7 Ways to Completely Sabotage Your Happiness

happiness

“Find happiness within yourself. Then share yourself with others.”

Finding happiness should come with the least amount of effort, and with the ease of achieving it on a daily basis. Unfortunately when we take life too seriously we forget to enjoy the life we’re free to live, therefore not experiencing pure happiness.

What I’ve come to realize in my ongoing journey is that happiness can occur at any given moment, as long as you know it is within your moment.

Here are some of the debilitating habits that have greatly hindered my happiness, but I’ve learned to transform into life-changing lessons.

Worry. Worrying is a dangerous trait that can bring great misery to oneself and others. When one worries, there is no happiness in anticipating the future, and the mind is left with a cloud of mindless banter.

Blame. When you blame another for your unfortunate circumstance you are ultimately relinquishing your free will. By being accountable and accepting of what is, there is a release of inner turmoil many have experienced in this lifetime.

Live your life for others. There’s nothing more damaging to the Soul than to make decisions based on the opinions of others. While some of our minds have been conditioned to be respectful and generous toward others, it is by our own well-being that we are aware of our innate power to free ourselves of judgment.

Speak when angry. There is no peace when harsh words are shared with another. Anger is an emotion not to be dismissed, but to be dealt with in a matter that can be healed with love and understanding.

Dwell in the past. There is no way to move forward in one’s growth process when the past continues to appear. The past is non-existent and not of service to no one, and by being fully present one can give himself the best gift of all.

Ignore your inner voice. There is a reason to be confident with one’s intuition, and it is important to know that one’s Soul knows more than anyone else. Inner guidance is an exquisite gift and should never be ignored, especially when enduring unexpected challenges.

Look to others for happiness. It is much easier to rely on another’s happiness for validation when one cannot find peace within. Happiness with oneself is essential for it to be shared with anyone else.

What have you found that keeps people from true happiness? Please share your comments below.

Some Misconceptions About Detachment

letting go

While researching the concepts of detachment there seem to be various opinions on the subject. In traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism attachment is the inability to embrace detachment and seen as the main obstacle to a fulfilled life. Many other traditions identify the lack of detachment with continuous worry manifested by personal ambitions.

Throughout my adulthood I’ve attempted to practice detachment—giving away half of my wardrobe, letting go of wanting more power, more money…more. But that was just the beginning.

After the September 11th attacks I felt as if my life had been ripped of its existence. My co-workers, whom I was blessed to call my friends were tragically taken from their loved ones. My office on the 95th of floor of Tower 2, where I’d spend the majority of time had turned to dust. My itty-bitty New York City bubble, consisting of going out for cocktails with my girlfriends every Thursday, dining in the finest restaurants and shopping at the luxe shops suddenly seemed trivial. What was left if there was nothing tangible to hold on to?

Not too long after the tragedy I received an email from the company I worked for requesting that I make a list, comprising of any property I had lost in the collapse. It would later be determined if I would receive a monetary settlement from the loss.  I shuddered at the thought. What could I expect from this tragedy except healing from this tremendous loss? I immediately moved the email to the trash.

The next morning however, I retrieved the message and printed it. I stared at the piece of paper for over thirty minutes before I made my first entry.

I closed my eyes and envisioned the office I shared with three other co-workers. Each of us had our own closets, conveniently located behind our desks with additional drawers below. On rare occasions I’d bring an extra outfit to the office in case my work attire deemed too “stiff” for a night on the town. My most expensive and impractical belongings came to mind. “One leather coat… $1,500.00… One pair of shoes… $180.00″ As I continued to write a painful knot formed in my stomach. “This isn’t right,” I thought. Not only was there a leather coat and pair of shoes left behind. There were photos of co-workers, with negatives—hundreds of them neatly placed in an album at the bottom of my closet. Nothing had been salvaged.

I violently crumpled up the sheet of paper and threw it in the recycle bin to the right of my desk. I couldn’t bear to associate my personal loss with that of thousands who had passed.

Through the years I’ve realized that attachment isn’t only concentrated on the material items we long for every day, but the connection we have with those we know and love.

If we are truly present with every living being we are in contact with, there is no fear of detachment. We are whole; connected to who we choose to give our attention to and how we incorporate it into our lives.

Since we arrive in this time and space with absolutely nothing but ourselves, and ultimately leave this Earth with the same, what is it that keeps us wanting more?

