February 2, 2009

from tibet to alabama...those monks have nuthin' on me

looking up

I was somewhat intrigued at the grocery standing in the checkout line and scanning the magazines as I waited. There is always the one cheapo Woman's World there that promises diets, perfect skin, romantic relationships...and joy. Well...I got sucked in - what the hay, it's less than two bucks.

Though this thing is Woman's Day lite, I can really say I enjoyed the article on "Tibetan Joy Secrets - Less Stress, More Happiness". Sure, I scoffed when I first read through the no brainer approach..but being the bored, unemployed person I am recently...I decided to test these tidbits of wisdom. Turns out...they sort of worked.

1. Being mindful - I think that's one of the central tenants of Buddhism. But, I spent the day really trying to notice positive things around me. The food, the weather - really pay attention. What it did for me? It made me not as self absorbed.
2. Remembering We're All the Same - This one didn't make me so joyful so kind of a fail actually. I know we all want to end poverty, suffering and have world peace but the truth of it is, not many people do anything about it. Including me. I have been too wrapped up in my own problems. So..something I need to work with there.
3. Laughing out loud - I felt really silly on this one but since it's just me and my cat....I tried it. The article recommended just forcing yourself to laugh as your body doesn't know the difference between you laughing at a joke and forcing it. It pushes out endorphins regardless...and who does want a nice little kick of happy juice, right? And...in the forced laughing I got tickled at myself and soon, it was real laughter. Definitely a keeper there.
4. Sitting straight up - According to the article, sitting straight allows the spinal cord to send signals to the brain without interruption. This one was sort of woo-woo science to me. And, I love to slump...so, this one hasn't worked for me - YET.
5. Gazing at one object - Meditation. Does gazing lovingly at a new pair of shoes count. This unemployment thing really sucks with the not being able to buy new clothes, shoes or bags...or even camera equipment. But, I am trying to slow my mind by gazing at seashells. Not working so far - I am allowing my mind to wander too much.
6. Listening to bells - More of that woo-woo thing that I haven't bought into...but I know when I used to be able to afford massages, they would have those tinkling bells. They're very pretty and peaceful. Maybe I need to find some bells.
7. Humming - The article cites how monks chant to relax and focus. This sounded silly to me..but I hummed. I hummed the theme to Raiders of the Lost Ark (yeah, yeah - but it was the best in the series) and surprisingly - I did feel better. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and being content that I was getting things done. So...score.

The thing is, I believe we do choose our happiness and our serenity. None of the things in the article were a revelation to me. Deep down, I knew all of these things and let myself get caught up in the poor me self involvement. Humming, skipping, blowing bubbles, flipping pancakes, wearing a silly piece of clothing (like my pink chuck high tops), talking to my cat, all of these bits and pieces of whimsy...they make me happy for the bit. And as I collect the bits, they string together into more bits and more frequent bits. And then I really can laugh out loud at my silly cat as he drifts off so deep that the only thing keeping him on the arm of the chair is his butt and claws on his back legs. That makes me laugh.



  1. I'm going to try some of these out...maybe all. : )

    I love the rose tint in your photgraphs!

  2. These things really do work. Although I find the best cure for being down it the dumps (it works as a prevention too) is to sing the chorus of Tom Petty's Freefalling at the top of your lungs, and VERY out of tune. Works every time.

    Anna xxx

  3. your post title &
    singing that is got me smiling today!

    the tree is gorgeous!

  4. Oh whenever I am the slightest depressed I try to smile and laugh and it does make me feel so much better!

    BTW, I'm hosting a Valentine's Day contest at my blog and I would love it if you entered! Please check back at my blog for more details!

  5. oh this is good! all of these great tips for $2! rad!

    and i got tagged with questions, so figured i'd torture you too (only if you have time and/or the inclination):


  6. I'm sitting up straight and humming to my music...at least it's a start !!!

    thanks for a great post !

  7. So the humming really does work and I always try to sit up and improve posture mostly because I don't want the old lady hump one day. And the laughter... your visual got me laughing!!!

  8. I'd love to try the staring and humming but when do I find the time?

    That's probably the wrong attitude, but realistically, I need a wife to be able to find the time !

  9. Looking at LOLcats makes me 'laugh out loud' every time. Sitting up straight is a tough one for me, too. I'm a lounger.

    Two bucks is pretty cheap therapy. I think you made a wise purchase.

  10. Who knew humming could help? I am actually really annoyed by the sound of humming, so I'm not sure it would work out for me.
    That top picture is absolutely gorgeous!

  11. I can't explain it but I always find truths in stuff like this. I believe it works. I am definitely going to do these.

  12. char, i have found that one of the best ways to get myself out of the self-pity cycle (or being in the dumps, too) is GRATITUDE. (and, hmmmm, it has the word 'attitude' in it, doesn't it?!) sitting down and trying to come up with things for which i am, or can be, thankful gets my mind off what i don't have or the negative turn of my thoughts. sometimes it can feel like a struggle to find even one thing, but in those times, i must be thankful for the breath that i breathe and my heart beating without one effort of my own and the fact that the sun came up again and that my eyes opened to a new day... and that an amazing Creator made all those things happen without me doing a thing...and that, no matter how i feel at the moment, He loves me beyond all i could ever imagine!

    it can be work to be thankful, but it does change my attitude... and, i realize how truly blessed i am...

    my other attitude helper is to go out (or in, if i have a flower or plant in bloom) with my macro lens and take a bazillion fascinating photos of all the amazing details of one tiny little thing... i can get lost for hours doing that, and it usually picks me up while i'm doing it! :)

  13. Thanks. I need some calming peacey stuff to meditate on.

  14. Great post. I felt good reading it and I'm definitely going to be trying some of them. That magazine just sucked you in, didn't it? It does that to me sometimes, too.

    Beautiful tree.

  15. Wait til Gabby sees this post... he's gonna love it. As for me, I'll start with the laughing and sitting up straight first, and see how far I get. Thanks for trying all of these tips and giving us the lowdown.


  16. Hi Tony!! scritch scritch.

    This blog in itself is enough to bring some peace.


  17. I'm amazed at the speed your followers have. They really are interested in what you have to say...That includes me of course. You always come up with something new and delightfully fresh topics...

  18. Wondering if a package arrived today?

  19. I have to remind myself to be mindful -- that's a big one. I find myself drifting through the days without really accomplishing much, or noticing the beauty around me.

    Love your kitty! ANd the tree photo is so beautiful, especially those soft reds and turquoise blues... :)

  20. Gazing at one object- does my Macbook count? No... on second thoughts, that has the same effect on me as caffeine- keeps me up too late. When I did sleep last night I dreamt my dog turned into a goat. Explain that one to me, Sigmund...:)

  21. The laughing and being mindful I definitly agree with...the humming and sitting up straight I will have to try:) A fun list you shared!

  22. Right...I think it's all about realizing that you need to destress, and then do so in a manner that makes you happy. It's hard to do so when you're going through so much though, isn't it? Laughing out loud is always a good one. But what about sleep? :)

  23. You are right, we do all know this, it's the hardest & simplest thing to do at the same time. I love your ending. When I think of you I think how fine things are always going to be, I see great things ahead. You have such an adventurous spirit, a go do it spirit. You are an inspiration and you make me smile.
    thank you


i feel as if each comment was between us as we sat and sipped something warm....i love to hear what you're thinking.