Tiny steps, small changes, big results...

There are times when we feel we have lost our direction in life, we feel trapped in a continuous loop, stuck in a rut. We ask ourselves why we are living a life that we didn’t choose and feel dissatisfied with. We blame the people and circumstances around us for the way things have turned out, and feel that it is too late now to change decisions that we have already made.
Picture 6


The truth is, you did choose your life and you continue to choose it every single day. If there is something in your life that you are unhappy with – professionally or personally – then you are the only person responsible for changing it and the only person with the power to do so. You are the only one who has to live with the consequences of your own choices, so it makes sense to make good ones.

A life coach will not give you the answers, instruct you or tell you what to do, instead they will offer non-judgemental support and encouragement, empowering you to take responsibility for your own life.

A Life Coach will help you analyse and reflect upon your life, define reasonable, attainable goals and then accompany you on your journey towards self-realization. Working with a life coach is about self-directed learning and personal growth, it about drawing out the real you, taking control of your life and your decisions, enhancing your performance, achieving success and living to your full potential.

A good Life Coach will use their training and experience to encourage you to explore your needs, desires, beliefs and motivations. They will use systematic activities and exercises as tools to help you identify objectives, set appropriate goals and find solutions.

Whether you team with a Life coach during a moment of uncertainty and change or to approach one specific aspect of your life, such as your relationships, your career, or your self-esteem, the work you do together will change your overall approach to life. As your outlook, aspirations and lifestyle start to move closer towards the ‘real you’, you will realise that your future is entirely in your own hands and you will have the confidence, power and determination to make it everything you always dreamed it would be.

For more information or to begin with an online Life Coach, Contact Moltohappy

If it feels right, it probably is.

You are driving along, relaxed, it’s a lovely day, you are singing to your favourite song on the radio and then BHAM! Suddenly from the corner of your eye you see something move into your lane. You brake and swerve, your skin prickles, your heart beats like crazy, your hands sweat and grasp the wheel tight, you move out of its way….. and then…. you realize it’s an empty plastic bag moving in the wind. Nothing would have come to any harm if you had hit it.
Only you didn’t, did you?
You saw it, reacted and responded to it, avoided it, before you had even realized what you were reacting to.
The unconscious is a powerful tool.
Your reflexes, your instincts, your gut feel, your sixth sense - these are your natural, intrinsic, unconscious reactions that are there for your survival. Your sophisticated, calculating, reasoning and conscious abilities kick-in much later. Your body says first we have to survive, then we can think about it.

scis paper stone
The problem is, when it comes to some less physical and more mental responses, all too often we don’t listen to those gut feelings, we shhh them up, quiet them down, put them in their place and override them with something well thought out, reasoned, complicated and all-too-often completely wrong!

How often have you regretted something later because you wished you had gone with your gut feeling?
There are some negative connotations around being spontaneous – it’s erratic and whimsical we are told, so we have to be sensible and mature and think things through before reacting. However, all that thinking allows for a myriad of other input that aren’t yours. It’s only that inner voice that is truly and exclusively yours.

It isn’t entirely erratic either- consider that often what appears to be a gut feeling, a sensation of ‘just knowing’ is a well preserved and catalogued learning experience that you are recalling without realizing. Whenever you are presented with something new to learn or remember, be it a recipe, a language, directions to the cinema or a new skill, the brain seeks patterns in this new information and saves it in chunks (known in Psychology as chunking); this means that the next time you are confronted with a detail, the brain can quickly retrieve the entire chunk, making it easier for you to recognize and respond. You are faced with a single detail and somehow you ‘know’ the rest.

However, don’t confuse your unconscious with negative emotions like hate, anger, fear. These are usually highly emotionally charged strong negative feelings that stem from old psychological barriers. When your colleagues ask you take part in the charity cake bake, that panic “no! please! I can’t!!” is fear, not instinct. Face these fears, give it a go, they are great opportunities to challenge yourself and grow.

Put some trust in yourself, forget what you think you should or must or are expected to feel, just feel. What do YOU want? How do YOU want it? You will only have yourself to contend with in making it happen and only yourself to justify it with later, so be true to yourself.

If you feel an instant liking or disliking to someone you just met, don’t ignore it. If you have a nagging feeling about something, act on it. If you have a dilemma, sleep on it and let your unconscious work through the night, listen to your dreams and be aware of how you feel about it when you wake. If you have any inexplicable insight or positive pull in a certain direction, a sensation that you just know or feel it, then give those intuitions the attention they deserve.

