Color Me Happy is all about anger management, releasing stress, and anxiety in children~

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How to Make Lifelong Transformations in Your Life~

make it happen

“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.” – William Shakespeare

How many times have you rushed into making changes in your life……a habit change, learning a new skill……only to have it flop?

It’s not just the New Year’s Resolution Syndrome……it happens too often at all times of the year, that we run out of steam or get discouraged and give up.

But here’s the secret, and I won’t charge you $29.95 for it: GO SLOWLY…….yup.

This little change has more power than most people realize. It will help to learn any skill, from martial arts to art to computer activities. It will help form habits that are long-lasting. Slowing down will help you become more effective and ironically, help reach goals faster.

If you’ve ever tried Tai Chi……famous for its series of slow movements and poses, you’ve felt the power of slow. The slower you go in Tai Chi, the better, for many reasons. One effect of this slowness is that you perfect the movements. And your body adapts, forming muscle memories that will last when (and if) you decide to speed up the movements.

It’s as if your body and mind are forming a groove through continual repetition of the movements. If you move quickly, you’ll be erratic, and the groove will be much more difficult to form. If you move slowly, you can learn to move in exactly the same pattern, in a more precise way, and a groove will form. Once the groove is formed, it becomes easier. It’s now habit, unconscious memory, and automatic.

This is habit formation, and usually it’s done without thought. When we drive home and our minds are on something else, but we make the right motions to get home anyway … this is habit, this is our minds and bodies going in a groove we’ve formed by doing these actions so many times before.

The groove is best formed by going slow, at first.

This applies to anything: exercise, eating healthy, creating art, becoming a patient parent, carpentry, reading. Slow is the secret to making it last. And no, that’s not meant to be dirty.

Some of the reasons slow works, besides forming a groove:

1. Mindfulness. When you do something slowly, you can pay more attention to what you’re doing. I highly recommend that when you make changes, you do them mindfully, with full concentration. This increased awareness is necessary in the beginning, when you’re still forming the groove. Later, it’ll become automatic, but at first it’s anything but. You need to pay attention, and you can do this better when you do it slower.

2. You hold yourself back. Holding ourselves back is often considered a bad thing, but it’s not. It’s the best thing we can do, if we want changes to last. When we start a new change, often we are full of enthusiasm. But then we go all out and use up all of that enthusiasm, and run out of motivation or energy or get distracted by something else. But when you hold yourself back, you build up enthusiasm and keep it going for much longer…….through that dreaded 2-3 week barrier when people often quit. So even if you want to run 3 miles at first, start with walking and then run-walking (in intervals), and only do a mile or so. You’ll want to do more, but stop yourself. Save that enthusiasm for next time.

3. You learn it right. Doing something slowly means you can learn to do it correctly, without being erratic, and later as it becomes second nature you’ll do it the right way. The importance is obvious in something like martial arts, but it’s also true in any physical activity. And every activity is physical (and mental).

4. Increased focus. When you do something slowly, you tend to do just one thing. It’s hard to multi-task and do something slowly…….they don’t mix well. When you single-task, you can focus, instead of always being distracted. This leads to increased effectiveness.

5. Calm. Slow is calmer. Fast is hectic. Go slow to get rid of the chaos, and find peace.

“Slow down, everyone. You’re moving too fast.” – Jack Johnson

Would You Like To Be Able To Find Harmony In Your Life?

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How about 5 minutes a day of rest ? 10 minutes of peace? 15 minutes of renewal? 20 minutes of rejuvenation? You can have it all. Meditation can change the way you work……and change your life in the process. It has for me and I have been meditating for over 28 years……which is one reason that I am a calm and happy soul. If you would like  to be able to
find harmony in your life and tap into your inner source of strength and wisdom…..then read on…….what do you have to lose?

Meditation needn’t involve sitting like a Buddha in your living room burning incense and chanting OHM for an hour every morning—it can if you’d like, but let’s be realistic here. Start off small. Commit to five minutes out of your day. Sit quietly, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and just be present in your body, in the moment. It doesn’t need to be complicated.

I don’t care how busy you are…we can all spare 5 minutes for something that enhances our well being. I find the best time to practice meditation is first thing in the morning upon waking. Otherwise, life tends to get in the way. If you absolutely cannot fathom sitting still for 5 minutes, make it a moving meditation. Take your dog out for a walk and instead of running through your to do list in your mind, reliving an argument with your spouse, or composing your lesson plans, clear your mind and focus on your breathing. Thoughts will pop in…that’s normal. Just acknowledge them, release them, and re-focus on your breath and being present.

