty always?

  I have been doing a lot of reading lately about positive vs. negative emotions.  The importance of feeling good, being joyful and content as a way to live your life.  I am fascinated with all the books out there and what I am learning.  Indulge me, if you will in some thoughts that could be life changing for you.  In his book Authentic Happiness, M. Seligman gives us details on Barbara Fredrickson’s theory on positive emotions, and it goes like this,

“Positive emotions broaden our abiding intellectual, physical, and social resources, building up reserves we can draw upon when a threat or opportunity presents itself.  When we are in a positive mood, people like us better, and friendship, love, and coalitions are more likely to cement.  In contrast to the constrictions of negative emotion, our mental set is expansive, tolerant, and creative.  We are open to new ideas and new experience.” 

WOW! YES!  Be positive.  It makes sense.  Do you want to be around someone who is crabby, negative, and angry?  Those who talk hurtful gossip…UGH..just walk away.  Don’t surround yourself with negative people; it can deplete you of joy and happiness.  Create your own social circles with those who encourage, love and uplift.  Find the part of you who is grateful, blessed and content.  Live your life through this lens.  The world suddenly seems brighter.

Seek Joy.

Joy. Stillness. Laughter.  Relaxation.  Rest.  Come join me at The Joy Source’s Women’s Retreat  on March 12th and 13th.  The Spa is delightful, the Inn is wonderful, and the company will restore your spirit.  Space is limited.  Sign up today.

It really is your choice on how you see your world.   Glass half empty?  Or half full?  Take a minute to reflect on your thoughts throughout the day.  What do you focus on?  Do you focus on the positive events, thoughts, people, children in your life?  Or do you get sucked into negative gossip, anger, jealousy, and “not good enough” thinking?  I came across this wonderful Native American story and I wanted to share it with you.

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.  He said,” My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil.  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “which wolf wins?

The old Cherokee simply replied, “the one you feed.”

Feed the good wolf.

PS Ladies!  Rooms are filling up for the March Retreat, sign up now and start feeding that good wolf!  Peace, joy, relaxation, calmness, happiness will all be yours after a weekend at the Spa with other like-minded women.

I  wanted to share with you the joy I felt this morning and every Sunday morning as I hold hands with my son on his way to Sunday school.  We walk together smiling; he is excited to be there and I am peacefully happy giving this gift to my son.  Faith.  Not important to me what faith community you are connected to nor how you worship.  Just simply having faith is good for your soul. 

Is your faith strong?  What source do you pull from when times are tough?  When life unexpectedly throws you curveballs, do you sit in silent prayer and ask for strength?  Or is it a simply mantra that you repeat over and over.   Oriah in her book The Invitation asks:

“I want to know what sustains you when all else falls away”

What does your inner strength look like?  The greatest gift I will give to my children is faith. ” Have faith son when life pulls you down, believe there is a higher power out there looking after you.”  “Beautiful daughter, don’t cry so hard nor for so long, ask for divine guidance to hold you.”    Years ago, one of my friends who was given 6 months to live had shared with me that he had wished he had given his school aged children faith, it was not important to him so he didn’t pass it on to his children.  Now he was trying to process with them his dying and leaving them; how he felt faith would have been so important to hold them in their grief for years to come.

Faith.  It means something different to each one of us.  Allow your faith to become strong.  Bring it into  your daily life.  Call for divine guidance when you’re hurting and depleted.  The nourishment one can feel from having a strong faith can be life-sustaining.   Quiet prayer.  Joyful praise in singing.  Feeling a sense of community in worship.  In solitude, giving thanks.  It is there ready for you to embrace it.  Wherever you are on your journey, faith and you can be hand in hand.  Faith is there through accomplishments, regrets, sadness, defeat and betrayal.  What truly sustains you when all else falls away? 

In my home there is a paper on the fridge that is never taken off, it simply says

“The Lord Sustains Us”.  And that is exactly how I feel always and in all ways.  May your faith provide you peace, joy and a nourished soul.  That is my wish for you.

Faith. Strength. Love. Joy. Passion.  All of these I wish for you every day and in every way.  I want you to surround yourself with people who nourish your soul  and  excite you to live your best life.  Seek them out!  Be with them on a regular basis.  Find connection with those who share similar values, and who value you.  I recently began reading one of my favorite books again “The Invitation” by Oriah.  I continue to be drawn to her words.  She asks deep questions and invites you to ponder your answers.  Sometimes the answers are right there in my head and for other questions, well,  I have to take the time, go deep in my thoughts, in silence and wait for the answer to reveal itself.   The one question that I include in my Joy Course when we discuss setting boundaries and taking more time for ourselves is this:

“I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself“. 

I ask the ladies in my course this very question.  Think about it.   Can you?  Can you really disappoint another to stay true to everything you believe in?  Or is your mission to please others? Do you have every intention to stay true but end up giving in because seeing the disappointment on another is too much to bear?

  Staying true to yourself makes you stronger, more confident and empowered.  When you take the time to truly know yourself, what you want, your goals, your dreams, you make right and clear decisions.  The first one should always be Stay True to Yourself.