Scarlette Letter – Week of September 14, 2015

Students of happiness agree that certain habits foster feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. These habits include:

Gratitude – I’m grateful for compassionate people. I am so moved by the number of people volunteering to assist those who’ve lost everything they own in the Northern California wildfires

Affirmation – I am giving

Attitude – Confident

Activity – Ran fifteen miles on Saturday and hiked 21 miles on Sunday, some yoga and strength training at home between work and other obligations and time with friends and loved ones

Nurture – Yoga and meditation

Enrichment – Wayne Dyer – “I Can See Clearly Now” and “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel

Quote: “Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions”

Nourishment –

Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia

Giving – I’m assembling piles of things I can donate to the fire victims. They have been inundated with donations and are requesting just money, now, which I don’t have piles of, though I will donate what I can to the Red Cross and to GoFundMe.

I am weeding through things, now, so when they do need additional clothing and household items, which they’ve stated they will, later this week and next, I’ll have them assembled and organized. I’m trying to find out if they need any horse halters and leads to gather up the loose livestock that managed to survive, I have several in storage I will dig out if they can be of use.

Connection – I went to a concert with a friend I met through other friends. We’ve never spent one on one time together, so, it was almost like a “first date”. I spent some wonderful time with my Sweetheart this week, a little more than usual, and it was lovely.

Simplifying – Part of my giving to the fire victims will serve, doubly, as lightening my load. Closets and drawers are much fuller than they should be and I have so many new and like new items that I’ve only worn once in the past year or so. I am so hoping that someone in need will be delighted with them.

Journaling – My Thoughts

Love Drug

Love is so hard. Being in love is hard. Loving is hard. There is only one thing worse than being in love and being loved, and that is not being in love and not being loved.

I have often joked that I fall in love too easily. I’ve joked that my criteria is simple; a pulse and male. I have a very romantic, very optimistic, very accepting and, based on some past experiences, a far too trusting and tolerant heart. I love being in love. I love being loved. As a result, I’ve made some poor choices along the way. I am also a very tenacious and committed person, so, in some of those poor choices, they’ve been long lasting poor choices.

As a result of finding myself in relationships, in love, with people who have lied to me and cheated on me and betrayed me and abused me and neglected me and, perhaps worst, taken me for granted, I’ve developed a lack of confidence in love, a general suspicion of my lover, and an overwhelming sense of foreboding doom in relationships. But, still, I fall in love like a boulder nudged from a cliff. Wham. (Continue Reading)

Social – Instagram (begoniascarlett), Facebook Page (Scarlette Begonia), Twitter (@BegoniaBegoniaS)

Love Drug

Love is so hard. Being in love is hard. Loving is hard. There is only one thing worse than being in love and being loved, and that is not being in love and not being loved.

I have often joked that I fall in love too easily. I’ve joked that my criteria is simple; a pulse and male. I have a very romantic, very optimistic, very accepting and, based on some past experiences, a far too trusting and tolerant heart. I love being in love. I love being loved. As a result, I’ve made some poor choices along the way. I am also a very tenacious and committed person, so, in some of those poor choices, they’ve been long lasting poor choices.

As a result of finding myself in relationships, in love, with people who have lied to me and cheated on me and betrayed me and abused me and neglected me and, perhaps worst, taken me for granted, I’ve developed a lack of confidence in love, a general suspicion of my lover, and an overwhelming sense of foreboding doom in relationships. But, still, I fall in love like a boulder nudged from a cliff. Wham.

I am the first to acknowledge my own weaknesses, and, as a student of happiness, to explore the path to overcoming them. Every road should be a path towards further happiness, towards our personal bliss.

Being lied to, cheated on, betrayed, abused, neglected, and taken for granted are terrible, terrible experiences. But, I’ll argue, so is being in love and, for whatever reason, being insecure in that love, being suspicious, and having a sense of foreboding doom. In fact, all of that, I think is far worse than that which we are worried about.

If we are in love and someone lies, cheats, betrays, neglects, or takes us for granted, it is easy enough to recognize that and walk away. Run away. It is not worth staying and, no, things will not change. Remember, you cannot change anyone but yourself. Period. End of story. Run away. This I’ve learned to do. Eventually. We can sit on the bench on the sidelines for a moment, catch our breath, wait for the pain to subside just enough, and get back in the game. We can. If you don’t think you can, think again.

