Pursuit of Happiness

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“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”

~ Budda


For most of us we are on a pursuit of happiness—however you may define happiness (which can take many different forms and morph over the seasons of our lives).  The founders of the United States understood the pursuit of happiness to be a fundamental right. But just because we have that freedom for that pursuit, does not mean we are always good at it. For the most part, we are passionate about happiness and some of us will go though great lengths to get it, yet the pursuit of happiness can remain elusive.

It is difficult for most people to answer yes to the question “are you happy?” One reason may be that they do not know what their values are or what they value—often because of distraction and imposed expectations (your own or others). It is easy to lose sight of what matters most in the pressures and routines of daily life. Losing focus happens.

It is worth contemplating how much of your time and energy everyday is focused on what you value most. When things are not going the way you want them to, how quickly do you return your attention to the quality of life you want to create and have?

There are many reasons why we lose focus in our pursuit of happiness. This list can be quite extensive. But overall there are a few that rise to the top and are common to most of us.

  • Money: We often confuse wants and needs and spend more than we have, putting ourselves into a cycle of debt and constant worry about finances.
  • Relationships: The company we keep can affect our behaviors for better or worse and sometimes we are in relationships that do not match our values or beliefs or are just not healthy for us. Sun rising bridge
  • Pride: We get caught up in worrying about what people think about us. It is hard to sustain an image that is different from reality.
  • Power: We want to be in control or have what we think is an “important” or influential position.
  • Entitlement: When we think we earned something and that something is “owed” to us, we often end up not making the best decisions, being angry or envious.

All these result in distraction and before we know it habits or behavior and thinking are formed and become the why we live and function—therefore impeding our own pursuit of happiness.

As your fundamental (and Universal) right to happiness, you have the power and the wisdom to break the cycle. The first step is to be completely honest with yourself. Bring your fears and your truth to the surface, face them head on and this will reveal the areas of your life for change. This will help you understand what you value most.  To help you take action, here are a few steps.

  • Contemplate and write down when you have lost your focus.
  • From the list, what is one area or a common theme that rises to the top with which you struggle the most?
  • Think about why and set an intention to make change.
  • Work consciously a little bit everyday to put the intention into thoughts, words and actions. Over the course of time the change you seek will happen and become your new norm.

The quality of your life is for you to define, create and live. Take a step back and ask yourself are you happy and if you hesitate take time to think about why and empower yourself to make a change.

The Haters

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I recently came across a quote by social media phenomena Arial Marlin “Never listen to the haters. Work hard and do what you love.”  I think of the “haters” as the critics and the naysayers. “Haters” are those who try to bring you down and try to expose your flaws in order to make themselves feel better.

The haters come in many forms. Some are direct where they tell us or others what is “wrong” with us. Some are manipulative using “constructive criticism” or some other BS politically correct language as a means to prevent us from moving forward or upward, to cause self doubt or fear. Some are passive aggressive using back-handed compliments. Regardless of their form or the context or set of circumstances, the haters try to bring you down in their misguided attempts to make themselves feel superior or one-up you.

Let’s be honest—we usually find ourselves listening to the haters. Maybe it’s because when someone verbalizes a flaw we believe we have in ourselves or expose insecurities that we carry with us everyday, we cannot but help listen to them?  But this is not a reason to listen to or be impacted by the haters. If you are upset by what someone has said, if it stirs up some emotion and it stays with you, you do need to contemplate why, and once you understand the why, move on. Recognize the haters for what they are—insecure, jealous, unhappy—all of which are low vibrating emotions.  rolling mist mountain top

The “work hard” part of the quote is interpreted as work hard for your dream. Don’t let others tell you that you can’t. Don’t let yourself tell you that you can’t or list all the reasons why not. Your dreams are yours with all the energy and enthusiasm that goes along with them. But sometimes the more energy and enthusiasm you have the more some people want to bring you down.

Remember the people that think keeping someone down are functioning under a misguided mindset that this will make them feel better about their own lives. Once you notice the behavior, you can turn down their volume. As long as the volume of your own mind is high, their words, opinions and actions will just be background noise.

“Do what you love” can be a complicated thing since most of us grew up thinking that work or doing and fun were opposites. Life had two states. People making you do things (work) and the other time being able to do what you want (play), and the latter seemed less frequent. Also, many of us get wrapped up searching for the “what we love” and confuse it with what we are passionate about.

Doing what you love can take many forms and it changes over your life.  And it does not have to be one thing. It is hard to comprehend that what we love can be multi-faceted and be many things. We put finding what we love into an endless journey and over-think it. Like many things in life, the “what you love” isn’t somewhere else, hiding where you need to find it.

Quite frankly, the answer is inside of you. It just requires some introspection, listening to what makes you feel good about yourself, what makes you feel in the flow, content or at peace. And it does not have to be some major influential or public-facing thing. It can be simple and quiet—and it is yours. So in closing do not listen to the haters. Work toward your dreams and do the many things that you love.

When in Doubt

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When one door is closed, don’t you know other is open?” – Bob Marley, Coming In From The Cold


Something that seems to effect most people, even those of us that consider ourselves positive people and that strive to think positively as much as possible is doubt. It seems to creep in on us most in times of stress, or when things are just not going right. This can have a ripple effect and affect our decision making and mood for the rest of the day, if not more even.

