HAPPY with RUMi

I’ve been reflecting on the pieces of HAPPY that have made me feel finally full.

If I guess, I’d say it was 2006 when I started collectingRUMi poetry.

A friend gave me the poem, The Guest House, in 2003 when I was recovering my heart from a man who wasn’t supposed to keep it. Back then I hardly understand the meaning beyond the surface. 

I wasn’t ready to know what it meant.

Now, I know.

I know RUMi.

His poetry speaks of love for the DIVINE Source, an energy that also lives within us and connects us to our lives and to others. It’s a love that cannot be ruptured. When I learned that, not intellectually but in my soul, I understood how important RUMi’s poetry was for my journey.  

I’m writing 50 things that have made me happy.
This begins number 31.

This week I’m including written and spoken words belonging to my favorite ecstatic poet.

These words give me life.

Remember you can check out the first 5 of my list of the 50 ways I found happy. Start at 1 and read from there to here.

Let each group of 5 sink in.
Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think or add to my list in the comments section.

31.

 

32.

33.

34.

35.

 

 

Hope these make you live!

See ya next week. Till then, live above ordinary.

I will, too.

Michelle Bernard

Listening to HAPPY

Numbers 26 thru 30 are on this recording.

This is the stuff that’s turned me into a happy lady just about every day. 

 

I know the question off in the wings…

Do you ever get blue anymore?

Hells ya. I get angry, frustrated, nasty, scared, and disappointed. But none of that lasts very long. Not like it used to.

The things that have made me happy aren’t my possessions or my positions. Realizing my worth and celebrating my uniqueness, charisma, nerve, and talent has changed my perspective.

I’m adding 5 more happy realizations week.

Check out the first 5 , the second 5,

Let each group sink in.
Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think or add to my list in the comments section.

 

Hope these make you live!

See ya next week. Till then, live above ordinary.

I will, too.

Michelle Bernard

 

 

Five Happy Reminders

I’ve been reflecting on the stuff that’s turned me from always smiling (though somewhat frustrated inside) to absolutely fulfilled and in love with my life.

Seriously, I never thought those words would come out of my mouth. The words: I am happy. Not just today either. I’m happier every day, like when I was a kid.

I was a focused kid. Really creative and really bold.

I lost the bold part somewhere between my senior year of college and my late thirties. No one could tell, but I knew.

I’ve used my journal to check-in with my emotions to see what changed. What leaked my mojo during those years? 

Since my birthday this July, I’ve been sharing the ways I’ve gotten my mojo to flow again.

Based on what I discovered through journaling every day for the past 4 years, I’m sharing the 50 ways I found happy.

I’ll be adding 5 every week.

Check out the first 5 , the second 5,

As usual, let each group sink in.
Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think or add to my list in the comments section.

 

21. TMI is real.

Whenever I’ve tried to do everything at once, I’ve just gotten confused and overwhelmed. 

I lost weight the first time because I focused on one teacher’s instruction. I moved to New York with only $400 (in 1996) by focusing on one goal when I arrived–training clients in a high-end fitness club. Check☑︎

I could fill this page with accomplishments that happened because I got focused and aimed all my energy at one goal.

Try it. It’ll give you life.

I could fill this page with accomplishments that happened because I got focused and aimed all my energy at one goal. Try it. It'll give you life. Click To Tweet

22. Your entire aura will glow if you do this.

You’ll be able to make others happy if you do this. You’ll receive inspired ideas, if you do this. You’ll find all your inner treasures, if you do this.

If you don’t, you’ll feel exhausted or invisible. Nuff said.

 

23. We do not know our entire path. All we can expect to know is our next step. So take it.

When folks wait and wait and before they move into their wants and desires, they usually don’t move. Stagnation will put you on a path toward regret.

Movement will lead to something: something new, something desired, something better understood, something you want, even if it’s different from what you thought you wanted. Who knows?

But these options feel better than regret.

Movement will lead to something: something new, something desired, something better understood, something you want, even if it's different from what you thought you wanted. Who knows? But these options feel better than regret. Click To Tweet

24. It might not make sense now, but keep moving.

This finishes my thought in #23.

Keep moving. It’ll make sense when you finish the big picture.

25. Bold is the way. I don’t mean you should bust down doors and push folks out of your way kind of bold. 

Be bold in your belief. Who do you think you are?

We announce who we think we are all day long.