If it feels right, it probably is.


Inspired by Fiona Wright, 2012, “Think you know the answer?”

Happiness Economics*

globe2sml
I live in Italy and all considered, I like it, I love it in fact. I love the long hot summers, the balmy nights and town parties, the beautiful vine-laden rolling hills that surround my every movement, my neighbours who wave their arms and shout in dialect over hot strong coffee in the square at breakfast, the market full of ugly-shaped, scrumptious vegetables, the luscious red wine, the array of beautiful, impeccably dressed olive-skinned, chocolate-eyed inhabitants.

However, not every day is a summer Saturday.

Full immersion in a country means also understanding its language, its culture, its politics, its frustrations, its limitations. I battle with its bureaucracy, get tangled in its red-tape, spend years chasing and waiting, I live on precarious high-risk, low-wage work contracts, I clamber its olive-oily career and property ladders and bump constantly into its glass ceilings.

So just how much can the country you live in affect your happiness?

In his happy-economy research ‘The happy variety of capitalism’***, Deutsche Bank economist Stefan Bergheim analysed 22 rich countries and came up with four varieties of capitalism**: the happy variety, the less happy, the unhappy and the Far Eastern. Needless to say Italy rolled in unhappily, whilst on the other hand, the countries benefiting from happy capitalism were the Scandinavians and the Anglo-Saxons (home sweeter home?).

From his research, Bergheim suggested 10 indicators whose coexistence were the ingredients for a happy society:

1. High degree of trust in fellow citizens
2. Low amount of corruption (Italy came second to last…)
3. Low unemployment
4. High level of education (ignorance isn’t bliss afterall…)
5. High income (although there is much research suggesting this phenomena is only reliable up to a certain income threshold, beyond which high income is often correlated with high life dissatisfaction - see the previous blog ‘Spring has Sprung’)
6. High employment rate of older people (remaining active up to retirement age)
7. Small shadow economy (suggests the functioning of social and politic institutions and social cohesion)
8. Extensive economic freedom (an opportunity to express individuality and personality)
9. Low employment protection (together with points 2 and 3 make for the most effective recipe for success)
10. High birth rate (do babies make people happy or do happy people make babies?)

Five years on from Bergheim’s research, at a time of global economic crisis, the relationship between money and wellbeing is in the spotlight more than ever. GDP (gross domestic product) shares its air-time with GDH (gross domestic happiness) and listening in - keen to find the secret to the success of our nations and citizens - are economists, psychologist and philosophers alike.

So what am I to do?
Well, I could dust off my passport, express my freedom of movement and head out to find a Happy Variety of Capitalism (‘Ten Pound Pom’ here I come…) but boy would I miss things…
Or I can stand my ground, love and accept the country I have chosen ‘warts and all’, inject some Anglo-Saxonism into it (whether they want it or not!) and enjoy my Mediterranean moltohappiness! :)


*Inspired by Elisa Paschetta, ‘Felicità e Economia’ (2008)
**The happy variety: Australia, Switzerland, Canada, the UK, the US, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland and New Zealand.
The less happy variety: Germany, Spain, France, Belgium and Austria.
The unhappy variety: Portugal, Italy and Greece.
The Far Eastern variety: Japan and Korea.

***‘The happy variety of capitalism’, S. Bergheim, (2007)

Read my thoughts...

DO NOT think about little pink piggies!*
So, what did you think about? Let me guess...
pink elephant sml

It has been suggested that our minds are unable to differentiate between the positives and negatives of thought, instead, the focus is purely on the object of the thought.

To the mind ‘I don’t want to be ill’ and ‘I want to be ill’ are the same- the point is ‘ill’. The thought is 'ill'. The mind’s energies are directed towards the core of thought: ‘ill’. However, given that our thoughts are the motivators behind our salient perception, attention and the behaviour that guides our every living moment, we should be a little more vigilant about what we let ourselves think.

Life-coaches, counselors, therapists, self-help books and monthlies harp on about positive thinking, but positive thinking doesn’t mean bouncing out of bed in the morning, singing to the birds and drinking your ‘half-full’ cup of coffee with a smile from ear-to-ear (although if you do, better still, and please share the secret!). It’s about rephrasing, it’s about stating your outcomes in the positive*, it’s about shifting perspectives and forming your thoughts and words into what you want, as opposed to what you don’t want: I want to be healthy! It isn’t anything extra, it’s about doing what you already do, but doing it differently.

