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Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Red Roses Dozens of long-stemmed red roses sit on my kitchen table. The gift of these magnificent flowers symbolizes love, but for me they also represent a passage of time. I am a firm believer that every birthday is special and should be celebrated without hesitation. With another big milestone birthday under my belt this week, I remain philosophical. Getting old does not scare me, but the mere thought of not being true to myself, of living an unauthentic life, does. I may no longer be “younger than springtime,” but there’s still plenty of spring in my step, enough curiosity to keep me engaged in the world around me, and an immeasurable amount of space in my heart with which to welcome love and joy.

#1 – Never Stop
25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing For Yourself No matter how old you are, you need to strive to be true to yourself. Along that line, Marc and Angel’s list of 25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing for Yourself, is an excellent reminder for all of us.

#2 – Simple Beauty Tips
Beauty Tips Some of the best beauty products are right under your nose and in your kitchen. According to InStyle, “Honey has exfoliating natural enzymes and is loaded with humectants, which reduce the loss of moisture.” Check out InStyle’s 20 Timeless Skin-Care Tips to learn about other simple beauty tips.

#3 – Art and Our Inner Child
Javier Perez Ecuadorian graphic designer Javier Pérez, brings out the inner child in all of us when he combines everyday objects with a few touches of his own to create whimsical scenes. Check out his fun Instagram Experiments series.

#4 – Wonders Around The World
Iguazu Falls View breathtaking wonders around the world in spectacular high resolution by taking 360° virtual tours at AirPano. Scroll through the selection of sights at the bottom of the page and select which attraction you would like to “travel” to. For maximum enjoyment, watch in full screen mode. Listen to the enchanting background music as the camera pans through each scene. Click on different icons that appear on the screen to enter rooms or to view scenes from different angles. Simply incredible! To see the complete list of virtual tours, click here.

#5 – The Fountain of Youth
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
Sophia Loren

Enjoy your weekend! Now go and spread joy!

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Double JoyA thoughtful gift of a plant with two garden stakes multiplies my joy every morning. As someone who enjoys nature and who has an affection for birds, I clearly appreciate the plant and the whimsical hummingbird. But knowing that my personal mantra is “Spread Joy,” my friend also gave me a garden stake with the word “joy” on it. What she doesn’t know is that every morning, when the bright eastern sun shines on my backyard, my joy doubles!

#1 – Napkin Notes
Napkin Notes A man named Garth writes words of encouragement on napkins before placing them in his daughter Emma’s lunch box. As a dedicated dad, he has been giving her these napkin notes, since she was in the second grade. But now, after being diagnosed with a cancer that gives him only an 8% chance of living beyond 5 years, Garth is accelerating his note-writing. He plans to write an additional 826 napkin notes, so that Emma will continue to receive notes in her lunch box after he is gone until she graduates from high school. Read about Garth and Emma’s inspirational story and check out their Facebook page.

#2 – Mother, Art, and Climate Change
Zaria Forman: Art and Climate Change Rena Bass Forman, an artist and photographer, conceived an idea to retrace the 1869 Arctic trip of American painter William Bradford, but unfortunately she did not live long enough to realize her dream. Her daughter Zaria Forman, a Brooklyn-based artist, fulfilled a promise she made to her late mother by leading an expedition called Chasing the Light up the northwest coast of Greenland. This trip inspired many realistic pastel drawings of icebergs. In an interview posted on My Modern Met, Ms. Forman says, “My hope is that these drawings bring awareness, and invite viewers to share the urgency in a hopeful and meaningful way. Art can facilitate a deeper understanding of any crisis, helping us find meaning and optimism in shifting landscapes.” Ms. Forman also traveled to the Maldives, the lowest-lying country in the world, to continue her focus on climate change. Below are links to see more of her incredible artwork:

Exploring Climate Change Through Art: Giant Pastel Oceanscapes and Icebergs Drawn By Zaria Forman

Zaria Forman Website.

#3 – A Hum a Day Keeps Stress Away
"Flying" Hum Want to begin the day in peaceful calm or end your day completely relaxed? Or do mid-afternoons present the most stressful moments? In any case, all you need to do is hum. Check out Osmosis, a “Frequency-shaped Meditation Drone Generator. The site reads, “Humming enhances breath control and extends exhalation. It also creates deep vibrations inside your chest, helping you to relax, ease stress, and balance your mind and body.” Locate the steady hum behind the soothing tinkling of bells and hum along. Feel better?