I’m tired. I’m sick of it. I’m not that type. I don’t… I have too much… I don’t like…

Whatever we believe, it is true.

And you don’t have to believe it out loud.

Whatever we believe in secret, we are available to.

So, in secret, be bold and trust yourself. Trust your body to be strong, to heal, to be ready. Trust your decisions. Trust your gut. Trust your plan. Trust your vision for your life. 

Be the king of your beliefs.

Whatever we believe in secret, we are available to. So, in secret, be bold and trust your body to be strong, to heal, to be ready. Trust your decisions, your gut, your vision for your life. Be the king of your beliefs. Click To Tweet

 

Hope these make you live!

See ya next week. Till then, live above ordinary.

I will, too.

Michelle Bernard

More Ways to HAPPY

Since my birthday 4 weeks ago, I’ve been journaling about how I rose to this feeling of happy.

 

I didn’t feel so good 8 years ago. I was frustrated, though no one knew it. I smiled all the time, but inside I wasn’t content with my life experience.

It was puzzling.

I had a great one bedroom apartment in New York city, an adorable puppy, a couple very close friends, and a job that was fulfilling.

Years of journaling showed me what was missing.

I wanted life to be linear. I believed my life was supposed to be lived like rungs on a ladder.

 

I made a dance video one afternoon. I danced my emotion out for 4 minutes and afterward I bathed in sweat and joy. The next week I did it again. After several more, I named the collection of VIDS: Celebration of Life series.

When I decided to celebrate life, every part of my life, every emotion, every experience, every day; my happy returned.

Life isn’t a ladder. It’s simply a celebration.

I’ve decided to share 5 ways that I celebrate my happy over 10 weeks of posts.

This is week 4. I’m posting 5 more ways below–numbers 16-20.

I’ll be adding 5 more next week.

As usual, let each group sink in. Read the other posts so you can see them all.
Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think or add to my list in the comments section.

16.   You don’t have to hurt the person you once loved.

I had the best divorce ever last year. It was great because we are still friends. We talk on the phone for hours at a time–not often, but we still share important bits from our lives with each other.

Everyone promised the divorce process would last for years, I’d probably fight over money, we’d yell and say things we’d regret… I refused all of it.

I spoke directly to my ex-husband about creating an outcome that would please us both. He agreed.

Bitterness in relationships just messes people up for the next person who gets ’em.

In the past, I’ve been hurt by so many dudes, and I’ve done the hurting.

Enough. I want my ex-husband to feel good about himself when he moves on to his next relationship.

I feel great, too.

 

17.   Oooo, I do not like when people talk negatively about other people I know.

I understand that we all need to discharge our thoughts about people and situations. We need to talk to somebody if we’re afraid or frustrated. I get it.

But it’s totally obnoxious when the people you’re dissing are people I know!

Even though I do not like it, there’s something I can learn from it.

I’m learning that it looks ugly when folks put people down. I don’t want to look ugly that way.

Also, when I’m around this sort of conversation, I don’t say anything, I say something nice or… you know what?… I think I’ll just walk away.

 

18.   I love you used to be challenging to say. I wasn’t raised with those words.

The first time I said it was to my college boyfriend at age 20, and he had to give me 3 months to get all three words out together.

Now, I’m used to them. I have so many people I give those words to. This is one of the amazing ways I celebrate my life.

 

19. You can’t lose.

I’ve noticed that bitter people are the ones who think you can lose.

Everything you experience, whether liked or not liked, matters if you’re open to learning something new or willing to evolve something you’ve learned earlier.

We just keep collecting wins. It’s called wisdom.

 

20.   I pray about everything. EVERYTHING.

And because I believe in the prayers, because I expect them to be answered, they are. Not always in the way or shape I’ve asked, but they are always answered.

That’s why I’ve seen my share of miracles.

Most of them have been BIG.

The more I notice, the more I’ll notice.

Visit the other posts if you missed the first 15, and I’ll have more for you next week.

Till then,

Live above ordinary.

Michelle Bernard

the next 5: from one happy lady

I’m sounding two trumpets.

One, because I turned 50 last month, and one because I finally made it to experience daily happiness.

I haven’t felt this fulfilled since I was a kid.

I’m sharing the 50 things that helped me get to this goodness.

Check out the 50 ways I found HAPPY, 5 each week. 

This is week 3. Visit the first 5  and the second 5.

