Thursday, May 29, 2014

Because IM HAPPY!!!!

 So, I just went to a club where we discussed the Happiness Project,  and on the way home Pharrell Williams song Happy came on the radio. I thought that was pretty awesome.

 So I know a lot of people are getting sick of that song.  Probably people who aren't feeling very happy. I know when I'm not feeling happy, the last thing I want to hear about is usually a song about being happy.  However, I must say, I have  been listening to that song pretty much every day since I first heard it (during the Olympics in February), and I have yet to  have a moment where that song didn't bring a big smile to my face and instantly make me feel much happier.

 After spending an hour discussing the Happiness project and if its important to worry about happiness, and getting the most out of our happiness, and so forth,  I think we all agreed that  happiness is a cycle that feeds and builds off its self, so making sure you are as happy as can be helps you to help others be happier, which in turn helps you to be happier.  That song makes me happier, and when I am happier, I'm gonna help you be happier.

 I have a friend that hates that song. HATES it. one day we were riding in the car together, and it came on, and I love that song, and I knew she hated it, so i told her she could change it, but she saw the smile it had already brought to my face, and she decided that she would endure it because it seemed to make me happier. At the end of the song, she said "that wasn't as bad as I thought, I didn't hate it"

 I probably would have not loved this song so much, if I didn't associate it with the Olympics, thanks to this video of team Great Britain.

Now every time I hear it, this song reminds me of the endless possibilities I have to live my dreams and make great things happen.

It also reminds me of another friend who loves this song, and doesn't ever remember the words. Anytime either of us are having a bad day, we text what we remember of the words and both end up singing and clapping along.

One of the biggest points we all got out of the Happiness project book, was that we are happier when we are ourselves. I'm happiest when I am being Mandi, and not trying to be who everyone thinks , or who I think everyone thinks I should be. Loving a song long after its over play date, because it was featured in a lip sink with Olympic athletes is a very Mandi thing to do.  Writing a blog about how this song playing after book club makes me happy, is also a very Mandi thing to do.  So I feel pretty good about that. I hope it makes you a little happier too.

 What does happiness mean to you?   very important question. There are no wrong answers.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Lesson Just For Me

 In the past two years I have learned very well what a vulnerability hangover is, and what it does to me. I have not, however found a way to handle it to make it not happen When I open up and share personal stuff, its going to make the next week hard, and all I can do is know that will happen, and that I will get through it and it will be ok, eventually.

Last Tuesdays post left me with a massive vulnerablility hangover. It came on slowly, and then  hit hard. But I am wading through it, till it goes away. Vulnerability hangovers are what happens when you share something very personal, with one person, or with the world. For me what follows is always a dose of self hatred, fear, and a desire to run away or give up, because sharing those really personal parts of yourself with the world is scary, and I always tend to think or fear when I do everyone is going to abandon me, because Im just too weird, or I dont meet their standards or whatever.

 Sometimes, I just feel I dont meet my own standards, and that is much worse. At any rate, thats what happens. So today, I really didn't want to go to church, and once I got there, I wanted to leave, because I was feeling kind of worthless and like a huge I dont know what.  But I made it through sacrament, and the last speaker said something about if you show up, if you come, then we can help you. So, I didn't want to stay, but I thought, fine, I'll stay.

 And Sunday school was a great lesson and all, but again, I just wanted to go home. But again, at the end of the lesson, someone mentioned something and it helped me just that little bit. So I stayed, and a friend was in the hall and took me to relief society.  And waiting for everything to start, I was tired, and I didn't want to be there, and I just wanted to go home.

 And then the lesson was on... well it was on that talk from last conference about all the Olympians, in particular Noelle Pikus-Pace.  And dispite last weeks overwhelming everything that made me loose my focus on "The Dream" as I shall call it, with overwhelming disire to just give up,  that lesson was for me, and it reminded me of  everything that God has taught me from and since the last Olympics. It reminded me that he is in my corner, and that amazing things are going to happen, and that I just need to believe him, trust him, and keep working, and keep being me, even on the days I dont want to be.

 Im not going to recap the lesson, it was great, but It was in fact for me. I stayed, and what I needed to hear was delivered, and that is why I had decided to stay any way. I know God knows and loves me, because today I needed to be reminded of what inspires me, and I was inspired by something at every meeting I went to, even if parts of every meeting were also hard to just stick with.

 God wants me to achieve amazing things. He wants you to, too. and If we just hang in, and trust him as much as we can, he will help us to have the motivation, to take it up a notch and work for the seemingly impossible possibilities in our lives.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Prayer in Rhyme

 This morning I woke up, ready to conquer the world, but I couldnt get out of bed, my brain started to swirl.
So many thoughts, and emotions I felt, I started to cry,
Why? I couldn't tell.

 Everything was stuck, inside my heart.
 I needed to talk to God, but didn't know how to start.
  I cried a bit more, and I felt what I felt.
 But I couldnt express it, no matter how long I knelt.

