Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day Seventy-One ... A Quote to Ponder

This morning (it really does feel like Thursday today) I got up and had some time to look at Facebook and the posts my friends made today. I came across this one, a meditation quote by Pema Chodron shared by my friend in Andrea in NY:
‎'We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who's right and who's wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don't like about our associates or our society. It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others. Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.' 
 It ties in a lot with what I am reading by Mike Robbins about the pervasive negativity in ourselves. It is easier to gossip about people and what we don't like about them to find something to appreciate. These really are just habits than can be changed with awareness and the desire to choose another way.

How often do we  attribute our mood or state of mind to someone else's actions? I'll be happy if only they would do something different, the way I think it should be done, etc... This once again reminds me of something my yoga teacher Lucia would ask before class ... "Would you rather be right? Or happy?"

I really do want to be happy. I do not need or want to be right, but sometimes my ego takes over and I have to remind it to let go of being right. Just let go and everything will work the way it should. I don't have all the answers, so how can I be so sure I'm right anyway? My sense of "right" is really my own unique opinion.

Another thing that Mike Robbins points out is in order to be right someone else has to be wrong. That certainly does not feel good and  at the same time does not show appreciation or gratitude.

Nicola Byrne

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
-Frederick Keonig

Day Seventy ... Thursday Thinking

I have no idea why but today I persisted in thinking it was Thursday and also kept on writing "8" for the month when I wrote out my dates. Maybe something big and interesting will be happening on a Thursday in August for me? I can only wonder ... It was comical however.

Just think, I get to do it all again tomorrow and it really will be Thursday ... Today was merely a trial run. Since today was quite a nice day tomorrow can only be better.

I am thrilled to see a big old seventy up there in the title of the blog. Seventy days of being fairly consistent. There was a hiccup here and there ... but it did not derail me. There are a great many more days to write about and many more lessons to be learned.

I am working my way through Mike Robbin's book "Focus on the Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation" and began the chapter on our obsession on negativity. It is interesting to know that it is not only me that falls into the trap of dwelling on what goes wrong; completely losing sight of what goes right and just how much there is to be grateful for every day. That reminds me of a quote I like very much:
If you don't think every day is a good day, just try missing one.  ~Cavett Robert
That pretty much says it all. Every day is a gift, because the alternative is to not have one at all. The fact that being grateful daily can change your day from unpleasant to wonderful makes it worth going through this process of becoming aware of negative thoughts and choosing better ones.

Reminding myself that today really is Wednesday,
Nicola Byrne

If we don’t appreciate ourselves, it’s very difficult to accept the appreciation of any one else or really to attract a whole lot of success into our lives.
-Mike Robbins

P.S. - Blogger was down last night so this could not be posted until the a.m.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day Sixty-Nine ... A Timely Reminder

This arrived in my e-mail yesterday. I had been sitting outside reading a bit from "Focus on the Good Stuff" by Mike Robbins and realized it has been a couple of week since my last entry in my gratitude journal. Not that I have not been having experiences to be grateful for. It is a matter of not taking the time to focus on them properly. As I was reading the book I thought about making a point of sitting down and writing five things every day to be grateful for.

Then I saw this email and thought, wow, I'm an underachiever ... One hundred things a day? That is some significant analyzing of your day. The experiences are there for all of us. Taking the time to list them and appreciate them though, that's the missing piece of valuing your day or complaining about your day.

From The Secret Daily Teachings: To understand the power and the magic of gratitude, you have to experience it for yourself. So why not begin by deciding to find 100 things a day to be grateful for?
If you practice gratitude every day it won't take long before gratitude is your natural state of being, and when that happens you will have unlocked one of the greatest secrets to life.

May the joy be with you,
Rhonda Byrne
The Secret... bringing joy to billions
Grateful for the reminder,
Nicola Byrne

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel.
-Author Unknown

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day Sixty-Eight ... Rebounding Under the Stars

Tonight Tom took the rebounder outside for me so I could get my cardio in while he did his own workout. The sun had set, it was still quite warm, however very bearable. I was able to bounce on the trampoline under the stars looking at the vast Las Vegas sky. That really is a gift.

