This is to be my updated mantra....
To be happy. Who upon this earth doesn't want that simple statement to be true? To be happy. Who among us are truly happy? Can happiness be found through someone else or with a large bank account? What is it... to be happy?
It all started 24 years ago, on my 30th birthday as I arrived at a major crossroad in my life. I was so miserable, I wanted to die. Having two small children meant that checking out was not an option for me. But neither was staying where I was - miserable, filled with fear and self-loathing. I had no other choice - I had to find a way out of my crippling depression. I wanted to be happy. Truly happy.
And so the journey began, and what an adventure it has been. Not only did I learn how to be happy, it became my life's work. To help others see the possibilities in their own lives, to help them find the tools for self-empowerment that leads to happiness, this is what I try to practice in my day to day life. This is the foundation of my writing and speaking career.
Does empowerment and happiness go hand in hand? I think so. I eventually realized my life was miserable because I had no hope and felt powerless over everything.
I had to pick up the tools for my own empowerment... once I had them in place, there was no stopping me. Happy? You bet. But being happy doesn't mean you aren't presented with problems and difficult challenges; it doesn't mean your life is perfect and you have access to everything your heart desires. The very nature of life is seen in the metaphor of a pendulum... up and down, good and bad, right and wrong, cold and hot... and yes, happy and sad. Happiness has little to do with your bank account or having someone else, "make you happy." It has everything to do with learning how to deal with, and accept, this zany pendulum known as life. Eventually you begin to see and have faith that everything will work out... that the Universe actually knows what It is doing - even if it's beyond our intellect to comprehend this at any given moment.
So, what is my favorite tool on my happiness tool belt? A little thing I call my GPS.
We all have one, our own little guidance system. It comes factory direct and is built into every vintage and late-model human being. It's there even if you don't see it... and the closest thing we get for a manual is our own conscience.
My life's navigational tool is simple: G.P.S. = God / Positivity / Service.
God: Connect with your higher power, and you will be amazed at the clarity and joy you will feel. Note, I am not here to bring you to Jesus, I am not saying Buddha or Zen is the right or only way. Your concept of God only has to resonate with you. Trusting in God or a higher-power (however you acknowledge He, She or It), and asking for guidance is one of the best ways I know to bring about positive change and thus create happiness. We have a favorite quote around our home - God is a better Dreamer than we are. I am a big dreamer, lots of idea, but I have learned that my imagination is no match to Gods will. I have learned to put him in the driver seat and buckle my seat belt because when you let go and Let God, wondrous things begin to happen. I have learned that whatever the Universe wants me to do if far bigger than I can imagine, and if I trust the Universe, the journey will be awesome and fulfilling.
Positivity: As a former Negaholic, I can attest to the power of positive thinking. A positive person is not someone who resembles Mary Sunshine or Pollyanna, no. A positive person is someone who sees the world as it truly is (the good, the bad and the ugly), but makes a conscious choice to focus on what is good. A negative person (speaking from experience), doesn't see the world as it is, they only see the bad, or what is wrong.
Negative people see problems, positive people see solutions. Negative people can never see their own flaws, only the flaws of others. They feel it is their duty to point out your defects so you can work on yourself. But in reality, we all tend to have the flaws we point out in others. We can't change a character defect that we're not aware of... to say anything of actually comprehending that defect. This is precisely what keeps negative people in a negative spiral.
Look for the bad in everything and the bad will come to you - but look for the good, and that will come your way as well. Positivity is an essential key ingredient of happiness.
Service: Ask yourself how you can you be of service to the world. It doesn't have to be something grand, something simple will do. Hold the door for someone, pick up a piece of trash on the street, pay for the drivers toll behind you. Little things count. However, if you are in a position to do more - go for it.
I wake up each morning, asking for my assignment from the Universe - how can I be of service today? "Please Universe, let me be an instrument of hope for you today." And when I am given the opportunity to help others, and follow through, I receive the gift of happiness.
So, what about you? Are you still pursuing happiness? Do you feel empowered? I promise, if you use the GPS of life, you will not only feel empowered and happy, you will, in fact, be changing the world for the better...