I am a self-employed freelance writer and if you have ever worked for yourself (or worked at a demanding job), you can probably related to the sentiment that stress from work is one of the biggest factors that can cripple your mind and body.
I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life.
No, I haven’t won the lottery– haven’t even got a raise. No, haven’t been lounging in a seaside hammock on the coast of the South Pacific lately either.
So where’s my joy coming from? From being more and more alive each day.
Everyone reading these words is saying, “Wait a minute, last time I checked I was alive.” Yes, I know, but my question to you is: are you becoming more alive each day? This, I believe, is the key to living a happy life.
We’ve been deep-cleaning around the house lately: donating old clothes and getting rid of any extras that have been unused for sometime. In order to create ease with our daily routine, we’ve been simplifying our home and life.
My husband and I have a lot of random items from previous moves that we’ve been unable to shake – mainly sentiment that has spared numerous boxes of trinkets from our childhood or souvenirs from our travels.
But we honestly have no use for any of this stuff. They’re space-takers – they’re extras.
In an effort to simplify our life, we often turn to our material possessions: de-cluttering, donating, and organizing our space to create a sense of calm.
I have a confession to make. And that is…
I am the luckiest person in the Universe.
This is my little secret. It’s a secret because it sounds like magic fairy dust and flying unicorns, and generally makes me sound crazy.
When I moved into my first apartment in college, I remember telling my flat-mate Tanya I am the luckiest person in the world and she looked at me like I was a weirdo. Now, ten years later, if she hears me repeat this to someone new she will nod her head in agreement, while saying “Yup! I’ve seen it. It’s true.”
Somewhere in my teenage years, I had picked up this simple concept: that perhaps, if I viewed myself as a lucky person, good things would happen to me. In a way, it has become this self-fulfilling prophecy that feels incredibly calming. At the same time, it has brought a lot of good fortune into my life.
The last time I felt a true sense of regret I was careening off the side of the road into a 30-foot ditch. For a split second I thought I might die.
That day there was a downpour, the road was collecting water, and, while I was going the speed limit, it was too fast for the conditions. I wanted to get to the next business destination.
Suddenly I could feel the car hydroplaning, and I struggled to keep the car straight. I’m guessing I kept the car on the road for 50 feet or so, before it caught enough ground to veer to the right, over the edge of the embankment.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of life and the impermanent nature of it all. Observing how we do what we do, the struggles we put ourselves through, the drama, the pain and the suffering.
I was just getting on a flight when I opened that link on my phone, and by the time I had finished reading it, tears were streaming down. I spent the rest of that flight, and weekend reflecting on the meaning of life.
“What is the point of life, when we come to the end?” I wondered.
For the last two months, I’ve been working on a mini book project I’m tentatively calling Life on Purpose [Update: It’s called Discover You Now. Read about it here.]—my first of hopefully many more to come. It’s been such an interesting process of self-reflection and discipline, exploring the multifaceted manifestations of fear.
The hardest thing isn’t to come up with great ideas or create time to work on it. The hardest thing is the constant battle with this invisible, but powerful force that seems to work against me. You know, that same force that whispers in our ears with convincing arguments on why we should delay action and (forever) procrastinate.
I’m sure you’re familiar with its luring voice, convincing you to do something else, anything, except the projects that you need to be doing—usually the projects that mean the most to you and will result in profound positive change.
Today, I turn 31.
When I was little, I used to think people in their 30s were really old. Now that I’m in my 30s, that perspective has quickly shifted.
Standing where I am today, I still feel like a little kid, except I’m doing my best in playing the part of an adult–trying to fit in with other grown-ups, and subsequently hiding the little kid within.
Having been obsessed with the topic of happiness and personal development over the past seven years (holy crap!), I feel like I’m becoming more and more in touch with the little kid inside–honest, candid, and established in love.
It is in the innocent wonder and the in-this-moment presence of the child where lies the secret to happiness.
Here are 31 life lessons I’ve learned, standing here today as a (slightly wiser) 31-year-old.
Do you find that there is just not enough time to get everything done?
How many times a day do you usually use the word busy? I often catch myself busy working, cleaning dishes, cooking meals, doing laundry, catching up on the email, running errands and so on.
Our modern lifestyle creates time famine that we are forced to live with; there seems to be never enough time for anything. Even if we manage to get most of our tasks and responsibilities done, our personal time and time with our loved ones suffer.
Just the other day I was doing my house chores in the evening. One of my three-year-old daughters came up to me and wanted to play. By habit I told her that “mama was busy” and this is when it hit me.
I missed Yoga this AM, as I thought it was Wednesday instead of Tuesday . . . a recent side effect of finding it hard to sleep and easy to wake up. The irony of all this is I sent the above quote streaming into Twitter space right before I rushed into an empty yoga room. Accident–the greatest of all inventors.
My newly gained, completely open hour gave me the opportunity to write this piece, spend more time in meditation, and just allow my day to flow as it is.
As I approached my 28th year last month, I’ve learned that mistakes, “accidents” and synchronicities are a recurring open door that provide us with an opportunity to address what really needs our attention. While a simple analogy, sometimes it is in the most ordinary moments of our day where there is wisdom to be found…even in missed yoga.