Is Wealth A Burden?

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I read an interesting article in Vanity Fair magazine the other day about Perfection Anxiety, and it discussed how extreme wealth may actually be a burden. The article proposes that when money is limitless, it ceases to make one happy. We’ve all fantasized about winning the lottery, (I know I have) and becoming rich beyond our wildest imaginations. Rich enough to quit our 9 to 5ers, rich enough to buy that expensive sports car or take your friends to a fancy dinner….every night. What if this fantasy was just that, and if extreme wealth was really a burden?

Statistics show that money does make you happier, but only up to about $50,000/year. After that, the more money you have, the less it matters. Think of it this way, if you gave a starving man a cheeseburger, that one cheeseburger would make him really happy. If you gave a starving man 2 cheeseburgers, the second probably wouldn’t make him as happy as the first, but it may make him a little bit happier in comparison to how happy he felt after the first one. If you gave a starving man 8 cheeseburgers, he would not feel 8 times happier than he did after the first one. It’s the same with money. Money can give you the things that you need and want, and this will make you happier, however only to a certain extent.

            The Vanity Fair article explains that when one has too much money, it “stops working” to make you happier. I wrote a post about happiness and how we don’t just want to experience happiness, but we also want to achieve it. In fact, in order to feel truly happy, we must also experience sadness in contrast. Think of how happy and excited you feel when you buy something you’ve been lusting after for a while, something you’ve saved up for. Think of how grateful we feel when a loved one buys us a present we’ve really wanted for a long time; that high you get when you get that new iPhone or super nice yoga mat. Now, imagine you could buy anything you wanted, always and forever, and suddenly that excitement, anticipation, gratitude is lost. It’s important to have goals, things we can’t yet attain, because we feel a sense of pleasure in working towards these goals and then a sense of accomplishment when we reach a goal.

If you are among the extremely wealthy, I’m sorry. Let me know if I’ve gotten it wrong. If you are not among the extremely wealthy, you get to take this moment to be grateful that you can still derive pleasure from things. We get to feel grateful that we have things to work for, presents to give, and get, and we can still derive simple pleasure from saving up for a special treat. And remember, winning the lottery probably won’t solve your problems, so enjoy the moment : ) Happy Weekend!

Happy Weekend!

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I’m finally in the final stretch of graduate school and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, what this also means is that I am constantly inundated with responsibilities, deadlines, meetings and class. Busy is not a glamorous lifestyle. One thing that I do when I am stressed is eat. lots of carbs. and lots of sweets. I read a quote that directed the reader to “love yourself” as you are eating, and I thought that this intention could completely shift my stress eating. What else could we change if we brought love to the forefront of our intentions? Love yourself as you eat. Love your husband/child/mother when you tell them goodbye as you rush off to work. Love for yoga as you roll out your mat. Love for yourself as you move through your asanas. Love for your town as you take an afternoon walk. Love for mornings as you sip your coffee. Do all things with love. This is not an easy practice. It’s something we must work on, constantly, forever. Try to do all things with love for one day, even just for one morning and see what happens. Or, try to do all things with love for one yoga class. Happy Weekend : )

10 Things I’ve Learned About Love

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Finding Matt and falling in love has been the single most amazing thing that has happened in my 29 year-old life thus far. Having this relationship as the foundation for everything else to happen in my day to day life, has made me stronger. Every feat, challenge, or disappointment doesn’t seem so bad with the love and support that Matt gives me unconditionally. In the 8 and a half years that we’ve been together, would you believe that we’ve never gotten in a fight? It’s hard for me to believe sometimes too. Of course, I’ve had my moments where I am completely annoyed with something that he does, and I feel upset or resentful towards him, but when that happens we talk about it. We’ve never both been upset with the other at the same time. We’ve never shouted at one another, and I’ve never felt like I needed a break from him (besides the night before he proposed, but I blame his annoying behavior that night on the stress he was experiencing in anticipation of the proposal). Kahlil Gibran described love as a “quenchless thirst” and that’s how I feel about Matt. I can never get enough of him. He’s my best friend, my favorite person in the world. I respect him, I like him so much (as well as love him of course) and I’m so proud to be his partner in life. These are a few lessons I’ve learned about love along the way, and I hope to continue learning more as time goes on.

