Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Thirty-Two ... Getting Back to a Good Habit

After a few weeks of not sitting down and blogging it doesn't feel as natural to jump on the computer and do so. Seems it did not take too long to drop the habit. That surprises me.

Perhaps I just need to put a little more effort into focusing on the good stuff again. I am still writing all the things I am grateful for and have had many opportunities to write thank you notes. Good things to be sure.

Today I saw a wonderful affirmation on Facebook and that is what I want to share today:

Affirmation for the day: "My present happiness is all I see." (A Course in Miracles). This affirmation instructs the subconscious mind to select the perceptions and data that support your happiness. It is an exercise in positivity, which then attracts what it affirms...

I am going to try affirming that as often as I can think of it tomorrow.

Good night,
-Nicola Byrne

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Thirty-One ... I'm Baaaaaack!

I'm back and I have an internet connection once again! What jumped out at me for today's blog was something I just received in my email box in a newsletter. It is priceless and something I was talking a friend about last night.

In a funny aside a week or so ago my husband was watching South Park and there was this episode where the entire town was without internet and everyone was going crazy and screaming. They were jumping into cars to drive to California to "find the internet". It really made me smile. While I didn't like the lack of internet I didn't go crazy, I did however read a lot. That was a very enjoyable trade-off for me.

And on to the story ...


Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.
We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the
continent.  We are traveling by train.

Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars
on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing,
of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke
pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn
and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and
rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.
On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into
the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving.

Once we get there, so many wonderful dreams will come
true and the pieces of our lives will fit together
like a completed jigsaw puzzle.

How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes
for loitering - waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

"When we reach the station, that will be it!" we
cry. "When I'm 18."  "When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes
Benz!"  "When I put the last kid through
college."  "When I have paid off the mortgage!"
"When I get a promotion." "When I reach the age of
retirement, I shall live happily ever after!"

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station,
no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true
joy of life is the trip.

The station is only a dream. It constantly
outdistances us. "Relish the moment" is a good motto,
especially when coupled with Palm 118:24: "This is the
day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be
glad in it."

It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. It
is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of
tomorrow.  Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us
of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.
Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go
barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more
sunsets, laugh more, cry less.

Life must be lived as we go along.  The station will
come soon enough.

~ By Robert J. Hastings

Happy to have the internet once again!
-Nicola Byrne

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Twenty ... Recapping the Week

Our modem or something that connecting the phones and computer to the internet is not functioning, today I am at Whole Foods sharing their generous free WI-FI and a cup of delicious (but not free) French Roast Coffee. This is why the blogs have been non-existent. It is very difficult to do so over my phone which is surprisingly temperamental for such a little gadget.

Monday ... I experienced that letting go, not complaining, not forcing, and simple acceptance of the way things are can create the change or desired outcome I would like. Without any of the unpleasant boomerang effects of complaining, forcing or grasping. It was a powerful example of why swimming downstream feels better than swimming upstream.

Thursday ... Focusing on gratitude brings more to be grateful for. Last night Tom was given free tickets to see Viva! Elvis at the Aria. While sitting down in our seats, which seemed quite good to me, I was mentally saying a thank you to remind myself to put it in my gratitude journal. Next moment an usher came over and asked if we would like to move up a few rows. We said yes and he took us to the very front row. What an amazing way to see a fantastic show. I am grateful.

Friday ... Writing thank you notes is rewarding. Keeping in touch with friends and people who have had a positive effect and influence in my life is rewarding. It feels good and I am happy I am focusing on this.

The posts may be infrequent until my internet is up and running but I will be looking for things to post as I go about my days, as always.

Happy Friday,
-Nicola Byrne

See everything; overlook a great deal; correct a little.
-Pope John XXIII

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Sixteen ... Progress Report

To recap my goals after completing "Focus on the Good Stuff" I chose to put into practice the following:

  • The Sunshine Folder for positive accomplishments, achievements, thanks you's, etc...
  • Writing in my gratitude journal daily
  • Practice changing my state when that state is less than I want it to be
  • Sharing gratitude openly
  • Making ME time
  • Choosing something about me to appreciate daily
  • Writing at least one heartfelt thank you every single week

It has been ten days after posting those goals and I think this is a good time to share a progress report. This is mostly for myself, to keep the goals fresh in my mind. All too often we set goals and they are forgotten within the week. New Year's Day Resolutions for example ... 