If we are in love, and all is really well, but we spend our time, our thoughts, our energy, in insecurity, in suspicion, with a sense of foreboding doom, everything is poisoned, whether in a perfect relationship, a really good relationship, or one we should be running away from. Life, in insecurity, of any sort, of any proportion, is hell, the worst kind of hell.

For some, love is blind; they are in relationships that are obviously riddled with lying, cheating, betrayal, et al, and they stay, seemingly blissfully. For me, love is hallucination, I see things, or think I see things, bad things, that don’t exist. Every comment, every text, every social media post has some secret, underlying meaning and it most certainly isn’t good. This is my mind left unchecked. Patterns have been set in the past and those habits are just that; habits.

Habits, good and bad, can be developed, and, likewise, can be overridden. The key here is to recognize that which should be overridden and replace it with that which should be developed. This can be done with a bit of thought, recognition, and discipline.

To replace insecurity, suspicion, and a sense of foreboding doom with calm, secure, confidence is no easy matter, but it can be done. Insecurity and suspicion, in love, as in many other things, is poison. Insecurity and suspicion are very powerful, very negative emotions. Negative emotions have power, very negative power. Negativity; I’m certain you’ve spent some time with very negative people and their negativity probably made that time feel uncomfortable, strained, and unnatural. Negative energy can be felt, almost tangibly, like a pair of rain soaked jeans; wet, cold, miserable, heavy, and constricting. Negative energy in love is doom, it becomes the catalyst for that which we most fear, the foreboding doom, the end of love, either with or without the rest of the nasty bits; lying, cheating, betrayal, abuse, and neglect.

What we need to know about love, above all else, is that it, like everything else in life, like life itself, is temporary. For the rare few, love lasts a lifetime, for some, a couple of dates, and for most of us, something in between. We can’t force love, it is either there or it isn’t. True, love changes over time, which some misinterpret as loss of love. It isn’t always going to be butterflies and uncontrollable lust, but it is still love. Love, true love, cannot be planned, it cannot be faked. That’s why “loving” for money, beauty, or status rarely is real, there are two hearts, there are two minds, and there are two souls, and unless they all are as compatible as the net worth, the plastic surgery, or the country club membership, it can’t be real.

So, when we find real love, poisoning it with our insecurities, with our suspicion, with the overwhelming feeling of foreboding doom, it is pure tragedy. Whether fleeting or enduring, real love is magical. Enjoy it. Bask in it. Savor it. Do everything you can to acknowledge it, to sustain it, to enjoy it, each and every moment. Remaining confident and secure in that love is the first and most important ingredient to lasting magic. Love will last for as long as it is meant to and love will only ever be present in the moment.

So, perhaps real, magical, love is more likely to endure if both parties are able to just live in the moment. The insecurity, the suspicion, the overwhelming sense of foreboding lives in one of two places; the past or the future. We are either projecting our past experiences onto our present situation, or we fear those negative experiences may occur at some point in the future. Am I right? Of course! Love can only be in the present, and unless those negative insecurities we worry about are also in the present, they aren’t real and they have no place in love.

When those negative feelings begin to arise, stop. Stop. Stop. Take a breath, hold it, exhale slowly and ask yourself; right now, this very moment, am I okay, are we okay, are any of those bad things happening right before my eyes, right now? Likely, no. Is there any irrefutable, tangible evidence that any of those bad things happened in the immediate past? Likely, no. If not, then let it go, let all the negativity go and just relax into the moment, with the person you loved twenty seconds ago before that negativity ripped the reins from your hands! Look at them, squeeze their hand, smile, and remember all those great reasons you’re so in love with them.

Being confident in love is the best love drug, no prescription, no copay required. Learning to feel secure in a good, healthy relationship is intoxicating. Being able to experience that love, with confidence, is divinity. Confidence; the number one love drug.

Scarlette Letter – Weekend Edition September 13, 2015

Students of happiness agree that certain habits foster feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. These habits include:

Gratitude – I am grateful for the communities I belong to, physical and virtual

Affirmation – I am committed to my goals and dreams

Attitude – I feel empowered by my accomplishments

Activity – Just a little half marathon with a whole bunch of hills

Nurture – A lovely day Saturday with my love, strolling, enjoying the beautiful weather, a few new restaurants, and each other’s company. Sunday, after my race, a wonderful afternoon on the deck in the mild temps, reading, writing, resting, socializing (on social media)

Enrichment – “The future comes one day at a time”

Nourishment –

Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia

Giving – Several organizations benefit from the proceeds of the race I ran, and, I donated by “Whole Foods bring your reusable grocery sack” nickel to a worthy cause fathering than having it deducted from my bill.

