Excerpt from Exhilarated Life – Discovering Inner Happiness
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I really didn’t know where I was going until I got here.
Oh, I had vague dreams and desires, but most of them were an absence of
something rather than the presence of something: The absence of fear and anxiety
rather than the embodiment of calm and joy. I grappled with demons
and surmounted challenges. I set goals and attained some of them, and
failed to reach others.
Looking for deeper meaning and personal purpose, I began to scale
the spiritual mountain to plant my own flag of bliss, hoping to stay
there above my worries and sorrows and take in the unimpeded view
of a beautiful world. But that didn’t happen. Or, at least, not the way
But what did happen is infinitely more wonderful and sustaining
than exiting the world as it is and joining the few on a cool mountain
summit. I got more deeply into Life. Into my own human being-ness—
all of it. And now my view is panoramic—literally, from a hillside
overlooking the Aegean Sea. I am still full of wonder that I got here.
Not to this island in Greece, but to the kind of life that is ever unfolding
in wondrous ways. Whether it is to find the best unadulterated organic
honey right here in our own village or to sign-up for an online course
at Princeton University, start a new business, or write my books, the
“I” of my fullest being is central to every adventure.
If I didn’t actively interact with individuals of all ages both personally
and in business, I might be tempted to think that I am here because
I am at a certain phase in life. But I know that is not true. It is not about
phases of maturity but phases of personal development. The desire
for self-actualization that frees the soul to continually create; to know
clearly that your purpose in life is to be exactly who you are, and to
vibrantly interact with Life in all its dynamic is the sustaining force of
My sons know it and are living it in their early twenties finding their
true selves through music. My professional mentors know it and are
bringing new values to global businesses in their thirties and forties. My
colleagues know it and are at various stages of burgeoning and ebbing
careers in their fifties, sixties and seventies. My friends know it and
live creating every day anew enjoying a simple life, rich in friendship,
creative challenges and a sense of fun.
I am happy to say that my friends include every age. In this heightened
state of awareness, we naturally gravitate to those with like values. Thanks
to the Internet, our communities are global and based on more authentic
Happiness is ageless.
But there are so many people who do not get it. So many who live
unsatisfied lives, or lives of quiet desperation. Many who deeply wish
change and greater meaning in their lives but don’t know how to begin.
From the outside they may appear accomplished, but within, the soul
is pinched or withering. How do I know this? I was one of them. It isn’t
by choice that we merely cope. Sometimes we don’t know there is a
choice. And more often than not, in the worldwide din of bigger better
best, we can’t sort the lies from the truths so don’t even begin. What
guru, what sign, what manifesto, what bestseller, what practice is the
answer? The answer is none of these.
The answer is in your own heart.
Discovering this is the key to the freedom, clarity and vitality that
results in an exhilarated life. I was a seeker for decades until the
dawning realization, as I looked out over the Aegean Sea from our
little hillside house, that I had become a finder. And in the words of
Abraham Maslow, I had shifted from becoming to being. I discovered that the bliss I sought was not on a mountaintop but deep within my
The troubles we carry are just that—the troubles we carry. When
we choose to just put them down, we gain the freedom to face with
courage and energy all that unfolds on our path through life. The way
is simple but it is not easy. Much has to be broken and discarded—but
only that which is not you or that which is limiting your happiness.
And like the oak in the acorn, our fullest reaching potential is within
us silently awaiting the cracking open, the sun and rain and soil to
flourish. Our highest Self will flourish if we let it. And when we let it,
we are truly happy and our life exhilarated.
How to Use the Book:
There is no time or space in the evolution of the soul. Like the sea
that can be rough and stormy or placid, life beneath the surface is rich
and abundant with activity and life. This is the domain of the soul. It
speaks to you in feelings that ebb and flow. It follows the contours of
your body and mind and absorbs all your living experience. It knows
all that you are—the essence of all you have within to become—and
it knows all that is clutched within you that you are not. These are
remnants of an experience you once had that left a pebble of belief
that disturbs your inner happiness, overrides your innate wisdom,
and dams the flow to your life purpose: To be exactly who you are,
fully expressed. I have continued to evolve, as we are all vibrant works
in process. Life continues to be richer and freer as I shed obstructive
patterns. Challenges—inevitable in this world—arise but solutions
become more objective and enduring and welcome guidance toward
my ultimate goal of fully realized self.
For this reason, I ask you to read these brief stories not as mine, but as
yours. While some have dates, they are not time sensitive. Life offered
me ways of unpacking the spiritual truths of both modern and ancient
wisdom. They are timeless metaphors and will speak to you at a deeper
level. If one or many have a message for you, I ask you to just stay with
the feelings that arise and let the wisdom within you surface. It will.
If it’s an uncomfortable feeling, just acknowledge it as such. It is not you,
but one of those pebbles of belief that has lodged in your soul. It needs
only attention—not analysis or judgment—to dissolve. Culturally, we
are trained to identify with the negatives in our life. We attach to the
pebbles and forget the far-reaching potential of our creative self. We try
to unravel “negative” experiences, further identifying with what we are
not. Read these stories with the trust in all you may be.
The soul has its own language and its own pace. Allow that. Like the
sea that reaches every shore, our souls meet and merge when we seek
the deepest unity of life itself. I am here with you as you read my
words; the words that I hope will set you free to discover your inner
happiness, innate wisdom, and immanent life purpose.
If you enjoyed this introduction, please follow me as I share Exhilarated Life – Discovering Inner Happiness in chapters, weekly, here on Thrive Global – or you can begin your own journey right away.