I have written in my gratitude journal almost without fail every day.

My sunshine folder is a large shoe box ... I am ever optimistic that a folder just won't be big enough ... And I already have several things in it.

I have been taking a lot of walks to change my state ... I find that appreciating nature is an excellent way to improve my state of mind and my mood. Even a good mood can become a great one with a nice walk and appreciation of all that nature has to offer.

I have given myself me time. A yoga class. Lots of reading.

Writing thanks you's has been so rewarding I actually think it should be considered me time as well.

I have practiced being more vocal with my appreciation of those I interact with. 

One more thing I am doing for "me time" is meditating 15 minutes a day. There is an application on my phone called Insight Timer. It has an assortment of bells to start and stop the sessions, a journal to write down your thoughts about it, and last but not least there is a community aspect to it. Everyone that meditates and uses this application is listed online as meditating or having completed meditating. You can have a profile and a phrase. I am practicing on increasing my mindfulness and have set my own phrase and mantra as "right here, right now, in this present moment". This application is available worldwide and I find it so interesting to see how many people are meditating around the world after I have finished ... and their own chosen phrases.

The one thing I have not had much success with is finding one thing to appreciate about myself every day and focusing on it throughout the day. I simply forget. It is possible there is nothing deeper to it than that. I just don't remember to start and if I do pick something I forget about it as my day progresses.

This does not mean I gave up on it. I have chosen a different route to accomplish the same thing. When I write in my gratitude journal I write down at least 5 things I am grateful for. Then I write down 5 things about a person I'd like to show more appreciation towards and catch myself thinking negatively about. Lastly I write down 5 things I either accomplished in the day or appreciate / like about myself. I believe that embodies the spirit of the activity even if it isn't the exact same step.

All in all I feel good about what I am accomplishing.

Calling it a night,
-Nicola Byrne

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Fifteen ... Getting Grounded ... Practicing Being Present ...

My cable modem is not functioning right which means I am unable to access the internet regularly now ... Last night I could not get on but while walking the dogs I had what I wanted to write about all figured out. Now that I have a connection ... if it lasts! ... I will write.

I watched a movie on Thursday night ... it reminded me to be more present.

I bought new shoes on Wednesday ... they have increased my awareness of being grounded.

The movie Peaceful Warrior is based on a true story and began as a book. I look forward to reading the book as well. It is a movie about living in the present moment, fully. A quote I particularly enjoyed from the movie and was turning over in my mind last night while walking the dogs is:
“There is never nothing going on. There are no ordinary moments.”
 As I was thinking of it I became aware that I wasn't IN the walk. I was walking but I was not experiencing it. Then suddenly I heard the crickets, the sound of the cars, the clinking of Mugsy's metal leash, I felt the ground under my feet, noticed the lack of breeze and felt my breathing. I realized I had been distracted and was as far from being present as possible, and how much being present changed my walk. It was very revealing.

The shoes are new for me, they are Vibram Five Fingers and are basically like gloves for your feet with a strong protective bottom so that you can experience being barefoot without concern for injuring feet outdoors.  I am much more aware of how I stand and move in these shoes. I feel far more grounded than I have in any other pair of shoes and I am incredibly aware of my toes and using them. It reminds me a lot of yoga. I really love these shoes.

Practicing being grounded and present,
-Nicola Byrne

Knowledge is not the same as wisdom. Knowledge is knowing, Wisdom is doing.
-Quote from Peaceful Warrior

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Fourteen ... Gratitude Quote

I am consistently making entries in my gratitude journal and it really does feel good. This quote sums it up I think:
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
 -- Melody Beattie (Author)
Grateful for another good day,
-Nicola Byrne

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. 
-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Thirteen ... Proactive Acknowledgment

This interesting quote is from the Mike Robbins book I just finished. Yesterday I opened up the book to see if I had anything to add to my notes before I lent the book out. The quote jumped out at me and it is worth pondering some more.
"Remind  people who they are instead of just complimenting them on what they've done. Praise and acknowledgment is nice, but that's a bit like telling you dog that his tail wags really well. The idea is to focus on the person behind the accomplishment or problem. It's the fundamental distinction of who versus what. When you help the person get more in touch with who they are, they'll produce better whats. If you focus primarily on the whats you'll soon be expecting the tail to wag the dog."          -Thomas J. Leonard
Our modem is on the fritz and this quote was intended for yesterday's post. It was entirely too much to type it up on my phone's keyboard though. Instead I let it go and saved it for today.

