Happy-U Bloggity Blog

Holistic Approach to Positive Psychology & Yoga

5 Signs you Need a Digital Detox

After spending a week on vacation with minimal technology at hand, I gained some perspective on how gadgets make our lives easier—and crazier. If you can relate to any of the following “symptoms” of mega-tech-use, you might want to take a vacay of your own… from technology, that is…

1. You feel naked without your iPhone – Remember that time before cell phones? How did we LIVE!?? If you feel you’d be more likely to leave the house without clothes on than without your celly, I know your pain. And if you don’t even know what it feels like to sit and do nothing while you’re waiting for an appointment because you’re constantly fiddling with your phone, playing games, and surfing the web, consider taking a digital detox for even one afternoon.

2. Your go-to mode is multi-task mode – Technology has helped us multitask tremendously. Nowadays, I can drink my coffee, check the news, listen to music while texting my husband, e-mail a client, and pet the dog at the same time. The studies show we’re actually LESS efficient when we split our focus in this way—and are we really present with ANY of these experiences when they’re all happening at once? Check out my post on Multitasking Shmultitasking for more on this one…

3. You’re intolerant of things moving slowly – You can book an international flight in 20 seconds, so why is that person taking forever to cross the street?? I read an article in Better Homes & Gardens that mentioned that the speed of technology makes us more demanding off-screen. True that. Technology certainly doesn’t make me MORE patient. You?

4. You check your inbox more often than you drink water – Take a moment and count how many times your actually check your email in a day. Could you even do that, or is your email constantly open, dinging and ringing at you every time an email comes through? Consider limiting your e-mail checking to 2 or 3 times a day and see what happens. And if the thought of that makes your butt quiver, then that’s an even stronger sign that you might need some technological boundaries.

5. You bring your phone/laptop/ipad into your bed—Peeps. Dudes. Friends. Why do we do this? We know better! But it turns out most of us like to make SURE there’s nothing earth-shattering happening on Facebook right before we turn out the lights. Shouldn’t we be holding our lovers, writing in our gratitude journals, or saying our prayers? Of course we should, and yet we still cuddle that iphone like it was our childhood teddybear. Consider moving your phone and charger to the other side of your bedroom if it gives you anxiety to let it sleep in another room all together.


This week in yoga: ASTEYA :)

Hey y’all! In honor of school starting this week, we’re going to get back on the learning train and dive into our study of the Yamas!

The third of the Yamas (or moral restraints from the Yoga Sutras) is ASTEYA, or “not stealing”. Heeeeeeere we go….

As with all the Yamas, this one goes far beyong the material or physical and is actually far more energetic in nature.

Do not desire that which you have not earned or is not given freely.

On the yoga mat this week, we’re exploring Asteya in our practice… Cultivating the patience to build the foundation before attempting more advanced expressions or postures. Not forcing our bodies in any way, but instead “earning” our experience by offering an intention to be fully present. We practice Asteya even by showing up to class on time, so as not to steal time from the teacher or other students… Asteya goes deep.

In life, here are some other ways we either intentionally (or more often, mindlessly) steal:

We steal from others:

-their time

-their attention

-by one-upping them in action or in story-telling

-their power

-by not celebrating their successes

-by making it all about us

We steal from the earth:

-by having a sense of ownership of everything, as if we “owned” this yard, this tree, this town

-by eating animals and using animal products (this is where the yogic tenet of vegetarianism comes in to play)

-by ignoring or forgetting the consequences of our actions; how often do we really think about how we’re leaving the planet for future generations?

We steal from ourselves:

-when we self-sabotage

-by always looking forward or back, we’re stealing from the present moment

-and our own future by compromising our values in favor of impulsiveness

Asteya requires us to look at our motivations and intentions and bring a sense of RECIPROCITY to everything we do. Are we giving and receiving in equal parts? Are we working hard enough to earn the pay we receive? Are we conscientious about offering positive energy OUT to the world, if we EXPECT to receive it back?

