Stupidly Happy

The play was over.  Fulfilled theatre-goers streamed past me on their way to wine, or home, or late night coffees.  I smiled, as I am wont to do, wishing them well as they left the theatre.

An old high school teacher of mine sauntered up to me.  We hadn’t seen each other in many, many (too many to count) years.

“Why are you smiling?” he asked, face drawn carefully into neutral.  “Are you stupid?”  Gasps all around as those in the vicinity heard his words.

I smiled even wider.  “Sure.” I agreed good naturedly.  “I like to smile.  Smiling’s my favorite.” While he didn’t quite smile back, I did hear his gruff laughter as he wandered away.

I get his point.  The world lately, has given little reason to make us smile.  I find myself squinting through barely open fingers as I open my web browser, afraid of what I might find.  Facebook has become riddled with landmines of stark negativity, and hatred.  There seems to be doom and gloom all around us.  Plus winter is stretching into spring and the gray days can be downright depressing.

But I like to smile.  Despite all of the nasty crap that is happening.

For years I have had the Optimist’s Creed, by Christian D. Larson, hanging up in my room.  Each morning as I dry my hair and drink my coffee I glance up at the words.  Sometimes I read a line or two.  Most days it is just a blur of non recognition, similar to the color of paint on the walls.  You see something often enough you stop seeing it.

My old teacher’s words brought up the first line of the Creed for me, making me stop and ponder.

“I promise myself to be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.”

I am an optimist.  I have been called a Polly Anna by some, and an idiot with my head in the sand by others.  I do see the glass as half full, and am grateful for the glass, and the lovely liquid inside.  The world looks brighter when I wear my rose colored glasses and I refuse to allow anything to disturb my peace of mind.

Happiness is an inside job.  I figured this one out a long time ago.  I realized that I had waited and waited, deferring my right to be happy until X, Y and Z happened.  But then X, Y and Z would happen and I would still not feel happy.  It didn’t take me long (only about 45 years or so) to figure out that what I needed to do was to make the decision to feel happy.  Nothing had to happen to make it so.  I could just wake up each morning, yawn, stretch and BELIEVE that today was a great day to be happy, and VOILA… I would be happy.

When the world turns upside down and I am inundated with the images of racism, fear, hatred, Trump, explosions, war, and, and, and….. I am not foolish enough to believe that by smiling I will save the world.  But, I am wise enough to know that by worrying, fretting and being frustrated  by things I have no control over, I am stealing peace from myself.

So despite what is happening in the world, I smile.  I choose peace.  I choose to continue to be optimistic, even if it seems foolish.

I choose to be stupidly happy.

And here is a song to help you be Stupidly Happy too.

Thank You For Being a Friend

Thank you for being a friend… The first lines of the theme music for Golden Girls. I used to watch the show occasionally, enjoying the sassy banter and cutting edge humor coming from the sweet old ladies. Just the other day I realized something unsettling. When the show premiered, one of the GGs was younger than I am right now.

*gasp*

The others were older of course, by at least 10 years, but not Blanche. When I realized this, I spent some time hyperventilating, but after calming down I did take comfort in the fact that Blanche was a sexy beast.

The show was popular for a lot of reasons, but for me the most important appeal was the relationships between the women. Adult friendship, simple and complex, becomes more and more important as we grow into our golden years (which are still DECADES away, of course, but I like to plan ahead). Our kids grow up and fly the nest, making lives of their own. Our spouse, if we are lucky, can be one of our closest friends. But it is that intricate, beautiful coming together of fabulous women that fills me up and makes my heart sing.

Setting the clear intention last year to find likeminded friends, I realized the other night, as I ate deep fried pickles and drank beer with my “knitting” club, that my wishes had been fulfilled, and beyond my wildest dreams. My life has become rich and abundant with friends. Beautiful women gathering to laugh and talk, cry and hug, love and accept each other unconditionally. It is with our friends that we can drop the roles we play: Mom, Wife, Employee, Daughter… and simply be who we are.

I have been told that it is more difficult to make friends as we get older. A year ago I would have agreed with that statement. Today I would beg to differ. There are so many of us who are hoping to find each other. We just need to know where to look. Here are a few tricks I have learned along the way:

  1. Begin by saying yes. If you are invited anywhere to do anything, instead of caving to the lure of the sweatpants, Netflix and no bra, get dressed and go do the thing that you are invited to do. Put the effort to show up. Proximity is a breeding ground for friendships.
  2. Join stuff. Volunteer, sign up for a painting class, go to yoga, join a book club. There is a lot going on in every community. Put yourself out there and join things. You will meet so many new and interesting people that there are bound to be some kindred souls just waiting to be discovered.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone. Reach out to others. Invite someone for coffee. Go audition for community theatre. By being brave and stepping outside of the comfort zone, we are showing the Universe that we are making a concerted effort to create what we hope to see. The Universe is really great at meeting us more than half way. Taking steps in the direction of what we want always sets things in motion.
  4. Smile. You are beautiful when you smile. People are attracted to your gorgeous energy. By smiling you turn on your inner light so that others can really see you. Know that everything you are imagining is on its way to you now, so you have a very good reason to smile.

