The Happiness Project

Milestones: My 100th Post

Posted on May 28th, 2012 by & filed under A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz, The Happiness Project

Considering the Zen Theory of Change which says,

I free myself not by trying to free myself
but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself
in the very moment in which I am imprisoning myself.

I have been freed!

May 28, 2012

This weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, I am thrilled to celebrate the 100th post on my blog: http://mizmeliz.com!

I have learned so much and have met so many amazing people in the past six months! It has been a remarkable journey, so far. I want to pause and reflect on all the people who have paved the way and who have stood by and cheered me on. I know there is much, much more in store for me. I want to take a moment and really thank all of you for making this a reality for me!

This is a chronicle of the experiences I have had since I started blogging. I know it’s small beans relatively speaking but they are my experiences and I treasure them and I believe in celebrating each moment. This is how I have made a mark on my tiny corner of the Universe. These first few months have made a positive change in my life. Indulge me if I get carried away here. . .

The First Steps

I wouldn’t have continued with blogging seriously if it weren’t for the nudging of a fellow school parent and church friend, Ricca Frances 1. Who invited me to the group So Cal Lady Bloggers in October 2011. Ricca, who writes at http://www.sprmama.blogspot.com/ further encouraged me when she told me that she reads my blog and she considers me to be a prolific writer! Thanks to Ricca’s faith in me, I have been accepted by some wonderful communities and influential groups in the blogging world.

I cannot thank these ladies enough! Megan McClain 2, Carolyn West 3, Sidney Patrick 4, Wendy Nielson 5, Meagan Elliott 6, Beverly Diehl 7, Trina Finton 8, and AJ Feuerman 9 (and everyone at So Cal Lady Bloggers) for their advice and encouragement. I have enjoyed the meet ups, the conversations, the laughs and the education that they have gifted me with during our brief interludes. Thanks to all of them for showing me the ropes and for including me in their endeavors. It can only get better! I am looking forward to my induction into the wonderful world of blogging conferences and spending more time with you all IRL!

So Cal Lady Bloggers

Burbank Meet Up of So Cal Lady Bloggers

Megan, who writes at http://sunshinewonderland.com was the first person who asked me “What is your niche?” I realize now what a difference knowing the answer to that question makes.

Thanks to Carolyn, who writes at http://thistalkaintcheap.com I had the opportunity to attend a book signing and appearance of Jenny Lawson 10/http://thebloggess.com/hosted by Soleil Moon Frye 11 of http://moonfrye.com/ that made me laugh like crazy, buy the book, and enjoy every minute of reading it which inspired me to further pursue my own desire to write a book!

Sidney, of http://www.milbetweenus.com/ , will always be remembered for organizing the first meet up I attended. I was concerned about the first impression I made after having suggested she add time for cocktails (because I knew I would be nervous and would need a drink) and after exchanging our business cards, realizing we both had the same exact design. After the initial shock of the “showing up in the same dress” feeling wore off, I felt validated that I had a really cool business card just like Sidney’s!

Wendy of http://www.wendywillblog.com/ and Meagan of http://www.beyondthebandaids.com/ taught me what a linky is and allowed me to participate in their Happiness Project on their website, http://www.chronicallydistracted.com/! Thanks to them, I was challenged to produce my first (and only) vlog post on YouTube!

Beverly, from http://writinginflow.blogspot.com/ has inspired me to write what I love. I love her because she is in a niche that I wish I had the balls to be in and she inspires me to be myself when I write and to let the creativity flow freely.

I am grateful for Trina, from http://www.shesgeekyinc.com who thoughtfully dressed in yellow, showed me the way, and gave me direction – quite literally – when I got lost in Beverly Hills while looking for the The Blogess! She was so kind and watched out for me, a total stranger!

AJ, who writes http://confessionsofafatgirl.typepad.com/ is my soul mate in many ways and I am so proud of her because she articulates thoughts and feelings that I have had my entire life that I still have not dared to write about as candidly as she has on her blog.

To Sugar Jones 12 , of http://www.sugarjonesblog.com/, Jessica Bern 13 of http://bernthis.com/wordpress/ and Debbie Anderson 14 of http://twofunnybrains.com/ thank you for including me in a small way in your important and fun adventures! I had the rare opportunity to be an extra on an episode of Blog This. Sugar, thanks especially to you for helping me see my Latinability and for accepting me the way I am. Thanks to you ladies, I can say that I never considered myself to be a Latina Blogger before, but now I can proudly say I play one on First Run TV! https://www.facebook.com/BlogThisSeries

Off-Roading is Fun!

