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What Makes You Happy? January 8, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development, spirituality.
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manoloblahnikswanemblished  Happiness—sometimes an illusive state, sometimes just present. I’ve been doing some thinking about joy and happiness. In fact I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about joy and the lack of it.

What’s the difference between joy and happiness?

Happiness and joy are often synonymous  but there’s a distinction—at least for me. My definition of happiness is a general state of being that has us predisposed to be positive, hopeful and seeing possibilities for ourselves and those we care about. Joy, on the other hand, is that juicy rush we get when we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. Like I am happy that I finally know how to dance the tango (well, sort of) and I feel an amazing joy in connecting with a partner as we do the tango together.

That said, I’m not too het up about figuring out the distinction between the two. I just know that I really want happiness and joy in my life.

What do you do if you can’t find it?

So what are you to do if it just seems to be missing for you? Good question. Wish I had THE ANSWER but alas I’m sometimes awash in the world of blah or worry or teeth-grinding.  But since I don’t like being cranky and unhappy I search for ways to alleviate the condition.

This past week I was having a conversation with some of my wonderful women friends. One of them posed the question: What makes you happy? We all  took turns giving our answers to the question.

My own answers were:

    • getting to spend time with my three grandchildren
    • dancing the tango in impossibly high heels
    • making a new quilt
    • writing in my study (which I am doing right now)
    • having a spa day
    • taking a road trip with my boyfriend 

We spent about half an hour in this conversation and by the end of it we were all mellow and grinning from ear-to-ear. Happy for no reason except that we had just spent time thinking about things that make us happy. And most of those things were not high-ticket items like trips to the Aegean or a new pair of Manolo Blahniks (though I wouldn’t say no to a pair if someone wanted to give them to me).

It is possible to get happy by focusing on that which makes us happy

So what I learned is that it’s possible to get happy by focusing on that which makes us happy and leaving behind (if only for a short time) that which annoys, saddens, angers or weighs us down. Imagine that. One can get happier by thinking about what makes her happy.

Happiness is an inside job

A Course in Miracles makes a point about this. And I am paraphrasing here. It says that if the source of your happiness is dependent on something outside of yourself like a new pair of shoes, whether you get asked out on a date, or if you look good in your new jeans, that happiness is transitory and will leave you. True happiness comes from within yourself, from that which feeds your soul or makes you feel like your best self.

Make a list…

What makes you happy? Why not engage in that conversation with a friend or write it down in a journal or on a chalkboard (started to say blackboard but I don’t think they exist anymore) or on the back of your hand? The point is to think about the good stuff as much or more as you think about the annoying stuff.

I don’t know..what d’ya think?


Being Kinder Than Necessary October 24, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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ccphoto by glamlife.studentportal A few months ago I came across a wooden plaque in an antique store that said, “Be kinder than necessary.” It came home with me and sits in a place of honor in my living room where I see it daily. I think that’s a good  precept to live by. I’ve been wanting to write about kindness for some time and today seems to be the right day. Kindness is a quality that I treasure and the lack of it (better known as unkindness) dismays me. The evening news—or any news– is a great place to be dismayed. When the debates about the health care plan were going on I was awed (and not in a good way) at the behaviors that were going on in the town meetings. I mean, it seems to me to be the height of unkindness to begrudge people of lesser fortunes the right to receive health care and then to bring a gun into a meeting to make your point. Yikes…

It’s not just in the news

Current events are not the only place I notice a lack of kindness. As an executive coach I get a chance to hear about it quite often. For some reason when people get together in companies the default position seems to be that of negativity rather than giving others a break.

What do you do if it doesn’t come naturally?

So what does it take to be a kind person? Well, I find that when I not meeting my own standards around kindness I am sitting in judgment of the other person. I have a declaration that I will always grant legitimacy, listen carefully to where the other person is coming from and try my hardest to see what might have his view point make sense in his world. And in spite of that, I sometimes find myself smack dab in the middle of negative assessments. So how to get out of that mindset is a constant source of thought and effort for me.

