Something Significant Podcast: Hemalayaa

Happy Living | Something Significant | Hemalayaa “What you seek is seeking you.”
(Rumi)

“Hey Matt! So nice to meet you. Let’s talk! I’m doing a series called the Unstoppable Woman. I’m talking to people to interview them on this topic…let’s see if it may be a fit …? Do you do interviews?”

That Facebook message was my introduction to Hemalayaa. We had both been featured in the Athlete Within Summit 2.0 hosted by Renée Ramsdell, and following the summit, Renée suggested that we meet. I am so glad that she did.

It was an honor to be interviewed as part of Hemalayaa’s The Unstoppable Woman Summit, where I was featured alongside nineteen amazing women and one other man. It was during that event, speaking with Hemalayaa about Overcoming Challenges with Inspiration, that I knew I had discovered another ordinary person doing extraordinary work in the world.

Fifteen years ago, Hemalayaa had a life-changing epiphany. It was one of those moments of sudden inspiration that lead to significant transformations of a life. (I describe them as Lightning Bolts.) Hemalayaa’s burst of understanding was about the necessity of living life with all-of-her-self present…all of the time. She describes it as finding that light of knowing within her self, each and every day, no matter what life throws at her. Hemalayaa loves living her life from that private place of self-power day in and day out, and she adds value for others by teaching them how to live this important practice, too.

It is such a pleasure to share Hemalayaa’s inspiring interview with you, because at Happy Living; we believe that happiness, contentment, and living your absolute best life comes from within. We encourage others to follow their heart wherever it leads them because the heart knows where happiness lies[1].

I hope this episode of the Something Significant Podcast, featuring Hemalayaa in all her wisdom and inner beauty, is the lightning bolt you need to find the joy within. I hope that it inspires you to live from your heart-connected self…every single day.

Thank you for listening.

Take One More Click and discover all of my Life Lessons in my book, Turning Inspiration Into Action.

Follow Hemalayaa…

Twitter | Facebook | Website

[1] Excerpt from Turning Inspiration Into Action: “MBG Life Lesson: Follow your heart wherever it leads you because it knows where your happiness lies.”

Image via Unsplash | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!

Happy Living Celebrates Character Day and Justice

“Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.”
(Micah 6:8)

Writing today’s post brought back fond memories of two favorite family pets: a dog named Justice and his mom, Liberty. We called our fun and funny Airedale Terriers Justy and Libby. This post, however, is not about Justice, the dog; it’s about the virtue of justice, and it’s part of our series celebrating Character Day.[1]

Character Day is a global online event, featuring experts in the field of character education. The intention of Character Day is to engage schools, corporations, universities, civic groups and others in deep conversation about the importance of character development. Anyone can sign up to participate (sign up here), and all participants receive access to award-winning films, conversation starter kits, a comprehensive online resource hub, and a mobile app, including over 5,000 pieces of curated content focused on the importance of character development. This content is meant to support you in creating and hosting your own Character Day event, and all of these resources are offered here, for free!

Character Day is getting big. Last year, there were 93,000 unique events held in 125 countries, including all 50 states in the U.S. What ties these events together? Each event is focused on a single, simple theme: developing character strengths.

At Happy Living, we believe that every day is Character Day. In the modern world of social media, that belief can be translated into a hashtag, of course: #EDICD.

I think that sounds like “edict,” don’t you?

I looked the word up to make sure I understood what it means. One definition read, “If your mom orders you to clean your room, that’s an order. If the king asks you to do it, that’s an edict — an official order from some higher up.” Of course, we at Happy Living have no authority over you or anyone else, but we do proclaim for ourselves: every day is Character Day.

#EDICD.

We write (a lot) to inspire others to live out that edict too. In fact, we’ve been writing about each of the character strengths—wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence—since long before we even heard of Character Day.

Today, we are celebrating the virtue of justice. A quick search on our website for “teamwork” , “leadership”, and “social responsibility”, all strengths listed under the category of “justice,” returned ten different posts! (Teamwork=1, Leadership=9, Social Responsibility=1) Including “equality,” a synonym of “fairness,” returned another four.

Here are excerpts from a few of my favorite Happy Living posts about justice:


Teamwork

How Love Makes You Happier and Healthier

One wonderful aspect of my work here at Happy Living is making new connections with inspiring people (our team) who love and live health and wellbeing. Our guest writer today is one such person. Jennifer Landis transformed herself from a chubby, awkward adolescent living a sedentary lifestyle and eating a bad diet into a self-described health nut, avid yogi, runner, wife, and mom. Her healthy living blog, Mindfulness Mama, helps you find inner peace – even when you can’t find your keys. In today’s post, Jennifer shares three wonderful benefits of love.

