Tag Archives: happy

O is for Organic: 5 Unusual Ways to Live a More Organic Life.

organic, green, fresh, vegetables, fairtrade, food

To live an organic life is to consciously minimize the amount of harmful chemicals that are in and on your body, around your home, and in your day-to-day life. Living an organic life initially takes a bit of effort because chemically fuelled products are cheaper and faster to make and they yield more profit. The six biggest corporations that control what you see in the supermarkets don’t want you to eat organic so organic choices are hidden from view, and go unpromoted.

If you’ve found yourself thinking, ‘I really want to eat organic’ or ‘I want to be an ethical consumer’ but you don’t know where to start, these 5 Unusual Ways to Live a More Organic Life should set you on your way.

How do you bring organic produce into your life? Know a great website that sells organic stuff? Got an amazing D.I.Y organic life hack? Care to share your favourite organic recipe? Please share your thoughts in a comment!

1. Educate yourself.

As I said, the big corporations don’t want you to have information about chem-free alternatives. There is no profit in it for them. The internet, however, is a wonderful thing, and these days, you can do lots of research and digging (‘scuse the pun) about eating organic. When you educate yourself, and use your own knowledge and wisdom, you are better equipped to make the right choices for yourself and your family. I recommend the following websites that will give you a great foundation about why you should live organically, and how you can get started:

http://www.soilassociation.org/whatisorganic

http://www.organicconsumers.org/

2. Expect the unexpected when it comes to organic produce.

In the last six months I have purchased:

Organic rubber gloves

Organic make up remover pads

Organic candles

Organic fabric.

It’s not just meat and veg that is better when it’s organic. Many unexpected products contain ingredients that grow in the ground, and if it grows in the ground then it can be organic! What’s the most unexpected organic product you’ve ever seen?

3. Grow your own: even if you live in an apartment!

There are lots of nutritious and delicious foods that you can grow right from your own windowsill! Garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, leafy greens and many types of beans grow wonderfully indoors. Growing your own is cheap, satisfying and healthy – you become a producer instead of a consumer, and you know where your food has come from. Growing veg indoors is a great way to get kids interested in eating organically. I remember my grandpa’s spare room being overrun with juicy, plump tomatoes when I was a kid- it’s one of my most magical memories! Visit The Real Farmacy to get started growing your own veg – even in an apartment!

Coaxing a child to eat veg can be a tough job – especially with so many brands offering crap to your kids via catchy adverts and shiny wrappers. One good way to encourage a child to eat veg is to include him or her in the growing and cooking process. Let your child help you make dinner, make it a family affair filled with love, and your child will be happy to eat what you made together and will associate eating veg with happiness and love.

4. Aim to talk to the person who produced your food.

Of course, if you live in an apartment you won’t be able to grow all your own food. The closer you can get to the person who does grow your food, the better. Farmer’s markets and food co-ops are great places to meet the person who has the very important task of feeding you and your family. What are their methods? Do they farm/produce organically? Ask them questions until you are satisfied with the answers. Part of the consumer problem is that we often don’t know – or care – where our food has come from. Us consumers are so far removed from production that all sorts of bad things can go on behind the scenes of production without anyone questioning it. And we unconsciously endorse it by paying for it.

Joining a food co-op is a great way to meet like-minded consumers and the farmers who will produce your food. The principle behind it is to know where your food has come from and to shop with a conscious, co-operative attitude. Are you an organized perfectionist with a bit of time on your hands? Why not start your own food co-op? University of Glasgow has a great food co-op, run by friendly and helpful folks.

5. Vote with your money.

The best way that you can live a more organic life is simply to vote with your money. Whatever you buy, you endorse. When you consume an item, you validate its production. The power is in your pennies! Some people complain that buying organic is expensive. That may be the case compared to ‘beef burgers’ that cost 2p each, but isn’t your heath and the health of this planet the most worthwhile thing to spend your money on? Everything has a cost, and someone must pay somewhere along the line. You pay a little extra for a much better and healthful product. Eating organically is still a fringe lifestyle choice. As it becomes mainstream, the price of organic produce will come down as the volume of it goes up. The volume goes up by consumer demand – so the more you buy, the more the price comes down. You do not have to become a be-dreadlocked vegan who lives in a hut with solar panels and only eats roots (although that would be ideal!), just by making small changes to your buying habits and taking some pride and care in what you eat, you can make a big difference to your own health, the health of our economy and the health of the planet.

If you are a visual learner, and you like a good documentary, I recommend the following:

Vegucated (WARNING! Disturbing Scenes.)

Forks Over Knives (WARNING! Disturbing Scenes.)

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Vanishing of the Bees

What did you think of these documentaries? Share your thoughts in a comment.

Next Time: P is for ‘People Tree’: My most-loved organic clothing brand.

www.angellauren.com

www.facebook.com/laurenmedium

Twitter: @angellassie

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N is for ‘News’: 7 Feel-good Current Affairs You Won’t See on Prime Time News.

Man, the news is so depressing. Sure, it’s important to keep up with the goings-on of the world, but if you believed the news to be a true respresentation of the world, you’d be forgiven for thinking we live in hell.

But we don’t live in hell. There are good, great, and just plain awesome things going on out there everyday. Good news has the potential to spread quickly, with the help of our friend The Internet. Do your bit to be the harbinger of happiness and pass a good news story around today. I’m sure you know a few people who could benefit from a bit of good news, right?

