Tag Archives: Art of Living
Father’s Day is an interesting day for our family. Given that the father of my children died from cancer and my new husband adopted them, there is a real art of living happy on this day. Fortunately, we’ve had four years to figure it out.
This year I feel that we achieved a bit of separation between what is and what was. Nine days ago our town of Ridgefield celebrated Relay for Life – which is the main volunteer-driven cancer fund raising event of the American Cancer Society. Although the main objective of Relay is to raise money for cancer research and cancer patients, the event is held to spread cancer awareness, celebrate the lives of survivors, remember those who lost their lives to cancer, and unite a community in the fight against cancer.
Jenna and Robbie went all out his year raising money in honor of their dad, Ian Sharpe. In fact, Jenna and one of her friend’s Kelly, hosted their sweet sixteen birthday party as a fund raiser for the event. They requested that instead of gifts, to please bring sixteen dollars to donate to the American Cancer Society. They raised over $1,400!
Robbie approached the task with creativity and diligence. He constructed a memorial website for his dad and sent over 100 emails to friends and family asking for donations. At the end of the day, he was the largest individual fund raiser for the entire town of Ridgefield by raising $2,725.
The fact that these kids went out, on their own, to raise money for the disease that killed their dad, shows that they honor their father not only with their thoughts, but also with their deeds. They paid tribute to Ian – nine days ago.
Today, they wrapped gifts, signed cards and hid behind the kitchen counter to jump out and yell, “Happy Father’s Day, Dave!!!” They hugged Dave and joked and laughed and celebrated this day, Father’s Day, with the man that today is in their life. David is their father – he is the man that is loving Jenna and Robbie and watching them as they grow and mature and helping them be the amazing kids that they are.
Happy Father’s Day – Dave – we love you!!!
Happy Father’s Day – Ian – we thank you for all you have given us and we’ll never forget you. The art of living happy isn’t always easy, but it is a choice and it’s always worth making.
The art of living after the death of a loved one is quite challenging, to say the least. I lost my husband, Ian Sharpe at the age of 44. He died after a seven year battle with lymphoma. His struggle included three stem cell transplants, a one month hospital stay at Sloan Kettering Hospital in NYC, and a seven month visit to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Care Alliance in Seattle, Washington. Our family lived in a Marriott Residence Inn for the entire seven months!
Ian did have a four year remission in the middle of his battle, which allowed some time for creating lasting memories as a family. Vacations at Disney World, attending Camp Sacramento – near Lake Tahoe in California, and the opportunity to coach Jenna and Robbie’s soccer teams were all enjoyed. Unfortunately night sweats, fevers and weight loss crept back into our lives while celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary in Bermuda. I knew at that moment that we were going to have a bad ending…
When Ian succumbed to death on February 22, 2004, I realized I was relieved. I was relieved for him – his fight was long, painful and arduous. I was also relieved for myself – I hate to admit it – but I was. The task of caring for the dying is difficult and all consuming.
My mother arrived in Connecticut the day after his death and stayed with me for a couple of weeks. I couldn’t eat, sleep or breath. I was truly happy for him, as the pain and agony were over. I was terrified for myself, I was alone with two kids – 8 and 10 years old. We then all flew to Minnesota and stayed at my mom’s for a week. It was nice to be away from the house. It was comforting to be taken care of. Our final week away, we went on a cruise to the Caribbean. It was a family affair, as my brother’s family and my mom and her husband attended. Being on the ocean, in warm breezes and surrounded by people that both loved and cared for me (my family) and by people that had no clue what had just happened to me was cleansing and refreshing. It was nice to get away.
The scariest part was returning home to an empty house. Opening the door would make it real – Ian not being there would be proof that he died and it was only me and the kids now. It was dreadful. But, I did it. I stepped over that threshold and didn’t look back. I made the decision that life would go on and that I needed to take charge. Of course, I had my sad times and my fits of rage and frustration for being left here on this earth. I kept myself busy with positive activities. I took up Pilates and bought new clothes – I had been living in sweat pants for the two years before Ian died! I met my friends for lunch even had my house Feng Shuied (an ancient Chinese art of arranging your possessions for positive life results). The Feng Shui changed my life – many more blogs about that in the future!!!
It is now many years later, and I’ve never been happier. I’ve remarried and my amazing, fabulous husband, David, adopted my children. Ironically he always wanted children, but never wanted to do the baby thing – and he always wanted a son names Robert – yes my son’s name is Robert! I’m also thrilled, as I am now pursuing my life long dream of helping others to achieve their happiness in life.
Losing a loved one is awful – but if you keep moving forward, while always remembering your loved one in your heart, and allowing their whispers of advice to guide your way, life can be even sweeter and happier – I guarantee it.
Love and Blessings! – Lisa
This blog is about the art of living happy, thus the chosen URL… I figured before I got side tracked with too many ideas about the “art” part of living happy – I would throw out a crash course in happiness, so you can get started living happy NOW.
