4 Ingredients for Rising Above Circumstances

Posted by Harriet on

ballooning7My month-long ‘staycation’ in Manhattan has come to an end.  Getting back into my car to start driving around for every little errand is not an exciting prospect after walking to Barnes and Noble at 10 PM to pick up a book on hold or going out to Coffee Bean for an iced berry tea at 11 and leisurely walking back to our apartment along the streets of beautiful brownstone houses.  My 7 AM walk to the local JCC for their daily free meditation class was an early morning treat.   The pulsating energy of the city is quite appealing after 30 years of suburb living.  But I’m sure I will pretty quickly re-acclimate to being back home.

I’ve been away from the blogging world for this time period.   And so I now start up again with the perfect timing of my guest blog post on the wonderful Tiny Buddha website.   A great entree into my blogging again.  I invite you over to Tiny Buddha to read, How to Rise Above Difficult Circumstances and Be Happy.  Start here and then continue there.


“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~Viktor Frankl

I first got wind of this transformative concept when I was a teenager reading Man’s Search for Meaning.

It has played beautifully into what has become my life theme: how people transcend their adversities. I’ve forever been inspired by how (some) people can go through so much and yet be able to rise above and live well.

Getting Older and Living Well – 4 Ways To Stay Actively Engaged in Life

Posted by Harriet on

IMG_0297It’s hard to even write this number and attach it to myself.  I turned 60 – eeeccckkk!!  I cannot wrap my head around this numerical concept.  And I don’t buy into the old “ it’s only a number” deal.  It’s a number that is steeped in reality – the reality that we’re getting on in the life cycle and heading closer toward an end.  Doesn’t mean an end is near or that I feel even remotely ‘older’.  But the number does signify aging, at least chronologically.

The passage of time is quite the difficult concept.   Somewhere along the way here, I thought of this piece of science:  that as long as the earth continues to revolve around the sun, so time moves on, and with that so do we.  Somehow thinking about this seems to make the inevitable a wee bit more tolerable and brings me some comfort.

I have always been saddened when something great ends.   I often repeat to myself the famous Dr. Seuss line, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”   It doesn’t help me too much though.  I am grateful it happened but still sad that that specific thing is done.   I listened to the Seals and Crofts song, “We may never pass this way again” a lot back when and really took this line to heart.  I guess I was cognizant of these time passages back then too.

I have too much living to do to be thwarted by this.  I think this is how I deal with it: think about it (the fact that it’s scary and sad to me) and then move on, and I cycle myself like this. 

Taking Care Of Our Mind – Interview With Dan Harris

Posted by Harriet on

61794C1D88984C1893CB80570025ECE1[1]I recently attended a panel discussion on meditation led by Dan Harris, journalist and ABC news co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America.  An original skeptic, he has learned how to “tame the voice in his head and reduce stress without losing his edge”  by meditating.  After suffering a panic attack on air, he began his journey into the self-help arena and found something that has made him 10% Happier, the title of his best-selling memoir.  He graciously agreed to share some thought here.

  1. As a journalist having witnessed the horrors of war, what were some of your PTSD symptoms and how have you turned them into post traumatic growth?

I don’t think I had PTSD.  This isn’t talked about much.  But what messed me up in going to war zones was the adrenalin;  I became addicted to the rush of it.  That’s not to say that I didn’t witness things that people could describe as traumatic – I lost friends, I saw people in great distress, and I was shot at – but I just don’t think that created my problem.  I think it really was the adrenaline.  In my book I describe it as journalistic heroin- the rush of being somewhere you’re not supposed to be and not only getting away with it but getting on television.  It’s a high.  When I came home the world seemed gray and uninteresting.  I got depressed and I did a really dumb thing – I self-medicated and that led me to having a panic attack. 

A Positive State of Mind

Posted by Harriet on

5933229257_insert_post_top_positive_thinking_xlarge[1]“It appears that the way people perceive the world is much more important to happiness than objective circumstances.”  Ed Diener

We can work our minds towards a better state.

How?  Here are three questions to get you started on your journey towards developing a more positive mindset. For well being is more contingent on our state of mind than on our status and external circumstances.

What do I focus on?  Where does my attention go?  What we focus on expands and more of it comes into our field of vision.

Switch the brain channel and hone in on the rose instead of the thorn.   Don’t ignore the thorns –that is part of the reality of the rose, and try not to get pricked; but revel and savor the beauty of the rose itself.  After taking in that rose, you may begin to notice more beautiful flowers around.

Am I a benefit-finder or a fault-finder?   We have a predisposition to the negative.  Just watch the news where it’s one bad thing after another.  What an imbalance!  There’s certainly good happenings going on all around and way more than the ‘bad’.   But because the lousy stuff is focused on, it’s easy to see why some would ingest all that and live through a lens of drama and negativity.

Or to note a simplistic example, Yes, your 6 year old spilled the milk, again.  And yes, he cleaned it up all by himself without being told.  How responsible he acted!   Are you focusing on the fact that he spilled his milk, again, and may be seen as a klutz or mess, or are you able to get past that and focus on the fact that he dealt with it on his own. 

The Happiness Pie

Posted by Harriet on

happiness_pie_by_SonjaI’m happy to have my guest blog post featured today on Gratitude and Trust, a wonderful blog on living authentically in acknowledgement and appreciation of all that’s out there.  And yes, sometimes the tough stuff too.

Interesting percentages have been researched as to how much of living well is in our hands.  So click on over to read that we have that 40% Power.


What do you think?  Any of these surprise you or throw you off a bit?

What Brings You Joy?

Posted by Harriet on

fa78c9726f52b70c37b98d0988f01f7a[1]Caught up with the ‘doings’ of life?  Don’t know what you like anymore?  Lost all notion of your interests?  Haven’t been in touch with Yourself in years due to child-rearing, the busyness of life, just trying to keep your head above water, working long hours, juggling it all …..

Start to get back in touch with what you love by:

Making a Love List.  What brings you joy?

Now start writing – free style, don’t lift your pen off the paper, just keep writing whatever comes to mind; let it flow out.  Just keep on writing down your ideas until you can’t think of anything anymore.  And then add a few more.  You’ll be surprised at your long list.  There’s a lot there, in all of us.  We just need to tap into it, once again, and remind ourselves of what’s there, deep down.  And maybe there’s a lot more on the surface than we realize.

My list looks something like this:

Hot chocolate in a big, funky mug






Deep conversations

New opportunities/adventures/ideas

Interesting people




Very hot showers


Going to book stores

And then, pick 2 or 3 and incorporate them a few times into your week.  Small things make a big difference, especially when we feel depleted.    Keep adding a link to that chain of pleasurable acts/things and you will start to see a difference in how you feel. You will also be filling your bucket of positivity.

A tip I recently learned at a workshop I attended:  take a picture of something meaningful. 


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