“You have a choice each and every single day. I choose to feel blessed. I choose to feel grateful. I choose to be excited. I choose to be thankful. I choose to be happy.” ~Amber Housley
What if I told you that you could dramatically and permanently increase your happiness within three days?
And what if I told you that it was much easier than you think, based on a simple and logical approach, completely free, and you already have everything you need to succeed? Would you be interested? I assume you would be, but you might be skeptical.
“The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.” ~Deepak Chopra
The root of my inability to be open stems from my childhood. (I guess much of who we are comes from childhood, right?)
I remember around the time I was eight years old going to a party at my aunt’s house. Even though I don’t remember the details of the party, I do remember what happened after.
We got home that night and my dad asked me, ”Don’t you think you should be a little more reserved or have a little mystery to you?”
“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~Lao Tzu
Five years ago, I found myself rebuilding my life after my fourteen-year marriage ended. During those first months preceding my divorce, crushing feelings of fear and loneliness often consumed me. Thankfully, I began seeing a wonderful therapist named Muriel.
Each week, I held my breath until it was time for my appointment, when I could curl up on Muriel’s sofa and exhale all my anxieties.
One week, when I was particularly overwhelmed, Muriel gave me the number of the local Crisis Hotline and insisted that …
“Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.” ~Christine Arylo
When the alarm went off, the haze of a dream dissolved into the memory of yesterday’s failure. My stomach was still full from last night’s binge, and I was utterly disgusted with myself.
How could I have blown it again? What was wrong with me?
I grabbed a notepad and pen and resolved that today would be different. Today I would stick to my diet!
As I had every day for the previous several weeks, I made a list of …
“Stay present. Stay conscious. Be the ever-alert guardian of your inner space.” ~Eckhart Tolle
It was approximately 1:20 pm on a sunny Thursday afternoon, and I was halfway through my presentation at a high school, when I was interrupted by a loud automated female voice blowing through the intercom speakers.
“Please secure your classroom. Please secure your classroom,” it said.
I was extremely alarmed but mainly confused. I looked at the instructor for direction. His face had turned bright red and it was obvious he was holding back panic. He dashed to the front of the classroom to lock the …
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~Anna Quindlen
When I first committed to becoming more spiritual, I decided that I wanted to be ‘perfect.’ I avoided red meat, cheese, alcohol, and sugar (and anything else that was considered “low vibration”), and ate organic food.
I never complained or uttered a negative word about anything or anyone. I meditated three to four times a day, when I woke up, in the afternoon, and at night before I went to sleep.
You’d never see an emotion …
“Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people.” ~Unknown
Throughout this year I’ve noticed myself feeling envious of other people. Particularly, I would feel envious of the famous people that I would see on television, read about in magazines, and follow on social media.
I wouldn’t even be envious of them for the things one might expect. It wasn’t because they were famous or wealthy. It wasn’t because they had millions of followers on social media. And it wasn’t because they were good looking.
Still, I would find myself feeling envious of an actress if she had …
“See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer
It was about a month after my son was born that I was introduced to the man I have come to think of, only somewhat facetiously, as “The Guru of Caumsett.”
My husband and I were at the park with our newborn son when a man I’d never seen before began waving as he strode determinedly—despite a pronounced limp that caused him to drag, ever-so-slightly, one leg behind the other—past us.
“How are you doing?” my husband called, waving back while …
“The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.” ~Norman Cousins
Loneliness … sigh.
It hurts on the inside and feels pathetic on the outside, doesn’t it?
You’re physically and mentally isolated from everyone.
And if something unforeseen were to happen to you such as falling down stairs and being knocked unconscious (God forbid), would anyone really notice? Admit it, a predicament like that has probably gone through your mind at least once in your life.
At least in my mind it has.
Years ago, I was single and moved out of the city for a …
“If you are not having fun you are doing something wrong.” ~Groucho Marx
I was at my eye doctor’s office many years ago and he asked me what I do for fun. He said he asks this of everyone to see how they use their eyes.
We got into a heavy conversation about how I feel many people no longer have fun. It seems like once people get into adulthood, we forget how or don’t even know what we think is fun.
