Happy-U Bloggity Blog

Holistic Approach to Positive Psychology & Yoga

You’re 10 minutes away from a better day!

People. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the benefits of meditation. And yet, for whatever reason, you’re still resistant to being still & quiet for just a few minutes in the morning. You’re not alone. I totally get it.

But guess what? Today’s the day you try! And I’m going to make it super easy for you 🙂

I’ve been receiving many messages from friends, clients, & students lately telling me they want to start meditating, but don’t really know how. So I recorded a sweet & simple 10-minute meditation that will help you ground and center yourself and set up your day ahead. How’dya like that?

So put your headphones on, or bring your laptop somewhere quiet, and turn up the volume. If you’re at work, maybe wait until you get home (what are you doing reading my blog when you’re at work anyway, you bum! Just kidding, read on…), get comfy, and then go to the FREE SHIZ & click on the FREE MEDITATION. Listen to the entire 10-minute track, and then see how you feel.

And then stay tuned! I’m going to start selling mp3 files of Happy-U Meditations that you can download and keep very soon, but I wanted to get you started if you’re up for it.

SO, NO MORE EXCUSES!

Today’s the day 🙂

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Hello, my name is Karson, and I’m an over-planner…

I’ve always been extremely organized. It’s one of my things. I love it. I’ve planned, and made lists & kept day planners since I was little. Even now, I’ll find myself planning for “free time”. It’s just how I roll.  I embrace that part of myself because it makes me happy. Until it doesn’t. And sometimes it takes a mirror to reflect that back to you.

Mirrors come in many forms, usually in other people. For me, it happened when I started dating my husband, Mitch, and I realized that not everybody planned the way I did. It’d be Monday, and I’d want to talk about what we’d do on Saturday, and he’d say, Can’t we just see what happens? I thought he was just being a dude who didn’t want to commit (hello, female insecurities!), but that wasn’t the case. His brain just didn’t work the same way mine did. I was coming from living in NYC, where I felt I had to plan everything just to keep up with the pace there. He, on the other hand, (in addition to being a Southerner) had been in San Diego for a few years already, and was just naturally slower with his pace and more open-minded with where the wind might take him. In other words, he was ahead of me in achieving his hippie-dom. Essentially, he reflected back to me that my way was not the only way (an issue I still beg to differ on sometimes ;)), and that perhaps I was wringing the life out of the possibilities by over-planning my schedule. And so we worked together and learned a lot from one another, and he tried my way and I tried his… Since those days, we’ve both met somewhere in the middle. And I am so much happier having more flexibility in my life. That flexibility feels really good in my body.

But my over-planning syndrome still kicks in ALL the time, and I work hard at being aware of when it limits me and when it helps. For example, I think I have written down ahead of time every single yoga class I have ever taught, and have at least 5 filled-to-the-brim journals full of quotes and classes and sequences. When I started doing that, I did it because it felt really good to be super prepared for class so it could be the best it could be. I still feel that way. But in the beginning, I would over-plan, shoving 2 hours worth of material onto the page for a one-hour class, and then get frustrated that I didn’t get through it all. Now, things are different. I create the outline, and then allow myself the freedom to deviate from the plan so that my teaching is more organic and free. Outlining feels better. So that’s where I am today…

I bring this up now, as I prepare for my upcoming HAPPY-U Workshop on Saturday, and I find myself feeling that twinge inside me that wants to script the whole thing because I have SO much I want to share! But I’ve also learned through time about when I am ME at my BEST. And it is truly when I speak from my heart, connect to others with my eyes, feel the energy of the room, and just let the magic happen. And I can trust that. An outline is good. I will never NOT plan a workshop or a class. That’s just who I am. But rather than being a slave to a habit I created years ago, I have reflected and refined my habits so that they work FOR me not AGAINST me. 

And that’s really what this HAPPY-U thing is all about. Looking at our habits: in action but more importantly in THOUGHT, so we can find a better way to live and make lasting changes in the name of happiness.

What habits do you have that MIGHT be hindering you from the possibilities in your life? What habitual thought-patterns are so engrained in your system that you don’t even realized you CHOSE them in the first place? Are there things in your life you just assume HAVE to be the way they are, but in fact, there might be a better way? I bet there are. Maybe HAPPY-U will be your mirror. 

Maybe, just maybe.

When we allow ourself the space to reflect and refine, life is much more enjoyable 🙂 We hold on to the parts of ourselves we love, and release to the wind the parts we’ve outgrown. We really become POSSIBILITARIANS (I love that word) so that we may enjoy the the infinite experiences available to us. And that feels gooooooooooood 🙂

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Helen’s Happiness

Today is Helen Keller’s birthday. What an amazing example of the fact that happiness truly comes from within. If this woman, who was without any connections to the outside world except for the ones she created for herself could be so deeply & unshakably happy, what excuse do we have?