Marianne Williamson, a well-known teacher and lecturer of The Course in Miracles, once told a story that has stuck with me. Marianne’s web site She said that when we are in our judgments about another person, listing all of their faults and hating them for it, if we could check in with God on the subject Her (or His) response would be, “I like her.” So I guess if it’s good enough for God then it’s good enough for me. And if you don’t believe in God, you probably ought to read a different blogger because even though I have room for your belief system, I can’t get close to speaking to it.

Have a standard

I guess most of us can agree that if we were all a little kinder this world would be a better place to live. However, I can’t control what everyone else is doing. What I can do is offer appreciation to those who I see being kind to others in the hope that their example will inspire. And I can can hold myself to a standard about exhibiting kindness even in the face of resistance to it.

Be kinder than necessary… Those around you will love you for it.


Pain—What’s It Good For? September 27, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in A Spritual View, Personal Observations.
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DSC_0010 I know, I know. It’s been a while since I posted. And many thanks to the thousands (well, maybe slightly less than that) who have missed my posts and asked if things were ok. In the month since I last posted I’ve been crazy busy, stressed, and in pain. So rather than write a post that reflects a less than productive mood I have elected to just let it percolate for a while. And as a result of that ‘sitting with it’ time, today’s post is on the tremendously uplifting topic of pain. Well ok, guess I have a few things to work through yet so let’s see what pops up.

Pain comes in all sorts of flavors: physical,emotional, mental, spiritual. Pain,the word and the reality, makes most of us shake in our boots because it’s so unpleasant. I mean who really looks forward to pain—unless you’re a masochist—but that discussion is way out of my field of expertise. So I’ll simply say that most of us don’t like pain of any kind and seek to avoid or alleviate it.

Inevitably, though pain comes to us. What we choose to do with the experience of pain has a lot to do with our level of happiness and resilience. There is pain and there is suffering. The Buddhists say that pain is inevitable as long as you are alive, suffering is optional.

So, let’s say that you are having stomach pain. Ok, your tummy hurts. But then you begin to awfulize about the pain. Is it cancer? Should you go to the doctor, the hospital? Is this like the pain that signals an attack of appendicitis? Before you know it the pain is not just a pain—it is a huge issue. You have begun to have as much emotional pain as you do physical pain. This is called suffering.

Instead of awfulizing you could get yourself checked out, go to an acupuncturist, alter your diet, or, or, or. The trick to moving through pain is to have faith that things will change/improve. Or that your ability to be with the pain will change/improve.

Everything in life is on purpose: the pain in your stomach, your sadness about a  lost friendship, your anger at being treated unfairly,feelings of loneliness or abandonment, your broken bones. But as with everything in Earth School it is an opportunity to learn and grow. So even in the midst of pain we can still be in the question, “What do I need/want to learn from this?” And often simply learning ‘the lesson’ releases you from the pain. Some have even gotten to the place where they see pain as a gift since it spurs them on to take action they would otherwise have avoided.

When in pain, look for the flashes of bright, clear joy that peak through– your soul’s true colors(or God’s sublime grace) springing up to the surface. Even when you feel like shit (spiritual term, that) you can remember that there is a joyful part of you that can be happy for no reason. And hold out the possibility that you are ok.

Hope this has been helpful to you—it has been quite helpful to me. And for today, it’s all about me.


