Cheering each other on


Happy Life Trick: Pick a New Year’s Theme Word

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Successful companies know a little something about branding. They decide how they want us to view their company, and they run with it. Looking to “save money” on your car insurance? You think Geico. Looking to “think different” about your technology? You might pick Apple. A company can’t be considered a master in comfort, price and innovation. It’s better to pick one element and aim right for it.

Beauty? Peace? Gratitude? Choose a word or phrase for the year that speaks to how you want to live. (Image: Ken Spencer, Hummingbird)

Beauty? Peace? Gratitude? Choose a word or phrase for the year that speaks to how you want to live. (Image: Ken Spencer, Hummingbird)

And the same goes with branding our own lives. To achieve our dreams, we have to know how we want to live, in order to make the choices that get us there.

That’s why, a few years ago, I started giving my life a theme word. One year it was “Authenticity” and another was all about “Passion.” This past year was about “Freedom and Abundance.” So for me this past year, I ran every opportunity past my theme to see if the choice was right for me. Hmm, some extra paying work that also fed my curiosity about a topic I wanted to research? That was an abundant yes.

For 2014, I’m playing around with the ideas of “Fortify” and “Family,” and I want to give you a chance to think about whatyou want from your next year, too.

Try this: Instead of making New Year’s resolutions about little goals in your health or habits, think bigger: Think about how you want to feel in your body, among your friends, as you walk through the world. The come up with an adjective or phrase that best describes that feeling. To make it easy, picture this: You run into an old friend on the street and talk for a bit. Then, she suddenly stops and says, “It’s funny. But looking at you, I see such ______________.” What do you want her to see? What feeling do you want oozing out of your pores? Strength? Contentment? Joy?

Here are some other ideas to get you thinking:

 Brave/Bravery. Perhaps you want to feel more bold with your work choices, your travels, your heart.

• Persistence. One of my friends has said she’s through being told “Maybe” by potential clients, and she’s determined to make her company a success by trying again and again and again until she makes it. And when she’s walked out of another maybe meeting, she’ll think, ‘Persistence, baby,” and throw her shoulders back and schedule another one.

• Love & Tenderness. Maybe you’ve been a bulldog go-getter all year, and you could use a reminder to soften up and make more loving choices in the months ahead.

 Light/Lightness. If this year has been particularly grave and serious, maybe your new year could be about lifting the weights, breathing, letting loose, and letting go.

Take your time. Think about how you want to feel strolling down the sidewalk of life this next year. Go deep. Brand your heart’s choices. And aim for a truly new year.

Big love,


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What Would You Do with a Karma Camera?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

I’ve always thought it would be fun if each of us got a “Karma Cam” after someone screwed us over. You know karma, right? The belief that a person’s negative act ripples through the universe and at some point comes back to them like a boomerang?

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Well, just imagine if, after someone dumps you, or steals your client, or cuts in front of you in line at Target, a Karma Cam would let you see the moment their negative action comes back at ’em. It sounds kind of delicious. And the other day, I essentially got to see a Karma Cam in action.

I was driving along a busy road when I needed to switch lanes, so I put on my left turn signal. I was just about to slide over in front of a white car, when they hit the gas and inched up as close as possible to the car ahead so I couldn’t fit in.

The nerve, I thought. I was so peeved! But I kept driving, confident I’d find a spot to slide in soon. Well, as we all pulled away from a stop light, that white car lagged behind (texting, maybe?), so I took the opportunity to switch lanes in front of it. And a few minutes later, I noticed in the rearview mirror that the woman in the white car was now trying to change lanes herself. And guess what? No one would let her in. I watched as car after car in the other lane inched up close just like she had. As she banged on her steering wheel with frustation, I admit it felt kind of good.

But after I turned off that road, I started thinking how I was still carrying that negative energy with me. And I wanted to shake it! So when I reached the next stop sign with another car, I smiled and waved it on ahead of me. I was determined to balance out the bad by passing along some good.

That’s when I realized the happiness math: Sure, it would be fun to see the negative come back around on the Karma Cam, but it’s even more fun to actively do something positive to cancel it out.