Let the thoughts that accompany everything you do be a reminder to yourself of what it is you desire, why you are doing what you are doing, where you are heading and what it all means to you.
Keep it positive, give it life, fill it with energy and.... be careful what you think about!

*Molden D. & Hutchinson P., 2010, Brilliant NLP, Pearson Education Ltd.


Spring has sprung..

pink tulip
Yet another Spring has sprung and here we are, just as last Spring, in search of our own individual happiness. Some may be closer than others, some may be further away than ever, but as Anne Frank so wisely put it, “We all live with the objective of being happy, our lives are all different and yet the same”. So let’s kick-start the new season with some tips from the experts to make our experiences more positive.

Dreaming

Whilst it is common to claim that people who dream are idealists and unreal, in his book “Happier: Can you learn to be happy?” Ben-Shahar(1) advocates quite the opposite. In fact he suggests that if dreaming is ‘looking out to your horizon and devoting time to thinking about your calling and purpose in life’ then you are in fact being true to your real nature. So use your dreams as a tool to understanding who you really are, what is important to you, what you would like to do in life and how you could attain it.

Goal Setting

Following decades of research in Goal Setting, Locke and Latham(2) suggest that people who set themselves specific and challenging goals are more likely to succeed than people who don’t. However, there are certain criteria one should consider in goal setting. If your goals are over ambitious then you are likely to face constant disappointment as you fail to achieve. If they are all long-term you could be waiting a long time for some feel-good completion. If your goals are vague, you may wander aimlessly towards something, never quite sure what. If your goals are too easy, then they won’t demand your commitment and efforts and upon realization will fail to give you a sense of accomplishment. So create your goals with some Locke and Latham(2) criteria:

- Clarity: Be clear about what you want to achieve
- Challenge: Be sure that your goal is attainable but not easy – this will push you to make it happen and provide a real sense of accomplishment
- Commitment: Make the goal your own –don’t take on someone else’s goal if it is not important to you.
- Timing: Give yourself a precise and appropriate deadline

Creating Positive Rituals

As humans, we are creatures of habit - even those who claim not to be – and in order to introduce new things to our life, we must make a habit of them. Loehr & Schwartz(3) suggest that self-discipline is a ritual and that our deeply held values are expressed in our precise behaviour.
In the “The power of full engagement”, Loehr & Schwartz(3) suggest that the key to success is managing energy not time and that balance lies in using and replenishing each energy form - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – through the creation of positive energy rituals in our lives.
So if there is something new you would love to do – from exercising to reading, playing with the children, volunteering, smiling more or eating fruit - make it part of your life. Set a specific time and place to do it and stick to it. Within a very short time you will be doing it without even thinking about it.

Money isn’t the be all and end all

Ben-Shahar(1) talks extensively in his book about sacrificing happiness to obtain money and tells of countless experiences he has had with people whose goal was monetary and material based, but on attainment of it, felt unfulfilled and unhappy. You are not a business and your success is not measured financially.
He makes a beautiful metaphor about positive experiences being life’s ‘income’ and negative experiences being the ‘expenses’ (imagine long term depression being bankruptcy). Whilst is it is healthy for both to exist, overall the income must outweigh the outgoings in order to attain a profit; happiness is the profit and the ‘ultimate currency’.

Good Luck!
dw


References and further reading:
1. Ben-Shahar, T., 2008, ‘Happier: Can you learn to be happy?’, McGraw Hill Publishing Company, England
2. Locke, Edwin A.; Shaw, Karyll N.; Saari, Lise M.; Latham, Gary P. (1981), "Goal Setting and Task Performance: 1969–1980", Psychological Bulletin (American Psychological Association).
3. Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz, 2003, “The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal”, The Free Press New York

Hello, I love myself, and you?

Happy Fish
In an interview recently I was slapped with a classic handbook question: "so, what are your weaknesses?"
I lied. I stumbled for a moment in my head and then I lied. I made something up - something ‘bad’, because the truth is, after a week of reminding myself why I should have the job, why I deserved the job, why I was absolutely the best choice, I couldn’t think of any reason whatsoever why I shouldn’t.

