In October, I traveled to Palm Springs for Wellspring, a special retreat and conference that’s part-Wanderlust Festival, part-idea incubator for solutions to bring wellness to ourselves, our communities, and our world. Over three days and dozens of yoga classes, boxing classes, breathing sessions, meditation classes, experiential workshops, yoga classes, and detox sessions, I met with and learned from extraordinary experts including the world-renowned spiritual teacher and writer Marianne Williamson. I sat down one afternoon to hear her four ingredients to a happy life:
1. Meditate daily.
“The world today is so hectic, but meditation allows us to cultivate the silence and serenity that bring our lives back into harmony. Just a few minutes a day can restore order to our lives, help us feel greater love, bring a sense of fulfillment to our work, and deliver positive energy and openness to everything we do. Meditation takes work and discipline, and you must commit to spending the time, but once you do, the benefits are exponential: every minute we spend practicing meditation makes us more attuned to our inner selves, and more capable of spiritual reflection and self-growth. There are many lifestyle decisions involved in living a more heart-centered life, and in today’s world, where there is so much going on all the time for most of us, meditation, as well as prayer, are so very important.”
2. Forgive everyone, or at least do your very best.
“When someone has betrayed you or hurt you, endeavor to forgive them and pray for them, not just once, but every day for thirty days. When I give people that advice, they often initially look at me with shock and ask, how I can I hold someone in my heart and in my thoughts when they have wronged me so terribly? Forgiveness is as powerful as it is difficult. At the end of the thirty days, you will have either fully forgiven that person or you will have reconciled yourself to the hurt and moved past it, and indeed, you will have become stronger for it. When we forgive, we let go of our attacking mind. If we are not forgiving, we are focusing on the guilt we assign to others. If we are focusing on that guilt, we ourselves will feel guiltier. The extent to which we focus on what others did to us, then to that extent we continue to bind ourselves to that state of victimhood.”
3. Take responsibility for your mistakes; seek to get it right in the places where you know you got it wrong before.
“It is very tempting to want to explain away every weakness and to say, I’m this way because of my mother or father, or because of what someone did to me, but it’s worth remembering that no matter where you got the issue, it’s yours now: yours to transform, or not. It is also very easy to confuse compassion with coddling, but when we don’t hold ourselves accountable and force ourselves to take responsibility when we get it wrong, we are simply coddling ourselves, and permitting ourselves to remains victims rather than victors. This is true of our friends and loved ones: taking responsibility is the only way to own our problems or mistakes, and to heal them. Take responsibility, make amends, ask forgiveness, and begin healing.”
4. Rise to the occasion in life, whatever it is. All of us have wounds, but that doesn’t mean you have to act from them.
“No matter what happens in your life today, rise to the occasion. The outcome will unfold according to who you choose to be within the experience. This is as true of a job interview or a phone call with a friend. In all situations, we are called to be present. Use each interaction to be the best, most powerful version of yourself. Be the most wonderful expression of you that you’re capable of. This step makes you a true conduit of God’s love.”
“A miracle worker is an artist of the soul. There is no higher art than living a beautiful life.”~Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love