Want to do more to spread happy tidings? Link or write good news stories from around the web in the comments section of this post so that others may be inspired and uplifted by them.

I hope you enjoy ‘7 feel-good current affairs you won’t see on prime time news’. Share your thoughts in a comment!

USA’s Governmental Shutdown Results in the Extraordinary Kindness of the General Public.

The North American Government may have bickered amongst itself to the extent that it forgot about its people: but the people have certainly not forgotten about each other. The USA’s govermental shut-down (due to a disagreement over spending and budgets) has resulted in newly-unemployed people rallying round to help each other in an attempt to sustain some of the country’s most important services, and maintain its proudest landmarks. Out-of-work individuals have been volunteering in all manner of ways: from mowing the lawn at the Lincoln Memorial, to working at educational facilites, allowing them to remain open for the benefit of the children.

Right, just get this finished, then it's on to painting the fence!

Right, just get this finished, then it’s on to painting the fence!

Even some big name companies have been mucking in, offering free food and drink to those who have been sent home from work. This sense of community is wonderful to see, especially because it shows that the seed has been planted in the minds and hearts of the American people that they can survive without their government. Perhaps this will allow the American people to reach the realization that they are more powerful and resilient than their Overlords would have them believe.

Peru’s Government Gives Solar Power to its Poorest People, Free of Charge.

Two million of Peru’s poorest people will be provided with electricity for the first time, thanks to a $200 million initiative by the Peru’s Government. The electricity will be generated by solar panels atop residences. The equipment and power will be provided free of charge.

These lovely sun slabs will change lives.

These lovely sun slabs will change lives.

The initiative is expected to be complete in 2016, and the project’s target is to have 95% of households in Peru using electricity, compared to 66% at present. The solar panels will free up cash for poor families who are still using expensive oil-based fuel products that are harmful to health when burned.

A Medication has Been Developed that Prevents HIV from Integrating with Human DNA.

‘The Point of No Return’ is the name given to the time at which the HIV virus inserts itself into the human genome by its evil enzyme called HIV integrase. Researchers at University of Georgia have created a medication which dropkicks the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, pummels it, then puts it in a chokehold, preventing it from integrating into the host’s DNA. This is the crucial point when, if the disturbing critter successfully sets up camp, it cannot be reversed.

You shall not pass!!!

You shall not pass!!!

The medication is now in its pre-clinical test phase and is expected to work to alleviate and prevent HIV both as a single illness, and where the HIV virus is compounded with others such as tuberculosis. Humans 1 – Viruses Nil.

Huge Underground Aquefiers Have Been Discovered in North Kenya.

With funding from Japan, UNESCO and Radar Technologies discovered five huge underground aquefiers in Turkana County, Kenya. The discovery of the abundant water supply has potential life-changing ramifications for the area’s residents. The water supply may help to alleviate problems such as crop failure and malnutrition and may be suitable to use as fresh, clean drinking water.

kenya, water, woman, aquefiers, drink

Everyone deserves clean water to drink.

Out of a population of roughly 41 million people, 17 million Kenyans lack access to safe drinking water and 28 million are without adequate sanitation. It is hoped that good old H2O will be the driving force towards a richer and more prosperous future for Turkana County and North Kenya as a whole.

Incredible Story of Forgiveness to be Made into Blockbuster Movie Starring Colin Firth.

In 1942, Mr Eric Lomax was up to his eyeballs in war. Working as Signals Officer in Singapore, he was arrested and transported to Kanchanaburi prison in Thailand for the grand crime of cobbling together an old busted radio and drawing a picture of some trees. The Japanese suspected that he was a spy and selected ‘horrific torture’ as the most suitable means to get a confession. He had his arms and ribs broken and suffered water-boarding – amongst other things that would make most of us just cry and die. His torture was carried out by several Japanese soldiers, but the hateful mug he saw consistently was that of Takashi Nagase, the translator who witnessed it all, passing on taunts, threats and promises that Eric would be killed. But Eric endured, basically telling the Japanese soldiers to shove a false confession where the dun don’t shine…which was the only thing that saved his life. Eric returned home suffering from PTSD and thought of nothing but revenge for many years. He sweated and stewed about it, fantasizing about wringing his torturer’s neck like a turkey the day before thanksgiving. The desire to know what happened whilst he was being hideously tormented led Eric on a gargantuan research mission, and through it, he found out that Nagase was still alive. Eric hunted down his torturer, hungry for sweet vengeance. When Nagase’s location was discovered, Eric’s wife wrote to him, and by the use of some intense magic, managed to convince Nagase to meet her husband, so that he could finally move on from his horrendous ordeal. Takashi Nagase agreed.

It had been 50 years since Eric was released from torment, when he came face-to-face with the man who had watched and participated in his near-demise. This was Eric’s chance to at least punch Nagase in the kidney for what he’d done…

But when he finally came face to face with Takashi Nagase, he saw a man who was as fragile and devastated by war as Eric himself. Nagase broke down into a sobbing mess when he saw Eric, bowing deeply, uttering the words, ‘I am so very, very sorry’. Suddenly, Eric felt pretty bad for the guy, and decided that instead of whooping some Japanese Pensioner Ass, he would just open the fattest jar of forgiveness you’ve ever seen in your life.

If there’s one man who has the right to say, ‘At some time, the hating has to stop,’ it’s Eric Lomax, who managed to forgive his torturer, hug him and hold his hand whilst he cried like a baby. Through forgiveness, the two men went on to become good pals for several years. Eric wrote an award winning book about his ordeal entitled The Railway Man, and filming begins in 2013 for the film of the same name, with Colin Firth to play Eric Lomax. Eric Lomax, the absolute legend,  passed away in 2012 with a heart full of forgiveness, at the age of 93.

