I really love my life! It wasn't always that way. It took a lot of hard work, important lessons and many shifts in perception to get to this place. I've learned to step into myself and who I truly am, and I've learned to get out of my own way.
Something else I learned along the way is that all human beings have a single life purpose in common. That purpose is to be happy. For a big part of my life, I spent so much time struggling, trying to figure out how to feel happier, to get to a happier place, or to get my hands around the next thing or achievement that would "make me happy." It never seemed to work. I know now that what I didn't do was just allow myself to simply be happy right then and there.
The truth is that authentic happiness and inner-peace lies in the present moment, right now, within us, waiting and longing to be embraced. Once I finally understood this idea, my life changed profoundly.
Along my own journey to be happy, I discovered a number of ideas and tools that work extremely well to assist in embracing the joy that is always available in each moment. There are three in particular that I've found to be fantastically helpful.
First, view happiness as an activity. Not just as a feeling, but also as something we take active part in doing and creating. Aristotle said, "Happiness is a state of activity." This notion entirely changed my perception. When we're in the midst of actively doing something we enjoy, being of service to others, or taking part in something healthful like exercise, meditation, or munching down a big salad, we feel happy and empowered. This is doing happiness. It's all about choosing how we create and live each moment.
Second, re-think mornings. Our thoughts have a deep impact on our world. I remember a time in my life when I was waking up each day in a place of complete lack, swimming in negative, limiting thoughts that left me forcing myself to get out of bed with a heavy heart on a regular basis. Skipping breakfast, loading up on caffeine, and rushing to get of out the door on time didn't help. I was carrying that nasty energy with me into the day ahead.
Once I realized that the way I was starting my day was creating the path for the rest of it, I understood how extremely important it is to make mornings as positive as possible. I've now changed my thoughts in the mornings to focus on the positive, and I've changed my routine to include plenty of time, a decent breakfast, and reading uplifting posts from my favorite blogs. It's worked wonders. My days, and my life, have radically improved.
Finally, open yourself to recognize and receive the limitless joy, comfort, and wonder that is all around at every moment in the little things. This is excellent everyday practice, but it's especially helpful during challenging times. It's so easy to get so caught up in focusing on the big stuff in life that we miss the bliss that can be found in all the amazing, beautiful small things, which actually aren't small at all.
The orchid plant in my office is a great example. Sometimes when I'm feeling a bit stressed, I focus on the remarkable intricacy and beauty of this living miracle, and it really puts things in perspective. I also have a super cute glass flying pig on my desk to remind me to say "no" when I need to. It makes me smile every time I look at it, and serves as a great reminder to be true to myself. That little winged pig has a big impact.
Changing the way we perceive happiness can completely transform the way we experience it, as well as greatly increase its presence. I believe the same applies to balance, love, and passion. It's all about choice, thoughts, and taking an active role in doing, creating, recognizing, and embracing. Your happiest place is right here, right now. In this moment. Live it. Rock it. Make it beautiful.