I am grateful for the opportunity to express myself creatively through writing and photography and I am much happier since I decided to take this turn in the road. In the past six months I have jumped around and explored many of my lifelong interests. I have been especially creative and I have had so much fun with it! From making jewelry, crocheting scarfs, making key chains and bookmarks with feathers, scrapbooking, drawing, face painting, sewing costumes, and decorating Easter eggs, to making videos and editing pictures using digital photography and iPhone apps – my hobbies and interests are extensive. There have been quite a few bumps in the road, but as any adventurer/thrill-seeker knows, that is what makes things interesting.

Special thanks to all the creatives who have accepted me into their fold, added me to their closed and secret Facebook groups and made me feel like a crafter, an artist, a photographer, a writer, a super mom, a super wife, a super friend, even a muse – – all of the things that I know I am, but now have incorporated into my bio. Because of you, I am being recognized outwardly for the things that I have cherished inside of me for so long!

I am proud to have had the pleasure of exploring the crazy avenues of life online as a member of some special groups on Facebook. Because of this I have found myself having heart to heart chats with the most talented and creative people I have ever met and would never have met if it weren’t for the “inter webs!”

It all started with Sue Dribben-Dicksen 15 (Abingdon) who I didn’t know in high school to unknowingly mentor me as a writer on Create a Story and Book Talk. http://aspiefolks.blogspot.com/

Sue then referred me to Susanne Bal Balyemez 16 http://peppysposts.com (Philadelphia) who made me a member of her Girl’s Treehouse Advisory Board and allowed me to share my inner thoughts and advice with a group blessed with so many spiritual, caring and thoughtful women.

Susanne then refered me to The Atelier where I found myself amongst some of the most incredible artists like Amy Kalabsa-Garcia 17 (Chicago) http://amykgarciaart.wordpress.com/ and Harold Rantasa 18 (Austria) http://www.art-rantasa.com/ who have shared their original works of art with me and allowed me to use it freely on my newly designed blog site.

Amy Garcia’s rendition of me. . . The Muse 2012

Susanne also referred me to The Cooks Corner where I pretend that I can cook so I can hang out with my BFIRL (best friend in real life) Holly Markman 19, private chef and owner of Holly’s Homemade. Holly has used some of my pictures on her website and I help to promote her endeavors. (So, shameless plug here – if you need a chef, a consultation or would like to take classes stop by http://www.hollyshomemade.com/)

Returning to a Familiar Territory

Somewhere around this time I started taking pictures of flowers and food while on all of my adventures. Shortly after I got married (about a million years ago) I took a college extension course in photography. I loved taking pictures and considered photo journalism as an area of interest. My mother-in-law gave me a beautiful Nikon SLR and I learned about aperture, depth of field and the basics of amateur photography. I put the passion for photography on hold for a while and only recently re-discovered it when I began taking pictures with my cell phone.

I joined Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr. I post my pictures of flowers that I edit and I enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoy taking them.

Miz Meliz Photography Copyright Melissa Reyes 2012

Photography by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2012

I met a photographer/artist who had inspired me years ago at an event and thanks to my new-found confidence; I introduced myself as a blogger/photographer. Now I have a mentor and I am collaborating with the inspirational and talented Elizabeth Thoman, CHM 20. Liz has a made a beautiful contribution to healing the sick by using her photography of flowers to help people in hospitals pray and enjoy their beauty http://healingpetals.com/. Liz has been recognized for her lifetime of work and exemplary leadership in various roles, including writer/editor of Media & Values magazine, Executive Director of the Center for Media Literacy (CML), and co-founder of NAMLE, the National Association for Media Literacy Education. http://namle.net/2009/08/31/meritorious-service-award-honors-longtime-leader/

Recently, I found myself in a group called Picture This where I was suddenly immersed in the world of photography. Jamie Gall 21 and Kristin Boyle McGuire 22 http://crazykwistin.wordpress.com/ both members of So Cal Lady Bloggers, are in this group. Jamie included my photos on her cell phone photography blog post http://mngirlinla.com/2012/04/09/week-2-of-cell-phone-photography-entries/. I am challenged on a weekly basis to post pictures with specific themes or in certain categories. Many of the other participants are professional photographers. It’s such a blast!