Kenyan Orphanage receives $80,000 in Donations from Strangers in Response to Bravery of Warden.

A Kenyan orphanage was attacked by a gang of thugs. The kids inside had nothing to protect them except a rickety old fence…and one badass warden. The posse of unsavoury characters had previously attempted to rob the orphanage of its stuff and its kids, but 24 year old Anthony Omari channelled his inner Thor and fended off the gang with the help of an airborne hammer. When the gang returned for vengeance, the children of the orphanage woke up and began to come outside to see what the infernal racket was all about. Omari herded them back into the room and barricaded them in. He was so hell-bent on protecting the children that he did not flinch even when one of the vengeful plebs came at him with a machete. Such was his desire to protect the kids that he literally took a machete blow to the face and still would not let the swarm in. So they left, presumably because they thought Omari must be some sort of wizard to take a facial cleaving and still be standing. Days later, Penn State student Ben Harwick, who was on placement in Kenya, heard about Omari’s bravery and wanted to meet him. Ben took a photo of Omari…

The bravery of one man inspired the generosity of thousands.

The bravery of one man inspired the generosity of thousands.

…and posted it, along with the story on reddit. Little did they know that Omari’s Thor-like wizardry would inspire so many. Donations poured in from all over the world, raising upwards of $80,000 to beef up the security of the orphanage. The money was spent on building an 8 foot steel fence, hiring guards, and making improvements to the orphanage’s thug deterrents. The act of vengeance by armed robbers resulted in the orphanage being turned into an impenetrable fortress. And all it took was a machete to the face: easy money.

You Can Build Your Own Home from Scratch, Get off the Grid, and Leave the Banks Behind.

If you are a young person who is struggling to get on the property ladder, you’re not alone. The lending drought has been pushing people towards ever more inventive ways of housing themselves that don’t involve the backing of satan’s minions…ahem…I mean banks, or thieves…ahem…sorry, power companies. At The Hollies Centre for Practical Sustainability in Ireland, you can build and kit-out a home for under £1000. As a student, you live in Ulrike and Thomas Riedmuller’s ‘cob’ home whilst you learn to build your own. You are taught how to make bricks from hay and clay, and how to power your hand-built home economically and with the environment in mind. Your new house will have a composting toilet, a super energy-efficient wood burning stove, and a refrigeration room provided by the outdoor climes. Learn to build your own house here:

Thanks for tuning into the good news folks!

And now for the weather….

happy weather

Join me over at:

www.angellauren.com

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…and keep up with my shorter ramblings @angellassie on Twitter.

L is for ‘Love’: (Seven effects of love that ought to come with a warning label!)

pills, red, bottle, love, passion

Photo by Dominique Godbout.

When you experience love, it is like taking medicine for the first time. As you adjust to the changing presence of love in your heart, you may experience some ‘side effects’- just as you feel the effects when you introduce a new substance to your body. The effects of love are manifold, and some of love’s ‘side effects’ are unexpected and may be a big change from your usual feelings. If love could be bottled – like medicine – and consumed to be experienced, then the bottle should come with these ‘warning labels’ of love’s unexpected side effects:

!WARNING!: When you truly experience love, you may feel like being alone.

When you think of love, you think of sharing love with your partner, family and friends, right? But experiencing love may have the opposite effect on you. Love might cause you to lock your door, unplug your phone, switch off the internet and be non-contactable, even by smoke-signal, if you are adjusting to loving yourself. It is hard to love yourself if you feel that you must constantly be giving yourself to others. To be alone is to look within, to be at peace, and to promote self-knowledge. To be alone is to accept your own company as good company: there is love in that acceptance.

!WARNING! Living with love may make you more aggressive.

Do you think of love as something floaty and passive and saintly? What if I told you that when you choose to experience love, you may start to give a shit about things you’ve never cared about before? When you experience love, the first thing to be cured is apathy. The second thing, is the sense that we are all separate from each other. Don’t be surprised when you welcome love into your heart, you begin to think ‘what can I do to help?’, ‘how can I change this?’, ‘how can I make a difference?’- love feeds your inner eco-warrior, your inner samaritan and your inner Robin Hood.

!WARNING! When you experience love, you may notice spontaneous physical changes in your body.

Do you love doughnuts? Do you love booze? Do you love junk food? When you ramp up the dosage of love in your life, you may not love those things so much. A weird side effect of love is that you may start loving life, your health and yourself too much to still love eating that crap. When you take a new dose of love into your heart, ‘I feel like eating a salad’ may spontaneously run through your mind…just sayin’…

!WARNING! Choosing love may cause you to quit your job.

Love, if you let it, will eventually course through every vein of your life. If you start out doing a job that is on a non-loving vibration, and you subsequently introduce a higher dose of love into your life, you may see, quite frankly, that you job is a waste of what you have to give. You may come to realize that your job does not support your wellness; you may see clearly that it doesn’t support the planet’s wellness. It may dawn on you that your work has fallen out of sync with your soul’s needs. If so, use love’s inspiration to guide you towards what to do to put it right. (This happened to me, I used to work for a credit card company).

!WARNING! Living a life of love may make you re-think your entire life.