In all honestly, I think my impatience makes me quick, my stubbornness makes me determined and my intolerance means I don’t suffer fools gladly which in the workplace means I am goal-oriented, fast-paced and on the ball. Needless to say, that wasn’t the answer they were expecting and had I beamed "sorry, I can only think of good things!" then I would have been labelled cocksure, full of myself, up my own rear-end, big-headed, pig-headed and with a superiority complex. The shortlist would have immediately got shorter.
So I told them what they wanted to hear, I beat myself up and put myself down. I highlighted my being human and still having a long way to go along my path of self-development.
Don’t get me wrong, of course I know I have weaknesses and spend a great deal of time coming to terms with them in the hope of becoming (what I consider to be) a better person, but the point is, why is loving oneself so negative?

In a society where we are constantly encouraged to accept and appreciate ourselves for who we are, to believe in ourselves and our abilities to do anything (and everything) we choose; is this self-deprecation not contradictory?
We’ve read the book, We’ve done the course, we’ve attended the workshop – we’ve looked in the mirror and told ourselves how beautiful we are, we’ve listed our gifts and talents, we’ve repeated until blue in the face how lucky we are to be so wonderful, yet out in the real world, we all feel we have to behave in quite the opposite manner.

Most people don’t want to hear your high spirits and ecstatic accounts of how great your life is. They want to hear "not too bad", "I’ve been worse", "can’t complain". They don’t want to hear how much you love yourself and are proud of the life you have carved. Does sharing negativity make our mundanities more glamorous? Do another person’s worries confirm our own? Is it cultural?

I remember moving to the South of England and being delighted by how positive people were, praising my accomplishments and encouraging me to try new things. Even now I love to spend time with an American friend who sings her own praises freely and openly and flatters me by admiring mine. Yet the Italians I live amongst are taught that modesty is gracious and silence a virtue; self-positivism is uncouth, to brag and boast is a sign of ignorance and blowing one’s horn is reserved for a certain few. Very British.

On the other hand, we all know how positivity is contagious, how blissful a compliment feels, how delightful it is to relish in the pride of accomplishment, self-satisfaction and fortune. So let us try it, without arrogance or smugness, let’s stand up for ourselves, love to love everything we are, everything we have struggled and suffered to become, everything we still dream of becoming. Deep breath, after three.

1..2..3.. I’m smart, pretty and nice to be around. I live a beautiful country where the sun shines and my life is fabulous. I have a cute house, cute car, cute boyfriend. I have a great sex-life, stable family and a wide circle of friends. I’m moltohappy. wow, that felt good. Your turn.

Arrivals...

I’m standing at the arrivals gate, waiting. Waiting for a friend. A friend I have known for as long as I can remember but haven’t seen for months and can’t wait to see. This isn’t the first friend I’ve waited for or the first time I have been standing on the dull grey tiles of the arrivals lounge staring at the frosted glass of the electric doors trying to make out whether the blurred shadow of a figure on the other side could be the person I am waiting for.
traveller

In the meantime I observe all the other people who, like me, are itching to receive their gift freshly delivered from somewhere in the world. I wonder if they all have the same thoughts I have when I pick up someone from the airport: Will I recognize them? Will they have changed? What will they be wearing and what haircut will they have this time? Will they recognize me? So much time has passed, will I feel differently when I see them this time? What if they come out whilst I am looking elsewhere and I miss them?

The doors open and people to start to come out, wide eyed and anxious they stand still and scan the crowd looking for a face they recognize. I try to make out the writing on their baggage, is it the same flight? How exciting! Butterflies in my tummy, the eagerness, the impatience, it won’t be long now, she could be next.

I watch my fellow-waiters as they greet their loved ones.

I see couples reunited; who knows how long they have been apart. A weekend? Weeks? Months? They embrace each other, eyes closed, and whisper into each other’s ears. They link arms smiling and kissing, oblivious to the crowd’s gaze and leave in their own heart-shaped bubble.

My heart goes out to the world-weary business people, in uniform dark suits, who pull along their trolleys and computers, looking for the jaded taxi-driver who has their name scribbled on a piece of scrap card. They greet each other with a nod of the head, knowing it will be useless trying to speak each other’s language and instead wander towards the exit, each wishing they were somewhere else.

I see grandparents crouch to the floor to meet their grandchildren’s eyes, hold their arms opens to squeeze them tight and sweep them up to kiss into their necks exclaiming how much they have grown. I see the grandchildren surprised by such a welcome from a person they haven’t yet recognized and whose language is to them unfamiliar, but are delighted by the attention and cuddles to which they giggle and wriggle. I think how lucky they are to be meeting their families and try to swallow down the lump in my throat.

