The Holidays are Coming Stay Positive

The Holidays are Coming Stay Positive

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Holidays in general breed unrealistic expectations. The minute you start wondering, ‘is it going to be wonderful enough?,’ it never will be.                       ~ Pepper Schwartz

The holidays are coming, well, in fact, they are already here.  I don’t really count Thanksgiving because it is my favorite holiday of the year and to me, because of that it stands on its own.  But the season is upon us, whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years Eve, Saturnalia,  Boxing Day or the Fiesta of our Lady of Guadalupe.

To be honest I don’t like this time of year, for me it’s a mix of a lot of things.  Short days, cold nights, bad weather and Christmas.  In general I really am not fond of Christmas, as a child I don’t remember many good ones.  But you know, in America you are supposed to LOVE Christmas, you’re supposed to want to hear Christmas Carols 24 hours a day, visits to relatives houses, you’re supposed to wear stupid hats and ugly sweaters.

01For me, for a lot of years, the holidays were the most depressing time of the year for me.  I would spiral, isolate myself and generally just be miserable.  The one high point for me has always been giving gifts.  I love finding a meaningful gift that shows the people I care about that I know them and know what makes them happy.  I especially love doing this for my nieces and nephews.  This year there has been a new fun little wrinkle, my sister has enlisted me to help out with her Elf on the Shelf so my niece and nephew got a surprise this morning, their elves had gone west.

01So over the next week I’ll be playing along while the elves are on their west coast vacation.  A little something for my nieces and nephews and more than just a bit for their Uncle Mike as well, to make all of our holidays a little more fun.

I’ll be starting my annual Holiday Happiness posts this week to try to make everyone’s holidays a little happy and help you have some happy days my friends. ~ Rev Kane

 

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A Post Thanksgiving Hug

A Post Thanksgiving Hug

01When autumn darkness falls, what we will remember are the small acts of kindness: a cake, a hug, an invitation to talk, and every single rose. These are all expressions of a nation coming together and caring about its people. ~ Jens Stoltenberg

So my favorite holiday has just passed, Thanksgiving and although it is a wonderful holiday and many people’s favorite holiday, it also often comes with a bit of baggage.  You see Thanksgiving also usually comes with a gathering of family and family gatherings can often be stressful.  It is also a time when we also let people into our circle and into our heads and hearts, people we ordinarily keep at a distance because of the pain they inflict.  We do this because they are blood, because we are expected to by people we care about.

I also today have a couple of friends who are really struggling, the trials in their life at the moment have gotten a bit hairy.  I’m glad they’ve come to me, to talk, that I can help even just a little bit.  I also realize friends that many of you, like I often do, keep quiet when you’re hurting.  So there are more of you out there hurting than any of us know.  So tonight, nothing so deep or philosophical to say, just a simple hello, a hug and to let you know that someone out there cares, reach out.  If you really don’t have anyone, you can reach out to me at happinesskane@aol.com.  Someone always cares my friends, you just have to keep your eyes open and be willing to reach out.  Have a happy day ~ Rev Kane

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My Annual Thanksgiving Hike

My Annual Thanksgiving Hike

01If you are seeking creative ideas go out walking, angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk ~ Raymond Inmon

So when I was younger Thanksgiving meant getting up at 3:30 in the morning, gearing up and heading into the woods to go deer hunting.  Thanksgiving was always a special hunting day because it was the one time of year that I got to hunt with my grandfather.  The best thing was coming in after being cold, eating a big breakfast, showering and then eating a big family dinner, taking a quick nap while watching football then back out to hunt the afternoon.

06I have hunted in a very long time and decades ago, no longer hunting I adopted a new tradition, my annual Thanksgiving hike.  Unless I’m out-of-town I head out Thanksgiving morning, hike and cook in the afternoon.