My article about decorating Lithuanian Easter Eggs got a like from Charlie 23 and Tom 24, two brothers, at http://photobotos.com/. I am hoping to be acknowledged for some of my work on that majestic site which highlights photography from around the globe.

Navigating My Way on the Road to Success

I could not have gone this far on my journey without the support and encouragement of my family and my friends. In January 2012 I was given a special gift by fellow blogger and spiritualist, Joy Detor Holland 25, http://facetsofjoy.com/ who sent me an email in regards to a writing initiative called A Year With Myself. One of my first blog posts was actually a response to a blog that I read by a friend of Joy’s, Raam Dev 26. Raam inspired me to write in the moment and consider a minimalist outlook. http://raamdev.com/

Joy honored me with a request to contribute to her ebook, Cultivating Your Voice which was launched on International Women’s Day. http://facetsofjoy.com/cultivating-your-voice-a-complimentary-ebook/ She is a remarkable and insightful friend of seventeen years IRL who really does bring joy to my heart!

Writing in response to the prompts from A Year with Myself has caused me to examine my core values, my true passions, my talents and my goals. Following the prompts and committing to writing on my blog once a week is what made me believe that I could be a writer. Having the support of the creator and instigators of A Year with Myself has been a blessing beyond words. It has been an honor to get comments and ongoing encouragement from these writers who are experts in their fields.

I have been influenced by Patti Digh 27, who describes how living in a liminal space, the ‘in between’ space, is the moment that there is nothing to hold on to where I can be the most present, most alive, most vulnerable, and most human. http://www.37days.com/

Sara Blackthorne 28 challenged me to find my own reflection in the world and look to my ancestry for my inspiration. http://www.forestofstories.com/

Ronna Detrick 29 empowered me to allow self confidence and self love to happen gracefully—with permission, time and patience. http://www.ronnadetrick.com/

Sandi Amorin 30 helped to light the fire in my soul to achieve my goals and to set my sights on what I value most. http://www.devacoaching.com/author/sandi/

I took Marcus Buckingham’s 31 The Strong Life Test for Women which helped me to realize that my personality type is consistent with the talents that I am using in my life and in my work. http://www.tmbc.com/about-marcus

C.A. Kabu 32 (the creator of A Year with Myself) defined authenticity for me, asking me to think about my character, values, strengths, and their intersections while relating this to having a sense of who I am and sharing it with the world without reservations. http://ayearwithmyself.com/

Karen Caterson 33 taught me that knowing my differences—and living them is what makes me authentic, and how being authentic can lead to making a difference in the world. http://www.squarepegpeople.com/index.php

Abby Kerr 34 showed me that vision is having the ability or capacity to apprehend what I really want and believe I can do. http://abbykerrink.com/

Sue Mitchell 35 revealed how the relationship of adventure, serendipity and creativity and how being adventurous helps me in my creative projects. She talks about building self-confidence and finding life’s meaning through being adventurous and how inviting more adventure into your life, awakens the adventurer in you. http://www.yourmuseiscalling.com/

Dyanna Valentine 36 beckoned me to proclaim the things that I am not sorry for and to own who I am and what I stand for. http://dyanavalentine.com/

Thanks to A Year With Myself, I have had contact with other writers who are on this journey of self discovery and empowerment as well. One person in particular is Wing Pauh 37 (Singapore) whose website is http://www.wingvantagepoint.com/ at 22 years old, only half of my age, she has a deep insight and understanding of where she fits in the world that I truly admire. I just got a text from her about wanting to appeal to her company’s corporate social responsibility and provide donations for an animal shelter. She is such a remarkable young lady and I would never have met her if it weren’t for the broadening of my horizons through writing online.

Some other amazing bloggers that I have had the opportunity to connect with who have inspired me to keep at this are Jack Goldenberg 41 http://10minutesofbrilliance.com/, Quinn McDonald 42 http://www.quinncreative.com/, and Gretchin Rubin 43 http://happiness-project.com/. Please visit their blogs and read their books!

I have also had a chance to help out other bloggers with my writing by having a guest post on their blog. When Tiffany 38 at http://stuffparentsneed.com/ was going to be away for a few weeks having her second child, she worked it out to treat her readers to articles from other bloggers. I heard about this on Facebook and I submitted a request to help her out. I was so excited when Tiffany accepted my proposal to do an interview of a new parent asking what item they couldn’t live without.