 Finally I decided, I could waste time no more.
 I headed to my closet, flung open my drawers.

As the clothes began to fly, into a bin, to go off to some charity
, my soul started openin. it kind of scared me.
It came out with anger, just a tiny bit, tears and pain raged, I grasped for understanding.

All of my words, as I spoke to my God,
rhymed just like this while I was watched by my dog.
No doubt he was perplexed, and I said quite a lot.
Is this a way to talk to God? It seems rather odd.

Then just like a loving, and understanding father,
when he'd given me a moment, he let me fall silent.
I had said my piece, and then he replied...

dont throw a way that tee shirt, you'll miss it sometime.
ok, I said, but sometimes it reminds me of pain.
I dont want to remember this now, I want it out of my brain.

Yeah, but I love you, and it will be just fine.
You are over reacting a little this time.
I know exactly what your feeling, and I want you to know,
I haven't forgotten you, nor left you alone.

I know the last year was rough, and times may still get rougher,
but you are my daughter, I love you like no other.
I am pleased with all the hard things you've done.
I know it was hard, and you just want some fun.
Laughter not tears, joy and no pain.
I know you want all the hurts to just go away.

I can give you peace, and let you know you are loved.
I can help you keep trying, until you're all done.
I can tell you not to give up, when you think you've lost everything
I can lead you to living water, but I can't force you to believe.

Talk to me, anytime, day or night.
Know, you are not alone in this fight.
but I cannot make you get out of your bed.
I can't make you fight for the dreams in your head.
I can just love you and help you along.
But you're going to have to trust me,
and I'll make you strong.

Well,  that was my morning, more or less there.
I woke up thinking I just didnt care.
then I cared too much, and couldn't handle the hurt,
till God reminded me, he knows what Im worth.

So life may not be perfect, probably never will be,
but God so loves and knows me,  He's even willing to rhyme with me.

It may seem kind of cheesy, or even sacralige,
But I like that he knows me enough to give me days just like this. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Me, and My Digital Friends

In the past month, I've had to purchase a new laptop (second one in six months) and a new phone.

This morning, as I imported the last of my contacts, photos, and music from my old phone to my new phone, I left the empty she'll of what used to be my most constant companion (apart from the Holy Ghost) sitting alone and abandoned on my night stand.

I'll admit I felt a little sad for a moment, and probably will for a little while while I get used to the new phone. I had that phone for two and a half years, it was a trooper. It was my only companion that stayed by my side for my entire trip to Europe, and he was also there when I started stretchy time, got me through long days at work, and pretty much saved me during my three computer less weeks.
But in the end, he is a phone. He lived a pretty full life, and the time has come to let him go. There was far less love lost for the laptop, which lasted only six months, and that I pretty much hated from day one. I mainly just missed the wasted money I had invested in the stupid thing.

But all this talk reminded me of other digital friends, real people, and my digital interactions with them. I'm not going to slagg off Facebook,  it is what you make of it.

One of my strongest, best friendships in the world happened because Facebook allowed me to interact with and come to know and love a visiting teaching assignment that wanted nothing to do with me, my companion or the church at the time.

And I'll be honest, if people don't want to talk to me for visiting teaching, I usually quit trying pretty quickly, but in that instance, I wanted to genuinely be her friend, and slowly, via Facebook we became friends, and then in real life.

So, I won't slagg off facebook. You can have good, genuine high nutrient relationship interactions on facebook, if you use it right. And twitter, and whatever else.

...or, you can fill your life with a lot of empty calorie relationships. I've done both. But, about two years ago, I started a journey to get healthy in every aspect of my life, and just now I'm starting to realize what that means to my digital interactions, as well as real life friendships.

I had a good talk with my therapist lately, about this very subject. I've come to realize that apart from small occasions to keep balanced, because we do need some lower level friendships and interactions, because to not would rob you of future deep relationship possibilities, what I really want out of this stage of life are recovery drink, protein bar, and nutrient rich friendships, and a good variety of them.

I'm no longer at an age where I want millions of friends that are very superficial level friends indeed, I'm no longer at an age where I need or want broad general adoration and acceptance. I am at a point in life where I mainly care about friends that I know will still be friends no matter what time and life and distance try to do.

And speaking of distance, when these friends live far away,  or even are close but busy with children and low on time, but still care and want to be there for you, share pictures and stories with you, etc, that is what Facebook can be used to help enrich lives with.

Far better than those lonely times we pointlessly scroll the news feed, posting randomness, and taking quizzes trying to fill a void that can only be filled by real face to face human interaction.

I guess, ultimately, what I am saying is, there are two kinds of digital friends, the ones that last about six months, and are easily replaced, and the ones that last forever, that go on adventures, that have your back. The ones that make you sad when life seems to pull you appart.