✓ Start Laughing – Laughter is the medicine of the soul. If you aren’t happy in your life then start laughing. Even if things are absolutely terrible, find something to laugh at. Remember that you can always be more happy in your life. If nothing strikes you as funny, then sit down and force yourself to laugh. I know you will feel ridiculous, but who cares, if this will help your life get back on track – why not? What do you have to lose??? And it’s free!!! Find time to laugh everyday – minimum of five to ten minutes.
✓ Have fun – Okay, so you’ve lightened up a bit as you are looking for funny events in your life. Good for you! The next thing I want you to focus on is having fun. Life can get way to serious; school, work, paying bills, monitoring your stock portfolio, taking care of children, fighting with your loved ones – come on – have some fun already! Ideally go outside and run around, play catch with your kids or a friend, swing on the playground. Remember when you were a kid? It wasn’t hard to have fun then, was it? Plan fifteen minutes everyday to just have fun. Wait a minute; what’s that? I hear people moaning, “I don’t have an extra fifteen minutes in my day.” Get up earlier, turn off the TV, or go to bed 15 minutes later. Stop making excuses and start having fun – it’s not like I’m asking you to go to the dentist everyday!
✓ Listen up – This is where I’m going to lose some of you. Hear me out and stick with me – I promise you will be happier if you follow this advice. Listen to your gut, that little voice in your head, your intuition. Call it what you’d like, but this is the key to being happy in life. As I mentioned in yesterdays blog, “I want to inspire you, even a tiny bit, to look for the flickers of coincidence in your life. As you notice these flickers, they will start to become flashes, and then one day you will start to notice miracles in your life.” These flashes and flickers I’m referring to start with your intuition and actually following through with what you are feeling or hearing. You are on this planet for a purpose and if you aren’t fulfilling that purpose you are most likely not happy – you may be very successful and even extremely wealthy – but bottom line you are not truly happy, you feel a void in your life. The fastest way to fill that hole is to discover your purpose and start living that life.
This was a total crash course. I have so many ways to help you live a happy life, but as I mentioned, I wanted to give you some concrete ideas right away so you can be working on your happy life right NOW. I’d love your feedback. Send me a comment as I read every message that comes my way – I guarantee it! Here’s to being happy! – Lisa
What are you talking about? How Come? Why?
I am a certified public accountant for God’s sake! My employers’ have included Price Waterhouse in San Francisco, before there was a Coopers, and Ernst & Young in Washington D.C. – two of the biggest most respected accounting firms in the United States. Most recently I worked for a hedge fund, not too far from Wall Street. If you met me in person and observed my life, you would say that I’ve totally made it and living happy. I live in a gorgeous house on a lake, I have three luxury cars, and my children are well behaved and get good grades. Who could ask for more? Yet, before I started on this road, I felt empty inside. I wondered, “Is this it? Is this all there is? Really?”
I have had many experiences in my life. Some of them were amazing, like the birth of my two children. Some of them were absolutely terrible, like the death of my husband when I was 37 leaving me alone with 2 children, ages 8 and 10. The interesting part – and this is why I’ve asked you to join me – is that with each event in my life, positive or negative, there have been extraordinary circumstances surrounding the situation that have blown my mind wide open! Unusual and astonishing outcomes, which are extremely good, have occurred and left me blissfully happy. I can’t explain what has caused these amazing results. Is it a coincidence, God, Angels, spirits, or just random events? Am I just super lucky?
I don’t really think I am just lucky, although that would be the easiest way to explain it. It doesn’t feel like that. It feels bigger.
Truly, being on the road less traveled has enhanced my life beyond belief. I’m happier, healthier, and more content. I truly enjoy life, and it keeps getting better. Just when I think I can’t get any happier, I do! It’s amazing.
As you walk with me, my hope is that something I say or a book that I recommend will actually enable you to step off my road and onto your own path. It may be just a tiny trail at first, and you may feel weird or uncomfortable. Eventually though, you will see the path becoming more open, and you’ll feel more secure with your thoughts and feelings. Before you know it, you’ll be walking on your own road and you’ll be happier than you ever thought possible!
I believe that there is another dimension at work, and it’s so incredible to notice it and tap into it. Again, I don’t have all the answers, but I do feel that there is something greater than us out there. I also believe with all my heart that it available to help you at every turn.
On May 1, 2010 – five weeks ago as of this posting – I quit my hedge fund accounting job to be able to share my story with you. I want to inspire you, even a tiny bit, to look for the flickers of coincidence in your life. As you notice these flickers, they will start to become flashes, and then one day you will start to notice miracles in your life. I guarantee this will happen for you if you stick with me – even for a short time.
I am Lisa Jones – join me on the road less traveled. It only gets better – I guarantee it!