Tag Archives: “how to be happy”

Living in Gray

I love sunrise! Gray light is ok, you can still see colors, but they’re nothing like the colors that come when the sun hits the world.

Reminds me of us, we “see” well-enough to get around, but nothing like what we could see. We settle for living in lies we’ve been sold or told ourselves.

Have you ever noticed how easily we get the proverbial cart before the horse? We turn things around so easily. For example, if we say happiness is the truth it sounds good and many agree with it. But if we say happiness comes from truth it isn’t quite so catchy an idea.

And yet the latter is the truth. Happiness is a by-product. Doing, thinking, or believing the right things result in happiness. Our constitution guarantees us the right to pursue happiness–an impossibility pointed out years ago by a Frenchman named Alexis du’ Tocqueville, who rightly observed that happiness by its nature can’t be pursued because it is a by-product of your thinking and doing.

However, we have lived to prove him wrong–it’s our new national pastime. Not that it works, but we are in constant pursuit of happiness, it’s our right! But it has come to be a scary proposition just because people don’t understand the nature of it. Pursuing happiness turns into pursuing a feel-good, and so easily takes us to addiction.

I’m not even talking about heroin or alcohol; they’re bad, but nothing like the more insidious forms we aren’t so afraid of like weed or porn. Or get even more light and you have some really serious addictions like food which can ruin your health, especially sugar–which totally clouds your brain. I think it was Einstein who said sugar is to your brain like sand is to ball-bearings! That says it all, well almost–an abundance ruins just about every other organ as well.

Or maybe you fight the one I fight: worry.

Worry is crazy for me. I have nothing to worry about. My life is so good I should be floating in love and laughter continually. And worry doesn’t improve or change anything. It only uses up your energy. I didn’t even realize I had this habit until recently. It was so much a part of my thinking I didn’t even notice.

Where do we get programmed with such fear? Is it temperament? Is it media? Maybe my work? After 25 years of doing therapy I know too much? I’ve heard too much?

I don’t think so. Because it’s not uncommon. We’ve all seen, heard, and experienced enough to be afraid. So is it ignorant not to be?

You’re not going to like this, but I think it’s a choice. I think it’s based on the truth or the perspective you subscribe to. If you believe life is bad and bad things are going to happen, you’ll worry, and they probably will. But if you believe God is all good and will have the final word, loving all who respond beyond their greatest need and imagination, redeeming their lives in suffering, you can stop worrying. But you may have to practice. Old habits die hard.

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Ten Seconds to Changing Your LIfe

So did you take the ten-second challenge? Becoming more joyful is not as easy as it seems, is it? It’s like trying to improve your posture. You have to remember to think about it. And decide again and again if the effort is worth it. But who doesn’t want more joy in your life? Who doesn’t want to be a happier person?

We don’t realize that choice has so much to do with how we feel. We tend to believe that how we feel is out of our control, or controlled by what happens to us.

If that were true we would have no real freedom. Fortunately, it’s not.

Some happenings are bad and do demand a time of grief and thought, but many more times we just get caught up in fear or anxiety that is unnecessary. If you have no control and no responsibility, let it go. Don’t weigh yourself down with pain and problems that don’t belong to you.

As a therapist, I listen to people’s pain and problems all the time; it’s part of the job, but I listen to them for them. I don’t take it in. It isn’t mine. It doesn’t belong to me. If I take on their pain, I’m no good to them. My job is to walk through it with them, and help them experience it, see it clearly, and make choices about it.

Is it the end of the world? No, not even if it feels like it. Face it. Experience it. Get out of it by doing what you can, and go back to focusing on the good in your life.

The hardest things to do this with are death, divorce, and the pain of your children. That last one is maybe the hardest. But we must remember that pity is the nastiest thing we can do to another person. Children are hard-wired for struggle. It’s how they grow and develop character. We don’t want to take it away–just strengthen them to walk through it with the truth about themselves.

And the truth is always that God loves them and wants the very best for them. God is good and can be trusted, but has enemies who are very active here–that is where suffering comes from. And that is precisely why we don’t want to give it a lot of time. Do you want to walk with God or His enemies?

God is never surprised by pain or happenings. He always has a way out, you only have to ask Him to show it to you. Then trust that He will because you are His kid, and go back to making sure the good things in your life get at least ten seconds of notice. God wants you to thrive.

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Ten Seconds to Happiness

This isn’t just a hook or a catchy title to get you to read it, it’s the truth about why we live in the lowlands of negativity. I may have written about it before but it bears repeating. Joy is a choice, largely. Fasting for joy has brought this front and center. I call it the 10-second rule. You can use it to change your life.

