Archive for September, 2011


How Does This One Woman Stay Happy?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

When I was trying to pull up a specific “Vitamin Optimism” I had written some time ago for this site, I Googled it. And along with all of the ones I’d written, I found a blog post written by a woman a year and a half ago called “Vitamin Optimism.” And I loved it.

So today, let me let Keesa Ocampo share how she shifts from the negative into the positive for the good of her life. As she says in one place:

“Optimism has kept me in good stead by making me resourceful. It’s opened my eyes to signs from God or the universe or whatever you call your divine being.”

I love that. If you have optimism—which means simply that you believe a good outcome is possible in your life—you know that one thing that can help get you there is opening your eyes and allowing help from the world and people around you to get you there.

Read Keesa’s wonderful post and get inspired to seek out the beauty in your life, too.

Big love,

Is that a pig flying up there? a.k.a. I made my first optimism video

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

I’ve always been a little hesitant about doing video posts. I guess because I’m so used to writing quietly by myself, it’s the fear of sounding stupid when you can see me face-to-face. But the truth is, some things are better said than written. And because even if you may not know me personally, I want you to feel like you do, because the stuff we talk about together—you know, love, heartbreak, fear, loss—well, it’s pretty dang personal.

And so I bring you my new video tab here on The Life Optimist. It’s straight up above you there, between my “About” page and “Let’s Talk.” See it? But in case you didn’t know that was there, here’s my first video!

If you’re thinking about what you’re looking for in another person, I challenge you this…


If you enjoyed that, check in on the video tab now and then for some new ones. And if you didn’t enjoy it, maybe if I send you some cookies you’ll change your mind?

Big love,

You’ll also be able to keep up with current videos as I make them on my YouTube channel

Oh, I’m All About the “Later Letter”

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

A story just came out about how China is trying to combat the “seven year itch” and slash divorce rates. How? Couples write letters to each other when they get married and give them to the Post Office to be sent out on a seven-year delay. Which means that just when you’re feeling itchy, you’ll receive the letters you wrote when you were gaga for each other—and hopefully fall in love all over again.

Me, I’m all about the later letter. Do I think it will turn around crumbling marriages in their tracks? Not necessarily. But I think it’s a great idea because there’s invaluable power in the writing of that letter—for all areas of our lives. Life is like a hurricane warning: If you prepare for the bad weather that will someday come, you won’t be hit over the head with a flying brick when it does! By writing a letter to your later self, you’re simply arming yourself with the truth: Times will get tough and the more prepared you are for it, the better.

For example, we go into relationships with chemicals flying and love oozing over songs that give us shivers in ways we swore we’ve never felt; we sometimes forget that in seven years (or three or ten), we’ll be yawning when they walk in the door and changing those songs on the radio. We also go into new jobs with passionate energy, ready to bowl over the company with our creativity and smarts; we sometimes forget that on some gray morning a year from now, we’ll be dragging ourselves out of bed, cursing the job that once had us giddy.

Life isn’t always lived on high speed. Energy dies down. Excitement fades. Hope levels out. And that’s okay. That’s just how life works! Life isn’t made to sustain high-octane over-the-top levels every day. And acknowledging that is a really big deal.

So how do you prepare for the future so you’ll come out of the hurricane feeling happy? Write yourself a later letter. If you’re single, write how you want to feel in the right relationship (say, adored, respected, appreciated and sexy as hell)—and when you dip your toe into your next romance, read the letter to see if you’re getting you what you wanted. If you’re embarking on a new business, write why you’re driven to create a dream job for yourself—and when you find yourself pulling your hair out and wanting to quit, read the letter again to renew your faith in the plan and yourself.

It’s easy to forget why we embark on new relationships, jobs, friendships, houses, plans. So as you dive into something new, write yourself a later letter to pull out just when you need it. This is your bad weather warning. However sunny today is, life will someday be hit with inclement weather. But if you’re prepared—with a “later letter” in your pocket—you may be able to find the passion and hope and love that you set out with in the first place. Just when you need it!

You might also like:
The Tale of the Big Hill

Big love,




Make Your “Life Bonanza” List

Monday, September 12th, 2011

This is a new update of an old post that I stumbled across and wanted to share in a new way.

Last month, my friends and I got together on a Friday night. We were about to fall asleep on the couches in front of the TV when we decided to give ourselves some get-up-and-go: We made a list of all the fun things we could potentially do, cut the ideas into separate pieces and put them all in a hat. (Yes, we’re grown-ups.)

What's the "night swimming" on your life list? (Image by Amy Spencer; Manzanillo, Costa Rica, 2011)

We decided we’d do the first three items we picked from the hat. Suddenly, the adrenaline was running high:“Uh oh,” I thought, “Someone suggested “Ring & Run?” What if we picked that one? (Wait, are we grown-ups?)

In the end, we picked “Get a cocktail,” “Go swimming in the bay” and “Dance to a song of Todd’s choice.” It turned out to be an epic evening of night swimming, dancing and dares as we tackled the items on the list. It’s a great tactic for all sorts of joy we want out of life. And the magic is in the list.

An article in the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research reported a few moons ago that exercisers who wrote down ideas about how to make their effort more enjoyable ended up doing those things, which did, in fact, make their exercise more enjoyable. Ta-daaa!

Sounds like a great idea to apply to your whole life, doesn’t it? The lead author of the exercise study said that drawing on positive past experiences is more motivating than abstract ideas. So use that to your advantage when you make your life or work or love or dating list: When have you had the most fun in those areas in the past? In work: Was it when you had a job with creative input or when you were working outdoors? In dating: Was it when you went to a goofy-sounding single’s event with a friend or agreed to go on a blind date for fun? In life: When you signed up for a sailing trip? When you introduced yourself to the wackiest-looking person at the party? Come up with positive experiences in your past, and put similar ideas on paper for your future. Call it your Life Bonanza List.

No, you don’t have to do all the things on the list—the way we actually didn’t do the “Ring & Run” on ours. I think it’s healthy just to remind yourself how much fun life and work and dating can be. So think about making the list—either on paper or in your mind—whether you do any of the items or not. I think you’ll be more positive for the process. And if you do end up on a double-bowling-date laughing your gutter balls off? More power and funny shoes to ya.

You might also like:
Your Super Pep Talk for Love

Big love,