Archive for Be Happy


A lesson in gratitude…

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Yesterday afternoon I was getting on Highway 39 from route 6 and there at the on-ramp was 70 year old Pedro with his thumb in the air. He knew I was going to drive right by him and he still smiled and waved. At the next exit I found myself heading the other way to pick him up.  His small sign made from cardboard and permanent marker said “El Paso” which was on my way to Peoria.

I will never see him again, but in the 40+ miles we spent together, he created a permanent place in my heart.  He got laid-off from a construction job laying stone in Pennsylvania and it took him 11 days to get here. He lost his wife to cancer in ’78 and  is the last remaining of his brothers and sisters. He is on his way to see his daughter in San Antonio, TX.

He had been standing there since 5am.  I said I couldn’t believe he went over 8 hours without someone stopping and he said “I’m just so grateful to be alive.” The man just spent the night under a bridge for shelter from the rain, someone stole his sleeping bag the night before, he has only 55 cents in his pocket, and the first thing he talks about is how grateful he is. He went on to say that he understands that people are just scared. He said, “I’m scared too, I don’t know whose car I’m getting into”.  I remember my fear when we hitchhiked into town to get groceries off the AT.  Usually people only think about the fear of who they would be letting in their car, not how afraid the person is getting in to it.

I left him at the edge of route 24 in El Paso with 20 bucks and a hug.  I hope he makes it to his daughter. It’s interesting to me that the people that have the least seem more often than not to be the most grateful. I guess for most of us we don’t really appreciate what we have until we don’t have it.  I feel blessed when I get a reminder to be grateful for what I have without having to lose someone or something to remember that.  Thank you, Pedro. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

P.S. Don’t worry mom, I don’t normally spend my time picking up strangers.  This time I just had a good feeling 😉


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The Hedgehog Concept

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In the book “Good to Great”, by Jim Collins, he talks about the hedgehog concept, which was introduced to me at lululemon and it is quite the amazing tool for discovering your calling in life.

It is based on the story of the fox and the hedgehog.  The fox knows many different and clever ways to try to get the hedgehog, but since the hedgehog focuses on only one important thing (curling up into a ball), he can escape the fox every single time.  He does his one thing and he does it well.

It reminds me of the movie City Slickers, when Curly tells Mitch that the key to life is “one thing”.  He asks what the one thing is and Curly says: “That’s what you’ve gotta  figure out”.

So the hedgehog concept is finding the answer to these 3 questions and discovering that magic center where all three overlap.

The first question is: What are you passionate about? I lived the majority of my life as a people pleaser, I was riddled with worry and guilt most of the time (sometimes for things I had nothing to do with), in relationships I could have won a prize in the Who is more co-dependent contest, and I was judgmental (and what came with that was always thinking and worrying that  people were judging me.) When I learned that my own patterns, beliefs, and behaviors were keeping me from leading a life I love, and that there were tools I could learn to free myself from these things, I signed up for every seminar and bought every book I could get my hands on. (Yes, I’m the weird one in the self help section and if I were homeless, I would live there during the day.)  The knowledge I have gained from learning these tools has offered me a freedom I never imagined was possible, and I have seen so many others experience the same shift in there lives.  So what am I passionate about?  I am passionate about personal development.

2nd question: What can you be best in the world at? One of my greatest strengths is empathy. And based on my obsession above I believe I could be best in the world at being happy, and helping others to discover what it takes to bring more happiness into their lives as well. And I’m not talking happy like “Of course I’m happy, I am married and have kids and I have work right now so that’s all I need.”  I’m talking waking up every morning feeling incredibly alive and excited about your day and then going to sleep every night with a smile on your face because you are so grateful for your life that you can’t stop smiling.  

Question #3: How do you make money? Post college and armed with a PhD, I plan to have a career as a Life Coach.  I will make money by “doing what I love and loving what I do” as Alan Jackson says.

So, I know what I am passionate about, which ties into my strengths, and I am going to school to make money at it.   I have a goal to live my life in the realm where my three things overlap because this will bring me the most joy and I will be able to spread that to others.  This is my hedgehog.  What’s yours?

“Good is the enemy of Great” -Jim Collins



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“The Power of Intention”

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The title of this post is also a book by my favorite author and great inspiration, Wayne Dyer.  I have him to thank for some of my favorite quotes including “you get what you ask for, whether you like it or not”, “let go and let god”, and “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” I  love Wayne like a fat kid loves cake.

When I was hiking out by Lasalle Canyon the other day I was planning my future trash pick ups out there and started getting annoyed that I didn’t have anything to put small pieces of trash in that were directly on the trail. I thought maybe I could find a piece of trash that was a bag. I decided to state my intention out loud into the wilderness.  I said “I need a small bag, a plastic grocery bag or a ziplock will do.”  According to my phone, it wasn’t even two minutes later I walked up on a muddy, but empty, plastic ziplock bag right in the middle of the trail.  I said “thank you” and picked it up and washed it off with my water bottle.  It ended up being perfect to pick up every small piece of trash for the rest of my hike. This is just one small example of the power of intention. Wayne would be proud.   🙂

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That Free Thing

“"We don't see things as THEY are. We see things the way WE are." ”

Raymond Charles Barker