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Monday Thoughts 10/11/2021

“Live your life, sing your song.  Not full of expectations.  Not for the ovations.  But for the joy of it.”  ~~Rasheed Ogunlaru

“You are your own worst enemy.  If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.’  ~~Lisa Kleypas

“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.”  ~~Marilu Henner


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.

It was not until sobriety and recovery that I became aware of how expectations altered life experiences.  As a child, they created a sense of routine and security. Yet growing into adulthood, many expectations felt overwhelming and created a deepening wedge of shame and guilt.  Alcohol had become an escape route but the WFS New Life Program provides healthy direction and empowering tools.

Statement #3 encourages development. Happiness is a habit I am developing.”  It allows us to be where we are and work towards increasing feelings of happiness or contentment.  When expectations are lowered, whether in ourselves or others it can increase feelings of balance and stability.  This can increase insight towards further development thereby creating a healthy cycle of growth.

In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet, our founder Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD wrote “Happiness is a state of mind first.  Then it becomes a state of being.”  This week, examine your thoughts and identify where you are actively developing a foundation for happiness.  Release what no longer serves you or brings balance or joy.  Adjust your beliefs, assumptions and/or expectations to meet your goals and aspirations.  How can you increase your feelings of happiness?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Happiness contentment, joy, appreciation are all positive words leading us to developing awareness of what creates those feelings.  I have this great book, “Field Guide to Happiness” by Barbara Ann Kipfer.   Her book is full of ideas, questions, and activities that I have used in the past to uncover what is my happy path in creating moments to treasure.  I am a list maker so some of the activities spoke my language.  Her philosophy about lists is keeping track of wishes and things one is happy or grateful for and discussing the importance of the little things in life, the details.  Lists can be soothing, funny, a balm to the cluttered, ever-moving mind.  Lists make us think and sharpen our minds

The first question helped me to take a look at my environment which I had never considered.  I was asked to list things I am happy about in my home environment.  Examples: favorite books in the bookcase, comforting sounds of a wind chime, clear view of seasonally changing nature, caller id, even garbage pick-up day.  For me, it’s decorating my artificial tree for each season.  As I unwrap each treasure, I feel myself smiling and grateful for the memories these items evoke and awareness of the changing of the seasons.  I also love hearing the birds chirp in my backyard or sitting on the porch chatting with my neighbor.  It reminds me of growing up, living in a row house, and sitting on the porch conversing with neighbors next to me or waving hello to the neighbors across the street.

Then she asked for a list of things you were happy about yesterday!  Wow, this year has made that list challenging but doable.  Example: Making it through the green light, rerun of your favorite show, the luxury of a shower.

It’s a big book so I will share just a few more questions to guide you in creating your awareness.

Happiest Moments/Situations List.  This list is to acknowledge we survived tough times but also that we have experienced good times.  A reminder of appreciating those moments, remembering the positive, joyful feelings we experienced and how we are continuing to develop and create awareness of happiness that has special meaning to us.

Make a list of what you value most – your quality core values and elaborate on what you can do to strengthen them in your life.  Think about how you spend your time.  Is it in correlation with your core values?

Make a list of what makes you happy in your life roles.  I am a single woman, mother, friend, volunteer and making a list of how each role makes me happy was quite eye-opening.  Because WFS is not a program of judgment, it was refreshing to be totally honest with each role and see how I can increase the happiness factor or lessen the less positive factors.

Make a list of all your achievements – big and small.  We need to be our own cheerleader.  Looking at the list of achievements, can you feel the happiness that acknowledging these moments brings to your life?

Before you go to bed, make a list of 10 things that made you feel happy during the day.  That will be very helpful in answering the question about what made you happy yesterday!

Make a list of things you can do to add beauty to your life that cost little or no money.  Sitting on my porch costs nothing yet it brings back happy memories while I am creating new ones.

And finally, with all this awareness and creation of happy moments, think of ways to share joy with others.

Bonded in creating awareness, moments of joy, appreciation for what we have and sharing it with others, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 7/12/2021

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make.  It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.”  ~~Robin Sharma

“Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”  ~~Unknown

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”  ~~Amelia Earhart


 #3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.


Recently, feelings of agitation have crept their way into some conversations.  Upon discussion and internal investigation, applying Statement #3 was the solution.  Holding certain expectations had led to an increase in frustration and since none of it was under my control, I could only change my response.  Wanting to be happy instead of being right allowed me to let go of that frustration and reclaim feelings of ease and balance.

