The Hart Family

The Hart Family
Living In Color.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The LOVE project

ok it's Thursday...

I just got done with a quick yoga session and ended it on a prayer and meditation.  After which I jumped into the steamer to process the jumbled ideas that were racing through my head.  Thoughts came flooding in so fast and furious I am writing this post in a robe and towel wrapped around my dripping hair.  I was worried I would lose the insight I gained during this meditation. This project has been streaming in and out of my consciousness for years and its elusiveness has kept me from acting.  It's time to break it down and start the process.

First.... I'm feeling this project will last a year.  We are just finishing up 2014 and the new year is approaching quickly.  If I don't get my act together another year will come and go and the gentle nudges seemingly from the heavens will go unanswered.

Ok...so I am a mother of 4 boys and they are my life blood, my energy, my soul.  I am so grateful for them and what they teach me every day.... usually it's PATIENCE.  I pray for it always as I listen to long drawn out stories of something funny that another kid said at school (funny for the kids not so much me), watching another kendama move mastered, reading with my child who is dyslexic, asking them repeatedly to do their chores, do their homework, practice soccer, attend their scouting meetings and follow through with whats been asked of them by all their teachers, leaders, and coaches.  All these things are important to them so they are important to me.

 I hand my children over to their school teachers for 6 hours a day, then I hand them over to church leaders (sometimes reluctantly....I'm unsure about the whole organized religion thing), sports coaches, and tutors (for my child with dyslexia).  They come home..... we eat dinner..... do homework and they go to bed.  How much really am I teaching them?  Do my children know how to love without boundaries and borders? Because that is what I would teach them...... Do my children know how to serve?  Because those you serve you love.  Do my children know how very special their little voices can be?  How much of a difference they personally can make in other peoples lives?  I'm not sure..... I don't have very many hours in the day to show them that.  I'm running like a mad woman just as they are...

2015 will be a year where I follow through with these gentle nudges, these abstract Ideas, this unorthodox way of teaching my children what I want them to be prepared with as they go out into the shining world and start their own lives.  I know it sounds cliche but "Our children are our future, teach them well and let THEM lead the way." as Whitney Houston so brilliantly taught us in the early 90's.

I will be taking on social issues with love.  Serving others, and finding ways to show my kids that with love in your heart ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  So, I will bring my children along (and any of you who would like to join.)  We will document our journey and see how this social LOVE experiment goes.  My intention is to see this project in the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. ( keep in mind....I have no idea how long it takes to film and edit a documentary, or how much it costs.)  This hurdle has kept me from doing anything for years so....I'm going to TRUST it will and can work it's self out.

Now let me be totally transparent here.  I have no idea how I'm going to make this happen. All I know is the direction I'm going.  I will throw caution and LOVE at the wind and we'll see where this takes us.


My intention with this love project isn't just to teach my kids.... I'd also like shine a spotlight on organizations and people who are already on the ground making a difference.
  
January:

We will be taking on learning disabilities.  I would like to interview several local schools and see what their needs are and what resources they have access to for our children.  What measures do they have in place for these students?  1 in 4 students has a learning disability and MOST go un-diagnosed. Children learn to hide, act, and fumble through school when in actuality they could thrive with a little assistance and awareness.  I want to spread the word to these kids that there is hope, and assistance. Obviously this issue is close to my heart.  I have a child that was just diagnosed with dyslexia.  Last night he told me he'd rather be a worm than go to school.  He cried and cried to have to do his nightly reading and told me he was the dumbest kid in his class. It broke my heart.   It is urgent to me as a parent knowing that there are THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of kids in similar situations through out the world and they don't know their worth.  It's being measured a certain way in schools and their strengths are being forgotten or unnoticed.  (Opportunities for service will be available).

February:

Child obesity and nutrition.  This is a huge gigantic topic.  It's an important one and one we should handle with so much gentleness and care.  We will be shining a spotlight on healthcare organizations, and programs that teach children how to become healthy eaters and active adults.  (Opportunities for service will be available).

March:

Homelessness.  Homeless men, women, and children is an epidemic.  There is one homeless person in particular that is near and dear to my heart....my little brother.  We will be tackling substance abuse this month and the affects that it has on our brains and abilities to function.   I will be interviewing my little brother through out the month. Not all homeless people are alcoholics and drug attics.  I just watched on The TODAY show this morning a segment on children that are homeless.  It both broke my heart and melted it all at once.  There is SO much we could be doing locally to help those in need.  Of coarse there will be several service projects and opportunities to serve this month.  So, be sure to check in with me.

April:

We'll be traveling to Haiti to work at a friends orphanage and home for impoverished Haitian children.  This month we will raise funds and supplies for this organization and spend time serving those in need.

May:

 June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

The rest of the months are open to ideas from those of you who would like to get involved.  I have several friends that have non-profit organizations that they support or have started.  I want to hear from you.  Maybe this can be one big divine collaboration!  I'd love that.

If you find yourselves reading this...and you feel like you have an inner stirring to get involved...help, assist, donate (time, money, resources, knowledge) contact me.  I'd love to hear from you.

Best,

Amy
amyhartdesigns@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happiness Habits

I loved this article:

“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed.  I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live - that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”
-Dan Millman

Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness.  These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives.  (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)

I want to honor and discuss each of these 9 points, because no matter what part of life’s path we’re currently traveling on, these ‘happiness habits’ will always be applicable.

Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.  Kinda cool right?  So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  And that’s without having to go out and buy anything.  It makes sense.  We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.

Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism.  No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it.  She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life.  People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.  If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority.  Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out!  If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made.  What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place.  If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.

Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain.  (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.)  Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.  What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness.  How extraordinary is that?  Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on.  A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin.  Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.

Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships.  Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely?  WHOA!  There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with.  We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.

Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character.  Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable.  Forrest Gump knows the deal.  It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan.  It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.

Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.  You see, your mind doesn't know the difference between past and present emotion.  When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system.  You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.

Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.  It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task.  Action and awareness are merged.  You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional.  You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing.  Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.

Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy.  It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences.  When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic.  It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.

Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force.  Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere.  When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing.  Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.

Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us.  We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever.  It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists.  Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”

Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be.  If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected.  Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft?  Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.

So there's some happy homework for all of us!  I always start out my week reflecting on what I can do to better myself.  Sometimes in that process I get lost in the self doubt.  These 9 steps make life more enjoyable and remove the amount of time we have to get lost inside our minds and self doubt.

Namaste-
Amy

Friday, November 7, 2014

Many many mahalo's

Last month Steve and I were lucky enough to take the boys on a little get away adventure to Maui. Here are some highlights from the trip.

http://vimeo.com/111230786