I saw some bats flying around out there too. Stars. Bats. Rebounding. An interesting combination ... and then ...

Right at the thirty minute mark someone set off fireworks in the distance. The great big kind that send showers of lights dancing down the sky. It was beautiful. I loved it!

Ending the day on a high note,
Nicola Byrne

Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.
-Carol Welch

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day Sixty-Seven ... Starry Night

I have never seen anything like the night skies I see in Las Vegas. It does not get old. I am very lucky to be able to sit in the back yard and look at the stars up in the sky. Soon it will be shooting star "season" from what Tom tells me. That is going to be enjoyable. I remember many times as a child growing on Long Island watching for shooting stars. Who knew that out west there is actually a season for it.

To say that stargazing was a bright spot in today might be a little redundant, but there you have it.

I'm grateful for the stars. I'm grateful for having vision so I can see them.

Good night,

Nicola Byrne

No sight is more provocative of awe than is the night sky.
-Llewelyn Powys

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day Sixty-Six ... Dog Toys!

It is simply one of the most adorable things to see dogs with new dog toys. The prancing around. The ear to ear smiles that do not end. Today both dogs got new squeaky tennis balls. They are in seventh heaven. Mugsy got a giant squeaky ball. Sixto got a tiny squeaky ball. I cannot believe Mugsy can actually get the entire ball in his mouth. But he did!

That was the high point of today. Seeing them play and enjoy their new toys.

Nicola Byrne

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. 
-Franklin P. Jones

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day Sixty-Five ... Sleep Headphones!

I am extremely grateful that today my sleep headphones arrived. This means I will be sleeping better and listening to soothing music while sleeping without my ear buds popping out when I roll over. The longer cord also means that the phone and dock will not come flying off of the nightstand when I roll over either. Neither very conducive to good sleep ... As I have learned.

Looking back over the week it had opportunities for growth ... I have been also experiencing extremely low energy. I realized it was not me. It is the heat. Even though I am not outside in it often, it is having an effect. More water needs to be consumed regularly for sure! I hope adjust soon enough and get my energy back!

Looking forward to solid nights sleep,
Nicola Byrne

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book.
-Irish Proverb

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day Sixty-Four ... Uplifting Ideas

I came across this webpage today and an excellent "mind map" which is a new term for me. Very easily understood though.

Uplifting Ideas Mind Map
I love it. A simply laid out action plan for feeling better.

Thinking uplifting ideas now,
Nicola Byrne

There are no language barriers when you are smiling.
-Allen Klein

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day Sixty-Three ... The Great in Today

Today I had the pleasure of talking with a new friend about book suggestions and it really started my day off just right. I did not rush into work or writing programs. I started off with a happy conversation and thinking about books I like. She had asked for a book recommendation. Something about being happy. Talk about being right up my alley! I recommended three books, one I have read, and two are on my "get immediately" list.

First, I suggested The Power by Rhonda Byrne (no relation ... )
Great book by the author of The Secret that just about everyone has heard of. I think the sequel gets to the point faster and has more easy to follow suggestions. Suggestions I still follow today. I could use a brush up on the book though.

Second, I told her about The Seed by Jon Gordon
This is a book recommended by the CEO of 24-Hour Fitness and it is newest on his book review list. I have read three other books by  Jon Gordon. They are great; fast and simple yet deep. It is interesting how he can combine simple yet deep in a book but he does. This one is about finding happiness and meaning in life and work.

Lastly, I told her about Focus on the Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation by Mike Robbins
I think the title sums it all up and makes it pretty obvious why it is on my must get and read list at this time. I have no idea where I came across it or how I heard of it ... I find that funny.

Grateful for all my friends,
Nicola Byrne

A friend accepts us as we are yet helps us to be what we should.
-Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day Sixty-Two ... Strengths

The CEO of 24-Hour Fitness writes a column or a blog about the books he reads. I check it periodically and get the books that sound interesting to me. All save one that I have read I loved. The one I did not love I will most likely revisit at another time, it was so dense I had trouble deciphering it and staying awake reading it. All the other books though kept me interested and I learned from them.