 

1. Love Begins Internally. The perfectly matched couple will F**** it up if they haven’t first addressed their own issues. Rumi said not to seek love, but rather to first address your internal barriers to love. You need to be deserve a true love before you can expect to find one. Insecurities, jealousy, personal voids will all push away the most supportive partner. You have to address your own issues and work on yourself before you can expect to nurture a relationship. This is probably why Alcoholics Anonymous suggests people don’t start relationships in the first year of sobriety. Matt was sober for 4 years before we met, and had already had that time to deal with his own issues. I had made my share of mistakes in relationships prior, and thankfully, learned from them. Of course, we weren’t perfect when we met, and I still continue to work on myself, but our major issues had been worked out for the most part.

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Happy Weekend!

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We are a culture that has become obsessed with “happy”. Commercials, adds, all feature smiling people and promise you that their product will make you happier. Social media, too highlights this phenomenon as everyone posts pictures of their fun trips, smiling family and successes. Social media was called a “hall of flattering mirrors” in something I read once, and it’s true, but what you see on the commercials, and on Facebook pages is not the truth. Everyone suffers. Everyone feels sad, has doubts, feels envious of others’ “perfect” lives. This is what unites us. We must not fight our sadness. It’s natural to have low days, sad days, bad moods. Just like the rain, a good cry can cleanse our minds and bodies. Of course, it’s not healthy to feel sad ALL the time, but every now and again is completely normal, and healthy. It’s a sign that you are human, that you are alive and experiencing life. Next time you feel sad, don’t judge it, just notice it and let yourself feel whatever it is you feel. Happy Weekend!

Happy Weekend!

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Eastern philosophers always speak of water because of its unique qualities. Water is soft and flexible. It always chooses the path of least resistance, and yet, it carves paths through rocks, creates canyons, and holds up ships. A ripple in water, effects every other water molecule associated with that body of water, regardless of distance. Water soothes and heals. It washes and renews. Water can slip through fingers, but hold up ships. In your life, try to be more like water. Flexible, soft, but strong. It can be done. Happy Weekend!

Happy Weekend!

ImageThis quote is quite fitting for the weekend, as the weekend is a time when most of us can get still again. This past week was particularly busy for me, and waking up this morning to stillness and and open day has made all the difference. When I am too busy, my mind can’t open. I have to get still, to find peace and clarity. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try creating stillness, either by taking a day off, or going to a remote place to be alone. Hope you are able to see this weekend by creating space : ) Happy Weekend!

Simple Pleasure-Doing Nothing

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Sunday was a rainy day, a lazy day. Matt and I spent the entire day inside, reading, browsing the internet, and watching our favorite movie “Garden State” for the millionth time. We had to resist the urge to go out and “do something”. I’ve noticed that if I don’t do something each day, I feel a bit worthless and unproductive (even on my weekend days). In “Eat Pray Love” Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about the Italian attitude towards a lazy day.

“Il bel far niente means ‘the beauty of doing nothing’… [it] has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement. You don’t necessarily need to be rich in order to experience this, either.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert quoted from the book “Eat Pray Love”

I’ve also been re-reading “The Geography of Bliss”, as it’s been a few years since I read the book for the first time. Eric Weiner writes about this “beauty of doing nothing” as a concept in happiness studies. He highlights this idea most beautifully through the concept of the café. Cafés, Weiner explains, are a place where Europeans can spend an entire day, people watching and socializing without an ounce of guilt. The most delicious part of this pastime is that it costs very little money, if any, but can provide you with a tremendous amount of joy, peace, relaxation, and reconnection.

I don’t think I’m the only one who feels guilty spending an entire day doing nothing. So why is that? What is it about our culture that has made us feel as though we have to do “something” everyday? Why do we feel guilty spending an entire day in our pajamas, reading, drinking tea, and laying around? And, if you say “but I am too busy to take a day off” should this be so? Our culture has glorified the concept of busy, and I know I have days where I’m rushing constantly from one thing to the next. It doesn’t feel good to be too busy, to have obligations, a planned and packed schedule. In fact, when I get too busy, I begin to feel as though I’m not in control of my life. I miss the option of spontaneity. There is something freeing about having the option to do whatever you feel like doing, in that moment, for an entire day. This is such a simple pleasure; one that anybody can enjoy regardless of economic status. I’ve written about the importance of creating space in order to feel mindful, connected, or creative, in the past and the concept of doing nothing is connected to the concept of creating space. How would people’s lives change if everyone in our country took one day off a week to enjoy the beauty of doing nothing? Try this sometime and allow yourself to really enjoy the day.