Exploring and Encouraging a Healthy Life Marked with Joy

Archive for February, 2013

HAPPINESS IS …

… a warmly delicious chai latte in the cool atmosphere of The Coffee Fox on Broughton Street here in Savannah.

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Five Friday Happy Bringers (2/22/13)

It may be a cool, cloudy day in Savannah, but there are just SO MANY reasons to be happy.

1.  The absolute JOY of having FRESH WATER, which I take for granted 99% of the time.  My gratitude hit me this morning right after I woke up, walked to the bathroom sink, and splashed some water on my sleepy face.  Water–what an amazing blessing in our lives!

2.  Slowly reading/savoring Maeve Binchy’s final book, A Week in WinterShe died last summer, soon after completing this last novel.  What I love about Binchy is her ability to create these worlds (usually in Ireland) which she populates with characters you care about and end up cheering on.  There’s always a little sadness when I finish one of her books, especially so this time.  Hmm, so I suppose sadness can live right next to happiness.

3.  Homemade chili.

4.  Taking both my sections of ENG 193 (Composition for International Students) to the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art for a fascinating docent-led tour of SCAD deFINE ART, an annual contemporary art showcase of exhibitions, performances, talks and events.  (I will probably blog about the field trip soon.)

5.  The beautifully delicious fact that Cadbury Eggs are here once again!

Drink in a great late winter weekend!

May the Road Rise

In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, here’s an old Irish blessing I really love:

“May the road rise up to meet you, and the wind be ever at your back.”

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The Countdown Is On

St. Patty’s Day is a pretty big deal here in Savannah. The countdown is on.

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(More later.)

Live Well, Be Well

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Saturday morning I quickly downed some beignets and coffee at Huey’s on River Street …

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boarded the Savannah Belles Water Ferry and crossed the shimmering Savannah River …

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to Hutchinson Island and the Savannah Trade and Convention Center.

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The purpose of my morning meandering?  To attend the first event in Gulfstream’s Live Well, Be Well community outreach series.  The international Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (which designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and services business jet aircraft) is headquartered right here in my hometown and provides major support for such events as the Savannah Music Festival, the Savannah Children’s Book Festival, the Savannah Black Heritage Festival and Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity.  And according to the Live Well, Be Well website, “To help our local community make better choices to be well, Gulfstream is presenting some of the most respected people in health care and life management.”

Well, they certainly started off with a big bang by having peak performance coach Tony Robbins present the inaugural program.

I have followed and read Robbins for years but had never seen him live.  What a treat!  The man is life success and excitement personified.  I was thrilled when I arrived and managed a fourth row seat.  Seated next to me was Gulfstream employee extraordinaire Elizabeth Hill …

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along with her husband Mark (of Savannah Audio Video Innovations).  New friends!  Especially since part of Robbins’ three-hour-but felt-like-one seminar was interspersed with explosive interactions of screaming ‘Yes!” to the folks around you, and excitedly jumping up and down to show how a change in our physiology can alter how we feel.

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Okay, maybe I pushed the blog a little:

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Dynamic Tony Robbins taught me so much about living life more fully.  Before I tell you the heart of what I learned on Saturday, here are a few of my favorite quotes from the seminar:

“See things as they are, but not worse than they are.”

“Energy is a psychology more than a chronology.”

“Happy people get happier.”

“If you want to be good at something, make it a study.”

“Decisions are destiny.”

“Our stories shape us.”

“The quality of your life is the quality of where you live emotionally.”

“The secret to living is giving.”

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My greatest takeaway from Anthony Robbins:  STATE — STORY — STRATEGY.

He taught us that the STATE we are in (how we feel, what our emotions are like in any moment) is key to living successfully and joyfully.  We must learn to manage our state, to feel better instantly.  How?  He suggested two ways.  First, to alter our actual physiology–move, get excited, jump, find reasons to feel good and smile, learn our triggers for feeling persuasively terrific, shout “yes!”  Second, to change what we are focusing on.

Next, each of us must learn to tell a more joyful, healthy “I can succeed” STORY (instead of “I never could do that, be that, go there, etc.”).  As we improve our STATES and our STORIES, we will find the best STRATEGIES to fulfill our desires and quests in life.

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I can’t imagine a more colorfully productive way to spend three pleasurable hours on a cold Savannah Saturday morning.

What Happens

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“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”

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(Holding grandtwins Matthew and Madison–and somehow taking our pic at the same time.)

Backyard Joy

So recently, after getting a great haircut (and a little take-ten-years-away-coloring) from Rick at The Living Room Salon and Barbering on Bull Street here in Savannah, AND after moseying next door for a really delicious lunch (including sweet potato salad) at the hip Butterhead Greens Cafe AND after making sure the friendly but authoritative meter maid left my car alone, I decided to meander down cool-looking Brady Street near the restaurant.

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Savannah is a city which MUST be walked, slowly, to discover its streetscape wonders.  The Historic, Victorian and Ardsley Park districts often hide their treasures from cars.  As I meandered, I marveled at the pastel colors of some of the houses, and found myself caught up in surveying one double home in particular.  I paused to take a picture on the steps on one side (green is my favorite color) (and more green) …

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… then walked to the other half.

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I’m really not sure what drew me to the house–perhaps the royal yellow blooms on a flowering bush …

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… or the neat little garden out front, or the Wisconsin license plates on the car in the tiny parking area.

As I stood blatantly staring at the beautiful double house, the front door opened and the owners marched out with paint brushes in hand.  Well, of course I HAD to say something since I had basically trespassed and stood, rather dumbly suspicious-looking, right up against their car’s bumper.

“Uh, hello, so you’re from Wisconsin?”  (Being caught off guard ALWAYS throws me a bit.   Usually makes me turn beet red.  And for some reason–maybe because I get nervous–I always want to LIE in situations such as this one, say something like, I don’t know, “Uh hello there, I see you’re from Wisconsin?!  Well I AM TOO!  What a coincidence!” before I consider the implications of the lie.  But of course I’ve never been to Wisconsin.  All I know about Wisconsin is they wear cheese hats at football games.

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I’ve never been particularly great with first impressions, but if you will just give me a little time, I will grow on you a bit.)

Well, Rick and Linda graciously welcomed me into their yard and home.  I spent a delightful forty-five minutes hearing a bit about their lives.  For example, they spend half a year here in Savannah and the other half in Wisconsin.  (When I get up the courage, I’m going to ask them to bring me back a cheese hat.)

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And when they heard I write a happiness blog, with a category called “In Our Own Back Yard,” about exploring the richly beautiful Savannah area, they looked at each other, hooted, and Linda exclaimed, “Do I have a story for you!”  It’s a story about a wall and happiness.  Listen to what Linda says concerning what she and her husband are doing to enjoy their backyard more fully and joyfully.

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(I’d like to thank my camera man for getting so rambunctiously excited during the filming.)

Now follow us, as we walk around to their beautiful backyard.

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Rick and Linda gathered stray half bricks around the city to pave their walkway and patio.  Isn’t the brickwork stunning?

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“Here’s what we have completed so far.” Linda said as she showed me the back of her neighbor’s house.

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I love that story!  So sometimes we have to work, to make effort, to pay a price to get us closer to happiness.  But as Linda explained, this type of work is NOT really a burden, is not unpleasant–on the contrary, it’s vibrant and invigorating and brings pleasure.  It’s fun!

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(Mirror, mirror on the wall….)

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Thank you, Linda and Rick, for sharing your backyard happiness with us.  We’ll be back soon to tour your lovely home–and to pick up the cheese head hat.

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