To Have More Happiness, Eat Peas and Grapes!

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  • I’m sure this sounds like bizarre advice, and you’re itching to know what happiness has to do with peas and grapes. It came from one of my favorite mantras…

    A friend overheard me quietly saying it one day, and she thought I said “Eat peas and grapes.” It never occurred to me that what I was saying might sound like that. I laughed as I thought it about it for a moment. I do love eating that’s for sure. In fact, it’s probably one of my all-time favorite things to do. It’s not the chewing and swallowing part of eating, of course; it’s the exquisite tastes and the various contexts of a meal – the total eating experience is what I love.

    Except when it comes to peas. I would never order anyone to eat peas because I really don’t like them. They are my Green Eggs and Ham. As a pre-teen, I didn’t get excused from the dinner table unless I belonged to the “clean plate club.” That would have been fine if I was the one choosing what was on the menu and putting the servings on my plate. But that wasn’t the case.

    When peas were on the menu, I might have to sit there for an hour after dinner looking at my almost-clean plate, with its pile of peas sitting there all cold and forlorn. I was thrilled when I finally figured out how to put them in mouth, quietly spit them into my napkin, and secretly empty the napkin under the table into the waiting mouth of my dog Taffy. She saved me from hours of sitting and staring at food I didn’t like and couldn’t eat. Thanks, girl.

    Taffy never got the grapes. When you put them in the freezer, they make a wonderful cool treat on a hot day, and I ate every one. Today, my favorite way to enjoy grapes is when they’re in their bubbliest form: a lovely bottle of Taittinger Champagne, chilled to perfection and served with oysters on the half shell!

    But really, neither peas nor grapes, whether you like and eat them or not, have much to contribute to the equation of transforming your life. What I was really affirming and intending as my mantra that day was “Ease, Peace and Grace.”

    When I simply utter the word ease, I feel an exhale.  Ease is about releasing resistance within. Ease is about holding the posture of a “YES!” in your body, mind, heart and Spirit, and keeping in that energy for whatever shows up. But what often happens is we confuse being in ease with having everything be easy. Living a full and vibrant life is not dependent on that life being easy. So too, the ease of moving through a day isn’t really about the day itself being easy.

    The ease we experience in a day is most related to how we ourselves react and express ourselves when the experiences of the day are difficult, or even awful. Ease is more of a countenance – the space we hold in our hearts and minds for Divine Light and Love to be present moving in, through, and as us, rather than a situational dynamic. Ease is the space that you occupy and the signal that you send out into the world being reflected back to you in your experiences of the world. Ease can be the gift that you give yourself in the midst of what appear to be the ‘not gifts’ coming to you. Ease is the power reservoir in you that allows you to embrace a day full of challenges and surprises, disappointments and delays, struggle and strife.

    Ease is about holding the posture of a “YES!” in your body, mind, heart and Spirit.

    Ease is about holding the posture of a “YES!” in your body, mind, heart and Spirit.

    I love walking on the beach near my house. Where I walk, there is a combination of sand and small and large rocks. Sometimes, the tide pattern creates hilly areas on the beach as well. On any given day, the way may be flat, smooth and virtually rock-free. Other days, it may be the exact opposite. I never know what I’m going to get until I arrive.

    Ease is about greeting whichever scenario I encounter, with an open heart. The energetic “YES!” within ease means I am open to whatever shows up – whether it’s a flat, smooth and clean path, or whether I must step over rocks, pick up garbage, or pray over a dead pelican or gull.

    In our lives, it’s often the unknowns we resist the most. I love this quote from Eckhart Tolle:

    “Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you.”

    This is the beauty at the heart of ease – being an energetic “YES!” opens you up to receiving more possibilities because you are not disrupting life’s flow with the energy of resistance. So start consciously noticing how much you are not allowing ease to be a part of your expression in the world. The dis-ease you feel is coming from inside you. The terrain is just the terrain. How you receive, react to, and label your experience of the terrain is all up to you.

    Ease goes to a deeper place though. What’s so important about ease is that it helps you experience Peace. And who among us wouldn’t like more of that?! We’ll explore the Peace and Grace of my favorite mantra in Part 2. Stay tuned and stay in Ease!

    Valerie Sheppard

    Valerie Sheppard is a catastrophic-stroke survivor, mindfulness and self-mastery expert, inspirational keynote speaker, #1 best-selling author, executive leadership coach and Founding Member of the Evolutionary Business Council. She is passionate about guiding you to experience more happiness, success and fulfillment. Using the spiritual 4-Step process she created from her own journey of personal transformation, her clients are healing from the past, reprogramming negative conditioning and limiting beliefs, and creating more vibrant lives and thriving businesses.  

    Valerie’s #1 best-selling book Living Happy to Be ME!: Dancing Your Soul Lightstyle© is the centerpiece of her transformational practice, which includes a curriculum for post-secondary education that's much-loved at the University of California, Irvine. She has a diverse coaching background spanning more than 25 years, including working with teens and adults, individuals and groups, executives and entrepreneurs.  She is a certified Sacred Contracts coach, and has been trained in compassionate communication, spiritual direction and HeartMath.  

    Valerie is recipient of the 2016 Spotlight Award from The Dynamic Women of UCI and the Excellence in Service Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success. Other recognition includes the 2015 Unstoppable Award from the Evolutionary Business Council, the 2013 Life Enrichment Award from Rock Life, and a 2012 nomination for both the Orange County Business Journal’s Women in Business Award, and the National Association of Female Executives Rising Star Award.

    Valerie is also Founder and Executive Director of Hearts Awakening, a CA-based 501(c)3 non-profit company through which she will take her transformational wisdom and tools to underserved young adults. She is especially interested in reaching emancipated foster youth and low-income 1st generation college students.

    Connect with Valerie via email: Valerie@HeartofLivingVibrantly.com.

    For more information, please visit HappytoBeME.net. Like Valerie's fan page on Facebook.  Follow Valerie on Twitter and Instagram..

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