Empathic?

We had an empathy group today and I have no proof that it doubled the amount of adolescents that joined us for gym time but I have a hunch that it did. It is so unifying to talk with kids about how people can develop empathy and what empathy is. I truly believe it should be part of the curriculum in our school system, empathy training. We talked about empathy, meaning: trying to understand or imagine what a person is feeling. We spoke about how they may not have lost anyone directly through the terrorist attacks on 9/11 but how we all can imagine how horrible it must have felt to have lost a mother, father, sister, brother, or any other family member to such a horrible event. We also talked about how our mirror neurons are what they are finding play a large part in how we empathize with others. We discussed how we as humans can empathize with other animals and even inanimate objects. We also talked about how a good amount of our understanding is derived from body language and how that is lost in texting and social media translation. Sometimes, the emoji’s just don’t cut it. It is always empowering to see the little sparks of insight and interest in what we are talking about and it drives me to continue to try to reach more and more kids who seek guidance and information. It is always amazing to watch when true interest and engagement starts. I am sure teachers can attest to this feeling. It feels like the whole group is listening and engaged and they all have great stuff to share. What a day. I am so grateful for these times and even the times when only a few kids are engaged. What a gift to be able to witness. I am finished with the 30 day happiness challenge and I HOPE to continue my daily awareness of all that is happy. If any of you remember (Ren and Stimpy), they used to say “happy happy joy joy” . This will always stick in my memory because of how annoying it was and now as my focus expands how beneficial it can be as an outlook.

http://www.nick.com/videos/clip/happy-happy-joy-joy.html

Almost there

“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”,according to Mark Twain and I would have to agree. I am in love with the little libraries in front of people’s homes where you can borrow a book and give a book. What a great idea to grow community and foster relationships between neighbors with great conversation starters, books. It seems like it would be an opportunity to find out what your neighbors like to read about and are interested in. We are blessed to have such great friends as neighbors and we have always made an effort to really know our neighbors. It saddens me that our culture is becoming less and less social and more and more isolative. Who needs to leave their house when everything can be done from your computer ,phone ,tv, etc. We see a lot more social anxiety and poor social skills and I think it is because 90% of the interaction is lost without the body language. I HOPE that people will have the courage to be social and reach out to connect with others. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston S. Churchill. Today’s happiness challenge is to make a new friendship connection.

Acceptance

I am watching Harry and the Henderson’s with my kids and realizing how many life lessons about kindness and acceptance there are in this movie. Yes, it just happens to be a bigfoot that they love and accept and save from a hunter who just wants Harry as his trophy. Not to mention that the Henderson’s come to realize how important it is to keep him safe rather than go to the media to become famous. How often do we find Harry’s in our own lives? People or pets we really have to work on our relationships with but who we love for who they are warts and all. They come in to our lives when we are least expecting it and teach us lessons we never may have learned without their presence. These experiences of love are what open us up to more, I believe. I HOPE this happens for you to and your life is full of Harry’s.

Moist morning dew

That was the surrounding of the lake setting this morning. I stayed out at my sister’s lake cabin with her last night and helped her and my brother-in-law move about a ton of wood up to their cabin to build a deck today. What a fun time to be out in that fresh mountain air and see so many stars and complete hard work with good people. I feel so grateful and refilled. My bucket is full and I thank my sister for sharing her little slice of heaven with me. Todays happiness challenge is to love yourself right where you are at, without judgement. “Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are even when judging yourself.” I HOPE that I can give myself and others more and more love and less and less judgment until it’s only love.

Backyard

Nothing better than hanging out and catching up with good friends, good food and good fun. Todays happiness challenge is to see the positive things your kids are doing and make an extra effort to recognize and call them to their attention. It is so easy to become bogged down in the frustrations of our children’s behaviors and we forget that the good stuff is just as prevalent if not more if we are looking for it. Why is it that the collective society is much more interested in identifying the wrong rather than what’s right? Do we really need something to complain about, a problem to solve or a wrong to right in order to be? Even the search for inner peace is a mission of sorts to seek a different perspective, possibly thinking the one we have could use some improvement. Maybe that seeking of the lesson to be learned is really the conscious awakening spoken about in the African proverb mentioned in my blog yesterday. I HOPE that is the case and that I can continue to improve myself for me and for those that I love.

Steps

I just got off of a 12 hour shift and feel great. I even surprised myself with how light and airy I feel. It may be the delirium kicking in but I think it is because I took steps today to identify any mental thought chatter and let it go. Todays happiness challenge was to look for the good in everyone you meet. It was easy to see people as good and working to the best of their abilities when I look. I even surpassed my steps on my vivo-fit. It felt good to really listen to others and try to understand them right where they were today.

