Love Makes Your Heart Skip — Live a Vibrant Life

May 29, 2023

Love Live a Vibrant Life

Photo by Khadeeja Yasser on Unsplash


Love: what a wonderful way to live a vibrant life. Love makes your heart skip. Or race. Or feel like it’s about to pop out of your chest. Of all love’s signs, this one is universal.

“Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses.” – Lao Tzu.

You’re Always Young Enough for Love — to Live a Vibrant Life

For those who think they’re long past the age for love, think again. Couples in their advanced years can love just as their counterparts who are decades younger.

Love Makes the World Go Around

Where would we be without love? The world would be desolate, full of sameness and no passion. Thankfully, where there is life, there is love. There is always love.

Everything Is Possible When You’re in Love and Live a Vibrant Life

Love is that unique emotion that makes you feel like everything is possible. Besides, love makes you look forward to the future with hope and optimism.

Love: All You Can Think About is the One You Love

No matter what is happening around you, you can only think about your beloved when you’re in love. While your attention may briefly return to reality, it quickly reverts to all-consuming thoughts of the person you love.

You Always Remember Your First True Love

There is something magical about the first time you experience love. It is a feeling you never forget. Some couples are lucky to be with their first love for a lifetime. Others have less time with their beloved. Yet everyone cherishes the memory of their first true love.

Other Physical Signs You’re in Love

Besides the sign that love makes your heart skip, there are a few other telltale physical signs you’re in love:

  • Love makes sleepless nights an everyday occurrence. But you don’t seem to notice – or care.
  • Physical appetite tends to decrease when you’re in love. Besides, you get butterflies when you see or think about your beloved.
  • People can tell you’re in love by looking at you. It’s funny how this works. Many adjectives tell the same story: Lovestruck, smitten, over-the-moon, bedazzled.
  • You laugh a lot when you’re in love. You’re also less likely to get angry.


What Makes a Birthday Special to Live a Vibrant Life

May 21, 2023

Birthday Purple Flowers

Photo by Mark Harpur on Unsplash


What makes a birthday special to live a vibrant life? Here is a great reason. Today is my daughter’s birthday. So, in a very public way, dear daughter, Happy Birthday!

Besides being intelligent, clever, and fun, she is incredibly generous, kind, loving, and loyal. Everyone who meets her instantly recognizes what a particular person she is.

That’s not just me talking. Ask her friends, co-workers, and even casual acquaintances.

What Makes a Birthday Special?

What about a birthday separates it from other occasions to celebrate? For one thing, the focus is on one person born that day. Unlike national or religious holidays, your birthday is a time to receive the good wishes of others in celebration of their special day.

  • Everyone has a birthday, so each of us gets to celebrate our special day.
  • While we may not get a paid day off from work, your birthday is still cause for joy.
  • A birthday allows us to indulge in favorite activities, pamper ourselves, and be hedonistic – which is okay.

Our Birthday Puts Us in Good Company

One fun thing to do is learn about famous individuals who share your birthday. But it is even more fun to find others in our age range born on the same day. Finding out what we have in common must be intriguing.

  • While I have yet to meet anyone born on my birthday, I still think I’d find the opportunity to converse with them exciting.

A Birthday Is a Good Reason for a Party — to Live a Vibrant Life

When I was growing up, a birthday meant having a birthday party. While I didn’t have a birthday party yearly, I fondly remember some more than others.

  • My mother bought a Sweet Sixteen cake for my 16th birthday party. It was pink, one of my favorite colors. I recall the icing was so sweet that my teeth ached. Also, my stomach, because I ate too many pieces.
  • Another unique thing about that birthday party was that my mother didn’t make the cake. She always baked our birthday party cakes. The store-bought cake was extraordinary – and expensive. But then there were many party guests, and a home-baked cake wouldn’t be enough.

Even When You’re Past a Certain Age, a Birthday is Cause for Joy

I sometimes hear people say they’re too old to celebrate a birthday. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • A birthday is a time to reflect on our blessings. We can and should think about our talents, abilities, and successes. Rejoice and recommit to pursuing opportunities to utilize them.
  • Make a list of the birthdays of family members, friends, and others. Be sure to call them (live, not a text) to wish them a happy birthday. The thought counts. Besides, it’s human interaction, something we all crave.
  • Our family has a particular birthday jingle we sing to each other. Instead, this is something we always sing to our daughter. I won’t share it here, but she knows exactly what I’m discussing.