After that post, I was accepted as a member of the California Mom Bloggers by Teresa Olivera 39, who I would categorize as a blogging media mogul (or overachiever) http://teresaolvera.com/other-blogs/ Teresa is also a member of the So Cal Lady Bloggers and creator of Geo Moms. In a serendipitous swoop Teresa accepted my offer to review and post a weekly recap of The Bachelorette at http://californiamomblogs.com/! Now I have a weekly guest spot and I am reviewing a TV show!

Miz Meliz The Bachelorette Post Host

See my weekly recap of The Bachelorette every Monday night on http://californiamomblogs.com

My latest endeavor is my association with the Latina Lifestyle Bloggers http://llbloggers.com/. I am very proud to have been accepted into this fine group of women. I met the founder and moderator of this group, Ana Lydia Monaco, 40 through So Cal Lady Bloggers, too! My favorite comment after announcing my acceptance to this particular group was from my brother who said, “So now you are Latina – congratulations!” In the next few weeks, I will uncover my deep seeded perceptions as to why I never embraced my heritage in this way until now. I have already begun writing about some issues that come to mind having to do with segregation, racial profiling, stereotypes, ethnicity and environment.

Road Signs and Mile Posts

One thing that every blogger knows about is the importance of knowing your numbers. For whatever reason, I have started to look at my stats and have forced myself to learn a bit about analytics just to keep up on the conversation! The purpose of this becomes important when joining groups, in applying to be a contributor and in the hopes of proving yourself worthy of being sponsored or picked up by an advertiser. For me, it is a fun way to see the potential and growth that I have engaged in as a blogger and I look at it like a map of my journey.

Speaking of numbers, there are some folks that I would like to THANK but it is impossible for me to list. I am grateful for their attention and love!

  • 43+ writers who have influenced me (listed with their links above)
  • 3988 people to date who have visited my blog, from over 60 countries!
  • 89 comments people have made on my blog
  • 16 people willing to subscribe to my blog
  • 82 (and counting) likes on my Facebook Fan Page
  • 424 followers on Twitter
  • 274 people who have connected with me on LinkedIn
  • 25 people who have viewed my vlog on my YouTube Channel
  • 49 people who have viewed my Photostream on Flickr
  • 38 followers on Instagram
  • 67 people in my circles on Google+
  • 76 people who follow my boards on Pinterest
  • And I am extremely grateful for my two followers on Tumblr!
  • You for reading the 3306 words in this post!

I am thrilled by the fact that I know these connections have been made by real people and not all my husband just clicking like on everything just to make me feel better! I love each and every person out there who has made a connection with me and I pray for them everyday! I do hope to have more success with my writing. I humbly hope to reach more people, to be inspired by them and to inspire them to live an authentic life. The only way I know this is happening online is to measure my success by using numbers. I think about how each of these sets of numbers represents real people all the time. I hope to add zeros to the ends of all the numbers above the next time I look at these statistics. But honestly, if the numbers do not increase at all, I would continue this path. It is so rewarding to share my thoughts with all of you who care about me.

The main thing I want to express to you (especially to those of you who are still actually reading this!) is that what makes this experience so incredible is all of the influence and support of all the people I am meeting along the way. I took the time to list them and give them credit because I am so very grateful for the way they have touched my life.

My kind of sign!

Each of the elements I have experienced so far alone would have been enriching and exciting for me to explore, but having them all happen together is life enhancing. It has been like falling in love with life. When you fall in love, you just know. When you are doing something that makes you happy and feel good, everything just falls into place. It feels like I know my way around here and I like the direction this road is leading! For now, I have enjoyed stopping and taking a look at the amazing scenery which surrounds me each and every day.

Merci!

Muchas Gracias!

Danke!

σας ευχαριστώ!

תודה!

Salamat!

Tack!

Grazie!

Go raibh maith agat!

谢谢

Thank you!

Photography by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2012

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Love & Marriage

Posted on May 1st, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, The Happiness Project

My husband and I have been married for twenty years now.  We are totally in love and we are a “happily married couple” in every sense of the phrase.  When people ask me how we stay happily married I usually give them the spiel about communication and being friends first, it takes an equal partnership, yadda, yada, yada.  All of those things are true of any healthy relationship.  With close friends, family and even at work things run smoothly if you follow one rule – If you don’t understand something, ask.  I believe what makes a happily married couple is two people who are happy to begin with that are willing to stay together.

