Monday, May 28, 2012

What is Happiness?

It doesn't matter what your answer is in the and it all boils to one simple and common answer.

It is to become happy.

Whatever country or society people live in, they all have the same deep desire: to become happy. Yet, there are few ideals as difficult to grasp as that of happiness. In our daily life we constantly experience happiness and unhappiness, but we are still quite ignorant as to what happiness really is.

The secret of happiness lay in building a strong inner self that no trial or hardship could ruin. Happiness for anyone - man or woman - does not come simply from having a formal education, from wealth, having power or from marriage. It begins with having the strength to confront and conquer one's own weaknesses. Only then does it become possible to lead a truly happy life and enjoy a successful relationship with others.

Happiness doesn't exist in the past or in the future. It only exists within our state of life right now, here in the present, as we face the challenges of daily life.

You know best whether you are feeling joy or struggling with suffering. These things are not known to other people. Even a man who has great wealth and social recognition may still be shadowed by indescribable suffering deep in his heart. On the other hand, an elderly woman who is not fortunate financially, leading a simple life alone, may feel the sun of joy and happiness rising in her heart each day.

Happiness is not a life without problems, but rather the strength to overcome the problems that come our way. There is no such thing as a problem-free life; difficulties are unavoidable. But how we experience, confront and react to our problems depends on us.

Buddhism teaches that we are each responsible for our own happiness or unhappiness. Our vitality - the amount of energy or "life-force" we have - is in fact the single most important factor in determining whether or not we are happy.

True happiness is to be found within, in the state of our hearts. It does not exist on the far side of some distant mountains. It is within you, yourself. However much you try, you can never run away from yourself. And if you are weak, incapable to deal with your own vulnerabilities and mistakes, suffering will follow you wherever you go. You will never find happiness if you don't challenge your weaknesses and change yourself from within.

Happiness is to be found in the dynamism and energy of your own life as you struggle to overcome one obstacle after another. This is why I believe that a person who is active, free from fear and strong to stand for his/her faith and belief is truly happy.

The challenges we face in life can be compared to a tall mountain, rising before a mountain climber. For someone who has not trained properly, whose muscles and reflexes are weak and slow, every inch of the climb will be filled with terror and pain. The exact same climb, however, will be a thrilling journey for someone who is prepared, whose legs and arms have been strengthened by constant training. With each step forward and up, beautiful new views will come into sight.

A teacher used to talk about two kinds of happiness - "relative" and "absolute" happiness. Relative happiness is happiness that depends on things outside ourselves: friends and family, surroundings, the size of our home or family income.

This is what we feel when a desire is fulfilled, or something we have longed for is obtained. While the happiness such things bring us is certainly real, the fact is that none of this lasts forever. Things change. People change. This kind of happiness shatters easily when external conditions alter.

Relative happiness is also based on comparison with others. We may feel this kind of happiness at having a newer or bigger home than the neighbors. But that feeling turns to misery the moment they start making new additions to theirs!

Absolute happiness, on the other hand, is something we must find within. It means establishing a state of life in which we are never defeated by trials and where just being alive is a source of great joy. This persists no matter what we might be lacking, or what might happen around us. A deep sense of joy is something which can only exist in the innermost reaches of our life, and which cannot be destroyed by any external forces. It is eternal and inexhaustible.

This kind of satisfaction is to be found in consistent and repeated effort, so that we can say, "Today, again, I did my very best. Today, again, I have no regrets. Today, again, I won." The accumulated result of such efforts is a life of great victory.

What we should compare is not ourselves against others. We should compare who we are today against who we were yesterday, who we are today against who we will be tomorrow. While this may seem simple and obvious, true happiness is found in a life of constant advancement. And the same worries that could have made us miserable can actually be a source of growth when we approach them with courage and wisdom.

The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life. ~Muhammad Ali

N. Cardoso - 08/2010

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dare to Dream.

I strongly feel that death is actually a small concern compared to the living dead, who have not fulfilled their dream or who have not been true to themselves. Live a life for which you can be thankful. - Patch Adams

Clearing the inner clutter and freeing ourselves from past patterns that would hold us back is the beginning of liberty. But it is only a beginning. We are the ones we have been waiting for, and it is up to us to cultivate our potential for greatness and offer our gifts to the world. If we have emptied ourselves of prejudice, anger, and fear, then we can be filled with love. We can be the dreamers who make a more lovely and equitable world a reality.