Whatever you celebrate your birthday, remember what makes a birthday special.

It’s you!


The Best Way to Wake Up in the Morning

May 3, 2023

Best Way to Wake Up in the Morning

Photo by Simon Wilkes on Unsplash

It is a daily ritual. You go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. Sometimes, when you climb into bed, your mind is a whirlwind of conflicting thoughts, distractions, and problems. All you want is a good night’s sleep and to wake up refreshed and ready to live a vibrant life.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Some days it isn’t that difficult. Everything goes smoothly, and you lay your head down, feeling at peace.

“When you get up in the morning, let your first thoughts be directed towards God.” – Amma.

I Pray the Morning When I Wake

Waking up is another time of potential turmoil – dread at what’s to happen today, fear over not making the right decisions, confusion about what to do when and where, and much more.

A better way to greet the new day is to take a few moments and think about your Higher Power. If you aren’t religious, think about your spirit. If you are religious, pray or immerse your first conscious moments in thoughts of God.

Benefits of Morning Spiritual Contemplation

What benefit can this provide? For proponents of meditation or mindfulness, thinking of your Higher Power is one way to do that. Finding peace, a respite from strife, distractions, fear, confusion, doubt, and other compelling and nagging emotions is possible during this brief quiet period before getting up and embracing today.

In many ways that you could arise from bed, thinking about God must rank among the most proactive.

  • You set the stage for the day with a blessing.
  • You fill your mind with positive thoughts.
  • You create a peaceful and bold ritual to begin your day.
  • These benefits can add value to your life – especially when you know you’ve got a mountain of problems to face or need strength and guidance to make the right decisions.

A mistaken belief that there’s only one sure way to think about God keeps many people from doing this. There isn’t. Whatever way you envision your Higher Power, talk in your own words. No formal prayer is necessary. The simple act of directing your thoughts to God is sufficient.

Allow this to take over briefly – and then get up and go about your day.

You will be better at it, feel more settled, and be able to tackle what comes. Now, you’re ready to live a vibrant life.


Satisfaction Is Why I Love to Complete Spring Cleaning

April 23, 2023

Satisfaction is Why I Love to Complete Spring Cleaning

Photo by Joel Holland on Unsplash

Springtime is a welcome seasonal arrival, symbolizing rebirth, growth, and hope. Seeing the budding plants, hearing the songbirds, and feeling an overall sense of optimism is reassuring. For many, it also heralds a dreaded ritual: spring cleaning. Not for me, because satisfaction is why I love to complete spring cleaning.

A recent study finds that 74 percent of people surveyed do spring cleaning annually. Yet five percent say spring cleaning is something other than what they do.

Spring Cleaning Items

As for what is included in the spring cleaning, most people consider the following high on their list:

  • Window washing
  • Behind furniture cleaning
  • Appliance cleaning
  • Linens and bedclothes cleaning
  • Floor scrubbing
  • Cleaning upholstered surfaces and fabrics
  • Garage cleaning
  • Washing curtains
  • Basement cleaning

Why I Get Satisfaction from Completing Spring Cleaning

It runs in the family. My mother was fastidious when it came to spring cleaning. As I recall, she was zealous in cleaning any time of the year. I must take after her. I love getting into spring cleaning. Even more, I love getting it done.

Why? I have two answers: satisfaction and accomplishment. They are equally important.

My Spring-Cleaning Tips

Before you jump in on spring cleaning, I have a few suggestions to make the task more user-friendly and satisfying.

Get Started Early. Some people are procrastinators. I was once that way, a night owl, and getting up early was not my routine. I learned to appreciate how early rising allowed me to get more done. Besides, I had a job with a long commute, so getting up early was something I had to learn. Tackle spring cleaning early to get more done and feel better about it.

Piece It Out. If you think you’ll get every part of the spring-cleaning process done in one day, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Big jobs especially require planning and plenty of time. Take closet organization. At the same time, this can be exciting (yes, I mean that), and it carves a massive chunk of the day. More than one day.

