Hmmm, you say? So you are thinking to yourself ‘if I’m not happy it’s my fault. There is something wrong with me, I’m doing something wrong.’
Let’s get something straight right away, there is no blame here! Absolutely none, no room for the blame game in the game of life! Acceptance is the key to freedom. Let me explain how this works.
The game of life is about choice. Now often times we don’t clearly see the choices. We are so conditioned to see where we are as fate or obligation, or better yet ‘just the way life is’. We often have a very foggy view of the choices we have. We tend to disown our lives, leaving things up to others to decide what is right for us. For example, don’t you notice when people talk about their jobs you often hear “its work, don’t expect to be happy” or “who likes their job, it just pays the bills”, and my favorite “no one likes their job, we all have to work”. I can personally tell you that’s not true! I love my work, it is my calling. I can honestly say that there are difficult days; days where things feel heavy, and I don’t want to work in time away from the kids. But when I wake up and head to work there is a sense of joy for what I do. And yes, I have been there, feeling that pit in the bottom of my stomach, dreading the work day ahead.
Difficult as it may have been, I left that situation in order to pursue what really makes me happy. Let me be completely honest about that situation, I was pushed to move away from that nightmare. As it goes, if you don’t move in life, life will move on you!
Good morning life!!
No, the clouds didn’t part, I did not see a rainbow and tiny angels flying around my head. But I knew it was time to take a step and learn how to put me first. 6 years later we still have our house, none of my children starved, and we are happy. I still have challenging days, feeling tired, carpooling the kids here and there, not losing sight of me in all the day to day actions. I am learning to pause, ask myself ‘where is my happy’.
Once in awhile I hear someone say, who is feeling lost or stuck, that ‘I can’t change, it’s just who I am.’ Before you go believing that, I want you to think about the most successful AND happy person you know. Maybe someone famous, or a friend, family, whomever, but they are successful AND happy. What makes them different? Were they born with a silver spoon in their mouth? For me, many if not all the successful
people I know have come to their success and happiness by choice. They have a past just like you and I filled with hurt, trauma, pain, loss, disappointment, fear. They have also had some of the good stuff mixed in there too, just like you and I! But there is one difference. They do not define their happiness by their successes. They CHOOSE happiness regardless of their successes.
Here it again loud and clear: They CHOOSE happiness regardless of their successes.
And that is where we begin, accepting all of it – the good, bad and ugly. When we look close enough we can see the beautiful moments in life, and if we choose, we can also remember all the pain. Which one will you let define you? Direct your actions? Who do you want to be? It really is up to you. No, we can’t control everything that happens to us, but how we respond to what comes our way, that is what matters.
Embrace your life! Take action!
Let me explain; I was in a place where I took a job out of fear. My husband lost his job. We just purchased a new home to house our four children, 6, 4 and twins at the age of 6 months. Things were looking pretty ideal until January 1 hit and the money stopped. Yikes! Talk about fear taking hold and directing every move we made. We had four little mouths to feed. Well, I like to say I won the race of the career search so I went to work and my husband and loving father stayed home to run the place and care for our children. This was a very painful moment in my life. My husband was not the only one to lose his job, and I truly did not win any race. I had to give up the most important job of my life, being home with my kids. Now I always worked part time in the counseling field, and enjoyed the several hours I was serving and learning from every client I met. But my job, my other passion was with my kids. And of course I did not realize how this was going to devastate me until years later. Knee deep in obligation and fear, driving to work daily with tears in my eyes, way off my path of happiness. And I felt it in the pit of my stomach. You know that feeling, don’t you? It’s painful to the core.
I have a clear memory of the day that all changed – the day I had to put me first – my happiness and wellbeing. The day I prayed “please God, give me anything, anything (I begged) but this job, I can handle anything else, just let me be home with my kids.” Wow, I was desperate. For those of you who have a faith realize, you never know what you will get when you ask. I knew what I was asking, but never in a million years did I expect the answer I got.
That was not an answer! That was more pain and suffering! What was happening. I remember getting the news over the phone from the surgeon. Still in shock, fear, mechanical actions took over. Still in pain from the surgery, I hugged my husband and went to work! Yes, I too am one that learns the hard way, through pain, and error.
The good news, as I was told, if there is a cancer you would want, it would be this one. Well, as you can imagine someone who had not experienced cancer would be dumb enough to say that! So now not only am I in a job that is torture, I have to deal with an illness. Not just any illness but one that many people die from. Holy cow (those were not my exact words). Now what? How do I work, and take care of myself? Of course at this time I am not remembering my prayer, so of course I am also not at the stage of awareness yet that says “take care of yourself” that should have been flashing in neon lights in my brain. Again more hand holding and dragging me through the process, I was made aware of short term disability (huh! so that’s what this is for). I took time off work, got treatment. And in the process, still debating whether to go back to this job that I hated with a passion, that was sucking the life out of me (literally as I can see now). It’s true, do I go back and provide for my family again, or do I stop and listen to this voice; whether it be my intuition, God, spirit, whatever. Something was definitely trying to get my attention. Was I ready to listen yet?
Pay attention, Dear one
Well again, things were made easy, I was replaced. Seriously!? ! I was stunned and insulted and felt as if I was kicked to the curb. Don’t they care? Why don’t they want me back? And the bigger question – why do I want to go back? Isn’t my life, my health, my happiness, more important than a paycheck? Really! It was time to wake up.
Embrace your power! (It’s a gift)
Yes I will admit, cancer sucks! But it’s also my greatest teacher. When I hit a low point, which I will as I am human, I hop on my path to happiness, and take these steps to keep myself grounded and out of the tornado of turmoil!
1. Tune In
Typically when we are hitting a low point; feeling cranky, edgy, or angry, if we pay attention closely, it is our thoughts and beliefs that are directing our mood. I will tune into my thoughts – go for a walk, or write in my journal and vent all the craziness that seems to be consuming my mind. I don’t judge what comes out, I observe with wonder and curiosity, and accept that somewhere along the road I picked up these beliefs, and now I am ready to put them down.
2. Be Selfish
I ask myself honestly ” what do I need right now?” Maybe I need to order dinner out because I have no energy to prepare a meal for 6 people. Maybe I need to go to a movie alone and have some me time. Maybe a hot bubble bath. I go with my gut, give my body and mind credit for what it knows it needs. No judgement, just complete acceptance. And just do it.
I have found some fabulous meditations, and recently have been connecting to kundalini yoga chanting mantras. They have a way of clean sweeping my brain, and rejuvenating my soul. There are tons of research on the benefits of meditation and how we can now see biologically and chemically, it’s effects on the brain, the fight or flight response and the calming effects in the body and mind. Be creative, explore, learn something new, find what works for you.
Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT is a form of acupressure. I tap on 9 specific acupressure points while stating how I am feeling. Wow, it’s like magic! This is one of those tools that seem too good to be true. It’s so easy to use, I now use it with my kids and they also find it very helpful, especially when upset with their brothers! The tapping points calm the nervous system, disengaging the flight/fight response, and sends the calming hormones through the body. Emotional intensity of whatever I was feeling is relieved and I begin to see more clearly, and have that sense of calm.
I have had days where I have tried everything – yoga, walk, meditation, journal. And then I found the one thing that worked – accepting what I was feeling and surrender into it. I lie in my bed, melt into the softness and just cried. Let it all go. It’s a detoxing, sometimes that is all that needs to happy and we reset. I feel lighter, clearer, and a sense of happiness begins to find its way back in.
When we begin to find that peace and happiness within, we can then send it out to the world.