'When I look into the future, it's so bright it burns my eyes.'
We are great mysteries, living in the sea of life. As the ebb and flow of tides of changes wash through us we can choose growth and expansion, or we can cling to the old ways of thinking and being. Still even if we choose to cling, life itself changes around us, and we find that trying to stop the evolution of our souls is the way of death. If we choose to seek and embrace the changes, to ride the tides and trust the powers that is both within and without, we co-create our destinies and become more than we even dreamed we would be.

The power lies in this moment, this choice. At the intersection of here and now lies the opportunity to begin a new and happier pattern by making a different choice.
'Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.'

Tiny Buddha -  06/2010

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Power Within.

“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.” Rolo May

Why are you doing what you do? Are you doing it because everyone else does, or are you part of the minority, that do what they do because they LOVE IT? The success is within you, does not depend upon others, on what they see, or what 'you think' they see. In fair crude and realistic reality very few people care to what really happens to you, in its majority this 'approval' or all the 'critique' is all inside your head only.

The outside environment, or circumstances are just what they are. Don't keep looking for an opportunity to make something out of it, take what you have and create an incredible opportunity.

Success is the progressive realization of a worth ideal.

All you need is to guide your thoughts into actions, and fom there move towards to the things you truly want. Success is not an extra dollar in your bank account, success is to do what you want to do, deliberately.

We become what we think about.

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them" George Bernard Shaw

Noemi Cardoso 03/2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Loving what we do!


The first thing to remember is that we must be satisfied with our work, knowing that we've done the best we could do with what we had to work with at the time. Know that, if we're worth our salt, we'll always wish we could do more, improve, become more proficient at our craft or skill.

Those who do good work of any kind always seem to be seeking that next mountain to climb, that next challenge that takes them to another creative level. It is crucial to find satisfaction in our work at this time and at this stage of our development. Be gentle and generous with ourselves. Give credit where credit is due. Do not let that inner voice of censorship overwhelm us with self-defeating criticism.

Be thankful that a task have been completed and then move on. Let's remember that this is one step in a long process. We do not fall or stand by one project, this is not a "make or break" - this is a signpost, a landmark on a long journey. If we look at successful people, we'll see that the majority work patiently at what they do over the long term.

We'll find that everyone has their ups and downs, but it's one who keep going that get somewhere. Trust the process.

Loving what we do, giving ourselves permission to do something for the sheer love of it. When love is our motivation, others opinions matter less. The fire is generated from inside, from the center of our hearts.

Love is the compass that guides us across the desert stretches and through the howling wilderness. If we love what we do, we will be able to move beyond our own fears and the negative opinions and actions of others. There is no substitute for passionate and heartfelt belief.

'The best picture has not yet been painted; the greatest poem is still unsung; the mightiest novel remains to be written; the divinest music has not been conceived even by Bach. In science, probably ninety-nine percent of the knowable has not yet been discovered' - L. Steffens    

Reposted on May /2010

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What do We Really NEED?

Today, after a number of days of a persistent rain, the sun finally came out this afternoon. It feels good to open the windows and doors, to go out and sit on the deck and look at the blue skies.

When I sit here, looking around me and absorbing all the beauty around me, I ponder about how blessed I am. I have lovely, respectful and successful children, I have two wonderful ex-husbands that regardless of our ended marriages we are still good friends. They were and still are an important part of my life and we all have a harmonious relationship. I had and still have friends that are worth having.

I live on this little loft on the beach, its peace and quiet has taught me in abundance what the true meaning of solitude is. I have learned to enjoy it. When I am out on a busy day filled with appointments and driving, when I feel like I am getting overwhelmed, I close my eyes for a second, take a deep breath and think about home, think about my little paradise, my flowers, the birds, frogs and all that is waiting for me after a long day.

My home is just big enough to welcome friends and family, a large deck oversees Buzzards Bay and on clear days I can see Martha's Vineyards, a large front yard and beach frontage allows me to entertain, have fun and enjoy people I love, yet is small enough that at the end of the day they can't overstay their welcome.

It just works perfect for me. Don't take me wrong I wonder what will happen when grandkids finally arrive and I want to spend more time with them? I think about them and I guess in a way I even dream about them...I know there are still another 6 years to go or so that's what my children tell me, they tell me to chill out and be patient, Ha!!! looks like they forgot who they are talking to. But I know all will come in its own time and when that time come I will be ready, one way or another.

Anyhow I don't mean that people shouldn't worry or care about having nice things. I, myself, love beautiful things, I say that I was born a millionaire but they forgot to tell the rest of the world about it. You know millionaire taste on a salary budget, however I am glad that over the years I came to learn that what makes a house a home has nothing to do with nice and expensive furniture and accessories. It is not all the stuff we can fill a house with that we value in the end.