Proactive acknowledgment is an interesting term to me. I make a point of expressing gratitude whenever someone does something nice for me. It is a newer concept to express gratitude for who the person is and their presence in my life. I am sure I have done that, but perhaps not consciously or with the intent to do just that. I can see it as spreading a bit of joy though and brightening up someone's day simply for who they are. Not for any gain whatsoever.

Something I struggle with personally is self-worth and feeling worthy in general. Worthy of anything. It was pointed out to me in the past that many things that I do for people is an attempt to try to make myself feel worthy of their friendship, love or approval. I can see where that is true. I can also see where proactive acknowledgment will go a long way towards helping someone else feel worthy without sending the silent and often unintended message that they need to do something in order to receive acknowledgment or be worthy of acknowledgment.

It is an opportunity I am happy to take on in the future.

One other note, I started my "Sunshine Folder" today and already have several things in there. Each thing I put in that folder made me smile at the memory. It will be a good practice to pursue.

What are you grateful for today?
-Nicola Byrne

By learning to see our challenges as opportunities, we take our power back from the situations, circumstances and outcomes of our lives. Our ability to appreciate difficulties, learn from them and use them to our advantage, gives us important insight into who we really are and how to create success and fulfillment in a conscious, deliberate and authentic way.
-Mike Robbins

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Eleven ... One Year

Today is a milestone for me, it has been one year since I moved to Las Vegas. What a year it has been. There have been many opportunities for growth. I am sure there will be many more opportunities to grow as time marches on. I am grateful for them. I feel as though I have certainly grown and this blog has been instrumental in it.

There have been days where finding something good to write about was a downright challenge. After doing so however my mood is miraculously improved. Perhaps that really isn't a miracle. Focusing on the good stuff, to quote Mike Robbins, just plain feels good.

I look forward to the next year in Las Vegas. So many things to see and do. So much more growing to do as well.

Thank you for reading,
-Nicola Byrne

The man who has done his level best, and who is conscious that he has done his best, is a success, even though the world may write him down as a failure.
-B.C. Forbes

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Ten ... A Baby Dolphin

Today we made an unexpected trip the Mirage Casino and went to Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden. There were tigers galore, beautiful tigers. There were dolphins. Very active and frolicking dolphins (I think this is the first time I have ever used the word frolicking ...). The big cats were knocked out from the heat and having a serious midday siesta. Cats are cats, whether they are two feet long or ten feet long, evidently.

Luckily, during the second walk by the white tiger area a couple roused and walked over to the water to play and cool off.

I have never before seen a baby dolphin. The amount of times I have even seen dolphins in person I can count on one hand. There are no dolphins shows at the Secret Garden. It is purely an educational facility and people can walk around and see them. We were fortunate enough to see all the dolphins out and about and very active. 

The Dolphins

The Big Cats

Seeing the dolphins and the tigers was a gift and a beautiful one at that. There is so much beauty in nature and a casino in Las Vegas was a surprising place to find it.

Good night,
-Nicola Byrne

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy.  Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.  Look at the flowers - for no reason.  It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Nine ... A Gift

An unexpected gift came to me as I was sitting in work writing up a program for a client's workout this evening. Someone I worked with, a former client from several months back, came up to me with a present. She told me that she has been receiving more compliments and romantic interest in the past month from the opposite sex than she has in her life. I found that hard to believe because she is beautiful and so very alive and filled with happiness that I can't imagine anyone not finding her interesting upon meeting her.

However, that said she attributes her new found popularity to what she learned working with me and made me a gift. She made me a beautiful bracelet with green beads and a dragonfly, to match my tattoo. That was what I found especially touching and endearing. She paid attention, remembered my tattoo and created something unique for me. She spent time and thought doing so.

