Mindful Break: Meet My Son (15 days old)

21ff76a3-6a13-4709-8450-9697c271c34bOn November 23 at 1:47am, my son Remo Romanelli was born.

As many of you have witnessed before, to see that little human being suddenly appear in the delivery room, all I could think was:

“I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”

Over the past 12 days, I have spent hours staring at his little toes and fingers and ears and lips that formed on their own in the womb and I thought,

“I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”

Last night, he lay on my lap and we watched SportCenter together and he lifted his tiny head to stare at me, I thought,

“I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”

And then, after the 12th consecutive sleepless night, as my wife and I lay awake shaking our heads at the ungodly hour of 3am, I thought to myself,

“I CAN BELIEVE IT!”

After doing my best to be supportive of my wife’s 24 hours of labor, I took a taxi home at 5am Sunday morning. It was both the most exhilarated and exhausted I’d ever been… all at once!

I told the taxi driver all about the night and how proud I was of my 6 lb 12 oz bundle of love… AND my wife for laboring for 24 hours!

And the taxi driver, parent of 3, said, “Get ready to be exhausted. You are not going to have anytime to yourself. Kids get sick. They are going to whine. They are going to take everything you have and ask for more.”

And I was thinking to myself, “Geeeez, I’m riding home with the Grinch.”

But then, the taxi driver said, “But you are going to have so much love in your life and it’s all worth it!”

Whether or not you have kids, you know that life is most raw, most awesome, and most wonderful when you are teetering at the edge of ENERGY AND EXHAUSTION, SUCCESS AND FAILURE, HOPE AND DESPAIR.

But you can’t stop digging in and stirring. Because as the taxi driver said, love is what comes from all those emotions.

You need every single one of your losses and failures, wins and triumphs, bad days and bad moods, great days and great moods… to create the alchemy of love.

UPS Makes Us Happier

We talk a lot around here about how doing nice things for other people is one of the surest paths to being happier, so when I saw this video this morning, I knew we had to pass it along. If I didn’t already love the folks in the big brown trucks—saving me from a trip to the mall!—I’d adore them, now. Check this out:

Way to go, UPS. You made Carson happier, and you make us happier, too!

Awesome Humans: Kellie Haddock And The Thank You Project

We talk a lot here at Happier about what it means to really practice gratitude. How do we focus on the good without becoming weighed down or bitter about the not-so-good? How and when is it appropriate to turn gratitude into action in a meaningful way?

Kellie Haddock lost her husband in a terrible accident ten years ago. The staff at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, however, were able to save her infant son (who was also in the accident)… and years later, she decided it was important to let the men and women who took care of her critically injured baby know exactly how grateful she was.

(Grab a tissue for this one. It’s worth it, but your mascara may not be safe.)

That’s gratitude. That’s choosing to be happier and spread that happiness around. That’s grace.

Read more about Kellie on her site, where you can also get a free download of her song, To Say Thank You, between now and Christmas.

Mindful Break: The Secret To Power

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 12.26.21 PMWhether you are a world leader, high schooler, entrepreneur, or superstar mom, everyone wants to feel powerful.

Sometimes we feel like we have it. Other times we don’t.

The balance of power is always changing, whether at home, work, or amongst the 8 personalities that play a role in your inner life.

And of course, we all have those times when we feel powerless. Like somebody or something totally owns us.

We can change that and shift the balance of power RIGHT NOW. This is how:

In American culture, one of the ways we define “power” is the guy in the above picture with ginormous muscles and awesome physical strength. But really? Maybe that guy can lift you and your whole family in the air, but unless he can lift your heart and mind, it’s not power!

In his seminal book Power vs. Force, author David Hawkins defines power as a state of awareness, not a sensory experience, look, feel, or balance sheet.

In Hawkins’ research, these are the rarest states of awareness, based on one’s vibration. If you have questions, check out the book. It’s one of my favorites.