Before New Life it was easy to blame other people or circumstances for my unhappiness.  Yet this removed my ability to move through whatever the situation was and brought about feelings of emptiness.   By shifting focus and releasing blame, developing healthier habits began to take center stage.  Much of it came about because of something simple, like kindness.

There are some life situations or occasions where happiness may feel difficult or impossible, much like when moving through deep grief or sudden sorrow.  At these times it is helpful to adjust Statement #3 to fit your needs.  Instead of “Happiness is a habit I am developing, I might focus on “Self-care is a habit I am developing or “Compassion is a habit.”  By tailoring this Statement to fit our needs, we are acknowledging and validating our feelings while taking important actions toward balance.

Hugzzz

Karen


Good Morning 4C Women,

I love the interchanging of words that Karen suggested for Statement #3.  Goodness knows I certainly needed them this past week.  I had to laugh when my first change in wording was, “Happiness is my family actually following through on my words of wisdom!”  Of course, reality sets in and I have to accept that this thinking might be better suited for Statement #4 (problems) or #13 (responsible for myself), so back to happiness as I choose to create it.

What I so love about WFS is its flexibility in practicing the action part of the statements.  While the first part is the belief – believing I am able and willing to develop the habit of happiness; the action part is for me to create and not wait on others or even situations to achieve those “moments” of happiness.

Jean Kirkpatrick described her awakening to knowing it was up to her to create happiness when she realized every sentence about happiness in her early recovery started with, “I’ll be happy if…”  Just as I jokingly and honestly said “I’ll be happy when…”  Think about how you approach creating happiness.  Do you find yourself consistently saying “if” and “when” or have you been able to embrace the action part of Statement #3 to I “am” creating, not waiting for?  While Jean understood that material things we saved or planned for could bring joy, a sense of achievement, I know that Jean wanted each of us to dig deeper, to go beyond the material belongings.  One of the greatest joys, achievements, for me was becoming sober, experiencing authentic happiness.  No pretending, just feeling it.

Do you recall the first time in sobriety that you found yourself giggling, laughing hard and loud, experiencing pure joyfulness and even questioning how this could be happening sober?  That’s the beginning and as we keep moving forward, it’s amazing to discover it wasn’t a fluke, that we really felt genuine happiness.  It opens us up to discovering new activities, new adventures, possibly returning to former fun activities to find out if they still bring the joy we once had and creating healthy relationships because we are being open and true to our source of happiness – ourselves!  In all the changes WFS offers to us, one of the greatest rewards is how we view ourselves.  I know with each passing day, month and year, I became happy with the woman I was becoming.  I learned the coping tools for when the negative thoughts came in – you remember Ed, my inner critic from last Monday’s message – well, without WFS, how would I have researched and discovered that I had the ability to name and tell my inner critic that he was not welcomed to lie about me anymore?  How could I search for my happiness without tips from WFS on how to start and continue on that path?

Friends absolutely add to my happiness, but they are not the sole source of it as it was in the past.  I was completely dependent on others to provide my happiness and that became quite a burden for them and a huge disappointment for me if they didn’t live up to my expectations of them.  I am so fortunate to be surrounded by supportive women in my life.  It truly adds to the happiness factor.  I also appreciate that when I am feeling sad, angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed, that it’s perfectly fine and healthy to acknowledge those feelings. In fact, expressing my feelings has helped me to understand myself a bit better as I work on the “why” of those feelings.  I do not ignore or run from them or use substances to numb and bury them. These feelings are not wrong or bad, words I do not ever use because WFS helped me realize that these feelings are an authentic reaction to life.

It’s also a huge gift knowing it’s safe to express and acknowledge ALL feelings and that in itself creates balance in my life.  It’s not all negative as I use to believe, and I am not waiting for someone else to fill the empty space of unhappiness.  That is my responsibility.  As a friend said, “I’m the captain of my ship.”  So, where I choose to go sailing in this life and how I respond to all of it is up to me.   My journey is sprinkled with the reality of life’s events/situations, and I am in a much better place to handle it as best I can.  Well, I can especially handle the happy moments!  As Jean said, “We can change our thinking, which will change our behavior.”

Bonded in creating happiness, joy in our recovery and believing that we deserve it, Dee


WFS is Hiring for a Volunteer Coordinator Position!

 

Click here if interested to apply by July 14th

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Monday Thoughts 4/12/2021

“Happiness is a direction, not a place.”  ~~Sydney J Harris

“It is not about how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes happiness.”  ~~Charles Spurgeon

“Learn to value yourself, which means, fight for your happiness.”  ~~Ayn Rand


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created not waited for.


