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Happy Happy Happy

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Somehow, no matter how many times we hear someone tell us that you have to choose happiness we roll our eyes. It doesn’t really matter who it is that tells us: our parents, grandparents, family friends, professors, mentors, instructors, even the philosophers; we still don’t register the fact that they may be right. Unfortunately, in our case, we have to learn for ourselves. Although you do think that we would listen to people who have been dead for over a thousand years, I digress.

This week amidst midterms, sickness, and simply madness I took a step back and realized that I had to be happier; not just for myself, but for my health. Being stressed and upset is simply exhausting! A few weeks ago my siblings began the #100DaysofHappy Instagram challenge, so I decided to join them. Little did I know, this step would change my perspective on college.

The second you begin finding happiness in one small aspect of your day, you being finding it everywhere. For example, when your accounting teacher lets you out of class 20 minutes early that causes happiness. When you walk back from class and see a small rainbow in the blue sky that is happiness. When you run into a good friend and laugh until your side hurts, that is happiness.

Overall, no matter how hard and complicated your life is it is impossible to not find something that made you happy in that 24 hours. So today my friends, as it may rain down on your face (both literally and figuratively) rise above and see the happiness creep in through your window.

There is always a rainbow on the other side, I promise.

G xx

Note: If you feel so inclined you can follow my happiness journey on Instagram by following @happy_gracie

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Rocks

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This weekend was one that I really will never forget. It’s funny because it seems as though you need to be in either the extreme high or extreme low to realize what you have in your life. I never thought that twenty-four hours can have that much of an affect on you, but clearly I was wrong.

I learned a metaphor that I haven’t quite shaken since hearing it. While discussing the transition from high school to college and how hard it is to find those great friends that you are so used to, one of leaders said: Imagine that you are playing in your sandbox and you are using a sand filter, and there is a lot of sand that filters through before the rocks stay. For every rock there must be 100 pieces of sand. (I don’t know if that’s exactly how she put it, but that is how I interpreted it) The same thing happens when we are building relationships. Sometimes we get lucky and the rocks are there after seconds of filtering the sand, other times it takes a little more time.

It is irrational to think that the second we arrive at a new destination everything is going to fall into place. At the same time, we have to realize how far we have come in such a short period of time. Someone gave me a great piece of advice. He told me to keep your head up, and find joy in the little things.

Whenever you need a good escape, get out of your comfort zone like I did this weekend. In order to feel comfortable you have to be uncomfortable at first. You will meet friends, learn new games, and undoubtedly get sage advice. Perhaps that’s all the advice we need to hear sometimes, to keep smiling and keep remembering how much you have changed.

G xx

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Moon River

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Every now and then little arrows point you in the right direction, to something small that makes a big difference in your day.

Today, as I was walking back from class I was contemplating going to the library or going to my dorm to relax before a tutoring session. Of course, I went with the latter. As I opened Netflix, Breakfast at Tiffany’s jumped out to me. Just while the taxi came on the screen my favorite song started playing and I realized why I was lead to this moment.

When I was younger, my dad used to sing us a song to fall asleep. He would tuck us in, sit on one of our beds, and start singing Moon River. As I get older, that song reminds me of the times when I could be or do anything. It also epitomizes the fact that even though I may not be under the same roof as my sisters and my dad we are still after the same rainbows end, as cheesy as that may sound.

I don’t know why certain things happen in life. I can’t answer for all the weird coincidences but I do know that everything happens for a reason. So, watching an hour and a half long movie where in every great moment they play my favorite song is something that I am supposed to be doing on an average Tuesday night.

Look around every now and then to realize all the small opportunities that is put on your path. You never know where it might lead. Tonight, take a look up at the stars and realize that the same moon you see is shining bright into the eyes of the girl on the other side of the world. (that’s for you evie xo)

G xx

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He For She

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Today as I was scrolling through the Internet I stumbled upon an article about Emma Watson. If you have been on Facebook recently you probably would have seen her name on the top of the trending topics. Normally, if I found an article that I know everyone read I wouldn’t write about it but since the topic is something I so important to me I decided it was acceptable.

Feminism is a word that makes me (and others) cringe when talked about in society today. I have read every book about the topic including New York Times Best Sellers Lean In, #GirlBoss, Bossypants, and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?; to name a few. Everything that these powerful women are trying to prove is a cause they shouldn’t have to fight for. And as much as I hate to admit it, I wear the label of feminist.

Although these books vary in humor, they all are pointing towards the same conclusion. These authors, comedians, actresses, businesswomen, and writers look at the facts in our society today. Woman are not treated the same as men are in the sense of having equal opportunities. Similarly, men do not have as much emotional autonomy as woman do.

