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 passionate about helping people experience more happiness, success and fulfillment. Using the 4-step process she created from her own journey of personal transformation, her clients are healing past wounds, overcoming obstacles, and empowering themselves to create more vibrant lives and thriving businesses. Valerie has a diverse coaching background spanning more than 25 years, including working with teens and adults, individuals and groups. She is a certified Sacred Contracts coach and Laughter Yoga leader, and has been trained in compassionate communication, spiritual direction and HeartMath. Valerie is a 2012 nominee for both the Orange County Business Journal’s Women in Business Award, and the 2012 National Association of Female Executives Rising Star Award. She is a national best-selling author with Greg S. Reid of Everything is Subject to Change, has been published in award-winning 11:11™ Magazine, Ezine, Divine Caroline™, and The Natural You™.  Her latest book, The Happy to Be ME! Handbook, is due out in 2014.

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