Making a Happy Promise

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It was four years ago today that I decided to make positive change in my life in an effort to become the best version of myself. I’m grateful for my journey and I’m hopeful for what is to come. If the time has come for you to start your own journey, it may be comforting to have a roadmap to follow. I have created a 3 step outline of how my own journey has unfolded and I hope these steps will help you begin to define and discover how to navigate your own journey. I only claim to be an expert on myself, and I encourage you to become an expert on yourself. My hope is that what has worked for me will inspire you to design a roadmap that reflects your own journey.

1. The Awakening

The realization happens that change is necessary. You may or may not experience the beginning of a breakthrough. The signs showing up around you can be anywhere from violent to subtle. You make a decision to make change. The decision can just be to get started. The focus on exactly what needs attention possibly comes clear, but may unfold in time. The most important thing to do in this stage is be open to whatever comes next. You may feel a surge of energy and a strong desire to explore and learn, or you may just begin to feel calm and open. Be mindful and accepting of your feelings.

2. The Discovery

You begin to pinpoint the areas of your life that need changing. You begin to develop a stronger focus on how to approach them. You begin to explore and learn which vehicle(s) will suit your needs: mindfulness, yoga, piano, music, hiking, art, kindness…. as you begin adjusting to change. Your senses begin to take in and process information in a new way. Colors are bolder, music is sweeter, smells spark vivid memories, you may feel hyper sensitive in every way. Now is a good time to begin to be even more mindful of your thoughts and feelings in an effort to discover how to make positive change. Stay open to change and unattached to outcomes. The less expectations you place on yourself and your experiences, the easier this process will flow, and although it may not be easy, it will be worth it.

3. Finding Your Calm

It is now time to adopt a new normal, incorporate new habits, and accept imperfection. It’s time to live life happier and keep awakening and rediscovering in each moment. The more kindness and love you show yourself, the more love and kindness you will be able to show your loved ones. There is no finish line, so don’t search for it, but instead enjoy the feeling of a new beginning.

Every journey is unique.

Appreciate your own, distinct patchwork life.

Find your peace.

Enjoy your calm.

The Strength to be Happy and The Wisdom to Use Your Ruby Slippers.

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This is the part of your story when you slow down and get real. This is when you choose how you spend your energy. This is your opportunity to live on the other side of suffering.

Under the same force, two people may respond contradictory. Are you a good witch or a bad witch? We have a choice to make each time we come up against struggle and strife. And, we have a new opportunity to respond in each new moment. When you start to tally up favorable, positive moments and feel them happening in succession, gather the strength to keep that momentum going. At the same time, remember your strength and use it if you revert back to old responses. Be forgiving of yourself and show loving kindness to your heart, but demand the strength you know you possess or no one else will. Because if you’re not feeling strong when you move around in the world then it’s time to get strong and stay that way. It’s time to stop making excuses and it’s time to be in control. Are you a hero or a victim? Are you a heavy or a light? Are you strong or….

It’s time to assess and conquer…. inside. I’m not talking about a strong body, I’m talking about a strong spirit and a clever soul.  “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” -Carl Jung  Being awake can take great strength, so wake up and smell the crossroad. Put on your big girl (or boy) pants and handle it.

These are not inner battles we post on social media or overthink and discuss at length with our close friends. Stop getting sucked into the abyss of competition and curiosity. Be on your own journey. Close your eyes, breathe and be still. If you went inside and checked your inner self highlight reel or your soul expressions with the frequency that you check your Facebook account and your Twitter updates then you may be able to pry off the compulsion to struggle through your every moment. It’s ok to take a moment, it’s natural to relax and rejuvenate. It’s healthy to unwind and feel pleasure and it’s even ok if no one else is doing the same or knows about it. Just do it. Let go of self-judgement, conquer the monster of comparison and stand capable in your own stability. “Comparison is the thief of joy”- Theodore Roosevelt

These inner battles are the struggles that we must process over time… silently, with great resolve and commitment. Cultivate discipline, access fortitude. Gather strength and enjoy solid valor. You have it, you just have to decide to access it. Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers or the lion and his courage…. “You’ve always had the power, my dear, but you had to learn it for yourself” -The Good Witch. Just decide you are strong and you are strong.