I love each circle of friends that I have. My book club, where we drink wine and rarely talk about books. My spiritual gang of fabulous, awakening souls. The Knitters who sometimes even remember to bring something to knit. The theatre types who bond so tightly during productions we feel like family. Old friends who have seen me through so many years of triumphs, tragedies and change. New friends who spend hours discovering each other’s stories. We cherish one another and shine brighter because we are together. Maybe we really are … the Golden Girls.

We’ve travelled down the road and back again. Your heart is true you’re a pal and a confidant.

Thank you for being a friend.

 

Cool feature image created by http://mcillustrator.deviantart.com/art/golden-girls-167641303

Lyrics quoted are from Andrew Gold’s Thank you for Being a Friend

The Living is Easy

Image by: My American Husband, Walt Babinski
Image by: My American Husband, Walt Babinski

As originally published in e-Know.

Your Halo-Scopes for July 5 to 11, 2015

For the beginning of the week, Sunday and Monday:

Queen of Ariel

Summer time, and the living is easy. During the beginning of the week we have a rare opportunity to dwell in the present moment and really just chillax. All of our “shoulds” are set aside for a few days as we spend some time doing whatever we truly want to do. We are encouraged to enjoy the company of friends and family and are given the opportunity now to do that very thing. Throw some food in the picnic basket and head out to someplace beautiful. Bask in the glory that IS summer in British Columbia.

For the middle of the week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday:

Peace

This is a time of great transformation on earth and for each of us personally. During mid week we begin to really move forward on our new, exciting adventure. It is a time of personal evolution. We are coming into our own and our soul purpose is becoming more and more clear. To facilitate the fastest and easiest transformation, allow yourself to let go of the outcome and trust that everything is happening as it should. It is easier than we may think, to transform from a caterpillar into a butterfly. Peace, babies.

For the weekend, Friday and Saturday:

Ten of Michael

Free at last! Freedom is ours at last! By the weekend we clearly see our new opportunities and are ready to put the past behind us. New avenues for happiness begin to present themselves and we are ready to take this thing to the next level. Moving on can sometimes bring a melancholy or sadness. Honor those feelings, but try not to dwell. Bigger, better, brighter times are ahead for us. Prepare to be amazed.

This week’s Halo-Scopes were inspired by the Archangel Power Tarot Deck by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine.

Want to try a personal, one on one Angel Reading?  Now is the perfect time!  Take advantage of the Super Exciting Summer Special by Clicking HERE NOW.

 

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

Facebook: Friend or Foe? – pieces of me.

Oh Facebook, you soul sucking monster, how I have missed you.  Well maybe that is a bit of an overstatement.  I have missed the sense of community that you offer.  I have missed hearing about what my friends and relatives are up to in their lives.  And I miss hearing about world events, because as difficult as this is to admit, Facebook is where I get my news.   Crazy but true.  (The real news is just far too depressing, you see).

By and By, Lord

My Grandma was a cool old bird. She told stories, laughed easily and heartily, was a terrible cook but a gifted quilter. She played piano by ear and all we would have to do was hum a few bars and she would pick it up right away. We would sing along for hours and she never seemed to get tired. She took us camping and taught us to play cribbage. She was a terrible gossip but mixed names up so much that it was a harmless pursuit, as nobody knew who had done what to whom after she’d mixed things up so badly. She was joyful and full of life. She devoured Harlequin Romances, sometimes reading 2 or 3 in a day, and would tell me all of the juicy bits, whispering with scandalized glee.

I had the privilege, in my early 20s to look after Grandma while my grandfather was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack. Grandma had heart troubles of her own, so leaving her alone was not an option. At the time I doubt I would have called it a “privilege”. It was summer and all of my friends were back home from University. There were parties and celebrations, beach days and all manner of shenanigans, and there I was on the other side of the province, taking care of my grandmother. But I loved her, and my grandfather had asked. I would never even consider saying no to such a kind, generous and loving man. He was my hero, after all.

Our days were simple. They would start with me waking up, usually around 8 am. As a young adult my preference would have been to sleep until past noon, but each day, as the birds began to sing, Grandma would wander into my room, sit on the side of my bed and start talking. She would talk and talk and keep on talking until I would finally open my eyes and rise for the day ahead.

After eating our breakfast she would have me set her hair in pin curls, preparing for our daily visit to see Grandpa. Even after more than 50 years of marriage she still wanted to look her best before seeing him, making sure her lipstick was straight, her Evening In Paris perfume dabbed on each wrist and behind each ear, and her shiny polyester dress was tidy.