What really matters is the space we create in our hearts for friends and family, is to see friends coming over and feeling comfortable enough to rest their feet on the coffee table, or take their shoes off and cross their legs on the couch, or go and browse the fridge themselves or see that they know where to find the beach towels.

The pleasure I feel inside every time a loved one does that, makes me realize that I might not have it all, that life might still have a lot of things, good and bad to bring to my plate, that many surprises will come but here and now I am happy and fulfilled, that at this moment I have achieved the simple and satisfying life I always wanted.

When, on days like today, after few days of intermittent rain, I come outside and look at this view, I realize that nothing can be that bad...every bump, every hill, every falling down are just little temporary hiccups along the path, all will be fine, just breathe, take all in and move forward towards the bright future that lies right ahead.

N. Cardoso 05/23/2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Surrendering to Resistence

One of my new goals is to stop resisting to changes, to stop being my old self and allow new and refreshing changes and updates to happen, a 2.0 version of myself if you will.
In order to fulfill this plan I have stabilised that I will start every day, from now on, taking an hour or two before my day start with clients and to-do lists, and take time to do things for myself, to feed my soul, body and mind with things that's nourish and helps me grow as a person, as a woman, as a being. In order to achieve this goal I am waking up earlier than usual so I can accommodate this to my schedule without interfering with my regular daily activities.
My intention is to start the day with some positive readings, songs, relaxation and meditation. Yes I can do it all, I just manage the time. When I have two hours I take half hour for each task, some days I just have an hour then I just adapt and spend 15 minutes on each task.
On my search to enlighthenment and improvement I have found many sites and blogs that helped me to look inward and see the person I was, what I didn't like and take the innitiative to change it. I am, after all, the only person I can truly change.

Anyhow one of the sites I found, has thoughts that inspires me and sets the background for my mind to flow and self-analyze itself. It's called Tiny Tiny Buddha. You will see many of their posts, if not completely reposted, inspired by the thoughts their posts have infused my mind with on this intriguing journey to my self awakening. Reading, listening and surrounding yourself with positive thinking and energy helps tremendously on this path. Find your way, whatever that migh be and hold on to it. We all need some kind of suport when we start doing something new, it might be awkward, uncomfortable even but like in anything in life, practice makes perfect and the comfortable and control of your thoughts and feeling can be learned and performed by anyone that really wants to change themselves and I do belileve in that truth. So here I am, baby steps, hold on to all the suport I can to keep my legs straight and avoid to fall back into the whole I am finally trying to get out of.
I am a believer that life gives us clues and signs everywhere, if only we are willing to open your eyes, silence your mind and listen to them. I grab onto my clues and try diligently to change the pattern of my own life, to make it from a patchwork of circumstances and accidental events into something that I can control and change the ending. It surprises me to see how the words and thought I need in order to evolve comes to me from all types of different resources and people. It surprises me still to see that whatever was that I was thinking the days or nights before, what the next step would be then I get the idea, the clue I was looking for on a song, on a blog, on a conversation with a friend.
This is my life, I am the author of this adventure and I have the power, all inside myself, to change the ending to a happy and fulfilling ending, to make it exactly what I want it to be.
So, this is an insert of the blog I read this morning.
How often have we tried to control and confine life, living according to old rules, ideas, and expectations? I've wasted so much time and energy on proving I was right, on resisting change, and trying to hold on to the past long after it was time to let it go. It took me a long time to become conscious that another way was possible - a more flexible and easy way to approach life. I have learned that there is a great power in living in the flow.

Like a river, the life force must find its own way. There is something deep within that urges us to grow and evolve, to expand and to move beyond the limits of the way we were. We grow and evolve through different stages of life. Though a mother may adore the cuddly child, the nature of childhood is growth, expansion, and movement toward adulthood. It would be unnatural to try to stop the child from growing into an adult. As adults, we, too, are always going through stages of growth and change. Time moves on even when we wish it would stand still. The wisest course of action is to savor the moment and then release it, trusting that the next moment will bring its own gifts into our lives.

Sometimes we try to force things to happen. Yet our anxiety and urgency block the very flow we desire. The ego loves to control, confine, define. But freedom of the spirit moves according to a deeper wisdom.
'The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.'
Flowing with life is not merely a passive allowing. Just as a farmer prepares the soil, plants the seeds, waters and cultivates the land, and does his daily work, so we do what we can do to create the optimum conditions for what we desire. It is the life force within the seed and the seed's partnership with the elements that create the magic of growth and fruition. The farmer does not have to stand in the field, grunting and groaning, trying to make the seeds grow. He plants the seeds and trust its nature to fulfill its destiny. We too, can plant and cultivate our seeds of faith and watch them grow according to a greater wisdom than we can yet imagine.