During a UN speech, Emma Watson pondered the questions “If not me then who? If not now then when? These questions, although simple are not easy to answer. We often assume that other people are going to do the dirty work for us. If the problem is universal why do we have to take care of finding a solution?

Instead of focusing on empowering women to stand up for themselves, Emma invited the men. She explained, “I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.” The word feminist is perceived as woman being portrayed as masculine, but what is the word we use for men who are going through sensitive issues? There is none.

More than that, Emma wants men to fight “so their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human, too and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves”. These causes have never been brought up in a debate before. Why is that?

This week the UN introduced a new campaign: He For She. This campaign does not wish to simply talk about improving the well being of humans, they strive to fix the problem before it is too late.

While taking a closer look at this topic, it is clear how pertinent inequality is in our lives; being either a male or a female. Today as I went through my normal activities, I took a step back and realized the minor distinctions for men and woman to live simultaneously in this big wide world; just in the little normal antics that we have become used to in our lives.

As you took time to read this post, I ask this of you: take a moment of your day and watch the speech that Emma gave and make one small goal for yourself to help push past this setback. Do it not for yourself, but for the future generations. It starts with one person, and maybe today it starts with you.

G xx

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Music In Your Bones

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Its funny how sometimes music can make you feel nothing, and other times it can make you feel everything at once. Some people define music as notes and words forming into a song but for me, it is all about the harmony; that second of perfect agreement between two notes.

My favorite quote about music is written by Benjamin Britten who states “It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony.”

One of the classes that I am taking this semester is The Math of Music. What I’ve realized through taking the class is sometimes; the most beautiful music is silence. I find the beauty in silence. Whenever I preform on stage, or go to a concert my favorite moment is the millisecond of silence separating the last chord and the first clap. The small period of time which holds your heart out in the open before putting it back together again.

Preforming music makes you vulnerable, that is a fact. But what we don’t realize is that listening causes the same sensations. Today, as I was talking to my friend Hailey, we started talking about what we do to help numb the gloom. We both agreed that listening to music helps but she went on to say that when she listens to music she feels as though it can make you the happiest person or the saddest person in the world but in reality it’s ultimately your choice to choose how you want to feel.

Whatever you are going through, whether it be big or small, remember that it is your decision to be happy. All it takes is one conscious effort to be the bigger and better person; the happier person. Then maybe, the next time you hear silence you’ll start singing along.

G xx

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Wanderlust

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When people ask me where I see myself in ten years I don’t have a good answer. I just tell them that I want to be happy, as lame as that sounds. I don’t care how much money I have or the type of apartment that I am living in. I just want to be happy.

I have always been in love with traveling. I often say I am in love with the idea of not knowing who I am going to be when I arrive at a destination. I have a list of ambitions that I would like to accomplish before I die. I keep them in the corner of my journal titled “Wanderlust”.

Part of my wanderlust ambitions entails traveling the world. I want to see all the edges of the earth. Walk with the elephants in Tanzania, meditate in the Himalayas, fall in love in Paris, get lost in a vineyard in Italy, walk the great wall of china, sun bathe in Australia, jump off a cliff in Greece, learn how to dance the waltz in a ballroom in Russia, you get the picture.

Every now and then I meet people who make me want to be this spontaneous. Who show me that I can do anything in this big ole world as long as I trust myself. It’s amazing how fearless you become when someone believes in you. It’s magical.

No matter who you are, where you come from, or how confident you are in yourself somehow you stumbled upon this post. Written by a little bliss-obsessed girl who is looking to jump into the deep end of wanderlust. You are good enough, you are strong enough, and at the end of the day if it makes you happy screw what anyone else thinks. (Pardon my French)

We choose how to live our lives, and I guess that makes it harder. So be happy. Smile. Find bliss in everything you encounter. Fall in love with people you’ve never met and places you’ve never been. You never know when someday suddenly turns into today.

G xx

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Never Forget

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It’s a day that you will never forget; one that causes a pause when written on the top corner of a page. You think of those 2,977 people who aren’t able to write the date and gasp before shaking the thought and getting on with your day.

You may read the newspaper, watch a program, or maybe even say a prayer. For some you may be one of those who are affected directly, and for that I am deeply sorry.

No matter who you are, how old you are, and where you live you should remember that day. Remember the tragedy, anxiety, stress, and sadness. Because soon it’s going to just be a date on a calendar; but it will never be for us those who saw the attack.

As expected, there are lots of posts on social media today. From love ones mourning, bystanders watching, and everyone in between. One in particular caught my eye. It was a story about a man who worked in one of the towers. He bought a new pair of shoes and decided that it was the perfect day to wear them. Unfortunately, even before he got to work they gave him a blister. He quickly ran to the drug store to buy some Band-Aids. That is why he is alive today.