Take Breaks. Bending over, reaching up, sorting clothing into piles, labeling, and gathering supplies takes much energy. Take breaks every hour – but not too long. Step outside, sit in the gazebo or enjoy a beverage on the porch or backyard lounge chair. Then, get back to the job at hand.

Envision the Outcome. How do you see the space afterward? If your goal is clean, uncluttered, and simple, you can easily reach any item without too much effort, this helps motivate you to keep going.

Enlist Help. Some spring-cleaning tasks scream out for assistance. Ask your spouse, partner, or friends to help. Consider enlisting the kids and promising a reward for their help.

Make It Fun. While cleaning the garage or scrubbing floors may not seem fun, attitude is everything. I like to hum or sing while I wash. It helps me to have the radio on since total song lyric recall is not my strong suit.

After you finish your annual spring cleaning, think about how much satisfaction and sense of accomplishment you feel. Here is another tip: Keep on top of the organization so the crusty kitchen, bathroom grime, and piles of clothes on the closet floor cannot accumulate.

You may not love to complete spring cleaning, but these tips may make it more enjoyable.


How to Make the Most of Today

April 14, 2023

Live a Vibrant Life

Photo by Mark Harpur on Unsplash

When you wake up, do you know how to make the most of today? It helps to have a plan. The best way to accomplish what you want is to have a prioritized list. You get more done, enabling you to live a vibrant life.

But that’s not all. Adhering to a list can be tedious and repetitive. How do you make it interesting, exciting, and fun?

Include Things You Enjoy

I love my morning latte. It gets me going, sure. But I enjoy the taste, aroma, and foam, making it light and airy. The overall experience is a daily treat. I recommend adding your form of latte to your daily routine, regimen, or list.

When you have something to anticipate you enjoy, other items on your list will be easier to tackle.

Spice It Up

I’m not talking about cinnamon or spicy sauce, although if that brings you joy and makes today fun, go for it. Spice up today with a variety of things to do. That way, you add layers of interest to the day. This helps motivate you to keep going and check off tasks.

There’s nothing like the satisfying feeling of doing everything you want today and doing it the best.

Be Available for Others

If you go through your day alone, set aside time to be with others. Facetime is important. It facilitates social connection and adds a break from repetitive tasks.

One way to do this is to ask for help to complete a project or assignment. Ever heard the saying, “Many hands make light work?” Besides, working alongside others can be fun. You share conversation, laugh, and enjoy a collective sense of accomplishment.

Take Good Self-Care

Remember to prioritize self-care. It would be best to have the nourishment and the energy to do what must be done today. Self-care includes hydration, exercise, getting enough sleep, and meditating or getting your thoughts in order.

The human body is a marvelous creation. It is amazing how everything works better when we care for it.

Remember to Laugh

I was a quiet child. Yet I recall much laughter in our family. I joined in, and it felt great. Now I prize having a good sense of humor. I laugh often, and others join in. That is the point.

Laughter is meant to share. The old Reader’s Digest section, “Laughter is the Best Medicine,” was a staple in our home and became a way to get the most out of today.

Make your day the best it can be. Get the most out of today. Live a vibrant life.

* * *

Where Do We Find Inspiration?

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso.


Each of us wants and needs something to believe in. We want to believe in ourselves. We also want to be inspired, to go on to do daring things, and take part in experiences that broaden our perspective and expand our horizons. But where is inspiration? Where can you go to find it or discover it within?

These questions are valid. More importantly, the answers are necessary to jumpstart momentum and make you feel good about your prospects.

So, where is inspiration? Is it in nature, the song’s melody, the written word, the touch of a loved one, the laughter of a small child, the aroma and taste of food? In truth, inspiration can be found in anything. What you look at one day may change the next day by allowing you to see and experience something new.

When you are truly present in life, you notice things.

And it’s necessary to be fully present to see what may be right in front of you.

Reactions, for example, and movement, as well as change. If you remain stuck in thoughts of the past, worried about the future, or so absorbed in your troubles that you can’t think about anything else, inspiration will be hard to find.