There have been plenty of times when either one have us have been unhappy for one reason or another.  So far, we have been lucky to never be unhappy at the same time.  Sad at the same time, yes. Distressed, worried, yes.  We have always been able to support each other through difficult times.  Generally, my husband is a pretty happy guy!  When he has been unhappy about our marriage or about me, he was willing to work through it and he has always been very devoted to me.  Even at the worst of times, I have supported him and been able to stick with it.

I am an optimistic person for the most part.  I have suffered through clinical depression.  When I feel like the world is closing in on me, I begin to count my blessings and being married to this man is always at the top of the list!  Gratitude goes a long way on the path to happiness.  When I am truly happy with myself and my situation, my love flows freely.  When I am able to truly love, and be loving, the feeling spreads to those around me.  My beloved responds and showers me with his love.  The root of my happiness starts with what is in my own heart.

Our Wedding Day, April 11, 1992

My husband is my “true love.”  But, I have been in love before.  I had a crush on an upper classmen in high school and after he graduated, he came back to volunteer!  I was determined to get a date with him.  We became friends and did start dating.  I was trying to play things cool and was open to dating other people.  I thought I was doing the mature thing and that would keep him interested.  I had already begun dating the person I eventually married.  My big crush took the “high road” and stepped back to let me decide what (or who) I really wanted and he joined the Air Force.  When he left he said, “You’ll always be my girl.”

We wrote to each other for awhile and as would be expected, my relationship with the boy who stayed around got stronger.  After awhile, I lost touch with my crush.  But, in my heart, I was waiting for him to come home to me and sweep me off my feet.  Instead, I got a call from him to tell me he was getting married.  I was heartbroken!!  I asked him, “If we had kept writing to each other would I be the one making the wedding plans?”  He said simply, “You will always be my girl!”  That didn’t help!

Every few years, he would come home to visit family and friends.  No matter where I was living or working, he would find me.  Many times I would get a call out of the blue and it would be his deep distinctive voice saying, “Hey girl.”  My heart would sink.  I would get that tingly nervous feeling.  We would get caught up on each other’s lives.  When I saw him, I always had a feeling that I lost him when I had the chance and that he came around to see me because he wanted me to make a move.  I never had the nerve.  Besides, I was married to a wonderful guy!  Then, as both of our families grew, we lost touch again.  I hadn’t heard from him for a very long time.  We were friends on Facebook, but I really didn’t even follow or keep up on him anymore.  He had stayed in the Air Force as a career and had travelled the world.  It had been about six years since I heard from him.  Then I got a call at work.

He had retired, was divorced, and was planning to move back to the area.  What was that middle part?  And he wanted to know if we could get together when he was in town.  Was he back to sweep me off my feet?  It’s been twenty-five years since we had a romance and I was still thinking he could be coming back for me.  Well, not really.  The teenage girl trapped inside me who was still pining for him heard that he was coming back.  The sensible me did the right things and asked questions.  But that sneaky little girl was still curious!

He came to my office and took me out to lunch.  He was still handsome and interesting and was everything I had remembered him to be.  He told me all about how he and his wife split up.  He told me he needed to take care of his ailing parents. He asked me about my life, family and work. We talked for hours.  I decided to ask him what made him think of me and if he still had any feelings for me after all this time.  To be honest, I have no idea what he said.  He spoke.  It sounded positive. He said the right things, tactfully, sweetly, honestly.  I am sure of it.  But all I could think about was, “What the heck do I think I am doing?”

The adult me answered, “You are flattering yourself.”  True that!  I needed it and deserved it, everyone does!  After all, it was flattering.  He was coming for a visit down memory lane and he thought of me. But it definitely wasn’t at all because he wanted to see if I was willing to take him back after all these years.  Don’t think it’s because he is that much of a stand up guy that he wouldn’t break up my marriage.  Of course he wouldn’t.  But I’ll never know for sure.  No, it is because he was already seeing someone!!  It turns out that he was networking for job connections so that he could move here to be closer to his girlfriend!

I just want you to know that all of this nonsense taught me some lessons.   First, love never dies.  First love, school girl crushes, puppy love, it lasts as long as you remember how it felt to love someone.  Like a flower, you can tend to it and it can take root and grow and grow and eventually branch into new directions and last forever.  Or, you can pluck it and put it in water.  It may last awhile that way and be beautiful.  You can preserve the memory of its beauty and press it in a book.  It will remind you of your youth and how you were once someone’s girl.  But if you take it out and touch it and try and make it grow after all that time, it will crumble and fall apart.  Some things are just not meant to be.