Fairness

Blog Theatre™ – Badass Ladies Blazing the Path to Gender Equality

Scott ponders gender IN-equality when the world is full of so many badass women.

Leadership

Something Significant: One Simple Thing – The Legacy of U.C. Davis Football

One simple gesture has been remembered for a lifetime, and it helped define a coaching philosophy based on believing in and helping others.

One simple discipline set us apart from every other team. It made us different, and we liked that.

One simple lesson has empowered thousands of U.C. Davis players and coaches over the years. We have learned that success is all about us – how well we prepare and how we play the game, whether in football, career, family, or life.

One simple idea is Aggie Pride. We were the Aggies, we were together, we were different, and we liked that.

One simple act can change a life forever.

One simple legacy… The spirit of belief is the legacy of Aggie Football.


This post is part four in my series leading up to Character Day 2017, which is scheduled for September 13. Check out parts one, two and three to see my favorite posts about Wisdom, Courage, and Humanity. Up next: Temperance.

Take One More Click to join our free Happy Living Character Day Workshop designed to bring positive character changes to your life.

[1] Watch 1min Character Day Trailer

Meaning of Life

Happy Living“Adventure isn’t hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles in life.”
(John Amatt)

What is the meaning of life?  This is among the oldest of questions. And, I’ll tell you, I don’t know the answer.

Some people say that a rush of adrenaline cues them into life’s deeper meaning. They are adrenaline junkies. I am not. In fact, I believe that I was born with insufficient adrenaline receptors…meaning I require a bigger adrenaline rush than most people to feel normal. This has led to my participation in all kinds of skill-based action sports and adventures. From backcountry skiing to rock climbing, mountaineering to whitewater kayaking, these activities have often been a gateway to intense experiences, both physically and interpersonally. While the physical challenges are exciting, it is the interpersonal experiences I remember most.

For example, one day while rock climbing, I took a rather nasty fall. I fell about 60 feet through the air and swung into a wall of granite. I was hanging there from my harness, dangling in mid-air, face-to-face with my buddy and belayer, the man who had just saved my life, and he said, “Holy shit man! You ok?” I rotated slowly at the end of my rope. As I turned again to face him I said, “Dude! It was just starting to get good!”

I remember as if it were yesterday: his expression of deep concern and compassion, turning, in an instant, into bold and raucous laughter.

“Well quit fucking around then!” he exclaimed.

When I tell this story to women, they are mostly horrified. I usually receive a response like, “Why would your friend say something so insensitive?!”

Guys? They just smile. They know what he was really saying: “

I have lived most of my life thinking that “it” (life) was about the next big physical experience. The next rush of adrenaline. I’ve spent so much time anticipating the next wall or mountain or river. The next big trip.

The next trip, as it turns out, is always just a vehicle to deliver me another seriously life-changing interpersonal experience. I’ve discovered that these are the kind of experiences that create memories that last a lifetime, and that is what it.

When I realized the sacred privilege of sharing this kind of experience with another human, I realized what a gift it is to be part of a loving tribe. For me, it is no longer about the next trip. It’s about having a tribe to love. Slowly, I am finding ways to engage in serious life-changing experiences without needing to fall 60 feet through the air. Without that adrenaline rush I’ve so often required in the past. Now, I’m seeking this deeper meaning and connection by gazing deeply into the eyes of my tribe and seeking to understand their souls.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this is the meaning of life. At least for me. At least for now…

Image via Unsplash | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!

Your Voice: A Page Turner

Your Voice | Happy Living“In matters of the heart, nothing is true except the improbable.”
(Madame de Stael)

The Your Voice series is a celebration of you, our awesome readers all around the globe. We know you aspire to a better life for yourself and for those you love. You believe, as we do, that a better self is always possible, today, every day, for the rest of your life.

We celebrate you by bringing your voice to life on our pages at Happy Living. Whenever you feel inspired by one of our posts, books, blog theatre, talks, or podcasts, we want to hear from you. And when we do, we hope your voice will inspire others, so that together, we can improve the health and wellbeing of the world, one person at a time.