Connection – Spent time with my sweetie and we chatted with folks everywhere we went, on Saturday. Chit chatted a little, Sunday, with other runners and with a grandmother full of curious questions about running races and kids, with her grandson in mind

Simplifying – I made a new pile of clothes to go to charity this week, with intentions of adding a few more pieces from my closet

Journaling –

Ideas come to me at the oddest of times and usually when I am without pen and journal, or while driving and unable to tap my thoughts into Evernote or into a blank Word document on my phone.

I had a wonderful and rare Saturday with my guy, yesterday, and a busy and challenging half-marathon today. Several times, fabulously fantastic ideas came to me for stories to share with you, and, because I was enjoying my day, I did not record them, and, poof, they are, for now, gone.

Tragic, I know. But, there are times when we need to break away from the things we do to enjoy the moment at hand. Those special moments, special days, and special events that come so rarely should be unbastardized by work, or our other, usual tasks. Too often we squander the time we have with the really special people in our lives, or compromise it, by focusing on less important things. How often do you find yourself picking up your phone and addressing some seemingly important notification when you are in conversation with a loved one, a friend, a family member. Our attention is the most beloved thing we can share with those we love, they deserve as much of it as we have to give.

Yes, there are those unavoidable communications and tasks that must be dealt with, but, truly, those should be the exception and not the rule.

That’s my excuse, and I’m not one for excuses. I have no great story for you today, this weekend, but, rest assured, in my afternoon of rest and recuperation, I have jotted down a fair number of ideas I’ll play with for stories tomorrow, or the next day, and perhaps the day after. Today, yesterday, I had much more important things to do.

Social – Instagram (begoniascarlett), Facebook Page (Scarlette Begonia), Twitter (@BegoniaBegoniaS)

Scarlette Letter – September 11, 2015

Students of happiness agree that certain habits foster feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. These habits include:

Gratitude – I am grateful for good companionship

Affirmation – I am moderate

Attitude – Weary

Activity – Existence

Nurture – Meditation

Enrichment – Quote – “Good health begins in the mind”

Nourishment –

Quick breakfast before work.
Quick breakfast before work.
Great lunch; tart apples, brie, gouda and blackberry balsamic vinegar
Great lunch; tart apples, brie, gouda and blackberry balsamic vinegar
Dinner salad
Dinner salad
Soba and Sunday Sauce for dinner
Soba and Sunday Sauce for dinner

Giving – Good thoughts

Connection – It was a solitary day of work

Simplifying – Simply didn’t further this any today

Journaling – A tail, I mean tale:

Don’t Be Such an Ass

I work with a man. He acts like an ass.

My co-worker is funny and witty and clever. He often says exactly what is on his mind, and, on occasion, he offends someone in so doing, but he isn’t unkind, on the contrary, he is actually quite nice. He just doesn’t know when not to say something. He often says far too much. On conference calls he will talk far too long, or ask too many questions, or in some other way make a brief meeting turn into something much more than brief. And he acts like an ass.  (Continue Reading)

Don’t Be Such an Ass

I work with a man. He acts like an ass.

My co-worker is funny and witty and clever. He often says exactly what is on his mind, and, on occasion, he offends someone in so doing, but he isn’t unkind, on the contrary, he is actually quite nice. He just doesn’t know when not to say something. He often says far too much. On conference calls he will talk far too long, or ask too many questions, or in some other way make a brief meeting turn into something much more than brief. And he acts like an ass.

Scarlette Begonia

There are other people I am around, frequently, who act like an ass.

Sometimes, I even act like an ass, I really, really don’t want to, but it happens. I know better. We all know better.

The ass I refer to is Eeyore.

Like Eeyore, my co-worker dismisses his ideas as poor, he is rather self-deprecating, at times, and finishes almost every statement or question with something like, “I don’t know, it probably isn’t a very good idea”, the funny thing is, he even has the same tone of voice, the same manner of speaking. Like Eeyore, other asses I’m around often expect the worst to happen and just resign to it. Like Eeyore, some asses I know just assume others don’t accept or appreciate them, or their ideas. Like Eeyore, sometimes I assume the worst.

Scarlette Begonia

I’ve confronted some of these asses with their outlook, explained how, really, what you truly believe, what you think, and expect, will usually manifest, good or bad. It’s the old positive mental attitude thing. I’ve had an ass or two reply to me, saying something like, “it’s better to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised when it turns out okay.” Cheery.

