Outrageous Happiness #9: Behaving Badly

September 21, 2014 § 2 Comments

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I had a pretty happy childhood. Excluding my brothers’ taunts, of course, about my report cards and the shape of my feet. Although, these latter attacks were counteracted: “Indian feet” my Uncle Paul told me, with arches so high and feet slightly pigeon-toed, he said it made me walk soundlessly and properly, the way an Indian would. Being the eternal optimist I chose to believe my Uncle’s version.

(But I jest, brothers… for the record, you’ve been just right.)

In any event, back to the childhood. I have many fond memories, but one that randomly popped out today is laughing in church with my Aunt Gina. (no relation to Uncle Paul, in case you were wondering.) What made this such a wonderful experience is that a.) my Aunt was one of the sweetest people ever to walk this earth, with never an unkind word and always erring to the polite and “right” thing to do and b.) this was not the “right” thing to do.

I have no recollection as to what set us off, except that I’m positive it was a particularly somber, serious moment, which made it all so wrong when I felt my shoulders bob with stifled giggles, only to glance over at my Aunt who was clearly tight-lipped trying to contain her own, and then she looked at me looking at her and it took every, I mean, every, ounce of restraint from each of us not to snort and cackle for the whole crowd to hear. Which, naturally, made our giggles exponentially worse. (No doubt many of you have had a similar experience.) I was sure the bench was shaking. Oh the dread! An out and out laughing fit right then and there. In church. Completely inappropriate. Devilishly fun. I can still laugh thinking of it. Shared joy in our behaving badly.

What this is all leading me to, though, is not memory lane as much as the idea of breaking rules. The whole “life is short” scenario. Making sure to have some fun along the way, which sometimes involves rule-bending. (of course, never, ever, involving harm to others.)

Maybe it’s a food fight. Maybe it’s the hot fudge sundaes my daughter and I sometimes have for breakfast on Sunday (makes sense to me!). Maybe it’s taking a sick day to go fishing or rock climbing or to sit and read a book on the beach. It’s the spontaneous trip to Arizona that lasts two seasons. It’s jumping in the pool with your clothes on. Off the high dive. Taking a left turn instead of a right. Owning a convertible at least once in your life. Staying up late, getting up early, sleeping in the afternoon. Eating the damn cupcake just because you want to. Being the first one on the dance floor. Laughing in church with someone you love.

Be just a little outrageous. Break a rule or two while you’re here; for happiness’ sake.

saxton_seizemomentcupcake

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

Why a Good Book is a Secret Door (TED Talks)

September 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Pure joy. Watch, listen and smile…

Outrageous Happiness #8: Angelic Intervention?

September 7, 2014 § 3 Comments

saxton.outrageous_lifeoftheparty.you

Here’s a little tale. So. I was running late. It was my birthday weekend ~ I’d recently dropped my daughter at college, so it was the first in 18 years without her by my side ( :( ) ~ and I wanted to take full advantage of plans to spend a relaxing weekend with two dear friends. But, there I was, crunched for time, exceedingly ornery and frustrated that I couldn’t seem to pull it together.

Then, of course, like penance for being late, as I finally get on the road I realize the car needs gas.

I pull up to the gas pump. A young station attendant comes to the window. “How are you today?” he asks. “Okay, I guess. But I’m late.” My tone is less charming. “Can you fill with regular, please?”

And then, without skipping a beat, he turns my day completely around.

“You’re not late”, he says (me looking at him incredulously, because I am, indeed, nearly two hours behind schedule). He’s got a big, genuine smile. The contagious kind. “Nope, you’re not late. You’re the life of the party! Nothing’s gonna happen til you get there. So you see you’re really not late, you’re right on time.”

Maybe it’s his tone. Maybe the gentle conviction. His reminder that there’s always peace in the middle of the storm. Whatever it is, he’s got me. The shift is immediate. I feel myself smiling. I think: what a fabulous attitude.

As he hands me my receipt I tell him: “You know, you really, truly made my day. I feel so much better – thank you!” “That’s my job”, he says. “To leave you with a full tank of gas, clean windows and a smile on your face.” (wow! how often do you hear that?)

Mission accomplished, young man. Well done!

So outrageously well done, in fact, with such dramatic effect, that halfway down the road with my new-found smile, full tank and clean windows, I wonder if, just maybe, he’d been an angel in disguise. For reasons I may never know ~ he really did work a little magic.

shakespeare and company, paris

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

A Plethora of P’s: #72 / Pioneer

August 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.

– ♥ –

saxton.P_pioneerWhen I was little, we lived on 7 acres of land, much of which was rich, thick forest with babbling brooks and scampering deer and a million sounds ~ a virtual chorus of bird calls, rustling leaves, frogs and crickets chirping ~ surrounded by all shades of green under a canopy of blue high above the tallest trees. I loved taking it all in. And I liked imagining how I’d get back if I wandered too far. Of course, I knew I’d find my way by remembering this particularly shaped boulder alongside that creek, or twin fallen logs a few feet from the fence ~ but it was the idea of the adventure. And I was an explorer, a pioneer!

