Posts tagged ‘heart’

September 9, 2013

Find Your Happy Place

both joy

Hello, Friends! It’s Brooke, here. Where’s your happy place? You do have one, don’t you? If not, you are missing out. As far as these lovely places go, they can be locations you can actually visit, or they can be exotic locales conjured up in your mind’s eye. While both types have their uses, today we are concerning ourselves with the places that you can access easily at almost any moment.  Why? Because sometimes life just calls for a quick and powerful reset, and your brain is just too overrun to get away on its own. In these instances, it’s best to simply transport yourself to the place where you can relax and let your mind catch up later.

Follow the Clues


But how can you find these places of solace and escape? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • When was the last time I was really happy? Where was I?
  • What activities make me lose track of time?
  • If I could go anywhere in my entire city, where would I go and what would I do?
  • What makes my heart happy?
  • When I’ve reached the end of my tether, what would make me feel cared for?

Scour your memories for all the times and places when you were alone and content. Part of caring for your spirit is finding ways to be joyful and complete without needing others to fill a void for you. Also, your loved ones’ version of happy may be entirely different from yours. Your job is to find your glow first and share with those in your life after.


You’re on the Right Track!

Remember, everyone has a different set of hallmarks they use to identify their happy places. Maybe a little boutique smells just like your favorite friend’s house growing up; maybe a painting studio lets you be wildly creative and unbound, unlike your day job. In case you’re stuck, take a peek at my top 3 places currently:

1. Barnes & Noble: smells like coffee, cinnamon scones, and new books—also, I love hanging out with my dad there, and I adore getting lost (and not being missed) exploring whatever my heart desires . . . today

2. Cosmic Café: vegetarian/vegan Indian restaurant: the food is delicious, the vibe is very spiritual and peaceful, and no beloved animals were sacrificed in the making of this nourishment

3. Exall Lake: lovely and peaceful neighborhood lake, surrounded by trees, beautiful homes, and away from the hustle and bustle of Dallas traffic; inspires me and allows me to think and ponder

You Will Know It When You Feel It

heart flutter

Here are some markers that will help you recognize you have found some happy places:

  • It makes your heart flutter happily.
  • Being there is supremely relaxing.
  • Your true self can roam unfettered by expectations of normal life.
  • Your brain can finally shut off the cacophony of b.s. it spouts incessantly as you are lost in the moment.
  • You are thinking about or focusing on only 1 thing—and it feels great!
  • You feel calm because you are in the present moment, not hampered by the past or fretting about the future.

Come to think of it, these markers are some of the very same ones you can use to identify your true calling and find your bliss. No wonder they make you feel happy!

Go to Your Happy Places as Often as Possible

beach heart

Self-explanatory, really! Keep these places tucked away in your subconscious and pull them out regularly, especially when you are feeling stressed, fried, heartbroken, or just plain out of joie de vive. As long as they make your soul sing, you’ve found your little corner of bliss!

Happy hunting, Brooke

April 8, 2013

My Sister—A Love Letter

Paige in Granbury

Happy Monday, friends! This is Brooke, and I would love to shine some light on a beautiful thing called a sister. My sister and I stole away this last weekend for a sister weekend, just she and I—no husbands, kids, or pets. And it was lovely! We had more real conversations than I can remember recently, we enjoyed having absolutely no agenda, and we blissfully watched movies in bed while devouring pizza–heavenly!! I’ve been blessed beyond measure in my life, and one of my first blessings was my sister, Paige. She came along when I was 3 years old. I still remember the great ceremony of being allowed to hold her for the first time, sitting responsible and still on the olive-green couch so beloved in the 1970’s (why beloved, I’m not sure). My mother’s long, elegant fingers settling her on my lap, the cloud of white fabric and lace that surrounded . . . my sister. First breathed with a hushed reverence, the magic of this word has never gone away.

sister in the mirror

I’m the older sister, and I quite like this, although nothing about it was of my own doing. But if you have siblings, you’ll probably understand this next part—growing up, I always felt smugly superior for having been born first. Really?!? But when you are young and powerless, you grasp at the only straws you have. The world could fall to pieces, but in the end, I would always be older. Nothing could ever change that. There is a reassuring permanence to this. I LOVE being the older sister. And I love having a little sister, someone who is mine alone. Our lives are knitted together and always have been. Our shared moments are like opposite sides of a kaleidoscope, the events are the same but their colors are refracted differently for each of us.