We have so much good in our lives that mostly we let it go by without notice. A beautiful sunset usually gets a notice but sometimes not even ten seconds. A beautiful flower, a gentle breeze, the sent of orange blossoms or honeysuckle might get two seconds. The way the sun feels on your face or back, or the way it looks coming through leaves or lighting up green hills–all or any gets a nod, maybe two, even three seconds, but not much more. Yet it takes 10-30 seconds to anchor something for keeping in our unconscious mind. (Yes, that’s the same as the subconscious.)

Now think about something bad that happens. A stranger takes out their stress by snapping at you. Your spouse lets his/her irritation show. Does it get ten seconds? Almost always. In fact, it is hard to dismiss any negative thought or experience in under ten seconds. We usually give it much more than that. So we end up with all this stored negativity in our unconscious mind. And when we aren’t focused on something, that’s what floats up.

It is who we become.

It takes thought and awareness and choice to change it. But what a simple, lovely exercise–choosing to enjoy  the good for 10 seconds or more. Holding on to it, savoring it for at least 30 seconds. Go ahead, try it. See if it’s as easy as it sounds.

To be continued…

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Filed under Joy, Living well, Love ed, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Got Love? If you are alone today…

Valentines Day–the day we celebrate love–happens to fall on the same day I celebrate God, but then I’m growing into doing that every day.

So, of course you’ve got love today, but do you know it? Are you living in it? Letting it lift you? Letting it nourish you? Celebrating it?

God’s love is as available to you as air! Truly! There is only one requirement, you have to want it.

And it is the sweetest, most affirming, most knowing love you have ever had or could have. God loves you wildly. More than you love your children. More than your parents love you. More than your greatest infatuation.

How do I know this? Because I am experiencing it, and it is truly amazing. I thought I grew up loved, and yet I have such incredible love deficits that sometimes I think I don’t know how to give or receive love at all. But I am learning. I am discovering how to accept, how to receive love, how to let myself be loved.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I find that it’s not. God has been teaching me to be still and know Him.

We all long for love, but we are not good at it.

We aren’t even good at loving ourselves. Many of us grew up believing it wasn’t right, even. Yet Jesus said God’s law was summed up in “love God with your whole being and your neighbor as yourself.” Don’t love yourself? Can’t love your neighbor.

This past week I said to a client, “When you are loving yourself, who are you working with? God? or His enemies?”

It was a new thought to her. It often is. God loves you, so naturally wants you to love you too. It makes His work easier.

Our problem is getting confused. We think negativity about us is a good thing. We also think loving us is a soft thing. Not true. While kindness is very important, sometimes hard love is the best love you can give yourself. Hard love as in discipline–not eating that extra piece of cake, getting up to exercise because your mind and body work better. Stopping long enough to imagine the situation from your children’s eyes. Fasting 40 days from chocolate, or at least sugar.

But the most important thing is the hardest: Sitting still long enough to let God love you. Sitting still, purposely, just to be in His presence. Even ten minutes to start is good. Breathe and count 7 seconds in and 7 seconds out. Listen to your breathing. Invite God to be with you, to speak to you, to tune you to His voice. But don’t worry if you don’t hear Him, just be with Him. Know that He wants to be with you 1000 times more than you want to be with Him!

And His love is not just like the best Father or Mother you can imagine. It is a lover’s love as well. So whatever kind of love you need, He has it all for you. All you have to do is ask. You do have to want it. He waits for your invitation. Just ask Him to meet you.

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Filed under Becoming real, divorce, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Is the Struggle to be Healthy Really Worth It?

Why is health important? Is it really worth the struggle to deny myself all the things I love to eat and drink, or make the hard choice to get up and exercise? “I love to eat and I don’t like to exercise, isn’t there some pill..?” is usually how I hear it.

I also hear, “We are all going to die anyway,” or some version of it, when people don’t want to change lifestyle habits.

And it’s true. We are all dying–(aging is quite an experience–even when you have practiced a healthy lifestyle for almost 40 years. I’d hate too think how I’d be if I hadn’t!)

But feeling good physically–while I love it–is not the only reason to change habits. Your brain function is so greatly affected by your physical habits.

Health has been a hobby of mine for years. I love learning new research, and I just learned something new about sleep from a Ted Talk. Sleep bathes your brain and wards off Alzheimer’s disease by helping clear amaloid plaque!