Sometimes I pretended I was Lewis or Clark on a special expedition, discovering new lands, befriending Indians, looking for food, calming wild animals, dodging peril! Or I might have been Rebecca Boone, minding the homestead while Daniel was out doing good deeds on the frontier. Maybe I was Daniel on a mission with Mingo. Never knowing what would come next, if I’d get lost, how I’d survive, if anyone would hear me. This was exciting stuff.

But I realize now that being a pioneer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re navigating foreign lands, or inventing the next transistor radio or happening upon a never-seen-before animal on the Galápagos ~ or landing on Mars, for that matter. It can be as simple as adding some wild to your thought process, a little crazy and untamed. “Out of the box” as they say.

We can all be pioneering. We can walk the unbeaten path. (And there we might even find very cool things like this P-shaped branch!) We can chart a new course. See what’s around the next bend. Seek adventure. Write a new song. Open a new door. Inquire. Inspire. Lead. Teach. Dream a new dream.

We can delight in discovery. Big, small, personal or worldly ~ there’s always more to see than meets the eye, always more to learn than what we’ve been taught.

Life is the adventure, and not one of us has seen or done it all. There’s always more treasure to find, whether within ourselves, down the block or in the great out there. And I, for one, hope to never lose that sense of excitement from stepping now and then, even gingerly, into unknown territory.

(see our ongoing Plethora of P’s here)

Outrageous Happiness #7: If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out

August 16, 2014 § 2 Comments

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Raise your hand if you have enough time.   …. Anyone? Well, I can probably think of a few people with way too much time on their hands, but I’m certainly not one of them and I don’t personally know anyone who would honestly raise their hand.

So if we’re all pressed for time, squeezed, squished and otherwise finding ourselves on the short end of the time stick by the end of the day, how the heck do we make more time? How do we fit in those things we want to do around all the things we have to do or feel compelled or honor-bound to do?

Until we have (or make) that honest-to-goodness good-sized chunk of time, the answer lies in moments. And a bit of compromise. And a willingness to surrender.

Like tonight. Busy moving from one thing onto the next, I passed by my piano. My poor, beautiful, neglected piano. This time, instead of more longing and neglect, I decided to sit down and play. Just a few melodies, even just a few notes if that’s what it took ~ but I would run my fingers across the keys and fall in, devoted only to the music for that moment in time. Pure presence.

I might have played longer, but ~ there wasn’t time ~ so I made the proverbial “most of it”. In those 5 minutes I found new songs and songs found me and by the end there was a smile on my face and calm in my bones. Maybe only temporary, just a quick spiritual snack; but hours later I still feel the lift.

It was all in the surrender. A nice shot of happy with lingering ramifications.

And that’s what makes stealing moments worthwhile. Sometimes we just need to grab ‘em. Because if we don’t do things that feed our spirit, we’ll be quite the opposite of outrageously happy. So take 5, surrender and sing out!

saxton_ifyouwantosing

Take 5 to:

Play an instrument

Sing

Meditate / Yoga

Listen to the birds

Have some ice cream :  )

Dance

Ride a bike

Take a walk

Laugh out loud

Write something sloppy in your journal

Have an appreciation rampage

Drop off cookies to a friend

I’m sure you can think of something!

 

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

Outrageous Happiness #6: Get Soaked

August 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

saxton.outrageous_danceinrain

Get wet. And I don’t mean dip your toe in a puddle, I mean jump in the puddle.

Dance, yes, dance in the rain. Float down a river. Wallow in a stream. Sail on a lake and slide yourself overboard. Get yourself to the sea ~ smell the sea, watch the sea, dip into the sea and drench yourself in its salty passion. Sponge in those marvelously charged ions! Be a mermaid (or merman). Swim. Swim. Swim. (If you don’t know how, learn. This is not up for discussion.) Do handstands in the pool; do cannonballs off the side.

When was the last time you ran through a water sprinkler? Go on ~ do it ~ get soaked!

Water is essential to life. It sustains us. It also softens hard edges and dislodges stuck bits. It cleanses. It reminds us to flow and move and refresh and renew. It allows us to wash away troubles we really don’t need and bathe in rejuvenation.

So don’t just sit there, plunge in and splash around. Let it baptize you, stir you, bless you! Submerge, immerse, get yourself a good sopping wet, head to toe.

3positive

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

Outrageous Happiness #5: Not Getting it Done

July 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

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For argument’s sake, let’s just agree that multi-tasking is overrated. Oh sure, it’s one thing to fold laundry while talking on the phone, but it’s another to reply to emails while talking on the phone. (And, by the way, I’ll know if you’re doing the latter, so don’t even try it!) It’s one thing to sing while driving; another to text. It’s great to “kill two birds with one stone”, but you won’t get any birds if you’re over there juggling nineteen plates. You get my point. It’s about focus.

And sometimes that means something doesn’t get done. (GASP!) Or it doesn’t get done at the prescribed time. Or it gets done, but falls short of the mark (commonly referred to in some circles as doing a half – a_ _ed job).

