Joy Ignites Success


Making Fun of Yourself

By  - Wednesday, July 05, 2017

In a most delightful way!



Do you take yourself just a little too seriously?
Most of us do. We think that what we think, what we believe and what we feel (emotionally and physically) is significant, unique to us, and therefore very special.
And I’m certainly not going to be the one to suggest it’s not. But what if you did? What if you could see the humor in your life experiences? Do you think life might just get a little easier? A little more fun? If you’re open to giving it a try, here’s some ways you might be able to play with yourself (yes, I said that).
1. Turn the disturbing thought into a song (using a familiar tune from childhood works well)
2. Use a little sarcasm with yourself (e.g. “really, Melanie, I’m sure you are the only person on the planet to have ever felt this way”).
3. Bounce the thoughts in your mind’s eye, or physically bounce your body (it’s almost impossible to hold onto a thought while bouncing).
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Worry is an expression of fear not of love

By  - Friday, May 12, 2017

Worry is an expression of fear, not of love

 

Do you tell your children, spouse, parents or anyone at all that you worry about them because you love them? If you do, I have a suggestion for you. Stop It. It’s a lie. Worry does not come from love, it is an act based in fear. Fear that you might lose a loved one, or fear that a loved one could get hurt or do something not in their best interest, for sure; but that doesn’t make worry an act of love.

If you think about it from a body perspective, it’s pretty obvious. Love is an expanded state. We feel open and available and soft and warm inside when we simply allow ourselves to love another. We love to love and seek this state of being more than anything else (though often in a very strange way). When we worry, we are experiencing the exact opposite. We are in a contracted state, physically and mentally. Worrying is not comfortable and most people who worry say they wish they could stop. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone say they’d like to worry more.

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Getting Your Head on Straight

By  - Wednesday, March 08, 2017


This morning, during my dance party (yup, dance party for one in my living room),  I was throwing my body and arms and head around, and found myself thinking that I was in the process of getting my head on straight so I could continue my writing. The importance of getting one’s head on straight (also known as getting your shit together), cannot be over emphasized. Our experience of the world is a direct result of how we see and interpret the circumstances of life. Think about it, when you are in a lousy mood, the world pretty much sucks. The reverse is also true, when feeling good about yourself, it’s easier to see the world from a kinder, gentler place, which results in more joy for you.
If we examine this expression from a body perspective, we can get very literal. Your head could be tilted to one side or another, or could be jutting forward (in yoga, known as forward head posture (fhp)) or even pulling back (pretty rare in our society). FHP is particularly common, thanks to computers, cell phones and devices that we tend to lean into when using.
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My Thoughts are Enough Thanks

By  - Wednesday, February 22, 2017



Do you ever find yourself questioning how you should think or act based on what others might think? If you’re like the rest of us, the answer is likely yes. But is this wise? Is it effective?
There are multiple problems inherent in this behavior. The first glaring issue is that no matter how well you know someone, you are still just guessing what they will think. The deeper complication is that you are attempting to access the wisdom (or lack thereof) of another, rather than tuning in to what you know to be true for yourself.
This behavior eats away at confidence and self-esteem. Read More

Washing the Dishes as an Act of Self-Care

By  - Thursday, February 09, 2017



At the time of this writing, I am on a mini retreat of my own. I find that taking myself out of my normal routine and environment is most conducive to a productive writing experience. The act itself is a monumental act of self-care. Being willing to leave the day-to-day running of the clinic and household to my husband is no small task. The ego self likes to believe things will fall apart without my presence for a day. The wiser part of me knows this is a lie and that taking care of self is indeed the most important act for well-being. And individual well-being is the foundation for relationship, community and world well-being. We build outwards from where we stand. If standing on shaking ground (which results from a lack of self-care), we cannot build the world we wish to live in.
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2017-The Year of the Pause

By  - Tuesday, January 24, 2017


I recently completed reading the entire text of A Course in Miracles. This was a huge task and one I had set a goal of completing by the end of 2016. A bit out of character, but I completed it. The next task was to read the Manual for Teachers. On January 1, when I opened the book, I immediately felt some resistance. And a deeper voice, saying “not yet”. On exploring this, I starting pondering how quickly we jump from one thing to the next and specifically, from one year to another. I realized that as much as I was ready to be done with 2016, I was not yet ready for 2017. Like the pause between the exhalation of breath that comes before the next inhalation, I needed a pause between years. Read More

OH NO. I am becoming just like my mom.

By  - Thursday, September 08, 2016

Are you afraid of becoming your mother?

 

I have heard that the fear of public speaking trumps the fear of death (not true for me, but still…). In my experience, for women, what trumps both is the fear of becoming our mother.
I know I had this fear for the first thirty years of my life. It still pops up when I look in the mirror and see her face looking back at me. For the most part, the fear left in one miraculous moment when my mother was yelling at the neighbor kids for playing in the alley. In that one moment, I got it. I was not my mother. And would probably never be her. The freedom I felt in that recognition was monumental.
At a retreat with Hale Dwoskin, in Sedona, some years ago, he made this comment: Your parents are the building blocks for all your suffering- you are either tying to be just like them, or nothing like them, and neither way is free.
When we consciously or unconsciously living in fear of becoming mom (or dad), we are living in resistance. You’ve probably heard the expression “what you resist, persist”, which means in all the trying not to become mom, you become more like mom.
So, what do you do if the fear is real?
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What would happen without an opinion?

By  - Tuesday, August 02, 2016

 

If you stop to notice, you might realize that most of your feelings of upset are related to having an opinion about what is right and wrong or good and bad. But what if you didn’t have an opinion? (The verse “I wonder if you can” from John Lennon’s Imagine comes to mind.) What would not having an opinion be like? And do you believe not having an opinion is wrong? In other words, do you have an opinion about not having an opinion?

We have layers of beliefs about our beliefs. But, what if, even for just a moment, you could rest beyond beliefs? What if you could recognize that all your beliefs are based on the past and on limited information? What then?   
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Break the habit of looking for happiness

By  - Wednesday, July 06, 2016

What do I really want? (and how can I get it?)

 

“I need, I want” are mantras for most living in this century. Almost nobody would say they don’t want more of something and less of something else. But most of our wants are at the surface level. It’s rare that we stop and ask questions such as, “If I had more money, what would that give me?”  “If my boss were nicer, how would that affect me?”
Most of the time, when we drill down far enough, the answer to all the questions is the same. If I had more money, I would be happier. If my boss were kind, I’d feel safe and have more peace. If my husband would bring me a present, I would feel joyful.  We all ultimately want peace, joy, love, happiness.
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I Could Choose Peace Instead of This

By  - Thursday, March 24, 2016

 

 


Many, many years ago, while I was still single and living in NYC, I read Gerald Jampolsky’s book, Say Good-Bye to Guilt. Of the many brilliant things he wrote about, one piece I chose to work with at that time was the 34th lesson from A Course in Miracles “I could see peace instead of this”. Somehow in my mind, I had translated the word see to choose, but I don’t think it had an effect on how I worked with the lesson. Over 30 years later, I still find this to be one of my most useful lessons.
What the lesson tells us is that peace is always an option because it is an inside job. The ability to find peace even in the most tumultuous situations lies within. This is poignantly demonstrated in the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor who writes about psychologically overcoming even the most unbearable of situations.
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About MSI

Melanie Smithson Institute is dedicated to enriching lives through embodied education and training; using movement, play and releasing to connect with innate wisdom and joy.  

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