Category Archives: India

5 Sure Ways to Be HaPpY

Choose to Be HaPpY

Choose to Be HaPpY

The tears surfaced and rolled down my cheeks as I observed poverty far greater than I thought humanly possible. As I walked the very streets that Mother Theresa walked in Kolkata, India, I noticed something peculiar as I looked beyond the trash, makeshift shanties and barefoot children. I saw smiles and heard laughter!

How could this be possible?  Didn’t they know what they were missing, lacking and deprived of?   Though their circumstantial challenges seemed great, they were happy – focused on what they DO have, not what they don’t.  Right before my eyes, I was witnessing what choosing to be happy looked like.

Be HaPpY

Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl,  and author of Man’s Search for Meaning said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

Game changer.

I went to India to inspire, teach and change the world, but instead it was ME that was inspired, taught and changed.  Forever.  

I realized that if  I desired to live a JOY filled life it was up to ME – it was a choice. My choice.

“When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.” ~Wayne W. Dyer

I have never been a materialistic person, well at least I thought I wasn’t.  Money didn’t grow on trees at my house, but I never felt I lacked any of the essentials.  There were days I stood in my closet staring at a long rack of clothes uttering “I don’t have a thing to wear.” Pathetic.  And there were days I opened the refrigerator, you know the big ice box that keeps food from spoiling for days and sometimes weeks on end, and while staring at shelves filled with food I mumble, “We don’t have a thing to eat – let’s go out.” Embarrassing. 

On the streets of Kolkata, I  made a conscious decision to be HaPpY. Yes, it’s no secret that life’s a rollercoaster filled with twists, turns and loop-de-loops.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who is challenge and trial free. And I would never pray to have less trials or to have my challenges removed – I feel that’s all part of the journey.

If Viktor Frankl is correct, and the only thing I am really in control of is my ability to choose my ATTITUDE then  I’m choosing to enJOY the journey every step of the way. It’s a choice.

I’ve discovered in my almost 52 years of life there are 5 sure ways to ensure HaPpY-ness.

1. Be Grateful.  Appreciate the little things.  Keep a gratitude journal at the side of your bed.  And at the end of each day write ONE thing that you are grateful for and FIVE reasons why.  This exercises creates a mind shift, training our brain to scan for happiness.  Being grateful adds beauty to life.

2.  Be Others Focused.  When you look for opportunities to serve expecting nothing in return, a beautiful thing happens; you forget about your worries and woes, endorphins are released, thus creating a shift in your mood. Being others focused brings joy to life.

3.  Be Creative – step outside the box.  Being creative adds pleasure to life – it puts the FUN in life and relationships. I love the dad who cut his jeans into short shorts to show his daughter that short shorts aren’t that cute – he demonstrated creative parenting.  I love him not just because he is my husband (smiley face), but because he looks for opportunities to lighten up tough or difficult situations.  That doesn’t mean to not take life serious, it just means to DO something each day that makes you and others smile.

“Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.”

4.  Be YOU

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Everyone is an unrepeatable miracle.  Share your gifts and talents to lift and serve others.  Being YOU adds VALUE to life.

5.  Be Forgiving.  Forgive yourself and forgive others.  This is not always easy and it does not mean you are condoning whoever hurt you, it means you are CHOOSING to move forward, and a better person for it.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”  ~Louis B. Smedes

As I incorporate these five actions, a paradigm shift happens, just as it did when I was in India.  I begin to automatically scan the world looking for good and to see the positive in people, situations and circumstances.  Beautiful.

Life’s Short Lesson: CHOOSE to be HaPpY.

Highlights of my trip to India.

Why We DO What We Do

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Why we Do what we DO…

When Scott Mackintosh wore the shorty-shorts we were inundated with interviews, phone calls and emails, the message that stood out and drove us to SPEAK were the many that said,

“I wish someone cared that much about me to do something like that.”

THAT tugged at our hearts and spurred us to talk about issues surrounding self-esteem, self-worth and the confidence to dance the dance, even when others say you can’t.

Scott and I have had many cool, inspiring and motivating experiences in our life, along with lots of hard lessons learned. THIS equipped us with many true life stories that EMPOWER others, Build CONFIDENCE and MOTIVATES real change. It’s rewarding to see someone’s eyes light up when they are able to see themselves as God sees them.

When our son told us he was gay and two years later we decided to go public, the response was mind-bogling, again inundated with hundreds of emails opened our eyes to the GREAT need for us to continue to be open, honest and REAL about our experience and lessons learned. Not everyone wants to be an open book, but everyone I meet desires to feel loved, respected, accepted and valued for who they are and the diversity they bring. We choose to be their voice.

Therefore…

using humor, courage and a whole lot of LOVE, we SPEAK from our heart in an effort to motivate YOU to put the FUN back in LIFE and Relationships.

AND

THAT is why we DO what we DO.  

 

P.S.  To see where we speak NEXT, follow us on Facebook or visit us at LifesShortLessons.com

 

Be Real. Be Authentic.

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Be Real. Be Authentic.

If you follow my blog or follow me on Facebook, Pintrest or Twitter  you know I’m pretty much an open book and I’m comfortable talking about REAL life challenges.  What I’ve discovered by being REAL and AUTHENTIC is that others who are going through the same or similar challenges know they are not alone.

