Happiness 101

Happiness isn't a destination; it's a lifestyle.  What we say, do, and how we act are all reflections of how happy we are.

It's the continuous choice to enjoy what we've been given, earned, and will possibly see.  It's a perpetual pursuit of hopes in an endless stream of daring dreams.

Being happy is also a conscious choice.  Actively choosing to be happy is a rebellious decision against pessimism and all other negativity.  It's staring fear in the face and boldly saying, "I'm going to win."  It's telling jealousy to mind its own business and misery that we're going to break up even before getting together.

Happiness is being positively loving and allowing ourselves to be loved.  It's having faith that we'll be surrounded with all the goodness we give.  It's having hope in humanity.  It's remembering that the sun is always shining, even if clouds get in the way or it's on the other side of the world.

Why Unplugging from the Digial World is Important to Live in the Real One

Every once in a while, it's good to unplug.  It's empowering to be free from the digital world.  My smart phone (iPhone), tablet (iPad), and laptop do a great job of keeping me connected to everything that exists on the internet.  I enjoy seeing what my friends and family are up to, what's currently on the news, or researching whatever I'm currently interested in (Doctor Who), and if I'm not careful, it can be consuming.

I can see this happening with my one year old son.  I'm proud of the fact that he is tech savvy for his age.  He can navigate his way through an iPhone and iPad.  He likes to flip through pictures, play Endless Alphabet, watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and spend a lot of time playing Angry Birds.  As cute as it is to watch, it's just one sign that our society is becoming more and more glued to digital screens.  Our exposure to smart phones, tablets, computers, and television is rapidly growing.  Soon Google Glass and smart watches will add onto the list of ways to plug ourselves into the world wide digital matrix. 

As connected I may feel when I'm online, I can't help but also feel distracted from the real world right in front of me.  I make a huge effort to remind myself that it's absolutely important to not ignore the amazing reality that I'm blessed to be in.  I want to be fully present with the people around me.  I want to enjoy my life with the least amount of digital distractions.  It's a value that I want to instill in my son: to live in the real world, not the digital one.  I'm still going to upload pictures, post provoking ideas, and share good news, but in conscious balanced moderation. 

How To Not Give Up

"For me, giving up is way harder than trying."
- Kanye West

Sometimes I feel like giving up.  At times, I get frustrated with setting goals and not reaching them.  Trying (or at least trying to try) gets frustrating.  Life gets hard.  Sometimes it's easy, but not always.  There are no quick fixes in life, it must be constantly managed.  Trying to put my best foot forward with a positive attitude every day can get really exhausting.  On those bad days, I feel ready to give up.  I'm eager to stop trying and quit.

But there is something inside me that prevents me from completely quitting.  It's both an inner voice and a feeling that pushes me.  It might be my conscience.  It might be the subconscious part of my brain reaching out for survival.  This voice tells me to keep going.  It says that I'll forever regret it if I surrender to fear and fatigue.  This inner voice/feeling is my saving grace.  It speaks to me every day, I just need to listen more.

I've come to realize that feeling like giving up is unavoidable.  It's actually a good time to pause, reflect on why I feel like that, and move on.

A Dose of Daily Optimism

I'm ready for something absolutely amazing.  There is no concrete reason why, but I have faith that today will be awesome.  I don't know exactly what will happen or how it will happen.  I do know that today, and every day in the future that I call "today", will be wonderful.

Every action I do is a choice, and I choose to see the best in people and in every situation I'm in.  I will act more than react.  I will try more than I think I can try.  I will love more than I think I am capable of loving.  I will remember that every problem has a hidden solution.  There are infinite reasons to be happy, and it's liberating to be happy for no reason at all. 

I'm prepared to be blown away.  Today is going to be utterly awesome.

How a Bug Reminded Me That All Life is Precious

What would you do if you were me?  Yesterday afternoon I took a short walk down the neighborhood street with my wife and young son.  They both love being outside (especially my mini-me) and I love spending time with them.  Everything seemed normal at first.

As we were walking down the sidewalk, I saw a bean-sized bug crawling by.  I didn't recognize it.  It was something I've never seen before.  It was blue and black with stringy legs.  It looked like some kind of mix of a beetle, ant, and a fly.  To me, it was strange and a little creepy. 

My first thought was to squish it.  I could have just crunched it under my shoe, but I didn't.  My thought to myself was, "Why should I?"  This little creature was minding its own business not "bugging" me in any way.  It would be pointless for me to go out of my way to approach a harmless being, as strange as it seemed to me, and squish it.  It would've been an act of senseless violence.

That's when I caught my own ignorance.  What made this bug strange to me?  Why did I think it was creepy in the first place?  It was a creature of nature that was beautiful in its own way.  I just didn't see it that way.  My initial perception of it wouldn't have justified its demise.

In that moment I reminded myself of what I already knew, but occasionally forget: all life is precious.

Simple BE (3 acrostics)


B eyond
E xpectations

B eautiful
E verywhere

B eing
E nough

Poet's Perspective (A Day Logged in Poetry)

This is an experiment I wanted to try.  What would happen if I wrote about my day one poem at a time?  How would I use words to capture the moment, how I felt during it, and what I thought about it.  It helped me realize that my day isn't as linear as I usually think it is.  During any given day, anything can happen.  What lies before you is unedited and as raw and honest as possible.  Enjoy the glimpse into my life.