Today, we are excited to feature the voice of Carol A. Stanley. Carol describes that she read the book in two days because Love Letters from the Grave is a page-turner.


My addiction in reading is strictly towards mysteries and thrillers. This book was recommended by a good friend whose taste I respect in literature. So with a ho hum attitude I I began reading. Wow was I surprised. I read the book in two days always wanting to know what was going to happen next. I believe that is often referred to as a “page turner”. The characters were delightful and the plot was smooth. One had to get caught up in the love story and the passion these two people felt for each other. So with that being said I truly recommend reading this book for some delightful hours in the land of love. – Carol A. Stanley


You, dear reader, inspire us to write and to live by the words we write too. You are our purpose at Happy Living, and we are so grateful to you. It is both humbling and incredibly gratifying to hear the voice of readers like Carol A Stanley. Thank you for sharing the journey of Happy Living with us.

To lend your voice to Your Voice at Happy Living, just click here to share what inspires you!

Image via Unsplash | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!

Celebrating Friendship In The Real World Energizes The Soul

Blog Theatre | Happy Living

Scott wrestles with the meaning of friendships in the “real” world. | Read the post that inspired this Blog Theatre™

Image via Unsplash | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!

Happy Living Celebrates Character Day and Humanity

Inspiration into Action | Happy Living“Be kind whenever possible.
It’s always possible.”
(Dalai Lama)

Character Day is a world-wide online event, featuring experts in the field of character education with the intention of engaging schools, corporations, universities, civic groups and others in deep conversation about the importance of character development. When you sign up, you receive access to award-winning films, conversation starter kits, a comprehensive online resource hub, and a mobile app, which includes over 5,000 pieces of curated content focused on the importance of character development. All of this is provided to support participants in creating and hosting their own Character Day events, and all of these resources are offered for free!

Character Day is growing like crazy. Last year, there were 93,000 unique events held in 125 countries, including all 50 states in the U.S. Every event is focused on a single, simple theme: developing character strengths.

At Happy Living, we believe that every day is Character Day. In the modern world of social media, that belief can be translated into a hashtag, of course: #EDICD.

I think that sounds like “edict,” don’t you?

I looked the word up to make sure I understood what it meant. One definition read, “If your mom orders you to clean your room, that’s an order. If the king asks you to do it, that’s an edict — an official order from some higher up.” Of course, we have no authority over you or anyone else, but we do proclaim for ourselves: every day is Character Day. #EDICD. And we write, a lot, to inspire others to live out that edict too. In fact, we’ve been writing about the character strengths–wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence—since long before we even heard of Character Day.

Today, we are celebrating the virtue of humanity. A quick search on our website for “love”, “kindness”, and “empathy”, all strengths listed under the category of humanity, returns two-hundred-thirty-five different posts! (Love=204, Kindness=26, Empathy=5)

Here are excerpts from a few of my favorite Happy Living posts about humanity.

The Many Types of Love

My Philosophy on Love[1]

My philosophy on love is built on these four simple ideas:

  1. I know it’s love because it touches my heart, it reaches my inner spirit, and I can feel it.
  2. I look for love everywhere and all the time by paying attention to what I am attracted to.
  3. When I find love, I give it all I have to give.
  4. I work to create my life doing the things I love, with the people I love, in the places I love.

The Love of a Lifetime

This Great Big Love

My parents, Paul and Freda Gersper, celebrated their 60th anniversary on January 3, 2016. A week earlier, they had a big party with nearly one hundred of their closest family and friends.

I was asked to be the Master of Ceremonies for their anniversary party. As such, I had to prepare a speech for the big toast. One Sunday morning, as I was thinking about what I could say to possibly match the gravity of such an amazing accomplishment, a poem came to me. Click here to read my poem and to watch an amazing video about a great big love!

The Sweet Gift of Kindness

Unexpected Kindness

Here are a few tips I have learned about unexpected kindness and the power of giving:

  • Everyone has something they can give – whether it’s time, kindness, money, something they no longer use or need, etc.
  • Giving is good for both the giver and the receiver.
  • Determine what you have in excess (time, kindness, money, something you no longer use or need, etc.) and then give within your means.
  • Look for opportunities to give back that which you have received. (Pay it forward![2])

Will Empathy Power the Human Economy?

Has Man’s Left-Brain Created a Woman’s World?