On the other hand, when you think of possibilities, dream of doing something you’ve never done before, or imagine various scenarios your life may involve, that’s inspiration at work.

Cultivate the art of dreaming.

Indeed, allow yourself to dream.

Flex your imagination muscle. Everyone has one, and it’s there for a good purpose. Humans can dream of things that aren’t yet a reality. You can construct validity within your thoughts and create plans to achieve those goals.

If you prize imagination and give inspiration room to grow, you can flesh out dreamscapes and make them real.

Everything is possible with imagination and inspiration – and, of course, the willingness to work hard and persevere despite all obstacles you encounter.

* * *

How to Find and Embrace the Seeker in You

July 10, 2022

Photo by Chen YiChun/Unsplash

“What you seek is seeking you.” – Rumi.

What stirs your thoughts, fills you with anticipation, and motivates you to act? It’s a goal you want to pursue, an accomplishment you wish or need to achieve, or a result you’ve worked hard to obtain.

You’re seeking something – an outcome, success, resolution, fulfillment.

You might not realize that what you earnestly seek is simultaneously seeking you.

That may sound a little out there, but not if you believe in the transformative powers of making dreams a reality.

Suppose you put forth your efforts and focus on a single goal. In that case, you are more likely to be successful in the endeavor than if you only act perfunctorily, without enthusiasm or determination.

This is not only true of the achievement of tangible results – like completing a comprehensive report or presentation at work – but also being successful in developing a lasting friendship, building a romantic bond, nurturing your children, and realizing emotional enrichment.

The goal – what you seek – is circling, not yet fulfilled, but waiting for you to find it and bring it into reality.

Granted, your search may take longer than you think or would like. It may require sacrifice, additional training, the modification of certain behaviors, the elimination of some habits, and the development of new ones. You might need other resources or allies or rely on the encouragement and support of your network.

You want to help bring hope to those who have none. This could be a calling to the ministry, public service, philanthropic efforts, organizing neighborhood contributions to a food bank, volunteering at a seniors’ or children’s home, visiting a shut-in, or bringing food to a sick neighbor.

Your goal is to influence a particular area of expertise. To do so requires years of study and practice, as in medicine, psychology, law, engineering, and architectural design.

Whatever you seek, the closer you get to your goal, the more vivid and accurate it becomes. Your enthusiasm builds and spurs you forward.

Life is meant to be experienced, not endured. What you choose to pursue, the dreams and goals that lift your spirits and make you smile, are the ones that emanate from the seeker in you.

Embrace that seeker. It’s the only way to live a vibrant and purposeful life.

* * *

Why You Love Someone

November 12, 2021

Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

“You don’t love someone for their looks or their clothes or their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.” – Oscar Wilde.

Most of us have experienced love. For some, it’s platonic at this stage, while others have known deep and enduring love. There are, of course, many kinds of love and, according to the song, “Love makes the world go-’round.”

Why is that, I wonder? What is it about love or, specifically, why do you love someone? When I came across the quote by Oscar Wilde, it all seemed to go together.

Two people in love – and I’m speaking of romantic love here – are coordinated. They communicate in a language that’s both verbal and non-verbal, and what they’re saying may only make sense to each other. Ergo, “They sing a song only you can hear.”

What a fabulous way to describe why you love someone. You’re privy to a private concert, a song, and a melody meant for you alone. Others, of course, may witness and hear the interaction, but it doesn’t have the same resonance.

It isn’t meant to.

Love is many things. Indeed, love can be all-encompassing, uplifting, generous, and selfless at its best. There’s also the dark side of love, but that’s more controlling and selfish than anything else. When darkness intrudes on love, it morphs the emotion into a life-robbing state rather than life-affirming.

Back to why you love someone, let’s stick with the sweet and heartfelt song only you hear. Savor the thought. Remind yourself how much this applies to your situation, to your special love.

Now, make it a point to express your love for that person meaningfully today.

* * *

Create Something That Lasts

November 9, 2021

Alexey topolyanskiy 37372

Photo by Alexey Topolyanskiy on Unsplash

“The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” – Stephen Covey.


