My Little Miracle

The most important thing I have learned, on my journey to share 365 days of joy. Happy people, find good in the world. I had to resolve myself, to see the glass as half full and become an eternal optimist.“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller

I look for the good, in every single person and when a person disappoints…I show empathy. “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” Margaret Mead.

I had to be clear about my purpose and set a realistic goal. I don’t know anyone who has ever achieved 365 days of joy, in 30 days. What was I thinking?  This was not going to be a short term goal, or instant gratification. Finding daily joy, in a world that often seems full of sadness and negativity. Was I setting myself up for failure or was I strong enough, to believe…I might, actually like the person I would become and find some hope in humanity. The worst case scenario, I fell victim to my own “get happy” scam. I couldn’t get any unhappier, so I had nothing to lose. Truth: nothing worth achieving is ever easy!

How?  Im just a simple mom, who’s not so simple minded. I think outside the box and get back to basics, they write text books on that stuff. I knew nothing about achieving daily gratitude. Somedays all I want to do, is pull the covers back over my head and go back to sleep. Everything for a reason…yup, the RT button on twitter. I had resolved this issue and relatively quickly. You know the old saying, “it takes a village”, well that stands true for a life filled with 365 days of joy. I realized, the daily joy I was achieving, was being inspired by the people I was surrounding myself with. Perhaps, it was an article I read, a program I watched or just a picture quote that someone was inspired to share. Ahh gotta love the “re-tweet” button, within a moment you have inspired the masses and what was once a ripple is now a tidal wave of sheer joy!

 

 

Each one of those simple moments, that lifted my spirit and brought me the simplest form of gratitude, a “smile”, propelled me to keep going and made me feel alive. What I did next, was share my gratitude. I didn’t silently keep it to myself, I shared my joyful selfie, far and wide. I thanked all those people who had brought me joy and began to establish genuine and real friendships.

What started out as, one small town girl, desperately chasing her happiness…has evolved into a great big world, sharing triumphant joy. I am not very good with math, 6,337 followers and more then 10,000 mentions of the #365daysofjoy I would say, we are making a difference. You can call it whatever you want, I believe, it’s a little miracle and a testament to the strength and character of humanity. I am “living” proof, that sharing my enthusiasm for life has made me a much happier person and who’s also inspired others to feel the same. Letting the fear go and believing in your happiness is worth working hard for, yes…every… single… day! I am grateful to have the courage and the strength to keep on sharing and thank you, for giving me 365 reasons to believe in miracles.

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Vulnerable Joy

We all have to be vulnerable…to love, find success, and fail.

I choose to put my heart out there in an attempt to make a difference, inspiring a future of kindness and compassion for humanity. I am doing something, rather then doing nothing. I have a purpose, that’s become greater then just myself and I am being accountable to that.

I no longer live in shame, because I had the courage to be accountable to my mistakes and to forgive myself. I no longer blame or judge, because having empathy or compassion for those who hurt me, are far greater weapons in my arsenal of emotions then simple anger and hate. Sometimes, when we wrong someone or they have wronged us, it’s as simple as saying sorry and that’s always a great start. The truth is, if we are feeling shame or pain, sorry…is often not enough and that’s when it’s time to rise up and be brave.

The most important part of the healing process, is granting yourself and others the patience to heal. Allow yourself the time, to understand why your hurting or why you hurt someone else. I choose to have empathy, we all process things differently and no you shouldn’t have to wait forever. I give myself a time line, how long can “I” withstand being unforgiven…if someone can’t forgive; I might say goodbye, having compassion for them. I can’t go back and change the past, but I can be accountable to the part of it that I own. The simple fact is, not until you own your mistakes and failures can you move forward and or be forgiven. When you have empathy or show compassion for those who are too afraid to forgive, you free yourself from them and or the pain associated with them.

You have to be brave enough to share what your passionate about, believe in yourself and trust that if you are enthusiastic about what you are doing, you will find joy. I am celebrating 365 days of joy, for what’s going to be the third year. Has everyday always been so joyful, of course not…It’s become a movement that I am proud to share, a simple and daily form of accountability to my own happiness and that I hope brings you one day closer to yours.

