Saturday, January 30, 2016

 Women for Sobriety, Inc.
Statement #3,
"Happiness is a habit I will develop."
Happiness is created, not waited for.

This outline is from the Sunday Brunch Chat at our WFS Online Community Chat Site.  Thank you, Wendy, for sharing this information and encouragement with all of us! -Becky Fenner, WFS Director
Another episode of Sunday Brunch Chat ~ January 10, 2016
Welcome to Sunday Brunch Chat, where the bagels and cream cheese are virtual and FREE today! Yep, I have for the second time in my adult life reached three years of continuous sobriety. I am on the threshold of new territory, “New” Life adventures await me, and YES, I am very, very happy to mark this milestone in my own Chat!!

Everyday Epiphanies
I supplement my morning Statement time with several daily affirmation books. Every January 1st, I retire a couple and add one or two new ones. This year I started what looks to be a truly life-changing book by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy. So far, all of the January readings have been mind-bogglingly spot on and fit right in with Statement #3, which is my chosen Statement for the week. I just love when these things happen!!
The selection for today, Jan 10, (a date that is for me truly pivotal) I find is especially appropriate, and I wanted to share it with all of you.
JANUARY 10 ~ Until It Is Carved in Stone
“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up — that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had. “ ~ Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross
Visiting old cemeteries can be very illuminating. They are so still and silent. So quiet.  .... Old cemeteries remind us that until it is carved in stone, realizing our heart’s desire is possible every day if we recognize what it is that makes us happy. In Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town” a deeply poignant scene takes place in a graveyard. — Ghosts comfort the young heroine, who has recently died in childbirth. Emily, still longing for the life she has just left, wishes to revisit one ordinary, “unimportant” day in her life. When she gets her wish, she realizes how much the living take for granted. — Eventually her visit is too much for her to bear. — “I didn’t realize,” she confesses mournfully, “all that was going on and we never noticed.… Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners… Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking… and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths… and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”  
This is the season of Epiphany, when the renewal of light and revelation are celebrated in the liturgy of the many faiths. On our new path we seek everyday epiphanies — occasions on which we can experience the Sacred in the ordinary — and come to the awakening, as Emily finally does, that we can no longer afford to throw away even one “unimportant” day by not noticing the wonder of it all. — We have to be willing to discover and then appreciate the authentic moments of happiness available to all of us every day. 
Thank you for reading those words, they speak to me.
When we feel happy first, our outward experience begins to shift in ways we’d only dreamed of.
So Happiness is created ... RIGHT??? — I think so, but I had to prove it to myself, and I still have to nearly everyday, although it is a tad bit easier now then it was when I first joined WFS. — I start everyday, before I get out of bed by saying “Thank god I am alive” and “Thank god I am sober”— I don’t know who/what/where god might be, but “the Divine” is harder to say when I am barely awake. One syllable ... KISS ... Keep It Simple Sleepyhead!!
In today’s pursuit of happiness we have some additional points to ponder. They are adapted from an article by Jennifer Kass at Again, I find they resonate with my understanding of Statement 3, and hopefully will give you all a new glimpse, or even an epiphany, into creating a 4C habit of happiness. Eighteen months ago I presented a very long list of diverse things that might make a person happy, from color therapy to music to posture. Those things still work, but I believe Truth is usually far simpler than a long list. Kass takes a much more simplified approach to happiness, and I think it is far more useful too.
Many of us have been believing a lie — We’ve bought into the myth that happiness is something we achieve when everything in our life finally looks the way we’ve been thinking it should. — Cue the relationship, the ring, the job, the house, the car, the wardrobe, the vacations, the beauty products, the kids, the weight loss ....
But here’s the challenge — These things alone don’t create lasting happiness, so happiness becomes this elusive thing that we desire but don’t know how to achieve.
 The truth is that happiness is not circumstantial — And this is really good news!!! — It means we don't have to wait for everything to be perfect, nor do we have to control anything outside of ourselves in order to feel a certain way.
Becoming aware of this truth is a total game-changer — because it means we can choose happiness in this moment ... mind you, we may have to choose it repeatedly moment by moment, especially in times of change or stress. — When we do choose to believe that happiness can be created something beautiful can happen.
We have been searching for happiness in all the wrong places — It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we will be happy as soon as everything in our lives is exactly the way we want it to be — and that the solution to happiness is that we must keep working harder to control these external situations in order to make them “right.” — But when we make things happen (lose the weight, get the relationship, get the raise) because we are needing them to fill us up, validate us, or make us feel whole and complete, then  these changes won’t be sustainable.