The elixir of immortal life hasn’t yet been discovered. It may never be. While you can’t live forever, you can live a life of lasting importance, meaning, purpose, and joy.


You create something that lasts.

Parents do this with their children, the very essence of personal legacy. By bringing a child into existence, the mother and father present the world with a precious gift, a unique human being with potential.

This act is both loving and self-serving. And both are good things.

To love a child is a parent’s greatest joy. To ensure that the child grows, thrives, and learns how to embrace life, utilize their talents, and take action to help others and make a difference is to perpetuate the lineage, serve as an extension of self, and reap the rewards of paternal pride.

Artists, inventors, scientists, sports figures, and writers also create something that lasts. Their passion and perseverance show up in their work and accomplishments, which will be remembered and singled out for distinction.

Yet every person can create something that lives on. You needn’t be famous, at the top of your profession, incredibly wealthy, or excellent. However, you must put forth your best effort, live with passion and zest, and follow your beliefs and values.

The core of who you are – that unique combination of joy, intelligence, enthusiasm, talent, strength, compassion, love, and helpfulness – will live forever. What’s said about you may be verbal or in books or other written communication. It may be a thought or fond memory.

What do you want to represent your life long after you’re gone? We can choose what we create, rich or poor, man or woman, young or old.

And we’re the only creatures that have this unusual gift.


* * *

How to Enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures

March 1, 2021

Photo by Picography

“If someone asked me what my idea of luxury is, I think my answer would be: flowers in the house all year around.” – Mary Sarton.


Searching in vain for something to make us happy is enough to drive anyone a bit crazy. This doesn’t mean in a clinical sense but more in the vein of running around in circles.

We need to find effective ways to deal with everyday stresses and overcome the sameness of routine. Here’s a novel idea: Take the time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

Enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures

Think for a minute about simplicity. What could be easier than taking a brief break? Close your eyes. Engage in nothing more than listening to the silence of your thoughts. If what’s going on in your brain is a whirlwind of competing ideas, acknowledge the chaos and let it begin to subside.

  • Concentrate on your breathing, in and out, all the while reaffirming that life is precious and good. How simple is that? 

When most people think of how to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, they can’t produce a list that doesn’t include the big three. These are money, possessions, and dozens of friends. Of these three, only having friends truly counts as a simple pleasure. The others are accumulations of material things – certainly not conducive to overall happiness. Of course, many other items may pop into the front of your mind as a simple pleasure that isn’t, but you get the point. 

Now, back to enjoying life’s simple pleasures, what are some of these, and how do we overcome our reluctance to appreciate and enjoy them? More straightforwardly, what steps can we take to enjoy life’s pleasures? 

If it gives you joy, it’s a simple pleasure, period. These are easy ones:

  • Smell the fragrance of flowers on a morning walk. That’s a simple pleasure.
  • Savor the taste of a delicious meal. That’s a simple pleasure.
  • Delight in the laughter of your young child or the sound of your friends laughing with you. Another simple pleasure.
  • Reflect on the wonder of the velvety touch of a rose petal.
  • Marvel over the silky softness of a kitten’s fur.
  • Reciprocate the delicious caress of your loved one.

These are all such simple pleasures.

Life’s simple pleasures are easier to recognize and appreciate when you do this. Focus on life now. Strip away the constant need to acquire and accumulate. Think only about the here and now. Be present.

As to how to get going enjoying them, here are a few suggestions:

  1.  Make time each day to do something you want. It doesn’t have to be a long time. Just 15 minutes is a good start. Read a chapter of a new book by a favorite author. Go for a walk outside. Talk with a friend. Spend time on a hobby. This isn’t too hard to figure out.
  2. Think of this as a treat. Engaging in some well-deserved and much-needed me-time is critically essential. It allows you to rejuvenate and regain your sense of well-being, to take a break from the non-stop daily pressures and schedules. Everyone likes a treat. Why not give yourself one?
  3. Need help? Craft a list. Put on the spot to think about a simple pleasure? Do yourself a favor and write a few down as they come to you. That way, you’ll have several choices when you stop and enjoy one.
  4. Remember that enjoying life’s simple pleasures helps you enjoy living. We’re only here for a short amount of time. Make the most of each moment and enjoy every minute of each simple pleasure.