It’s all really about balance, isn’t it? It’s why people who win the lottery eventually feel depressed after a year, because they received way more money than they truly earned, and money really is an exchange of energy. If you work too hard and don’t get appropriately compensated, you’re going to feel out of whack and resentful. The same too if you get credit for work that you either didn’t do yourself or that you didn’t really try that hard on. It feels unbalanced. Asteya wants us to constantly ask ourselves how we balance the energy in our lives.

The quote this week is from Albert Einstein:

“A hundred times a day I remind myself
that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other people,
living and dead,
and that I must exert myself in order to give
in the full measure I have received and am still receiving.”

I hope you enjoy practicing Asteya this week. I have found that the gem of this Yama actually comes from trying to actively practice Asteya, rather than just focusing on what I’m NOT doing. For that reason, I like to look at it as meaning “RECIPROCITY”… it just feels better to me. I encourage you to find the meaning for yourself as well. Perhaps on the mat, perhaps in your journal, perhaps right now 🙂

May you walk in peace and balance and may I see you on the journey!

Have a great one 🙂

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The Art of Allowance

“If you have a subject that makes you uncomfortable when you think about it, it means there is strong desire related to it. Which means it really, really, really matters. So finding a way to think about it and feel good is your work.” ~Abraham

This is some goooooooood stuff right here… let’s take a look, shall we?

Say you have some weird feelings about money. You don’t have enough and you want more. Your “inner work” is to find something to feel good about in order to attract more money. If you dwell in that “poor” mentality of “but I don’t have enough money”, you’ll attract more of the same. The feeling of lack you’re sending out attracts more lack. Like attracts like… it’s the Law of Attraction.

So, Karson, how am I supposed to suddenly feel good about the fact that I don’t have enough money? Haven’t you been preaching about truth this past week? If the truth is I’m poor, then I’d be lying to say I’m rich.

My answer to you is, what is rich? You don’t have to start saying you have a lot of money if that’s not true, but chances are you are rich in other areas of life. And if you can get yourself lined up with all the abundance in your life (be it in love, friends, shoes, whatever), you will attract more abundance in ALL forms, including money. 

Your work is to focus on the letting go of resistance so all your desires can flow to you. And if a subject makes you feel uncomfortable or any negative emotion, it is simply a sign from your system that there’s a blockage somewhere. Here’s the good news… you don’t even need to figure out WHAT the blockage IS! You just simply shift your perspective to some element that feels good about it, which softens your resistance and therefore ALLOWS the good stuff to come in!

It’s really not WORK after all… it’s a PROCESS of ALLOWING. You don’t need to force your desires into existence, you just want to ALLOW them to flow to you naturally, which they will if you become a magnet for abundance! And how do you become a master manifester? Simply by appreciating and being grateful at every possible turn. That’s it. Easy peasy and completely in your control.

Your emotions are powerful indicators of your areas of resistance. 

When Sophie (the Furry Happiness Guru) growls or barks, rather than get mad or frustrated with her, I’ve started saying, “Thank you for letting me know something is wrong!” And I act accordingly.

And that’s how I look at my emotions. When I feel angry or shameful, I try to say to myself, “Thank you for letting me know that something is vibrationally out of line here. What can I do to clean it up?” And then I act accordingly. By looking at your emotions as energetic indicators of how in alignment you are, you take control of life and can more easily slip into the vibration of abundance you so seek.

So here’s to the art of allowance!! Enjoy the journey 🙂

*Check out more from Abraham-Hicks in our Happy-U LibraryAsk & It Is Given is one of our absolute faves :)*

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Simply Simplify

There’s something about going on a trip that makes me truly appreciate simplicity. Only a handful of clothes to choose from, living out of one small (or in my case, large) suitcase, taking one meal at a time in complete presence… it’s profound to remember how little “stuff” I need to be happy. 

Having voluntarily extricated myself from 90% of my technology the past week in Napa, I felt was it was like to see the world through my own eyeballs, instead of through an Instagram screen shot. While I did take plenty of pictures and managed to still post a few to Facebook, the difference was that the photo always came second. What came first was the simple act of sharing the view with another person – IN person. What a gift to slow down and experience beauty with the person you love.