Oftentimes, people get up, go to a job they hate, come home, make dinner, and watch TV …
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~C.G. Jung
We were visiting my parents’ place in the woods for the weekend. I unlocked the door to the cabin and flipped the switch. The lights didn’t come on, so I began rapidly flipping other switches. I hollered at my husband to come have a look.
He walked to the breaker box in the back. I heard popping as he flipped them on and off. He shouted every so often, “Try the front room!” I reported back, “Nope.”
“Try the bedroom!” I reported back again, …
“Wisdom is merely the movement from fighting life to embracing it.” ~Rasheed Ogunlaru
There were many things I wasn’t prepared for when it came to baby raising: the constant self-doubt, the vocal opinions of others, teething that never ended. But the real shock was when my ten-month-old daughter rejected me.
It is human nature to avoid rejection. Nothing is more painful than trying your best or giving your heart and being told it’s not good enough or unwanted. In my case, I went beyond avoiding rejection—I denied the possibility of its existence.
My childhood experiences led me to believe that …
“I think a lot of people mistake my confidence on stage for cockiness in real life, and that’s actually farthest from the truth. When I’m on stage, I’m that confident and that cocky because I have a microphone in my hand, and there’s a few thousand people staring at me. And I know they’re there to laugh.” ~Russell Peters
When I was ten, I opened the black, roughly textured box with the metal clasps, pulling out my first saxophone.
The alto sax would come to represent my inner confidence. My true self. The person who paints with sound the complex …
“Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness.”
I got fired from my job, my boyfriend left me, and my father died in one day.
In reality, my career was going super well, I didn’t have a boyfriend, and my father was amazingly healthy, but what I did have was something I call an ultra amazing imagination, where I would make up fascinating stories about things that could happen and worry about them. (Or as other people call it, general anxiety disorder.)
I met my now BFF anxiety when I was about ten years old. Initially, …
“Always seek out the seed of triumph in every adversity.” ~Og Mandino
In November of 2007 my life burned to the ground—quite literally.
I lost my house, four foster dogs, my sixteen-year-old cat, four pet rats, all of my possessions—and with that, my sense of peace and safety in the world.
I had called every fear I ever had into my life on that one, dark day. In short order, I was homeless, jobless, and for the most part, friendless.
I was downsized from my full-time job, let go from my part-time job of five years (on my birthday), and …
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~Melody Beattie
There’s very little that upsets me like feeling stuck and out of control. That’s exactly how I felt at the beginning of this year.
Things were going well in many areas of my life, but I was unhappy living in my boyfriend’s childhood home in a Bay Area suburb, after we’d spent years living in LA and traveling. Though I knew this was ideal for him, it just didn’t feel right for me,
And even if I could wrap my brain around …
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ~Bruce Lee
A few years ago, my husband was away from me for a few weeks, working in another town. It was summer, and we were living close to the beach at the time, so I often spent my Saturday nights walking along the ocean at sunset, enjoying the colors and sounds.
One Saturday night I was in a simply glorious mood. The beach was filled with happy families and couples, the Atlantic was a particularly lovely shade …
“That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson
When I was a child, I learned a lot from my parents and other authority figures. I learned the difference between wrong and right, the value of hard work and perseverance, that one must not mistreat or use people, but be good.
I learned about love too, for when my loved ones were happy, the same joy always came back to me.
Making the difficult transition into adulthood, I picked up a whole lot of other things from whatever environment I managed to …
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens!” ~Louise Hay
In my quest to learn to love myself I did therapy, read plenty of self-help books, and took personal development courses, hoping I could learn to love myself like I could learn accounting.
This was all helpful; however, when I reached the self-talk stage my progress came to a standstill.
Before then, I hadn’t consciously realized that I used powerfully negative words when speaking to or about myself. I was the first to put myself down, the first to …
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” ~C.S. Lewis
My eyes leapt open sometime after 2am and, after feeling the empty space next to me, I knew.
The cell phone I laid on the pillow beside my head was silent, my previous text messages left unanswered. Panic swelled in my throat as I frantically dialed his number, calls separated by no more than thirty seconds.
Checking phone logs and driving past houses at night had never been something I pictured myself doing. So, …