The Triumphant Turtle

As I lay in bed writing this…I first share gratitude that I am awake, alive and able to share. I remind myself, that I am the one who has to get myself up, clean the clutter that surrounds the keyboard that calls me, to share something that might inspire someone, they are worth a life filled with joy.

I was once asked by a therapist, if I had suffered trauma in my life. For some ridiculous reason, I had to think about whether or not, the bad stuff that happened to me, was worthy of sharing. I stopped to think about the “really bad” stuff that is happening throughout the world we live in and it made me feel ashamed for feeling or sharing my pain. I will share with you, every trauma no matter how big or small is valid. No trauma should be compared to another. Your trauma is real, your pain is valid and so are you. It’s not until you, validate yourself and deal with the pain, that you can heal.

If you are here today, remind yourself that you are the one that’s doing the work. You are seeking inspiration, reading to educate your mind and you are doing something that will hopefully help lead you to a life filled with 365 days of joy.

For me, somedays…I celebrate getting myself out of bed, getting into the shower and changing out of what I wore the night before. Somedays, I celebrate finishing the laundry, cooking dinner, washing the dishes and maybe I was really motivated to run the vacuum over the dirt covered floors. Just maybe, I venture out of the house and not because I have to drive carpool or take the kids somewhere, but because the sun came out and I had the courage to see the real world and the beauty that surrounds me; not what the media decided to show me vicariously threw the internet and television.

I started by making a list, all the “must do’s” and each time I finish one, I celebrated that. I finally found myself worthy enough to do something for just me, that isn’t a “must do”. I held myself accountable to get out and do something, that made me feel good about me. Not because, I had to…but, because I just might find myself worth a lot more, to a lot of people, who needed and wanted my inspiration.

A few things I try to do…
Sign up for a charity walk, join a book club, help feed those who are homeless, download a couch to 5k or become an active member of a group that is grateful for my participation and that I am inspired by.

I never compare myself. My pains or my success’s are not anymore or any less, then anyone else. Each day I survive is a blessing and yes, somedays I am just celebrating getting out of bed. We are all responsible for our own happiness and you will know, if what your doing is working…because, you will feel it and the people around you will see it. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it…When we put out the positive, we draw it to us and that’s when you will see consistent growth and a life that’s filled with joy.

I share that these past few months…I have not let my anxiety or fear of failure, stop me from starting what I will finish this month, “The United NYC half marathon”. I will be, “the triumphant turtle”, running grateful for human kindness and with empathy for all those who had the patience to follow and share my journey.

Thank you!

Unimaginable Joy

I’ve had my innocence stolen as a child, been abused for my strength to fight for my dignity and been stripped of my integrity out of shame, for another’s misfortunate understanding of who I am.

I have prevailed…a runner, who has shed the pounds that once masked my pain, found strength in my legs that have carried me throughout the process and an awakening to my human spirit that is a beautiful gift for all of humanity to see.

When I traded in my anger for compassion and learned it takes patience to appreciate the process, I freed myself from the pain that left me motionless. The miracle of a once unimaginable joy, came in a daily message that I share with every survivor…be accountable, your happiness is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

When I run my third half marathon, on March 20, 2016…I will remind myself, it’s simply putting one foot in front of the other and every step in this race, is part of my journey. A race, I will slow down long enough to appreciate and a memory that I will cherish. Each step will be triumphant and I will be grateful that I had the tenacity and strength to endure the process that has led me up to this finish line.

Grade My Selfie

If you looked at my report cards after kindergarten you would see a mediocre or below average student at best. You would read…”Rachel does not always do her best, she requires additional reminders to complete her work.” “Rachel needs to grow up.”” Rachel enjoys school, but needs to work on being more responsible and a better lister.” I was told, I didn’t work hard enough to meet my full potential.