Last week, I reached a milestone that initially felt impossible; 14 years of sobriety.  This is a testament to the many changes that I continue to make, both large and small and everything in between.  It is through the WFS New Life Program that connections are made and cherished, continuing clarity grows and most importantly, adaptability takes center stage.  Statement #3 is critical to creating, adapting and maintaining sobriety and recovery.

In our WFS Program booklet, our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph. D, writes, “For many years, I was convinced that some people were just naturally happy and others were not.  And most of the time, I was not happy, I was too deep into feeling sorry for myself, waiting for the time when everything in my life would miraculously change, and then instant happiness would follow.  Happiness never came to me until I learned that the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.” This is an empowering shift that helps create the happiness we desire.

Instant happiness cannot be made without awareness or effort.  Much like making instant oatmeal or mashed potatoes, there is a process that takes place beforehand.  Seeds must be planted, grown and gathered.  Ingredients are then collected and blended.  Packaging, delivery and stocking take place before you purchase and then finally you can add hot water to create a seemingly instant meal.  Happiness falls into the same process.  Just like Jean, it is up to each individual to create their own recipe, live the process and cultivate their happiness.  What will you create today?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C women,

First, let me wish Karen congratulations on 14 years of sobriety.  Her writings continue to inspire me and I am grateful for her sharing this beautiful gift with all of us.

Creating happiness this past year has been difficult for many of us and yet perhaps needed more than ever before to counteract our isolation, loneliness and loss that comes in diverse forms.  I have learned over the years to create my own happiness so it was a bit surprising that I didn’t have more resiliency in keeping happiness alive and well during the pandemic.  I often think of Jean’s words that we wait for the big moments of life – graduations, weddings, reunions – to define our happiness.  Those are the high points of life.  We must create the others (happiness) out of the threads of everyday ordinary living.  Perhaps this is where the struggle has been this past year – the major change in our everyday ordinary living.

There seems to be nothing ordinary about it in reflection on how our everyday lives use to be.  I have heard the words boring, lonely and frustrating over and over again.  I’ve said those words myself.  What helps me the most is that we are going through this together.  In the past, I felt as though expressing my sadness and pretending I was okay, even faking happiness, was what was expected of me.  Now we are a collective group of women, experiencing similar feelings and the support has been absolutely amazing.  It is a powerful gift to be standing together, helping those who need it most and bringing to light one of the most empowering gifts of WFS – HOPE.

After each meeting, phone call, text or email, I am filled with the hope of the bond we share, being understood and accepted in my lowest moments, acknowledged in my triumphs and overcoming adversity.  In fact, those moments of comfort lead to joyful feelings that I might not have had without the women in WFS.

This hope I have reminds me to keep searching for new ways of creating happiness including something old in perhaps a new way.   I love dancing but my back and knees don’t exactly cooperate yet it doesn’t mean I have to stop trying to do some form of dancing that brings me great joy.

I have also learned that forgiveness of myself and others leaves a lot more room in my head for creative ideas as well as energy better spent for discovering my personal happiness tools.

Years ago, Oprah had a page in her magazine called, “Something to Think About.”  As you can guess, I still have several of those pages.  Here’s one on Happiness that I’d like to share:

All of us yearn for a life filled with joy.  In the quest for happiness, though, we often overlook the good that’s right in front of us.  Try to pause, even for a moment, and ponder the joy that already exists in your life.  You just might see it’s everywhere you look.  Find a quiet spot to sit and consider the following ideas.

  1. What gives you the greatest joy – and when was the last time you felt that joy?  Starting now, how can you incorporate what pleases you most into your daily life?
  2. Each day for a week, make a list of the things that bring you delight.  At the end of the week, hang the list on a mirror to remind you of all that’s positive in your life.
  3. How much joy you experience is connected to how open you are to receiving it.  Do you believe you are worthy of it?  How might the way you see yourself be robbing you of  happiness?
  4. Who in your life brings you the most contentment?  Are you depending more on your spouse, partner, friends, family to bring you satisfaction than you are on yourself?

The last question was the most challenging for me in the beginning of my sobriety.  It took a long time to start understanding that my total dependence on others to make me happy was a heavy burden I placed on them.  Now I see them as adding to my life and I am truly grateful for their love, compassion and acceptance of who I am.  That’s one of my greatest joys.

Bonded in developing our happiness tool box, Dee


Perks of Conference Registration

Perk: WFS would like as many women as possible to attend the Conference, so this virtual conference is SUPER affordable! There are three rates for registration — access to the Conference sessions/activities are the same, no matter what rate you choose:  $75 – $50 – $25. (The $75 Benefactress Rate helps fund scholarships and $25 of it is tax-deductible for US residents.)