Ali ibn abi Talib said, “Detachment is not that you should own nothing. But that nothing should own you.”

It’s the ego’s need for wanting more. The ego is not satisfied with the stability of our relationships or the fact that many of us don’t have the high-priced items seen in our everyday lives. It is up to us to hone in on our inner strength to be mindful of what we truly desire, and decide whether it is something to hold dear to us, or ultimately let go of.

The memories of my beloved friends are still fresh in my mind, and as my photo of the World Trade Center on September 7, 2001 and book will be at the 9/11 Memorial Museum on May 21 I’ll be reminded of what was, and what is right now.

Do you find yourself attached to material items or even personal connections? Please share your comments below.

photo credit: Beverly & Pack via photopin cc

The Five Biggest Lessons I’ve Learned About Suffering

Woman with umbrella

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it in full.” ~ Marcel Proust

In the last thirty years I’ve recalled the days and nights of suffering; the questionable thoughts and actions that helped shape the person I am today.

While awareness can achieved when one is mindful, it was through overcoming adversity that I was able to understand the core of my suffering. Instead of looking to continuously blame others for my pain, I dismissed this illusion of thought and was led to a pathway to freedom.

Here are the most important lessons I’ve learned about this human emotion. Some thoughts may not resonate with you, and thus appears the beauty of contrast. But I do hope this teeny list can help you understand more of how we can all overcome suffering, regardless of circumstance.

It’s temporary. During one of my last emotional breakdowns I became still and asked my Soul, “Why do I suffer? Will it always be like this?” As time passed, I came to realize that hardship and pain are unavoidable but temporary.

Twitter BirdWith true acceptance, all forms of suffering can end – here and now.

It’s optional.  Haruki Murakami said, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” When we live by our own free will and we have the ability to choose how we experience our emotions, it enables empathy for oneself.

It can return. When we choose to ignore the overwhelming emotions and attempt to make an escape from suffering, we are doomed to experience it once again. The pain can dissolve, but suffering can resurface if one cannot accept its presence.

It belongs in the past. When we suffer in the present moment we are affected by hurts of our past. If we can flow effortlessly through each experience, there is no room to let in suffering.

It aids with self-growth. Miraculously in my deepest sorrow I achieved the most clarity, for I knew there was no one else who could aid in my healing but my Self.

Of course, even to this day I still suffer when I choose not to be present with myself and others, but there certainly isn’t the need to have a lifelong bout with attaining happiness.

What’s the most important lesson you learned from your suffering?

 

photo credit: Loca Luna / Anna Gay via photopin cc

 

 

Can Chaos Lead to Mindfulness?

mindfulness

When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Worry, frustration, confusion, sleeplessness and fear—all components of the chaotic mind, can make just one simple goal difficult to achieve and hindering mindfulness.

Normally one can find difficulty in controlling the mind, mainly because it cannot be controlled.  Sometimes, one may feel that the mind is similar to a balloon; blown by the wind, taken to any direction and circumstance the wind takes it. When things work out in our favor, the mind is contented. But when we perceive things to be as wrong and not in our favor, instantly the mind’s ego grows disgusted with the outcome.

Because the mind and one’s emotions are connected, a disturbance will distract the harmony of the two. For instance, when one gets the result or the relationship that he or she wants, such as a partner, a job promotion or a new car, there is a very tight bond to that desire.

The wanting for these possessions and relationships are uncontrollable due to attachment, and the moment that one is separated from all these causes immeasurable pain. And all the negative emotions cause chaos.

In mindfulness, there is no attachment. When the mind is relaxed, there is an inner clarity which enables one to not control, but manage the mind’s thoughts despite the external situation.

Gradually there develops mental balance, which is a state of the mind that is and always will be present. A confused mind moves back and forth between despondency and excitement.

In mindfulness, one can live a life that is free of worries and anxiety and experience joy, gratitude and acceptance of All That Is. A chaotic mind however, is a distracted part of the ego that triggers only destructive behavior, therefore becoming a barrier to attaining inner peace.

Constant, uplifting affirmations influence the subconscious to create a situation favorable to you, without exception. With practice, words spoken with great trust, faith and absolute power will transform a life of chaos into a life of mindfulness.

Honor yourself and believe that with faith, mindfulness can be achieved in any state of Being.