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)

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)

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)

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)

Scarlette Letter – September 6, 2015

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

Gratitude – The sense of accomplishment that comes from tired, slightly achy, muscles

Affirmation – I am tolerant

Attitude – Feeling tenacious

Activity – Recovery

Nurture – Meditation for fifteen minutes

Enrichment – “Take in life cheerfully”

Nourishment –

Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia

Giving – I helped Mom solve her Jumble puzzles, on request. Then I “Amazon Primed”  a new pair of slippers for her.

Connection – A gathering of many, friends and acquaintances, old and new, for a surprise celebration of thirty years of marriage for a couple of lifelong friends

Simplifying – Today’s story is about simplifying.

Story – It’s a Beautiful Life

My life is beautiful.

Constancy, variety, clutter, simplicity.

Because my life is beautiful, I take pictures. I take lots and lots of pictures. I take lots of criticism for taking lots of pictures. But that’s what I choose to clutter my life up with; pictures. I take pictures of everything I eat, for example. I do this for two reasons; to kind of keep a journal of my dietary escapades in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle and, because, frankly, I think food is beautiful. I take pictures of all the places I go, all the things I see, the people I love, that is the diary of my life and, as I am lousy with dates, it is also a record of events I oft refer back to. (Continue Reading)

Scarlette Letter – September 5, 2015

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

Gratitude: I am grateful for all the courageous and independent women in history who’ve inspired me, among them, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, and, now, Coco Chanel

Affirmation: I am remarkable

Attitude: Independent

Activity: Run 13.5 miles

Nurture: Meditation morphed into nap (what do you expect after a 13.5 mile run and an eighty mile drive?)

Enrichment – Listened to a chapter of Wayne Dyer’s “I Can See Clearly” on Audible during drive

Nourishment – Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia

Giving – Nothing more than kind words and good wishes for everyone’s holiday weekend

Connection – Great conversations while running with my running club this morning

Simplifying – Figured out how to use Microsoft Word and Dropbox on my iPhone so I can blog on the go more easily and don’t have to carry my iPad all the time

Journaling – A Story

My best friend, doppelganger, and soul sister, Jardin D Fleur, posted a little story yesterday about cartwheels. In summary, she’d responded to a Facebook post that asked “Would your eight year old self be proud of you right now?” True to form, Jardin’s response was both insightful and funny, she said, “I don’t think so, I can no longer do perfect cartwheels. I think I’ll go practice.”

I began to think about cartwheels.

I used to be very good at doing cartwheels, and, in fact, I don’t think a day passed between my first cartwheel at about the age of six and the age when such displays became uncool, say, cheerleading aside, in high school, that I didn’t do a cartwheel. (Continue Reading)

Scarlette Letter – September 4, 2015

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

Gratitude: I am grateful to have plenty of quiet time alone to create and reflect

Affirmation: I am present

Attitude: I am feeling solitary and content

Activity: Aerobic shoe shopping (rest day for long run tomorrow)

Nurture  – A hedonistic pleasure; I sat in the shade on the sunny deck, read a chapter in a novel and enjoyed an IPA with lunch. For dinner, a chapter from a Wayne Dyer audiobook, “I Can See Clearly Now”, and a chapter from the audiobook “Life of Pi”.

Enrichment – Every living thing has something to share, watch, and learn

Nourishment –

Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia

Giving – Good “carma”. I make it a practice to let cars merge or turn ahead of me in traffic. I also allow pedestrians to cross. I committed these acts several times, today, in the very crowded Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/Target parking lot and good carma paid off; I got the best, shadiest parking spot in the whole lot!

Connection – Only social mediocrity, I mean, social media.

Simplifying: I dropped off a bag of clothes and a pair of boots at Goodwill. But then I bought a pair of shoes. A small pair of shoes, I think I’m net ahead, for the day, in the matter of matter.

Journaling – Today’s Story

The Playground Bully

Do you remember being a kid, out on the school playground, during recess? You’d play with your friends and try to avoid the playground bully.

I’m an only child, and, as a kid, I struggled with two things. Having very little exposure to social norms for children until grade school, I had no real examples to emulate. I was, initially, very bossy. I bossed my friends around, told them what we were going to play and how we were going to play it. I remember once recess, in particular, the two girls I’d been playing with, started to yell at me. They told me what to do and what not to do, and they weren’t very nice about it. I started to cry and they told me that’s how I treated them all the time. I was instantly reformed. From that point on I suffered more from shyness and fear of not being accepted, until adulthood, though, I think I’ve now almost overcome that affliction, too!

I also remember a large, swarthy, brusque girl in my class. I was quite tiny and she made about two of me. In the second grade. Her name, believe it, or not, was Helga. And she was a horror! She was the first bully I ever encountered, though certainly not the last. I still encounter them!

Helga called kids names, mean names. The standard playground response when someone called you a bad name was to retort, “I know you are, but what am I?” Which usually elicited a worse name. The better and more final response, we found, was, “What you say is what you are!”

These words, actually, ring very true throughout life. People tend to look externally for a frame of reference for self. If a child is told they are dumb, they believe it, they adopt that as truth, and are shaped by that for a very long time, even, perhaps, for life. We have become aware of what the fashion and entertainment industry has done to our self-perception with airbrushed and impossibly perfected images of models and stars; we feel inferior, imperfect, fat, and ugly, when in fact, we just don’t have a team of makeup artists, airbrush artists and Photoshop editors to craft our appearance on daily basis.

Scarlette Begonia

So, what do you say you are? What do you tell yourself, about yourself, on a daily basis? And what lasting and damaging effects do you think that cruel, playground, bully has had on you?

As  students of happiness, we need to be aware of the words we hear and how we allow them to influence us, and the most important words we hear are the words we say to ourselves, silently or aloud. Be kind. Be kind to others. Be, especially, kind to yourself, in word, in act, in deed. What you say is what you are.

Scarlette Begonia