The truth is, most of us are far more blind and deaf than Helen Keller ever was.

So the message for today is simple… Take a moment. Right now. Close your eyes and imagine you were deaf & blind. Really imagine it. For real, I dare you. And then sit with what arises for you. Really feel it. And then… open your eyes and take a deep breath of gratitude for the fact that you CAN see and hear the beauty all around you. What do you see? What do you hear? And then ask yourself, what will I DO with these newfound superpowers? What will I choose to see? What will I really hear if I allow myself to listen?

For this day is beauuuuuutiful. Open up your senses like a gorgeous flower to the sun and soak it all in. Because it’s really up to you… It’s there whether you choose to experience it or not 🙂

XOXO

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The Grumpy Old Man’s Garden

I noticed the garden first. Just around the corner from where we live, on one my most common routes with the Furry Happiness Guru. It’s a simple and sweet little garden, but it’s meticulously cared for,  manicured, and loved. I can tell. I’ve seen the old man working on it, more days than not. One day, I saw him working on it from a block away, and decided today would be the day I’d compliment his work. I imagined the joy it would bring him, as a stranger verbally appreciated his diligence. I couldn’t wait to see the smile on his face as I thanked him for his garden.

So as we walked past, I stopped and said, “Good morning! I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your garden every day, it’s so beautiful, and you work so hard on it. I just wanted to thank you.”

Here it comes, I thought, show me that glimmer of light in your eyes, old man. You must be so touched. I just made your day.

But instead, a grunt. “Yeah, well…” he grumbled, and didn’t even lift his head.

Wah wah.

I wanted to be like, “Dude, just say thank you! Your garden’s so pretty, but fine, you wanna be like that? I’ll never say hi again. That’ll teach ya!” And I walked away somewhat miffed, as I thought about what a bummer it was that such a pretty garden was being tended to by a mean old guy. Harumf.

So the next day, I saw him again. But this time, it was different. There was a wheelchair beside him, and he was on the ground with his hands in the dirt. And as I walked by, I realized that the Grumpy Old Man only had one leg. One leg! And I later realized that I’d only seen him in pants with his prosthetic leg attached, and had no idea. But on this day, his attachment was off, and he sat in the  dirt, pruning and picking, and as I walked by, his eyes still didn’t lift. But I said, “Good morning! Garden’s looking lovely today.” And he said “Yeah, yeah”, and kept going. And I smiled as I walked by. Not out of pity. But out of compassion.

Because I realized this… We never really know what’s going on underneath someone’s pants.

Err, okay, maybe that’s not the best way to say that. We never really know what someone else is going through. We judge them as we react when our egos are bruised. When we get all pious, like, I’m gonna do something nice for you, you better damn well appreciate it, and then we judge them for being less than perfect. I think we need to check ourselves. Offer smiles and hellos out of the fact that we are pure love, not out of the response we’re hoping to get. The bottom line is this… We accomplish nothing by withholding kindness. Give it away, and expect nothing in return. Especially to Grumpy Old Men. Because…

The ones who seem the least deserving of compassion are the ones who need it the most.

So I will continue to say Good Morning to the Grumpy Old Man, and maybe one day he’ll say it back, and maybe not. It doesn’t matter. I understand him a little better, because clearly he’s had difficulties in his life. I’m sure he has good reason to not say hello to a sprightly woman and her furry ball of joy on a leash.

But at least he’s choosing to make a garden out of it… And for that, I am grateful.

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The Kite of Contrast

“There is not something you’re supposed to do. There’s not something that you should do. There is only that which you are inspired to do. And how do you get inspired except by the contrast? It’s the life experience that gives you the idea of the desire, and then as you focus upon the desire, the Energy flows.” — Abraham

I love remembering how much I value contrast. When I reflect on the most wonderful things that have ever happened in my life, they were ALL born out of contrast. Here’s how it works…

Something happens in your experience. You either love it and feel inspired by it, or you don’t. If you feel negative emotions toward it, that contrast of feelings causes you to launch a rocket of desire for what you DO want. And you expand. And become clearer about your intentions and dreams. It’s that simple.

