Let go: happiness and freedom in surrender

img_1402eThis is one of the times that I will reference my faith as I write about a topic. I think you will find the article interesting and helpful, regardless of your religious background, if you stick with it!

Are you ready to experience a breakthrough in your level of happiness in life?!

I am VERY excited to share with you one of the three things I recently mentioned that has made a big difference in my being able to enjoy life. I just know that it can do the same for you, if you give it a try. It is “let go”.

Letting go has been one of the most incredibly transforming things in bringing about happiness in my life. Not just happiness, but peace and contentment also. You see, before I learned to “let go”, I was in this crazy emotional hamster wheel where I was rolled to and fro by my circumstances. My circumstances and my interpretation of them dictated to me how I was going to feel on any given day, at any given moment.  And any person who has lived for any amount of time knows that circumstances are as fickle as the weather and basing your happiness on them is a recipe for feeling miserable.

What I do NOT mean by “let go”…

You should know that, by “let go” I DON’T mean no longer caring about your life or having a fatalistic mentality.  I don’t mean that you go along with everything that happens to you and never try to make changes, that you never set goals, or that magically everything in your life will just work out without you putting in any effort. We still are responsible for our lives.

It’s about surrendering what we can’t control

What I DO mean by “let go” is surrendering control of things in life that you have no control over anyways and not allowing yourself to respond negatively when things don’t go your way. To not be a control freak. To not be consumed by worry and anxiety. To release those unrealistic expectations you place on yourself that zap you of emotional energy and ultimately your happiness. To relinquish this false notion that your happiness is a destination. That if only __________ would happen, then finally you would be happy.

My life the roller coaster

In years gone by, I would walk around all day, every  day, completely controlled by my circumstances, wearing my emotions on my sleeves, looking for approval and validation from the people around me. During those years it didn’t take Continue reading

I love coconut oil AND four uses!

Coconut Oil

Brance and I were first introduced to the benefits of coconut oil over two years ago. The first container that we bought was refined and very unlike the organic, unrefined coconut oil that we now use and have come to love. Although, the texture was the same, the aromatic coconut smell and flavor was absent in that first jar.

Here are four ways we are loving using coconut oil these days.

1. In cooking

One of the first ways we began using the coconut oil was in our cooking. Although it is a saturated fat, it has many healthful properties, including a safe higher cooking temperature, antimicrobial benefits, and, well, saturated fats aren’t terrible for us, after all. If you use the unrefined oil, which I highly recommend, you may have to grow accustomed to the coconut flavor. It works nicely in desserts and I hardly notice it anymore in other dishes we us it in. But not at first. It may take a couple of times of cooking with coconut oil before you are used to the subtle coconut flavor.

Coconut oil can replace other oils in recipes. I especially recommend using it in place of the less healthy canola and vegetable oils. But you can even substitute it for olive oil, especially when you plan to cook at higher temperatures. Because it solidifies at temperatures 76 degrees and above, this oil will not work well all the time, like if you are making a vinaigrette dressing. But for most other things, including making mayonnaise, this oil is great option. We use it for stir-frying vegetables, pan-searing chicken and fish in our iron skillet, oven-roasting vegetables and meats, in pancakes and waffles, etc. The possibilities are endless. Although, for certain recipes, you may have to heat it, similar to melting butter, to work it into your recipe.

IMG_44832. As a facial moisturizer

This use may make you a little nervous. The thought of slathering my blemish-prone face with oil made me uncomfortable at first, too. But I have found that it works REALLY well to help keep my face soft, especially in the very dry New England winters. And  it doesn’t leave your face excessively greasy if done in a certain way. I know some people use coconut oil in the place of face soap and that is great if it works for them, it just doesn’t work well for me that way. I don’t do this every day, but here is how I use coconut oil in my face-care routine, when I do. It’s so simple! Continue reading

Happiness is NOT a destination

IMG_4437

(Photograph by Dave Carney)

I used to believe that happiness was a destination. Well, if you had asked me outright I wouldn’t have said that, but that was precisely how I lived. It is the place my thoughts and actions went to on a daily basis. I was just barely getting by, just barely surviving.