Messages in Water May 30, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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heavy_metal thank_youwater molecule

I have been drinking a whole lot of water as part of a health improvement program I have undertaken. This morning I filled my 2 liter glass container as usual. However, instead of being on automatic pilot as I usually am when I do this, I took the time to notice the plastic label that I have had adhered to the front of the container for a couple of years. It says, “Come Holy Spirit” on it and I have another one that has the word “Love” on it. There is a story behind this and while it’s in my BOO (background of obviousness, in case you didn’t read last week’s blog), I realized that some of you who read this blog regularly (and thanks and kisses to you all) might not know about the work of Dr. Masuro Emoto of Japan. He wrote a well known book called The Hidden Messages of Water. At Amazon– The Hidden Messages of Water

As a scientist, Dr Emoto has been studying water molecules for years and in the course of his work he discovered that the basic makeup of water can be changed dramatically by words, music, or names being introduced to the water. The two pictures at the beginning of the post reflect reflect two different water molecules. The one on the left shows a molecule after being subjected,er, I mean exposed to heavy metal music. The one on the right is the result of the work ‘thank you’ being typed onto paper using a word processor and taped on the glass bottle overnight. Fascinating, isn’t it? The conclusion is that water can be changed by intention, energy,thoughts and words. And of course, since our bodies are about 61% water, this certainly has implications for changing our consciousness.

This scene from the film, The Secret explains a high level interpretation of Dr Emoto’s work. (And try to ignore the reference to 90% water in the body)

So ever since I have found out about Dr Emoto’s findings I have been using words to enliven my water. I figure it can’t hurt and I believe it helps a lot.

This brings me to one of my favorite topics: intention. Dr Emoto’s work is yet another example of how the use of conscious intention in life can enhance and enrich life. The act of intending something causes us to be conscious of who and what we want to be in the world. And through this we are actually creating before the creation comes into being on the material plane. It’s being created in your thoughts and then migrates out there in the ethers somewhere. And even if nothing more than that goes on, it creates some kind of magic for the ‘intender’ (is that a word??). And magically things that we have set our intentions on come into being. So even if it all seems like mumbo jumbo or new age la-la-land stuff, where’s the harm?  It can make you feel happier and more at effect in your life. What’s wrong with that?

So how about trying an experiment this week? And of course I have a suggestion or two.

  1. Pick out a word that is meaningful to you like love, gratitude, bliss, or whatever rings your bells. Type it up and stick it on your water bottle overnight and/or each day. See what happens.
  2. Pick out an intention that you would like to realize. Start with something small—even though it really doesn’t matter how big it is. Then work with this intention every day by visualizing it clearly for 4 minutes—use a timer. Notice what happens. You could also try writing it out 15 times each day if you still remember how to write.
  3. If you’ve got someone in your life who is challenging (and who doesn’t), when you are with that person try broadcasting a positive intention with your thoughts. Something like, “Philip gets more understanding and approachable every time I see him.” Don’t be put off by evidence that looks like it’s not working. Just keep doing it.

I’d love to hear how it goes—especially if you have miracle results.

Oh, and drink your water….


Why We Do Things That Don’t Make Us Happy –part 2 April 4, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Self-Development.
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by Robbert van der Steeg

Ok—it’s Easter Sunday and a beautiful day outside and I really don’t feel like writing about why we do things that don’t make us happy. But I have finished hiding Easter eggs in the yard for my grandchildren and making messages from the Easter bunny. So anything that could legitimately garner my attention has been taken care of. (Besides it was fun.) And I do have some more to say about why we do these crazy-ass things that don’t make us happy. And since this is part of my dharma (more about that later), I can get my mood to a productive place about doing it. .So here goes….

Last post I mentioned that one of the reasons that we do things that don’t make us happy is that we don’t have the distinction of what we really want to do. We just do what we think we should do.

We all have tapes.

We also have what I refer to as ‘tapes’ that are on continuous feed inside our heads. Your own tapes come from a variety of places, not the least of which were your parents or caregivers as you were growing up. Actually where they come from is not really my concern—if it’s yours may I suggest a good psychologist? I am more interested in working with what’s present, period.

As I said our tapes run on a continuous feed and give us scintillating messages like, “Only a bad daughter would move so far away from her parents,” or “ I have to do all my work before I can play,” or (my personal favorite) “I have to be perfect in all ways.”

What are your tapes telling you to do?

So what are your tapes? And even more important—what are they causing you to do in your life that doesn’t even come close to making you happy?