* * *

Keep the Focus on Now: It’s What Counts Most

October 10, 2020

Photo by Peter Pryharski on Unsplash


“Forget past mistakes, forget failures, forget everything except what you’re going to do now, and do it.” – Will Durant.


Far too many people waste time worrying over things they’ve done in the past. In the process, they often neglect or, worse, can’t even recognize opportunities that may be right in front of them.

Frankly, aren’t we all guilty of this on occasion? I suspect we are, even if we don’t want to admit it. Regardless, being willing to see our tendency to dwell on past mistakes and perceived failures and then moving past that temporary negative line of thinking to remind ourselves that we live in the present and not the past is good. This turnabout ensures we pay attention to the present, where we can act and implement plans. That’s the only way to accomplish goals, broaden horizons, and pursue long-held dreams.

Without focus, we won’t see where we want to be in the future. That’s true whether the end is next week, a year from now, or ten years beyond today.

Here’s what happens when we commit full attention to an activity. It typically gets done faster and usually with better results. It’s easier to zero in on what’s necessary to minimize distraction and sharpen attention to the task. Athletes know this as being “in the zone.” It’s an excellent analogy to preparing for working on what needs to be done now.

Before you can focus, you need some tasks to begin, a goal to pursue, or an activity requiring effort. Focus is not a concept of abstraction. It’s always specific in the context of action. Put this in real terms. Focus means figuring out what we need to do to concentrate our attention in the here and now and jumpstart our ability to be fully present.

This may require practice, especially for those too accustomed to get lost in social media or other timewasters. Learning how to focus and live in the present won’t happen overnight. Suppose you tell yourself you will eliminate all distractions and pay attention to what must be done now. That’s not going to make all those ever-present distractions somehow magically disappear. Instead, it will take a concentrated effort to wrest thoughts away from dwelling on the past and a list of what went wrong (and worrying about mistakes or failures that may never occur) to remain firmly in the present and do what needs doing now.

Another strong recommendation is to have a list of things to do. That way, there’s less likely to be a vacuum where thoughts can drift back to ruminate over painful experiences in the past.

Although everyone can benefit from some downtime, that too can be scheduled, be sure to carve out time for enjoyable activities like gardening, reading, hiking in nature, lunch, coffee with friends, starting a hobby, or taking a mini vacation with loved ones and family members. Keep in mind, though, that even downtime requires focus. The best rest recognizes living in the present and maximizing every second of being alive.

This is truly what counts in life.

* * *

Be an Enthusiast in Life

September 28, 2020

Photo by Kai Visuals on Unsplash


“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life…if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” – Roald Dahl.


Life is worth living. And when it comes to living, the only way to live is to do so wholeheartedly, without reservation or regrets, no holds barred, and full speed ahead.

Too often, we tell ourselves that we’ll only go so far, try something, and then give up before allowing it a chance. That’s not living. That’s dipping a toe in the water and deciding it’s too cold to go further.

This defeats the purpose of discovery and exploration. You must be willing to entertain the unknown, step into unfamiliar territory and overcome your reluctance and fears if you hope to live a joyful, zest-filled life.

You don’t regard yourself as enthusiastic, preferring to play it safe rather than be bold. It’s OK to be tentative initially but venture forth and do something out of your comfort zone.

To make it easy, start small. Don’t go out on a boat ride if you’re petrified of water. Spend some time gazing at the water from the safety of a secure dock. If you can’t stand heights but must use an elevator to get where you’re going, and the elevator is made of see-through material, don’t look down. Look out instead. While this won’t make you an enthusiast about the water or less afraid of heights, it will push your boundaries. You will realize that you can attempt things you didn’t believe yourself capable of.

As for permitting yourself to go after what interests you, there’s no time like the present. Life is short, and you might not have this opportunity again. This isn’t about being fearful you’re going to die but about taking advantage of the preciousness of life and living it to the fullest.

When something sparks your interest, pursue it with vigor. Learn all you can about it and jump in with both feet. Indulge your curiosity. Feel your excitement build. Follow the energy. That’s living vibrantly and with purposefulness.

Go on, be an enthusiast in life. You can do this.