I'm awake, I'm awake
woke up from a bad dream
Woke up to loud pipes
And now feeling groggy in bed. 

Cooking breakfast
Almost awake 
Waiting for coffee
Let the adventure begin. 

Warmth surrounding me
Off with the old
Ready for the new,
Feeling fresh;
My day seems pointless without a shower

Blueberry waffles with fresh ones on top
Toasted frozen waffles are okay,
but fresh blueberries make it so much better. 

Everything is better with coffee!
Breakfast, lunch, or no meal at all. 
A walk down the street, sitting at home, 
A book, a friend, or an endless task of chores;
Everything is better with coffee!

My idea of relaxing:
Home with my family,
watching TV together,
Sipping coffee,
While the little one plays with trains. 

Carrying my son around the living room while he pretends he to be flying, or Superman. 
Son, you can be whoever you imagine yourself to be. 

Grocery shopping again,
A necessary cycle for nourishment
Being healthy is a choice. 

Cooking lunch
Multitasking madness;
That is all. 

Time to unplug,
Some time for me,
Journal, book, coffee;
Just sit and let be. 

Words through my eyes
and into my head,
A mental vacation 
swimming through pages
of lost thoughts and dreams. 

Up from a nap
groggy, yet good
Now to catch up
with an hour less to go. 

Day's end
Almost ready for bed
Reflecting on what happened
and what to do tomorrow. 

How We Can Be Fireworks (thoughts from the 4th of July)

Right now in the United States, it is the 4th of July, also known as Independence Day. People celebrate by getting together with family and friends at home, at a park, or a special event. Usually, people add onto the celebration with fireworks.

There is something intriguing about fireworks that draws people's attention.  The show of multicolored explosions.  Almost every time I see fireworks, it makes me think of Katy Perry's hit song. 

It's a song about celebrating our inner light and beauty. We are fireworks. We can be both powerful and fascinating. We can be loud if we need to be. We can also make people happy. 

Watching fireworks tonight gave me some time to reflect. Inside me (and all of us) is a firecracker waiting to burst with awesomeness. No one should hide her or his courage, love, or human potential. We should never hide who we are.  We are undeniably awesome and should always let it show.

What Happens at Night...

At nights I like to spend time thinking. Sometimes I reflect. At times it's serious, but most times it's not.  I often pause and ponder a future that could be so so bold and so daring. Night is when dreams come out to play.

Dreams are night stories. As the sun goes down, more fantasy arises. Thoughts play with fairy tales and reality at bedtime. We become knights, time travelers, royalty, and more.  We dance with monsters, talk to trees, and wear hats with cats.

Dreams unleash the power of our imaginations.  They are our uninhibited aspirations.  At bedtime children pray for their versions of a better world. Parents wish for a world where their children can thrive happily. 

When people dare to dream, they let their passions fly. Dreaming is when we choose to put logic to the side and envision what might possibly be.  We dream of doing what we've always wanted to do, be who we've always wanted to be, and realize who we truly are...

We are the dreamers.

The Importance of Recharging Our Metaphorical Batteries

We all have internal batteries.  We feel our own energy fluctuate throughout the day, depending on our current situation.  (Ask any parent of young kids, they'll agree.)  Overwhelming schedules, commutes in traffic, and massive to-do-lists can be physically and emotionally draining.  For me, my week feels like something like a roller coaster ride (the intense ups and downs) crossed with a massive road trip (an endurance challenge with a goal in mind).  The closer to Friday it gets, the more excited yet tired I am.  All of us, myself included, need time to rest and recuperate from the tedium of our daily lives.

Unfortunately, time off is a luxury not afforded to everyone, so I've considered myself very fortunate to have the last week and a half off from work.  I go back to the office next week, so I plan on enjoying the next few days away.

What I've found has been something like a slow surge of inner peace.  It's been cultivating and growing inside of me.  At first, I still found myself consumed with thoughts and concerns about work.  During the day, I've thought about what might be needed to get done.  I've been tempted to check my work email, but I haven't (so far).  Even though I've been able to sleep in, I woke up a couple of times thinking that I overslept and was late for work.  My mind and body just wasn't used to having free time.  Relaxing was an adjustment, a necessary one.  Luckily, as days went by, I was able to gradually destress, relax, and recharge my internal metaphorical batteries.  I feel renewed, able to be more present, and freely happy.  I have a feeling that next week I'm going to burst through the front door of the office more productive, happier, and more bold than ever before.

This is my wish for all of us: to be able to make time to recharge so we can truly enjoy what matters in our own lives.

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See the Fullerton Train Station at Night

There is something majestically interesting about trains.  They're large, powerful, and intriguing.  My son is absolutely obsessed with trains: real trains, toy trains, and trains on TV.  His favorite ride at Disneyland is the (wait for it) train. 

Last night we took a quick tour of the train station in Fullerton, CA.  Here is what we saw. (Click photos to enlarge.)