I bet your next question is “Can I get rid of these tapes or am I stuck with them?” And my answer is, maybe. If you want to leave your tapes behind then a strong declaration to do so will go a long way. To me though the issue is to be more conscious of what tapes you play and how they have an impact on what you do. Then simply be in a place of inquiry about where your actions are coming from. And just say no if you don’t like what you are doing to serve your tapes..

Be conscious about what you’re doing and why

So if you find that you never make time for yourself—and you’re not satisfied with that—look at what tape is in play. Is it the one that says you are a terrible person if you don’t take care of everyone around you first? Or your tape says that only work is a valid activity and doing anything that is not ‘work’ is frivolous and unproductive.

Change your mind

To quote one of my idols, Byron Katie, “Is this true? If you think it’s true can you really know that it’s true?” If you really think about it, the answer will be no, the tape is not true. It’s simply a thought you carry around. The good news, boys and girls, is that thoughts can be changed. If a particular thought (tape) is keeping you from having fun, I say vanquish it—immediately, if not sooner.

And while I’m on the subject of fun—I offer that this should be another goal of your life. Make sure you include the fun element in your life—your fun,not someone else’s. My own personal motto is that if I’m not having fun, I don’t want to do it. And before you ask,–yes, that goes for the faction of my life that some might refer to as work. This girl just wants to have fun…

Your mission should you decide to accept it

What can you do that totally ignores one of your less productive tapes and have fun in the process? .I challenge you to do at least one thing this week that is simply for fun. C’mon you can do it..

Looks like there’s going to be another installment on this topic since I didn’t get to dharma. Stay tuned.


Signs March 7, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Angel Writings, Self-Development, spirituality.
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I’m a big believer in magic…you know, the things that happen in life that can’t necessarily be explained away in a logical way. Things that make you say hmmmm…It’s great to be organized and planned and to check things off of your to-do list. We need that kind of stuff to assure ourselves that our lives have meaning because we’re getting things done. (read a touch of irony there) But what really lights me up is when the seemingly inexplicable things happen.

Signs fall into my magic category. No, not stop signs or McDonald’s signs or signs of global warming. I’m talking about normal run of the mill things that somehow put themselves into my path just to give me a little hug (or a not-so-tiny kick in the butt) from the universe that lets me know that I’m not hanging out on my own.

I”ll give you a few examples. In my lexicon of symbols (and coming from the interpretation of Doreen Virtue) the number 44 or 444 and so on is the angel number. It means that angels are giving you a big broad wink or answering your question or offering you comfort—depending on what you need at the time. One of my roles in life is Angel Therapy Practitioner ® certified by the well known expert in that field, Doreen Virtue. So as you might imagine I travel with a band of angels.

And everywhere I go I run into the number 44. This morning after spending the day yesterday doing angel readings for people, I woke up at 4:44. Yesterday on my way to do the readings, I was taking a route that I travel at least 4 or 5 times a month if not more and have done so for many years. I happened to look to my right at a traffic light and noticed a street sign that said “144 Lehigh Street.” Things that make you say hmmm..From this I interpreted that as I did the readings I would be guided to do good work in service of others.

I could go on about the number 44 but you get the drift. And now you’re going to start seeing that number everywhere too.

The shamans believe that animals appear to us to give us messages and teach us how to better our lives. The classic book on the subject of what messages animals symbolize is Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews.Yesterday as I was on my way to the reading place (it was an eventful ten-minute drive),I saw not one but two dead skunks. Now there’s a sign. I know that part of the symbology of the skunk is that it fears no animal. (wonder why) When I got home I looked up the entry in Animal-Speak and found that the message that skunk gives is

Now is the time to assert your boundaries. Others may be taking advantage. Demand respect and move forward at your speed.

Well, the boundary things seems like good advice. Not good to let boundaries get fuzzy when you are dipping around in other people’s energy fields. Got it.