I’ll be adding 5 more next week.

Let each group sink in. Read the other posts so you can see them all.
Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think or add to my list in the comments section.

 

11. If IT lights you up, it’s your purpose.

I don’t mind the discomfort of staying in shape. My hands tingle when I lift heavy weights. I don’t wear workout gloves. I could care less about the callouses. The pain of getting stronger and tighter is worth it.

It lights me up.

I don’t mind sweating. I don’t care if my hair gets frizzy and wild, as long as I’m fit, flexible, and able to dance into bliss. Dancing lights me up.

Training others to get strong lights me up. Writing lights me up. Being an artist lights me up.

I refuse to pursue any profession, any goal, any job, any relationship —-  that doesn’t light my fire.

Passion is all.

Passion is YOUR PURPOSE.

12. Remember your childhood passion.

I played school, changed my voice to speak for all my dolls, wrote short stories about large families filled with love, journaled, daydreamed about big city living, did mini-performances for anyone who would watch, smiled all the time.

In the last twenty years my greatest joys came from teaching large fitness classes, recording audio and dance video for my business, living in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, coordinating a Theatre program for high school  students with special needs, and all the things I was born to do.

What were you born to do?

Ask your child Self. Then do it.

It will take you to a deeper happiness than I can speak of.

13. Okay, I have to say it–stay away from prepared  food in a box as often as you can.

I know it’s convenient. It’s ready-to-eat, as long as you have a microwave thingy.  The marketers know it too.

But look at it.  It’s fake, processed, and probably addictive. It might claim to be healthy, but food that spoils is the healthy food. Prepared food in boxes is usually timeless. Doesn’t that scare you?

as often as you can, save boxed and canned foods (that claim to be “easy” because they’re already cooked for you) for famine.

14. If you like something other people call CORNY, like it anyway.

I wear lipstick and green eye shadow when I workout. If I’m gonna sweat so much my hair frizzes and I can squeeze liquid me out of my top when I’m finished, I wanna look good doing those mad-crazy workouts.

If anyone thinks it’s weird, odd, vain, wack, ridiculous—whatever.

After I watch a movie, I like to debrief. It’s best done at a coffee shop or a bar. I want to talk about the story, characters, ending, my feelings. Everything.

If it’s odd, weird, too much—whatever.

Like what you like. Out loud.

15. Listen to your own wisdom.

Be veh-wee, veh-wee quiet.

Spend time alone every week. I use my journal for this. Every morning at 6:30, I’m alone but not totally. With my journal, I can hear my Interior Voice. It’s a guide.

We have become inundated and ADDICTED to the phone and it’s 24/7 news updates from CNN, Huff Post, Instagram, Kanye and Kim.

How can we trust ourselves if we continue to absorb the barrage of advice and subliminal messaging coming from under our fingertips?

You have a lot to teach yourself. Turn off the NOISE. Put your phone in a drawer. Stuff the remote control between the cushions. Take out your earbuds. Listen to yourself.

You are wiser than you realize.

Tune in to your own wisdom. 

 

See ya next week.

Till then, live above ordinary.

Michelle Bernard

5 more ways to HAPPY

I’ve been journaling about my year-end goals. I’m wrapping up two books: one on fitness and one on journaling.

This has been a milestone year, my 50th as of last week, and I am happier than I was when I hit 40.

Last week I started to share the way I rose to this feeling.

I haven’t always felt happy, which probably comes as a huge surprise to the many folks who’ve known me. 

I’ve been in search for answers most of my adult life. Okay, let me just say it outright–I’ve looked for validation most of my life.

That’s not something people openly admit about themselves, but I believe being honest about who and where you are means you’ll also be aware when you find what you seek.

My search led me to live in several cities since I left Iowa 23 years ago. I looked for myself in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, then back to New York.

I’ve performed for Universal Studios, sang in Japan over a summer, become a certified yoga instructor before it was popular, won 2 bodybuilding shows, taught Theatre Arts to children with special needs using the curriculum I created, wrote a book, Lean Happy Healthy You… But it was only recently that I stumbled upon HAPPY.

Falling is a good way make somebody look up.

I’ll be sharing the 50 ways I found HAPPY over the next 10 weeks. 

This is week 2. Visit the first 5  in last week’s post.

Below are 5 more things that have made me happy at 50.

Remember, I’ll be adding 5 each week over the next 10 weeks.