The more we resist, the harder life is. If we are willing to be flexible and open, we'll discover a gentle strength greater than we could have imagined in our earlier power struggles. Surrender to resistance. Go with the flow. And let it lead us into a more fulfilling adventures.
'Those who don't feel this life pulling them like a river, those who don't drink dawn like a cup of spring water or take in a sunset like supper, those who don't want to change, let them sleep.' Rumi

N. Cardoso May/2010 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

We Can Choose Success, So How Come, Sometimes We Choose Failure?

I woke up this morning. and as always, while still laying in bed, even before opening my eyes, I just run my plans and thoughts for the day. I have had so far a very good year and few more closings to happen withing the next month - I am a Real Estate Professional and, as such, living sctrictly out of  commissions  -  however there is nothing on the pipeline for August and the following months, so, no wonder, my thoughts this morning was that I have to reach out and get my buyers buying.

Well, to make a long history short, after doing the work that goes into prospecting, brainstorming it is now almost 9 pm and I got 3 buyers ready to start looking at houses this weekend, planning to buy by August the latest.

Wow, what a sense of accomplishment! I believe that if we have well defined dreams and goals and  work courageously towards them they WILL HAPPEN....I have never experienced an effort towards a dream that didn't work yet I so easily get distracted and out of this path that I know brings the results my heart desires.

How come that even knowing the road to success we, sometimes, go back to the old and comfortable habits that brings us nowhere? I am finding out that, like anything in life, this is an exercise that must be practiced every day, every hour of my day, every minute of my day. This is something I have to learn to focus on and go back to right away when my eyes and thoughs get distracted by something else.

"We must look for ways to be an active force in our own lives. We must take charge of our own destinies, design a life of substance and truly begin to live our dreams." Les Brown
N.Cardoso 06/2010

Friday, May 11, 2012

Holy Cow, It's Friday and Sunny!


I have to confess, I do have periods when I am down, depressed, miserable, wanting to be alone, and sad. Gray and rainny days have this affect on me. I believe we all deserve to feel like that once in a while. I believe it's part of the scale of happiness and a balanced life.
I heard it’s healthy. I also know I am the one who gets myself out of this funk and puts me on the path of happiness over again. If I had to depend on others to do this, I would never be happy. Knowing that gives me comfort to feel down sometimes, because I know exactly where my happiness comes from, I know how to tap into the foutain that makes me whole again, it lays right here, inside of me. I only look to others to feed on their positivity. This is called helping each other, novel thought, huh?

Have a fantastic day and remember, only you can control down times. When they come be generous, be patient, be understanding, be forgiving, be gentle with yourself. Remember that after the each storm, each rainy day there will always be a sunny and bright sky waiting for you.
To quote the old time Cubs announcer, Harry Cary, “HOLY COW”, IT’S FRIDAY AND SUNNY. Talk about a pick me up. That will do it every time.Have a wonderful day!

N. Cardoso - Inspired by a thought from Tony Bovi.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Blaming Game

Many times over I have heard, friends and people that I love, speak of good things, always with a 'but' at the end of their sentences: 'I had a nice day but...' 'I had a nice vacation but...' 'He's a good boyfriend but...' and it all remind me of the person I once was.

I remember a time when I, myself, used to use blame others and everything I could, in order to justify my reasons. Parents, job, family, partner, friends, children, government, economical situation, heritage, my home, my income, my car, the weather....anything would do, whatever reason I could find in order to take the focus of what the 'real' problem was.

It was a comfortable place to hide, to avoid the truth, a truth that patiently and silently waited for me to finally have the courage to face it.

As a child I never saw myself over 35 years old. Aging has never scared, for me it was a sign that I had survived the tumultuous early years....and as I age I am glad to see that some kind of crazy wisdom is making me company in my early 'old years'. Today I realize that all the blame was just a big waste of time. Blaming others and the circumstances that I've, ironically, many times put myself in, was just a waste of everyone's time.

As I look back and see things much more clear now than I did then, I see that I let fear dictate most of my actions growing up, fear to be alone, fear to be abandoned, fear to have another parent walk away without ever looking back, fear to be hungry again, fear that others could see the life me and my siblings lived and judge or take us away, fear of not having friends, fear of never being happy, fear of not being accepted by who I was...and the list goes on.

Fear had created a whole 'persona' inside and I let it dominate my young years with its loud voice echoing inside.