From school to school I would go and that’s what the emphasis always was, Rachel isn’t applying herself and that made me not just lazy, but a failure.  I was defined by my education and the grades I wasn’t achieving.  The reality is, when your a kid and your only job is, as full time student and you can’t make the grade, your a failure. I will say today, that also made me preconditioned to fail as an adult. In defense of the educators at the time, we didn’t have the extened knowledge we do today about mental illness, mood disorders and learning disabilities and I would like to think that the lack of empathy, was just based on sheer ignorance and I am glad that we are continuing to make strides in raising awareness for the mentally ill and disabled. Perhaps we should not be labeling our kids, “special”.  Everyone is special in their own individual ways and let’s start redefining what makes a person successful. I think we need to show caution, when putting so much focus on the grades. Not just for the student who isn’t making the grade, but for the ones that are and rating their own sense of self worth on those grades.

I will say that I am far from mediocre and far from perfect. I am always a work in progress. I started paying it forward to myself, for the sake of my own kids, by getting back to basics.  A few years ago, after finally receiving my own diagnose of ADHD along with some mood disorder traits, causing depression and anxiety later in my adult life.  I finally decided to make myself accoutable to my own happiness, by sharing a simple moment each day, that I am triumphant…#365daysofjoy I choose to focus on the character of each individual. I honor those who have the ability to inspire me, to smile or laugh. The, “american dream”, should be for everyone to have an equal opportunity to find joy and while we can’t change the past, we can certainly learn from it. For me, educating a difference, means empowering my children, to do what they are passionate about. I believe, if they find that…it will sustain itself.

 

“Everyone Has A Story”

Yes…everyone does have a story and I am humbled to be able to share mine with you. I am a human being who is imperfect and I have learned, the only way to find peace in your life, is to have compassion and empathy for all of humanity.

I am just a simple mom spreading #365daysofjoy. I live to inspire and be inspired by you, sharing what we are passionate about. I want to do something for those that aren’t as comfortable to share, because it’s my way of thinking outside the box. I make the time for myself as a mom, to manage my disability by writing my feelings down and in the process, I have continued to educate and value myself. I made a choice to use my energy in a positive way, by working hard to value myself. For me, that was a far better choice, then to live my life feeling entitled by my misfortune. I find no excuse, to take the easy road or justify why I can’t be successful or pursue my passions and help others. I do believe,”not naive” that most things are possible with hard work, consistency, accountability and a desire to make a better life for yourself and the future generations to come.

Change is not easy, it has to be a lifestyle choice. The message we send to others is what inspires simple change one day at a time. I am always gracious to you that listen, care and share. We are all able and accountable to at the least, try.

This is a healing process for me writing to you being relatable and showing a side of humanity that many people don’t often get to see or lack the courage to share. I hope you find inspiration and courage to pay it forward and make the time to value your life, because I value all that you share with me.

Simply Not A Simple Minded Mom

When my children entered middle school I started to feel lost…My role as a full time mom changed. I was no longer needed in the same capacity as I was when they were younger.  In elementary school parents are welcomed and I was good at being a parent volunteer. I looked forward to dressing up for career day or dropping off a special birthday lunch. Over the holidays, I got excited about the annual visit to see Santa and coordinate their outfits for the hundreds of cards I would mail.  Needless to say, we have outgrown Santa’s lap and the school doesn’t allow drop ins to deliver cupcakes to the class. I no longer had a daily purpose, for which I felt valued.

My journey to share 365 days of joy, starts with being a mother first. I had to find a way to stay connected to my children, who are now old enough to spend a responsible amount of time, online. So, as a way for me to stay connected and to protect them, I decided to join them. I created an Instagram account, under my twitter handle @ctgirlonthego and just started sharing messages of joy everyday. #MondayMotivation #TerrificTuesday #WackyWednesday #ThorwbackThursday aka TBT, #FunFriday #SuperSaturday and #SundaySelfies which all became part of a daily routine.

Today I share, I no longer need to use all those daily hashtags, because over the course of the past three years…it’s become, one single hashtag #365DaysofJoy that both my children follow. Times may change, but with hard work, consistency and passion for what you love, your purpose will always bring you a lifetime of happiness and self worth.