Perk: If you’re one of the first 400 women to register, you’ll receive a clear, plastic WFS “I’m Possible” Toolkit full of recovery essentials. Not only will the WFS Program Booklet be in the kit, but so will a special Limited Edition WFS Statement Card Set, a travel-sized journal, & a worry stone with the I’m Possible! logo on it. You’ll also be ready for your next trip, as this plastic tote meets TSA guidelines for travel-sized toiletries. Win-win-win!

Perk: Conference Registration will allow women to utilize the REPLAY feature. The keynote speakers will be recorded, as will most breakout sessions. The recordings will be available for viewing during the two weeks following conference 24/7 (through June 27).  You’ll be able to view the sessions you wished you had time to go to, at your convenience in that two week timeframe. With 18 Breakout Sessions to choose from, the Replay feature is a wonderful way to attend more of the interesting topics that will be presented over the course of the conference weekend.

Perk:  Icebreaker activities! This year, WFS volunteers have put together a fantastic pre-conference week of activities. Registered conference attendees will be able to meet other WFS sisters in a casual setting before the live formal sessions begin. The Icebreakers are ‘meet & greets’ with fun topics. The schedule for the icebreakers is available on the conference page – just click on “Pre-Conference Activities Begin June 6” in the Agenda section.

Register Now

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Monday Thoughts 1/11/2021

“The best time for new beginnings is now.”  ~~Unknown

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”  ~~Dolly Parton

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“The best time for new beginnings is now.”  ~~Unknown

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”  ~~Dolly Parton

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”  ~~Maya Angelou


#3 Happiness is habit I am developing.

Happiness is created not waited for.


Happiness today feels real and authentic thanks to the WFS New Life Program and Statement #3 in particular, yet before my New Life it felt ephemeral and unreliable.  It felt like the other shoe was about to drop at any moment, so living in fear became the norm.  Like a dazzling and beautiful butterfly, I was forever trying to catch happiness and hold it close, but it was gone even before realizing it was there.  Alcohol and drugs can have that effect.

Understanding that we create our own happiness and that it comes from within is a concept that can bring freedom, balance and contentment.  Before sobriety, it was easy to assume that things, people or alcohol (drugs) were the key to happiness but the fact is that lasting happiness originates from inside.  In our WFS Program booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes, “Happiness never came to me until I learned the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.”  Even in the midst of uncertainty (fear), we can move through difficulty and maintain balance.

An example of keeping a sense of balance comes with my sweet, canine companion who wagged his tail into my heart just a few years into sobriety and recovery.  Recently he has been diagnosed with cancer.  While this news can be anxiety inducing, there is an underlying sense of ease.  Instead of drinking at an issue to escape it, managing and moving through emotions with a sober and clear mind allows for the moment to be experienced, even savored and expressed.  This is where the crossroads of growth and understanding meet.  So, while time may be limited, there is no limit to the amount of pure joy, happiness and love that unfolds from within.

Hugzzz

Karen


Good Morning 4C Women,

I learned a lot about myself in practicing Statement #3.  At first, I was quite reluctant to accept that I was responsible for creating my own happiness.  I learned two things from accepting this responsibility.  One, it is actually possible and two, I can experience happiness from others as long as I am in the moment of appreciating and embracing the joy they are bringing to me.

Previously, I leaned solely on others to bring me joy so I was always waiting, putting a burden on others to make me happy.  The word habit was the key to changing my thought process.  I sort of overlooked that word when I realized that most of my drinking decisions were based on habit.  A bad day at work, an argument, a disappointment, rejection, loss and an endless number of situations created the habit of responding with drinking to avoid and quiet those feelings.  So, if my habit was to expect others to make me happy, my new habit had to be for me to find what brings me happiness and develop a new habit.

As many of you know, I am a keeper of papers – lots of papers.  I found a questionnaire on happiness that I filled out back in 1993.  I always try to date my papers so I can see what personal growth I have made and learn where my current focus needs to be.  I got divorced in 1994 after 27 years of marriage so the answers from 1993 give me a lot to reflect on in 2021.  And remember, these questions were on happiness!  Unfortunately, I cannot remember where these questions came from yet I think they are just as relevant today as they were back then.

Before the questions, there was a list of 5 Foundations for Happiness:

Self-Acceptance, Personal Growth, Environmental Mastery, Positive Relationships with Others, Purpose in Life.

What do you think of these?  Any you would add?

