Taking charge of your own happiness

By Jahoo Clouseau

The most empowering and liberating thing is this:  You are responsible for your own happiness. And, most crucially, you are worthy of it. You are worthy! You are the creator of your own happiness, where the only limit to it is the scale and scope of your vision. How do you take charge of your own happiness? Here is the continuation of my previous blog post, How to be happier in the New Year.

Take responsibility

When you make the conscious decision to take charge of your own happiness, you must also take responsibility for the story of your life. You are the writer of the movie which is your life.  Where is the movie going?

Reflect on this: What is your personal story? It’s that thing you keep you repeating in your head. It’s the story you tell the world (This is my life). Is it a story of pain, disappointment, injustice, loss and tragedy? Or is it a story of grace, awe, wonder, trust and triumph? It is not a toss-up. It is always a mixture of everything. The question is what you focus on.

The reality is we have all been dealt with our share of sadness and disappointment. There will always be things in life that are unfair and beyond explanation. Everyone is entitled to their moments of sadness and grief. But you are also entitled to heal. You are entitled to receive support, to bounce back, to regain your footing, and to thrive and flourish once again.

Have you been stuck in the victim role for far too long (It’s just the way it is. There’s nothing I can do to change things. I’m powerless in this situation.) Or have you been playing and replaying sad events in your life from 5, 10, 20 or more years ago? Do you continue to blame the past, or people from the past, for what is happening today? Are you resigned that these are the cards you are dealt with? Why?

These are questions worth asking and reflecting upon. Past is past. Whether or not you want the past to have control over your life today, that is your choice. If you choose to be happy now, you are always empowered to create a new reality.  Do not yield that power to the past, to people or to events.  You and you alone have the power to rewrite your story.

It is time for you to start being the hero of your life.

Question rules

When I say “rules”, I mean every belief, tradition, custom, norm, value, collective goal, aspiration that we have lived with all our lives.  These are the things we have come to accept as normal, valid or truthful without question.

Questioning rules is important because to take charge of your own happiness means to think independently. It requires formulating your own opinions. It requires coming face to face with your highest truth.  What do I know for sure? What do I know is true? Is this necessary or important? Am I comfortable with this? Is this who I am? Do I believe this? Do I agree with this? What do I truly want?

Think about it. We have been living with rules all our life since we were born. Blue is for boys. Pink is for girls. Why? Just because.

Some rules are necessary. Don’t play with the knife, don’t play with matches, look both ways before crossing the street. These rules were for our safety. They are worth following.

But not all rules are worth following. What rules have we been following all throughout our lives, just because? Rules made by our parents, family, school, teachers, schoolmates, church, spiritual or religious leaders, community, friends, peers, institutions of higher learning, workplace, organizations, bosses, colleagues, society, country, mass media, social media, etc.

Let’s push the case against bad rules to an extreme. There are people throughout history who have created some very bad rules. And following them have led to some of the worst tragedies of humankind like genocide or world wars.

There is a cost to pay for group thinking.  There is a cost to pay when people do not question things that they do not believe in or things that make them uncomfortable, when people do not listen to their inner voice of truth. Often the cost is one’s true joy, peace and happiness.

Take a look at the picture of your life right now. Where are you at this point? What rules have you have been following that have brought you all the way here? Does it all still ring true or not?

If there are things that no longer ring true for you, perhaps it is time to make changes. How big or small the changes you make is entirely your own decision. How sweeping or subtle you want to transform your life is entirely yours to make. Big or small, sweeping or subtle, honor it.

You will know the right moment to recreate life on your own terms.

Connect with the highest source

There can be no lasting happiness in life without acknowledging life’s awe, mysteries and wonders. As Albert Einstein once said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead.”

Behind every wonder in the universe is the great and powerful energy that created it, from the smallest particles of nature to complex human beings to vast galaxies. There is but one and the same energy that connects you and me to all of creation.

There is a beautiful passage written by author and speaker, the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, in his book I Can See Clearly Now: “I cannot conceive of a watch without a watchmaker, so it is impossible for me to believe that this universe exists without an intelligence that is the matrix of all matter – a creator.”