I could go on but I’m sure your getting the drift. For me (and for you if you want to play) day- to-day life is not just the routines of getting my chores done or finishing a day at work. It’s the wonder of waiting for the magical things that show themselves often enough to keep my interest. It’s the signs that tell me that I’m being guided or perhaps that I am veering off the right path.

Why don’t you try it? If you’re in question about a decision—ask for a sign. And then don’t forget to watch for it. If you miss it, ask again. When you see a sign, it’s fun and inspiring and very, very comforting.


Unanswered Prayers February 25, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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The ever-present to-do list

I always have a thousand things on my to-do list. And mostly I work my way through the list as time allows and urgency demands. But sometimes there are tasks on my list that I just can’t seem to get to. Often it’s because I really don’t like to do them. Things like cleaning the bathroom, re-arranging the basement, and organizing my sewing studio are often purposely ignored. Sometimes though I can’t get to a task and there seems to be no good reason for it. I want to do it; I would enjoy doing it, and when it’s completed I would feel a lot of satisfaction.

Right now I’ve got one such task staring me in the face. I need to add content to my new web site. The site is up but there is no information in it. I’ve got ideas about what needs to go there and I’ve got the time and the wherewithal to do it. But something (besides my innate laziness) is preventing me from doing it.

I’ve tried a number of tactics to get myself moving. I’ve made a list of all the pieces that need doing, I’ve set a time frame for having it complete— several times. I’ve called myself a few unpleasant names (not too unpleasant), and I’ve even made declarations to others about getting it done. All to no avail. The job is like a bad penny— it just keeps turning up.

I’m saying “Later”

Today I came to a conclusion about this looming albatross of a task. I’ve decided that there must be some very good reason for my inability to get it done. I believe there is a reason for my resistance. What is that reason? I haven’t got a clue. I just know that the idea of doing this task seems harder than Sisyphus rolling that darn rock up the hill.

Sure I could kick it and push it and hump it into place. But that whole experience would be joyless and unsatisfying and I doubt that the results would be stellar. So I am choosing instead to wait until it flows easily. Am I chomping at the bit because it’s not done?..Yeah. However I trust that it will be done when the time is right— not a moment sooner (or later.)

Thank God for Unanswered Prayers

Ever heard the Garth Brooks song, “Unanswered Prayers”? “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” How many times have you thought you knew just what you wanted and needed? And then later you were so glad you didn’t get it. (One or two of my past relationships fall into that category— thank God they disappeared.)

I believe that we little bitty human beings can’t always see the big picture of our lives and their purpose. So we end up wanting stuff that doesn’t really serve us or stand a chance of fulfilling us. What it comes down to is trusting that we will be guided in the right way and surrendering to that invisible hand.

What would you like to surrender?

Would your life be easier, less frustrating and annoying if you surrendered? No, I don’t mean that you get apathetic. I mean that you simply trust that things are as they should be and do what you can with what you have when it occurs to you. Read my blog post on Flowing to get another take on letting go.

Is there something facing you right now that feels a lot like my albatross job? Have you been trying without success to make it go the way you think it should?

How about you try letting go of the need to have it turn out any particular way and see if you end up creating something better than you thought possible. At the very least, you may put off cleaning the bathroom for a day or two.


Who would you be without your story? February 21, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Uncategorized.
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I am a great admirer(and follower, I like to think) of The Work of Byron Katie.

Katie, as she is called, teaches how to come to peace with life by understanding that everything is happening just as it should. Once you understand that, it’s much easier to be peaceful about everything that goes on around you. The access to this understanding is through the use of questions that help to give you a different perspective of your life. It’s thought-provoking, challenging work but so worth the effort.

A thought-provoking question

One of my favorite of Katie’s thought-provoking questions is “Who would you be without your story?” And many of my coaching clients have had the pleasure of being asked that question. It’s a great question, isn’t it? I mean, we all have our stories. Some of them serve us and some of them— not so much.

