Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Life is like Coffee

Friday, January 18th, 2008

After writing last week about my friend Gio’s death, I felt that the following e-mail (paraphrased here), which has traveled the world, would be an appropriate follow up that we could all appreciate.

A group of friends got together to have coffee. The host set out the cups and brewed the coffee. Some of the cups were beautiful; some were plain. The host noticed that the nicer cups were chosen first.

What is the meaning of this vignette?

Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in society are merely cups. They are tools that shape and contain Life, but the type of cup we have does not define nor change the quality of the life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee provided us.

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

The richest person is not the one who has the most but the one who needs the least.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Lessons from The Wizard of Oz

Saturday, September 15th, 2007
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 197

Dear Jane,
I just bought a nice new car, which I’d been saving up for. I felt excited when I got into it, smelled that new-car smell, and heard the engine purr. That was a week ago. Now, even though I’m still proud of myself for attaining this goal, I don’t feel jazzed about the car itself anymore. Why is the thrill gone so quickly? How come I don’t stay happy for very long?

Given the amount of debt we Americans are currently up to our ears in, you’d think that money must buy happiness. But just a few years ago, a landmark Harvard study demonstrated that, although many people believe that a nice piece of jewelry, a larger home, a new car, or more money will make them happy, this satisfaction doesn’t last long.

The researchers found that what makes us happiest for the greatest duration is something money can’t buy: friendship. If we take this conclusion to heart—that what will make us happiest is our connection with others—then we have to believe that our best decisions, the ones that help us thrive and enjoy life the most for the longest time, require nothing more than an open heart.

Often, we’re like the Tin Woodsman or the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, searching everywhere for what we think is missing when it’s right there inside of us all along. Our capacity for happiness is like that—it’s right there inside us yet we look far and wide for it, often paying a high price to boot.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy a car. I’m saying that you’ll probably be happier if you have someone in it next to you to crank up the CD player and sing with. If you want to own a bigger home, make sure you focus on creating laughter and love in there.

The Jewish people have a saying: It’s better to give with warm hands. What this means is that it’s more enjoyable to share while we’re alive than to hold onto everything until we’re dead, an attorney doling it out to our descendants.

Any material object that we crave will lose its luster once we possess it, while relationships that are joyful and loving never tarnish.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

How to Know When You Are Fulfilled

Friday, December 22nd, 2006
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 177

Dear Jane,
How can I figure out whether I am doing what makes me happy? What are some of the symptoms of unhappiness, or must I wait for a life-threatening situation?

I wrote Enough Is Enough! to help others avoid having to go through a life-threatening situation in order to wake up to your spirit’s calling.

If you are having to ask yourself if you are happy, then you probably aren’t. Perhaps you haven’t yet had the satisfaction that goes with fulfilling your spirit’s purpose, so you don’t know what benchmark to compare your feelings with.

The symptoms of endurance or a less-than-thriving life are discussed in depth in my book. I will give you a short list here that you should find helpful:
Anxiety, addiction, depression, cynicism, hopelessness, helplessness, boredom, frustration, resentment, endless To Do lists, ruts, listlessness…the list goes on and on!

The most important thing you can do is to pay attention. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, don’t ignore yourself. You deserve to create a thriving, extraordinary life. Remember, others in your life will benefit also. As one bumper sticker says, “Become the person your dog thinks you are.” This is a way of saying that you owe it to yourself to like the reflection you see in the mirror. Time is precious and so is your spirit. Begin today!

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Bringing Humor and Laughter Back Into Your Life

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Dear Jane,
How can I bring back more humor and laughter into my life. I listen to my beautiful children laughing and having fun and long for this free spirit.

Maybe it would be helpful for you to find out when your joy seems to have “disappeared.”
1. What used to make you laugh or feel joy?
2. When did you stop feeling happy?
3. Is there something missing in your life?
4. Are you imitating the way it was in your home growing up? Were the children
happier than their parents?
5. Do you do too much for others or not enough for yourself?
6. What DO you feel, if not happiness and light heartedness?

If you are depressed, don’t hesitate to let your doctor know. There can be physical causes for depression and you don’t want to feel that you are failing when you may be struggling with body chemistry imbalances.

If resentment is overshadowing your joy, read Chapter 7 of Enough Is Enough! “Take Off Your Armor: Heal Your Anger and Resentment.” You will find a powerful exercise to get at any underlying regrets. Once you are in touch with your regrets, you will find it easier to forgive and make peace with yourself. This will get you back into feeling the joy you long to share with your children.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

It’s a B*tch Being Conscious

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 177

Do you ever feel that it takes more work, more out of you emotionally, to live a conscious life than it did to live less-than-consciously? Many years ago I had a T-shirt made with the saying, It’s A Bitch Being Conscious. I wore it on the first day of my Journey Into Ecstasy workshop intensive because I could count on it to evoke instant, knowing laughter from all the participants.

So why do we do it? Why do we keep working on ourselves when it takes so much effort, when we’d sometimes rather be zoned out, pour a cold one, light up a joint or cigarette, or grab the remote? Why do we put ourselves through seeming torture for no guaranteed rewards, sometimes paying a hefty price for the privilege of doing so? Are we just masochists disguised as seekers and healers? Is ignorance perhaps, if not the best policy, at least a better one than relentless self-examination? Who is it that said that the unexamined life is not worth living? A lot of people might disagree.

I know that I’m supposed to answer these rhetorical, “teaser” questions for you in this paragraph. I’m supposed to justify and validate all your hard work, the money you spend on coaching, therapy, workshops, and books, the courage you’ve mustered to face your demons. But you know, I don’t know why anyone does it.

When my coaching clients express how hard this work sometimes is all I can do is smile, agree, and cheerlead. I say things like, “Doesn’t clarity feel better than confusion?” “Doesn’t feeling your emotions feel better than walking around numb?” Sometimes they give in and admit that they like living in an aware and awakened state. Sometimes they give me the look that lets me know I’m skating on thin ice, that their answer just might be a resounding “No!” if I weren’t so chipper.

I can relate. I like the temporary high that blaming and playing the victim provide so well. Blaming feeds my ego and playing the victim allows me to relinquish responsibility for my life. Who wouldn’t say, “Bring it on!”

But once the high leaves, I’m stuck with all my hangover symptoms: depression, lower self-esteem, helplessness, and hopelessness. I wake up and see in the mirror someone who traded the excitement of possibility for the drudgery of inevitability, someone who is stuck in a rut, reading from a very boring script, complaining often and loudly. I see someone who, while familiar, is less than admirable.

Kicking and screaming, or at least whining, I stop the chatter and remind that face in the mirror what the goal of consciousness is: happiness. I tell myself that I am more than the sum of my fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs. I quiet the chatter long enough to hear my spirit’s whispers. And when I persevere, I do occasionally stumble onto great and unexpected joy. More often, I find myself feeling at least a small measure of peace. I’m grateful for that. Is it all worth it? I guess each of us needs to answer that question for ourselves.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.