Here’s an example. About 5 years ago, I applied for a grant at my job and didn’t get it. I was heart-broken. I had done everything right, and truly felt that I deserved the grant. But it didn’t happen. That disappointment (aka contrast) caused me to really think about what I DID want to feel in my job. I wanted to feel valued. I wanted to have amazing opportunities. Really, I didn’t want to have to rely on others people to determine my worth, so maybe I didn’t really want to work in an environment like that after all. Maybe I wanted to create a different life, where I COULD experience those desires, which were now clearer than ever before. And so that’s what I did. I left my job and moved across the country to San Diego, where I quickly found my life purpose, the man of my dreams, and a life where I get to put my toes in the sand every day.

And I think all the time… What if I had gotten that grant? 

So when things don’t go as I THINK they should go, I remember the winds of contrast. Without them, my kite would never sail. For when the contrast comes, and it always does, I try not to react to it. Instead, I sift my way through the contrast to figure out what it is I REALLY want, and then get my vibration in line with that desire, and it comes. Every time. It is the Law of Attraction at its best 🙂

**If you want to read a life-changing book that is one of my foundational life-guides, read Ask & It Is Given, by Esther & Jerry Hicks. You’ll be glad you did. Now get off your computer and go fly a kite. Have a great day!**

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Happy U-niverse :)

It’s been a really wonderful and lovely week… The blog has been up and running for 7 days now, and the creative flow I’m feeling is abundant. I thought today, I’d share some random awesome anecdotes of things that happened this week that have demonstrated so clearly how the Universe is out to support us… Enjoy!

  1. The Walking Stick

I have a dedicated yoga student who recently severely fractured her ankle while on a run. She’s in a full hard cast, but is COMMITTED to sticking to her yoga practice while she heals. So I’ve been working with her privately in my outdoor yoga sanctuary twice a week to help her rediscover her practice & remind her that yoga can happen anytime, anywhere, and no matter what condition you’re in. She’s doing amazingly…

So during our first session together, she was laying on her back and turned her head and said,

Don’t step on that guy, he’s been next to me this whole time. It was a walking stick bug… She’d never seen one before (and if you haven’t either, here’s what it is: a bug that looks like a stick, and it walks…got it?), and since he blended into the ground, we laughed as we tried to keep track of him as I moved around her and he made his trek from one end of the garden to the other. By the end of our practice he was gone.

Then, she came over for her next session on Wednesday, and told me that she couldn’t stop thinking about the walking stick bug, so she Googled it. She found out that walking sticks are the only bugs who can regenerate their own legs. How’s that for a sign? she said. It was my own little wink from the universe that my leg was going to be fine. I got chills.

___

2. Louise Passes it along

I had the pleasure of running with another yoga student of mine at Run Club (at the LIttle Yoga Studio) last weekend. She’s come to my class countless times, and has come to several HAPPY-U workshops, including the very first one on New Year’s Day of this year, but I never really got a chance to get to know her. Her name is Louise.

Turns out, Louise is a high school teacher, and among the courses she teaches is a peer-leader style leadership course for upperclassmen to mentor at-risk underclassmen. Louise gets to create the curriculum for this course. Well, unbeknownst to me, Louise became a Happy-U Angel immediately after the New Year’s Workshop when she started passing the knowledge she learned forward to her students. She began integrating the Happiness Principles & Meditation into the curriculum. She started having classwork become about practicing ways to reframe situations in the students’ lives from the perspective of the Universe supported them. Now, they’re all about it. The say things like, “Yeah, we broke up, but the universe is supporting me, so I know it’s all for the best” and “Please, can we meditate today?” And now THEY are passing on THEIR new knowledge to their FRESHMAN. It’s creating this beautiful, happy WEB of positivity.

Louise said she’s seen a significant change in these students. Her signed yearbook is proof, as it is laden with happiness quotes and principles from these kids to their awesome teacher who passed along a bucket full of goodness that will hopefully stick with them for a long, long time…  How flippin’ cool is that?!?! Thank you, Louise, you’re truly an angel!

____

3. The Universe supports HAPPY-U!

I’m grateful to announce that my handmade journals and bracelets will now be on display for sale at OB Namaste 🙂 I am SO excited about this… I have loved making and sharing these Happiness Reminders with everyone at the Workshops, but now they’ll be available ALL the time 🙂 It’s just another sign that I’m on the right path, and life is sweet, and I can keep making more, and you just need to ASK, and you can get everything you want and BEYOND…

Mmmmm, warm fuzzies this morning. YUM!

Well, my dear ones, here’s to another fabulous week ahead… I’ll leave you with a quote from the Goddess herself, Meryl Streep (as it is her birthday today), and I wish you nothing but love, joy, giggles, and fun in this upcoming weekend. And remember, THE UNIVERSE IS OUT TO SUPPORT YOU!!! Mwah!