And then my own heart flips! There she is! I recognize her straight away, no doubt whatsoever! Her hair is different and her clothes are new, but her face is exactly the same as it always was! And as she runs towards me, I know she has recognized me too! I hug her tightly and feel the warmth of friendship and affection. I recognize her smell and it reminds me of the places we have been together and the things we have done! I hold her face and look into her eyes, trying to catch a glimpse of what has taken place there since I last saw her. Is she well? Is there something she is hiding from me or needs to tell me? Her beaming smile mirrors mine and we start to laugh, jump, hop, clap! Such fun!

The months since we last met vanish immediately and it feels like we were never apart. We walk towards the exit but hardly look ahead, only towards each other laughing, sharing the knowledge that we are friends, that we have a past and are about to embark on a future. We won’t mention the duration of her stay or think about the scene we will face in three days time in the departure lounge, instead we walk out into the sun in our own moltohappy bubble.

dw

The Unexpected Answer

When I discussed a state of disappointing dissatisfaction with a good friend of mine recently, I was given an answer I hadn’t received for some time. Its brilliance was in its simplicity.

It was such a truthful, honest answer, so simple, clear and obvious, that it left me absolutely dumbstruck.

It made me realise how often we receive a classic default answer that we barely even hear it; it glides in one ear and casually out of the other. It’s like the sight of the freckle on your face that you’ve seen so often you don’t see anymore.

But not this one, this one bounded in like a bolt of lightening, rattled around my head like a pinball machine and left every electrified nerve buzzing with shock and curiosity. Genius!
walk to sky


It made me realise just how often we start a discussion knowing exactly where it is destined, we ask for advice knowing exactly what advice we’ll be give, we start the conversation, but have already written the script. Perhaps we know the person in front of us so well that we can accurately predict what they are going to tell us, perhaps we know because it isn’t the first time we’ve heard it, perhaps it is for that exact reason that we approach them and not someone else. Then just occasionally, when you least expect it, and most need it, you get the Unexpected Answer. It’s a fresh blast of crisp cool air on a hot stuffy day.

This dear friend of mine, didn’t come up with a million whys and where-fors, nor did he plot the potential outcomes or list the probable solutions, he didn’t even mention the causes or inevitable consequences, he just smiled, laughed knowingly, looked at me caringly and said "You will always be stuck in this same old rut, as you well know, it’s in your make up! Believe me I have known you for 20 years and you have never been different!".

So that’s it? That’s the extent of the coaching and counselling I am going to get? Funnily enough, it’s the best coaching I’ve had in years. Why waste my energies trying to change my armour, swap my artillery and learn new tactics, when I may as well just accept the chain mail I was born with, hold my weapons proudly and plough on into battle!

dw

Stop the World!!!

So, the Christmas festivities are over and it’s back to normality, with my body a little heavier to drag along and my pockets a little lighter. I’ve had the time to relax and recharge in the warm familiar nest of moltohappy home, I’ve praised myself for having survived and succeeded another year and collected my prizes from beneath the tree. I’ve also had the time to drag out the dusty scales of life and balance out the pros-and-cons of where I am – weighing up the done and the to do – an exercise that isn’t always as easy and fulfilling as one would like.

So, here I am with an array of post-Christmas good intentions and New Year’s resolutions that can
merry go round
easily overload one’s self-expectations and I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds that despite being only 2 days into ‘reality’ I am already 2 days behind schedule! As a child I remember my grandmother, overwhelmed with the chores of a dedicated working wife and mother looking up to the sky and screaming with laughter, “Stop the world! I want to get off!”.
I now understand exactly what she meant…

I, for one, realise that I need time (not to mention the effort and resources…) to face certain issues, to follow my dreams, to grow-up, move on and to tackle the difficulties thrown at me along the way, but how do you channel your energies into one particular problem when there are a million-and-one other things going on?

If I could put some problems on the back burner, I’d have time for the more important ones. If I could just turn-down some voices, I’d be able to hear the others better. If I could stop the world from spinning, I’d be able to gather and recompose myself, tidy a few things away, and begin again. Only it’s not quite that easy. Life keeps spinning faster, I get dizzier and dizzier, the problems intermingle and the voices are all shouting over each other to be heard.