I believe being happy takes great strength. I know that finding happiness will continue to take courage. I think that being happy and satisfied is nothing to hide or be ashamed of.  There is no worthy prize for proving you are the one who suffers the most or has the hardest life. Complaining and bellyaching, sour moods and melancholy are the tools of the powerless. We should never forget or cease to respect how fragile we all are, but no one in the world is going to be as concerned about your moment-to-moment indulgent negative whimsy as you are yourself. And honestly, it’s usually the strongest spirits who experience the most suffering that seem to show the bravest and most unbroken fortitude. They are my heroes and the only ones I will look to for guidance.

If you want to be in my thoughts then make them better, not worse.

A Quest To Discover

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A strong identity emerges not only from conscious contemplation of your life’s purpose, but also from successfully resolving the developmental challenges that characterize your formative years. Identity may emerge in it’s own time. It may show itself to you while you’re busy following your heart, creating opportunities to enjoy life and manifesting positivity.

So how do you begin the process of understanding who you are and what will ultimately make you happy? Celebrate what you do know about who you are and who you want to become while excavating deeper to discover more that you may not understand yet.

If you are strong enough to be asking these questions, then chances are you have developed a deep rooted belief that you are worth this time and effort. For that, I applaud you. Go easy on yourself as you learn, absorb each discovery and be ready to accept what you find. Use your findings to spring forward and be open to the beautiful things possible when you continue to grow.

The meaning of life is to live. Finding your identity means you can live it in a way that allows your soul to align with every moment. Defining your identity successfully means feeling complete. Feeling complete means strength of character and spirit.

The person who I have been in recent years is having a tough time being completely happy. I’ve learned a lot about what was making me unhappy and I seem to enjoy more peaceful moments these days. I’ve explored my spiritual existence and I’ve learned to meditate. I enjoy journaling and I have a better idea of what kind of mother I want to be. These are all big wins.  But I still feel slammed against a glass ceiling and trapped inside an identity that feels tight and restrictive. Maybe I’ve been focusing and working on the wrong parts.  Maybe it’s my worn out, misfitting identity that needs adjusting. I’ve moved forward, learned lessons and felt significant growth, but I haven’t redefined myself. I haven’t considered how all of this will inevitably change my identity.

Who am I anyway?

I am what I do.

I am who I love.

I am what I think.

I’ve slowly changed a lot about what I do and how I spend my time so maybe I’m growing out of my identity and should be shopping for a shiny new one. If I redefine who I am, some of these changes and all of this hard work may settle better into place. If conquering an identity crisis is difficult for you, remember that you are possibly doing work that involves resolving deep prior issues of trust, confidence and self-sufficiency. Go easy on yourself and be kind during this consuming process.

For some, the idea of having an identity crisis will denote negativity simply because it’s called an identity CRISIS.  However, I think the quest to uncover who you truly are in an effort to align your body, mind and spirit is a noble task and should be commended.

Midlife Miracle

youarehereAfter sprinting forward out of my teen years, dancing through my twenties and coasting into responsibility in my thirties, I’ve hit the speed bump known as midlife. I’m 40. So, I decided to slow to a stop and take a thoughtful look behind me to see what I’ve done so far.

I’ve been an honor student, competitive figure skater, off-off broadway actress, sign language interpreter, college professor and wellness coach among other things. I’ve had a lot of fun and met some amazing people along my journey. I imagine it’s not so uncommon to have a few thoughts about “life so far” and what is to come when folks hit 40. I’m allowing myself to acknowledge that it’s a big deal simply because it feels that way to me.

When I hit 30, I had no idea who I would marry, how many children I would have or where I would end up living. But at 40, I know the answers to most of my unanswered questions. At times it feels like life is now about managing and maintaining the life I’ve built and the choices I’ve made. But I don’t want this life adventure to feel stagnant. I have so much more to do. Who knows what I will know at 50 that I hadn’t realized at 40?! I have an obligation to this life to keep growing, seeking and creating adventurous change!