    “Integrate what you believe in every single area of your life. Take your heart to work and ask the most and best of everybody else, too.” ~Meryl Streep

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Multitasking Shmultitasking

Happy Summer Solstice! It’s the longest day of the year! YAHOO!

You may be thinking, Wow, think of all the things I can DO today. All the things I can get accomplished.

To you, I say, Go on with your bad self! Get ‘er done!

But the Solstice always makes me think about how I manage my time and specifically, how I manage my attention span.

I read that in 1956, there were 7 media options in the average American home. In 2008, there were 35. I can’t even imagine how many there are today.

The only way to handle all these media options, other than to hire a robot with 10 arms to help you, is to multitask… We all do it.

So I started to observe my own habits…

One recent afternoon, I found myself drinking a cup of delicious tea, while writing an e-mail and talking on the phone to my mom at the same time, all while rubbing Sophie’s belly with my foot. Does this sound familiar? Sure, I got it all done, but at what price? Did I really taste my tea? Was my e-mail really the best it could have been? Did I give me mom the attention she deserved? Did Sophie really like that I was petting her with my foot? Well, yes, actually, that one was fine. But my POINT is, MULTITASKING ERODES OUR LEVEL OF PRESENCE. And that was just one moment in the day. How many times in a day are you splitting your focus and consequently losing your sense of presence along the way?

Another study I read said that “people on projects that are trying to multitask make twice as many errors and it takes them twice as long to get something done.” Food for thought, huh?

Now of course I’m not saying we can (or should) cut multitasking out of our lives completely. I mean, I’m petting Sophie right now as I write this. But we CAN become more aware, and make better choices. All the more reason we need to do yoga and meditate to reconnect to our state of presence.

Look at Sophie, here. Totally present. 

   Yes, she was chewing her bone

   AND 

   doing yoga at the same time, but at least she knew it.

   And loved it.

   And that’s cool too.

So take this day as the perfect time to reflect and reconsider the choices you make.

What are your true priorities? Maybe it’s time not to get MORE done, but to get a little LESS done, but more mindfully…

HAPPY SOLSTICE 🙂 Enjoy it…

Xo

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Trusting the Boat Will Float

This morning, I walked the Furry Happiness Guru to our favorite morning contemplation spot and looked out to the ocean… Where I normally see calm waters, some pelicans, and maybe a surfer or two, I saw a huge naval ship making its way across the sea. It was right on the horizon line, so it really appeared to be just gliding across the water-top, as if by magic. And I found myself thinking, How in the world does that even work? I don’t get it. How does something so huge, so heavy, so solid stay afloat on the water? And then a plane went by and I thought the same thing. How does THAT work? I found myself going down a mental road that some would call a “stoner moment”, but allowed my mind to wander that way as Sophie gleefully sniffed the flowers all around us.

And then it hit me. I don’t need to understand how it works, it just does. I could drive myself crazy trying to figure it out, but in the meantime, a thousand boats would have gone by and I would have missed them all because I was letting my brain throw a tantrum of “I NEED TO KNOW!”

The Universal Laws are the same way. The Law of Attraction (“like attracts like” or “What you plants grows”) works. Always. It is law. I don’t need to understand HOW it works, it just does. So I can try to ignore it, or fight it and prove it wrong, or trust its design. I don’t need to understand HOW the Law of Gravity works, but sure enough, I throw that ball to Sophie and it lands on the ground every single time. I trust that it will. Just the way I trust the boat will float and use that knowledge to my benefit.

Now, you skeptics out there may be saying, Yeah, but boats sink. What’s up with that?

To you I say, Here, have a cookie, good question. Then I say, Yes Mr. Smarty Pants, the boat can sink, but NOT because of its design, but because of a CRACK in the foundation. With the Law of Attraction, that comes in the form of some underlying negative vibration. For example, you decide you need more money. (Who doesn’t, right?) So you start saying to yourself, I need more money in my life. Well, there’s a crack in that, because by “needing” the money, you are attracting more “needing” into your life. So your ship will sink and you will be mad and you will stomp your feet and claim that the Law of Attraction is bogus. But the LOA is there. In perfect design. You just need to work with it properly… The boat isn’t gonna keep floating if you smash it into an iceberg. Duh. But every time you send out a negative thought, you are igniting a vibration that smashes the bejeezus out of that boat. Why you do that, silly?

So question it, for sure. Understand its grandeur. Read about it. Consciously try it out. But check yourself when your mind starts to get all ego-driven and needing to understand how it all goes down. Just ride your ship, avoid icebergs, and KNOW that what you plant grows… Every. Single. Time.