Some examples

How about some examples from my coaching clients? (the names have been changed to protect the guilty and besides they’re not here to defend themselves)

Laura is by all accounts a beautiful woman. In my work with her, I have experienced her as insightful, interesting and funny. I have never met her in person but I happen to coach others who have. So I know that there is some disagreement on her story about her physical appearance.  Laura’s story is that she is unattractive, undesirable, and doomed to be single the rest of her life because she is a bit overweight. This is a great example of a story that is NOT serving its owner.

Jake is highly motivated and intelligent, with a great sense of humor. Jake’s story is that his own happiness is irrelevant and therefore not to be considered in his decision-making process. As a result, he seldom engages in activities that are for his own enjoyment, works a million hours a week, and would rather swallow razor blades than reveal anything about his innermost feelings. Who could Jake be without this little story?

OK…Here’s one of mine

Oh, then there are my own stories— most of which I will not reveal in this blog–ever. Transparency can be carried too far, after all. However, I will tell you one of them— mainly because I have been coached by one of my clients about this quite recently. Now I could get really squirrelly about getting coaching from a client. (But the truth is two of my clients have addressed this so I better listen.) However, I choose to tell a more positive story about it. I see it as a sign that I have done a wonderful job in coaching my client. He is able to have remarkable insights that would never have come up in the absence of my skillful coaching. It’s my story and I am sticking to it. (It also helps that he and I have built a relationship of implicit trust, plus I really like him.)

Now back to the one that doesn’t serve me. I had made a remark that a particular well-known coach makes a fabulous amount of money for his services. The underlying assessment is that I can’t do as well as Coach X. It was pointed out to me that I was speaking from a view of limitation rather than of abundance. (Thank you, M.)

So I got to thinking. Who could I be without that story? I could be someone who takes risks, who promotes my services as being valuable. I could be a person who steps out there without worrying much about failing. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad. Hmmm…

As a result of this inquiry, I am in the process of really deciding who I am and what I bring and coming up with new ways to promote myself and my work. (And about damn time, I think.) Don’t worry, you’ll be the first to know.

Now it’s your turn
So— what are your little stories? Why not pick out one that is currently dragging you down? Once you identify it, wrestle it to the ground. Or have a tea party with it or whatever you’d like…but examine it and see if maybe, just maybe you could come up with another one that’s more fun. Remember, this is your story and you get to tell it. Now get busy. I have things to do…


On Being Perfect October 27, 2009

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations, Uncategorized.
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girl by d sharon priutt

Ah, the need for perfection….so sublime, so pervasive, and so much a pain in the ass. Why am I blogging about this? Because it’s one of my own personal demons and I have noticed that many others share my illusion that perfection is a necessary attribute. Which is a joke really. Who is ever perfect? Or even more confounding, what is perfection and who gets to say? Isn’t it ok to be perfectly imperfect? Lots of questions here—what about some answers?

I’ve been trying to figure out for years where I acquired the need for perfection. (More questions) Was I born with it? Was it imposed upon me by an outside force? Gosh, I don’t know. I think that growing up Catholic in an Italian-American household could have had something to do with it. When in doubt, blame everything on being brought up Catholic. There may also be something about being a girl growing up in the 50’s. But after analyzing this, I have come to the conclusion that ‘why’ really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that my predilection for ‘perfection’ does haunt my life in little ways:

  • If I make a typo in an email, I either correct it or apologize or get embarrassed or all of the above.
  • If my house is messy I believe it reflects poorly on me as a person and cringe if my neighbor comes to the door.
  • I correct my son’s grammar (after all, I brought him up and if he doesn’t use lie and lay properly, it directly reflects on me.)
  • When watching a video of myself dancing in competition, I see only the mistakes I made. I almost completely ignore what I did right, which was most of it.
  • I keep my car neat, not only because I like a tidy car but because other people can see the mess through the car windows.