Men and their analytical “divide-and-conquer thinking” thrived during the agricultural, industrial, and knowledge economies. The human economy, however, favors feminine thinking. And importantly, it rewards a set of human skills that machines cannot learn:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Creativity
  3. Initiative
  4. Multi-disciplinary thinking
  5. Empathy

Thriving in the human economy will require a shift from left-brain to right-brain thinking and from masculine to feminine solutions.

This post is part three in my series leading up to Character Day 2017, which is scheduled for September 13. Check out parts one and two to see my favorite posts about Wisdom and Courage. Up next: Justice.

Take One More Click to join our free online Character Day Workshop designed to bring positive character changes to your life.

[1] An excerpt from The Belief Road Map: How to Know Yourself Better and Create Personal Philosophies to Guide the Way to the Life of Your Dreams

[2] Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.

Be Your Own Health Hero

“The… patient should be made to understand that he or she must take charge of his own life.  Don’t take your body to the doctor as if he were a repair shop.”
(Quentin Regestein)

I have a big problem with our medical system.

Wait! Before you stop reading, please hear me out.

I hate that:

  • we have come to rely so heavily on technology that if there isn’t a mainstream test to confirm a diagnosis, we’re often told “there isn’t a problem.”
  • we have decided that some widespread health conditions are “normal,” even when they prevent us from living fully and vibrantly.
  • we have elevated our doctors to the status of gods, expecting them to dole out health via pills and procedures and believing that, if they can’t fix us, we’re doomed.
  • alternative healthcare providers are still often viewed as second-class citizens within the system, rather than as full team members with a different, but equally valuable education and point of view.

The biggest problem of all is that we have turned ourselves, the users and intended beneficiaries of the system, into numbered specimens on an assembly line of treatment. We’ve seemingly forgotten that each of us is incredibly and wonderfully unique, as is each problem we face, medical or otherwise.

Like I said, I have a big problem with our medical system.

It’s designed to solve equations where diagnosis + medical intervention = cure.

This is a problem.

It’s a problem because people are complex beings. And if we are truly going to heal (as opposed to simply masking our symptoms, which is what often happens when we stick to using the faulty equation above) we require multifaceted treatments, with at least some of those interventions falling outside of “conventional” medicine. In other words, it’s rarely as simple as diagnosis + intervention = cure.

The good news: I believe the system is (slowly) changing for the better.

The even better news: We don’t need to wait for the system to shift fully from disease management to holistic healthcare in order to be as healthy as we want and deserve to be; we simply have to take back our personal power and assume responsibility for own health.

How? Be your own health hero!

When it comes to your health, you know you better than anyone else. After all, you are the only person who has lived through all of your experiences, and only you can recognize when things don’t feel right. Most of all, you are the only one who lives in your body, and so, you’re the only one who will work diligently every single day for your own best interests.

To that end, here are three ways you can become your own health hero:

  1. Decide that “normal” isn’t good enough, especially if what’s being called “normal” doesn’t feel good to you.

I had a client who came to me because she wanted guidance on how to do a healthy detox protocol.  During the course of our conversation, I found out that she pooped only two to three times per week. Although this wasn’t satisfying to her and though she admitted to wondering why she couldn’t move her bowels every day, like other people, she had come to accept it as “normal,” because it had been this way for the 20+ years. Can you imagine?!

As part of her desire to boost her detoxification abilities, we needed to be sure the pathways that carry toxins out of the body were working efficiently, starting with a daily bowel movement. So first, we focused on getting her to poop regularly.

Turns out that it was a fairly easy fix. Based on the information she gave me, we figured out with relative ease that dairy constipates her. Now, she knows if she chooses to have cheese or ice cream, she’ll be backed up for a few days. Thankfully, she chooses to keep dairy out of her diet for the most part, so her new normal is pooping every day!

The point is that, for years, her doctor and family members said that pooping a few times a week was “fine” and “probably just how her body works,” even though it wasn’t feeling good to her to live that way. She trusted herself enough to seek help outside of mainstream healthcare, and together, she and I were able to resolve the problem so that she doesn’t have to live with that consistent discomfort any longer. She decided that “normal” wasn’t good enough and became her own health hero!

  1. Do your own research.

Look, I know that doctors are highly educated, intelligent people, and most of them really want to help us feel better. However, they don’t always have time to keep up with the latest research or to understand exactly how the commonly recommended treatments may affect you.

If something’s really bothering you that you believe is fixable or if you are concerned that a treatment you’ve been prescribed may have consequences you don’t want, the internet provides easy access to very reputable resources. You have the power to learn more about what’s available, to discern what feels good to you, and then to find a practitioner who will support you with a methodology that is tailored to your individual needs.

