In Memoriam

In reality, very few figures of the past actually buried their treasure. The tales of these notorious buccaneers evolved into a fantasy that there are random riches underground where “X” marks the spot. My friends, by now you should expect what is coming next. A treasure is not just a box of riches, not just a bag of loot. A treasure is anything that has value to someone. Sometimes a treasure is obvious and sometimes, like the myth, a treasure needs to be discovered beneath the dirt, the rubble, the unpleasant.

Devastation can show up unannounced and wash away satisfaction, progress and hope. But beneath the fallen branches, there will still be roots. Beneath the crumbled structures, there will still be foundations. Beneath the worst of the wreckage, there will still be treasures. Some may be as short as a two second smile. Some may be as small as a brief distraction. The light of hope that shines with each “little treasure” carries a power that is truly massive.

With the help of others, rebuilding is not impossible. The pieces of your future weigh less when others help carry them. Do not ignore your ability to help someone find their treasure when the “X” is nowhere in sight. Unselfish, genuine care in a time of need has the power to change a life. When one gives this, it is not work.

YOU are a treasure!

Happier, Part Two

All good things must come to an end. Says who? I saw my favorite band in concert last week. Being lost in the awesomeness of rock and roll indeed was a good thing, a good thing that came to an end after the amazing encore and toss of the drumsticks. But here I am reminiscing with you. And I am certain that there are many smiles to come as I recall the evening in days to come. You see, happy is the moment, happier is the memory. All good things come to an end only if you let them.

However, depression doesn’t care. It is in front of me with an arm out asking for the hall pass back. It knows there are ordinary days ahead to control. It is the bully I cannot see.

It will take more than fond memories to win this battle. Though I appreciate them so much, along with those who helped me dig my well, living in the past is not practical or motivating. I need to pick up my own shovel and prepare for the thirst of the future.

We all deserve a happier future, whether we are embraced or alone, confident or confused. Happy is telling yourself that. Happier is believing it. I will not let the bully win. Happier is my shield made of titanium.

YOU are a treasure!

Happier, Part One

Last week, a friend and co worker shared a quote that stayed with me longer than others have. It actually shaped the days that followed. By the end of the week, it had become a moral:

“Those who drink the water must remember those who dug the well.”

Celebrating another birthday left me pleasantly over quenched. Please do not allow the upcoming re cap to lead to misjudgment. I am not a bragger. I am not a hypocrite. I am not always happy. Each word I write I choose to share, but is ultimately meant for me as I strive to be happier.

The kick off was a visit from mom with expected gifts in hand. I am well aware that sounded selfish. You see, being an only child of a hard working single mother made me a self proclaimed receiver. I became the master of the guilt trip, making her absences only forgivable by means of toys and ice cream. I demanded and she accommodated. She just wanted me to be happy and each time she delivered, I certainly was.

Adolescence and adulthood turned the tables. Before we knew it, I was the one with the busy life. Discovering the beauty of true and unconditional relationships makes me wish I could take back some thoughts and actions of the past. My open heart and mature mind came together and put an end to the verbal demands. But mom never stopped listening.

This year, beneath the pink curly ribbon was a cutting board. I unwrapped the paper to find support of my healthy lifestyle. Mom never stops listening. Happy is the moment you receive. Happier is the moment you appreciate and you can appreciate any time you choose to.

As a spoiled child, not appreciating left me with nothing but bald barbie dolls and stomach aches. Thanks to my new attitude, each time I chop a vegetable, I will think of my mom. That, my friends is the extra that we all can bring into our lives. It is being happier.

YOU are a treasure!

Shine!

This North Eastern girl recently paid tribute to the adorable John Denver while welcoming the long awaited daylight savings time. Did you know that “Sunshine On My Shoulders” was actually written on a rainy day? It’s true. Look it up!

What this tells me is that on a day typically associated with gloom, Denver chose to look on the bright side, literally. The result was a moment of happiness that he chose to create. And out of that moment came a song that a lot of people enjoyed. Speaking of “Singing In The Rain,” let’s give a shout out to Gene Kelly who did just that because it “made him happy again.”

A friend sent me a message this week that read “obstacles are an opportunity to shine.” This “shine” that Angie speaks of comes when you earn instead of take, when you overcome instead of accept.

Let’s first remember that gloom does not always come in the form of raindrops. It can appear as physical pain, some bad news or in my case, nothing specific at all. We also do not have the right to judge another by how they measure and react to their personal version. Some gloom, especially in the tragic and unexpected form will warrant every one of the feelings we don’t like to have. There are people who suffer from mental illness that cannot control the unnecessary magnitude. We should not discount that. We should not assume that finding more happiness each day will come easy for all. However, we do have the power to help.The fact that you are reading these words is helping me!

I thank you for taking the time and leave you with this thought: A hurdle can be jumped over, a moment of anger can be dismissed, a rainy day can still have shine. Be like John Denver and sing. Be like Gene Kelly and dance. What have you got to loose…a few more minutes without joy?

Remember, YOU are a treasure!

 

Will you go treasure hunting with me?

I hope as I make these first key strokes that this is the start of something special. This is the moment that I am supposed to say something magical to capture and keep your attention. This is the moment that I am expected to present something powerful, something meaningful that will keep and grow my audience. Here it is: Be a Treasure. Make a Treasure. Find a Treasure.

My goal is to remind us of that, even on the days we feel the aforementioned is an impossible task. This is not because I claim to be an expert in happiness. I simply believe the world needs more of it. Take note that I am not saying kindness here. Kindness, to me, is more of an act than a feeling.  It involves effort that manifests from natural and internal joy. Have you ever pictured an angry person starting a random act or pay it forward chain?

So, why now this need to force myself to appreciate the small things? First, a very brief history lesson. “Treasures” was born as a simple poem when my children looked like they do on the cover. With nothing but ink and loose leaf, we created our own images of what a treasure was to us, from a shiny ring to a dirty blanket. As someone who has suffered from anxiety and depression for as long as she can remember, the moments with my children and our “treasures” were a much needed escape to the happiness I deserved. But quickly and without notice, the pressure of being the perfect wife, mother and employee re directed my focus. I began to overlook and take for granted when I should have been enjoying and appreciating. I will share in future posts details of the decision and journey that brought me to where I am today (still far from perfect.)  A step in that journey reminded me that it is okay to tell life’s pressures that they come second sometimes. I am not at all implying that we quit our jobs and re-enact Thelma and Louise. I am saying that your world will not end if you set aside some time to recognize things that you enjoy. When I began to do this, my life changed, but I am still far from perfect.

The resurrection of “Treasures” was supposed to be nothing more than a check off the bucket list. But, oh, how the responses made my thoughts evolve. I unexpectedly found myself reminding others that there are always treasures around us, we just have to prioritize, focus and find them. The message in my book does not need to fade each time the front and back covers meet.

Now, back to the question of why now this need to go public with my new desire to appreciate the small things? Because thoughts become habits. And I had a habit of being sad and fearful for way too long.  I believe that with your help, I can train my mind and heart to take just a piece of each day to be grateful for things that others may consider small. Each time I am able to do this, I am replacing anxiety and depression with happiness. Just five more minutes of happiness each day, to me, is a treasure.

On that note, I ask you, my friends to hold me accountable. Inspire me by sharing the little things you would have never realized you were thankful for before reading my words. Show me that car with the rust holes and those muddy paw prints on your floor.

What if each day one more person felt appreciation for just one more minute of each day. Eventually, could there be a happier world? Perhaps. If you want it, join me. I ask you…Will you go treasure hunting with me?