The slowing down that took place on this trip re-instilled the power of simple shared experiences that we so often breeze right over.

*Seeing a beautiful sunset and just breathing it in together. 

*Tasting a delicious wine for no other reason than to TASTE it. 

*Meeting fellow travelers along the way, and having absolutely no agenda other than to laugh and co-experience something. 

It was a beautiful reminder that simplicity is a virtue, and it’s worth maintaining, no matter how advanced the world around us becomes.

I brought this desire home with me- to simplify my life, despite the fact that this season is about to get busier than ever. So last night, Mitch and I set some new goals, made some new promises to ourselves (like to be in bed by 10 every night, with the technology OFF), and made a big fat list (that we are posting prominently on our wall) of things we want to accomplish before the end of the year. And somehow, making that list felt like simplifying because we weeded out all the junk that keeps getting in our way and highlighted our true priorities.

So this morning I woke up at 6 and walked the Furry Happiness Guru as the sun rose. And as we walked, I took those pictures up top, because they remind me of the beautiful simplicity that is all around me always. I just need to remember to slow down, enjoy the moments, and breathe deeply. Because my life IS a dream, and sometimes it just takes a little perspective to remember that 🙂

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Gone fishin’… for inspiration

Well, I’m off for a week to celebrate my first anniversary with my wonderful husband… Heading to Napa and leaving the laptop at HOME 🙂 I’ll miss writing the blog this week, but feel assured that a week of rest & rejuvenation will find me bursting with inspiration when I get back. I think it’s important to disengage from the technology every so often. So this is my time… Hopefully, I won’t feel like a limb’s been amputated (although if I do, I’m sure the wine will make me feel better:))

When I was little and my mom would go out of town, she always left my sister and I little goodies and presents to keep us entertained while she was gone. In that spirit, please check out the FREE SHIZ page on the HAPPY-U site.There, you’ll find the Happy-U meditation for presence and a few videos we recorded in honor of feeling good in your body 🙂 Please also dig back into the archives of this blog to review some of your favorite posts or maybe some you’ve missed!

I’ll still be posting #dailyhappinessreminders on Facebook and Twitter, showing off some of the gorgeous photos I’m sure to take (I’ll still have my phone… what am I, crazy?!)

Special thanks to my mama & tia, for staying with the Furry Happiness Guru this week. May you frolic on the beach and cuddle under the stars every day til we return.

Have a beautiful week, my dear hearts… We’re off! Happy-U OUT!

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What’s in your cage?

The truth feels good. So what’s with the little pang of panic that precedes it? When it’s a deep truth, or maybe a truth that you didn’t want to admit, maybe the pang of panic is huge. So you push it down. You deny it. You run from it and tell another story. Is that so bad? I don’t know. But it can be exhausting. So I tell you this, from a place of experience and love… If you acknowledge it and draw up the courage to face “the beast” head on, you will likely find that its teeth weren’t quite as sharp as you thought.

And at least now you know. No more wondering and worrying “what if”, because you’ve looked it right in the face and know exactly what you’re dealing with. That is courage. That is truth.

Over the course of my life, especially in my mid-twenties, I wasted so much time being afraid of the truth. And even worse, I was afraid of what I THOUGHT was the truth, and it wasn’t EVEN the truth! I was too afraid to really dive in to my fears and anxieties to even know what I was dealing with. It always seems so much worse in your head, doesn’t it?

But if you let yourself go down the pathways of your deepest fears to encounter what is really true, you can hold it and cradle it, and move on. Sometimes all it needs is a little acknowledgement and vrrooom! it’s out the door. Sometimes, it wants a bit more attention, like some planning or some acceptance, but in the end, it too will scamper away into the beyond. You’re not caging it up any more. And it’s free.

What can you let go of this week? What is it you have caged up inside that is dying to be acknowledged and then set free? It won’t be nearly as big a deal as you THINK it will be, but the rewards will be greater than you can ever imagine. 