One of the books is called Strengths Finder 2.0  by Tom Rath. One line that had the most significant impact on me was
"From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to our shortcomings than to our strengths... Unfortunately, this is taking the path of most resistance."
That is so very true. I have strengths. I have weaknesses. Putting my energy into developing my strengths rather than overcoming my weaknesses seems like a logical way to get the most of out my time. I can manage my weaknesses by being aware of them and also by growing my strengths.

My strengths per the survey were very interesting to me and also rang fairly true.

  1. Learner:   People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
  2. Input:   People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
  3. Intellection:   People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussion.
  4. Developer:   People who are especially talented in the Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.
  5. Empathy:   People who are especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others' lives or others' situations.
Those are my five themes. The Developer theme is the only one I do not actively see in myself. The others I can relate to, especially Learner and Input. I know I love to learn and to improve myself. That is a daily thing.

Every day is a lesson,
Nicola Byrne

Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong ... And yet, a person can only perform from strength.
-Peter Drucker

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day Sixty-One ... Back on the Horse

Ugh, I missed an entire day! This morning I woke up at about 5:45 a.m. give or take five minutes and was just running through my day in my head. Wham! I realized I fell asleep and had not written the blog last night. For Father's Day no less. I had it all planned out.

I could have written it earlier in the day, Sunday, right after work, before meditation. I delayed because I really wanted to go to meditation class and see if there was anything that came up to add to it. When I arrived at meditation I discovered it was canceled. I went home and my husband had just walked in from work. We figured out dinner, ran out to get something to cook, sat and watched a silly movie. I went upstairs and was asleep much earlier than my norm.

Amazing how a change in my "plan" (or routine) for the day changes everything.

A few thoughts on that come up for me.

First, I am not getting as much rest as I need. I have increased the intensity of my exercise routine a lot, in fact it is at as high an intensity as I can physically tolerate during the workout. That means my nutrition has become more important, my hydration and my rest. It seems I have been slacking in the rest area. I will take an extra night off tonight and exercise tomorrow instead. I will listen to what my body and energy seem to be telling me.

Second, I believe I have slacked on looking for the good in my day. Not that it is not there and certainly not because I am thinking negative thoughts all day. It is more the complacency of things are going well, work is busy, and my focus is more on chores and work. This is something I want to improve on because I do believe that writing this blog, along with the feedback I receive, is instrumental in making my life happier and more full. Yes, I have had some "opportunities" to work on of late, but overall, life really is good.

When you exercise and build muscle that muscle only sticks around for as long as you use it, actively, and continue to create the stimulus that your body needs to maintain it. I mention that because I have a feeling that if I stop looking for the good, stop focusing on writing something significant to me every day I will begin a slow return to where I was before. Use it or lose it applies to most things in life.

Next is going to be coming up with a strategy to keep the focus where I want it. Choosing Good Thoughts. Blogging about the process. Writing first thing in the morning works well for me, but there are days where I cannot squeeze the time out. There must be another answer and I simply do not have it yet.

Thinking good thoughts,
Nicola Byrne

Failure does not exist. Failure is simply someone else's opinion of how a certain act should have been completed. Once you believe that no act must be performed in any specific other-directed way, then failing becomes impossible.
-Wayne Dyer

Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down.
-Mary Pickford

USE this time of fresh beginnings. Use it as an impetus, the force or energy toward change. Become stronger, a better leader, more focused in your thoughts. Exert more influence over your dreams by bringing them closer to your thoughts, every day.
-Mary Anne Radmacher

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day Fifty-Nine ... An Uplifting Day

I had a long but fun day today. Very positive and enjoyable. It ended with seeing the final show of a local cover band's lead singer. I have not been in Vegas that long but for the past ten months I have greatly enjoyed the Yellow Brick Road and their shows. It was a special show and the perfect way to end today.