You know how time felt when you were young, waiting for life to pass so you can grow up and do whatever grown-ups do? It felt like forever, and we would play for what amounted to days upon days of making sure our Barbies had the most creative (imaginary) split-level houses and happy families. Every time I had a good idea for something, Paige wanted it too. Every time I did something, she had to do it too. Maddening! But this tediousness was quickly lost in the joy of having a constant playmate. Someone to tickle my back on car trips, to play card families with, to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me about the man standing at the end of her bed (in our shared room—eeek!).

sister a little bit of childhood

Then we grew up a bit, each struggling to find our own way to who we really were. Arguments became frequent and unreasonable. I remember there was much bitterness and resentment as we each fought to always be right. We were teenagers after all. Then I left for college, and my world opened up. For me, our relationship changed after I heard a story my freshman year at college about someone’s little sister having been killed in an accident. How awful not to be able to take back all the hurtful things you’ve said. How devastating for someone you loved so much not to know just how much they meant to you. If you are at odds with a loved one, the quickest way to turn your heart is to imagine not having more time together. It feels terrible but it works, for me at least. It keeps you from saying things you’ll regret and helps your spirit stay soft and kind. Coming back from school after this realization and being the first one to forgive in an argument was hard to do. The words jagged in my throat. But after that initial step, some time passed, and we grew closer again. She softened, or maybe my thoughts of her softened, and we both grew up. We became more alike, and I recognized my truest playmate and partner in crime from long ago.

cute B and P BB

These days, my gorgeous Paige has her own beautiful family—a loving husband, 2 wonderful daughters, and lots of animals. She’s smart, strong, kind, compassionate, funny, and silly. In short, exactly who I strive to be. She’s an amazing mother, a lovely wife, a cherished friend and daughter, and a deeply beloved sister. And she’s still all mine.

May each of you be lucky enough to share your life with a sister, even if you didn’t come from the same nest.

Much love, Brooke

March 18, 2013

Birthday Love and Gratitude

bday photo_cropped

Hi, Everyone! It’s Brooke here. So, this is the time of year when my fellow Pisceans come out to play—we really couldn’t ask for a better time of year to celebrate. Early spring in Texas is beautiful. The mornings are still a little cool, the tulip trees and daffodils are blooming in their purple and golden glory, respectively, and all the critters are actively rejoicing in the close of the bitterly cold winter. This year, my birthday fell on Tuesday, and to tell you the truth, I was kind of disappointed it was going to be a workday. Internal thoughts: Really? How festive can Tuesday be? What a drag. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, first Monday came along, and my heart was quickened by a few early birthday wishes from my friends at work. Then Tuesday arrived, and sweet wishes arrived throughout the day from people in all parts of my life—kind acquaintances, dear family members, and precious friends. Many of these kind thoughts arrived online, and as I set about replying to each of them, something magical happened. As I typed each little note, I reflected on my relationship with each sender, thankful for the connection tying us together. Then I sent my warm wishes back from whence they came. I spent all day doing this, except for several intervals of actual work, and what a wonderful day it was!! I felt absolutely bathed in a steady stream of love from sunrise to after dark. I so hope that each of you experiences a day (or lots more!) like this in the very near future. It does your heart a world of good.

heart leaf

This year was the big 3-8 for me. Yikes!! When did I get to be within spitting distance of 40? And more troublesome, why was this bothering me? In years past, I’ve always loved birthdays—what better way to celebrate the day that a loved one entered this wonderful world? Also, because there’s nothing we can do to make time go backward, we might as well embrace its inevitable forward movement with joy rather than dread. Now, the tiny thought teases my brain that those sentiments are easily expressed by people basking in the prime of their youth, with their facile optimism—but what does one say or think as the years creep along? Really what I’m wondering is what has my life been up to this point and what shall its purpose be going forward? Something about 38 seems so . . . serious. So grown up. Like I should have my crap figured out by now. Darn it!

What I’ve decided this means is that I need to slow down (for a little while), be still, and reflect on what my goals are for the future, rather than living each day frantically trying to meet obligations, deadlines, and expectations. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with balance and wanting to live a radiant, authentic life, despite the busyness of each day. But thankfully, on many days, and one day especially last week, I was reminded that my life is full of joy and love all the time; that if I’m continually thankful, my sights will be set on powerful, positive things; and despite occasional evidence to the contrary, this is a beautiful world.

Give thanks for a little

I’ll leave you with the “Desiderata,” one of my favorite poems that I keep close to my desk. I’ve spent many idle moments pondering its message of peaceful living amid a chaotic and sometimes discouraging world. I repeat it silently in my head like a rosary or a mantra, checking for relevancies in my life as I go through each line. And two things happen every time—my eyes tear up as my heart recognizes these same truths and my soul is soothed. It’s literary Xanax. Purrrrrrr. Have a blessed week!

With love, Brooke