Woah! This can be scary…when you begin to live with regular supplements of love, it may cause you to take stock of your whole life. Your life is not compartmentalized, everything has a knock-on-effect on everything else. Love causes you to treat people differently- that in itself can have a massive effect on the quality of experiences in your life. Love wants you to do things that support your wellbeing. Love encourages you towards happiness and peace. Love shoves you in the direction of joy….and the dominos continue to tumble.

!WARNING! Love will make you more self-interested.

To many, love means being selfless, but when you have love in your life, how can you be selfless? You are the facilitator of love by your thoughts, intentions, words and actions. In order to facilitate love, you need to have an understanding of love and to understand love, you need to feel loved…how can you possibly offer something that you have never felt? Not only is it perfectly acceptable for you to receive love, but it is absolutely necessary. Love has the weird side-effect of causing you to cultivate an understanding of love for others by loving yourself.

!WARNING! Love has been known to make people say sorry for their mistakes.

When you love, you don’t need to be right. When you love, you realize that there may be no such thing as ‘right’ because you become more compassionate and understanding of the coherent buoyancy of differing points of view. This may compel you to offer an apology – verbally or mentally but always sincerely – to someone, because through love, you see that contrast, contradiction and variety is fundemental to the overall progress of love. It is not about switching to another side- it is simply that there are no sides, just different expressions and various catalysts for love. Even the ‘bad’ stuff can be a catalyst for love. If you can accept that, then you’ve got the dosage just right.

These have been the seven effects of love that ought to come with a warning label. Can you think of any more?

****

Did you know that I have another blog about my adventures in California? If you like sun, surf and spirituality (and food!) come and check it out over at Sun, Spirit and San Diego.

Until Next Time: Give a dose of love to the world twice a day for a week and keep me posted on how you’re doing.

Next Time: L is for ‘Light’.

Come and gimme some love over at:

Sun, Spirit & San Diego

www.angellauren.com

www.facebook.com/laurenmedium

And get your daily love and happiness tweets @angellassie.

K is for ‘Kicking a habit’: A Spiritual Vista From the Precipice of Addiction.

wine glass merlot splash

I didn’t think that I had an abnormal relationship with alcohol until I realized that I’ve been trying to stop drinking since January. Six months of broken promises to myself have not been good for my self esteem, nor has it been good for my waistline which will be gracing the beaches of San Diego in 3 weeks time. I swore to myself that if I touched another drop before my trip, that I would write this post and out myself. So here I am; I need your advice.

I’m not an alcoholic…at least, I don’t think I am (way to be in denial!) but I am definitely teetering on the precipice of some sheer rock face of addiction that I want to take a step back from…so what’s stopping me?

I don’t know exactly what is stopping me, but I have found it very difficult to stop drinking alcohol. I don’t drink every day, I don’t think about alcohol when I’m at work or studying. I don’t drink every weekend, I don’t drink to get wasted, nor do I drink because I feel depressed. I do, however, drink a bottle of wine per week…sometimes a bit more, which I know is too much. I drink alone at home because my boyfriend doesn’t drink (why do I need to do this?), and the thing that concerns me most of all is that I’m having difficulty stopping drinking even though I want to. I don’t feel in control of my compulsion to drink and I find it irresistible on some occassions. I’m at a very weird place right now because I genuinely don’t know if I need help to stop drinking, or if I need help to stop being so hard on myself and just let myself enjoy wine! This is why I need your help. Have you ever experienced the feeling that you are on the edge of an addiction? Have you had the voice at the back of your mind say ‘this is getting out of control?’ Have you ever felt trapped into a cycle of wanting to stop something but struggling and feeling guilty? If so, what did you do about it?

I think I may be addicted to addiction. In my young adult life, I hopped from addiction to addiction, managing to defeat each one as I went. Yet shortly after said defeat, I would unconsciously find something else to bestow my compulsive, cyclical and patterned behaviour upon (why is it never the gym or knitting?!). I am now pretty tired of beating bad habits and I want the pattern beneath them to stop. I stopped my compulsive behaviour with men (we won’t go into that…my mum might be reading this!), I stopped smoking two years ago and haven’t touched cigarettes or thought about them ever again, and I stopped partying with no cravings whatsoever to take it up again, but I know that the underlying pattern of behaviour that caused me to choose these things for myself in the first place is still there. And at the moment, it hides in bottles of merlot and beckons me over as I walk past. Can anyone else relate to this addiction-hopping behaviour?

I also think that I’ve had difficulty stopping drinking because my good old pal alcohol and I have had some really great times together. I definitely associate drinking with happiness. I drink when I see my family, I drink when I see my friends, I drink to be relaxed after a challenging day, and I drink to reward myself. I can see that I associate drinking with feeling good, and by the magic of neural-plasticity, my mind now instructs me to drink as a fast way to bring about good feelings. But having knowledge of this devious mental trickery doesn’t seem to be helping: why can’t I stop? I know that the ‘good connections’ between drink and happiness are illusions for two reasons: First, because I also feel great when I’m not drinking so drink is not the only cause of my good feelings. And second, because on more than one occassion, drink has definitely NOT made me feel good. (Admittedly, I am still in the process of forgiving some of my alcohol-related shame.) Intuitively, I know that I need to replace alcohol with something else that’s going to have positive associations, and I feel silly writing this, but I don’t yet know what that thing might be.

wine spill side glass

Get away you fiendish temptress!