I could go on but you get the picture. (Believe it or not, I am way better about this than I used to be) So what’ s a person do to if she wants to lead a relatively well-balanced life? Here are some tactics I’ve used when the perfection demon rears its ugly head:

Tell the demon to shut up.

How we talk to ourselves is important. I interrupt my demoralizing self-talk by replacing the criticisms with something positive. Example: Instead of “I mishandled that situation,” I think, “Perhaps I could have done better and I have learned something valuable from this. Next time I will handle it better.”

This is a big one—for me and for most of the rest of the world. I am willing and mostly able to forgive others for their mistakes. The person who does not get my forgiveness very easily is me. I forgive myself by acknowledging that I am a human enrolled in Earth School. As such I am supposed to make mistakes so that I can learn valuable lessons for my emotional, spiritual, and intellectual development. I tell myself that if I knew it all I would be in heaven with the angels, not mucking around down here.

I firmly believe the world would be a much more peaceful place if each person on the planet could forgive herself (or himself) regularly.
Admit my arrogance.

When I get into this circular critical thought process, I often realize that what I am obsessing about is of no importance or relevance to anyone but me. I admit to myself that in the scheme of things, my little imperfection is inconsequential. I am not the center of the universe nor do I want to be. Basically the message is,”Get over yourself.”

Just say “F—- it.”

At times I apply all of the above but I am still obsessing about something I did ‘wrong.’ When nothing else works, I mentally stamp my foot to the universe and say,”Fuck it.” You’d be surprised how well that works at letting go.

If you are one of my fellow perfection junkies, I hope these tactics are of some use. And if someone out there has achieved perfection, I’d love to hear about it. I’m a big fan of fiction…


Being Overwhelmed October 9, 2009

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations.
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Marli & Thomas at park by Amara Ann Bertorelli

I have not written a blog post since Labor Day weekend—roughly a month ago. And the reason for that is that I have been overwhelmed with busyness. Bad stuff? Nope, it’s all been stuff that I really, really wanted to do. But it has put me in a state of overwhelm.

And it strikes me that many of the people I know experience overwhelm on a regular basis. Doing lots of good stuff is great, however, having a negative judgment about your level of busyness qualifies as overwhelm. The Buddhists have a saying: Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. What causes us to suffer is the belief that things are not as they should be.

It’s my opinion that many busy people choose to stay that way because this prevents them from looking at the issues in their lives that they’d rather not face. It’s much easier to keep trotting through life pushing aside that nasty self-discovery stuff. Taking a deeper look might result in some very difficult decisions having to be made.

With that in mind, I asked myself what I could be avoiding. And yes, I did come up with some answers—not to be shared in this post.  🙂  But since I am a person who believes wholeheartedly in introspection, I have made some declarations about changing my state of overwhelm and have taken actions as a result of my declarations. I offer these to all of you overwhelmed sorts in the hope that my solutions will inspire some of your own.

First, because I know that I need to be home to feel nurtured and balanced, I have concentrated on really being at home. And since messiness and clutter make me cranky, I decided to concentrate on de-cluttering my environment. I have made some headway in attacking the clutter that erupts when I am not home on a consistent basis. There is still much to do there but I am satisfied with what I have accomplished so far.

Second, I have made a conscious effort to find time for creative things that I like to do. I have spent time working on “the next quilt” which is to be an entry in a challenge that my quilting guild is sponsoring. The challenge is to create a quilt suggested by the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. And yes, I am well aware that even in my creative life I always have to set a goal for myself—I can’t help it, it’s who I am…

Third—I went to the park with my grandchildren. We ran around (oh alright, they ran around and I followed at a more sedate pace). We collected acorns and rolled them down the slides—multiple times. If you haven’t ever tried it, I highly recommend acorn-rolling as an overwhelm reliever.

And lastly, I have gotten back to my meditation schedule. I always feel that something is missing when my spiritual practices get pushed aside.

So, I am feeling better and my mood of overwhelm has drifted away—at least for today—and that’s perfect.