But probably more important is how health affects your behavior and your choices right now. It is so much easier to be hopeful, kind and positive when you feel good physically! Good solid energy levels–not caffeinated hype–are better for you and everyone around you.

It’s easier to respond rather than react when your body is working well. It’s easier to make good choices when you feel good. Everything from what you put into your body, to yelling at your kids, to what you do with leisure time, to which job you should take is easier to handle if your body feels good and your brain is working well.

Just making a choice–rather than letting other people or circumstances make choices for you–even a simple one: Should I exercise even though I don’t feel like it?  is easier when you know why your body needs it and how it will respond. Knowledge is key.

The most important aspect of health is spiritual health because you were born into a huge context–a war between good and evil. It’s getting easier to see all the time. Evil is asserting itself and God is allowing it more space as He’s wrapping up the demonstration and closing the classroom. It’s an important lesson, one that has taken time.

Evil is extremely skilled at manifesting deception. The only way to keep clear about who’s who and what’s what is to stay connected to God. He is truth, and has promised protection and clarity for anyone who wants it.

God’s enemies (evil) can only keep us captive by weakening our minds and destroying our freedom through mindlessness and lack of choice. They play on our emotions and choices to gum up our machinery, confuse and control us. But in the change that happens when you choose surrender to God, there is the highest sense of freedom.

Submission to God restores your true self–your true glory and dignity. But this is the reason health is so important. If your mechanism is clogged with debris, chemicals, waste, overload, you are likely to blow the most important thing off.

My book on health is out now! You can get it from Amazon in either ebook version or the physical workbook edition. The latter one gives you a place to write, and helps you create your own simple plan: http://amazon.com/author/arlacaraboolad  is the link. Or visit the store connected to the book: http://lovelosingstore.com

 

10 Health Foods You Should Never Eat.

My friend posted this on facebook and curiosity made me check it out. It’s good information. I recommend  you take 10 minutes to look.

 

 

 

 

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Who Wouldn’t?

So I’m a week into fasting from negativity. So far it’s been wonderful. A few tough spots, and the set up was a little rough.

Last time I wrote about the choice to do it, my computer crashed and took two days to reboot. A week later the hard drive completely crashed~as in have to buy a new one~crashed. From something my editing teacher said I needed to download. ???

I love writing in my gazebo, so it was a bit tough to give up my lap-top and not hit the slough of negativity. But I thought how grateful I am that my husband has the desk-top working well, so there is no interruption to my “God-in-a-Box” blog at its most powerful time.

And then I got the idea to work in my back garden two hours in the morning instead of my body-ball workout. The weather has been wonderful, and once again I have sore muscles, but the yard is looking good, and I am happy. My mornings have been dazzled in sunlight and symphonic  bird songs. How blessed is that! I love mornings~ always have.

Who doesn’t love good things? Almost everyone wants to be happy. And now I’m very aware of everything that interferes with it. What’s crazy, is that so much of it was beliefs–don’t deserve it, something bad will happen, you jinx yourself–crazy stuff.

We were made to be happy. Of course the design didn’t include anything bad around us influencing us–our own heads programmed with negativity.

But we are still made for it! So we can still choose it.

I know that is a big word with so much outside of us and inside of us working against it, but if you know it is your birthright, your inheritance, and all you have to do is choose it (and get several lies healed) why wouldn’t you?

I know many things are coming to your mind right now–reasons why…  so write them down. And if you really would like to live happier, more joyful, like you were made to, choose it.

Now go to God and ask for help and truth for your lies. HE WANTS YOU HAPPY and JOYFUL! Really.

Who wouldn’t want that?

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?

God has a Sense of Humor–Pt 2

In the first part I wrote that God has been turning a lot of things around on me lately.

I’m not the only one. My daughter has started dating the only friend of her ex-husband that she didn’t like.

I went out to dinner with them recently, and he was giving his first impressions of her. He thought she was depressed because he only saw her on the couch with a blanket. She didn’t speak to him or move, and he felt bad that she had no life or no energy.

His interpretation set up such dissonance in my head because even though I know there was some depression, it didn’t sound like her. My impression had been her hyper-connecting with his friends because she was unhappy and unfulfilled.

She got upset with both of us–feeling bad that he had experienced her like that, and saying I made her sound like she’d had affairs!

For the record, she didn’t, and I knew that, she was trying too hard to control everything, and make it perfect. But a whole picture took two days and three hours of talking to put all the pieces in the right gestalt.