04This year was extra good, a hike, a great meal and my favorite team the Pittsburgh Steelers beating the Indianapolis Colts.  Today I did about 10 miles out of Walker Pass north to Morris Peak and back, great day.  Business like REI and other folks have been trying to foster a new tradition on Black Friday, making it an outdoors day, so go take a hike instead of spending all of your money and fighting crowds and have a happy day my friends            ~ Rev Kane

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Frost on the trail, it was a chilly morning

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Happiness is Las Vegas & Monty Python

Happiness is Las Vegas & Monty Python

02It’s a helluva start, being able to know what makes you happy ~ Lucille Ball

As a teenager I discovered Monty Python’s Flying Circus on PBS, it was a revelation.  Utter and complete silliness, dead parrots and fish fights and Terry Gilliam’s amazing illustrations.  As promised it was always something different.

So this weekend I went to Las Vegas to see John Cleese and Eric Idle reminisce about their careers in comedy.  It was an amazing show, their stories were amazing, the clips spectacular, and the skits very funny.

01I have a number of friends in Las Vegas and it was great to get a chance to hang out with them, eat a few great meals and have a bit of fun.  Of course, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so I’m not going to say anything else, but we may have had an impact on gravity.

03So go have some fun, it’s only a flesh wound after all and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness: Handling Worry and Uncertainty

Happiness: Handling Worry and Uncertainty

01Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due. ~ William Ralph Inge

Well to say it’s been a tumultuous week for some people in the United States may be an understatement.  With the election of Donald Trump and some of the rhetoric he espoused during the election, and some of the past views of his Vice-President related to the LGBTQ community, there are a number of people visibly worried about the change in US leadership.  So, it seemed like a good time to do a reminder post about worry and happiness.

We often worry before we have to, this isn’t to say the things we worry about are unwarranted, they may very well be, but we often spend a lot of time worry before things have actually happened.  This is really counterproductive and really doesn’t solve anything.  Thinking about and preparing for a possible issue is smart, but think about it, make a plan and move on.  Letting it run over and over in your head accomplishes nothing.

Now I get it, telling someone not to worry is like telling you not to think about a monkey playing a tuba, where was your head just now :)  So what I suggest is that you worry for a purpose and move on.  Right now a lot of people have a lot of uncertainty about the future and that is causing them to worry.  That’s ok for a minute, but in the end, all we can do is go forward and live out lives.

All of this causes stress and stress will ruin your happiness and make you ill.  So my friends, as always, take a deep breath, do all of the things you know you need to do.  Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, limit your access to things that exacerbate your stress.  Stay busy and focused on the positive things in your life and you’ll have happier days.        ~ Rev Kane

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Worry, the Enemy of Happiness

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Happiness is Reducing Stress

 

 

 

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Happiness and the Election

Happiness and the Election

hillary-clinton-donald-trump

A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside. ~ Denis Waitley

Ok, tomorrow is going to be a very interesting day in the US. There will be lots of anxiety of course, lot’s of false things posted on social media about, how somebody’s uncle’s cousin saw this or that while voting. Don’t fall for any of it, regardless of who you are supporting tomorrow, the day after the election we need to support each other. We all need to remember that we are all Americans, even more importantly, we are all humans and that bond has to be greater than any party you may support, any candidate you support, any story you’ve heard on cable news, or any post you read on social media.

We need to come together after the election and as the public, the owners of our government, we need to hold our leaders to a higher standard than we have in the past. We need to get them to take care of our immigrants AND our veterans, our economy AND our environment, our minority communities AND our police, our children AND our elderly. We can actually do all of that regardless of what your politicians or party tells you.  We need to be strong leaders in the world without using our military as our primary form of “diplomacy.”  We can do this by having caring and understanding being our first tools of choice, our weapons the tool of last resort.

So the day after the election, elated, angry or indifferent, I’m asking you to do one thing, not for me, but for all of us.  Just smile at three strangers over the course of the day.  Why?  Because a smile is an act of kindness, the antithesis of all the mistrust and anger we have shown each other during this election cycle.  It might just be the thing that gets us started on the right path and who knows, maybe a few people will smile back.  All that smiling will make us feel better, more trustful, maybe, just maybe we’ll start listening instead of talking at each other.  Maybe we’ll decide that the way to solve problems is the best idea, regardless of what party or ideology the idea came from.  Who knows, maybe a sophisticated approach of taking the best conservative, liberal, communist, socialist, capitalist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist ideas and mixing and matching them will actually produce some amazing insights and better all of our lives.