One client came to me having suffered from acid reflux for many years, and he wanted a solution other than taking medication. His doctor had put him on a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) and suggested that he would probably need to use it indefinitely, even though PPIs have only been verified for use up to 14 consecutive days and are recommended for use no more than three rounds over a 12 month period[1]. (In addition, consistent, long term use has been linked to all sorts of problems like increased risk of infections, fractures of the hip and spine, iron deficiency anemia, chronic kidney disease and multiple types of dementia[2,3,4]. Yikes!)

Fortunately, my client discovered this information about the side effects of PPI use and realized it wasn’t the best option for him. Though he wasn’t quite sure how to move forward, he knew that he wanted a different, more natural solution. He did more research and then came to me to determine if what he had read was scientifically accurate and, if it was, to come up with a more natural plan for healing his digestive system.

By focusing on the many different things that can trigger acid reflux, we were able to identify some triggering foods and related imbalances in his hormonal system. We worked together to resolve these underlying causes, and to his doctor’s surprise, he was able to go off of his PPI after only a few months.

Thankfully, he no longer suffers from the constant burning. If he had simply trusted his doctor’s expert opinion rather than doing further investigation on his own, he would still be on that PPI and worrying constantly about both its side effects and the potential long-term effects on his body. By becoming his own health hero, he was able to relieve the pain using a methodology that doesn’t cause stress.

  1. Decide with personal authority whether the intervention recommended by your doctor is the right one for you or if you need to pursue alternatives. 

When my husband and I decided to have a family, I immediately went to my gynecologist to test my hormone levels and determine the likelihood of successful childbearing for my 40-year-old body.

Seeing my AMH levels (one of the main markers of fertility) and my age, my doctor immediately told me that my “only option” was IVF. Needless to say, I didn’t like that answer. Other than the AMH, my hormone levels looked okay. What’s more, I believe in the inherent healing capability of my body and I wanted to give my body that chance before deciding medical intervention was necessary. I decided to pursue more natural solutions to boost my fertility and bring my hormone levels into balance.

Through my own research (even I do research when I encounter a new situation!), I discovered there are many things that can impact fertility: autoimmune disease, nutrient deficiencies, toxicity, hormonal imbalance and several other factors can impact your chances of getting and staying pregnant, regardless of age.

Research also demonstrated that, at my age, the chance of IVF with my own egg resulting in the live birth of a child was less than 16%[5]. In contrast, if I could get pregnant on my own, without undergoing IVF, my chances of successful childbearing were closer to 60%[6]. For me, 60% was a much more hopeful (and less expensive!) probability than 16%.

I’m happy to report that I did not have to go through IVF, I am currently 24 weeks pregnant, and all signs point to a healthy, thriving little boy growing inside of me. Not only am I thrilled with this outcome, I am also proud of myself for the work I did to make my body an even healthier place for me and this tiny human growing inside me.

Had I trusted my doctor rather than my own instinct, I might have decided not to pursue motherhood, or I might have unnecessarily subjected myself to the heavy medical procedures required for IVF. What’s more, these procedures would not have had the joint aim of improving my own health and wellbeing at the same time as preparing my body for a baby.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t undergo IVF or that IVF is never necessary to get pregnant. Rather, it’s to point out that often, regardless of what health issue you’re facing, you may have options your doctor didn’t tell you about! If something your doctor is suggesting doesn’t feel good to you, recognize that you have the personal power and responsibility to consider other options. Even if you ultimately decide the original recommendation is the best one, you’ll go into it more open to the outcome you believe it can provide.

Bottom line:

your body is meant to be healthy, and with your fierce support, it tends that way on its own. So, do yourself a favor and become your own health hero.

In this day and age, we have more resources available to us than ever before. Relevant, accurate and applicable research is readily available via the internet. Integrative healthcare practitioners are sharing what they know on social media. And telehealth services are becoming more widely available so you can find the right person to support you on your health journey. (To learn more about gathering a health care team you really trust, read my article, Surround Yourself with Believers.)

You deserve to be happy and healthy. Being your own health hero is a powerful first step to make that happen.