This might sound weird, but I feel that my experiences with Spirit have allowed me to feel such heights of love, peace, forgiveness and security- such an intense and natural ‘high’- that when I don’t have those feelings (like when I’m a bit stressed about University or dealing with other earthly issues) I compulsively try to replicate the spiritually authentic ‘high’ feelings of peace, comfort and connectedness with whatever mind-altering substance or behaviour I am focused on at that time. It is as if I seek a fast-track back to secure spiritual feelings when I feel at my most insecure. I wonder if I am alone in this, or if any of you spiritual people out there have also found yourselves trying to replicate the high that you feel when you remember your divinity?

I must carry a subconscious thought that I am receiving some great benefit from drinking alcohol. Why would I continue to do it otherwise? My mind is still convinced that whatever good feelings/benefits I’m receiving from alcohol are more valuable than the benefits of stopping- even though I know in my heart-of-hearts that it’s not true.

Maybe I need therapy.

Maybe I need therapy to figure out why I am so independent in some ways, and yet I seem to fall into such deep patterns of dependency. Perhaps I need some help to understand why, when I go to buy a bottle of wine, my mind is thinking ‘woohoo!’ and choosing to focus on the good times, and not the the feelings of remorse and guilt, or the times I’ve been horrid to one of my loved ones, or said something embarrassing under the influence. I just want to understand why the big part of me that wants to stop is completely drowned out when I have the choice to drink wine…

I appreciate that this post has deviated from the blog’s usual content. I hope you don’t mind. A lot of personal stuff has been coming to the surface from within me lately, because I have been writing about my past for a book that I have coming out in January. I think it’s ‘meant to be’ that I’m digging and crying and re-visiting and writing at the moment. I think that Spirit is helping me to work through some stuff that needs worked through, and that I’m going to come out the other end somewhat unburdened and relieved. I really hope so- the habitual behaviour stuff is definitely a heavy issue that I’d like to let go of. So thank you for reading and in doing so, helping me to work through my issues. (We all have ’em, right?)

So what do you think about my drinking dilemma? Your thoughts are most gratefully received.

Next Week: L is for Love. (One of my favourite things to write about!)

Come and gimme some love over at:

www.angellauren.com

www.facebook.com/laurenmedium

…and get your daily love and happiness tweets @angellassie.

J is for ‘Joy’. (Six unexpected reasons why finding joy is a necessity and not a luxury.)

Joy, happy, smile, smiling, dog

The irony about finding joy is that you will often find it when you stop searching for it. We often (mistakenly) search for joy in activities such as earning more and more money for no reason, or stressing about planning our future happiness. Although it seems a good idea to try to make sure that our future is joyful, do not underestimate the power of just kicking back and allowing a moment of joy right here, right now.

In celebration of the joy of giving, I am giving away a full psychic reading, free! To win, all you have to do is reply to this post with a comment about what makes your heart filled with joy. I’ll announce the winner on next week’s post.

So anyway, back to joy. Joy is a necessity and here’s why:

1. Joy is good for your health!

A little burst of joy on a regular basis supports your long-term health. Happy hormones that are released when you experience joy do wonders for your immune system, stress levels, the rate at which you age, your cardio-respiratory health and your mental and emotional health. Make time, every day, to do something that makes you joyful. Savour the feeling and allow yourself the experience without guilt. In my opinion, doctors the world over should be prescribing bouts of joy for a long and healthy life.

2. When you allow yourself to experience joy, it is an act of appreciation for your life.

Sometimes we forget to appreciate our lives. My boyfriend will tell you that I love a good moan about stuff. It’s true…I catch myself doing it…but then I stop and remember how fortunate I am to be alive and to have so many wonderful people in my life, and so many fantastic opportunities, and I go about my day with renewed joy. You may sometimes feel that you don’t deserve joy. You may have feelings of regret, guilt or shame which have caused you to forget that there is any such thing as joy. If this sounds like you, then you may have to force yourself to make a conscious effort to re-connect with joy, and that effort, may involve a lot of changes. You ARE worth the effort. To be happy and content is your natural state, and is the state in which you will thrive – it’s worth putting the effort in to get there. You have overcome unbelievable odds to be sitting where you are, reading this blog, having food in your tummy and air in your lungs. Can you set off on your ‘joy journey’ by feeling a flicker of joy in simply being alive?

3. A joyful experience encourages more joy into your life.

Ah, the good old Law of Attraction. Like attracts like. The Universe responds to you by reflecting your reality based on who you are inside. If you are unhappy, the Universe can only reflect reasons for you to be unhappy. The good news is that the only thing that stands between you and joy are your thoughts. Think deliberately about joy, behave in a joyful way, treat others in a way that makes them joyful, and the Universe will reflect joy right back at you. It must.

4. Joy is contagious: Your joy encourages good feelings in others.

When you smile at someone, they compulsively smile back. It’s an inbuilt response. When we exchange smiles, we can identify allies, friends, and a potential mate. All you have to do is smile and you bring comfort, re-assurance, ease and joy to others. The feelings that we choose to experience are contagious. Those who are closest to us cannot help but be infected by our moods. When you choose joy for yourself, you also bring joy to your loved ones. No true act of joy is ever a selfish act.

5. Joyfulness is the needle of your internal compass.

Imagine if life were as simple as this:

If it brings you joy, do it. If it doesn’t bring you joy, don’t do it.

Well guess what? Life can be as simple as this. In fact, you may already be using joy as your internal compass without realizing it! The joy of some things are hidden so think carefully:

Is there something in your life that’s difficult, stressful or challenging, but you keep doing it anyway? Can you find joy somewhere in the process?