One ass in my life believed so completely that the worst would happen, that he became completely paralyzed by his fear, he became totally unable to act to prevent that which he feared most. And in his inability, his strong belief and overwhelming fear, his worst imaginable fears all came to pass. His negativity was reinforced, and has had a domino effect on his life. He lost everything. Action and a positive belief and confidence likely would have changed the course of things. At the very minimum, with a more positive and optimistic outlook, even if the worst does happen, we are better equipped to pick up the pieces and move on.

Scarlette Begonia

There will always be asses. We will, invariably, be an ass ourselves, at some point in time. Maybe at many points in time. All I know, I think being an ass, like Eeyore, seriously inhibits joy and happiness. As a student of happiness, I believe this and intend to strive not to be such an ass.

Scarlette Letter – September 10, 2015

Students of happiness agree that certain habits foster feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. These habits include:

Gratitude – I’m grateful for the people in my life who love me

Affirmation – I am lovable

Attitude – Jubilant

Activity – Stroll through town

Nurture – Night out in Napa with my sweetheart

Enrichment – Quote – “A good listener is a silent flatterer”

Nourishment –

Scarlette Begonis Scarlette Begonis Scarlette Begonis Scarlette Begonis Scarlette Begonis Scarlette Begonis Scarlette Begonis Scarlette Begonis Scarlette Begonis

Sushi - Moriomoto's Napa
Sushi – Moriomoto’s Napa

 

Giving – just love, appreciations, gratitude and smiles

Connection – I got to spend the afternoon and evening with my guy, strolling through Napa, enjoying eats and drinks and visiting at all our regular spots

Simplifying – I organized some of those long overdue tasks that have been weighing on my mind, they are nearly ready to send off to their respective places to be dealt with

Journaling – The incurable condition of doubt, a story and some thoughts, reposted

Social – Instagram (begoniascarlett), Facebook Page (Scarlette Begonia), Twitter (@BegoniaBegoniaS)

Scarlette Letter –September 9, 2015

Students of happiness agree that certain habits foster feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. These habits include:

Gratitude – I’m grateful for little bits of solitude in the middle of a busy work day

Affirmation – I am productive

Attitude – Feeling sensitive

Activity – Strength training at home and ten cartwheels

Nurture – Sat on the deck at dusk, after my delicious dinner, and watched the hummingbirds and the dragonflies flying in, out, and around the oak trees

Enrichment – Quote – “Even the best writer has to erase”

Nourishment –

Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia

Giving – Gave my last two dollar bills to a panhandling woman with a small child in the Whole Foods parking lot.

Connection – I stopped in at the “Keg and Barrel” at Whole Foods and had a cold beer after chatting with the “wine guy” in the Zinfandel aisle. I used to be a regular, now I’m a “hit or miss”, this afternoon was a hit. I chatted with a young woman at the bar who is into boxing, jujitsu, and M.M.A. She was amazed I ran marathons.

Simplifying – This is getting bad. I drove right past the storage unit where those two bins are, but it was 105 degrees out and I knew it would be even hotter within. I intended to return later in the evening, when cooler, but got distracted shopping at Whole Foods. The storage place closes at 7:00. I’m not one to make excuses.

Scarlette Begonia

Journaling – I had to reread an article I wrote some time ago about the virtues of minimizing. For my benefit if for no one else.

Social – Instagram (begoniascarlett), Facebook Page (Scarlette Begonia), Twitter (@BegoniaBegoniaS)

Scarlette Letter – September 8, 2015

Students of happiness agree that certain habits foster feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. These habits include:

Gratitude – I am grateful for my sense of calm

Affirmation – I am on the right path

Attitude – This is meant to be

Activity – Strength training at home; handstands, wall sits, planks, donkey kicks, crunches, bicep curls, deltoid raises, resistance band sidesteps, upright rows

Nurture – Fifteen minutes of meditation

Enrichment – Current reads of all sorts; The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, Life of Pi, I Can See Clearly Now by Dr. Wayne Dyer, A Blistered Kind of Love by Angela and Duffy Ballard, and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella

Nourishment – Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia

Giving – I practiced tolerance and kind words

Connection – Just texting with friends, family and loved ones. It was a nose to the grindstone kind of a day.