* * *

Treat Yourself to Happiness

September 10, 2020

Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash


“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” – Iris Murdoch.


As someone who loves small treats, this quote resonates with me. Whether it’s the tiniest nibble of a decadent dessert, watching the magnificence of the sunset, relaxing with an enjoyable book, or laughing at a well-told joke, a treat I give myself contributes to my happiness.

Some might say I’m easily pleased. That’s a good thing. I find joy in life’s most miniature treasures. For me, nothing is too small to count.

But I didn’t come to this realization all at once. It took years of experience, learning from mistakes, and close brushes with tragedy and death for me to appreciate the trivial things – which add up to the essential items, as in life itself.

Let’s say you don’t go for the blowout and expect it to last. While having an exhilarating moment is excellent, you’re mistaken if you think it will be here forever. Life doesn’t work that way. That’s why it’s important to savor the bite-size moments, the here and now, exquisite experiences of all the senses of sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell.

What constitutes a small treat to you?

  • To qualify, it must have some meaning.
  • Does it make you smile or laugh?
  • Do you treasure the relationship or bond and the expression of your caring or love?
  • Is this a little reward for the challenging work you’ve put in, solace for not achieving a goal, or a shared treat with friends, loved ones, co-workers, or others?

Looked at in this way, treats can encompass anything. It isn’t what joy is, but what it means to you, how it makes you feel.

The more significant issue is your willingness to treat yourself in the first place. If you don’t think you deserve them or are somehow being punished, you won’t seek them out, or if you do, you won’t permit yourself to enjoy them fully.

Life presents each of us with myriad challenges. The good experiences, the joyous moments, and the little treats help us find and experience life’s vibrancy, purpose, and happiness.

* * *

Look at Experiences as Blessings

September 8, 2020

Live a Vibrant Life

Photo by Faye Cornish on Unsplash


“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” – Buddha.


There’s certainly no shortage of experiences in this world. Indeed, we have dozens of them every day. Since we do them so often, some we don’t even think about becoming automatic. There are, of course, some experiences that are more memorable than others. Then too, some experiences cause us pain. Some are readily accepted, while others linger with more negative emotions than we’d like. Yet each of these experiences is valuable. How so? Consider the following:

Experience teaches.

We learn from doing, even if that lesson is what not to do the next time. For example, if you burn your fingers picking up a skillet handle, you immediately feel the pain and remember to use a potholder or towel when you attempt to do this again. A corollary to this is that when something significant happens, the experience teaches a worthwhile lesson.

Everyone has experiences – why not use them?

Instead of sleepwalking through the day, going on autopilot, and having no sense of place or time, tune into the moment. Feel and be present in what you’re doing. Whatever it is – making coffee, getting ready for the day, driving to work, finishing a job assignment, taking a meeting, walking during lunch, shopping for groceries, running errands, stopping off for a yoga class, or playing with the kids when you return home – inhabit every part of the action or activity. Take notice of how your body feels, the rhythmic cadence of your breathing, the sights, smells, sounds, and the touch of things around you. This is making use of your experience. Not only that, but it will also fill you with an appreciation of life.

How to see experiences as blessings

OK, so we can get behind the lesson that experience teaches, and we all have experienced experiences, so we’ll try to use them. How can we begin to see experiences as blessings – particularly those experiences that are painful or ones we’re desperate to forget? Shouldn’t we try to get past those as quickly as possible?

Think briefly about who we are today and how we got here, not in physical movement but in our choices. What we’ve done is the result of deliberate and conscious choice. We are a product of our actions and our experiences. Whether the experience was good or bad, it shaped us. While this may not be clear, or perhaps we never thought of the incident in this way, each of these experiences is a hidden blessing. Returning to the example of the burnt fingers from a hot skillet, the experience, while painful, taught us a valuable lesson: don’t do that again. It also makes us grateful that we are alive and can continue, albeit with a sore finger. Sometimes pain brings us back to the present like nothing else: Voilà, a blessing.