If the answer is yes, then great! You’re following your joy. If the answer is no, then do you think you would be more joyful if you stopped doing that thing? If the answer is yes, then give yourself permission to stop doing it.

Let the compass of joy guide you always down a road of happiness, and let the compass of fear be trampled under-foot…because it dropped out of your pocket…and you didn’t notice…because you were too busy looking at your compass of joy!

6. When you allow yourself to be joyful, you are teaching your children to be joyful too.

Do you have young people in your life? When you express joy, you teach them to live a joyful life. If you live without joy, then you teach them that it’s ok to live a joyless life – and I know you don’t want them taking that message into adulthood. ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ doesn’t fly anymore I’m afraid, so if you want the kids to know joy, you have to show them how it’s done.

This post is dedicated to my friend Joy Fraser, who truly is Joy by name, Joy by nature. Please visit her website Peace, Harmony and Joy where she also writes a wonderful blog.

Until Next Time: Do I really need to say it? Get out there and be joyful!

Next Week: J is for ‘Jobs’: (How to work in spirituality, or, bring spirituality into work.)

Come and gimme some love over at:

www.angellauren.com

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And get your daily love and happiness tweets @angellassie.

H is for ‘Happiness’. Is there a secret to being happy?

Is there a secret to being happy? I used to think that happiness was a property possessed by people, places, things, habits and distractions. I used to think that to be happy, I had to have all of those things in my life. Imagine my shock and surprise when, the more I tried to cram ‘happiness things’ into my life, the less happy I felt.

Now that I am a little older and wiser, I have learned that happiness isn’t a property of anything outside of myself. Happiness is a property of me- if I choose it to be so. And happiness is a property of you- if you choose it to be so.

Happiness is a lens that you click over the camera of your consciousness. It is a way in which you choose to see the world. Happiness is a repetitive choice- if you wanna be happy, you gotta keep choosing to be happy, and here’s something that was a real revelation to me:

You can be happy, and still give yourself permission to feel other emotions. Happiness is NOT the repression of other feelings: it is the loving acceptance of all your feelings (and your beautiful self, more generally!)

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Happiness is being so so comfy in bed. Photograph used with kind permission from Jassy Earl @ http://www.jassyearlphotography.co.uk/

 

The thoughts you choose to think influence the way you understand the world: fact. If you wake up in the morning and immediately think, ‘I’m tired.’; ‘I’m miserable.’; ‘ I’m stressed.’;  ‘I have too much to do today.’; ‘I don’t want to go to this meeting.’; ‘I don’t like my job.
‘I’m dreading getting stuck in traffic.’; ‘ I’m always running late.’; ‘I look bloated today.’, etc. etc., then you are creating your world within a framework of negativity. A good technique to encourage happiness into your life is to bring positivity into your morning routine. Consider ‘deliberate positive thinking’ as important to your daily routine as brushing your teeth! Deliberately think about something positive right now. ‘Today is going to be a great day!’; ‘I look beautiful today.’; ‘I am a walking success!’; there’s a few to get you started! My personal favourite right now is simply:

I deserve happiness.

Go ahead and try that one on for size. Thinking positive is like going to the gym- it might take some time for you to get into the habit of it, but keep practicing.  Every time you choose to think positively, it’s a win for ‘happiness’. Think of it as those one or two extra reps at the gym – they are a worthwhile effort.

So what about when you don’t feel happy? Well here’s a thought: Worry, for example, is a state of mind that can only be achieved when thinking about the past or the future (as is fear, disappointment or anger). We worry about what has been, how we’ve been treated, how we’ve reacted.  We worry about past events, people in our past and past decisions we have made.

Or we worry about the future.  We worry about the rest of the day, the rest of the week, month, year- we worry about the rest of our lives that haven’t happened yet!

If you are worrying- or experiencing any fear-based emotion- then you are either living in the past that cannot be changed, no matter how much you worry about it, or, living in the future, and worrying about something that has not happened yet, and may never happen!  Fortunately, there is a place where worry does not exist.  You’re in it right now.  Right here, right now, in this present moment.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath, feel your whole body relax: everything is at peace.

When you catch yourself worrying or getting stessed out, bring your mind back to the present moment.  Take a few deep and natural breaths, and focus on your body, your breathing, your heartbeat. In the here and now, there is nothing to worry about. When you begin to worry, focus your mind on something beautiful in the present moment; look out the window at nature, think about something that makes you laugh, think about someone that you love. Happiness and contentment come very easily when we give ourselves permission to exist in the present moment.

What does your inner critic say about you? In order to be happy, you must have a good relationship with your inner ‘self’, perhaps you call that ‘self’ your ego. Be aware of what you think about yourself.  When you criticize yourself, you bring your energy way out of alignment with happiness.  If you think negative things about yourself, then you are thinking in a way that suggests that you don’t feel you deserve happiness.  Don’t be an enemy to yourself, instead, be your own best friend.  Think, speak, and act towards yourself, the way that you would act towards someone you love very much. Look in the mirror. The person looking back is a person with feelings, who is vulnerable, who will flourish like a flower when watered by love. You must count yourself amongst the people in your life that you love.  Speak to yourself in the way that you would speak to your best friend. You wouldn’t criticize them, speak badly of them and be unsupportive of them, would you?  Of course not! So why do those things to yourself?

Every day, look in the mirror and say, ‘I love you.’ And really mean it.

