As I have shared in earlier blogs, I am a glass half full kind of lady. That is not to say I have always been that way. I have had a great many traumas and painful decades of my life to shape who I now am as a 56-year-old woman. I look back over my life, and observe that my happiness has come with a tremendous amount of hard work, positive self-talk and daily conscious choices. I always taught our daughters that when you wake up each day, you have a choice of how to be in your mind and spirit. You can choose happiness each day, even if your life circumstances are less than perfect.
Honesty is to me one of the most important character qualities to have. When our girls were growing up we told them it was always much better to be honest about something you may have done incorrectly, than to lie and lose our trust. To this day we all try to live our lives like this. As I grew older and blossomed into who I was, I started to cultivate some of the gifts I have been blessed with. Because of the very painful first years of my life, and my sensitivities and deep passions, I often felt things much more deeply and intensely than I possibly could or should have. I have had some amazing mentors in my adult life, the most powerful and loved one being my husband. He has believed in me and loved me in all areas of who I am, and to this day and for eternity, I will thank God for blessing me with him. Our daughters have also been some of my greatest teachers. They are both deeply talented, beautiful, loving women. I am loving the place where we are at in our mother daughter relationship right now…I will always be their mom…but we have a deep friendship and connection that is so precious to me. I would not trade that for anything. I truly enjoy being with both of them, and each of them teach me so much about living and loving.
I used to base my happiness on how well everything was going in my life, or how few bills we had, or how healthy we all were, or how well all my loved ones were doing in their lives. The last 32 years of my life, since I have been married have been extremely blessed, but of course far from perfect. We have had many hardships, sicknesses and losses, and worked through tremendous challenges. Through it all though I have chosen to see life each day as a new gift, as a new blessing to be discovered. I remember once a few years ago, when it seemed like life had given us about 3 difficult years in a row, I was talking to a dear friend, and sharing with her what was happening to us. She said to me that God must really have a huge blessing for us, on the other side of all the challenges. So, I hung onto to those words and chose to see each day as a new beginning, and I chose to be happy, despite daily difficulties. I work hard each day at seeing the challenges as life lessons, what can I learn from this, how can I use this for good? It is a conscious choice, no matter how my body feels, or what tragedy is going on in the world or in my own life at the time. I truly see each day as a blessing, and I choose to try to make a difference in all those people’s lives that I encounter. I really do try to be love, and light and a blessing each day to everyone around me. Do I falter some days? Of course I do, but I still choose being positive and happy over being full of darkness and negativity. There is that old saying LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE, and I believe this all the way to my core being. We all know that even in a family, when one person wakes up in a grumpy mood, it does not take long (if we do not work hard to overcome that grumpiness), for all of us to be in a grumpy mood. I am that person who smiles and greets people, I write thank you on all the checks that I write, I try to give out positive energy, in hopes and believing that it will be like the ripple in the pond…it will reach many others! This life philosophy of being light and love, as well as my conviction of always being honest has served me very well in my life. I can wake up and look in the mirror each day, and really like who I am, because I am real, honest and good, and I desire to share that with everyone in my life.
Alrighty then, I hope that was not too heavy for all of you…I just needed to express my feelings about happiness! There seems to be so much focus on the negative things in life, especially in the media! I choose to focus on all the beautiful things in life, and there are so very many when you choose to see them.
I would like to share of few of my favorite happy herbs. One that I had mentioned earlier in another blog was rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis. It is a wonderful herb to use all year around for energy and mood. Use it in cooking, for teas and honeys, and as an essential oil.
Another underused herb for a great mood is Lavender, Lavendula species. I often burn Lavender essential oil in my diffuser, and lavender tea is actually delicious. The trick with using lavender as a food or drink, is the quantity. Also make sure it is one of the less camphor lavenders so the taste will not be as strong. Provence and Munstead are great options that taste delicious in small quantities. This time of the year, or when you are feeling slightly blue, why not brew yourself a cup of lavender tea with some honey. Or bake some fish with a lavender, rosemary blend? Over the years I have done many things with lavender: Lavender infused honey (decadent!) shortbread cookies, lavender blueberry coconut milk ice cream ( I can not do anything with cow’s milk), lavender lemonade, lavender jelly, lavender tea blends, etc.
Bergamot is another wonderful herb that tastes delicious and is not used often. I grow both Monarda didyma (the common red flowers) and Monarda fistulosa (this is often called Wild Monarda and some consider this the more medicinal variety). Just harvest the flowers and leaves, and use fresh or dried for tea. It is aromatic and delicious with a little bite to it. Burning essential oil of Bergamot is very uplifting, and is wonderful to have burning if there is any grief or anxiety in your life.
A more commonly known herb that is considered a happy herb is Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis. Melissa comes from the Greek word for “honeybee”, and Lemon Balm has the same healing and tonifying properties as royal jelly and honey. The fresh leaves make a delicious hot tea as well as iced tea. The leaves are good for depression and tension. Lemon Balm is a cooling plant, so this is a wonderful plant to use for feverish colds. The herb can also be useful externally for swellings and sores. It is best harvested before flowering. A tincture of Lemon Balm is best made from the fresh leaves and five to ten drops is an effective dose for depression and anxiety. The essential oil is wonderful used in a diffuser and a mood lifter.
To me it is not only about making a daily choice to be happy, but eating good healthy foods that nourish us and encourage vitality.
A quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“ Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Live green and well everyone, and I will write again soon!