Ready to call it a night,
Nicola Byrne

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day Fifty-Eight ... Ends Great

That rhymed ... ! Even if the day did not feel like it started off great (which was purely an inside job, there was nothing at all wrong with it) it ended wonderfully.

Dinner out at Sirio at the Aria Casino. Tom and I were able to go out and enjoy ourselves at one of the restaurants in the casino where he works. They treated us like VIPs and royalty. It was an absolutely lovely evening from start to finish.

A great way to end a rather challenging week.

I had all kinds of good things. There was a sommelier who paired wines with the foods. Cheese. Risotto. Chicken. Vegetables. Tom had steak (which I was able to try several times, it was the best steak I have ever had).

After dinner we went for a little walk, I climbed every staircase I saw instead of choosing the escalators. A small concession after the feast I had.

I'm grateful for a wonderful evening!

Nicola Byrne

After dinner sit a while, and after supper walk a mile.
-English Saying

Day Fifty-Seven ... Late.

I woke up this morning and wham! was hit with the realization I forgot to write the blog last night. It wasn't a casual oops I forgot, I had a genuinely stressful day and I allowed it to take over. Driving home from work last night I was crying, and the next hour at home that seemed to continue or worsen. Then I made dinner and went out to run a few errands.

When I got home I was as emotionally drained as could be and fell asleep. Neither the blog nor positive thoughts were uppermost in my mind. I honestly hope that doesn't happen again because I truly believe the blog is helping me. Once in a while though the cumulative effect of everything overwhelms.

As I sit here and sift through the memories of yesterday looking for a good thing to write about what comes to mind is hugs. Lots of hugs from my husband when I got home, he was genuinely worried and concerned. He helped me feel better and supported me through a bad day. I am extremely grateful for that and this is the best thought to choose from yesterday. I'll continue to put my focus there.

Hugs work.

The Friday blog will be up later ...

Thank goodness it is Friday!
Nicola Byrne

Hugs are the universal medicine.
-Author Unknown

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day Fifty-Six ... When Good Thoughts Go Bad

Today I felt blue. So blue you could call it indigo. I amused myself by repeating the phrase "when good thoughts go bad" for quite a bit of the day. It made me smile. The silliness of it.

I listened to music a lot today and the Universe cooperated a lot by playing a significant number of my favorites.

Tonight I am going out to see a band at the Suncoast which will also play a nonstop selection of music I love. That should really help banish some of the blues.

Tomorrow I intend to wake up in a great mood, no excuses. I will also make sure I exercise. No matter how I looked at it there was just no time to squeeze that into this day. I did manage to get on the rebounder twice though and it moved those blues back for a bit. Exercise has such a beneficial effect on our outlook and mood that when I miss a day I can feel it.

There is good in every day. Work went well. Every client worked hard and left happy, albeit fatigued. I was also able to see a client have Dexa Scan and VO2-Max test. It was a privilege to be included in the testing. I have not had this client for long and the real credit goes my friend who trained him before I took over and to the client, of course. In the end we can only show a person what to do. They have to do all that work themselves.

Bring on tomorrow!
Nicola Byrne

Music's the medicine of the mind.
-John A. Logan

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day Fifty-Five ... Signs

Signs  is one of my favorite movies. It is also the source of one of my favorite inspirational quotes. I have seen it many times. Yes, it is about aliens, but I find it to be very spiritual and also uplifting. Signs embraces the belief that everything, every little thing, happens for a reason. I believe it is true.

If our lives were a movie we would always be able to know the reasons for what happens, nice and neatly, and in perfect order at just the right time.

It doesn't seem to work like that in "real time". Perhaps we are not meant to know the why behind the what. Or perhaps we do know it, subconsciously and our cluttered minds are never quiet enough to allow comprehension. I do not pretend to know the answer to that.

Today is a light work day but a heavy cleaning day. I have been productively cleaning and organizing since early morning. As I clean my mind churns out thoughts. Some have not been models of "Choosing Better Thoughts" and as I catch them I consciously overwrite them with "I don't think that way anymore, I choose to think better thoughts". I can only do that when I'm aware of my thoughts though.