Sources:

  1. David C. Metz. Long-term Use of Proton-Pump Inhibitor Therapy.
  2. Paul W. Ament, Daniel B. Dicola, and Mary E. James. Reducing Adverse Effects of Proton Pump Inhibitors.
  3. Benjamin Lazarus, Yuan Chen, Francis P. Wilson, et al. Proton Pump Inhibitor Use and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease.
  4. Willy Gomm, Klaus von Holt, Friederike Thomé, et al. Association of Proton Pump Inhibitors with Risk of Dementia, a Pharmacoepidemiological Claims Data Analysis.
  5. Centers for Disease Control. 2014 ART Fertility Clinic Success Rates Report.
  6. Healthline. A Breakdown of Miscarriage Rates by Week.

Image via Unsplash | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!

Something Significant Podcast: The Wish Man, Frank Shankwitz

Something Significant | Happy Living“You’ve got to learn to turn the negative into the positive.”
(Juan Delgadillo[1])

I believe in serendipity…or destiny…or providence. It’s called by many names. I call it the Power of the Universe[2]. In my post, A Year of Easy Expansion for Happy Living, I shared how this Power seemed to have had a hand in my meeting Frank Shankwitz.

In preparing for this interview, I read Wishman, the life story of the man who created the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It’s Frank’s story, and wow! What an inspiring life he has led! Through a very challenging childhood and while overcoming tremendous hardship as an adult, Frank was often lifted by the kindness and generosity of others. At every turn, when and where he needed it the most, help seemed to come from someone or somewhere unexpected.

As a result of his direct experience, Frank believes in the miraculous nature of life; but it wasn’t until he witnessed the compassion and generosity of strangers who came together to make a difference in another little boy’s life[3] that Frank’s destiny became clear.

Shortly following that boy’s death, Frank came to understand why he was here[4]. “I listened to my soul,” says Frank, “which continually led me right back to my heart, where the answer had always been.” In that moment, Frank began a 36-year journey granting the wishes of more than 350,000 kids with life threatening medical conditions… and counting!

If you’d like to hear more about Frank’s incredible life and what this journey has meant to him, you’re really going to want to listen to this episode of the Something Significant Podcast.

I am so grateful that my life path crossed with Frank’s, because at Happy Living, we also believe in living a heart-led life. It gives me great pleasure to share with you an amazing, inspiring and uplifting interview with the man who was destined to become the Wishman.

Follow Frank…

Twitter | Facebook | Website

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delgadillo’s_Snow_Cap_Drive-In

[2] When I immerse myself in the work I love (reading, learning, experimenting and writing about things to improve the health and wellbeing of the world, one person at a time), it seems the Universe conspires to help me, too.

[3] Watch the video of the Wish that started Make-A-Wish

[4] My Philosophy on Why We’re Here

Happy Living Loves Kai

Inspiration into Action | Happy Living“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.”
(Bethany Hamilton[1])

Our goal here at Happy Living is to raise $6,000 for Make-A-Wish this year: enough to grant the wish of one child with life-threatening medical conditions. To do it, we need your help. Each month during 2017, we will be presenting an inspiring video and sharing the story of a ‘Wish Kid,’ in hopes that you’ll feel called to watch, share and give.

Today’s video features ten-year-old Kai. He began life as a typical, rough and tumble little boy, until one day in kindergarten, when he just tipped over while standing in line, hitting his head on a cement wall. The doctor’s visit that followed was the beginning of a four-year medical nightmare: continuous testing, medicating, and progressive degeneration of Kai’s balance and muscle control. For four years, no one could determine the cause of Kai’s symptoms.

Finally, his doctor discovered that Kai had an incurable disease called Ataxia, Oculomotor Apraxia Type 2. If you’ve never heard of this before, you’re not alone. Kai’s doctor explained to the family that medical science knows next to nothing about this rare disease or how to treat it. His doctor went on to say that within two to four years, Kai would be unable to move on his own. Immobile.

Even as he was increasingly having trouble with his balance on land because his muscles were wiggly and wouldn’t do what his brain told them to do, Kai’s wish was to go surfing in Hawaii. He wanted to see where his dad grew up, to visit Pearl Harbor, and to try to surf.

To the total surprise of Kai and his parents, and with the help of Make-a-Wish, Kai’s dream came true, and his parents were there to witness him standing on a surfboard. Riding the waves.

His mom says lovingly, “The grin on his face was just priceless.”

With incredible courage and determination, Kai and his family have made something beautiful from their struggle and heartbreak. They’ve found a way to relish in the journey; no matter what obstacles life puts in their way. Help Kai spread the love by supporting the Make-a-Wish Foundation and helping bring wishes to life for other Wish Kids.