Let each group of 5 sink in. Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think and add to my list in the comments section.

6. Listen to something inspiring every day.

I Youtube inspiring stuff when I shower in the morning and again as I fall asleep. (Youtube is now a verb). One of my favorite YouTube channels is YouAreCreators created by Justin Perry.

It features short seminars, books on”tape”, and commentary by Justin.

 

7. Feel your sucky feelings fully.

I’m talking about the feelings we’d rather avoid.  Don’t wait, don’t wear the mask, don’t expect your negative feelings to go away by themselves.  Dissing your feelings invites regret and stokes resentment, the two skills complainers have mastered.

I feel my feelings in my journal every morning. I scribble them in anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, and overwhelm until I can write myself some sort of solution. In my journal I ask: What is this awful feeling showing me about my choices, my life, my goal, or my action?

Every emotion is valid. The sucky ones can take us to places we fear, but those places could show answers we’ve searched for all this time.

8. Read so you can practice visualizing.

One of the things I love about reading fiction is I get to escape into somebody else’s life, live in their body, their house, their relationships. As a kid I’d pretend to be different characters through my Barbie dolls, my Cher doll, and my Marie from the Donny and Marie doll set. Yep, my characters were singers most of the time. But I’d also play teacher and mama every day up till sixth grade.

I would shape-shift to become whoever I visualized. When I read fiction, I do the same thing.

The practice of visualizing becomes useful for changing any circumstance you’ve grown out of and want to shed, or used to embody any persona you aspire to become. Practice seeing beyond what’s right in front of you by reading more fiction. Plus, it’ll get you off your phone for an hour.

9. Direct deposit your savings and retirement funds.

It’s absolutely true that money burns a hole in your pocket. If you tend to slip your hand into your jeans to retrieve a $10 bill, but end up tickling a thigh, you might want to try directly depositing your goal-money into accounts.

To me, money is like handling brownies or white cheddar cheese Pirate’s Booty or Ritz crackers. If they’re in my house, I’m gonna eat em. And by eat em, I mean eat till there isn’t anymore left. So, I do not have those items in my house. I leave them at the store until I want one

I’d rather keep my cash in the bank and let online banking distribute my funds. Before you know, your savings and retirement accounts are hefty and you’ve lost weight from not carrying around wads of cash (that keeps disappearing anyway).

 

10. Look lovingly at yourself.

Use a mirror.

I like to smile when I look in a mirror, otherwise I look pretty grim. My thinking face does weird stuff to my mouth and forehead. Ugh.

The mirror is a good place to connect with yourself. I’m aware people don’t like to look at their reflection or can’t do it without thinking horrible thoughts about what they think they see.

Try looking, smiling, and saying what Louise Hay used to say: I love you. I really love you.

Do it right now. I dare you. 

5 more ways to HAPPY next week.

Till then, live above ordinary. I will, too.

Michelle Bernard

50 ways to discover your HAPPY

Michelle Bernard

this is 50

and, boy, do I feel better than ever.

I’m happier now.

Happy came for me toward the end of my 40s. Bam!

I’ve figured out a few things. Big things and little things.

Some of this stuff I’ve always known but needed a bit more evidence before I trusted it.

Some stuff is simply new to my awareness.

Below are the 50 things that have made me happy at 50.

You don’t have to read them all at once. I’m not posting them all at once.

I’ll be adding 5 each week over the next 10 weeks.

Let each group of 5 sink in. Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me know what you think in the comments below.

1. Tell the truth.

Perhaps you’re thinking, duh, but people lie all the time. They say YES to things that feel like NO WAY.

I used to accept subpar treatment from a friend or a partner, because I didn’t want the relationship to break-up. I used to say YES to doing stuff I couldn’t stand doing.
Today, I surround myself with amazing friends. I admire all of them, which is important to me.
Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, I would say NO to opportunities I wanted by avoiding them because I was scared, thought I wasn’t ready, or believed I wasn’t good enough.

What if telling the truth about ourselves makes us available to receive the life we really want? 

2. Leave food on your plate.

I used to eat until there was nothing left on my plate or in the pot on the stove.

There are so many strategies to help over-eaters: chew 600 times before you swallow, don’t eat over the sink or, in my case, the stove, only eat when you’re hungry. Rubbish.

As a fitness professional who had a real eating-too-much disorder, I couldn’t honestly tell my clients to do something I believed was impossible to maintain (except for the not-eating-over-the-sink one…  I still do that!).