Buried in the mental chatter I picked up my favorite quote flying by ... "Swing away Merrill, swing away." From the first time I heard it in the movie it stuck, if you could etch words on the brain, it would be found there in my mind. Those five words spoke volumes to me. It said don't be afraid, go for it, take a chance, always do your best, just try, take that first step, keep going, don't give up ... You get the picture. It embodies living fully and presently in the moment for me. I simply love it.

In addition to that quote the movie was filled with little quirks that wind up at the end all having very important purposes. Empty glasses of water. Asthma. Swinging away. It all happened for a reason. As I try to understand where I am at in my life, and why I am here, and all that is happening, I remind myself that it all happens for a reason. That must be why I thought of the movie.

Swinging away,
Nicola Byrne

I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a tiny sliver of one hour.  I dripped it carelessly, Ah!  I didn't know, I held opportunity.
-Hazel Lee

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day Fifty-Four ... Strengths and Weaknesses

My first client today came in after having a tough weekend with numerous trials and tribulations both professional and personal. He was very introspective as a result and had a unique insight into happiness and what it takes to feel it. I'm going to try to paraphrase it because I was not able to write it down as he spoke because I was training him and making sure his exercises were in good form.

There are three key components to being happy:

1) Being productive with meaningful work

2) Having a goal

3) Being in love

At this point in my life I can put a check mark next to all of the components.

My work is very meaningful to me. I love helping others. When I make someone smile, it makes me smile. That is a goal of each training session I have, get my client to smile or laugh or both. It isn't always just about giving them a workout or going over food. I want them to leave feeling better than when they came in. No matter how they felt when they came in. Oh they may be tired, but they are hopefully happy and feel they have accomplished something important.

I have several goals. This blog alone is a goal I set fifty-four days ago.

Being in love is obvious. Nothing feels as good as being in love. Unfortunately at some point expectations get in the way of appreciation and gratitude. I begin to take the other person for granted and stop putting as much effort into making my significant other happy. When you're in love you don't keep score and you genuinely want to do things to make someone else happy just for the sake of making them happy. Not to get a single thing in return. It is important that I take the time to appreciate my spouse and see all the good in him, and all the hard work he does, and if there are things I don't like to let them go. Where I put my focus is the key to staying in love and being happy.

Staying on course with my goals,
Nicola Byrne

Happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.
-Gretta Brooker Palmer

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day Fifty-Three ... Affirmations

Perhaps I woke up on the wrong side of the bed because I felt a bit low today. Not quite myself and lacking the ability to pull myself out of the funky mood. It was really hard to think of anything to write about today. It was hard to look for things to write about. I felt a little stalled.

Actually, there was no perhaps about it. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and was in a bad, sad, maudlin mood. Almost all day. The need to write the blog sort of felt like a trip to the dentist. Looming in the background, find something good, find something good ...

As fate would have it inspiration for today's blog comes from Jennifer who mentioned watching this video clip to me this morning. Perfect timing, I really needed a little something to perk me up. I remember having seen it a long while back but forgot the message. It is sweet, it is cute, and it is uplifting. I'm going to borrow Jessica's ebullient attitude until I can return to my own. I love her heartfelt appreciation for every little thing!

It is nice to know that when I thought I was going to have a very tough time finding something good to write about it was dropped into my lap along with a remedy for my icky mood. Both the video and the inspiration from a friend helped me return back to my desire to better myself and see the good around me. It is always there if I just take the time to look for it.

I wish I had gotten to watch it earlier in the day, rather than later, because it really went a long way towards making me smile and shake of the blues.

I'm setting an intention to sleep deep, wake up refreshed and have a great day tomorrow. I can do anything good.

Doing good things,
Nicola Byrne

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
–Claude M. Bristol

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day Fifty-Two ... Line Dancing

After having a great day off that consisted of going out for breakfast, some sight seeing, walking around the Strip, Town Square and making a nice dinner we ended it with line dance lessons at Stonies. Doing something physical that requires a lot of mental effort is a sure fire way of tuning out any kind of undesirable thoughts.