Here are the 2 questions:

10 things that give you joy/happiness/pleasure:

Identify 20 things you’re grateful for:

I listed 17 things that gave me joy.  I am sharing this with you because if I had not dated this questionnaire, I would have never believed that I could list that many things when going through a divorce.  I had been sober for 5 years and practicing the WFS Program which is why I know I was able to list so many.  I had developed a habit of creating happiness through Statement #3.  Some of the answers are quite comical as technology has certainly advanced since 1993.  Some of my answers were foods that are microwaveable (guess there weren’t that many in 1993), answering machine, panty hose that fits, plus size clothes in petite (that goes back to the panty hose that fits).  I listed 21 things I was grateful for and those were more serious except for I don’t have to iron because of wash and wear and men with long hair.  I have no idea about why I was grateful for men with long hair but not having to iron is still something I am grateful for.

I hope you are able to answer these questions with thoughtfulness, a bit of humor and finding that you are developing a habit of creating your joy, happiness, contentment – whichever word fits you.

Bonded in developing a new, healthy, well-being habit of happiness, Dee

Be sure to read the WFS Winter Newsletter

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Monday Thoughts 10/12/2020

“The less attached you are, the more peaceful you are.”  ~~Anonymous

“Learn the difference between connection and attachment.  Connection gives you power, attachment sucks the life out of you.”  ~~Anonymous

“Let go of expectations.  Let go of your attachment to outcomes.”  ~~Anonymous
_______________________________________________________________

#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing. 

Happiness is created, not waited for.
_______________________________________________________________

Before my New Life, attachment meant nuts, bolts, and screws; today it takes on a different and unexpected yet empowering definition.  The WFS New Life Program and Statement #3 in action enable happiness to flow from within and connection to flourish.

Understanding that I was holding on to people, things, expectations, and concepts was a new consideration in sobriety and recovery.  This gem of perception enabled new interpretation and acceptance of what was, instead of what I wanted to be attached to.  Instead of “needing alcohol to live life,” I was able to embrace sobriety and connection followed.

By redefining the meaning of attachment that something is given, whether it be a memory or experience, a portal for happiness is created.  With an eye open to possibility, the act of clinging can be reduced, and happiness increased.  Oftentimes, Statement #3 relates more to contentment than happiness, yet deep down, it can be true that contentment creates happiness. Today, 4C women all over the world create their own happiness and contentment by releasing unhealthy dependencies and attachments while defining their lives.

Here is some helpful information to release attachments to feelings by Lori Deschene:

Understand that pain is unavoidable. As the saying goes, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Vocalize your feelings. Feel them, acknowledge them, express them, and then let them naturally transform.  Even if you want to dwell in anger, sadness, or frustration—especially if you feel like dwelling—save yourself the pain and commit to working through them.

Write it down. Then toss it out.  You won’t always have the opportunity to express your feelings to the people who inspired them.  That doesn’t mean you need to swallow them.  Write in a journal.  Write a letter and burn it.  Anything that helps you let go.

Xie Xie. It means thank you in Chinese.  Fully embrace your happy moments—love with abandon; be so passionate, it’s contagious.  If a darker moment follows, remember; it will teach you something, and soon enough, you’ll be in another happy moment to appreciate.  Everything is cyclical.

Yield to peace.  The ultimate desire is to feel happy and peaceful.  Even if you think you want to stay angry, what you really want is to be at peace with what happened or will happen.  It takes a conscious choice.  Make it.

Zen your now.  Experience, appreciate, enjoy, and let go to welcome another experience.  It won’t always be easy.  Sometimes you’ll feel compelled to attach yourself physically and mentally to people and ideas—as if it gives you some sense of control or security.  You may even strongly believe you’ll be happy if you struggle to hold onto what you have.  That’s okay.  That’s human nature.

Just know you have the power to choose from moment to moment how you experience things you enjoy; with a sense of ownership, anxiety, and fear, or with a sense of freedom, peace and love.”

How do you release attachments in your New Life?  Do you recognize past attachments?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Oh, those darn attachments!  When reflecting on past attachments, I now understand how they kept me stuck to what was and not even imagining what could be if I worked through the past to let go and heal.  The energy it took to hold onto attachments was suffocating.  I did not realize it at the time because I had not grasped the concept that I was the creator of my own happiness, peace, and contentment.  In my mind, only the past offered that.  HOWEVER, if that were completely true, if I really looked hard at my past, I might have asked myself why I chose to drink to numb my pain, my hurt.  I also learned through practicing Statement #3 that there were happy moments in my past yet most (not all) of them were from what others had done for me.  In other words, I placed most of my happiness on the shoulders of others.  What a burden that must have been for them.  The biggest lesson I learned from Statement #3 is that happiness comes in moments and it is the awareness of those moments that we need to nurture.  The foundation of contentment and peace that I was building was becoming a solid groundwork for the awareness factor.  I also realized that others can add happiness/joy to my life yet it is my responsibility to create a solid foundation towards creating it.