Be brave. See the truth. You are an amazing, beautiful soul who came forth in this existence to figure things out for yourself. So play this awe-some game of life and stop running from it. Acknowledge all of you, warts and all, and know that you’re doing the best you can. Love yourself and the experiences that have made you who you are. You are a magnificent & complex soul who grows and expands with every moment of self-reflection. So may you become lighter today. May you be willing to do the work to let go and be free. May you make room for something beautiful. You’ll thank yourself in the morning 🙂

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Afraid of the Truth

I subscribe to the Daily Om, a daily newsletter that always makes me think while providing great inspiration. Here’s an article on truth that I’m posting for you in honor of this week’s theme of SATYA. And also a hyperlink, in honor of always wanting to pass on awesome resources to my Happy-U peeps! So if you’re not overwhelmed already with all the inspiring blogs and sites out there, maybe you’d like to subscribe yourself. Either way, start with the article here as we explore the tougher side of truth. Big hugs, Karson

From: The DAILY OM

Afraid of the Truth

Feeling Threatened

by Madisyn Taylor

Facing the truth upfront rather than turning from it will keep your life moving in a forward and positive direction.

Most of us have had the experience of being in possession of a piece of truth that we were afraid to share because we knew it would not be well received. There are also instances in which we ourselves have been unable to handle some truth confronting us. This might be a small truth, such as not wanting to see that our car needs repairs because we don’t want to pay for them, or a large truth, such as not fully accepting that someone close to us is pushing us away. Usually the truth is evident, and we can see it if we choose, but we have elaborate ways of hiding the truth form ourselves, no matter how apparent it is.

For the most part, we avoid the truth because it scares us, or makes us angry, or makes us feel like we don’t know what to do. We often create our lives based on a particular understanding, and if that understanding turns out to be fully or even partially incorrect, we may feel that our whole sense of reality is being threatened. It takes a strong person to face the truth in circumstances like these, and many of us run for cover instead. Nevertheless, we can only avoid the truth for so long before it begins to make itself known in ever more forceful ways.

Ultimately, there is no way to avoid the truth, no matter how painful it is, so the sooner we let down our defenses, the better. When we know the truth and accept that we may have to adjust our lives to accommodate, we are in alignment with reality. At the same time, we can be patient with people around us who have a hard time seeing the truth, because we know how painful it can be. Whatever the truth is, we make a sincere effort not to close our eyes to it, but instead to be grateful that we have access to it.

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I Choose Love

“There are few things more sacred than the moment you come to peace with your pieces.” ~Marney Makridakis

Sometimes, I go “meditation dipping” into my iTunes collection of meditations. Just like when we pick Grace Cards at the beginning of yoga class, I trust that I always pick the perfect one for me in the moment. And so this morning, I did. The mantra for this particular meditation was “I CHOOSE LOVE.”

And so, I have carried this mantra around with me all day, and have watched it bring me great comfort. Each time I approached a fork in the road, I reminded myself, “I choose love”, and just like that, I knew which path to take. When I was unsure of how to handle a tricky situation, I remembered that “I choose love” and somehow all other choices not based in love merged into the shadows and the answer became clear. In fact, nothing seemed quite so burdensome when I simply chose love.

There’s something about “choosing” that feels so good, you know?

I get to CHOOSE.

I could choose fear or revenge or shame or blame or guilt, but instead, I choose love. It’s not a default. I choose it every time. And that feels sooooo good to me. That feels like TRUTH. And when I’m living my truth, it’s like I am riding with the current instead of paddling upstream. The muscles in my body soften and I surrender to love. It’s really not that complicated. I just try choosing love. And the rest takes care of itself.

What is YOUR truth? As I’ve said in yoga this week, it really isn’t something for you to figure out mentally, it’s something you offer out to the universe. Your job is simply to create enough inner space to receive the answer. So loosen your grip, open your heart, and be open to whatever arises for you.