Choose to focus on your good qualities and the things you like about yourself. Think about those instead of criticizing yourself. If you catch yourself thinking something critical about you, then you have to think three positive and genuine things that you love about yourself to balance up the scales of happiness (hey, I don’t make the rules!). To make the most of the happiness that the world has to offer you, you must also think happy about yourself.

It is scientifically proven that being kind to others, receiving kindness from others, and even watching people be kind to each other, is good for your health! To be happy, you must be kind. Perform an act of kindness every day. It need not be a massive gesture, kindness comes in many forms, and as little effort as it takes to smile at someone in the street can help them remember their own inner happiness. Take a moment to reflect on the kindnesses that you have performed, because, guess what?, even thinking about being kind is good for you! As you consciously make kindness a part of your life, happiness will follow. Kindness and happiness are siblings who do everything together.

A great way to make room in your heart for happiness is to practise forgiveness. Believe it or not, making mistakes in life is allowed! It may also surprise you to know that when you make a mistake, you are not obliged to replay it over and over in your mind and hang on to it for the rest of your life!

Forgive yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about things. It wastes your energy and does not help you to feel better. Unforgiveness actually prevents you from experiencing happiness! For more on this, see my post on forgiveness. Forgiving yourself allows you to move forward into a place of increased happiness as you let go of some emotional baggage.

If you feel yourself getting stressed, worked up, unhappy or angry about something in your life, that is ok.  Accept the emotion, forgive the emotion, and just breathe!  There are many mental, emotional and physical benefits achieved just from taking a nice, deep breath.  Breathing helps you to become calm, it allows more oxygen to your brain and brings you back into the present moment.  For a quick fix of happiness, no matter what is going on around you, just take a nice, deep breath, in through your nose, expanding your ribcage and your tummy as you do, and out through your mouth, visualizing all your stresses being expelled by your breath.  Repeat a few times, and feel calmness and happiness return.

The best way to bring happiness into your life is to be grateful for what you have that already makes you happy! When you get snuggled into your pyjamas and get warm under the duvet, take a few minutes to list the things in your life that you are grateful for. For more on this, see my post about gratitude. What are you grateful for today?

Until next week: Do one thing every day that makes you happy. Do it with gusto. Savour it. Enjoy it. Appreciate it.

Next Week: H is for Healing.

Come and gimme some love over at:

www.angellauren.com

www.facebook.com/laurenmedium

Get your daily love and happiness tweets @angellassie.

F is for ‘Forgiveness’. 5 Reasons Why Forgiveness is the Best Revenge.

5 Reasons Why Forgiveness is the Best Revenge.

Forgiveness Freedom

So, what is so great about forgiveness? Can we really forgive and forget? Have you experienced the healing power of ‘forgiving yourself’?

Someone wise once told me: ‘Unforgiveness is like punching yourself in the face and expecting someone else to feel the pain.’ That being said, why is it that we often find it so difficult to forgive the past and move on with our lives? The answer, I believe, is because we get caught up in the erroneous idea that forgiving equals excusing, condoning or giving pardon to other people’s past behaviour that has really hurt us. When we have been really hurt by someone’s actions, we become so angry, and feel so betrayed and vulnerable, that we just want revenge. Sweet and slow revenge!!

When you have been badly hurt, forgiveness is the last thing on your mind (it’s ok to admit this, you are human!) – you want the perpetrator to understand the pain that they have caused, and to suffer as you have suffered: ‘An eye for an eye…’ and all that. You are so wounded that you cannot forgive and that unforgiveness is a strong fuel that powers your desire for revenge. You feel entitled to vengeance and dishing out retribution feels to be the only salve for your inflamed sense of hurt. And yet…you do nothing. You are a good person and you do not want to go to jail so you resist the urge to batter the perpetrator’s door down with an axe! You swallow down your anger, your hurt, and your need to administer suffering as you have suffered. Over time you get sick, maybe you get angrier, maybe you can’t form meaningful and loving relationships because you cannot trust that you won’t get hurt again. The unforgiveness becomes your dark and poisonous companion who builds a re-inforced wall between you and your natural resting-state of peace.

But it’s not too late to break down that wall! What if I told you that you can achieve the revenge you seek in a way that really will make you feel better, and for which you won’t go to jail? What if I could assure you that it is forgiveness itself, that is the best revenge for past hurts?

‘But what happened to me was really bad. He treated me like garbage, I was abused, I hate this person, I really don’t think I can forgive them.’ I hear you say. If that is so, then the weapon of forgiveness will be even more powerful for you, if you learn how to use it. Get ready to take back the sense of peace that is rightfully yours! Here are some examples of situations that hurt, and 5 reasons why forgiveness is the best revenge…

1. Forgiveness is the best revenge because there is nothing more infuriating to someone who would deliberately hurt you, than you moving on with your life and being happy.

What happened? : My boyfriend of two years cheated on me. I forgave him and I thought that because I had forgiven him, I should take him back. He cheated on me again. I was devastated and hurt and broke up with him immediately. I now hate him, I hate myself fo being such an idiot, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to forgive again. Forgiveness didn’t work for me.

Take revenge! : Forgive him again. Don’t get confused and think that forgiveness means that you have to take him back- it’s not so. True forgiveness actually has nothing to do with condoning the behaviour of a cheating ex. It’s all about you. The extent to which you are willing to forgive is simply the extent to which you are willing to keep giving your cheating ex control of your suffering.

Forgiveness = Taking Control.