#4 – Valentine’s Day Upcycled
Upcycled Gift Boxes Not wanting to rush the year along, but Valentine’s Day is only two weeks away! Instead of buying heart-related stuff at your local craft store, how about upcycling something you already have around your house? Start by making these lace-inspired gift containers, made with plastic containers that previously held powdered drink pouches.

#5 – Joy Follows
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
Guatama Buddha

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Fallen Oak With a lonely heave, a small oak tree fell across a pathway. People walked around the “nuisance,” refusing to break their stride. It was as if a fallen tree was an everyday impediment. No one paused long enough to admire its beauty, even in its sad state, or to show appreciation for the gifts it had bestowed upon the earth during its lifetime. No one mourned its loss–except for, perhaps, one. That one stooped down low and touched the tree. As her gaze followed her fingers, something caught her attention. A random broken twig, bound tightly to the tree by delicate lichens, resembled a cross.

#1 – Make a Difference
Make a Difference Day Making a difference in the lives of people and in the world should be an everyday happenstance, but sometimes people need a little push or added motivation to get involved. To that end, an official day has been declared. Make a Difference Day is on October 26th this year. To learn how to register a project or to find ways you can help, click on the link for more information. If you want to search for an organized project in your area click here and insert your zip code or city in the box. Large or small, your participation can make a whole world of difference.

#2 – Sit!
30 Places You'd Rather Be Sitting Right NowFor those of you who sit for many hours on the job, you’ll enjoy scrolling through 30 Places You’d Rather Be Sitting Right Now . I guarantee you that all of the seats offer more fun and excitement than your desk chair!

#3 – One Great Costume
 Operation Game Costume Remember the board game Operation in which participants would pretend to be surgeons and try to remove plastic “body parts” with a pair of tweezers? Well, a creative person figured out a way to make the Operation game into a costume. It’s clever, it’s fun, and it’s interactive!

#4 – There’s Pumpkin on Your Face
6 DIY Pumpkin Face Mask RecipesPacked with essential vitamins and minerals, pumpkins are good for your body inside and out. Along with your favorite edible pumpkin recipes, add these 6 DIY Pumpkin Face Mask Recipes to your collection of homemade beauty recipes.

#5 – Live Your Life
“Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself.”
Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Indian Chief

GO NOW AND SPREAD JOY!

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kids in Santa hats
Eleven years ago my husband and I took our kids for their annual holiday portrait. Getting them attired for this event was never an easy task, especially the older they got. As we sat and waited for our turn at the photo studio, my family watched other portraits being taken. By the time the photographer called our names, my kids were more than ready to go home. The photographer must have read “Photography Poses 101” or something like that, because he put my kids through the normal repertoire of poses and then uttered, “Okay, you’re done.” That’s when my oldest son said, “Can we get in that?” For an hour he’d been watching little kids being photographed with all sorts of props, but one prop, in particular, caught his imagination – a large plastic pair of Santa pants. The photographer paused to think about the question for a minute. I could tell he thought this prop was only for little kids, but he finally said “Okay.” My three kids voluntarily donned Santa hats and giggled as they crammed into the pants. The boys laughed while they pulled Santa’s suspenders over their shoulders. Everyone in the studio stopped to look at them and we all laughed at the silly sight. What a joyful moment it was and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

#1 – 82 Blessings
Children embody hope, unconditional love, and wonderment. Because children are gifts to be cherished and they are our gifts to the world, we need to nourish them and care for them physically and emotionally.  From the blog Finding Joy comes a list of 82 Blessings for Kids. Read the entire list for the children in your life and for the child in you.

#2 – Looking for Butterflies
butterfly In an article titled Finding Joy, author Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW, based her essay on the saying, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over . . . it became a butterfly.” Although she writes articles on healing postpartum depression, her words and the saying apply to anyone coping with issues. She writes about looking for the “butterflies” in life: What is a butterfly? It’s a moment of pure joy. It’s an instant in time when everything feels right. It’s a thing or a look or a feeling, a sense or an energy that grabs us from behind, often when we are not looking. Most of the time, it is fleeting. Sometimes, it rests right in front of us. We cannot see it if we do not look for it. If we aren’t mindful, we will miss it; it will be gone. If we find it, it’s exquisite.

#3 – Finding Joy In My Kitchen
white chocolate popcorn White Chocolate Popcorn, anyone? This and other tasty edible gifts can be found via links from the blog Finding Joy In My Kitchen.

