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

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

Feel It Till It’s Real

Feel it till it's real

After eight years of training clients for weight-loss, strength, and muscle/joint rehab, I felt an urge to jump careers and pursue my childhood ambition. I played “school” in my bedroom on a daily basis in fourth grade. I covered my bed with name tags to show where my imaginary students sat. My mom taught second grade so I used her extra photocopies as handouts for my pretend class. I even graded “their” papers.

Following my heart, I quit the upper scale gym in Midtown Manhattan, gave my private clients to my trainer friends, and took a teaching assignment in a special needs school. I was able to get the job placement without any prior experience because I enlisted as a NYC teaching fellow. The two-year fellowship paid for my graduate degree. So, for my first job as a public school teacher I was assigned an at-risk population of middle school students while attending graduate courses at night. Go ahead and say it with me: Oh man!

The stress was immeasurable and visible. A couple years before becoming a full-time teacher, I’d won two bodybuilding shows and changed the life and health of many clients. However, within one year of teaching public school, I was eating pop tarts for breakfast, Slim Fast shakes after school, and boxes of Chinese food on Friday nights.

Exercising daily remained consistent. In fact, I worked out every morning before school started, no matter if I stayed up late to write a paper or scripted a lesson plan or woke and cried at 2 in the morning.

Still, it was as if I knew nothing about food anymore.

This is what stress does to you.

It blasts your mind.

It shatters your memory.

 

I forgot about veggies. I forgot that bread all day makes me permanently swollen. Even though pop tarts sent me to the toilet in 10 minutes, I craved the sugar. I knew I was eating crap, but still, I let my stress steer my choices. No wonder a spot of my neck broke out with eczema by Spring. I’d never experienced issues like that before.

I was drowning in emotion. I needed to remember who I was. I needed to make a deliberate choice about what I wanted to feel besides just STRESSED, OVERWHELMED, and TRIGGERED.

 

I knew what could help me.

I revisited Creative Visualization, a journal/workbook created by Shakti Gawain. I owned a copy a decade before and the journaling and exercises she prescribed helped me re-focus, move from Los Angeles to New York, and become a top trainer at my gym.

I bought Creative Visualization again and did the work. I wrote the vision I desired for my body and my life. I read it over and over. I added to it. Detailed it. Felt it until it was real in me. I imagined my vision while I worked out.

I reached for baby spinach instead of white cheese popcorn. I boiled oatmeal again, ignoring the cinnamon and the strawberry pop tarts, which was hard to do. If you walk down the “cereal” aisle, the pop tarts are at eye level and the slow-cook oatmeal is almost on the floor. My advice: just look down when you go through these parts of the grocery store.

Even though I currently teach clients ways to practice healthy lifestyle habits, the truth is, it really is mega-challenging to do if your environment launches a stress attack on you all day.

The way for me to get back to my fitness and health goal was to find something and someone to radio me back to shore.

I needed a lighthouse.

Journaling in Shakti Gawain’s book changed the way I felt. I reconnected with one of my former workout buddies. I joined a boxing class to punch and jab my stress load into a bag.

Even a former personal trainer can get tossed overboard by emotional stress.

 

Everyone can benefit from a captain who has a clear and focused head. We need a teacher, a trainer, or a friend to support our highest intentions. Otherwise, we might get lost at sea with eczema, belly bloat, and inflammation of the knees.

We all need someone who can help us navigate back or forward toward who we really want to be.

see it inside-Michelle BernardI train clients, teach movement and strength classes, and write for wellness and power again. Our environments can create a tremendous grip that shapes our decisions. Position yourself in an environment that supports the vision you have for yourself. Even if you can only find ONE PERSON who will support you

FIND THEM.

You need a captain.

Write your vision often. Read it often. It’s your lighthouse.

 

 

To know means to record in one’s memory; but to understand means to blend with the thing and to assimilate it oneself.

Egyptian Proverb