Not that I had any after such a nice day but while dancing I thought it would be a great way to eradicate a bad mood or negative thought spiral. There is really no way to think about anything when taking a line dance lesson.

Now I'm home and I can't remember the name of either line dance I learned. I definitely don't have a strong grasp on the steps either. This is the kind of thing that requires regular attendance (much like choosing to think positively requires a daily effort) or you end up forgetting what you learned pretty instantly.

Hopefully in the future I will be able to make it more regularly, because I really do enjoy it. It is downright relaxing, but physical as well. I like the combination of physical exercise paired with mental exercise.

Tomorrow is back to work for the next six days and I'm ready for it. A good day off goes a long way towards recharging and refreshing the mind and body.

Grateful for a great day,
Nicola Byrne

Dance till the stars come down from the rafters
Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop.

~W.H. Auden

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day Fifty-One ... TGIF !

The weeks are flying by, keeping busy at work and at home has a lot to do with it. I almost don't have the chance to get tired because Saturday gets here so fast.

It also goes really fast ...

The weather in Las Vegas is supposed to be gorgeous, as usual. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow and having the day off to relax, take a walk, to sleep in. I never actually do sleep in, as much as I look forward to it. I wake up and that's it, I'm up. Not needing to watch the clock and be out the door by a certain time is right up there on my list next to sleeping in though.

I am grateful for a productive week and grateful for a day off tomorrow.

I saw this picture and had to laugh ... which means it really has to go in here where I choose good thoughts, or a good laugh!

Nicola Byrne

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
-Charles Swindoll 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day Fifty ... Question Answered

Since I moved to Las Vegas ten months ago I've been seeing this particular shrub all around that I love. Some are twenty feet tall, some only four feet tall. I have wanted to know what they are so someday I can plant them in the backyard. This shrub has the greatest colors. Pink. Red. White. Magenta.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was fully expecting to find out what on earth this shrub was when I went to the Springs Preserve. I assumed it would be in their desert gardens. It wasn't. The ice cream festival went a long way to compensate for that disappointment though. At some point in time, walking the dogs, I thought I would see a homeowner out tending their yard and simply ask.

Then on Tuesday I picked up my girlfriend to go for a walk in Pueblo Park. I didn't even think to ask her what the shrub was, but I should have because she always knows what plant is what. It turns out I didn't have to ask, it came out that my mysterious shrub is oleander. I don't remember seeing oleander before, though I may have. It is funny that it seems to be in the scenery all the time when I read a book and I never thought twice about it. Never was curious to go and look it up.

But now I know. Gorgeous oleander is all over the place in Las Vegas and I love it. It is one of my favorite plants to see when I am walking around, the colors are extremely vibrant and it seems to simply thrive everywhere.

I am looking forward to getting some oleander in the backyard now that I know what it is! All different colors.  I hope hummingbirds like it, because I see them all over the place too.

Thank you Michelle,
Nicola Byrne

A day is Eternity's seed, and we are its Gardeners.
-Erika Harris

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day Forty-Nine ... Adversity? Opportunity?

What makes one person perceive situations and incidents so differently from another? An event in their childhood? Perhaps one later in life? Is it just a trait born in them? I'm making the effort to change the way I see things. As a result I am questioning more. Questioning why I feel the way I do about things and how I can improve upon those feelings, and in turn, improve myself.

Today I was talking to someone at work, a client I will be training in the future once they have gotten a few things ironed out. We were very much on the same page and it was great to talk to someone else that embraces appreciating everything. 

Have you ever met a person that had a trauma, be it physical or emotional, and in spite of that they have the best outlook on life? Yet you can meet another person and they have had more opportunities and advantages than most and see nothing good in their life or in the people around them? I've met many of both and I wonder how those paths are chosen. It isn't like there is a fork in the road and a sign that said "Optimism" and "Negativity". If it were only that easy!

I wonder where it all begins. Where is that first incident that the first person sees as an opportunity or a blessing and the other person sees nothing beyond something to complain about? Over time complaining becomes second nature and appreciation is a forgotten talent. Yet improving your life and that of those around you is as simple as appreciating what you have, every day, every moment.

