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.

Confessions of a Control Freak

I came crashing through 2015, successfully navigating a year of craziness and tumult.  2016 dawned and I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking the mayhem was over and now things might settle down a bit.  I made a plan.  I would simplify.  Slow down.  Focus on what I love.  Maybe even nap once in awhile.

Want to know how to make God laugh?  Tell Her your plans.

Sure enough, the universe had other plans.  Within a week of the new year my life began to move in fast forward.  A new job, more clients,  new partnership opportunities, added volunteer commitments and on and on…. the big wheel keeps on spinning, faster and faster.  It is exhilarating, but when the heck do I get to nap?

And then the other shoe dropped.  My American Husband got laid off.  His job, linked just a bit too closely to the oil industry, is on temporary hiatus.  Or it may be permanent.  We won’t know for a few months.

After regaining our breath from this particular  sucker punch, the voice of reason kicked in.  We talked about what a great opportunity this may turn out to be.  This could be the perfect time to recreate our lives!  We could start a business… write a screenplay… maybe sell everything and become RV nomads, wandering the continental North America in search of adventure, or whatever comes our way.

Or maybe the Great Divine has something else in mind.  The lesson buried in this is one I have been facing over and over in the past several years.  And for a control freak like me, it is a challenging one.

I need to learn to trust.

That’s right.  I need to let go and just trust that something better is on its way.  My ego loves to step in and start organizing, managing options, making lists and flow charts, and basically giving the Universe my versions of how things should turn out.  We’ve come upon a blind corner on our life’s journey and I really want to figure out what is around the bend.

But I need to let all of that go.  I need to trust.

Oh shut up, voice-of-reason!  What do you know?

Just let it go.  Let it go….. (you can’t see me right now, but I am humming and swaying, hands in zen meditation mudras)

So I will do my best to let go and trust that things are breaking apart now so that they can come back together bigger, stronger, better than before.  I will trust that we are being guided to the next big thing.  Life is a constant flow of change and growth, and even though I can’t see around the corner, I know that this time of uncertainty holds treasures that I am already grateful for.

Because I can trust.

No you can’t.

Shh.  Yes I can.

This is me.  Letting go.

Ah! I See You Have the Machine that goes ‘ping’.

There is a certain sense, somewhere between terror and exhilaration, that assails me each time I drive up to my brother’s cabin in Montana.  The cabin is nestled on rolling hills overlooking a lake, with an absolutely stunning view of Chief Mountain.  Arguably the nicest view in my world and certainly in my top 3 ‘happy places’.

So why the terror?  The exhilaration?  Quite simply because there is no cell service or wifi at the cabin.  None.  Nada.  The devices we bring with us, connecting us to our network of social goings on, become nothing more than clunky timepieces for the time we are there.

It’s exhilarating!  And it’s terrifying.  And I love it all the more because of that.

What started out as a convenience, being able to keep in contact with my family, has become somewhat of an addiction.  I carry my phone with me everywhere.  Any simple or silly question I have is instantly answered as I open google and thumb type my search.  My social network rarely goes more than a few hours without me jumping in to catch up.  And what is called a ‘phone’ is very rarely used as such.

It isn’t until I am in a place where the device I have grown addicted to is useless that I understand the depth of that dependency.  And I realize, during those blissful weekends at the cabin that the stress of being in constant contact is an underlying anxiety that has become a normal part of my day to day life.

A few days ago I talked about getting back on track, and the 3 C’s that will help me with that.  One of those 3 C’s was Cut the Crap.  The device that has become glued to my hand, drawing my attention away from everything (and everyone) else, has got to go.  Don’t get me wrong… I won’t be chucking it into the river like some scene in a movie, walking away with inspiring music playing in the background as I victoriously raise my fists in the air.  No.  I need to keep the phone, if only to maintain communication with my teenager.  She speaks fluent text, and I don’t want to miss out on that.