Mostly, though, the blessings inherent in each experience are more transparent. We get a good grade or receive kudos from the boss on a well-done project, which translates into something better. Digging into the garden to plant seeds, bulbs or transplant flowers or shrubs yields an immediate blessing: beauty, a sense of accomplishment, and a transformed setting. Talking with a loved one who’s traveling or visiting a sick friend to bring some much-needed cheer – these experiences are rich with blessings.

Think about your actions today and all your experiences from when you got up. What about them that made you smile, enriched your life, and fulfilled you? There’s a lesson in each one of them. All you need to do is look for it. This necessitates a conscious decision to embrace all of life, the good and the bad, and to regard each activity as an opportunity to realize the blessings inherent in all experiences.


* * *

Connect to What Matters

September 7, 2020

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash.

“I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace – a connection to what matters.” – Oprah Winfrey.

Are you looking to find meaning and joy in your life but seeing daily distractions get in the way? The key isn’t striving for what you don’t have but focusing on what you do and what really matters.

Consider that life is never static. It’s constantly moving. Whether you learn and grow from experiences or stagnate and continue to make the same mistakes is entirely up to you. Somewhere in the process is a vital step: connecting to what matters. If you can identify who and what matters to you the most and recognize these individuals and events when you encounter them, you’ll be able to live your life understanding that they are instrumental to your overall well-being and internal peace.

What happens when you’re late for work, the kids are squabbling, and you drop and break a dish scrambling to get a meal on the table? Or you’re worn out and want to go to sleep, argue with your loved one, or disagree with a friend? Where is the well-being and internal peace here? Is it lost for the moment? How can you recapture it and weather the distraction, annoyance, problem, or issue?

Remember that this latest disruption, as with most things, is temporary. You can get through this by concentrating on doing your best now. Remembering what matters and being fully connected to those vital aspects of your life will sustain you through rough times and be more crucial for the experience.

First, know what matters. Always keep this foremost in your mind. Refer to it as necessary. The beauty of connecting to what matters is that this is an ongoing learning experience that builds and sustains well-being and internal peace.

There is no downside to this process. Indeed, life is much richer with connections that matter, whether friends you can rely on and enjoy good and challenging times with or a career that motivates and excites you, broadening your horizons through travel, relaxing, relaxing, or stimulating hobby, or whatever.

Maximize your joy in life through connection.

* * *

Choose the Best Version of Yourself

September 6, 2020

Photo by Picography


“The best version of yourself is all you need to be.” – Martellis Bennett.


Children are often asked by their parents what they want to be when they grow up. Among the typical answers are professions where individuals display daring, skill, or broad knowledge, such as a firefighter, doctor, jet pilot, astronaut, or someone with unique talents, including superstar athletes and videogame designers.

The answers that include being a mom or growing up to be just like a dad are less often, but equally compelling. What all the answers have in common is a desire to be the best version of yourself.

Isn’t that the essence of what our time on Earth is all about?

Life is comparatively short, and no one knows precisely how much time we have. Even more reason, then, to spend days pursuing self-improvement and personal growth so that we can use what we learn each day as a springboard to more excellent knowledge.

This does not mean, however, that obstacles won’t appear along the way, thwarting or delaying the achievement of specific goals. Indeed, much of the knowledge and skill individuals acquire comes from mistakes made in the earnest effort to succeed.

In my experience, when I’ve regarded a mistake as the end of any possibility of success, such an attitude determines the outcome. On the other hand, when I heeded the advice of wiser counsel to learn from the mistake and keep going, the result often turned out to be positive.

Even during great personal hardship, mental anguish, physical illness, and financial or social difficulty, being optimistic and determined to persevere made all the difference. As such, I am a fierce optimist and always see the positive in any situation; despite that, however, much negativity may appear to cloud the view.

How can we be the best version of ourselves? Is there a template to follow, or must we wing it? The following will be helpful:

  • Be true to your values, never sacrificing honestly held core beliefs because they may be unpopular.
  • Always have a set of goals to investigate, pursue, and work to achieve.
  • Surround yourself with proactive, positive people.
  • Remind yourself of what you’re good at and areas where you’ve succeeded.
  • Instead of giving up on your dreams, seek to retain some portion or aspect of them that gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
  • Share your goodness with others since the generosity of spirit is a welcome addition to everyone’s life.