I am tremendously honored.

-Nicola Byrne

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Eight ... A New Book

It took longer than usual for me to work my way through "Focus on the Good Stuff" by Mike Robbins but I did finish it. This was truly an excellent book with many useful and simple to follow steps to improve my appreciation of the world and people around me. I took notes and now have many great ways to improve my state of mind. It takes doing though, it is easy to take notes and then never look at them again. By doing I mean I need to follow through, it isn't enough to read the book, I need to put some things into action!

The particular suggestions I will put into practice are:

  • a sunshine folder - this is a folder where I can keep thank you's, awards, achievements, photos, awards ... and take it out and look at it when a lift is needed
  • a daily gratitude list - I have done it in the past and needed the nudge to pick it up again. It has been almost 2 months since I last wrote one in a notebook, until today that is!
  • changing my state - that certainly worked last time I tried it
  • sharing gratitude openly - this can be by sending thank you cards or verbally letting people know how I feel, the key is to express it and not only think it, to share your appreciation of others with them
  • creating me time - I identified the things I would like to do for me time as a manicure or pedicure, a massage, a walk a Pueblo Park or a hike
  • pick something about me to appreciate daily - something new every day and focus on it continuously during the day
  • write one heartfelt thank you every week
This week I've already written three thank you notes, so I am ahead of the game. Needless to say that means my gratitude list has also been written!

There where three other practices I would like to add to the list above but I felt resistant to starting immediately. Resistance, insecurity. They are something to work towards for me:
  • having an appreciation partner - someone to share what I appreciate with and to keep me focusing on the good stuff (technically I could say that everyone reading this blog is a sort of appreciation partner ... I just thought of that ... You're all hired!)
  • ask people what they are grateful for - I'm not sure I can greet people with "What are you grateful for today" and I'm not quite sure what reaction I may get if I did ... but this is something to aspire too. Mike Robbins shares in his book how his voice mail message asks callers to leave what they are grateful for today when they leave a message. I love that idea as well ... I'm sure I will be ready to do that one day!
  • transforming negativity technique - for now I will stick with changing my state, I am not sure I can do the entire technique just yet!
Now I have begun reading a very interesting book by Lynne McTaggart on quantum physics called "The Field". It has started out very entertaining yet it science based.

So ... what are you grateful for? (That wasn't so hard ...)
-Nicola Byrne

Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.
-Albert Camus

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Six ... Surprises

The past few days have been filled with lovely, unexpected events of generosity. Gifts really, out of the blue gifts that give me much to be grateful for.

I take this as a sign that the time spent looking for positives is working. As a result of that focus I am having even more positive events drop in out of the blue.

Perhaps if only one thing happened I would not draw such a correlation but I cannot help it when four things happen in three days. It is wonderfully significant.

What else with this week bring?
-Nicola Byrne

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.
-Francesca Reigler

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day One-Hundred and Five ... A Proverb

Driving to work today someone was driving recklessly and I felt myself growing irritated. As I was working on letting it go so the irritation did not stick with me I remembered this proverb that came to me via a newsletter in my email last week. It seemed appropriate and helped me set aside any irritation and move on with my day.

Two monks were traveling together when they came to a
wide stream passable only by a deep ford. On the near
bank a beautiful young woman wrung her hands in
despair because she could not cross.

"Climb on my back," the older monk said to her, "and I
will carry you across." When they reached the other
side of the river, the young woman thanked the monks
and they continued on their way.

The younger monk was bothered by what had occurred.
When the two monks stopped for the night, he could no
longer keep silent. "Why did you carry that woman
across the stream?" he asked in a serious
voice. "Aren't we monks supposed to avoid all contact
with women?" "I set her down a long time ago," said
the other monk. "Why are you still carrying her?"

~ Buddhist Proverb
If I had not let it go then that short moment in time could have carried through my day bringing much negativity along with it. Our interactions while driving can really trigger a lot of negativity and I really work at staying calm and peaceful as best I can. Sometimes though ... it is a challenge.

Thankfully there are great quotes and proverbs all around me to show perspective.

Have a good night,
Nicola Byrne

The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him.
-Henry L. Stimson