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Finding Your Way to Happiness

From childhood, experience forms us. How do we keep the lesson and dump the fragments that silently sabotage our happiness?

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Photo Credit: Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash
Photo Credit: Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

Excerpt from Exhilarated Life: Discovering Inner Happiness

My Mother Didn’t Cry—She Wept

The muses, for me, are like children, predawn, on Christmas morning. They stand quietly near my bed, lift an eyelid and whisper, “Are you awake?”

I roll over and try to ignore the gentle prodding and then
there will be a voice in my mind. Some image—grouping of words—
an inspiration of something that might be shared.
I promise myself I
will remember it all in the morning. But no. It is now that the phrases
begin to tumble forth and, well, I might as well swing out of bed and
follow the little voice nudging me up the stairs. I can nap later.

So here I am in a predawn, hushed house. The fire is burning and
the Tiffany lamp casts a warm, colorful glow. Living with two young
musicians, it is not easy to find the house quiet until very late or, in this
case, very early. Even the dogs, Zoe, the Golden Retriever and Skye,
the Siberian Husky, are too deeply asleep to leave my room where “all
us girls” bunk down each night.

What has me awake? What is it I want to share with you? What is
so urgent?
Well, I want to tell you about happiness. How to coax it
into your life so it’s not just a once in a while (got the promotion—
won the lottery—just engaged) kind of thrill, but an abiding joyful
state of being. Once it underlies all the inevitable detritus—let’s call
it garbage—that we might be called to endure, we become like boats
buoyant on happiness, and more easily navigate this often tough and
heavy world.

If I want to talk about happiness, why do I begin with the title about
weeping?

Because Life is a walk we take alone and it can be sad. We
drop in at birth and ease out at death, and in between we à la main
left
and à la main right with any number of characters, lovers, cheats,
family, betrayers, gurus and frauds. Each one teaches us something
about ourselves and, dammit, the toughest teachers bring us our
brightest lessons—closer to happiness.

Some of these lessons we can experience on a higher level and see their importance, but many have swooped in and taken us at a vulnerable, unguarded moment. They have embedded themselves deeply in our soul, and our mind just doesn’t pick up on them. These experiences are barbed with sharp emotion—usually shame, vulnerability, or guilt—and because they don’t make themselves clear, they attract similar experiences. We are
left wondering why we keep picking the wrong kind of guy, people
cheat us, or we become ill.

My Life work—or vision—has been a force of nature beyond my
choice:
To stop the pervasive sadness that wove its way through the
family tapestry. How far back does it go? It doesn’t matter. I can
swing a cat (gently) and touch a batch in my immediate family who
suffer in a way that makes their lives go out of ease and balance.
Responses include illness, depression, self-destructive behavior, even
suicide. I include myself in that. Are we any different from every
family? Any individual? No. When we live in “dis”ease even joyful
events are only fleeting. We catch glimpses of a happiness we desire
but cannot sustain.

Global cataclysms, man-made or natural, send shock waves through
the world as we know it
, but they are not separate from us. They affect
us directly or peripherally, but they rise up from each one of us—from
our collective unhappiness and out-of-ease-ness.

Healing begins in our own hearts. Our own minds. Our own bodies.
Our souls. We can’t ask for or expect peace in the world when we can’t
claim it for ourselves. We can’t ask for or expect happiness for our
children if we do not model it ourselves. We can’t expect an earth in
balance if we cannot first heal ourselves.

My mother didn’t cry—she wept.
When I was little—nine or so—I
would climb into bed with her when my dad was on a business trip.
In the night, as I snuggled into her side, I would become aware of the
deep shudders that she tried to keep still and then I would feel the
wetness of her face as the tears cascaded endlessly, in silent heaving.
I know now some of her past and how it could cause this sadness. I
didn’t know her future then, but she would have more to weep for.

I too have wept in the night. Overcome by fears and worries—
“nameless dreads”, as a friend used to call these night thoughts. I have
invited the dreads into my waking life. They were real. Loss of income,
house, betrayals, death, suicide. Lotsa junk. Keeping my chin up, ever
plunging on, stepping over broken businesses, promises, lives. What
are ya gonna do? S**t happens.

Well, stop crying about it for one. And then start dumping out. I
like the image of defragging a computer. When I finally discovered
the “clean up the disc” button, a little box came up with stripes of all
colors. They represented whole files and “broken” files.

Whole files function and the fragmented files (red) are broken bits of files deleted, but not all gone. Broken files gum up the works. Slow things down and cause all sorts of problems—way out of my scope to describe or fix— except to defrag. We don’t even know they are in there yet they act
like sticks in our spokes. Things function after a fashion, but nothing
really works well and smoothly, and every once in a while—crash!

For me—as much as I am keen to be computer competent—noodling
“in there” is like doing brain surgery with salad forks.
It may not be
something you want to manage unsupervised, not at least, until you
become a little more familiar. Healing the soul is much like that.
Healing the soul is vitally important, as it is the seat of expressing all
our life force through body, mind, and spirit.

If you want health and happiness, vitality, courage and peace—begin
on the inside
. So many therapies are amazing facilitators for this task.
Bodywork by a conscious therapist becomes soul work. Simple gentle
touch by a caring person can pop open a soul like a ripe milkweed
pod. When someone puts their hands on your body, they plunge their
reach deep into your subtle energies. Even sex as an act of incredible intimacy is a blunt object (no pun intended) compared to the incisive effect of soul or energy therapy. It is very effective and very sensitive.

Many who suffer from the effects of a discordant soul may be reluctant
to “do the work”
because they fear reliving what has caused them
enormous pain in the first place. But unlike psychotherapy—although
that too has its place—there are many alternative therapies that are
more efficient and effective. Once limiting emotions and beliefs are
released, life events and circumstances almost immediately shift to a
more fulfilling, constructive and effortless synchronicity. Each time I
shed another layer, I see the result reflected in life experience and wish
I had let go of it sooner!

Enlightenment isn’t just for monks. It is for all of us who choose to
“lighten up.” Defrag, drop the load, clear the clutter of unpleasant,
unproductive memories and emotions. They just sabotage your
happiness. Take charge of your own happiness—it is your right! And
weep no more.

If you enjoyed this chapter, please follow me on Thrive Global as I share Exhilarated Life – Discovering Inner Happiness in chapters, weekly, here on Thrive Global – or you can begin your own journey right away.

Buy Exhilarated Life – Discovering Inner Happiness
on Amazon
now in paperback or on Kindle.

Feature Photo Credit: Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash


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