When you forgive, you acknowledge that you have been hurt, and you make the choice that hurt will not continue to define you in the present. Of course, you are entitled to grieve when you have been hurt; let yourself get mad, get it all out of your system, and when you’re done, visualize the offender in your mind and say. ‘I forgive you. I release you. I release myself from your control.’ (Go here for more on positive affirmations.)

2. Forgiveness is the best revenge because you’ll live a longer and healthier life.

What happened? : My mother abandoned me as a child. She left when I was 3 years old and I never saw her again. I have felt bitterness towards her all my life. I have often thought about hurting her the way she hurt me. I don’t think I could ever forgive her.

Take revenge! : For a moment, lets forget that this is about your mother. Let’s forget that forgiveness is about anyone or anything outside of yourself. I want you to think about yourself only. Forgiveness is a process that you can go through to bring peace, contentment and physical wellness to yourself. Being in a constant state of unforgiveness is really bad for your health. The emotions associated with unforgiveness cause chemical, hormonal and immune changes in your body which, over an extended period of time, can make you physically ill. Don’t let the past ruin your present and future health. Forgiveness is as much an important part of your healthcare routine as brushing your teeth and eating well! Forgiveness benefits your health in a similar manner to kindness. For an in-depth look at the science behind the health benefits of forgiveness and kindness, head over to Dr David Hamilton’s website.

3. Forgiveness is the best revenge because when you forgive, you take back your own power.

What happened? : My ex-boss was such a bully. Every day he made embarrassing remarks to me and singled me out from the rest of my colleagues when he felt like taking out his rage on someone. I put up with this for 5 years before being made to feel so miserable that I had to leave a job that I essentially loved. I’ll never forgive him for that.

Take revenge! : When you choose to forgive, this is the best kind of revenge because you re-empower yourself. This empowerment comes from recognizing that you have a choice: You can choose to continue to feel hurt, resentful and angry, or, you can choose to take responsibility for your reaction and work on being a person who forgives, even if it is difficult. Recognizing that you have a choice is truly empowering. Bullying is a terrible thing and it is understandable that you would find it difficult to forgive- but ‘finding it difficult’ to forgive is a whole lot better than having no choice at all. You can always make the choice to forgive and release all the tension and anxiety within you, that is embodied by unforgiveness. When you choose to forgive a bully, you release yourself from the feeling of victimization and you can begin to heal. What could be more empowering than that? Give yourself love and positive acknowledgement when you are able to forgive, it is a big ask.

4. Forgiveness is the best revenge because learning how to forgive protects you from Forgiveness dove monkeyfuture hurts.

What happened? : I got scammed! Someone hacked into my bank account and withdrew all my money 4 days before Christmas. I have 2 kids and if it hadn’t been for the generosity of friends and family, Christmas would have been ruined. These soulless thieves left me broke. The people who did this have never been caught and I’m having difficulty forgiving because there has been no justice.

Take revenge! : Forgiveness is the best revenge here because when you forgive, you make space in your heart for two very important questions. First, did you learn anything from this experience? Second, (and this is a hard one!) Is there anything positive that you can take from this experience? If you can forgive, you will be able to see what can be learned. Forgiving, here, has nothing to do with forgiving bad actions, you are using forgiveness for you. Can you imagine forgiving stealing to the extent that you are able to see something very precious in the experience? Visualize having a conversation with the thieves. In your mind say: ‘I forgive you. I know you act out of fear. I wish you love and I hope that you can overcome the things that make you afraid.’ If you are able to do this, you will discover within yourself, that you can protect yourself from future hurts simply by deciding to be a person who forgives. You can choose to be a person who forgives no matter what, and in doing so, you protect yourself from future hurts which are deepened and extended by unforgiveness. Practice forgiving now and you will be able to cope, forgive, and move on in future. Forgiveness can only make you stronger and less fearful when applied in this way…try it!

5. Forgiveness is the best revenge because it really is the cure for feeling sad, angry, frustrated and hurt.

What happened? : My father passed away several years ago. We weren’t on good terms because he was largely absent from our lives when my brother and I were kids. The times when he was around, he was violent and angry. He never apologized or admitted his mistakes and now that he’s gone, I still can’t forgive him. I don’t believe he was sorry and now I’ll never know.

Take revenge! : Some people who hurt you cannot apologize because they have passed away. Some people who have hurt you will not apologize for various reasons. If forgiveness was dependent on the apologies of others, human beings would have blown the world up already. Think of forgiveness like the antidote to a poison. It doesn’t matter how much someone in the past has tried to poison you with anger, hurt, fear, bad behaviour, selfishness, insensitivity etc., you can choose to administer the antidote at any moment. Let that moment be now.

Until Next Week: Practice forgiveness whenever you can. Start with the person in the mirror. You deserve forgiveness, you are a good person, you don’t need to be so hard on yourself. Look in the mirror, put your hand over your heart and say, ‘I forgive you’.

Saw something particularly horrible in the news? Close your eyes and say ‘I forgive you’. Get familiar with what it means to forgive, what it feels like, and why it’s important.

Have you had any inspirational experiences with forgiveness? Is there something that you have struggled to forgive? Comment below- I’d love to read what you have to share.

click, circle, click to comment, comment

 

Next Week: G is for ‘Ghosts’. I will be conducting a video interview with a very special guest. We will be discussing many aspects of ghostly phenomena…not to be missed!

Come and gimme some love over at:

www.angellauren.com

www.facebook.com/laurenmedium

Get your daily love and happiness tweets @angellassie