Once you have mastered the 5 minutes in the morning, add in another 5 minutes right before going to bed. It will help you to get a restful night’s sleep…something all of us multi-tasking, goal oriented, stretched-too-thin people are in direct need of.

Imagine a bucket filled with water. Now add some sand into it and stir it around. The water looks all cloudy and agitated. Allow the bucket to sit and be still for awhile and the sand settles to the bottom leaving you with clear water……Clarity.

This is a wonderful analogy for what meditation does for the mind. Its simplicity struck me.

The constant chatter going on in our minds causes us to miss out on what is going on in our present lives. We tend to either live in the past or in the future in our minds, constantly planning for events that have yet to occur or reliving events long gone by. When we make a habit of investing the time to quiet these thoughts and practice being present, we can think more clearly, be more productive throughout the day, and approach our tasks from a place of inner wisdom and mindfulness.

Living mindfully means living in harmony with yourself and the rest of the world—waking up and paying attention to the present moment. If we are not fully present, we risk watching our life slip on by unnoticed, failing to live up to our full potential. Mindfulness is basically the direct opposite of taking your life for granted. Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are, explains “to cultivate mindfulness, you may have to remember over and over again to be awake and aware”.

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How Do I Get Started?

Anyway you get started is good. Meditation is a deeply personal experience that needs to work for you. Experimentation is often the initial way people begin this process. Finding something right for you is important.

Don’t get caught up in having to follow a method or technique. As I have written before, it took me some time to find comfortable, doable ways to practice.  Remember, one of the important things (besides meditating) that you are doing in the doing of meditation is creating new neural habits as you establish a routine.

To help you to explore some ways to begin, here are some tips and resources to consider.

  • Establishing a time and place – This is very important. You want to maximize your success by finding a time frame and location conducive to your practice. While Jon Kabat-Zinn recommends starting with 15 minutes (long enough he says “to get really bored and antsy and learn to make room for unpleasant moments”) I suggest that even if you only begin with 5  minutes, it’s a good thing. You can always build to 15 as you progress and build those new neural habits. You don’t need an ashram or to be  surrounded by candles. You just need quiet. Once you grow in your  practice, you’ll be able to drop into five minutes of stillness in many different settings.
  • What do I  do with my body? Relax it – this is the key. It will take some time  to learn to let go and the place to do much of this work is in your body.  You begin with several deep slow breaths, ideally those that come from your belly. Closing your eyes is preferable. Uncross your legs with the soles of your feet touching ground (unless you are in a cross-legged posture). Rest your hands on your lap or at your sides. You don’t need to  have your hands in any kind of “mudra” like  position.
  • What do I do with my thoughts? Nothing – that’s the point. With mindfulness  meditation, you are simply noticing what you experience and not trying to feel anything differently. Too many people bail out because they don’t think they felt anything different or special. Mindfulness meditation is not about getting anywhere else except where you are. Thoughts will arise. “This is boring,” “Why am I doing this?” “This is a waste,” etc.  Feelings will come and go – frustration, impatience, even annoyance. Your  “task” in the moment of sitting is simply to allow, non-judgmentally, all the ways you distract yourself from being in the present moment.

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Do You Know What Your Purpose In Life Is?

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A life without purpose is directionless. Without purpose, one gets pulled by every passing pleasure, and pushed by every twinge of fear.

A sense of accomplishment and an ongoing satisfaction and joy with all of life can only come from having established a life purpose, and consistently living into that purpose. One cannot live a life of purpose based on any kind of moral or spiritual obligation. Rather, living a life of purpose is a path to be consciously chosen because of its many great rewards.

Having a life purpose provides a compass for guiding your direction, and a touchstone for empowering your every decision. Until you have a clear idea of your life purpose, there is no way to know whether any particular task or project is important or not. Is today’s physics homework important? Is going to the gym today important? Those questions can only be answered within the context of one’s life purpose. A task may appear urgent, but being “urgent,” in the sense of another person having stated a deadline, does not make a task truly important in the sense of enlarging your life.

Your life purpose can be ANYTHING you choose it to be. You don’t “find” your life purpose. Your life purpose isn’t like anyone else’s – it is uniquely yours. Your life purpose wasn’t written on some heavenly scroll before you were born. Your life purpose is whatever you choose it to be.