Then again, I think John Lennon had it pretty right in the song imagine.  So the day after tomorrow, the day after the election, let’s try to be helpful, kind and grateful and just see what happens.  As always though, be good to yourselves, kind to others  and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness is Continuous Improvement

Happiness is Continuous Improvement

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Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. ~ Benjamin Franklin

So recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase continuous quality improvement.  It has a lot of relevance in my job and it has become a bit of a motto in my life.  Where happiness is concerned, we really know all of the answers.  After years of researching and writing about happiness, as the Taoists say, the masters have already given us all of the answers we just fail to see them.

We have talked on this site about a lot of things that can bring you happiness: expressing gratitude; showing kindness; being positive; seeking adventure; damping down our fear; being mindful and many other strategies.  But you have to be realistic about things, no change occurs overnight, if you are a worrier, you can’t just stop worrying because you know it’s a bad idea.  But maybe, bit by bit you can learn to worry less and less over time.

This is what continuous improvement is all about, really it’s simple.  So how do you do it?  Well, the goal is to simply be better than you were last year.  How do you do that? Well, this month you try to be better than last month, this week better than last week, today better than yesterday.  The trick is of course that it doesn’t matter how fast you are moving forward, just that you keep moving forward.  Consistency is the key, whether or not were talking about weight loss, or fitness or happiness.

So my friends, pick whatever method of being  happier that you want to work on, just work on it and have a happy day ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness & Meaning in Life

Happiness & Meaning in Life

16Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human ~ Viktor E Frankl

So today I encountered a really interesting article on happiness and meaning in life.  The article focused on a study related to suicide, what researchers found out was that it wasn’t unhappiness that caused society, but lack of meaning in life.  I thought this was quite interesting.

The study also did an experiment by taking two groups of people.   Asking one group to do meaningful things, help others, be kind etc… And the other group they asked to do things that made them happy.  The participants were in their twenties and did things like party, play video games and eat ice cream.  Both groups saw gains in meaningfulness and happiness respectively, but the meaningful group had longer lasting benefits.  This was the one part of the article I had a problem with.  As someone who studies and regular writes on happiness the researchers made a mistake.  We know that the types of activities that bring on long-term happiness are experiential.  Taking a trip, participating in a project, being out in nature.  The activities in the experiment were things that provided temporary endorphin rushes, so I think they aren’t giving enough weight to the benefits of being happier.

None the less, I thought it was impressive that a week of doing even small meaningful things could have such a positive impact on living a more meaningful life.  Those things are worth doing and the article is worth reading and is linked below.

Here’s how to find meaning in life:

  • Belong to a group: I’ll be at lunch with Andy and the guys. Where will you be?
  • Give your work purpose: You’re not emptying trash cans. You’re helping get a man on the moon.
  • Craft your story: End it with redemption, not contamination, and become the superhero of your life.
  • Transcendence: Nature is big. Your problems are small.

I hope you enjoyed the piece and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

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Happiness is Rain in the Desert

Happiness is Rain in the Desert

rainI love the rain, I always have, some of my best memories from childhood are sitting on my front porch in the summer while it rained like a fire hose.  It was always amazing right after the rain would finish, the most amazing smell would rise.  I loved it, it’s a sensory memory that triggers the most amazing feelings in me.

I live in the desert now, and for the first time since I’ve lived here, today there were little patches of rain this morning.  The smell after rain here is completely different, there was actually a smoky character to the air.  It was no less pleasant of a smell, but it was incredibly different than the one from childhood, but it took my brain back to those days, those less complicated and simple days, where I had the time and the inclination just to hang around for the smell rain.  Have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

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Happiness is a Choice

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Happiness is Sunsets – Part 2

Happiness is SunsetsPart 2

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Tonight part two of the sunset shots, enjoy and have a happy day ~ Rev Kane

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