It’s my wish that you’ll… WATCH | SHARE | GIVE

Pay it forward.[2] Please give what you can, when you can. As you know, every little bit helps give Wish Kids like Kai the courage to fight on.

With love and gratitude,

 

 

 

[1] Live Like Nothing is Missing

[2] Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.

Image via Unsplash | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!

Happy Habits #2

Inspiration into Action | Happy Living“Habits are malleable throughout your entire life.”
(Charles Duhigg)

As the designated “content Sherpa” for Happy Living, I peruse the internet in search of ideas and inspiration to share with the Happy Living community. I look for articles and stories that align with our mission to “improve the health and wellbeing of the world, one person at a time,” and those that dovetail with our Seven Foundations of Health.

Throughout this process, I’ve started incorporating things I am reading into my life. This was happening subconsciously at first, but now that I’m aware I’m doing it, I’ve started calling these integrations “happy habits” and sharing about them in this quarterly post. (Read my first Happy Habits post here.)

Today, I’m writing to share share some of my newest happy habits with you, in hopes that they’ll support and inspire you in improving your own health and wellbeing.


Stand Up While You Work

Standing desks have been rising in popularity over the past few years. The idea is that, rather than sitting at a desk all day, which can wreak havoc on the body, you alternate between sitting and standing as you move through the day. Some standing desks are adjustable in height and can be used for both positions (sitting and standing), and some people have separate standing desks to facilitate standing more during the workday.

According to Dr. Josh Axe, the benefits of utilizing a standing desk—even for as little as two hours a day–include: longer life expectancy, lower chronic disease risk, improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and boosted productivity [1].

I’ve set up a standing desk in my home office, and I’ve been using it for about sixth months. Typically, I stand 2-3 hours a day, and while everyone has their own routine, I’m sure, I’m happy to share mine: I stand for half an hour, walk around the house a bit, take the dog out, and then transition to seated work. I shift back to standing when I feel my focus is waning or if I need to get into a different headspace. By changing my physical state and perspective (going from a seated position to standing) my mental state shifts, which often allows for greater focus.

Get Outside More

As we know, being outdoors offers a whole slew of health benefits, including: improved mood, increased vitamin D levels, and increased creativity and focus. A great article from Bulletproof , an organization that focuses on optimizing health, extolls the benefits of sunbathing. However, rather than traditional sunbathing (laying out in the backyard or on the beach), they recommend immersing yourself in nature, perhaps by walking under a canopy of trees. Some of the benefits they share are reduced stress, boosted immune function, and improved sleep and energy.

I have always been a big fan of getting outside. That said, I admit that I don’t seek nature out as often as I’d like. I’ve been trying to do better lately, because I definitely never regret the times that I do, and as I’ve learned more about the benefits of being outdoors, I’ve made even more of an effort. I’ve made this effort because, being outdoors allows me to reset, unwind, and clear my mind which is something I need.

Walk Places

This one is pretty simple: when possible, walk (instead of driving) to get wherever you’re going.

Walking is the bedrock of health and fitness. According to a piece from Prevention magazine, walking can improve your mood, get your creative juices flowing, and slash your risk for chronic disease. Perhaps most importantly, if you walk enough, it’ll make your legs look great!

I am fortunate to live in a compact city in Montana, within a mile and a half of grocery stores, good restaurants and my gym. Lately, I’ve been taking full advantage of the proximity and doing the bulk of my errands on foot. I walk to the grocery store around 5 times a week, which has not only turned into a lovely way to get my daily walking in, but also supports me in eating fresher food, as I buy only what I can carry (typically only what I am going to eat in the next few days).

Of course, if you don’t live somewhere where it is reasonable to walk your errands, there are other ways to incorporate more walking into your life. Consider beginning a ritual of going for a walk each morning or evening as way to get into your body and improve your health and wellbeing.


What happy habits have you been employing lately?

I look forward to hearing from you, about how these happy habits (or others you’ve come up with on your own) are improving your life! Leave a comment below, or feel free to email me.

Until next time, here’s hoping you find happiness in Happy Habits!

If you want to receive these #Ideas4HappyLiving and #HappyHabits as I find them in my online journeys, follow Happy Living on Twitter and Facebook.

[1] https://draxe.com/standing-desk-benefits/

Image via Unsplash | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!

UA-46247101-1