Your life purpose can be to become a great baseball player, or to plant apple trees, or to have many children, or to end world hunger. It doesn’t matter whether anyone else agrees with your life purpose, and it doesn’t matter whether you ever achieve your goals. What does matter is that your life purpose consistently drives your life, and that you make all your big decisions consistent with your life purpose.

There is, however, one element that is almost always present in every life purpose that continues to satisfy and motivate throughout one’s life. That element is being of service to others. If the life purpose you choose improves the world, it is far more likely that you will stick to that life purpose and that you will live your life guided by that purpose. This is not to say that a service-oriented life purpose is “better,” just that it is more likely to be satisfying and motivating.

It is very unlikely that your statement of life purpose, however much it inspires and motivates you, contains any elements that you can directly take action on today. Suppose your purpose is to end world hunger – that doesn’t tell you how to begin today.

The easiest way to get an idea of how to begin today in fulfilling your life purpose is to work backward from your tombstone.

Determine a smaller goal, which you will necessarily have to achieve on the way to your ultimate goal.

Repeat, by determining a even smaller goal, which you will necessarily have to achieve on the way to your intermediate goal.

Continue this process of moving the time-frame back toward the present until you define an interim goal which you sense you can effectively work toward.

Now, begin writing a plan that starts today and leads to the accomplishment of that first interim goal.

Is It Possible To Be Happy All The Time?

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The last time I left you to ponder on What Is Stopping You From Being Happy?

Now this week’s question is…….. “Is it possible to be happy all the time?”

Happiness and the method to achieve it has been thrown around for thousands of years, with millions of people, promising a million different ways of how to be happy.

But what does it mean to be happy?

Not everyone’s definition of happiness is the same, because everyone has different desires that they want to be fulfilled.  An idea that comes in moments rather than being an end result, right?

If happiness is something that comes in moments, how do we turn those moments into permanent destinations?

Is it possible to be happy all the time?

I’m not so sure. I am going to say more than likely, no. I don’t know about you, but if I were happy all the time, something would feel wrong. Not because finding happiness and fulfillment isn’t the most sought after feeling in the world, it most definitely is, but because were not made that way.

The problem of desires

What I mean is that we are made up of what we desire, essentially. We consistently seek pleasure while doing the best we can to avoid pain. Anytime we move to do anything, we do so because there is a desire of pleasure to come of it. Some of these pleasures come naturally to us and don’t really seem like pleasures but without them we would be in pain.

So, we seek out ways to keep our desires filled and try to find ways of how to fill the bigger desires, always looking for more pleasure. But that’s how it should be. We are humans and we want to feel pleasure, we want to be happy.

The problem with the constant need to feel pleasure, is that once we fill a desire, it starts to fade and a new desire forms. Here’s an example: I wait all year to go to my favorite vacation spot. When the time gets close, I get more and more excited. I am ready, I know I’ll have fun, I have all kinds of activities planned. Once I get to my desired destination and do everything I was so excited to do there, I feel happy.

But then what happens? The vacation comes to a close and it’s time to come home. Back to reality, we say. As I think about it though, I am actually glad to get back to my “normal” life. The activities were fun, but I am tired, sore, sunburned and need to rest.

My desire has changed from wanting to have the greatest time of my life, to wanting to just go home and sleep in my own bed. The point here is that because I filled my desire, I no longer need it. It goes away and a new one emerges.

This is happening on a constant basis. Sure, I will get the urge for another vacation sooner or later (probably sooner), but more than likely, I will want to do something different or go somewhere new.

Why happiness is an elusive idea

Since happiness comes in moments due to a desire that becomes fulfilled and then fades away, you could say that happiness is an elusive idea. Perhaps that’s why we always hear about someone’s pursuit of happiness. Now, just because happiness seems like an elusive goal, does not mean it is, let me explain.

The elusiveness that I speak of is merely the way in which our desires are fulfilled and then reprieved, as if to say that happiness comes and then goes in spurts or moments, as I mentioned earlier. Knowing this can allow you to be happy in your life before, during, and after your pursuit of it, whether you are able to fill certain desires or not.

Why it doesn’t matter if you win or lose

What matters is that you know the game, so to speak, of what it takes to be happy. To be happy is to be content with the fact that no matter if a desire is filled, or a goal failed, or dream denied, you know that happiness is a constant journey. A journey that can take a brief second or a lifetime, depending on what you desire.