But… I will be shutting it off.  A lot.  I realized recently that during the winter months, when the cabin is not accessible, I really miss those technology vacations.  It isn’t so much that the view at Duck Lake is spectacular (which it is).  It is that I am actually looking up and seeing something other than the dancing pixels on my iThing.  I wonder what wonders await if I try looking up in my day to day life.

Please believe me when I tell you in the next few months that I am not ignoring you, my phone is.  The important things in life are not ‘things’.  And my device is a ‘thing’ I intend to close the drawer on as often as possible.

The prospect is terrifying.

…..And exhilarating…

 

The Three C’s

One year ago yesterday I gave up. It was my birthday and I’d had it. Like pigpen’s ever expanding shroud of dust, I had so many bad habits trailing me through the years that I was ready to let go of all of it. And so I gave up. I gave up the stinking thinking that had kept me stuck. And I gave up the beliefs that I couldn’t re-create my life in such a way that would make me happy, fulfilled and living within my soul’s true purpose.

One year has passed and yesterday I took some time to contemplate where I am now, compared to where I was then. This time last year I was working at a job I truly disliked. I felt stuck and frustrated. Those feelings shaded all other parts of my existence so that I felt like life was dull and unexciting. I hadn’t shared much of my spiritual stuff with anyone, and knew that I was being asked to do more. But what? I was flummoxed. Confused. Frustrated.

So I gave up. And life has never been better.

One year later: I have left that job behind and began a soul based business offering services that felt in tune with my beliefs and gifts. My friend Erin and I started teaching soul classes on Tuesday nights at the coolest little Indie book store in the western world.  I jumped back into theatre, my first true passion, taking the leap into the Director’s chair and fulfilling a secret dream I’ve held since I was a tiny thespian. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and began reaching out to people, tentatively offering companionship, and now have a growing circle of beautiful souls I am honored to call friends.

Yes things are looking up. I am so happy with what has changed in the past year. The shadows of a half lived life are replaced by the full, technicolor glory of Living with a capital L.

And yet….

There is more to do. Like all organisms on this Earth school, even after times of huge growth and expansion, it is never okay to sit back and say: “Okay. I’m done. Now what’s on Netflix?” Resting is fine. Catching our breath is good. But wallowing, even in the successful stuff is never going to be okay. We are on a path of discovery. If we stop moving forward, we will stop discovering stuff.

Therefore, I am setting more intentions for myself for the coming year. I have 365 days until the next cake day, and I intend to LIVE LIFE. And here’s how… my three C’s for the coming year:

  1. Create.  Like the Universal All  -that-isness that created us, we are at our cores, creators. When we allow ourselves the freedom to be creative, we are truly expanding ourselves and the whole world. We make something from nothing. Our creation, whether it be a painting, a book, a sculpture, a sand castle, a song, an origami unicycle, or anything in between, offers the Universe another spark of who we are.  My creations this year will include several projects. A scarf that looks like a fox. One book finished and another started. A coloring book filled with magical mandalas. Discovered vegetarian cuisine created in my kitchen. A backyard turned into an urban farm. And so much more! As I create, it seems doors open and inspiration walks in, bringing more and more exciting ideas.

2. Cultivate Joy. I have come to understand in this spiritual quest of mine, that our one true purpose in this life is to find our joy. For years I attached a lot of conditions to feeling joy. I thought the accumulation of things (houses, cars, clothes, shoes, BOOKS) would bring joy along with them. And when I realized that wasn’t true, I thought that I could just destroy my pesky little ego and once that was done I would be living in supreme, unending joy.But here’s the thing. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, yes. But when we try to only live in that spiritual realm, we really miss out on the human stuff, which is what we are meant to experience. The duality of the human experience is that there are two sides to everything. Where there is shadow, there must be light. Where there is up there must be down. Where there is happy, there must be sad. And where there is good there has to be bad.

We attach judgment to our each experience. We feel so happy when the good stuff happens, and then so sad when the bad stuff happens. But it is in our perceiving and judgment that the “happy” and “sad” are created. What if we just allow each human experience to flow without attaching so much meaning to it?