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Word of the day: Manifestation

For many years now, part of my morning ritual is to pull a card from one of my many Grace & Angel decks to use as starter fluid for a little morning journalling and intention-setting. I find that when I do this, my day is infinitely more rich & beautiful & connected than when I don’t (but I’ll write a whole post on morning ritual, so stay tuned).

Anyway, this morning, I pulled from one of my first and favorite decks by Doreen Virtue, called Healing with the Angels, and I picked Manifestation, which I took a photo of above. The explanation in the accompanying booklet was so awesome, I needed to share it verbatim:

“This is the process by which all thoughts transform into tangible form: First, they begin as an idea, born of Divine sources. Then the idea meets with a feeling. If the feeling is loving and nurturing, the idea and the feeling create the embryo of the manifestation. You nourish your newborn idea by believing in it and by following the step-by-step guidance that God and the angels give you through your feelings dreams, and visions.”

So in other words, you get an idea (and here’s a tip: the SINGLE most potent way I have EVER received awesome ideas is by meditating regularly), and then you feel it out. Here comes the HAPPINESS PRINCIPLE #1: What expands me makes me happier. If the thought of the idea makes you expand and feel joy in the anticipation of it, you now have the opportunity to really manifest it. But I would then add that you have to hold yourself ACCOUNTABLE (cough cough, get a coach, cough cough) And then, by following through on your plan, and listening to the messages your BODY and your SPIRIT are giving you along the way (“Is this expanding me or contracting me?”), you can’t HELP but achieve your goal. MAGIC!

Okay, so, how will I use this message for mySELF today?

I had an idea. I’m going to run my first 5K on July 29th. 

How do I feel about this? Well, to my surprise, for the first time in my LIFE, the thought of this makes me STOKED, rather than want to gouge my eyeballs out. So that means it’s a go…

So I’m making my plan, here goes:

  1. Get a sub for my yoga class I normally teach that morning.
  2. Register online for the race (gulp, I can’t believe I’m saying this. But I’m still expanded, so that’s good.)
  3. Create a training schedule for the next 6 weeks.
  4. Hold myself accountable by checking off each run on my schedule, strategizing with my wellness coach, & talking about it on this blog 🙂
  5. And voila! MANIFESTATION! Yippee!!!

So happy manifesting, y’all!! And if what you’re manifesting scares the poop out of you a little bit, all the better! See you at the finish line 🙂 MWAH!

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Mrs. Poole & the Beginner’s Mind

I remember watching the opening credits to the Hogan Family (Did you remember that was even a show??), whose theme song started with “Life is such a sweet insanity, the more you learn the less you know.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UumiZKltAPQ if you want to relive the glory.) And I remember driving my dad nuts asking him what that meant.

But Dad, that makes no SENSE, I said, glaring through my thick cut bangs.

And I remember him explaining it to me in a way I can only assume was clear and eloquent (although I obvi have no recollection of what he actually said), because all I heard was some Charlie-Brown-style Wah-Wah-Wa-Wah-Wa-Wah-You’ll-Understand-When-You’re-Older response. In reality, he explained the truth of the matter, that the smarter you get, the more you realize how little you know in the grand scheme of things.

Well that’s dumb, I thought, slapping the shit out of my wrist with a slap bracelet. Frustrated, I went back to swooning over my Fred Savage poster and that was that.

Fast forward twenty years, I break my back in a bike accident, and I find myself realizing that everything I thought I knew was just a mere fraction of what I would eventually know, and what I actually did know wasn’t nearly everything I thought it was.

Aah, Sandy Duncan… you wise, wise sage…

It changed me. By receiving that metaphorical knock-over-the-head (or literal blow to the back, whatevs), I learned the POWER and BEAUTY of life when you realize that maybe, just maybe, you DON’T have all the answers, and choose to EMBRACE that fact. You consciously CHOOSE to look at the world with a beginner’s mind and find inspiration in the gorgeous simplicity of every day life, rather than walking around like an arrogant know-it-all. You open your eyes wide, like those gorgeous brown peepers up there, and see things for what they ARE, not what you THINK YOU KNOW they are.

And even if you think I’m wrong and you know more than me (and you might), WHAT IF you just tried looking at things like it’s the very first time you’re seeing them? What would be the harm in that? WHAT IF that hundredth Downward Facing Dog you practice today or that thousandth drive to work were the very FIRST one you’d ever done? Wouldn’t you pay a little closer attention? Wouldn’t you be a little unsure, but excited about what you COULD discover today? I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to live in a world where I DO know it all… Then there’d be nothing else to learn, and I’d be stuck at home all day watching Hogan’s Family reruns, and I know enough to know that there’s more to life than that 🙂

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