The Happiest Place on Earth…


KJC

Is Costa Rica, according to Nic Marks and The Happy Planet Index. Why? How do they live? What makes them happy?  Let’s find answers to these questions and stop thinking the future will be a nightmare. Fear in the organism is linked to the flight mechanism, which in turn causes us to freeze and run away.  Let’s stop fearing and focusing on the problems and start seeking out and focusing on the solutions.

The very architecture of our national accounting system is firmly based on production and producing stuff.  We hold a financial/economic definition of what progress is. We think that if we get the numbers to go up we’ll be better off, somehow life is going to get better. In other words, too much greed. We’re fixated on what we can produce, and therefore, measuring everything except what makes life worthwhile: social justice, sustainability and people’s well-being.

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The Heart Wants What It Wants


(Reading time 1-2 minutes)

What makes you feel alive, what makes your hair stand up on the back of your neck, what gives you chills, what makes you smile from ear to ear, what leaves you breathless? What is your passion? These are the questions we should be focusing on, instead of questions like, what makes you mad, what makes you upset, what are your pet peeves.

Live like there is no tomorrow, with your full attention, let your sparkle shine. It takes more effort and energy to give thought to the negative. And most of us have heard by now that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.

Unleash your beast, do something new, adventurous, daring, risky, thrilling. It is okay to face your fears, feel pain, and face uncomfortable situations. This is what helps us learn and grow. Go for the “impossible,” reach for the stars, don’t let up. You are the only person who can make change and make things happen in your own life. Be curious about what is coming next; go forward with drive, force and liveliness. Let people know you are on this Earth to make a difference, to make someone else smile, to reach your goals.

Do not be afraid. Laugh in the face of danger and fear.

I leave you with some music to help jump start your journey (Jock Jams, Let’s get ready to Rumble!) Have a beautiful day! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAIAET2e2y8&list=PLZAgkmYLV6G66NuWZmbYzxCsgBlOr0ViD

Mindlessness


You know I like to talk about the practice of mindfulness (and how wonderful I think it is!), but what about this concept of mindlessness. Mindlessness is defined by TheFreeDictionary.com as, having no intelligent purpose, meaning, or direction; giving or showing little attention or care. How often do we catch ourselves not paying attention, repeating particular greetings or phrases with no thought or emotion behind the words, reacting with automatic, and almost mechanical-like, responses? When I find myself in this zone I try to stop, bring myself back to the present moment, think, and ask myself, is this how I want to live my life? Or do I want to be more thoughtful, respectful, curious, engaged and mindful?

I’m sure you have found yourself in conversation when all of a sudden it becomes clear to you that the other person is not giving you their full attention. Let’s be honest, they are not listening and not paying attention to you. This can come across to the person on the receiving end as rude and hurtful. Actually, it’s not much fun for either party when this happens.

So think about this the next time you’re the one on the receiving end, out enjoying nature, enjoying a warm cup of coffee, reading a book, out to dinner, or engaging in conversation; are you present, mindful and attentive, or are you automatic, bored, checked out and practicing mindlessness. It’s your choice. I hope you choose to be mindful! 🙂

Life Lessons from the Dominican Republic


Ever wonder what it would be like to wake-up each and every day in a joyful mood, with a smile on your face, extremely happy to tackle the day and just live? Well this lifestyle is not so far-fetched. I recently traveled to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic for a family vacation and I can tell you that I returned not being able to say enough good things about their culture and the kindness of their people.

A few things I specifically noticed during my time on the island; they don’t complain, they always have a smile on their face ready to greet you with a boisterous hola, they are concerned about your happiness and making sure you’re having a good time (not me and mine), they communicate that you are a valued guest in their country. They remove worry, stress and negativity from their daily routine, and fill up their hours working hard, entertaining tourists, soaking up the sun and being one with nature.

We hiked and swam through waterfalls, watching the guides leap from rock to rock without any fear, took a catamaran sailboat out into the middle of the deep waters to snorkel, spent time relaxing and dancing to fun music on the boat as we sailed. During each excursion I can’t tell you how many times I heard the guides and locals asking, “Are you having a good time?” “Are you okay?” “How are you?” saying “smile mon,” referring to us as mi amiga/amigo, repeatedly saying gracias/thank you, and just dancing and having fun. These are just a few of the phrases and words I encountered while on the Dominican Republic soil that really made my trip that much more amazing.

As I toured the towns and drove through the hillsides I noticed that the locals didn’t have much, not many things, small houses, little food, some don’t have running (or hot) water, some don’t have enough money to keep shoes on their feet, but yet they remain happy, friendly and courteous to their guests and each other. Why is this? Shouldn’t we assume they are sad and unhappy because they don’t have abundant “stuff” or riches? No, because what they value doesn’t have a price tag. Things like nature, the weather, sunshine, family, friends, big crashing waves and the sand beneath their toes.