So there is little to do other than try another of nanny’s aphorisms – one which she taught me as a post-party trick - “When you lie down in bed and the rooms starts spinning, put one foot on the floor and you’ll see, it stops!”. Thanks nan! I may not be able to stop or get off this merry-go-round of life, but at least I’ve found a way to slow it down and sleep through it - and with any luck the answers will come to me in my dreams!

dw

moods swing...

dani 4 BW
Whenever I hear the expression ‘mood swing’ it’s uttered softly, almost in secret, said with raised eyebrows and a crumpled frown, referred to with a certain negativity, as though it were to represent an imbalance or erraticism of mental state, an irrational act to be avoided and most certainly not mentioned openly or admittedly. So it is with some hesitance that I confess to being not only an avid reader but even a regular subscriber to ‘mood swing weekly’, and this week was a mood swing marathon. It is astounding how quickly one can fly around emotional chaos in the space of a week. I have been thrown from nervous study anxiety to the blissful relaxation of post-exam cloud nine, from the exultancy of birthday celebrations and the delight of ripping open perfectly selected gifts to the existential devastation of bereavement - rivalled only by the Autumn weather, whose random oscillations between bright, sunny warmth and thick, grey, foggy rain seem to have perfectly reflected the week's sentimental muddle. So it is with cautious relief that I see the weekend peeking just around the corner and already feel the warm comfort of a lazy Sunday morning between fluffy pillows and a good book where I can hide from everyone else and dedicate some quality time to me, myself or I… depending on who is in the better mood…

dw

It can't rain forever

rain drops
So we all want to be happy – face it, that’s why we are on the pages of moltohappy, but by aiming to ‘always’ be happy are we setting ourselves irrational unreachable goals that lead to inevitable disappointment and frustration? When we aren’t happy, we assume that we should be, and that it is our right if not our obligation to be so, which breeds those niggling, horrid little questions: ‘Why am I not bursting with joy? What did I do wrong?’. We start to notice that everyone else seems ecstatic and find it disturbing. Life becomes a New Year’s Eve, where you just HAVE TO enjoy yourself.

Are you happy today? How do you know? Is it not thanks to a bad day you had this week that you can compare it with? We need the bad times to recognize the good ones. We need to feel miserable to appreciate the days when we laugh for no reason; We need to feel sleepy, to appreciate feeling awake; Need to feel sick to appreciate feeling great!

Victor Frankl claimed that there were three ways for us to discover meaning in our life; the third being the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering (Frankl, 1946). Of course Frankl’s suffering was extreme and one could never compare the torture of a concentration camp with a bad day in the office, but the concept he offered us is the same. It is our reaction to the bad days that makes everything fall into place. It is accepting that this moment will pass and that whilst changing the situation may beyond our control – controlling our reaction to the situation remains entirely within our power.

Happiness isn’t a black or white, yes or no matter; it’s a scale. There are very, very good days at the top and there are very, very bad days at the bottom but there are millions of average days in between and we can make them decent.

Some suffering is inevitable; bad health, the end of a relationship, a lost loved-one, an unexpected accident, a betrayal, an insult, a blow… sooner or later we may all be hit hard. But it is also necessary and the secret to success is living it with calm serenity, accepting it and using the time to collect your energies, get up and move on.

So next time you are down there at rock bottom with an aching in your heart, stay there for a while and just look up, observe what you see, decide where to go next and how, enjoy the undemanding still, collect your thought and then, when you are ready, stand tall and act.

"Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary." Viktor Frankl.

dw


Sources and further reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man%27s_Search_for_Meaning
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl
http://www.amazon.com/Will-Meaning-Foundations-Applications-Logotherapy/dp/0452010349

Happy Easter

Easter1
It’s Easter! I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that it was Christmas only yesterday, but that I am welcoming the spring with open arms and a sparkling smile.

It’s time to clean out, dust off, freshen up and start again. The warm sun and dazzling days bring with them the desire to channel our bright ideas and creativity into something concrete, to let loose our vivid colours, brilliant energy and refreshing vitality and confront the challenges of the year to come with confidence and determination.

moltohappy has been infected by the feelings of spring too and is celebrating with a new look and some lively ideas. So join in the fun, drop us a line, and spread the spring!

dw

We all go gaga for a smile...