Suddenly it came clear–he was the only friend of her ex-husband that she didn’t like, and didn’t want him hanging out with. She thought he was a bad influence, so she didn’t give him the time of day. Wouldn’t even get up or acknowledge him! That would have been consistent with who she was then. (Happily, not anymore.)

How funny that four years later, she thinks he is the only man in the world. Once she got to know him she began to see that he was much more than she’d thought. In fact, they are a lot alike–God is central in his life as well as hers and obviously brought them together. It’s quite a story, and I can just imagine God smiling.

I think he loves to delight us with surprises. And blow our minds over how much we don’t know! Ever been surprised by God’s graciousness overturning something you were sure you’d judged correctly? He just wants us to stay close.

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Are You a human doing?

Does your life get dry from stress and focusing on everything you have to get done, or things that could go wrong?

That’s because you aren’t a machine. You weren’t meant to be a human doing, but a human being. Relationships are more important than anything you do.

But we are so busy! Or so scared!

Twice this weekend we were privileged to have over friends whose conversation was easily and naturally sprinkled with spirituality.

Afterwards, my husband and I remarked how pleasant it was to have conversations laced with God. The secular so easily takes over the spiritual in life, and it was refreshing to have it so easily incorporated with no effort.

Maybe I noticed because I had just spent a week with my daughter and felt that camaraderie. Or maybe because I had just watched Rob Bell’s “Everything is Spiritual” again with my eight-year-old grandson (his idea). I think it is so sweet that he loves it and watches it over and over–there is a lot I barely comprehend!

If you haven’t seen it, it is well worth the hour, very entertaining, and definitely demonstrates how we are more than human doings. It’s something I have been saying for years. But he says it so well with such detail.

Relationships are my work, and I don’t think they are easy for any of us. They certainly aren’t for me. And I know more about them than most people.

I think when you find people that you really feel safe with, (the definition of intimacy) it is special. People that allow you to just be yourself without evaluation or judgment. Of course it helps if you share the same value system, but you can’t always count on that to make you safe.

And then of course the question comes: Am I that kind of person? Do I make people feel safe? Am I more concerned about how I look or enjoying them?

Understanding people helps provide acceptance. But that takes time.

Are you setting up life to be fulfilling? Or are you hiding behind a mask, letting life dictate to you?

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“How Can I be Happy?”

“I need to find something to make me happy!” she said with such feeling that I knew she believed it.

So I responded simply, “Why?”

Her look was shocked silent, disbelief taking her words. Why would she say that? Didn’t she hear me?

So I continued, “Why not just be happy because you can?”

I knew it sounded counter intuitive. She was going through a break-up she didn’t want. But as I explained that happiness is a choice, I saw first confusion, and then light coming from her eyes.

“That is what I tell people about my job!” She exclaimed. “They have always wondered how I can like working in people’s mouths all day. And I tell them I choose to focus on all the good things about it.”

“So you have a template!” I encouraged.

“Yes!” she was getting excited, “But I never knew happiness was a choice! My choice!”

As a therapist, I hear, “How can I be happy?” or “How can I find happiness?” stated in many ways; most often it comes as a wail, “I just wanna be happy!”

But it is always about the same thing “How can I get myself loved?” They wouldn’t say that, who’s going to ask “How can I find someone who will love me unconditionally just for me?” We don’t usually say things like that.

Seriously? The fastest and easiest way to get yourself loved is God. Because it’s already happening. All you need to do is plug in. You may have heard that before, or wondered how to do it, or what He is like. You may not know He is the best place to start, insuring a healthier human relationship if you get loved first and listen…

The how to is choice again. And as to what He’s like…

He’s everything good. He’s gotten a lot of bad press because of suffering. But even though He gets blamed for suffering, He isn’t responsible for it.

That is a long discussion, one I’ve written a 300 page book on, and another 45 page one soon to be released, so here let’s cut to the question–What is God like? And How can I know Him (Her, Them)?

The video below, “You Love Me,” is my experience of knowing God. You, too, are Loved. It’s who God is. It’s what He does. He has no evil in Him.

I got into making mind movies a while back, and I made the one below for me. (I’d had a rough week.)

I decided to share it here with you because it made me feel so good. Also, I got very good feedback from a client whose week was much worse than mine.

It’s only about a minute, and you can watch it as many times as you want. In fact, you can put it on your site or your phone. If you like it–check out my blog about God at http://Godhelps.net/God-in-a-Box and find out for yourself what He’s like and how to know you are loved.

yep, I saw the mistake this morning after posting it, and after watching it for months–only God is perfect 🙂

http://Godhelps.net/God-in-a-Box for discovering how much you are loved

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