There can be many causes for doubt to enter our thinking, such as something not going your way, an expectation of something that does not come to pass, your body seemingly betraying you (getting sick for example), and there are of course others. Doubt can lead not only to further doubt that can pile up and weigh you down, but to even more ominouse things such as beating yourself up and depression if we let it take hold and take over.

One of the first things, that may seem counter-intuitive almost to combat doubt, is getting out of our own way. What I mean by this is first off remembering that you are human and this stuff can happen even to the best of us. Sometimes one of the most effective things we can do is to just lean back and not do anything in particular but observing what is happening.

From here, our higher Self can take over which is not caught up in emotion and we can see things more clearly.  Also we expend no energy doing this, so it is quite effortless and efficient. Doubt in a lot of cases, can be a reflection of what we think others may be thinking of us, or what we think the world is reflecting back on us. We may even start blaming things outside of our own power for our current doubtful situation. This is easy to do also, but counter-productive! water fall into pond

But if you can be aware of this, you can see the negativity you may be directing towards others or the outside world. The more you do this, the easier it is to be doubtful about yourself. Accepting responsibility that you are the only one who can make that change back to a healther mindset will come naturally if you can get out of your own way and see that you are not only the cause but also the solution.

You have to stick with yourself and believe in yourself, this is the only way. No matter how bad something may seem, if you can pull back a bit and take a deep breath, you’ll realize it’s most likely not the end of the world and there is a solution within although it may not be visible at the moment. Sometimes the answer may be not doing something as opposed to doing something. Be open to changing your way of thinking and even how you approach your lifestyle.

Talking to a friend can help as well, even if the conversation is not about the subject at hand weighing on your mind. Sometimes just stepping away from the matter mentally and discussing other totally unrelated things can open up new doorways to seeing things differently even if your friend doesn’t know it. You may also not notice it at first either… the universe works in strange ways like this sometimes.

Taking in to account also the good things you have in your life that you can be grateful for is also a powerful tool to not only help turn the tide on doubt, but will make you feel better and help refocus your energy and heal your mind/body. It may not seem easy at first, especially when in the midst of having doubt, but this is important and more powerful than you think because it will take you out of the vicious cycle that doubt can be.

Also, writing down your thoughts, especially the self-talk in how you talk to yourself in times of doubt can be eye-opening and powerful. Then Re-writing what you might be saying that is putting you in doubt in to a positive light of what great things you would rather see manifest in your life is the next thing you can do.

Undertand that your life, thoughts and mind-set ebbs and flows naturally just like the cycles of nature and doubt can be used as an opportunity for you to see things from a greater perspective in the grand scheme of things.

When You Stop . . .

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“ . . .  live everything  . . .  Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke


We often address change and letting go in this blog. We have shared insights about making space in our lives—by conscious choice or not—and how to navigate periods of unknowing through reflection and coming to terms with who we are, where we are and why.

We all have seasons in our lives where what we are experiencing does not seem to make sense in the context of what preceded it and where we feel disconnected. In these periods of spaciousness it is hard to discern if we are in the process of letting go, stagnated or simply in a time in our lives of not knowing and where we need to experience the discomfort and mystery of these times—and, yes, the power of these times as they are rich and foster growth.

However, in this post I would like to talk about letting go and the periods of spaciousness from the perspective of the discomfort some experience when they no longer feel a need to or to use their usual or routine steps in their decision making, creative and overall thinking or actions. Most of us have experienced this at some level and time in our lives.

For example, someone might have been the great list maker, diligently writing down all the “to-do’s” and checking them off in sequence—but may find themselves not wanting to make the lists anymore and not making the lists anymore. Someone might have had to go through a detailed and time-consuming process of writing long-hand or typing detailed outlines and notes for a paper or presentation—but may find themselves frustrated by that process and feel de-energized by having to take those steps. man in forest mist

It really is a state or phase of personal evolution, but when in this state some feel as if they are distracted, not remembering things, or that if they do not lean on these once usual steps the outcome will not be good or that something will go wrong. They fall into judging themselves and leap to fear-based state that something is not right.

It is hard to let go of deeply instilled and some would say habit-like processes we develop over time, especially when you are in a place (e.g., work, home, school or other social setting) that expects these types of processes to be used and demonstrated.  It is difficult to trust yourself that you do not have to put yourself through the rigor and time-consuming tactical steps without some unfortunate outcome. It is hard to understand why you are feeling this way.

Look at it this way. You are growing and evolving and as you evolve you are more in-tune with the outcome, the answer or what should be done, and you no longer need to do what you once did. You are reaching a new level in your ascension where you are tapping into Universal knowledge and where your instincts will guide you.

Over the course of your life you have been cataloging an enormous amount of information. You have been taught and have developed routines, habits and processes for how you do things so much so that when you start to shed them that it feels uncomfortable and uneasy, and you may even feel that you are losing your edge. You may feel that you are losing the time-honored characteristic that seemed to be valued by others and even yourself.

The truth is you no longer need the long processes—shortcuts have been formed, deep knowledge deposited and now clear paths for access put in place. It is OK to let go of how and why you have done things. If you are increasingly experiencing this uneasiness but deep-down you know that not having to put yourself through those ingrained processes is liberating, you are on your intended path. Embrace it.