There is a reason why every moment happens for a reason. I know we fight it and don’t understand it. You forget that wherever you are is where you are supposed to be. Today, as we find ourselves reflecting take a minute to think about the 2,977 people who are not with us today. Find one small way to make the world a better place, something that they would have done and above all be thankful for the experience to live another day in this beautiful world.

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Time to Shine

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Everyone starts with a blank page, and it is our job to throw the paint on it. There are different layers and patterns we can choose from, or we can just close our eyes and let it go. We have the power and the responsibility to be anyone that we want in this world. We can create a name for ourselves that we never even knew existed.

Someone once told me that none of us are truly afraid of the dark; we’re scared of what it hides from us. We are afraid of that fact that something right before our eyes can have the potential to hurt us, and we won’t be able to register it. What we don’t realize, however, is that even in the light the dark shines through.

Great people do things before they’re ready. When they look back and reflect they realize second they listened to their instincts everything fell into place. Often when we choose to make a life altering decision, we don’t think about it for a while (although to others it may seem like we are) the decision was made the minute the offer was on the table.

Being adventurous, daring, dreamful, fun, loving, inspirational is part of what makes us human. We see the small opening on the corner and we run with it. Because everything we want in this world is on the other side of fear. We learn to alter our anxieties and turn them into passions. Take our dreams and make them a reality. Above all, we become the go-getters that we had inside of us all this time but were too afraid to show.

Layer by layer, moment by moment, something inside of us slowly creeps out. Our subconscious knows what is on the other side of the horizon; so why can’t we trust ourselves? Intuition is the only thing that separates us from pure bliss.

It’s time to be alive, learn from your mistakes, and fall in love with the world and everything it has to offer.

Gxx

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Change

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I have been meaning to post this for a while- but I wasn’t sure it really made sense until now. I came to the conclusion in the middle of the summer that change is a good thing only if you don’t know when it’s coming. Change is only scary when you are anticipating it, which of course I was.

Last year, while watching a documentary the topic came up of how to stay grounded in the spotlight of millions of people. He explained: “I go to this park and even though I have changed, I’ve grown up and am living my dream, this park stays the same.” Somehow, when I was taking a walk on the beach, I realized how that feels.

In the beginning of a new experience we start to freak out because we have no idea what to do. We spend each second before anticipating what could happen. When we get there, somehow we build up the courage to put one foot in front of another and power through it. Before you know it, what was new is now old and something you used to be scared of is now second nature.

We know we have to change. We know that change is a good thing, yet we forget that we know how to change. Life is too short to freak out and live in the shadows of yesterday. We have to smile and act like we are okay. Because in the beginning it may be terrible having to put a smile on your face, but before you know it you wonder why you were frowning in the first place.

All you have to do is act the part, play along with life and before you know it the light will be shining on you. This fall, as it seems that everyone I know will be going through change, remember to smile through the pain because no matter how hard it is to change the adventures on the other side of the door are unimaginable.

If you ever feel lost or get ahead of yourself go somewhere old where you have memories of the past. Sit there for a while and think about what you accomplished. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll begin to understand why the world changes in the first place.

G xx

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We

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I recently came across this idea that everyone cherishes our differences from one another. When you first meet someone rather than looking at the similarities between you too we see the differences. We tend to exaggerate our differences by minimizing our similarities. “If you are like most people, then like most people, you don’t know if you’re like most peole” – Daniel Gilbert a study shown in the book: “The Art of happiness in a Troubled World.”

In this book the authors, the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, explore the concept of me vs we. While reading, I kept agreeing with the fact that there is a distinction in the way we view ourselves to other people, but I couldn’t understand why until the Dalai Lama came up with an example. He told Dr. Cutler that in the Tibetan language the word ‘ngatso’ has two definitions: we; many I’s. In the English language we see those two words as two separate ideas, yet for the tibetans they are combined.

The difference between understanding two different cultures is sometimes lost in the translation. Even if you can speak both languages you can’t fully understand what the concept is. It’s not me or we. It’s me and we. When we change the context of the sentence our inclusiveness is what leads us to seeing the similarity more clearly rather than the difference.

We are always told to try to take the words I and me out of our vocabulary when we first meet someone because we never want to talk about ourselves, we should ask questions. What I realized after reading this chapter is that people act differently when they first meet someone.

We strive to find that one single piece of information that connects our lives together. Through a mutual friend, place of vacation, love for a certain genre of music, and so on. Once we find this one similarity however, we try to make ourselves feel superior by maximizing our experiences.

As I have said before, this concept is simple but not easy. But it is important to understand why our minds work this way. We don’t always have to be the superior person in the circumstance, we can just be mutuals. Maybe, by using this technique we can find the happiness in our troubled, troubled world.

G xx