#4 – Enjoy the Moment and the Music
No hip hop dancing was performed during this flash mob in Sabadell, Spain. More than 100 members of symphonies and choirs participated in this event which has been called by some people, “The most beautiful they have ever seen.”

#5 – Be Joyful
“Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of Joy and just be Joyful.”
Anonymous

Have a joyous holiday!

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Frank Ocean quote In the yin and the yang of life, dark cannot exist without light. Joy surrounds us everyday, but some days we relish it, some days we ignore it, and some days we have to dig deeper to uncover it. On a day-to-day basis, many emotions can overwhelm and mask the joy. But as dark, as sad, as pained, or as impassive as we feel, we must strive to find the yang in our lives – the light that keeps us going, the gratitude for what we have, and all the joy that exists in our lives.

#1 – Finding the Key to Empowerment
Singer Alicia Keys wrote an inspirational guest editorial on What It Means to Be Empowered. Here’s an excerpt, but you’ll want to read it in its entirety:

To be empowered to me means finding our own way every day– learning more about ourselves so we can be honest and bold in our choices and actions, and not let anyone deafen the voice that whispers within us to help us find our direction. Trust yourself! No one knows you better than you and it’s truly a beautiful thing!

#2 – The New Old
pumpkins made from old sweaters More ideas for upcycling, but his time it’s all about sweaters! Whether old, out-dated, or too small, you’ll want to hang on to some of those sweaters after you see these 30 Easy and Cuddly DIY Ideas for Recycling Old Sweaters.

#3 – Circle the Cat
How hard can it be to block a “cat” from jumping off a rectangle of green dots? Pretty darn hard! I played this addictive Circle the Cat computer game a few times with zero success. If you beat the game, let me know how you did it!

#4 – With A Little Thread . . .

Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam play structure

Photo by Masaki Koizumi

Crocheting is not just for old ladies! Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, a Japanese fiber artist, noticed children jumping on one of her pieces of artwork and decided to take that concept to another level. Using her crocheting skills, she created a colorful, large-scale, play structure for children. See more of her incredible structures here.

#5 – Starlight
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Find joy this weekend.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Drag.

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Valentine’s Day is all about love and hearts. Reflecting on Zelda Fitzgerald’s quote, if there is no way to measure how much a heart can hold, do you really think you’re as happy as you can be and that life just couldn’t possibly get any better? With no degree in psychology or certificate in counseling, I offer you ways to open your heart, so it can receive more.

1. Love Yourself
If you don’t love yourself, how can you fully love others? I’m referring to love, not in a narcissistic way, but in a respecting, accepting, and valuing way. Buddha once wrote, “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” Think about it, if you don’t love yourself, are you capable of loving or valuing someone else?

2. Share Your Dreams
When you share your dreams with others, you open up a conversation about the “whats” and “whys” in your life. After sharing, your dreams may have an increased clarity and focus. Think of this sharing as a brainstorming session. The universe is listening and the “hows” of your life will surely fall in place. Plant your garden of dreams, tend to it carefully with the help of others and watch how it grows.

3. Love and Forgiveness
When you forgive someone, you open your heart. It’s often easier to lock up your heart and throw away the key when it is injured. Julia Redstone’s essay on Forgiveness sheds light on learning how to forgive. Here is an excerpt from her essay:

At the root of the difficulty in learning to forgive someone is mistaking the action of a person for their being, and not seeing that the two are separate.

Actions that people take are often wrong, misguided, or harmful to others, and these must be opposed or limited to the extent that is needed to protect the welfare and well-being of others.

But souls are composed of much more than their current actions, whether good or bad, even if these actions have gone on for a long time, and even if they are very severe.

Souls need to be judged on different grounds altogether. In order to judge a soul we must know that soul – something that in the most basic sense is not in the human province to do. We must be able to see the causes and reasons – the formative influences that permit a soul to carry out actions that are wrong. . . .

To stand in judgment of others, whether these others be individuals, groups, nations, or the world, implies a willingness to stand in the present while asking the past to justify itself. To forgive others, on the other hand, implies a willingness to stand in the future in viewing the past, while asking what possible future could redeem the past, changing its present course and bringing it more into alignment with what is right and good.