That doesn’t mean it was a waste of time!  The other thing I learned is that an idea trapped in one’s mind fades away quite easily.  All you have to do is let go.  It took seeing him again to make that happen.  It took thinking about it and planning and evaluating all the what if’s and could I evers.  Could I have seduced him and begged him to come back to me?  Would he have?  Could I have a chance to start over?  I guess not or I would be writing a heated love connection story right now rather than giving advice on what to do about unrequited love!  The point is, I let go of the pipe dream.  I was the stand up girl.  I was in love with my husband.  I did not go looking for this guy!  I helped him get an interview at my work and put in a good word.  I was relieved when he didn’t get the job.  I’ll bet my husband was relieved, too!

Our 20th Anniversary

Love & Marriage

The Happiness Project

Chronically Distracted

May 1, 2012

by Melissa Reyes

http://mizmeliz.com

A Vision Board – really?

Posted on February 23rd, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, The Happiness Project

This week is about progress.  Progress in our resolutions, but also progress in our journey to happiness.

Benjamin Franklin said:

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

Here is an article from the June 2010 issue of O Magazine on how a vision board can change your life. Martha Beck says it’s way more than sticking pics of money or a Hawaiian beach on your mirror. You have to go deeper and let go mentally and emotionally.  http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-to-Make-a-Vision-Board-Find-Your-Life-Ambition-Martha-Beck/1

“To really work, a vision board has to come not from your culture but from your primordial, nonsocial self—the genetically unique animal/angel that contains your innate preferences.” – Martha Beck

Here is a link to “My Vision Board” on Pinterest. . .

http://pinterest.com/mizbizevents/my-vision-board/

Here are some of the things that appeal to my animal/angel – the innate prefered destinations on my journey:

Happiness Project Vlog 2-22-2012

Posted on February 22nd, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, The Happiness Project

Welcome to the end of Month 1 – Vitality!!!

It’s definitely been a challenge!

So in honor of change – it’s VIDEO WEEK on Chronically Distracted!!!

Here is a vlog with my update for how things are going so far:

What’s Up? Nothing Much! A conversation with myself about progress

Posted on February 21st, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, The Happiness Project

Here we are in Week 3 of Vitality Month with Chronically Distracted’s Happiness Project! (I am getting caught up with the prompts.)

What’s Up?

Am I feeling vivacious? Yes, actually, I am!

Full of vim and vigor? Absolutely!  I have been feeling lively and enthusiastic lately. The energetic spirit has hold of me.  I have noticed myself singing in the shower. . . something I don’t recall doing for a very long time!  There is an active force within me that has been pushing me forward. . .I am going for walks and cooking and writing even when I don’t feel like it.  (Now, if I can only activate that enthusiastic spirit to do the bills, the laundry, and the dishes!)

At least I can say that I am working on it!! And the best part is, since I made my resolution to embrace experiences and live in the moment, I have not been hard on myself or my family for not doing the household chores.  I do it when it matters most and it makes a difference for all of us that we send more quality time together and have a lighthearted attitude about the daily grind.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could do it all?  Will I ever get to that point?  It would be lovely, wouldn’t it?  Sitting down to watch late night television and drifting off to sleep knowing that everything on today’s to do list was done and feeling completely ready for the next day.  There are people out there who achieve this level of bliss.  I have two questions for them.  How do you do it?  Does it make a difference in your level of happiness?

According to  Grethen Rubin’s blog on February 10th, there is a way.  She wrote about procrastination, the nemesis to progress.

I found this intriguing. . . .

In Roy Baumeister and John Tierney’s fascinating book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, they suggest the “Nothing Alternative” to this problem. That is, if you want to get yourself to do something, make the alternative to that task to do nothing.

Nothing much,

What?  Seriously?  That sounds like what I am doing. . . nothing much!

Can I make the commitment to, instead, do NOTHING in place of procrastinating about what needs to be done?

My biggest personal barrier to progress is laziness. Pure laziness.  I have a blasé attitude towards most things.  If I don’t do it today, I will tomorrow.

“There’s always tomorrow.”  “Afterall, tomorrow is another day!”

When it comes down to it, perhaps I am not lazy.  It does take a lot of energy to do all the things that I do get done.  I work full-time and I manage a household with a work at home husband, three teenaged boys, and three cats.  I have been blogging and managing my online networks while working at increasing my readership.  I designed a website for one client and I am consulting with another on marketing and optimizing her business.  In turn she has become a close friend and has motivated me to start cooking and exercising.  (Thanks, I really did need that!)