Ghandi said,

How beautiful it would be, if all of us, young and old, men and women,
devoted ourselves wholly to Truth in all that we might do in our waking hours,
whether working, eating, drinking or playing,
till dissolution of the body makes us one with Truth?
God as Truth has been for me a treasure beyond price;
may He be so to every one of us.”

 And should you lose your way… just choose LOVE.

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Some thoughts on TRUTH

Do I make it easy to live my truth? Do I set myself up to succeed, or do I unconsciously self-sabotage my success? What do I want for breakfast today?

These are the questions I woke up with this morning.

As we explore REALNESS this week, I’m seeing it everywhere. It’s like the Tetris Effect (when you play hours of Tetris and then all you see in life are shapes and how they fit together). And I’ll tell you, it’s a challenge! There are the moments I experience true realness outright, and the moments when I throw a mask on myself in an effort to be “nice”. And the self-inquiries: When I feel myself in a crappy mood, and have to teach a class, am I lacking in Satya because I put a smile on my face and act like I feel great? And if I’m trying to be authentic and REAL in any given moment, who determines what real is? Is my first instinct or impulse necessarily the authentic response? Who’s to say?

I’m still working this out, because more than anything, I realize that life is a process and so is how we live it. If there were a manual on how to act in every situation in life, you can bet I’d be selling it in the Happy-U Library and be making a fortune on it. But we have to figure it out as we go, and shift our strategies as we change perspectives. Wouldn’t you say your “TRUTH” today is pretty different that what you would have considered the REAL YOU ten years ago? I know I would.

So we’re fluid with it. We let realness be a FEELING rather than a mandate. We feel it out, and if it feels good on a deep level, we know that’s authentic. And we explore and experiment and learn from ourselves so we’re always making better and better choices rather than making the same default ones over and over again. We self-reflect. We hold ourselves to high standards. We give OURSELVES as much attention as we give our jobs, our spouses, our families, our work. We make it a priority to PLAY this game of life rather than to feel like it’s playing us. And in that process, we find our Satya.

I’m going to go eat a bagel now. And that’s the truth.

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This week in yoga: SATYA :)

This week in yoga, we are focusing on SATYA, or Truth. The second of the Yamas (or ethical guidelines), Satya helps us to cut away all that is not authentic… to be who we really are.

It’s not necessarily about “telling the truth” all the time, it’s more about being REAL in any and all situations. So another way to look at Satya would be to call it REALNESS. I like that interpretation, actually, because it invokes a stronger connection to who I really am in any given moment, instead of feeling like an invisible judge is following me around saying “ah ah AH, tell the truth!

Last week, we focused on AHIMSA, and in fact, these two go hand in hand. It’s the truthfulness that prevents our non-violence from being a cop-out, and the non-violence that keeps us from going around dropping truth bombs on everyone’s head and then wondering why we don’t have any friends left. Realness with compassion… That’s the bread and butter.

Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist, wrote, “A lie would make no sense unless the truth were felt to be dangerous.” Yes, there is something almost dangerous about being real all the time. It’s vulnerable, to be out there in the world as your true self. It’s always easier to blame your circumstances when you find yourself backpedalling or cleaning up the mess from something you didn’t mean to say. Wouldn’t be amazing if we did it right the first time? If we never had to clean up after ourselves because we were that mindful with our words and authentic in our actions? It is possible, of course, we just have to be connected to who we really are in the first place.

Yoga, meditation, reflection, journaling… these are the times when I get to know myself, for sure. When I take the time to slow down & connect, I find myself easing into the flow of “realness” much more easily. It’s always the times when I rush around, allow my circumstances to scatter me, and don’t get enough sleep that I fall out of balance with who I really am. My Satya. My real me.

So this week, consider how you show up in your life. How real you let yourself be in all the roles you play. And how can you marry realness with compassion, so the real you can be the shining sun that you are, illuminating your own personal solar system, every single day?

This week’s quote is from Gandhi:

“I know that in embarking on nonviolence I shall be running what might be termed a mad risk. 

But the victories of truth have never been won without risks.”

I hope to see you in class this week. Have a beautiful day!

Namaste, Karson