I understand it can be scary to be vulnerable, my stomach ached for days before I pushed the publish button to share my story of having a gay son and my motherly plea to the world to reinvest in kindness.  Even though my son and I felt it was time and the right thing to do – I was still fearful of how the public would react to my son’s vulnerability.  To our surprise we were inundated with positive emails, messages and phone calls along with a long stream of comments beneath the many social media shares.  It has been a wonderful experience connecting with people around the world because of that ONE post.  It opened the door to being  invited to speak at several large LGBT conferences – hundreds have thanked us for helping them see things in a different perspective.  It has been rewarding to see hearts healing, families reuniting and lives being saved.

What I have experienced and seen is that when people are real and authentic about their fears and challenges it helps others know they are not alone. 

I’m not a blogger that targets a certain audience or has a certain theme.  I’m kind of all over the place just as my blog title states,”Becky Mack’s Blog of Mild Chaos”  I post about Family, Fun, Travels, Teens and DrEaMs!  …..CHAOTIC  just like REAL life!

If you follow me you have been exposed to my travels to India, the ups and downs of career changes,  my love for God and family, the JOYS and CHALLENGES of parenting, my love for people of all nationalities and religions,  the surprise of  GOING VIRAL and everything from battling depression, to meeting incredibly inspiring people, to becoming an author and member of the NSA (National Speakers Association) and now SPEAKING. And last, but certainly not least, the wonderful journey of having a gay son and all THAT has taught me about people, compassion, love, empathy, tolerance and intolerance.

I don’t post, follow or support people or organizations who seem to thrive on being rude, bash political or religious beliefs or who pretty much have a NEGATIVE attitude about life.  Life is challenging enough on it’s own without having others bring you down.

Life is too fragile and too short to wallow in misery.

I like to look for the rose amidst the thorns, and one thing I’m certain about is that we ALL experience thorns …everyone has challenges!  CHEERS to those who in spite of their challenges focus on the ROSE, and CHEERS to those who rally around and support one another, boost one another and love one another.  That’s what life is really about… Serving others.

Life’s a roller coaster – CHOOSE to be HaPpY!

Becky Mack’s Life Lesson:  Attitude is everything. Be REAL. Be AUTHENTIC and you just may discover that the friend you thought had the perfect life has challenges too.

What I Learned From A Four Year Old: True GRATITUDE

I’d like to share a story that took place in 2011 that will live in my heart forever – it’s a story of gratitude from a four year old.

My heart grew larger as I walked the streets that Mother Teresa walked in Kolkata, India. I went to India with the intention of changing the lives of others, only to discover it was my own life that was forever changed.

Never before had I seen such poverty – heart wrenching poverty. But what surprised me the most were the big smiles and the genuine love that oozed from their faces spite their obvious hardships.

It is estimated that over 100,000 children live on the streets of Kolkata. There is an organization in Kolkata that is trying to make a difference – The Towards Life Foundation. This charitable organization has built 8 one-roomed schools called “centers” throughout the slums of Kolkata to provide the street children the opportunity to go to school. Some were lucky enough to have desks, other were not – all were happy just to be in school whatever the conditions.

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I was part of the Global LifeVision-Inda team; consisting of 8 women and 1 man. We were eager to volunteer at these centers to help in anyway possible.  We arrived prior to the country’s biggest holiday – Diwali. The children at the centers are given new clothes in celebration of the Diwali festival, much like our Christmas – they exchange “sweets”, decorate the streets and dwellings with lights, and parade around in their new clothes.

On this occasion the teachers thought it would be more memorable if the visiting Americans distributed the new clothes to the students. The boys would get a new shirt and new pair of underwear, and the girls a new dress and new pair of underwear.

An unexpected surprise. 

On our last day helping at the centers, a big box was delivered with the new clothes. Each item was wrapped in a clear cellophane package with a child’s name printed on it. The clothes were placed on a table in front of the classroom in two piles. The teacher would call out the name written on the package and hand it to one of us to give to the child. Without hesitation the child would say “Namasté ma’am”, and some would bow down to kiss our feet – the ultimate sign of respect and gratitude.

As I was watching this take place and the excitement of each child as they received their new clothes. I noticed a little boy in the middle of the room inching his way to the front and jabbering in his native language, getting louder and louder while tears filled his eyes – he stayed fixated on the table displaying the clothes. I looked at the table to see what could possibly be troubling him and saw there were only a few shirts left, I thought; “He is worried they are not going to call his name.” When the second to last name was called – he lunged forward grabbing his shirt and hugging it tight, then quickly he put it into his backpack and skipped around the room one happy boy.

As I was observing this priceless moment of gratitude for a new shirt, my colleague was observing the youngest girl of the class, over in the far corner of the room. This adorable little 4 year old had removed her new dress from the cellophane wrap and very gently unfolding it, once opened she slowly slid her hands from the top of the dress to the bottom. Then she folded it back up, slid it back into the cellophane and held it to her chest rocking back and forth in delight. As my friend shared what she had just observed my eyes filled with tears. We had witnessed gratitude in it’s purest form.

My perspective changed, leaving me never to be the same. I returned home with a deeper appreciation for the things I often take for granted; my family, my health, and all our basic needs: clothes, shelter, food, and most of all the simple beauty of  …everything.