There's a quote I like (I know, there are many that I like):
Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have. – Anon
However, since I'm being all cerebral and contemplative here I believe I'd like to change 'wanting' to 'appreciating' and that is where true contentment and happiness can be found. Or we can go deeper than appreciating what we have to appreciating who we are. How can you value anything you have or anyone around you if you don't value yourself?

For a great many years of my life I didn't value myself at all and spent a great deal of time lamenting over my flaws. That was comfortable and familiar and I extrapolated it to lamenting over the flaws I saw in others. When you are looking for flaws suddenly they are everywhere.

Now I'm appreciating things about me more. That leads me to seeing and appreciating so much more in everyone around me, and everything around me. It really is an inside job.

Contemplating the choices in life,
Nicola Byrne

I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The astonishing light of your own being.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day Forty-Eight ... More Visits!

I sat down at the computer and began contemplating what to write about today. Mentally reviewing my day for anything outstanding ... I remembered my friend Ann's email. She is coming to visit in November. I have lots of visits to look forward to as the summer winds down!

My Mother-In-Law is coming to visit in September and quite possibly my Father-In-Law will be visiting in October. And now Ann is coming in November. I also think my friend Arlette will be coming in December, but that isn't set in stone at this point in time. However ... It looks like I have much to look forward to this fall. Anyone else want to come and visit?

Having been missing my friends and family back home so acutely of late this really is great news. I will get to spend time with my Parents-In-Law who live in Florida and as a result I don't get to do anything more than talk on the phone with them once in a while. It is hard to get to know them that way.

Plus I have all sorts of great restaurants I want to share with Ann and Lou, there is a Thai restaurant on my list to try and I know they love Thai food. Las Vegas is like a giant grown-up playground. There is an endless amount to see and do, be it outdoors in nature or the hustle and bustle of the strip. It is going to be great fun to share that this fall.

Looking forward to more visits,
Nicola Byrne

There is magic in long-distance friendships.  They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.
-Diana Cortes

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day Forty-Seven ... Sticking with a Newer Habit

The past week has certainly challenged my intention to focus on the positive. In spite of having created a new habit, once challenged by adversity the old habit jumps up front and says "pick me! pick me!" making it so easy to drop the new habit and comfortably embrace the old and familiar habit. That old and familiar habit being negativity and focusing what is going wrong, rather than choosing optimism and focusing more on what is going right. There will always be things that go wrong. There will always be things that go right.

Where I place my energies and my focus will ultimately determine how I feel. Honestly I want to feel good. To look forward to each new day. To go to bed at night feeling optimistic, content and peaceful. I have noticed that the more productive I am the more optimistic, content and peaceful I do feel.

The old habit and the new habit warred a lot this week. I did not meditate, I know that would have helped the new habit, yet I did not make time for it. Chances are if I did make time for it I would have fallen asleep anyway ... I really don't know what that is about but at this point in my life meditation seems to equal a nap. I'd like to change that!

Also, I chose to listen to music instead of affirmations. While driving I found I was ignoring the affirmations completely and that I was stuck in my own head. It wasn't pretty, but I noticed it. I chose music because it pulled me out of my head and encouraged singing. I was paying attention to the words instead. I did make sure all the music I chose was something that brought on a good mood or good feeling.

I also exercised a lot. Alternating with walks outside with the doggies, rebounding on the trampoline, and intervals/circuits at a very challenging intensities. All of that created lots of good endorphins which helped me out too.

Basically what I learned looking back over the week was to change my course slightly to arrive at the same destination. Sort of like sailing and chasing the wind. I did not let the old habit of focusing on what is wrong resume its comfortable spot in my life. I kept uppermost in my mind my goal and pulled out some new (or are they old?) tactics towards positivity.

I can honestly say that I wouldn't have done that if I didn't have a commitment to write something I find uplifting or positive in the blog every day. Always scanning the day for something to write about has opened my eyes up to much I may have otherwise missed.