I lack discipline.  That’s what it is.  I have slipped away from a routine that includes the regular chores of keeping the house clean, the laundry done and the refrigerator full.  Sometimes I feel like I am a roommate instead of the mom in my house.  My house has turned into a combination dorm room/locker room and it is out of control.  I have taken to sitting outside on my patio with my laptop and cell phone because it is either too messy, nowhere to sit, too many distractions, or just plain stinky inside!  I hated feeling isolated in my bedroom, at least now I can keep an eye on things through the sliding glass window.

Could I make this work?  I would like to make an effort to get it all done, even if that takes some delegating, er. . . um, motivating!  If I tell myself that I cannot do anything until the dishes are done, for example, will I get back in the habit of doing those chores quickly and efficiently rather than letting them pile up until I can’t stand it anymore?  (And please don’t tell me that the kids should be doing their share of the chores.  They do, believe me!  But I will not nag them to do something that I myself won’t do – they are even busier than I am plus they have the added pressure to get good grades.  That is their priority.)

So, for me it isn’t about not procrastinating in regards to work or writing – it’s getting my mundane everyday chores in check prior to diving in to my writing and creating and fun.  This brings to mind how I handled things when I was an at home mom. . . I would take the kids out for ice cream or to hang out at the park as a treat and only after we finished the chores of the day.  I remember (vaguely) thinking I wouldn’t turn the television on until I was finished with making dinner and cleaning the kitchen.  I was much more disciplined back then. When I was going through depression I would tell myself I could go back to bed as soon as I got one thing done.  I suppose I was putting into action the Nothing Alternative without realizing it!   I did like thinking of it as a reward system.

Hmmm . . . I can commit to trying that out!

Get up! I need to do the laundry!

Vitality Song

Posted on February 12th, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, The Happiness Project

As a resolution and commitment to myself, I chose to make experience my focus: I wish to embrace the experiences that become present in my life, I wish to create meaningful experiences for myself and my family, and I wish to use my prior experiences to help me to appreciate the beauty of each moment.

Are my day-to-day actions supporting my choices of change and resolve?

Let me think. . . I want to this to be my focus, my mantra:  “embrace the experiences that become present in my life.”

First things first. What does that mean? Sometimes expressions become so common that we forget their deeper meaning. I like to break down the words and review their definitions to see if I truly said what I meant to say. I am usually pleased with the result. My brain is pretty good at knowing the right words to string together to convey what I am thinking. I’ll start with embrace. Why didn’t my brain use accept or another word to explain my intent?

embrace as an action . . .

  • take or clasp in the arms, press to the bosom, hug
  • receive gladly or eagerly, accept willingly (embrace and idea)
  • avail oneself (embrace an opportunity)
  • adopt (a profession or a religion)
  • take in with the eye or the mind

embrace as a noun. . .

  • encountering or undergoing something (to learn from experience; the range of human experience)
  • observing something (knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered, or undergone: a man of experience)
  • philosophize (the totality of the cognitions given by perception; all that is perceived, understood, and remembered)

synonyms for embrace. . .

adopt, espouse, welcome, seize, comprise, cover, embody

synonyms for experience. . .

encounter, know, endure, suffer

Experience refers to encountering situations, conditions, etc., in life, or to having certain sensations or feelings.

Experience implies being affected by what one meets with: to experience a change of heart, bitter disappointment.

Yes – I truly want to embrace the experiences that come my way!

I intend to honestly hold dear and welcome all that happens to me – taking to heart, processing, learning, accepting, and freely allowing these happenings (however large or small; coping with the big things, determining their insignificance and evaluating the significance and intrinsic value of the little things) to unfold on me while actively absorbing wisdom and knowledge and gaining strength along the way.

A perfect example of this is what may be a familiar experience to many of us, and it happens to me frequently.  I wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of a grizzly bear snorting and growling in bed next to me and I realize it is my husband in a deep, sound, blissful, much needed and deserved sleep snoring loudly in my ear.