True happiness comes in those small moments, real happiness comes in knowing how to reach those moments. As long as you know this, you can live a lifelong adventure that is full of happiness, joy, and fulfillment.

What does it take?

Pleasure and pain. Happy and sad. The struggle of life. Just like Yin and Yang, to be happy we need to experience sadness. It is knowing what it takes to be happy in your life, that pushes you through the sad times. So what does it take?

  • Pursuit of …

Happiness comes in the pursuit. If you are constantly striving to progress in your life, to learn, to be inspired, and to be happy, you will set yourself up for a life of happiness.

The desires you crave are waiting for you to fill them. Do what makes you happy, find your passions, strive to be your best, and you will relish in the moments of joy that come with a desire fulfilled.

  • Listen to …

Your body, mind, and spirit are constantly developing desires and aspirations, searching for ways to bring them into fruition. Listening to your inner voice will take you on a path dedicated to progress, to learn, to enjoy…life.

  • Work with …

Work with others who seek the same desires in life as you. Find an environment that lets you learn, grow, and be inspired.

Connecting with people of similar passions is one of the best ways to stay focused on what you enjoy. The people you connect with are the ones who lift you up when your feeling down with their inspiration and guidance. You ultimately end up doing the same for them, whether you realize it or not.

What it Means to Live through Desires

Knowing that happiness is a journey; knowing where joy comes in the form of fulfilled desires (and that it comes in moments), will allow you to feel a sense of gratitude throughout your path.

Remember that you will not always be happy, but can feel better knowing that you are in constant pursuit of reaching your dreams, both big and small.

Living through your desires will allow you to do what you never thought you were capable of, and see a side of yourself you never knew existed. You’ll be a part of something greater – which will lead you down a path of never ending possibilities.

Your life is what you make of it. As long as you see what leads you to happiness, you will never stop pursuing it.

Through search and pursuit, listening and learning, connecting and helping, your journey through life will be one of fulfillment. To keep moving forward is the key.

Find joy in the moments, clarity in times of sorrow, and happiness in the rewards of the path.

What Is Stopping You From Being Happy?

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Have you ever wondered why lasting happiness seems to elude so many of us? At times it can seem like we’re trying to find a brass ring in a field of hay. We try so very hard at being the best we can and still it seems to be so elusive. What’s missing here? I think that it’s safe to say that it won’t be found in materialism, at least not the enduring type of happiness we’re in search of. And according to divorce rates it isn’t to be found in someone else. Where does that leave us folks?

Yup, you got it. Happiness begins with us. Each and every one of us is the source for our emotions. Happiness is truly a responsibility and only we can ultimately be held accountable for our own. So how can we begin to create lasting happiness? Well let’s start by talking about what takes it away. Are you ready for this?

Here’s the culprit: attachment, and what is attachment? It’s a belief or idea that we hold in our minds about how things should be and we base these ideas on past experiences. The great news though is that we can change any belief by making a conscious decision. It’s the most empowering thing you can do for yourself! Let’s look at an example in the next paragraph.

How many times have we gone to a department store or mall only to encounter a surly employee? Now most of us go into these places expecting a certain level of service. But guess what? Not every person you encounter is going to be able to uphold your standard of expectation. So when our expectations aren’t met we do this-react.

Reaction is the thief that attempts to steal away our happiness! You can decide to release expectation in any circumstance. Now that’s empowerment! Because the moment you do that, you now have relinquished the authority from anyone else to take it (happiness) away from you.

The other thing about happiness is this………….it’s a choice. We don’t have to wait until some future event to happen or to get the dream car to be happy. It can be chosen moment by moment. It begins with a thought. You can choose happiness. When you begin to choose it for yourself, you’ll discover that life will start sending you more and more reasons to be happy. It has a domino effect. Like attracts like. Just some food for thought. Be happy!

How To Tap into The Greatness That exixts in YOU~

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We all tend to admire great people. People that have shaped the way the world is through their personal courage like Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela. Or others who have shaped the way we think, like Albert Einstein or Plato. And then there are those who inspire us because they overcame their limitations, like great athletes, or artists, or writers, or entrepreneurs, or discoverers, or inventors.
Compared with these giants of mankind, our lives can seem insignificant. But in fact, greatness is hidden within all of us. We just need to bring it out.

Are these three things holding you back?
1. We believe that we have limits.
I’m sure you can remember your parents or your teachers say something that implied that you’re somehow mediocre. Maybe they said that you weren’t intelligent enough, or talented enough, or -well – simply not good enough.