But learning to leave a few uneaten morsels on my plate then saying I’m finished has trained my mind to be comfortable with abundance. You see, I had a scarcity mentality; a belief that if I didn’t finish ALL the food, I’d miss out on something.

I’ve trained my mind to believe there’s plenty. Now, I’m not anxious when I eat.

If we all ate less in general, we’d not only lose weight, we’d help eradicate the food shortage around the world. 

 

 

3. Laughing and smiling often works miracles on your health.

 Yep, there is  research to justify this, but I’m not writing a research paper.  I’m writing from my experience. I’m the lab test, so take my word or try it out yourself.
When I teach an exercise class, I make everyone laugh their heads off. It creates community. It makes exercising seem like an event, not a chore. It takes the sting out of muscle pain. It’s entertaining to me.
Centenarians, the folks who live past 100, site laughter as one of the reasons for their long, healthy lives.

If I go one day without laughing, I must be in the wrong environment, around the wrong people, or doing something that sucks.

It doesn’t happen much anymore. 

4. Tell every human customer service provider who creates a pleasant experience for you that you appreciate their help.

I know it’s their job, but some folks are super awesome at doing it. It’s not an easy-breezy effort for customer service people who’ve had to suffer all the hostile folks before you called or stepped up to the counter.

Tell them they’re awesome when they treat you like you’re special. 

It’ll make you feel good, too.

 

5. Ask questions.

Like a 4 year-old, ask why, ask how.

Find out if what “they” are telling you is true, healthy or valid for you.

Question things you hear from the FDA, pharmaceutical claims, and from people offering advice about things they’ve never experienced themselves.

Trust yourself and trust your body.

Check back next Friday for 5 more ways to discover happy.

Till then, live above ordinary.

Michelle Bernard

@my birthday party

You need a nap.

Michelle Bernard: You need a nap — Live above ordinary from Michelle Bernard on Vimeo.

It’s quite apparent that taking the nap has rejuvenated my energy.

I used to think napping was a waste of my day. I thought it was for slackers. Then I noticed how my energy dips at 3 o’clock most days. Instead of fighting droopy eyelids or getting frustrated because I keep spacing out when I’m writing, I set my echo dot or a timer on the iPad and snooze.

 

The naps help my muscles repair, cleanse my emotional palette, reboot my mind, and restore the day back to 1.

 

 

a kind of power

Still mind, firm grip, clear intention. 
All part of the art.

The abs and back lock. I curl the bar with steel plates collared on.

One more. No, I can get two.

I don’t care about callouses. I don’t even care about the difficulty of breathing. I care about the rep. The next rep. Clean. In perfect form, the hardest kind.

In the mirror I look like I might explode. And I might–one day. But it’s all worth it today.

The pain lasts a few seconds after I set the bar down. So much satisfaction and only a blip of pain to get it. Delayed pain will hit late on the next day, usually between my shoulder blades, in my glutes, or the side of my quads. Why don’t my hamstrings hurt much? Maybe I oughtta address that.

I sweat hard when I go heavy. That’s how I reach the thrill. Sweat makes the muscles glisten. I need to shine. It’s part of the art.

Who would have believed I would play with Dumbbells?

It’s nothing like playing with dolls, or coloring in books, or dancing to record albums. That was me then.

Dumbbells, barbells, plates, cables…

This is me now. Power.

Not better, but power in it’s own way.

Michelle Bernard strong and calmIt’s a rock hard determination kind of power. This is how I’ve come to own myself, how I have chosen to rise above the opinions others had about who I was to become–others who saw me in the past as shy, wearing dresses, with plump legs and squishy cheeks, and never sweating.

She’ll be a smiling church girl when she grows up. She’ll eat cornbread and fried chicken and green beans from a can.

She’ll bake pies and banana breads–splurge on foot longs–sip diet cokes at the bowling alley on Saturday nights and her double helping of fried mushrooms.

Or she might be a hippy with a big booty, no she’ll be fat or what we call a (very) big girl when she grows up.

Because that’s who I used to be.

But now I play with fitness toys and health books and I do push ups and chins and press a stack of weights over my head. I Vitamix green stuff with protein. I live the art of movement.

Still mind, firm grip, clear intention.

It’s all part of the art.

Michelle Bernard eyes above ordinary

live above ordinary