LOVE (500): .4% of the global population reaches this level of consciousness. According to Hawkins, love is not based on a relationship. It is permanent, unchanging, unconditional. How many people do you know who feel unconditional love all the time? Pretty rare, right?

JOY (540): This is even rarer than love, experienced by saints, advanced spiritual students, and healers.  It’s based on enormous patience and persistence of positive attitude. How many people do you know who are always patient and positive? We are getting into very rarified territory here.

PEACE (600): Peace is attained by only 1 in 10 million people. Individuals at this level remove themselves from the world. All is alive and radiant. Total bliss. Either these people are hiding in nature, or they are very famous (e.g., The Dalai Lama or The Hugging Saint).

The higher one goes in Hawkins scale, the more powerful they become.

In other words, if you wish to become truly powerful, be more loving, more joyful, more peaceful… not more business savvy, political, or physically fit.

The greatest lesson here is resistance.

The reason Peace is so rare is because peace is a blend of all the emotions. Happy AND sad. Love AND anger. Calmness AND Anxiety.

Nobody in their right mind wants to feel sad or angry or anxious. So we go to great lengths to resist that which is uncomfortable. And then we spend a significant chunk of our time and energy resisting, griping, gossiping, living AGAINST rather than living FOR.

We think things like:

“That person at work has it out for me. I’m going to dominate them and show who’s better!”

“My ex is such an a-hole. I hope I never see them ever again.”

“The holidays are so depressing. I need a drink… make it three!”

All are forms of resistence.

When we allow ourselves to feel whatever comes up without resistance, conditions are conducive to peace.

Loosen, relax, open, breathe.

Power is and forever was yours. Whether or not you accept that is another conversation.

Here’s a confession: I used to think gratitude was really cheesy

This might sound really strange coming from someone who founded a company to help people make gratitude part of their daily life, but I used to think it was a really cheesy concept. It ended up changing my life in ways I’d never expected and in this season of giving thanks, I shared my story over at Time.com.

If you have a few minutes, I hope you head over and read it. And whether you’re a gratitude skeptic — like I used to be — or someone who is more intentional about it, I hope it inspires you to express it in new ways.

noteBecause the most awesome thing about gratitude is just how contagious it is. Every morning since she started kindergarten I’ve been putting a little note in my daughter’s lunchbox. I decorate it with a sticker and tell her something I am proud of her for or just say thank you for something she has done. The past few weeks I’ve been finding a similar note from her taped to my laptop, like this one this morning. I don’t know what makes me happier — writing her the notes or getting hers — but it’s a great reminder that gratitude is easy to pass on.

Feeling Grateful, Thanksgiving And Beyond

Over the last couple of weeks, we challenged Happier users to join us in collecting moments in the “gratitude challenge” collection, which is a little silly because Happier is all about finding that kind of gratitude all the time. But we thought a targeted challenge in honor of Thanksgiving would make sense.

In surprising news to absolutely no one, the number one contributor to this collection was… our fearless leader, Nataly. (Pretend you’re shocked.)

gratitude-challenge-natalyk(For whatever it’s worth, that’s our community manager, Kimberly, standing there, and then Laura, our PR lead, and Barbara, our program manager, sitting on the couches. Walking into an office they’re in is pretty much the definition of awesome.)

We were thrilled to see other users picking up the gauntlet, too.

gratitude-challenge-fionahFiona took a moment to to really savor her friendship with BFF Michelle. Did Michelle see this message? It doesn’t matter. This was about Fiona’s gratitude.

gratitude-challenge-janamJana could’ve easily been annoyed at the interruption caused by a power outage, but instead, she took a minute to appreciate her generator! That’s what we’re talking about, right there.

I think this moment from BookPRGirl is my favorite one so far, though:
gratitude-challenge-bookprgirllThis is why we do what we do. Knowing that we’ve helped people cultivate this sort of “attitude of gratitude” is why we’re here; we love seeing people marvel at how such a small shift in focus can make such a huge difference.

Happy Thanksgiving, Happier family. We are grateful for you, today and every day.