2. We buy into social myths.
When people say that we are too young, or too old, or too stupid, or that we are the wrong gender, to achieve our dreams – we tend to believe them. Greatness means transcending social norms. It means letting go of what other people think we can or can’t achieve. Remember that it’s not your business what others think about you.

3. We harbor secret self doubts.
What do you really feel about yourself? Are you confident – or do you have self-doubts? Lack of confidence saps the energy we need to make our life into something of value – not just for ourselves, but for those whose lives we touch. Our self-doubts are the negative voices that we heard from others when we were little. We not only internalize these negative messages, we’ve tend to amplify them. A good starting point for letting go of self-doubts is to actually notice the negative messages in your mind. Awareness is the first step of change.

Here’s how to bring out the greatness within:
• Trust your dream
Greatness comes in many sizes. Greatness means that you become fully yourself and transcend your doubts and perceived limitations. Greatness doesn’t mean that you need to do huge things. It means that whatever you do, you pour into it your complete being.
• Gear up with passion.
Passion is what gives us the strength to follow our dreams. It’s the powerhouse that can uncover our hidden greatness. Because passion drives us forward and allows us to overcome setbacks and obstacle.
• Don’t thrash.
Imagine a boating accident where everyone falls overboard. Who do you think has the best chance of survival – the one who’s in panic and thrashes around, or the one who thinks clearly about the best strategy -whether it’s safer to cling to the wreck, to swim to shore, or to stay afloat until rescue arrives? My money would be on the resourceful one who conserve energy and make a plan. The same principle is important when overcoming hardship. Don’t thrash – create a survival plan instead.
• Get up after falling.
Failure and making mistakes are inevitable – if you’re human. Just look at how often toddlers fall over when they learn to walk. I think the reason many of us give up after initial problems is because failure seems to reinforce hidden self-doubts. Actually, making mistakes means that you are learning. One way to increase success is to increase your failure rate. Because each so-called failure overcome is a step forward towards actualizing your dream.
• Count your blessings.
Sometimes we tend to focus on difficulties, and not on what is going well. That can get us down, instead of lifting us up. I know someone who described her life as two steps back and one step forward because of her lack of confidence. Sounds familiar? But the amazing thing is that she is in the process of completing a PHD. What that means is that she has already gone through a huge, successful journey of getting to where she is. However, her self-doubts are preventing her from actually seeing how well she’s doing – even though she’s got challenges to overcome.
• Don’t listen to the knockers
Many people are quite negative because they feel bad about themselves. They want to pull down achievers to their own level. Remember that their criticism of you is just an expression of their own self-doubts and fears.
• Put your heart, soul, and sweat into your dreams.
Great people work incredibly hard – success doesn’t come by accident. I recently got an email, saying, “I want to be successful without having to do much.” Sorry, friend – but that’s not how it works!

Tips On How To Be Happy~

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Is there some secret that those who always seem happy are hiding? Not at all.

They just have a way of turning negative into positive. Below are a few ways you to can start bringing more happiness and less negativity into your life.

Take care of yourself physically. It’s much easier to be optimistic when you are eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest.

Be thankful. Stresses and challenges don’t seem as terrible when you remind yourself of the things that are right in life.

Don’t Assume. Don’t waste time worrying that you did something incorrect unless you have evidence that there is something to worry about.

Don’t use absolutes. Thinking and talking in absolutes like ‘always’ and ‘never’ makes the situation appear worse than it is.

Think positively. Your thoughts can’t hold any power over you if you don’t judge them. If you notice yourself having a negative thought, detach from it, witness it, and don’t follow it.

Get and give hugs. Positive physical contact with friends, loved ones, and even pets, is an instant pick-me-up.

Increase your social activity. Surround yourself with healthy, happy people, and their positive energy will affect you in a positive way!

Volunteer. Everyone feels good after helping. You can volunteer your time, your money, or your resources. The more positive energy you put out into the world, the more you will receive in return.

Don’t dwell on the negative. It’s never productive, because it’s not rational or solution-oriented; it’s just excessive worry. Try changing your physical environment – go for a walk or sit outside. You could also call a friend, pick up a book, or turn on some music.

Practice does indeed make perfect. Before long, the above traits will become automatic. You will look back and realize how far you have come. You will have become one of the ones people look to for the “secret” of happiness.

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