There is something about a baby’s smile, that’s different to anyone else’s. It’s a heartfelt and meaningful smile (how many babies have you seen faking smiles?). It’s a short outburst offered in return for an eccentric yelp, a silly tickle or a ridiculous face. It’s one of life’s pleasures that I have recently become addicted to.
Smile-baby
She looks at me, wide-eyed and beautiful, waiting, patiently and eagerly for me to do something entertaining, and when I do – how could you not? – that’s it, she squeals and giggles, flashing me her pink gummy smile and dazzling eyes. Then she stops, a wind-up toy, wound down. She looks at me, face still, head on one side, mouth closed; with only her vivid eyes telling me that I have to do it again if I want to see her smile a little longer.
So I do, and she does.
I’ve ditched my healthy breakfast at home, no more tea and cereals; I have to go to the bar every morning for my daily fix before I can even think about walking into work; but it’s not the espresso shot that gives me my kick in the morning, it’s twinkling over someone’s little jewel, a jewel named Izzy, proud that for five minutes, those smiles are all for me.
The most heart-warming five minutes of my day, that make me really, moltohappy.

dw

Bah.. humbug..

I am one of the many people for whom December brings a battle; trying to convert Scrooge into Santa’s little helper has never been easy, and rarely successful.

How do you explain to someone what Festive Spirit is and how to feel it? It’s just there, like feeling hungry or sleepy. How can you make them feel that same tingling in your tummy and spontaneous smiling that comes just from hearing a Christmas song on the radio, in November?

“Christmas is just a commercial excuse to make people spend their money and boost the economy”
Well, at least the economy gets a boost once a year! Let’s face it, a third of annual sales are made in the Christmas period, think how depressed the economy would be without it! and what are you saving your money for anyway?! you can’t take it with you when you time is up!

“It’s just a day like any other”
How many days a year do you wake up at the crack of dawn because the excitement in your tummy is just too much to contain, have a champagne and smoked salmon breakfast in your pyjamas, open an abundance of presents and gifts from the people that love you, dance around the kitchen to Christmas music, making a feast with your family, eat until you are fit to burst and then spend the afternoon on the sofa like a beached whale splitting your sides to BBC comedy?

“Christmas shopping means fighting with people and pushchairs in crammed streets to buy overpriced presents that you HAVE TO get for someone…”
It means wandering the cobbled alleyways illuminated and cheery with Christmas lights and music, trees and decorations; all wrapped up against the winter chill, breathing clouds of hot breath into the frosty air. Stopping to sip on mulled wine and hot chocolate, and say hi to all the people that despite living in your village, you don’t see from one month to the next.
christmas tree

“A Christmas tree? It’s a real tree that you savaged pulled from the earth!”
Okay, fair point, and calmly accepted. We’ll have a plastic one!

“Christmas is a sacred religious festival, you don’t even go to church…”
Very true. Admittedly, my Christmas is not about church and remembering the real meaning of Christmas, as it originated; but we each find in it what we want to find. For me it’s a time of traditions, family, friends, fun, travelling from our distant corners of the globe to meet together and share love and laughter.

“Christmas is a time for children, we don’t have any…”
Oh yes you do! You may not have fathered any children, but each of us has one… inside! If you aren’t capable of getting in touch with your inner child, just once a year, along with everyone else, with the excuse of Christmas time, then you have more serious problems than a Christmas list to face!

There comes a moment when even the most convincing Christmas fairy, like myself, just shrugs and gives up. The time spent in trying to convert the anti-Christmas-squad, is time I could be investing in wrapping, decorating, shopping, singing… or even packing. Yes, packing, my case. For my very first family Christmas on a Spanish island ;-)

After all, Christmas – like life – is what you make of it.

We wish you a moltohappy christmas!! :)

dw

"I once had a dream, or should I say, a dream once had me.."

Everyone has at least one dream, don’t they? Admittedly, some are more realistic than others. Some are secret. Some are shared. Some last days, some years, others a lifetime. Some will come true, some may, others won’t.

To be famous, retire to a smallholding en Provence, have a traditional white wedding, make a million, own your own property, run your own company, become a national champion, have green eyes, speak four languages, sleep with a Hollywood film star, travel the world, have a child…

Some dreams, are goals. They are clear objectives, they have a destination, they are attainable, there are clear practical steps you must take to get there, and if you are dedicated, consistent, careful and proactive; you will.