I love that Karen pointed out that pain is inevitable.  It is like grief.  We all experience it.  How we work through it, heal, and build an internal dialogue of positive self-talk is crucial.  I do not ignore pain the same way I do not ignore those happy moments.  They are all a part of teaching me ways to cope and ways to appreciate in real time.  It creates a feeling of authenticity.  Pretending I am in a place of peace when I am not is being untrue to myself and to my support system that cannot help me if I am not being honest.  It is such a balance of receiving support when I need it and sharing my joy when it happens.

What gives you peace of mind and helps restore you?

What is one of the funniest things that has happened to you that makes you smile whenever you think of it?

If you could plan one thing that you know makes you feel joy/happiness, what would that be?  Even with the pandemic, we can still dream, hope, and make a happiness plan.  I love going to Christmas Shops, taking in all the beautiful decorations/ornaments, music (there’s always music playing that makes me so happy) and going to zoos as I love the playfulness of the animals.  While I may not be able to do that now, just researching and planning for it makes me feel great joy in my heart and I am smiling now just thinking of when it will happen.

Bonded in creating our happiness, contentment and peace, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 7/13/2020

“You can only have bliss if you don’t chase it.”  ~~Henepola Gunaratana

“The thing everyone should realize is that the key to happiness is being happy by yourself and for yourself.”  ~~Ellen DeGeneres

“Seek it outside and you’ll be exhausted.  Seek it inside, you’ll find a path.”  ~~Maxime Lagace’
_______________________________________________________________

 #3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.
_______________________________________________________________

We are living in complicated and uncertain times.  This can be a distraction from feelings of balance, happiness and even understanding.  Life can feel overwhelming even without a global pandemic at our heels, yet Statement #3 in action is key to maintaining sobriety and recovery while unleashing and expanding inner contentment.

Pre-sobriety, happiness was an ever-elusive thing that I was trying to catch and cage.  Once felt, desperation to keep it and never let it go resulted in missing it while I had it. Most often it had come from outside of myself. This created a continuing cycle of seeking, skipping over and then seeking happiness again which included alcohol.  It was almost impossible to see the forest through the trees.  Gratefully, sobriety and Statement #3 in action foster feelings of balance, contentment and happiness.

Feelings of happiness were released from within in early sobriety by just staying alcohol free hour by hour and day by day.  Having joy come from within shifted the previous cycle; unleashing happiness came from my own thoughts and actions.  WFS and practicing Statement #3 taught this new concept which continues to shift and evolve.

Some questions to ask yourself are:

·    Are you aware of your sources of happiness?

·    What is your routine to create happiness?

·    What other words describe happiness?

Hugzzz

Karen

““““““““““““““

Hi 4C Women,

Jean shared that she created this Statement because she had so many problems with happiness.  It got to the point in her recovery where she realized she could no longer go on saying, “I’d be happy if…”  It took her a long time to realize that she was listening to, and reacting to, that helpless child in her and that this automatic reaction/response could be changed by her!  She realized that happiness was not the acquisition of “things” but rather having a positive view of herself.

It is amazing what a positive attitude can do to build a strong foundation of contentment, peace, joy – whatever word you choose.  This foundation, I have found, has kept me grounded for the most part in these uncertain times.  I say for the most part because as I have mentioned often in my messages, I feel it is of utmost importance to identify, acknowledge and express all of our emotions.  They help us process what is happening and how to work through it as best we can.  I also understood that people can “add” to our happiness just as we can add to theirs.

There are ways to create happiness in our environment and I have shared this in the past as well.  I’d like to share them again as I really found them to be easy and doable in developing those happy moments.

·    Describe your favorite songs and how they make you feel.  Music stirs powerful emotions.

·    Read something that you “want” to read.

·    Create a spiritual or cheerful place on your desk or your nightstand.  (I created this on my nightstand and change it often with a special photo, card, book, or other special memento.  It’s the first thing I see in the morning and when I go to sleep).

·    Approach new experiences as opportunities to learn rater than occasions to succeed or fail.  Doing so opens you up to possibilities and can increase your sense of happiness.  (I did this when presenting the workshop at our first WFS virtual conference.  It made a difference).

·    Seek out personal quiet time – resisting the idea that it’s a waste of time or it’s not working for you.

·    Open up your options for using simple means to raise your spirits.  Whatever you choose should replenish you, add to your fulfillment, nurture calmness or patience or general happiness.