The Dominican people practice mindfulness by slowing down, making happiness a way of life, not stressing about each and every little detail, not complaining, working hard and doing it with a smile, maneuvering through life with a positive attitude, and most importantly, being grateful.

I think we can all learn a lot from the Dominican people and their culture. This particular vacation reminded me that we don’t have to rush through life unhappy and stressing; we have the choice to slow down, enjoy family and friends, experience nature, say thank you more often, and wake-up each day with a smile on our face. Setting an intention each morning can help achieve these personal happiness goals.

Go on have fun with it, it meaning life, because life is beautiful.

Relax. Enjoy. Smile. Be Thankful.

Repeat after me, Estoy agradecido, I am grateful.

You Only Need the Light When It’s Burning Low


KJC

(Reading time 1-2 minutes)

You might recognize these words from a song by Passenger called, Let Her Go. Below are a few more of the lyrics to the song so that you might better recall.

Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go

This song always catches my attention and it got me thinking, that even though the artist is making a simple point, there is an extremely important message here. Way too often we find ourselves missing something we once had, but now is gone. Our natural instinct is to cruise along and assume it (whatever it may be) will…

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You’re Not Alone


KJC

I bet you somewheresomeone has been through, or is going through, what you are. If you read history books or know the saying “history repeats itself” you have proof that our world works in cycles and patterns. There is an extremely slim chance that you’d be the first to experience an occurrence, speaking in terms of joy or struggle.

Social media is often knocked for its intrusiveness. Some say it causes humans to lose that person to person connection, but it should also be admired for connecting us as social human beings, it confirms that we’re not alone in whatever it may be. We can share, read, like, comment, pin, tag, encourage and connect in ways we never thought possible. Why not use social media as a helping hand, to share knowledge and beautiful pictures, encourage one another, to intellectually challenge one another?

I want to make it clear…

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No More Bad Days


KJC

Bad days don’t really exist, “I had a bad day,” “my day was terrible,” “what a bad day,” are phrases we use when we’re feeling drained, tired, down, disappointed, frustrated, or maybe something “bad” really did happen, but that doesn’t make it a “bad day.” There are bad moments, but not bad days. Don’t believe me? You’re alive and breathing and reading this post, mark it down as a good moment and know this is no longer, or will no longer, be a bad day for you.

If we re-frame the concept of bad days and break down our days into moments, then our days can be filled with good and bad moments. Then it’s not so bad after all and there will never again be another bad day again. It goes back to gratitude. Waking up and naming three things you’re grateful for. Taking five minutes during the day…

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Be Your Best Self.


KJC

(Reading time, 1-2 minutes)

Ever wonder why it feels like we’re constantly battling ourselves: to be better, to be healthier, to be skinnier, to get more sleep, to exercise more, to eat less, to work faster, to get it all done. The list goes on and on. But is this a healthy way to live? I truly think we can be our best self without constant struggle and judgment. It simply comes down to setting a daily intention to be your best self (whatever this may look like to you, and it will look different for each person).

If you practice yoga you know that at the beginning of each class we always take time to set an intention before we start the workout. This is extremely important because it’s getting your mind aligned with your body; it’s forcing you to be present, mindful and intentional. Why not make setting…

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Are We Having Fun Yet


KJC

I don’t know about you but if you know me, you know I like to have fun! Fun could mean going out to dinner or brunch, going for a walk with a friend, watching a movie, reading, traveling, drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea, running, watching my favorite sports teams play, taking pictures, playing soccer, and yes, even working and blogging. I like to acknowledge and accept the fact that I’m choosing my activities and way of life. There isn’t a right or wrong way to live; we think there is because this concept of judgments. Judgments put labels on people and things. My judgment is that judgments are bad. 🙂

When we are present, mindful, step back and are in the moment, life becomes more fun. You really don’t have to do anything, yes, there are responsibilities that must get done and be taken care of…

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Deeper Meanings


KJC

While out with friends I took a look around the restaurant and noticed a painting on the wall that caught my eye. It intrigued me enough to go on their website and find out more about what I saw. This is what I found.

The culture and cuisine of the neighborhood frasca began in the Friuli region of Italy. Literally meaning “branch,” the frasca was identified by a wreath of branches hanging over a farmhouse door signifying the sale of food and wine within. Often attached to a winery, the frasca provided a pleasant and informal gathering place for family and friends to share a meal, a bottle of wine and warm hospitality.

Welcome to frasca.

The restaurant had taken the time to spell out the meaning behind their business and why, as customers, we should (and do) feel at ease when walking through the doors of their establishment. There…

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