Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My 10 Commandments

I find instances of coincidence fascinating.  For example, I love that when I'm wrapped up in a particular topic, all sorts of related situations, news items, and messages pop up. I guess it could be less of a coincidence and more that I'm paying attention. Lately, I've been thinking about my own happiness (see earlier posts). Along those lines, several happiness-related items have caught my attention in the past week.

1. - I have my resume listed with an online career site, and I (and probably everyone else registered with the site) recently received an invitation to become a part-time freelance writer. The site is seeking "socially-conscious people in the community who desire to fulfill their inner calling and improve the lives of others." Essentially, it's an opportunity to write about the stuff I'm passionate about. Small problem: I'm not sure what that is right now. Again, see earlier posts.

2. A friend forwarded me an e-mail that included a PowerPoint presentation titled, Are You Happy? The message is that happiness is a choice. You can choose to make your own happiness, or you can spend your life relying on other people, places, and things to make you happy. Which leads me to happiness-related item No. 3 ...

3. I started reading Laura Munson's book This Is Not the Story You Think It is ... A Season of Unlikely Happiness. It's Munson's memoir about how she chose to commit herself to "The End of Suffering" and hold herself responsible for her own happiness after her husband told her he didn't love her anymore. Munson's writing style (stream of consciousness) took a little getting used to, but I'm hooked. From reading early book reviews, I know that her marriage survived and I'm curious about her journey.

I think I have finalized my Happiness Project commandments. Here they are, in no certain order. My next step to is create my Happiness Toolbox.

1. Be Mari
2. Do it now.
3. No fear.
4. Let it go.
5. Cultivate your swagger.
6. Listen with both ears.
7. It's not always about you (aka Don't take it personally).
8. Do your best always.
9. Recognize and appreciate love languages.
10. Cut yourself - and others - some slack.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Finding My Passion

I still have The Happiness Project on the brain. I ordered my own copy earlier this week. I was over the moon that Gretchen Rubin took a few minutes to post a very sweet note about my last blog! After I read her comment, I reread the quote I posted at the top of my blog, the one that gave me the idea for the title. It's from the book Edward Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. As I read the quote, a shiver ran down my spine. In her book, Gretchen writes about ideal reality when she introduces her commandment to Be Gretchen. This involves exploring what really interests her instead of trying to find happiness in things that she thinks should interest her. I, too, spend so much time trying to find happiness in people, places, and things that, truth be told, don't really make me happy.

My husband and I watched the movie Julie & Julia the other night. Fabulous movie. At its core, the movie is about two women, a generation apart, trying to discover their passions. Julia Child tried government work, hat making, and bridge playing before she discovered her love of and talent for cooking. Julie Powell followed a similar path: government work, cooking, blogging, full-time writing.

What about me? I still haven't found what I'm looking for (U2 anyone?) I have found myself thinking more about what doesn't really interest me. I'm working at stripping away the layers of ideal reality so I can just Be Mari.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. LOVE this book. I borrowed it from the library, but I must have my own this book. MUST. The Happiness Project is a memoir about the year Rubin spent discovering how she could “change [her] life without changing [her] life.” Throughout the book, Rubin emphasizes that everyone’s Happiness Project will look different. And that may be true, but I think mine would look quite a bit like hers. As I read the pages and her ideas, I kept thinking, "I could have written this ...."

I haven’t created my own Happiness Project, although I’m thinking about it. Rubin has all of the tools online, and there is an extensive virtual community with whom I could share my ideas. I’m mulling over my resolutions and my Commandments. I just haven’t taken the step of committing them to writing.

Nevertheless, I have implemented a few of Rubin's ideas. I cleared the clutter out of my closet, replaced the lithium battery in our portable DVD player, and tossed the Pampered Chef chopper that has never worked. All three items were sources of irritation, and I did get a little boost from solving the problems. I’m tackling nagging tasks such as emptying the digital camera and editing the pictures in a timely manner. In an effort to make more time for friends, I’m planning our first party in years, and I have plans to meet with some girlfriends from high school for dinner soon. I’m also trying to be more energetic and more mindful while being less critical of myself and others. Today, in particular, I’m trying to have fun with failure. Sigh.

Perhaps most importantly, though, I’m diligently seeking the answers to three related, yet slightly different, questions:

1) What makes me happy?
2) What are my interests?
3) What am I passionate about?

It's been a long while since I've allowed myself to think about these questions. I'm excited and a little nervous to discover their answers.

Whatever you are doing today, I hope you are happy!