“True teaching is not accumulation of knowledge, it is awakening of consciousness” (African Proverb)

Play in the dirt

I just had the great opportunity to volunteer at my daughters school and bring in our worm bin and plant peas to celebrate earth day. I forgot how fun it was to play in the dirt and feel worms and smell the earth. Seemed like the kids had a blast and we even read The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. What a fun day. I cherish these times with my little girl soon to be beyond wanting her mom to come into class and have fun with her peers. I think it is amazing how quickly we as adults forget the fun of playing in the dirt, playing with worms and planting seeds. I HOPE that I never grow up and get to serious in my lifetime to be unable to appreciate these little joys. Today’s happiness challenge is to play in the dirt or do any other silly fun, childlike thing you may have taken yourself too seriously to do in the past months, years. As Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.”

Salvation

When I think of the word salvation I am reminded of the song by the Cranberries, my heavenly fate, new chances and the end of a long work week. I have missed the last couple days of blogging because I have been really busy working. I started as supplemental this month and in that I have found salvation. I have been working on taking life a day at time, moment to moment. I realize it is now more often, that it is my ego in charge of becoming upset with the things that bother me. I am working on this every day and just knowing that I live in illusion from my ego is progress, so Eckhart Tolle asserts. I HOPE that I can keep up this momentum of awareness and work on continueing to free myself from negative thoughts. I feel like this blog is about as blah as I feel tonight, I HOPE my body will soon figure out if it is gonna be sick or not already. Tuesday’s happiness challenge was to comfort someone. Wednesday’s happiness challenge was to “treat yourself” with your favorite treat. Today’s happiness challenge is to watch something that makes you laugh. If you are like me after being reminded of that Cranberries tune you will definitely want to hear it, so enjoy! I chose to just leave you with a snippet. The video is kind of creepy so decided if anyone wants to hear the full song and see the video you can do that on your own.

Freedom

In setting myself free and not imprisoning myself by my feelings, thoughts and words I HOPE to be moving in the right direction. This idea may be a hot topic, thanks for the book Gwen. Eckhart Tolle writes in (A new earth; awakening to your life’s purpose), “Of course we have to use words and thoughts. They have their own beauty-but do we need to become imprisoned in them?”. Of course we don’t. This concept is interesting to observe from a parents perspective. I am watching little ego’s develop and trying to understand how to guide children to identify that many of our frustrations come from the illusion of our ego needing to feel right. We live in a world where you grow up learning about right and wrong. My kids believe they are right nearly 100% percent of the time which makes sense since I believe we do come into this world as perfect little beings, formed by God. Quickly it becomes clear that parental ego’s help to shape our children’s ego’s and if given lots of praise and love they begin to believe that they are good little kids. If they are told or made to feel like they are wrong or were a mistake they start to develop a very negative self concept. Either way children’s ego’s become adult ego’s and continue to work to divide us or bring us closer together. If your heart is turned in the right direction and you are living to serve others I believe you begin to recognize that perfection and peace always rest inside of us. We lose sight when our lenses are blurred by ego. Today’s happiness challenge is to try and identify the positive in a past experience that was really negative. Think about this until you have identified more positive than negative potential effects from the event.

Energy

Since reading ( Be the Pack Leader) by Cesar Millan I have really begun to understand the importance of my energy around Max, our blue heeler puppy. Max is super high energy which we try to exert in the morning bike ride and afternoon walks and chuck-it sessions. He is such a sweet and good natured dog but has to get his energy out in order to do well in mellow times with the family. We went for a hike today with one of my best friends Gwen and her dog Shelby. Shelby has a past history of aggressiveness with other dogs but is a real sweetheart. After reading Cesar it is much easier to understand that dogs usually do not develop their negative behaviors from other dogs but from people. We had a great socializing experience today with Shelby where she only became aggressive a couple of times toward Max and otherwise was able to walk on the trails without issues and be in very close proximity to many dogs without any problem. She even lay in the park only about 4 feet from Max relaxing in the shade. The great thing that Cesar discusses about dogs is how much they live in the moment and do not seem to notice anything different about one another but energy. This is why you see giant dogs playing with miniature dogs without recognizing any physical difference. They also are not able to hold a grudge and will approach a dog with a history of aggression they have no idea about. It would be a wonderful world if us humans treated one another with such equality and were able to turn a blind eye to any past discretions. We would be so much kinder to one another and so much more able to move on and enjoy life in each moment for all it had to offer. Today’s happiness challenge is to have a date with a good friend and fill up your bucket. A nice snuggle of your pet also counts as a friend date.