·    Give – in any way you can – time, help, money, stuff.  By being fully present and cultivating gratitude, generosity and kindness, we can find the renewable source of happiness in ourselves in each moment.

·    Drift – Let your mind drift for a few minutes.  Watch the clouds floating by or the fish swimming in an aquarium; observe the wind in the trees, a fire in the fireplace, stars in the night sky.  Let go and let be.  Observe without judgment.

·    Create something you can tend to.  We often tend to the little rips, tears and loose buttons of life.  But how about tending something where you are actually nurturing growth?

·    Add dance.  Dance when the spirit moves you.  Disappear in the dance.  Dance as if you are expressing your gratitude for living.  In general, let life be more of a dance and less of a battle.  Dance a little bit each day.

I hope you will consider doing some of these ideas to create your personal happiness.  You might even write about it in a journal, a scrap of paper or notebook.  Refer to it when you wonder how in the world can you develop happiness in these uncertain times.  You might be happily surprised!

Bonded in developing happiness, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 4/13/2020

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  ~~Aesop

“Happiness is acceptance.  ~~Unknown

“The grass is always greener where you water it.”  ~~Unknown
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#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.
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Last week I was able to celebrate a new milestone in my New Life; 13 years of sobriety.  This felt incredibly special to me, one year for every Statement.  Yet, what is even more significant are all the changes that have come from that initial day of sobriety.

The changes did not occur overnight and have come over an extended period of time.  Statement #3 encourages me to challenge unhappiness and create it myself. The definition of happiness also took on a whole new meaning in my New Life.  In the past, happy meant escaping from reality and having a “good time.” Little did I know that I was creating the opposite effect while cementing emotional turmoil.  Today, happiness feels more like contentment and remains even while feeling imbalance.

As we move through this time of uncertainty in our lives, it is important to keep joy, happiness, contentment and even laughter present.  Below, you will find a calendar that can be used to track, implement and continue to find joy as we live and adapt to ever changing circumstances.  Stay healthy, be well.

What methods help you to remain balanced during this global crisis?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

I love this calendar and have subscribed to receiving it by email for over a year.  I love the positive reminders as it relates to various feelings such as coping for April.  It may seem extremely challenging to practice Statement #3 at this time yet it is crucial that we have a foundation in place to sustain us as we work through the ups and downs of social distancing.

Jean always said that happiness comes in moments.  It’s the awareness of those moments that we can hold onto in our memory banks.  Those precious moments will help build our foundation.  I call it contentment as Karen does.  There is a strong sense of contentment and peace that keeps me assured I will make it through this pandemic.  It also helps me accept that my feelings – a mixture of fear and hope – are okay.  I, too, understand that I denied or tried to ignore my fears which led to drinking.  Now I can say I don’t fear, fear.  It’s a natural response to circumstances.  It’s how I cope and respond to fear today that makes the difference.  That’s where the strong foundation I created gives me hope and, yes, courage.  So, if I feel sad, disappointed, concerned or unsure, I am okay with that.  I accept it, I examine it and then cope by working diligently on recalling fond memories and am grateful for those and the new ones I will create.

I decided to clean out my bedroom closet and found so many treasures I had completely forgotten such as my mom’s Easter hats, button collection that was hers and won me an award when I was a little kid for having the most different buttons, a love letter my dad wrote to my mom, lots of professional photos of my granddaughter growing up, wigs from the 70s and so much more.  I found myself smiling and crying and then smiling again.  There were a lot of memories buried in that closet and I wouldn’t have gone through it if it wasn’t for the social distancing.  I’ve also been in contact with so many people and that’s been such a gift.  So, Jean was so right when she said happiness comes in moments.  It is our willingness to create and be aware of those moments, hold onto them and know new ones are out there.

What happiness moments have you experienced recently?

Can you recall past happy moments in this time of quiet solitude?

What is giving you hope and courage?

Bonded in developing happiness and building a foundation of contentment, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 1//13/2020

“You are made to thrive.”  ~~Karlee Fain

 “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”  ~~Maya Angelou

 “Independence is happiness.”  ~~Susan B. Anthony

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#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.

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What does it feel like to thrive in your New Life?  To grow, to shine, to flourish?  For many women, it is a feeling of freedom that flows through a portal of sobriety and recovery.   In our WFS Program booklet, Jean writes, “Happiness never came to me until I learned the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.”

Alcohol or drugs numb life out and prevent meaningful connection but that is behind us today. Practicing Statement #3 encourages self-reflection which in turn encourages actions towards creating our own happiness without a reliance on what others say or do.  This opens an avenue to create depth and meaning.