One day as I was winding her white hair into tiny curls, Grandma told me something that has had a lasting and profound effect on my life. She told me that as she had gotten older, as her peers had passed on she had reached a point in her life when nobody called her by her given name anymore. She was “mom”, “grandma”, “Mrs. Burley”… and even Grandpa called her “Mother”. She said it so matter-of-factly, as if she were mentioning that she’d given some old coats to the Thrift Store.

I was appalled! How could something like that happen? To my young, burgeoning feminist ways it seemed as if her true identity had been washed away, leaving only the masks she wore. I couldn’t imagine living my life where nobody actually saw the real me. I swore to myself then and there that I would never let that happen to me.

I am older now and my understanding is deeper. I answer to “mom” and “mrs”, “ma-am” and “aunty”. No “grandma” yet, (which is good because my girl is only 17. I am more than willing to wait for that honor). My husband calls me “Sweetie” and has only ever called me by my given name when speaking of me to another person.

But I am still most certainly, Brenda. You see I have discovered the secret to keeping in touch with the very essence of who I am, outside of the roles I play. The real Me, who was born during youthful slumber parties, who once went skinny dipping in Cottonwood River with my best friends, who remembers falling in love for the first time then having my heart broken… Real, open, funny, vulnerable, feisty and crazy Brenda, has been kept alive and well. It’s been pretty simple, really, to keep in touch with that crazy chick. Here’s my secret:

I have girlfriends. A whole great big circle of them.

I have some I share all my dreams with. I have a few who are as crazy and weird as I am. There are friends I’ve known for decades, yet never met face to face. Some friends share my passion for reading and we talk for hours about the books we love as if they are beloved children. I have my foodie friends and we love to share our passion for all things delicious and juicy. I have friends who lean on me. And I have friends I lean on. We tell each other secrets and then we keep them. We get together in groups, or pairs to laugh and to cry, to hold each other up and keep each other from falling. We celebrate each other’s successes and soothe each other’s disappointments. We are always on each other’s side and we will gladly hate each other’s enemies. We tell each other that we are the best singer/dancer/juggler in the world, even when our talents are questionable. We sing each other’s praises and as our nests empty we teach each other how to fly.

We are a circle so strong and vast and magical that we will ever be unbroken.   My girlfriends, who have seen all of the facets of who I am and love me anyways, I keep them close and cherish each one, for I know that to be truly seen as only our friends can see us is a gift.

And by and by, when time disappears and we are able to reach across the veil, my grandmother will join us. We will open our circle and our arms to embrace her and sing out together: “Welcome, Hazel”!

Lessons from the Mountains

Just up the road a bit
Just up the road a bit

I’ve never met a mountain I didn’t love.  Here are a few things living in the mountains has taught me:

  1. The steeper the climb, the better the view.
  2. There are many paths, each equal in its ability to take you to the top.
  3. What you send out will echo back to you.
  4. Looking down on someone else is only useful if you are reaching to help them up.
  5. The view from the top puts a lot of things in perspective.
  6. The climb is always worth it.
  7. They will forever remind you to follow every rainbow, til you find your dream.

Here are a few of my mountains:

fisher Steeples

Building Castles

“If you have built castles in the sky, Let not your dreams go to waste; Just build the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau 

I sometimes get really tired of being a grown up.  I have always had a vivid imagination but as a grown up I have learned to logic and doubt my way out of almost all of my wildest fantasies.  And I really miss those fantasies, dammit.

So I have decided to stop being such a kill joy to my own imagination.  To that end I have given myself a project this year.  I love to journal and normally I write about things I am grateful for, or about esoteric spiritual ideals and guidance.  But for now I have decided that I am going to free myself from any and all limitations.  I will begin each day by writing about the day I could be living if there were no limitations.

If I had all of the money, time, freedom and permission to live the life of my wildest dreams, where would I be today, and what would I do?  No limits is the only rule.  I write a page or two first thing in the morning.  I don’t have to share it with anyone, unless I really want to.  And you know what?  It is so much fun!  Yesterday I got a book contract and a movie deal!  The day before that I went swimming with the dolphins in Maalaea Bay, Maui.  Tomorrow I am planning a moonlight hike up the ruins at Machu Picchu, and I am pretty sure I will see a few UFOs circling in the sky above.

This little exercise is turning out to be the very best 15 minutes of my day.

Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about the power of imagination to create the life you want in his book Wishes Fulfilled.  He says “keep in mind this basic axiom – if all that now exists was once imagined, then what you want to exist for you in the future must now be imagined.”  So this is my intention:  I will untether my dreams and let them be as wild and fantastic as they can be.  I will allow myself the freedom to imagine a life for myself beyond the ordinary.  I will allow my imagination, in all of its beauty, to guide me to a most extraordinary life.

As a (reluctant) grown up I do understand that not every dream will come true.  But as a dreamer, I plan to at least give the universe a plethora of imaginings to choose from.  I may be creating a whole new reality for myself or I may simply be building castles in the sky.  Either way you look at it, castles in the sky are sure to improve the view, don’t you think?

And a final thought from another favorite Dr. of mine:

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.”  Dr. Seuss