Being thankful for the lessons, good, bad and ugly, can be challenging. But once we get the hang of it, the whole world begins to change. Our gratitude is the biggest and most important step in cultivating joy. We begin to understand that external circumstances no longer have the power to control us, and we are able to step off the rollercoaster ride of ups and downs and just bask in the perfection of the present moment.My first step in cultivating joy? Gratitude. I will endeavor to find reasons to be thankful for every moment of this life.

3.  Cut the Crap. Some days I seem to hit the snooze button all day long. Yes I get up and get moving, but really I am still half asleep. I stare at my computer for a few hours, mindlessly scrolling through posts and pictures and stories. I eat. I turn on Netflix. I drool. And then I go back to bed, having never fully awakened.Days, weeks and even months have passed with me barely being aware. Oh sure I have my moments of awareness, but lately I have been coasting along without much purpose.And so, with 365 days ahead of me in my new year, I have pledged to cut the crap and get busy living a full, awakened life. I will turn off the devices and turn on my excitement. And I will fill my moments with simple being-ness, instead of compulsively shoving mind numbing pixels into my brain cells.

Life is for living. This year I intend to step things up a notch. No more sitting on the side lines for me. I will take this ordinary life, and make it as extraordinary as I can.

Who’s with me?

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It has been a quiet summer for pastlifetourist.com, as a few of you may have noticed.  Maybe some of you imagined I had taken a leave of absence from life and was basking in the sun somewhere with a cool drink in hand and many cabana boys jumping to do my bidding.

Alas, no.

However, despite the lack of cabana boys and sandy beaches, I am happy to tell you that my summer has been quite spectacular.  Life changing really.

Funny thing happened.  Back when I was writing the Daily Halo and Weekly Halo-Scopes, the same messages kept coming up over and over and over.  Being the smart cookie that I am I eventually figured out that maybe those messages were meant for me, and not just the people who subscribed to them.

The messages were all the same.  Time to make a change.  Move on and follow your dreams.  Trust in the beauty of your dreams.  Make the leap of faith.

During that time I was working a day job that did not fulfill me, and being overscheduled, stressed and getting those nasty little frowny lines at the corners of my mouth.  Not a good thing.  So one day, while bemoaning my circumstances for the gajillionth time to my long suffering and patient American Husband, he said something that made absolute and perfect sense.

“Why don’t you just quit?  If you don’t try your healing business and writing now, when will you?”  What a wise guy, am I right?  If not now, when?

And so I gave notice at my job (which was a perfectly nice job, just not MY job) and jumped into a life of self employed exhilaration two weeks later.

Funny thing about taking a leap of faith:  every time I have taken the leap (every single time), my wings magically appear and I can fly.  Every.  Single.  Time.  And this was no exception.  As soon as I made my quiet little announcement on Facebook that I would be open for business, people started to show up.  And not just clients (though those have been coming in droves, for which I am eternally grateful!) but other people.  People I didn’t even know I would need, people who could be supportive or helpful, all started showing up, offering assistance.

 “If you advance confidently in the direction of your own dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unimagined in common hours.”  Henry David Thoreau

My days now consist of doing what feels right and important.  I work with clients doing Reiki, Regressions and Readings, and am blessed with a thriving practice.  I host workshops on angels, past lives, and all sorts of soul stuff with my beautiful friend Erin from clumsygrace.com .

I got to do readings at an Angel Tea Party this week!  Can you even imagine how fun that is?

And the coolest thing of all is that I have taken time this summer to finally finish my book, Pieces of Me, Memoirs of a Past Life Tourist, which will be released this fall.  Stay tuned to this space for exciting cover reveal and release dates.  (AAAHHHHH!!!!!!)

I am living the life of my dreams.  It took a long time to trust that I could make this change, but now that it’s done I wonder why the heck I didn’t do  it sooner.

So please my friends:  Anyone who is standing at the edge wondering if it is safe to finally jump… go for it.  Leap with all of your mighty faith and feel those beautiful wings appear.  They’ve been there all along, just waiting for a chance to fly.