Staying on course,
Nicola Byrne

Every thought is a seed.  If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious.
-Bill Meyer

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day Forty-Six ... Visiting with Friends and Family

This weekend was quite full as my two short posts Saturday and Sunday can attest to. My sister-in-law Suzanne and her husband Charlie were in town from NY for a vacation. My friend Rob from NY was also in Las Vegas on a business trip. Friday and Saturday we spent time with my sister-in-law at their hotel. Friday night by the pool we sat talking for hours. Saturday we went to dinner at a great Italian restaurant called Ferraro's and then went to Fremont Street to see Missing Persons playing. It was great. Late nights both nights though! I think I'm still a little sleepy from staying up so late.

Tonight we went out to dinner with Rob and I really enjoyed catching up and relaxing. We went to the China Grill and the food was very nice. Mandalay Bay was packed. Must have been a big convention weekend in Las Vegas. Dinner was early so we were able to come back and walk the dogs. I even had time to do some rebounding ... I need extra rebounding after all this dining out over the weekend!

It was great to visit, catch up and spend time with them. I have been feeling very homesick for people, not places though. Missing my family and friends back East. I love Las Vegas, and love living here, but I wish I could fly out my friends and see them all more often. I've been here almost ten months and that is a long time without seeing my family and friends.

It was so nice to spend time with everyone this weekend.

Grateful for a weekend spent with friends and family from back home,
Nicola Byrne

Sometimes our hearts get tangled
And our souls a little off-kilter
Friends and family can set us right
And help guide us back to the light.

~Sera Christann

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day Forty-Five ... A Poem

Today was another very busy and long day with little time to write. Or to even think of what to write! Instead I will share one of my favorite poems ...
Come to the edge", he said.
They said, "We are afraid".
"Come to the edge", he said.
They said, "We are afraid".
"Come to the edge", he said.
They came.
He pushed them ...
and they flew.
-Guillauame Apollinaire

It gives me a peaceful feeling whenever I read it.

Good night,
Nicola Byrne

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day Forty-Four ... Strength

Today is a late entry ... but it was a long day and a late night. Driving home I thought of something. Strength. Something I admire. And I realized something I own. I am strong, physically and mentally. Events may cause me to stumble, however I don't fall. I catch my stride and go right back on course towards my goals. I like that about myself.

We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, "Why did this happen to me?" unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way. 
-Author Unknown

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day Forty-Three ... The Glasses Caper

The day started off well enough or so it seemed. As time to leave for my first training session neared I started gathering my things for the day. Clipboard. Wallet. Keys. Glasses? Where are my glasses? After ten minutes of searching I began to get a little concerned but not overly. This isn't uncommon for me and part of the reason is because without my glasses on it becomes ever so difficult to see them and find them in the first place.

Then it became time to leave and I still could not find them. I asked the dogs. I asked they cat. They had no input whatsoever.

I texted my client to let him know I wouldn't be there early in case he was. More time passed and I had to text him to cancel. I simply cannot drive without glasses and believe me the world is better off without me on the roads nearly blind as a bat zipping around in a Mini Cooper late for work.

By now I was beginning to feel a bit frantic and I had to slow myself down, breathing deep and even I got my emotions under control. Instead of using my eyes to find my glasses, I had to use my hands, and find them I did. Under the bed. Between the base for the headboard and the casters for the box spring. Not visible to the human eye, even with 20/20 vision. I cannot imagine they simply fell there on their own. I have a feeling they had some feline intervention? I picture little Trinity playing hockey with my glasses with Sixto watching ...

She even LOOKS guilty

All in all I learned I can calm myself in times of real stress, my client was very understanding, my boss was understanding and texted me to get contacts. I thought he said CONGRATS though ... Wow, talk about needing glasses. Clearly I need a back-up form of something, contacts or glasses. My biggest worry was that I had mindlessly placed my glasses in an unusual and unfindable place. It is a relief to know that I did put them on the bedside table as I always do and they were moved by paws to a new location.

Grateful for my glasses,
Nicola Byrne

The obscure we see eventually.  The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.
-Edward R. Murrow