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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Thomas

How I Found the FUN in My Funk

Updated: Apr 25, 2022

By Teresa Thomas, 50 Fun Things

For months I'd been dreaming of my first Loving Kindness Retreat with Radiant Jane. I imagined the Tuscan hillsides warmed by the sun. I was in such a dream-state that I overlooked a few things. It started by bringing carry on luggage that was slightly too big and wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment. It barely tucked under the seat in front of me so I had to sit like a frog for the long flight.

When I went to pick up a taxi, I should have waited in the correct queue and disregarded the taxi driver who offered to give me a ride. He charged me way over the regulated price. I was tired and sore and while the price seemed exorbitant, I didn't have the fortitude to argue. I went to pull out my Euros and was horrified to see I had only packed 100 Euros and not the envelope of Euros I had picked up at the bank. The cabbie took over half of my Euros.

I brought my bags in to the B&B and the host explained how I had been ripped off. She was kind and let me know her husband would be able to drive me to the airport to pick up my shuttle for the retreat for a quarter of the rate the taxi driver had charged me. She pointed out some things I might want to see during my limited time in Fiumincino. I took her advice and went out for a walk. Once it became dark, I got turned around and lost my way for just enough time to make me nervous but the streets were safe and I found my way back.

That evening, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself about starting the trip off on the wrong foot. I woke up the next morning in time to walk to the oceanside to see the sunrise. I brought my 50 Fun Things chart and a pen along with me. I wondered if it would be possible for me to list 50 Fun Things I had experienced since arriving the evening prior.

To my surprise and delight, I came up with a list of 50 things! The exercise gave me a chance to really notice my surroundings and senses. My gratitude opened up. I saw that my trip actually was off to a great start once I stopped focusing on the few negative things and compared them to the many positive things I had experienced. These are the 50 things I came up with: FUN (Joys I always appreciate):

  • Luxuriated in the process of awakening in a nice bed and surroundings

  • Turned a frustrating situation into a humorous lesson

  • Got dressed up more than necessary

  • Wore something that made me feel great

  • Sat on a balcony and enjoyed the view

  • Met an interesting new person

  • Heard nice live music


  • Fully tuned in to the present, the NOW

  • Realized, "Really, I am okay."

  • Challenged myself to interpret things I didn't fully understand

  • Journaled to pay attention to my thoughts

  • Opened up my mind to curiosity and discovery

  • Accepted a compliment

  • Found a cool plant and noticed every detail about it (a form of meditative thought)


  • Caught myself smiling

  • Wrote a sweet note

  • Found things that pleasantly surprised me

  • Indulged in a simple pleasure (chocolate before breakfast)

  • Enjoyed a sunrise

  • Heard the melody of another language

  • Listened to laughter -- and wondered, does it come in different accents?


  • Sought out inspiration to guide me

  • Wore a special charm/piece of jewelry that motivated me

  • Sat on a beach, contemplated and relaxed

  • Noticed the clouds, their form and movement

  • Window shopped and noticed how commerce is different that at home

  • Picked up and delighted in shells, rocks and leaves

New to me:

  • Wandered in a new area

  • Tried a new food

  • Did things in a different way than usual

  • Saw a type of bird I'd never seen before

  • Noticed different insects and how they behave

  • Discovered cool new things I'd never seen before


  • Fully savored and appreciated a meal

  • Appreciated seeing a couple in love

  • Detached from expectation and allowed things to BE as they were

  • Invited in increased awareness, appreciation and joy

  • Gave a compliment

  • Experienced everything beautiful about a cappuccino

  • Picked up and deciphered the myriad of sounds in my surroundings


  • Gently told a tense area of my body that it could relax

  • Breathed in and noticed how the air was different

  • Took a leisurely walk

  • Soaked up the radiant energy from the sun

  • Enjoyed the breeze on my hair and skin

  • Listened to breaking waves

  • Walked barefoot and noticed how it felt

Open your gateway to joy!

The guiding lesson I took from this experience was the power of delighting in the little and unexpected things. When I shifted my awareness and focused on what was going right, I was able to see just how wonderful thing really were. The attitude adjustment set me up to fully embrace the joy, nourishment, beauty and lovely connections that a retreat provides.

This refreshed attitude rippled out to affect others, too! When another retreater grumbled about jetlag, we talked about how wonderful it was to experience jetlag because it meant she had taken the step to take herself on a gorgeous adventure to Italy! She maintained that positive perspective throughout and beyond the retreat which in turn rippled out and affected others, too. If something is feeling like it isn't going right, where could you use an attitude adjustment? Take a 20 minute break and see if you can list out positive things to observe or to try out.

Since the writing of this original post, Teresa returned to Tuscany (twice!) and ventured to Maui to facilitate 50 Fun Things® for additional retreats. The retreat leaders referred to Teresa as the "Joy Concierge" for how she adds to the positive and uplifting experience for retreaters both through facilitating 50 Fun Things and through her warm and inclusive personality. And then the pandemic hit and retreats came to a pause... After a long hiatus, retreats are beginning to open up again. Plans are in the works for 50 Fun Things® to be included in retreats in the coming year. If you would like to be kept posted on the next retreats, please be in touch to be one of the first to hear details once they are ready. Alternatively, bring in the 50 Fun Things experience for your own group, conference or retreat!

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