Simplifying – I thought about going to storage and grabbing a couple of bins of stuff I’ve decided I can live without and taking them to Goodwill. Sadly, I ran out of time working and working out. At least I mentally identified stuff that I can live without! The next step is easier!

Journaling – A Story

Ups and Downs

I signed up for a half marathon this coming weekend. I hesitated, but finally just did it. Why the hesitation? The course is hilly. Running uphill is hard, and running downhill is jarring. One cannot become a better runner, and we should always be striving to become better, if we don’t overcome our challenges. Or at least attempt to! (Continue Reading)

Social – Instagram (begoniascarlett), Facebook Page (Scarlette Begonia), Twitter (@BegoniaBegoniaS)

Ups and Downs

I signed up for a half marathon this coming weekend. I hesitated, but finally just did it. Why the hesitation? The course is hilly. Running uphill is hard, and running downhill is jarring. One cannot become a better runner, and we should always be striving to become better, if we don’t overcome our challenges. Or at least attempt to!

If we aren’t improving, we are falling behind. This is true for running, and for all things in life. We are meant to continually seek to improve in every facet of our lives in order to fulfill our potential. It’s this constant drive to grow, learn, and improve that helps us discover our passions, our potential, and our joy.

I went for a hike yesterday, and it was hilly. There were other challenges, like the heat, which made the hills far more intense than normal, for me. I made it back to the car no worse for the wear, and am proud of my accomplishment.

Scarlette Begonia

In hiking and in running, there will always be ups and downs. And, for every up, there is a down, for every down, there is an up. You cannot get back to the car, or home, or whatever your place of origin, without experiencing equal ups and downs.

Life has its ups and downs, too, and while perhaps not quite as equal as in running and hiking, they do tend to cycle fairly regularly, both in short periods of time, say within a single day, or over an extended period, say, oh, life. In life, we can’t simply decide not to register for the race because there are ups and downs, they are there and they must be dealt with. While running up a hill, sure, I can tell myself it isn’t there, try to trick myself, but my legs still work harder, my breath comes faster, my heart pounds harder. The hill is real and nothing I can do will make it go away, that is where the race course has led me.

Interestingly, in hiking and in running, and other pursuits, it is at the very top of the hill and the very bottom of the valley, that we often discover the most amazing views, the most awesome features. Life is not dissimilar, it is in the challenges and the triumphs, the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs, that we find the most growth and reward.

Don’t be afraid of the race, don’t shy away from the hills. Ups and downs are part of the course. Ups and downs are part of life. The more we practice, the better we become at meeting and conquering the challenge. Race on.

Scarlette Letter – September 7, 2015

Students of happiness agree that certain habits foster feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. These habits include:

Gratitude – I am grateful for my abundance of energy

Affirmation – I have endurance and stamina

Attitude – Determined

Activity – 16.55 mile hike

Nurture – Parking lot yoga after the hike

Enrichment – “Make yourself worth knowing”

Nourishment –

Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia

Giving – I ordered Mom a new book of Jumble puzzles

Connection – Solo hike today, connected with myself and nature

Simplifying – All I needed for a whole day, and 16.55 miles, I carried in a very small pack on my back

Journaling –

I decided to spend this big, empty, day, Labor Day, hiking. I went for a very long, very hot, very dusty, dirty hike. It was great. I planned to be home by evening and, because I am pretty familiar with the trails I hiked today, and my hiking speed, given the hills and the heat, and all the other things, I was home right about when I expected to be.

Scarlette Begonia

I walked up the front steps of the porch, almost an insult after the hills I climbed today, but, again, though I won’t admit it to many, I could feel all my muscles groan a bit for the effort of those few steps. It was a very long day.

Mom was watering her jade plant on the porch and immediately asked me if I was “pooped”. I am, but to admit it seemed, immediately, wrong. You are what you say you are, if I acknowledged, out loud, that I was “pooped”, then the rest of my evening and all that needed to be accomplished, this article included, may have been laid to waste. So, I denied being “pooped”.

Shower is done, dinner is done, daypack is unpacked, filthy, dirt encrusted clothes are washing, articles and pictures are posted, dinner and dishes are done. I’m thinking I shall sleep well tonight, if I can keep my mind quiet. A little meditation before bed may be wise. It is a big and busy week ahead, beginning right off, tomorrow morning.

And now, it is safe to acknowledge that I am “pooped”.

Social – Instagram (begoniascarlett), Facebook Page (Scarlette Begonia), Twitter (@BegoniaBegoniaS)