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So try this: The next time someone really jabs you—in a little way or a big one—resist the urge to jab back. It’s hard! But rather than paying the negative experience forward, pay it forward positively instead. Balance the world with better things. Because that is what is going to make you happier.

• If someone has rejected you in love, turn around and accept another person in a kind way.

• If someone has taken from you, give.

• If someone has said harsh words to you, say someflattering, kind and loving words to someone else.

• If someone has elbowed you out at work, let other people you work with in.

It’s not always easy, I know. To this day, every time I’ve opened my closet for the past two years, I still bristle at the thought of the publicist who nabbed my adorable go-to J. Crew blazer during a celebrity interview. But while I work on getting over that one—and I’m determined to!—I’m doing my best to balance the universe with better things.

Join me. Those people in bad moods, with prickly natures, the people who lie or steal or push or hurt? Let them go do their thing. And show them by your actions what it means to act with a giving, generous, warm, open heart instead. Shake the anger and spread the love.

Let’s see how we do.

Big love,


Note: This first appeared as one of my Vitamin Optimism emails. So if you’re signed up, you got this post early!

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Be sure to sign up for my next Happy Emails so you don’t miss any! You can do that in the upper left box on this site, or on my web site. And if you want to see the original post, here’s the full Happy Email of What Would You Do With a Karma Camera?


VITAMIN OPTIMISM: Let Down Your “Dating Caution Tape”

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Green PillYour dose for today…

Let down the caution tape and get close to the good stuff (Image: Amy Spencer, the Taga Blowholes, Samoa)

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” —Bertrand Russell

I know, I know. You’ve been hurt. You’ve had loves and lost them. You’ve put yourself out there and not gotten anything in return. Never mind hurt, you don’t want to get that poor heart even pinged with a paperclip. And so you’re cautious. You don’t let anyone in unless you’re 100% certain they’re not going to hurt you. Well, guess what? There is no guarantee like that. In fact, even the people we trust most in our lives—our families, best friends—can hurt us, and sometimes, even without meaning to, do just that.

So sure, take caution in the practical matters of dating and love: Meet in a public place, don’t give out your address, don’t invite people over you don’t know well like a Craigs List Killer Part Deux. But in the emotional matters, remove the big yellow dating caution tape in your mind, loosen up, smile and warmly reach out to make a connection. Walk on the edge of the good stuff, and don’t be afraid to get close. Real love requires open arms and an open mind, not a blocked path. Give yourself the chance to find it.

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Big love,

Amy Signature 4

VITAMIN OPTIMISM: You Know This Stuff!

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Green PillYour dose for today…

“You know this stuff. You know this stuff! You have just, over time, lowered your standards about how you’re willing to feel.” —Esther Hicks

This dose is a little different today. Because for you to understand what this quote means, I want you to watch this quick video from Esther Hicks, author (as “Abraham”) of The Law of Attraction. The video is a little hokey, I admit, but bear with it. Close your eyes if you have to! Because the message she’s sharing is anything but.

Like she says in this video, we’ve all known this since the day we were born. We know this stuff. So take her advice and start doing what you need to do to act on it. Your half-orange is really hoping that you will.

You might also like:
Are You a Cranky Cow?

Big love,

Amy Signature 4


Friday, September 17th, 2010

Green PillYour dose for today…

“Hope never abandons you; you abandon it.” —George Weinberg

A kite surfer on Ditch Plains beach. (Image: Amy Spencer)

Hope is one of those words—like freedom—that is so hard to grasp. And even harder to draw in Pictionary. But one thing is true about it: If you hold onto it, even through the rough times, it will keep pulling you back up to happiness. Have you ever seen a kite surfer out on the ocean? They head out on surfboards into big, stormy waves on windy days and then hold onto their kite for life. Sometimes, the wind takes them smashing into a big wave where they wipe out in the surf; but because they’re holding onto that kite, they’re lifted back up in no time. And a few waves later, they’re airbound, flying over waves like they’d never fallen down.

Life and dating will take you up and down. But through it all, try not to abandon your hope. Picture it as your own love kite, the one thing you may not feel like grabbing onto sometimes, but the one thing that will lift back up when you most need it.

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The Acorn Message

Big love,

Amy Signature 4