This is the place on which love stands, for love has hope for all possible futures for individual persons and for the world as a whole. Love does not rely on the present context of viewing mistakes, no matter what these mistakes are. It says: How can I bring the beloved one into a deeper knowing of the light that lies within them so that past darkness can be no more?

4. Help Others
There is probably no better way to open your heart than by helping others. When you help others, you help yourself. Studies have shown that those who help others are happier and less depressed than those who don’t. Stephen Post, PhD and co-author of the book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People wrote, “When you’re experiencing compassion, benevolence, and kindness, they push aside the negative emotions. One of the best ways to overcome stress is to do something to help someone else.” So when you’re feeling down and out, volunteer at a senior center, give money to a homeless person, adopt a pet from a shelter, etc. You’ll not only feel better, you’ll test just how much your heart can hold and perhaps, start in motion, a chain of opened hearts.

5. Just Listen
Open your heart to the words of others. People talk to you all day long and you probably selectively choose who and what you want to listen to. Listening is a skill and to be a good listener you’ve got to go beyond the words being spoken. Put yourself in the speaker’s shoes and try not to judge what is being said. Don’t formulate a response in your head and don’t agree or disagree. Merely give the person the gift of your undivided attention and the validation he needs.

6. The Freedom to Be Yourself
Allow yourself the freedom to be yourself or be true to yourself. How can you possess an open heart, if you are not living an authentic life? If you feel the need to continually censor what you do or say, you are either not comfortable with who you are or who you are with. To speak your truth should not be confused with permission to be disrespectful or rude to others, but it is to live a life free of any disguises or acts.

7. Live with Joy
Live your life with joy. Go outdoors and soak in the large and small wonders of nature. Use all of your senses – see, touch, taste, smell, and hear the world around you. Listen to music. Play a musical instrument. Sing. Dance. Run. Create something, anything. Laugh out loud. Smile from ear to ear. Feel deeply. Share. Open your heart. Love.

Note: Inspirational photo made using one of my photos and iPiccy.

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The world’s other 6,993,541,793 human inhabitants are more like you than you think. People’s emotions, actions and reactions are not so different from one part of the world to another. Cultural and religious customs do exist, but smiling, kissing, and hugging are among the many emotional gestures people around the world share. So the next time you deem someone as “different,” consider all that you have in common, rather than the few differences that separate you.

#1 – What Is It?
The photo above looks like something from outer space, so what in the world is it? Call it what you like: Romanesco, broccoli Romanesco, Romanesco broccoli, broccoflower, Romanesco cauliflower (North America), Romanesco cabbage (French), or broccolo Romanesco (Italian), but whatever you call it, call it delicious! Fresh Romanesco is loaded with Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. The next time you see Romanesco in the market, widen your culinary world and buy it. Prepare it as if you were cooking broccoli or cauliflower – just don’t overcook it!

#2 – Creative Projects
Mark your calendars for noon (EST) on February 24th and help document a global event. Join people from around the world and share a meal with them. Take a photo of you with your meal, mail it to the Art House Co-Op, and be part of an exhibition of people and their food. While you’re signing up for the Meal Project on the Co-Op’s website, check out its other creative community projects: Letters to Home, where you write a letter to your childhood home, and the Sketchbook Project, where artists across the globe donate their sketchbooks to the Brooklyn Art Library to provide artistic inspiration to the public.

#3 – Spread the Mood
According to CEO Peter Bregman, moods are as contagious as colds. In his article “How to Use Your Super Power for Good,” he recounts how his mood changed one day from bad to good based on his encounters with different people. Here’s a quote from the article that focuses on his analogy of moods spreading like colds: Look at it this way: If you catch a cold from someone, does that mean you can go around sneezing on everyone else? You might be able to blame your mood on someone else, but you’re still responsible for what you pass to others . . . Know your emotions, be in touch with your moods, and think of them like the common cold. If you feel infected by bad cheer, take a deep breath, recognize how you’re feeling, and choose not to pass it on. If everyone practiced this philosophy, think about the collective difference it could make in the world.

#4 – In a Galaxy Far, Far Away . . .
Photographer Royce Blair captured some of the most awe-inspiring images of the effervescent-looking Milky Way juxtaposed against some of the iconic landscape features of Utah. If you need an escape from work during the day, just sit and gaze at these breath-taking wonders of nature. You’ll soon feel more relaxed!

#5 – Wisdom of the Universe
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
Joseph Campbell

Why not listen to what the universe is saying to you this weekend? Have a great weekend!

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