During my look back I realized how much I have been able to accomplish so far and I see how much more is possible! The miracle about reaching midlife is that you are armed with plenty of life knowledge and wisdom that you didn’t have when you launched into your independence. And, you still have so much time left to enjoy it.

Midlife means power. Midlife means dynamic capability to take control of choices and live a life that serves us. Many of us take the helm of our families at this stage and become responsible for raising the next generation while at the same time helping our parents transition into the next phase of their existence. Sandwiched between the young and the old we learn how strong we have become and how capable we are. Embrace your strength and let it shine from inside of you. The more people depend on you the more they believe you can handle. Show kindness to yourself and then to those who look to you for courage and fortitude. We are the midlife soldiers, we are the miracles for so many people in our lives. Wear it as a badge of honor and serve those who need us with love and respect. But also learn how to look deep inside and serve yourself with just as much loving devotion.

After my long look behind, I’m ready to turn back around and see what is to come. Instead of a midlife crisis, I am having a midlife miracle. I’m moving forward giving and receiving unbridled, rampant, radical positive energy!

“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives” – Alan Sachs

This beautiful life won’t last forever, but that’s what nature intends. We live, we learn, we love. We laugh, grow and play. Your responsibility in this life is to make it count. Life itself is a steady natural awakening. The meaning of life is to live! 

 

photo credit to pippalou on morgue file.com

 

The Awakening

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About 2 years ago I felt a spiritual awakening begin to happen within myself.  The process has led to many changes in my life including a change in career and a complete shift in my physical body.  At times I’ve been surprised by what I’ve discovered and other times even delighted at what I’ve been able to learn from all of this.  When you open your heart and begin to pay attention to your intuition, beautiful things can be brought into your life.  But it doesn’t always come easy and there are a few lessons to be learned along the way.  “If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are … a different game you should play.” -Yoda

During a time of transition such as this, you may be stopped dead in your tracks by some unforeseen circumstances and realize that you have to stop fighting so hard against all that is coming at you.  You learn that there is nothing to gain when you blame others for the things that have happened to you and that complaining about frivolous things does more to push people away than to bring them in.  You learn to shed the beliefs that you’ve outgrown and realize that people don’t always do what they say or say what they mean.  You realize that integrity, honesty and bravery are worth the effort and being the better person really does mean something.  It’s a time to assess and redefine in order to discover the difference between what you want and what you need.  If you do all of this from a place of truth, then a rising sense of self-confidence is born and you learn to become more self-reliant and feel more secure in your decisions, possibly seek less counsel from others.  In turn, others may start to seek more counsel from you.

Writing has been my companion on this journey, and I can now look back through the phases of my transformation marker by marker.  When I feel that I’ve hit a new marker I tend to go back and not only read through what I have written, but try and go deeper into the thoughts that were beginning to manifest during that leg of the journey.  If I had not documented this whole journey, my mind would have jumbled the details into a mess just as it has some of the other phases of my life that I chose not to archive.  When you script your testimony you create a memoir for the ages that may have otherwise never been shared.  These memoirs can be kept for yourself or shared someday with your loved ones, that is up to you.  But, writing things down in the moment and keeping a running dialogue with yourself can be extremely soothing and even healing should you need it.  It’s amazing how often I’ve needed my own hand to hold over the last few years.

Every awakening comes in phases.  Some happen suddenly and come to an abrupt end and some last for months or even years coming in waves and you risk being swept up by the current at any time during this often unsettling time.  However, the better the foundation you create for yourself, the more likely you will be to withstand the vulnerability of it all.  Ride the wave the right way and you deepen the learning in a way that can only happen during such an unpredictable time.  It is during these times that going back and reading what you have written during less grounded phases will be a well earned reward.

And sometimes, during these times, the most amazing things can happen.  Suddenly things that have been buried deep or long abandoned can find beautiful renewed meaning.  This journey, after all, is about getting back in touch with who we really are and what we really need to truly be our happiest selves.  The one person who knows the answers to all the questions that you’ve been out there seeking is you.  “Already know you that which you need.” -Yoda

Photo courtesy of my friend Devon Delricco and his fishing boat

 

myhappypromise

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