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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Choosing Optimism - Stay Light on Your Feet

There’s no question that at least some of the Gloom and Doom in the news is very, very real. But rather than get depressed about it, we can take a simpler, and more pleasurable, path toward turning this tide around. - By Vesta Copestakes

KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid
We’ve all heard this one and it usually means that simpler is better. It doesn’t matter what subject you apply this principle to, it all comes out to the simpler we live, the easier life is.

Food: If you eat heavy, processed food, not only is your body heavy, but your heart and soul feel heavy as well. Whatever is in that stuff, it weighs you down, physically as well as emotionally. Simpler food, fresh vegetables for example, simply makes you feel better. Light chicken instead of heavy beef. Fresh food instead of packaged food. Not only do they make us feel better, they cost less as well. And if you take it one step further and make sure your food comes from local sources, you even support your local economy while making your life – well – lighter!

Decisions: You can apply KISS to just about any decision you make. Will it make your life more complicated – or less complicated? Go simple. Will it make you happy? Go that way. Will it cost more than you have? Forget it. “If in doubt – don’t” applies here as well. Doing nothing is simpler than doing something when it comes to adding burdens to your life.
Even dating. My mantra – before I met Alan – was “I will only date if the relationship is an enhancement to my already happy life.” Well, Alan passed the test and I have to say, loving someone who contributes on every level, is a LOT lighter than a person who weighs you down mentally & emotionally.

This is also a simpler approach to life. If you look at just about everything you do through GREEN lenses, you can find ways that take some of the weight out of your life. For one thing, most people who are conscious of the environment feel pretty guilty when they know they are doing something that is un-GREEN. Throw that bottle away and feel the weight of guilt! Recycle it – either in the bin or if you need cash – collect all that you use and take it to the cash-back recycling stations everywhere. They make it easy – 24 hours – no people – slip the container through the slot and BINGO! A receipt for cash at the nearby store.

There are so many ways you can go green, it’s amazing. Rather than go into them, I’ll refer you to WCG columnist Patricia Dines and her AskEcoGirl column. Find her in these pages and if you have internet, look her up on our web site, at WCG Extra! for past columns with links to her resources. And yes, she also has her own web site – so check it out for the FULL STORY! Patricia is an amazing resource of Eco-information!

Making a Living
Yes, there’s a way to do this simple as well. Make a living at something you enjoy. Really. You work many hours out of your day and life. If you enjoy what you are doing, your heart will be lighter. And for all those people who depend upon jobs that businesses create, think again. Out of a job? You can create your own job! I did it and have since I was 19. When graphic design work was light, I put up a poster to clean houses. Then I looked around my collection of tools and knowledge and decided to add garden services. Within three days I was in business. That gave me three ways to make a living and the variety kept my sanity. It also allowed me to spend time with my daughter as she grew up. I could volunteer at her school, catch her soccer games, you name it. For a single mother, this was golden!

My daughter is doing that now as well. The receptionist job she had wasn’t any fun so she went back to cleaning houses like she did when she was in high school and college. The pay is better and it allows her flexibility to be with her daughter! Now I’m sending data-entry work her way, something she can do at home. Where there’s a will…there’s a way!

Go Local
This is a mantra I chant over and over in these pages and support with my Shopping, Nursery and Summer Tours. We live in paradise! If we want to keep having products and services for our lives, we need to look at where we shop and do business. The more LOCAL it is, the more we will have what we need into the future. Every dollar we spend locally supports our local economy through tax dollars. Those taxes pay for our roads and services from fire protection to street lights.

Another benefit to staying local is the one I remind readers of all the time. These are our neighbors running businesses and hiring employees. The stronger they are, the stronger we are. You want all the facts and figures about why supporting where you live works better for everyone? Log on to for details. It simply makes sense.

State of Mind
This one is harder to control because it involves how you think. Optimists have it easy. For pessimists it’s a struggle. I don’t know how you turn the light on in your heart if it’s not there to begin with. But I will advise you to think YES instead of NO. Think OPPORTUNIY instead of OBSTACLE. Think LIGHT instead of HEAVY.

The easiest way I know to boost your self-esteem and therefore state of mind is to accomplish something, then blow your own horn. No one has to be listening. This is something you do for yourself and with yourself. Accomplish anything – even washing the dishes. Look at what you did and pat yourself on the back. Clean a room then sit in that clean chair and look around at how much more pleasant your environment has become.

Walk out the door and tour the streets where you live. Look up instead of down. Look out and away to distances. Turn the corners of your mouth up even if they feel like turning down. Try it. Even that simple act can change the way you feel. My Dad always said “Attitude is everything.” I believe that to be true.

There IS a Better Way
So much of life is what we make it. When we stop blaming others or looking to others for support or even confirmation that we’re good people, we are taking charge of our own lives. This simple effort means the WE are in control – not someone else. Being dependent on others for anything is a weight on both them as well as ourselves. The more independent we can be, the lighter on our feet we are. Life starts looking like something we can do something about! That makes us feel positive, optimistic, hopeful – and well – light on our feet! Remember that old advertising headline? Try it – you’ll like it!

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