Like right now. I’m up to my eyeballs in stuff that needs to get done. Being a “doer” my tendency is to do whatever it takes to keep my commitment to x, y and z. Often to my own detriment – lack of sleep, feelings of frustration, anger, “what was I thinking?” syndrome. Definitely not the peace of mind one might expect from accomplishment.

But what if…. what if, I only got to x and y. What if I only got to x? I’ll tell you what won’t happen – the world won’t fall apart at the seams as a result of my failing to meet all three.

So, being the rather smart girl that I am, I’m getting ahead of the game and deciding that it’s okay. What gets done will get done, what doesn’t, won’t, and so be it. As long as I’m not hurting anyone or causing hardship, I think it’s safe to say that my own welfare counts in all this. Sanity is good.

Really showing off my smarts, (hold on to your hats), I know that to make this work I need to prioritize. This way, if y and z fall by the wayside this week, I won’t beat myself up. Which I rather like.

So here’s to not getting it done. What an outrageously liberating thought.

gilbert

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

Outrageous Happiness #4: Being Fabulous

July 22, 2014 § 2 Comments

saxton.outrageous_tgif

No, really. Isn’t it great?

While there’s the guy who thinks he’s in a bat mobile, weaving at top speed in and out of cars on the highway, or the smart-alec kid on roller blades who knocks you off your feet, or the dog that pees on the rug ~ isn’t it good to remember how fabulous you are?

Your friends are busy, it’s rained for ten days, the afghan you made is lopsided, your kids think you’re a moron, the clerk at the grocery store is rude. That person who thinks everyone wants to hear the music in their car from 5 blocks away? That neighbor who practices dixieland songs on a trumpet at 10PM? Loud and clear, roger that.

Your car won’t start. Your phone battery dies. Politicians sap your faith in humankind. Your head hurts. You’re out of milk. Your toast burned. Your clients are late to pay. Ketchup spills on your white shirt. You get all the red lights. Your flight is cancelled. You had a shitty day.

But YOU are fabulous!

To quote the marvelous Dr. Seuss: “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

Go with it. Embrace your inner fabulousness. Somebody ought to, after all.

saxton_thankgodimfabulous

my favorite keychain

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

A Plethora of P’s: #71 / Portals

July 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.

– ♥ –

saxton.P_portalsThere are moments  ~ sometimes big and unmistakable, sometimes just pinpoints in time ~ where we step through a portal from one world into another; from old to new, from shadow to light, from closed to open, from veiled to aware, from childhood to maturity.

Passages are inevitable. Still, we sometimes have the choice to walk through or stay behind, and we have minds and hearts to guide us towards those that are good and right and to turn away from those that are not.

And so, whether figuratively or literally, for the better or even the temporarily or seemingly worse, we find keys, turn knobs, open doors, step through. With little outward fanfare, and often imperceptibly, we learn, we grow, and are forever changed. And our experience here becomes all the richer.

 

(see our ongoing Plethora of P’s here)

Outrageous Happiness #3: O-Bla-Di, O-Bla-Da

July 13, 2014 § 6 Comments

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It’s been days. I can’t get this song out of my head. Granted, I haven’t given it a big shove, but thought that by now it’d at least be quieter. But no. Not so. So I’m going with it.

The point could be, after all, that if you want some fun, say o bla di bla da. The point is that life goes on. The point is that when things feel too heavy, you just might need to lighten up. Maybe even veer towards the silly. Maybe, just maybe, head towards outrageous happiness. And there you have it.

But there could even be a little more to it.

I went for a bike ride this morning. It’s been a few years, I will admit – the reason being that each year I found that my tires were flat, and with the best of intentions I’d get the bike a tune-up, but then I’d opt for a swim or a run or a game of tennis. I don’t know why; I used to bike all day long when I was a kid. And sure, I’m not a kid anymore, but the truth is I probably wasn’t as interested as I once was. But this year, I was determined.

You see, I’d fractured my spine last November (right, not fun) and it took several months before I even felt ready to get back to my lap swims. Now that it’s summer, I want to run. I see others running and I think, “I’ll go for a run, too!” But something tells me that would be a huge mistake… same for tennis. So (mini lightbulb moment) I brought out the bike, got a tune-up and rode it. And I’ll ride again. You can’t keep a good girl down, or something like that.

So I’m pedaling along, enjoying the sun, the summer breeze, feeling the burn (having not ridden in a while!), when all of a sudden, I’m aware of the song playing merrily in my head – yet again.  “Happy ever after in the market place, Desmond lets the children lend a hand…” Seriously? You’re still here?

But I thought, you know, this is good. It’s reminding me that you do what you can. I can’t run but I can bike. I can do that swervy thing with the handle bars and wheels, and I can coast down a hill, and go off road. I could even sing at the top of my lungs if I wanted to, all at the same time….la la how the life goes on.

Outrageous? Not quite. But sometimes we all need a little ob-la-di ob-la-da. Some simple. Some silly. A little bit of hey I can do this, so I will! That’s all I’m saying. (And I hope you enjoy some for yourself!)

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

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