How to make a happy life: think differently

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You do not find the happy life. You make it.
~ Camilla Kimball

During a recent yoga class, the instructor weaved her special blend of wisdom throughout the 90-minute lesson. One particular “ism” continued to resonate with me long after I’d packed my bag and headed home. Although not verbatim, it reads something like this: Happiness is not the destination; it’s an attitude you choose to bring with you on the journey. What I love about this can also be understood from Kimball’s quote at the beginning of this post. Another popular saying speaks of happiness as the journey, itself. Yet what about journeys fraught with illness or death, poverty or disaster or [fill in the blank]? Oftentimes those people swimming in a bevy of unfortunate circumstances still seem to radiate happiness. Because happiness is not a treasure to be found but, rather, a gift we already possess as a choice. And it’s all about choosing to think differently. I choose happy.

What choice do you make today?

Image courtesy of VectorHuman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Trusting the destination

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trusting in the destination

During a recent visit with a close family member, she thanked me for my transparency after I’d shared a personal battle with which I wrestle. Later that day, that same transparency fell under attack when someone accused me of acting and speaking devoid of sincerity. Perhaps many of us hide behind walls in order to protect our vulnerability, but find ourselves able to shed the self-imposed masks in the presence of those who inspire, embolden and love us without condition into our true selves—ickies and all. So when our transparent selves are rejected, it’s not unusual to feel battered and bruised. However, the next morning, my puffy eyes the sole evidence of a confused and depleted heart, I spent my quiet time randomly choosing devotions that provided a comforting balm. And one after the other reminded me to trust the destination no matter what my journey looks like today. While I continue to be true to self.

How easy is it for you to trust the destination?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Living in the ‘ah-ha’ moment

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ah-ha moment

 

Ever know something in your head, yet it never reached your heart until you experienced an ah-ha moment? That was me the other day during Bikram yoga practice. While bending and stretching, healing my body from the inside out, something the teacher said, something I’ve heard repeatedly (and ramble about in my blogs), pierced my soul, brought tears to my eyes. I say it this way in “Maybe it’s about the story:” We’re told that in life, it’s about the journey, not the destination. The same is true… [in] yoga: it’s not about the final expression—it’s all about the process. I finally get it. To enjoy the journey—the process—removes expectation and allows us to live in the moment. To immerse ourselves. To treasure the person, place or thing with no attachment to the past or the future. And when we do that, we discover peace in the present. I just hope it’s not too late to practice what I’ve learned.

What’s your latest ah-ha moment?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

It’s all a process: enjoy it

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Enjoy the process

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

With one more day to go of my “change your life in 14-days” challenge, I wish I would’ve seen more of an outward transformation. Actually, I’m kind of stressed out almost more than when I began. I’m at a point in my life—that mid-life point—where I’m questioning my destination. I have all these aspirations and dreams and feel like I’m getting no closer. Yet I also recently celebrated three years at my publishing position, the job that supports these aspirations and is in a field I’m passionate about. My boss treated me to lunch and we discussed my workload, education plans, career goals, etc. Over a balsamic spinach salad and lemon ice water, he advised me to give myself a break and, as much as I want to “get somewhere,” to remember to enjoy the process. As a yogi who knows living in the present is where peace is found (see “Practicing patience, perseverance”), it was a much-needed wake-up call.

How’s the process going for you?

Maybe it’s about the story

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more about the story
We’re told that in life, it’s about the journey, not the destination. The same is true when it comes to yoga: it’s not about the final expression—it’s all about the process. I remember attending college and preparing hours for an exam that was cumulative of an entire semester. But, ultimately, it was about showing up and applying myself every day. So even though living happily-ever-after may be the ideal, perhaps it’s more about the mechanics and plot twists, character-development, triumphs, conflicts and self-realization along the way. Because if we skip right to the ending, we’ll miss out on all the middle stuff—that which builds us if we don’t let it break us first. And the truth is, although we can write in a happy ending to our life’s story, it’s not guaranteed.  However, if we live one page at a time, one chapter at a time, we’ll be better prepared for Someday when it arrives.

Do you focus more on the story, or on the ending?

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/ltoc2hr

Taking the first step

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taking the first step

[Image credit: arztsamui]

It’s always too early to quit.
~ Norman Vincent Peale

New Year’s Day came and went and I could easily use a do-over.  It’s called “too much of a good thing.”  But, thankfully, every day is a new beginning in itself.  So the next day I began with my goal of writing that book I’ve been dreaming about for longer than I can remember.  I wasn’t necessarily ready to get up earlier to write.  And I didn’t log in as many words as I had planned.  But I started.  I took the first step.  And then the next day I took my second step.  And so on.  That’s all I can ask of myself because life will inevitably happen.  I’ll have to work late, my daughter will stop by unexpectedly to visit and I’ll need to make an unscheduled stop at the store or doctor.  I need to be able to accept these detours and move on.  Or I’ll never reach my destination.

What is your feel-like-quitting remedy?

The ache of longing

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[Image credit: Liz Noffsinger]

There is a space between man’s imagination and man’s attainment
that may only be traversed by his longing. ~ Khalil Gibran (Sand and Foam)

Two nights ago, I found myself daydreaming.  It’s a recurring dream in which I’m living the life I envision for myself … Someday.  In my imagination, my fantasies unfolded in Technicolor: the bluest water and silkiest sand as far as the eyes can see.  Success.  Passion.  The fruits of my labor.  It was — is — everything I’ve always wanted and everything I never knew I always wanted all rolled into a future of my own making.  On this side of Someday, however, I still reside in the space of yesterday, today and tomorrow, coveting a glimpse here and there of what to expect when I finally arrive at my destination.  But it’s still as if a void remains to be filled by the attainment of my dreams.  And the ache of longing — of something I’ve only hoped for — continues to remind me my efforts in the here and now are not in vain.  It’s simply a part of the journey that must be traversed.

What do you find yourself longing for?