Just like the above quote from one of our positive and energetic keynote speakers from our WFS Conference, Karlee Fain: Make yourself thrive.  This week, challenge yourself to thrive each day.  It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic, just small, simple actions.  You are creating your happiness, your best self, your contentment.  Send a Statement #3 tool that work for you to [email protected] for future use in our Monday Thoughts.

Statement #3 Tool: Identifying and employing boundaries.  Knowing what belongs to me and what does not aides in the ability to thrive.  For example, in a past, conflicted relationship, I shared exactly what I needed in order to move forward.  Essentially, this put the ball in their court.  To date, these needs have not been met, yet I feel content and at ease.  I stood up for myself and my needs and am no longer exposed to emotional abuse.

Hugzzz

Karen

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Monday Thoughts 4/15/2019

Monday Thoughts

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’” ~~Sylvia Plath

“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~~Dalai Lama


Statement #3
Happiness is habit I am developing.
Happiness is created, not waited for.


Before sobriety and New Life, happiness felt evasive and fleeting. Like a rare butterfly, happiness would land without any idea of how or why it came to be. Not knowing how to create happiness created feelings of lack and insufficiency, and alcohol came to be an easy solution to fill life with fun. It didn’t last.

Of course, over time, alcohol became the problem and not a solution to feeling happy. The practice of Statement #3 and embracing the WFS New Life Program creates a foundation for happiness to not only emerge but to flourish. In our WFS Program Booklet, Jean writes “Happiness never came to me until I learned the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.”

Here are 4 avenues to assist in developing happiness:

  1. Define what happiness means to you: This is not your family/friends happiness, it’s yours. What does happiness feel/look like to you?
  2. Release expectations: Letting go of the “I should’s” and of strict time-frames……”I’ll be happy when (_______)” sets up an illusion of future happiness. Happiness is felt only in the present.
  3. Invest in experiences: Instead of collecting artifacts, collect experiences. (note to self here…been collecting an overabundance of art supplies”)
  4. List making/journal: Simply listing 3 good things each day can cement a positive outlook and change perspective.

What other ways help you to create happiness?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I have a book on happiness titled, “Field Guide to Happiness” by Barbara Ann Kipfer. It is mostly comprised of lists, which I am inclined to use to keep me on track. There are 206 lists which is pretty overwhelming and when I first saw it, I thought this is not making me happy! However, I realize that as a previously unhappy person, sometimes there is a bit of work to be done for real change and it doesn’t have to happen immediately as we wish it could.

I’ve decided to choose a few in a shortened version and leave it up to each of you to decide what speaks to you in uncovering and discovering what happiness means to you and how to reach for it.

Happiest Moments/Situations List: It is helpful to reflect on happy moments and situations you have already experienced. This serves to remind you to be grateful. The list gives you a chance to remember important stories or people in your past as they define who you are in the present. You can gain tremendous insight into the person you are today. Open to the happiness of the list and expand your awareness of the overall themes involved. I like this one in particular when I am feeling sad and realize that I as look at the list, I have happy memory moments to be grateful for in my life.

Make a list of what makes you happy in your life roles: We wear so many hats in our hectic lives that just making a list with all the different roles we play will be enlightening. At first, I thought this was more like labeling which goes against my core beliefs. I realized as I started this list that I was smiling as I wrote the roles that bring happiness–being a moderator, volunteering, writing this message.

Make a list of the 5 most pleasurable experiences of your life: Then describe “one” and try to reawaken your feelings. I remember the pure joy I felt when I first saw my granddaughter. I can still feel it in my heart.

Describe your favorite songs and how they make you feel: Music stirs powerful emotions in all of us. Choose ten favorite songs. Are there events or people attached to them? Were you of a certain age? I went to a wedding last year and they asked me to write down what song would get me on the dance floor. My answer was “Sweet Home Alabama.” It was played and I danced. It was a happy moment that might be on the list of Happiest Moments.

Create an “Alter” on your desk or by your bed: Alter is just one word for a collection of family photos, trinkets or a vase of flowers. The idea is that the place where you work or spend a lot of time, should be cheering and inspirational. A desktop or bedside “alter” can help create a sense of calm. Stick to simple objects that are linked to a specific memory, belief or goal. What makes your collection in your intention, which can be as simple as your desire to return to the present moment and become aware of it each time you see your special collection. I alternate between different photos, quotes, special books I receive as gifts that bring a smile to my face each morning and evening. It truly is a gift of happiness to me.

Bonded in developing happiness,
A beautiful 4C woman.