It's the last day of 2011 and a perfect time to look back at all of your successes, joys and celebrations of the year, while enjoying an excited anticipation for what's to come! I have a lot to celebrate this year but the most important items are my relationships and my health. I'm healthy, I'm feeling great and  I love my kids, my significant other, my friends, colleagues, my Facebook and Twitter friends and everyone else who came into my life in 2011!  This year has been magical in many ways and you all have been a part of that magic for me.

And to all the people who I don't personally know, but who have inspired me, I say "Thank you!" I applaud you! Today I had an encounter with an inspiring cashier I don't know in the Hy-Vee grocery store in Iowa City. The cashier was such a friendly young man (as many Iowans are), and when he told me to have a great day, I really could feel he meant it.

You know how sometimes people say things, but it feels like they're just hitting the "repeat" button and they don't really mean it? (That's always a sign for me that I need to slow down and be present.) Well today was not one of those days. In fact, I'd say that when I'm in Iowa, most of the time people in the service industry feel present, genuine and authentic to me. I love Iowa. I miss it sometimes and I'm celebrating that I get to spend 2011 into 2012 here!

This is not to say that there aren't authentic people everywhere in the world. I believe there are, and often I am delighted by friendly, helpful people who do kind, caring things in places that have a stereotype for not being friendly (e.g. big cities). We can find loving people everywhere: it really is a matter in how we choose to look at people and things. If we look for the positive in people, the positive will often show up. We get what we expect. So let's expect good things!

Since I was feeling particularly happy, joyful and relaxed, I attracted others of the same vibe. If people around me are not particularly happy or joyful and I can quietly "observe" them, rather than internalize those feelings, I know I'm on the right track to joy.  And when I don't (and let others become the object of my own happiness),  it's an opportunity for me to look inside at what I'm feeling, so I can shift those feelings into appreciation. When I do, it's easy to practice sending love and seeing others happy, joyful and relaxed, too.

So I encourage everyone to take a little time today and find those celebrations in your life! It just feels good and sets the tone for this next year. You'll be expecting celebrations, appreciating "what is" and attracting more of that back at you! And if you practice this everyday, guess what?- It might just make you happy! 

Happy New Year, everyone and into 2012 we go! Woo Hoo!