Rather than getting annoyed that I can’t sleep, taking a swipe at him, pushing him, or moving to the living room couch myself hoping to get some peace and quiet as I did bitterly for many years, I recall hearing the sound of my father’s snoring from down the hall in the middle if the night and a sense of security falls over me like a warm blanket. I am grateful for this amazing man in my bed who works so hard to take care of me and our family. I am in love with him as much as I was when he was a skinny boy who flirted with me in high school 26 years ago. My children are secure and happy because of him. I turn over and close my eyes falling asleep with a smile on my face listening to the rhythm of his raspy breathing, knowing my children can hear it from down the hall. It is a security blanket for all of us. Without a doubt, his presence is known. He is home, recharging, readying himself for another day. Gratefully, graciously, I lay my arm over him take in a deep cleansing breath and fall asleep.

It’s not as easy to interpret every single moment in my day and immediately process each experience understanding instantly how I am affected by it. That is why it is a good challenge (is that an oxymoron?) By resolving to open myself to the possibility that taking in the good with the bad and by not rejecting all that I have always believed to be negative, or at the very least bothersome, and by truly appreciating the good (glorifying it even) I allow myself to experience peace, joy and happiness! It’s beautiful, amazing, lovely, and completely worthwhile. I am walking taller and stepping lighter each day.

Thinking this way has changed my life and made it better over the years in significant ways.

Do my day-to-day actions support the choices I have resolved to make in order to produce change in my life?

Is my MIND propelling me in the direction I want my actions and resolutions to take me?

Yes – the inner voice says yes! The movie playing in my mind shows a scene of me with a propeller on my belt and I close my eyes and think, “move forward,” and the propeller starts to spin and I am lifted into the air and begin to float happily along like Winnie the Pooh holding on to a balloon. Where will the wind blow me today? I can use my navigation skills and my propeller to steer myself in the “right” direction. Or, I can float along and see where the wind wants me to go. My mind knows the “right” way. The wind knows the “right” way. I close my eyes and trust. I take a breath and feel myself letting go.

You might hear me hum a little vitality song. . . like Winnie the Pooh!

I am free!

I am flying!

I am alive,

and freely

being me.

I am going

where my heart

wants to be.

It feels good

to be me!

Hey,

I am happy!

CHOOSE to keep moving, I CHOOSE to keep motivated, I CHOOSE to keep doing what I am doing. . . experiencing the vitality and joy in my life.  One moment at a time.

The Happiness Quotient

Posted on February 2nd, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, The Happiness Project

I didn’t make a resolution this year, other than to have a focus term. . . experience.

I wish to embrace the experiences that become present in my life

I wish to create meaningful experiences for myself and my family

I wish to use my prior experiences to help me to appreciate the beauty of each moment

So far, 2012 has been full of experiences!  Have I thought about this term everyday?  No.  Have I applied the idea of focus in my daily life? Yes.  I really have noticed a difference.  I have embraced the experiences that have presented themselves.  I have had some good days and some bad ones.  With each experience, I have managed to enjoy the ride.  I have learned from some harsh realities.  I have made the mundane seem like miracles.  However slight, miraculous none the less!

I have created some magical, meaningful experiences for my family.  At the very least, I took part in activities that were meaningful.  I recognized them to be memorable and important.

I have been writing weekly and this has enabled me to reflect on my past experiences quite a bit.  I am in love with writing!  It is opening up possibilities for me and is making me feel whole again.

Some memorable experiences of 2012:

Getting an iPhone (for $2.50 after credits and upgrade!)

Seeing my 12 year old son sing with an amazing choir for Epiphany.

Enjoying my husband and sons learning to play the ukulele they got for Christmas.

Opening a bank account for my sixteen year old son – a right of passage.

Taking the family to Big Bear for snowboarding and staying in a beautiful cabin for the weekend

My 15 year old son going to the emergency room in Big Bear for snowboarding accident and being grateful that it could have been much worse than a collar bone fracture

Meeting up with my in-laws at Disneyland to see my nephew perform with his high school orchestra

Finding the perfect gift to give to my MIL and enjoying the day with her

Spending time with a new friend and enjoying movies, shopping, doing fun things and going for walks around the lake

Watching Football with my brother and niece and planning Super Bowl Sunday

Going to a college application workshop with my oldest son, another right of passage!

Getting in “trouble” at work for taking a long lunch and being chronically late

Making a valiant effort to be on time and staying positive at work for two weeks!

Working really hard and completing projects at work, and loving it.

Getting my sons report cards and being able to celebrate their successes with them!

Promising to get my 15 year old an iPhone for his birthday and being willing to pay full price (over $500) to make him happy, and working out a deal for less than $100 which made us both happy!

I can’t wait to see what other experiences unfold this year!  What ever happens, I resolve to live, love, do, be and enjoy the ride!