It looked like this. Lots of personal little emotional meltdowns and experiencing feelings of being down and hopeless daily were my existence. Anxious thoughts and fretfully replaying past experiences were almost a constant in my head. I based most of my decisions on how people would perceive or respond to me. This is obviously a terrible way to live and living this way became a real chore where there was little happiness for me.

During this time I sadly believed that if I could finally get the entire house sparkly clean, or catch up on laundry, or have nicer clothes and things, or write those thank you notes, or find a different job, or move into a nicer house, or better yet, own a house, or have more friends, or spend more time with the friends I had, or have certain people like me (this was a big one for me), or travel more, or live in an exciting place, or many, many other things… THEN finally I would be happy.

Yeah, go figure, it never happened. At least not this way! Oh sure I would have fleeting moments of happiness if I felt I had accomplished something or if I moved on to something new and “exciting”. But they never lasted and it didn’t sustain me because it wouldn’t be long until I was looking to the next thing. And seriously, how long does a house with kids stay clean anyway?! My happiness was like a roller coaster that formed its course based on the circumstances around me and even worse my perception of those circumstances. I always assumed the silver lining was just up around the bend. Did I mention that this is a terrible way to live!?

Thank goodness several years ago I finally broke free from this dysfunctional way of living!  Three things have helped me escape from this terrible cycle.  They are… Continue reading

Lip-smacking good dairy-free smoothie

Dairy-free shake

I try to avoid dairy most of the time because of an autoimmune disease I have, Ulcerative Colitis. One of the things I really miss (there are many… Dairy was my favorite food group!) is a good old chocolate milkshake. You know, that cold creamy chocolate goodness in a frosty mug. Yum.

Well I had pretty much come to accept my shake-free lot in life when we came up with this delicious smoothie on a whim one evening. Although, there is no milk involved, you would be hard-pressed to miss it in this lip-smacking dairy-free smoothie. So whether Continue reading

Happy Weekend 3.12.15!

IMG_4382

We got back to Boston from our travels late last night after driving all day. We put the girls to bed and both had the munchies. But what to do? The grocery store was closed, so we were forced to rummage through our refrigerator which had sat unopened for 3 weeks. Eek!

Olives last forever. Okay, good. Aged gouda with a sell-by date of that day. Phew! Carrots and celery? At least they weren’t rotten or shriveled up like the rest of the produce we tossed. We decided to give them a try. And of course, wine Continue reading

Could this be what’s keeping you from enjoying your life?

S. Boston Causeway

Some of you want to enjoy life, you really do. You just don’t know how to make it happen. You feel like your wheels are spinning and the more you try, the further you end up from the goal. It feels impossible. Part of you wants to give up the quest. You are so, very tired. Yet, the hope of freedom pushes you forward and allows you to take your next feeble step.

That’s EXACTLY how it felt for me over a decade ago.

I wanted to enjoy my life. I didn’t want to feel miserable a moment longer. I just didn’t know how to make my way out of the dark pit I had fallen into. I was Continue reading

What our secret plans do for us

imageDid you realize that the things that you desire, plan, and hope for deep down are very important? You know, the things that you mull over on a daily basis, but often don’t breathe a word of these secret thoughts or plans to a soul. Well, come to find out, when our thoughts are altruistic, truly concerned for the well-being of others, we are better off.

What our hearts desire is an indicator of our emotional health. Do we plan things that would benefit and uplift others in addition to ourselves? Would good and peace and hope come about through our deepest wishes. Or Continue reading

I am back and Happy Weekend!

imageHappy Weekend! I am sorry that I wasn’t able to get a new post up this week. We were traveling and visiting with family, which was wonderful. I just didn’t have a spare moment hardly to devote to the blog and unfortunately I get carsick if I work while riding in the car.

Our travel landed us first in Charlottesville, VA for my dad’s partial colectomy. The surgery was successful and there is no more cancer. We feel incredibly grateful! I wasn’t sure Continue reading