I love spring. I love it when people emerge from the cocoon of their homes, and gather in parks and public spaces to marvel at the blooming flowers. Flowers! Tiny, insignificant little things, but so beautiful and effortless. They do not have to try so hard, they do not try at all! And yet they are so adored and admired, so much so that they attract crowds and bring joy to people.

I talk about flowers because that silent adoration that passes from human to nature is an acknowledgement of a divine hand in creation.  It is a sense of reverence that the same spirit, energy, creator or God that created the flower is the same one that created you and me.

Connection with highest source is a key ingredient to happiness. It reminds us that we are never in isolation or separation. We are connected not just to God, but to the essence of abundance, grace, love, prosperity, goodness, creativity, and all the good things that the highest source stands for. It brings the contents of this world into proper perspective, guiding us to infinite possibilities, and guiding us with wisdom as to what is important, and what is not.

Happiness is acknowledging the divine within, and that after all this time, we have been worthy from the start.

 

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(Photo by Jahoo Clouseau)


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Home

By Paul Henson

Monterey Bay, California. (Photo by Paul Henson 2015)

On land, or on the sea? On the hills, or in the valleys? Where is home? (Monterey Bay, California. Photo by Paul Henson 2015)

I used to think home was one place.  Familiar.  Comforting.  Safe.  Harking back to childhood memories. Attached to specific faces, people – family.

I was wrong.

It turns out home is many different places.  It’s not always familiar.  It can take us out of our comfort zones.  Unsettling.  It can be strange, foreign, new, terrifying.  Still, it can be home.

Have you ever felt the need to break free?  Moments you simply felt stunted, caged that you just wanted to create for yourself a new home?

Be careful what you wish for.  Life is listening.

A window opens.  Sometimes, a door.  Slowly at first.  Filtering in a little bit of light, a gentle breeze, through the cracks.  Enticing.  Newness beckons.  Fresh, exhilarating, liberating.

A window opens.  Sometimes, a door.

And sometimes – I suspect, oftentimes — the whole house comes crashing down.  Torn apart.  Blown away.

A flood of emotions:  Anger, disbelief, grief, sadness, heartache, pain.  More anger.  A little regret.  A little self-hate.

A deluge of questions:  What just happened?  Did I do something wrong?  What was all this for?

WHY?

You stumble through the debris.  Lost, dazed, confused and frightened.  Sometimes you try, but are just too paralyzed by fear.

Grand Canyon, Arizona. (Photo by Paul Henson 2015)

Finding home even on the precipice. (Grand Canyon, Arizona. Photo by Paul Henson 2015)

Finding your way

But help comes when you need it most.

A word.  A hand.  A shared tear.  They don’t take away the pain completely.  But sharing it makes the load just a bit easier to bear.

And then amidst all that is frightening, unfamiliar, uncomfortable and painful – slowly – you discover that home is many different places.

Home is in the smile, the outstretched hand, of a new friend.  The color of his or her eyes may be different but the tenderness is something you have felt before.

Home is in a song, a dance.  The words, the steps, are new but the pull on your heartstrings (or hamstrings) transport you back to fond memories.

Home is in a meal.  The flavors may be all new but the satisfaction and contentment in your heart and your belly are the same.

Home is…

Sometimes, you retrace your steps to your old home.  You see the old places, old people.  Sometimes, the familiar brings you comfort.  At other times it brings you discomfort.  Either you’ve changed, and they haven’t.  Or have they changed, and you’ve stayed the same?  It doesn’t matter.  There’s no right or wrong.

You look back.  You look forward.  You’re not quite sure what is ahead.  But you feel the ground beneath you is solid and safe.  You feel a quiet sense of accomplishment.  You exhale.  Your breath carried by the mist, the wind, into the sky, the sunlight.

Home is many different places.  Sometimes – oftentimes, I suspect — the old one has to come crashing down, get torn apart, get blown away.  Don’t worry.  That home is not gone entirely.  You just have to trust that you’re making way for something new.

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Follow the author on Twitter @Paulhenson or Instagram @heaveninawildflower.