In reality, self-love is the baseline of happiness — When we live from a pure space of self-love, we are able to achieve sustainable happiness, because our internal feelings of abundance will reflect back to us in the form of beautiful relationships, purpose-driven work, and financial freedom. — In short, self-love puts us on the fast track to healing. — Our work is to clear out our fearful perceptions and shift them back to a loving perspective on life, which reveals our truth and wholeness.
LEARN TO FEEL HAPPY WITHIN — Here are three practical ways to cultivate more happiness within and create a life beyond your wildest dreams.
  1. CONNECT WITH YOURSELF — One of the best practices for cultivating the ability to hear your inner guiding system is meditation ... If finding the time to sit quietly is not realistic at the moment, an even simpler life-changing practice is to make daily mundane activities — such as brushing our teeth or standing in line at the grocery store — a time for quiet reflection. In these moments, ask for guidance and listen for some clear answers. ... When we flex our spiritual muscle and connect with ourselves, it gives us access to an inner abundance of wisdom and knowledge (you’ll recognize it as a quiet, calm knowing voice). This inner source of wisdom will always guide us to our best right actions.
  2. SET AN INTENTION TO BE HAPPY — This is a lifelong practice, because when we're not monitoring our thoughts, they have a tendency of veering back into fear and worry. ... One of the simplest and most profound ways we can align with loving perceptions each day is to practice setting an intention every morning when we wake up. This intention can be very simple: “I choose happiness” OR “Thank god I am alive” OR “I am a competent woman” ... the method is to use a short affirmation you believe, and say it with feeling.
  3. SURRENDER — Most of us don't know what “surrender” means. — It's the opposite of the way many of us operate, which is by attempting to control outcomes and situations and to make things happen ... Surrender occurs when we release our need to control things, and instead choose to place a higher level of trust and faith in the process of life.
BEING HAPPY ~ THE TAKEAWAY — By connecting with ourselves, setting intentions to be happy, and surrendering to the natural flow of life, we can breathe a sigh of relief — trusting and knowing that everything is unfolding in divine timing — and the only work we need to do is to get out of our own way and let Life happen.
And again from Sarah Ban Breathnach:
JANUARY 7 ~ How Happy Are You Right Now? 
“Perhaps if one really knew when one was happy one would know the things that were necessary for one’s life.” ~ Joanna Field
How happy are you right now? Do you even know? Most women know what makes their parents, partners, or children happy. But when it comes to an awareness about the little, specific things in life that bring a smile to our faces and contentment to our own hearts, we often come up short.
In 1926 a young Englishwoman, Joanna Field, began to feel that she was not living a truly authentic life, that she did not know what made her truly happy. To remedy this she kept a journal in order to discover what specifically triggered the feeling of delight in her daily life. The journal, A Life of One’s Own, was published in 1934. It was written, she confided, in the spirit of a detective who searches through the minutiae of the mundane in hopes of finding clues for what was missing in her life.
What is missing from many of our days is a true sense that we are enjoying the lives we are living. It is difficult to experience moments of happiness if we are not aware of what it is we genuinely love. We must learn to savor small, authentic moments that bring us contentment. Experiment with a new cookie recipe. Take the time to slowly arrange a bouquet of flowers in order to appreciate their colors, fragrance, and beauty. Sip a cup of tea on the front stoop in  the sunshine. Pause for five minutes to pet a purring cat. — Simple pleasures waiting to be enjoyed. — Simple pleasures often overlooked.
Joanna Field discovered that she delighted in red shoes, good food, sudden bursts of laughter, reading in French, answering letters, loitering in a crowd at a fair and “a new idea when first it is grasped.” Let us each grasp a new idea this year. Let us grasp the awareness of what it is that makes us truly happy. Let us consider our personal preferences and learn how to recognize, then embrace, moments of happiness that are uniquely our own.

It is time to sweep up the bagel crumbs and wrap up this Chat. Please join me as we read the WFS motto together and bring this meeting to a close.
We are capable and competent, caring and compassionate, always willing to help another, bonded together in overcoming our addictions.
Thank you all for joining us today!

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