Blaming others for what I did or for what I didn't was just a way to keep looking at external factors in order to find an explanation for my own unhappiness or frustration. Blaming others didn't change and will never change others, didn't change the fear inside, it didn't make others act or behave differently, it didn't change ME.

In few occasions, I was even successful making others feel guilty or sorry for something they did, but even then I would be 'happy' for a little while and then, like an 'addiction', I had to find something or someone else to blame...However, there was always a little voice inside that would remind me that the cause of my unhappiness was within myself, not outside.

Life has taught me, not too long ago, that I experience and live with the 'monsters' I create with my own hands. That the only way to change the outcome of my experiences is changing myself. Facing my own fears, changing the way I behave, the way I respond to things that happens to me, changing even the circle of people most close to me.

Stopping this belief that the world revolves around me, that I am that important, that everyone else on the planet has it better than I do, learning that all that happens is not, necessarily, personal and direct at me - wow, even as I write this, it sounds so farfetched that someone can think this way - Life has taught me that an honest eye to eye conversation - with myself and others - might not be the easy thing to do when we hurt but it can avoid deep scars and a life of what ifs.

Learning to silence my mind and dealing with my fears one by one, letting them finally rest, having a cold look inside myself and being my own critic, pointing fingers at my own mistakes, behaviors and thoughts, accepting responsibility for what I have done, or not done, then learning to respect other's choices, and walk away when they still have their own lessons to learn, loving and respecting myself first, standing up for my dreams and goals, understanding and forgiving myself.

Learning that forgiveness has a healing power so immense that can transform a life. To say 'I am sorry' and 'I forgive you' has helped me heal my soul and mind. It has taught me that I am capable of making a difference, if not in someone else's life, I most certainly can make a difference in my own life.
N. Cardoso 05/10/2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Embrace the Changes that Comes Your Way.

It's Wednesday and it pours outside.

Looking out of my kitchen window I see nature changing right before my eyes. The brown grass that lingered throughout the winter is now of a vibrant green. Flowers are a little confused about the weather and some have not shown themselves this year at all, but spring flowers started to blossom, showing that them, have also changed after the winter.

As I sit here, on my computer, enjoying a warm coffee and my last few minutes of personal time, I start writing this, before the business hat kicks in, it makes me travel back and think of the long path I have travelled, bringing me to the person I am and to where I am today.

Nature has always been one of the few constant in my life. It has also been one of my best teachers. It was lost in its arms and whispering winds that I have found peace and harmony growing up. It was always a safe refuge out of all the family drama and pain. Contemplating, silently, its delicate nuances has taught me to notice and appreciate the little tiny things much more than I appreciate the big ones. It was laying on the grass in the middle of wild flowers in the savannah of Brazil, that I first experimented a feeling I have never had in my home: harmony and balance.

The fragrance of flowers and the clean, crispy unpolluted dry air of Brasilia, still being built as the Capital of Brazil back then, showed me, for the first time, at the tender age of 7, what love was.

A a love for something big, much bigger than myself. This feeling would flood my soul and whispered into my ears stories of distant lands and people speaking other languages, it whispered the stories of little and lonely girls all around the world who could raise above themselves and change their circumstances if they were persistent and courageous enough.

Years have passed from that sweet memory of my infancy and today, as I sit here, looking outside, listening the rain drops against the windows, I realize that while many say that things are what they are, that all is bad and there is no hope, I must disagree. If things were what they were, with no possibilities of changes, changes that start with our own nature, I would never be here.

People today live in a stage of immediate satisfaction and if not attained within the next few seconds they just move to something else. A world of too much for too little, to impress others rather than to stand for who they are. To blend with the mass rather than to stand out for their uniqueness. A world made of blaming on others, on their parents, on the economy, on the government, on their teachers, on their families, on their partners, on their circumstances, on their chances, or whatever other excuses people can find....nothing is never good enough...this world has come to a crazy search for nothing, a crazy race going nowhere...

Sure it's not an easy path, changes are never easy, especially when it comes to changing ourselves, which requires a daunting scrutiny of our deepest fears and issues in order to perform this change. It require taking ownership of our own actions and lack of actions, it requires self-critique. The thoughts that we will awake some disturbing memories and mess everything it's not an excuse. Don't they say that the truth will set you really does. We sometimes think "what if it doesn't work???" well, that is a possibility isn't? But then, there is always the flip side of every coin...what if IT DOES????

As I travel back, remembering many of the different stages of my own life a quote from Paul Counsel comes to mind - The results you are achieving are the ones you have learned to achieve and if you want to change those results, then you must change the thinking and behavior that's responsible for them.

Have a great Wednesday!

N. Cardoso 05/09/2012