Then there are the others. They are fantasies, highly unlikely to come true, far-fetched, difficult even to contemplate, and yet you refuse to admit that they are never going to happen. Instead you spend hours daydreaming, planning what to do, preparing what to say, waiting patiently…

Some think that dreaming is a complete waste of energy. Instead of fantasising about a happy life for yourself, you could actually be doing something to attain one. Every moment spent imagining she is the one, is a moment lost in the search for her. Every warped belief that it “could one day happen” is merely unfair, misleading and deceptive to the real you, who sooner or later has to face the reality that it is never going to happen. (Of course for a ‘serious’ dreamer the suffering doesn’t end there either, because on facing this harsh truth, they are also obliged to re-evaluate each of their lifelong dreams and consequently - in light of this new reality - create a repertoire of new ones!)

Fortunately for me, there are many ‘serious’ dreamers out there; sincere, genuine, dedicated, determined, fantasists - for whom dreaming is essential to existence. I say ‘fortunately’ because I happen to be one and am delighted to know that I am not alone.

You see, dreaming gives me something to look forward to, it’s the sun behind the clouds, a safety-blanket, a warm hug, and above all it is a white canvas: whilst my real world is a cage of boundaries, rules and regulations; in my daydreams I am free, unregimented, uninhibited and liberated. The problem, as always, is where the two worlds collide…

In the collision, non-dreamers feel it their responsibility to re-educate dreamers into being more realistic and practical citizens; trying to persuade them that it’s all for their own good, and convince them that living in a dream world is bad for them; a source of constant disappointment. Is it?
Does it really hurt to live in a dream world? Is life more disappointing for a dreamer? Or are there simply more enjoyable moments - real or reverie - between one disappointment and the next?
Does knowing that a dream won’t come true make it any less pleasurable? Isn’t that the whole point… to live in hope, or the bliss of ignorance?

star reacher
Can we not just entertain the dreamers? What difference does it make? Ok, so we know it’s never going to happen, and we know that it isn’t the last we’ll hear of it, but what do we gain by popping their bubble?

So the next time your dreamer falls into their usual trance and whispers something about not going to the office tomorrow, picking up a camper van in the morning and travelling Spain, to find a crumbling castle desperate of renovation, and an idyllic vineyard to make flowing rivers of the finest vino tinto; take a deep breath. Smile. Don’t mention the fact that they don’t know their Cabernet from their Chardonnay. Don’t dare suggest that they learn the lingo and don’t utter a word about the economical and practical unfeasibility. You are wasting your time. A dreamer is a dreamer, and always will be. So just smile, play along and order Sangria… ;)
dw

I don't have time for jigsaws...

The things that make us happy are the things that we do least often, the things that we never have time for, agreed?
Are there really too many other things to do? Is it a case of having time or making time? Do we make time for the things that we feel we ‘should’ be doing and feel guilty about spending time doing what we want to do?

We are constantly told that we have to make the time to do whatever it is that makes us feel good: bake a cake, walk in the mountains, lounge in the sun, write a poem, take a massage or an afternoon nap, and all without feeling guilty or sparing a thought for all the things that are ‘waiting to be done’. Does anyone really find it that easy??


jigsaw list
Most people, at some point, feel the weight of time; a lunch hour spent doing chores with a sandwich on the run, or a birthday that along with presents and cards brings the question “what have I done this year?” and then, of course, the big one: That inner felt dread of getting older and one day having to look back and reflect on what we actually did, compared to what we had planned and expected to do.

If it isn’t your wristwatch ticking, it’s your biological clock, or the gentle hush of your grains of sand slipping away!

and how much time do we dedicate to getting ready for life? Priming ourselves to be happy? We get all the little things out of the way so that we can brace ourselves for the big event when it comes. We save for it, talk about it, plan for it, wait for it, get excited about it… about what? There is no big picture!

Life is a jigsaw, not a picture; it’s the little things that make us feel euphoric, feel peaceful, feel sad, feel angry, feel alive, feel. It’s the pieces that fit together to make the big picture!

So I’ve decided, I’m going to collect and share as many jigsaw pieces as I can; give them the time and importance they deserve, slow down, look at each one, savour it, enjoy it then decide which space it might just fit, and move on to find the next one…


dw

Happy Birthday moltohappy.com!

birthday
Welcome to moltohappy.com!

Welcome! I stumbled across this website in the midst of my search for a smile; I won’t say a search for ‘true happiness’ but I guess that’s what this is all about. Aren’t we all? What makes us happy? What makes us tick?

It wasn’t by chance that this website was born on October 19th, because so was I, only 28 years earlier, so amongst friends, laughter and celebrations we welcome a meeting place for ideas, an open conversation, a blog…we share some interesting plans to grow together too, but that’s another story..
So for now let’s just try to be moltohappy…

Dani
:)