5 Ways to Feel Happier

February 22, 2024
Feeling more happy in your everyday life is closer than you think. The trick? It's less about what's OUT THERE and more about your inner game.

After a 362-day wait after the Tree Event, I’ve moved home! I couldn’t be more delighted. AND, I’ve investigated and learned so much over the past year. Out of the gate, I’ll report that my ongoing mindfulness practice continues to serve me and is foundational to everything else. You can learn more about that in THIS blog post.
Next up in Life Lessons is this:

 

You Ain’t Da Boss

Our lives rarely unfold in the manner that we wish. People don’t always act the way we want. In many small ways, and in big ways as well. Yet…

Each and every day, we want what we want, despite reality proving that things have their own plan well outside the world of “me.” Without realizing it, our insistence that we deserve to have things the way we want them becomes our modus operandi. Our belief system curves around this idea that the world around us—along with all the people in it—should manifest and act in alignment with our own likes and dislikes.

I know that sounds silly when put in writing, yet it’s how we think, most of the time. We argue with reality. And this, my fine-feathered friend, is an extremely difficult way to move through life. It’s exactly why we often feel like we’re struggling with life. Like life is stressful and hard. We only feel good when things are going our way. And THIS lends to us constantly trying to control everything that our lives touch.
E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

Which is a.) impossible and therefore b.) results in a lot of unhappiness.

My garden is dry, so I want it to rain. “Enough already with all this dry weather! It’s a pain to have to water my garden. Where’s the RAIN already?!”
…a week later…
I’m having an outdoor party, so I want it to be clear weather. “Stupid rain! I can’t believe it’s raining on my party. Where’s the SUN already?!”

Clearly, it’s not the weather that’s the problem. It’s the desire to always get what we want when we want it, and to then get peeved when that doesn’t happen. It’s our need for people to always act in a way that pleases us. It’s our insistence that our viewpoint is the correct one, and also insisting that folks who don’t think the way we think are “the problem.”

I imagine you can see that this desire to always get our way applies to…well…everything. It applies to very small things, like annoyance that the bird pooped on the newly-washed car…to medium things, like feeling self-righteous in a discussion…to large things, like our fury and self-pity from a terminal health diagnosis or a flood sweeping our home away.

As always, we can’t control what’s happening around us. (Heck, half the time we can’t control what’s spinning around, right in our own mind!) But we do have personal will, allowing us the opportunity to influence how we respond to what happens. How we use the massively influential tool of the mind.

We can soften our annoyance, our self-righteousness, our fury…and invite curiosity, opening our mind and our heart. We can actively participate in the reality of what’s going down, right now. Doing this, over-and-over-and-over during the Tree Event year has been a helpful practice. Not easy, but quite helpful. 

 

What If?

What if What Happens is actually okay?

In any moment, forces that have been at play for billions of years become an event, from the tiny to the huge. If you’re a person of faith, then mistakes aren’t possible. If you’re a subscriber to chaos theory, quantum or otherwise, then mistakes aren’t possible. If you’re an atheist or agnostic (7% of the world’s population), reality simply unfolds from random forces and acts and…who’s to say what is and isn’t a mistake? It’s just reality.

What if what manifests around us in any given moment is, actually…extraordinary?

What would happen, for us personally, if we made it a practice to honor—or at least respect—the flow of life, acknowledging that it very often won’t align with what our little-self desires in each little moment? What if we used our free will to participate in what’s unfolding, rather than fight against it?

I agree with the idea that we’re—quite literally—not the same person on both sides of a truly life-changing event. The Tree Event has shifted my inner workings; and in turn, how I relate to things, events and people. As I reflect back on the Tree Event year (which included some other significant-feeling challenges), I can see that increasingly softening into some key practices and musings made a difficult year feel more do-able. My mind was more calm, more of the time.

If I had to pick the top 5 musings from this time of my life, they would be:

  1. What we call “stress” is just life. Meet the gift of life openly. Learn how to intentionally  participate in what you can’t change.
  2. We can evolve our relationship with our mind and emotions. They become more often something we notice/watch, instead of us becoming them.
  3. Our everyday fears keep us small, rigid and stuck. Unless it’s a dragon in the cave, feel the fear and do it anyways.
  4. Whether or not you believe in Judgement Day, karma, or something else?…honesty, kindness and integrity MATTER. The ripple effects are profound. Don’t be afraid to go first, with no expectation of reciprocity.
  5. Who you ARE as you move through the world infects every single interaction, outcome, and the very manner in which life—and the people in it–meets you.

Honestly, it was hard to choose only five. It was a year rich in experience, discomfort and learning. How about you? Do you have Life Lessons to share? We’d love to hear from you, by writing in the comment section below. What have you learned from the richness and challenge of life on Planet Earth?

To your empowered well-being,
Laurie

2 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    Your comment – ‘feel the fear’ – really resonates with me – at least where I currently am my ‘journey’. I tend to be an overthinking (paralysis by analysis) and don’t participate as much as I want to. I’m going to remind myself it isn’t a dragon and just do it. 🙂

    Reply
    • Laurie

      Beautifully put, Jennifer! Analysis paralysis affects most of us, and you hit the nail on the head that underlying that stuck place is unnamed (and most often unwarranted) fear, with no dragons in sight. Bravo!

      Reply

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