What I am saying is, keep a nutritional balance in your life, and in your relationships with others. Don't fill up on empty calories, find a way to make sure your friends are not just a digital part of your life. If you can't see them face to face, at least remember them in your prayers.

I'll never forget in the MTC, when Elder Scott told us to build relationships with our mission companions strong enough to last through eternity. I'll never forget the advice to stay in touch with the people you teach on your mission. And, I think that same advice can be applied to any friend that has dug deep enough to stay in your memory a decade later. Even if it's a Christmas card once a year, people are not phones to be used and then tossed aside when the newest model comes along.

If anything matters in life, it's people. And, not just family. Family is important,  but we are all part of a much bigger family than we often remember,  God's family, and as the little prince learned, we are forever responsible for those we have created ties with. Seems like a tall order, but remember, by small means, great things are brought to pass.

Remember just one friend today,  digitally, or otherwise. Even if you just think about how much they have meant to you, but even better if you can find a way to let them know. I promise, it will enrich your life, and you won't feel it time wasted. Connect. Remember. Love.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Univers Is Working Awesomeness In My Behalf

From a sleepless haze, and a horrible ponding headache, my thoughts will now somehow march forward onto this page, to explain the lessons of the past year, some grand complecated monstrosity of a mess, that at first glance looks like the ugly underside of a tangled crossstich.

But in an instant last night, well, about four sleepless hours, the picture came together for me, and i saw its beauty, the dark and hopeless moments side by side with the beautiful bright ones, forming a picture that otherwise would have been uninspiring.

Friendship is an interesting dynamic to life, trust, team work, dreams.  Sometimes we have friends that we think will be forever, but at somepoint you just go your ways, and what mattered so much for an instance, just mattered in the past, and just fades away rather boringly.

Other times there are these impossible friendships, that you werent really sure when you ever wanted them to start, then you find you need them, but everything goes seemingly wrong. The cards seem constantly stacked against it, and you are ready to throw in the towel and some how shards of broken hearts and broken trusts are glued back together in a way that makes it something stronger, more beautiful, and more impossible than ever seemed possible, because its been through everything and still stands, and then you just have to trust no matter the storm or the change, thats the friend that will always be, somehow your friend, against all odds.

Yesterday, my curling team, my inspiration, my motivation to dream, they had a member leave the team, to try other possibilities out.

Its only been four months I knew they existed.  A picture of them from the olympics hangs above my door with the words dream on it to remind me of that inspiration i found from them in february, to remind me to hope, to dream, to go after the impossible, to keep working through the difficult.

I was devistated for a small instant that the team, as it had inspired me, would no longer exist. Yes, team muirhead goes on for another four years toward another olympic dream, but without its lead, with a new lead. Someone i dont trust yet, someone that doesnt inspire me yet, someone i dont know yet. It will be, in many ways, a new team for one change.

And I thought, what do I do with that picture, with that dream now? Do i cut claire out, do I take it down?

And then I read Claire Hamiltons words, on why she was leaving the team, because she was inspired by the Olympics to go a different direction, to dream, maybe in some ways a bit bigger than in past. She thanked her former teamates, and her gratitude for the 3 years they had worked as a team.

Suddenly, it made sense to me, to keep my picture up as is. The team that inspired me will always include clair hamilton. It existed in a moment, and then it changed and moved forward, in a different direction, as all teams, and all friendships eventually do.

It doesnt make the past any less special, nor the future less bright, just different from the present. And I realized, with my own friends how our rolls in eachothers lives change over time.  Some people leave our team, some peolpe just play a different roll in it. Sometimes, you are the one leaving the team, because you just have to move in a different direction, you have to chase a different dream. But that special Olympic moment, nothing, no change, can ever take that away from you. It will always have existed, and been great as it was.

Last year was probably one of the most difficult years of my life. Ive heard it said that our trials are designed specifically for us, to remove all traces of fakeness from us.

I have to say, I feel that is true. I have come out of last year, friendships have come out of last year, my relationship with God has come out of last year, and I feel like thats exactly what last year did, it removed all the fakeness from my life, and left me with realness that can be trusted, because I know impossibly I survived, we survived. And everything is different, because now everything is real, and no fakeness remains.

The universe is working aeesomeness in my behalf. God is working awesomeness in my behalf. I understand that. It may at times seem the opposite, but some how, all these things end up being for our good.

I called my computer dead, and a week later, after I bought a new one, it started working. Ive no idea why I would need two laptops, but apparently I do.

Countless times, there has been a friendship that I called its death, I said it was impossible to survive, and the moment i gave up on it, it started working healthier than ever before, different, but alive and well.

Ive no idea the direction my life will take, but I have a good feeling about it. All these little pieces click together around me, these seemingly random threads and strands of life. They appear at times to make no sense, then, suddenly, another piece of the picture becomes clear, and beautiful, and surprising. And I love that. I love that God is in charge, and he knows what hes doing, and that sometimes he lets me get it, even just a little bit, just for a small second.