Just Another Blog on Finding Happiness…


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Of late it has become more and more apparent that many of our notions of finding happiness don’t really lead to happiness at all. Happiness isn’t some target destination you can reach or some feeling you can acquire by your determination to think about being happy. In fact, the consideration and contemplation of happiness seems to cancel out its positive effect. And while happiness is greatly influenced by your thinking it generally comes more from doing than from thinking at all…

There is, I’m sad to report, such a thing as too much thinking. This modern-day notion we have learned from the self-help, motivation and positivity age is that we somehow have to closely monitor our thoughts and then quickly change every thought over into a positive one. On the surface, this all sounds fine and dandy. However, when you stop your thinking and subsequent doing in order to evaluate and monitor, you sort of cease being and switch over to evaluating or judging. Now you, as yourself, are looking at yourself and making a determination about yourself. And, how often are those self-focused, interior judgments good? Constantly checking in on yourself to see if you are okay is counterproductive to being okay.

Have you ever been completely absorbed in something like work and noticed how good you felt afterwards? Generally, it seems, the more focused you are in the present moment and what it is you are doing in the present moment, the better you feel. In these moments of ecstasy and bliss you don’t have to turn on your mental oven monitor to check if your happiness is ready. It just is and you have the pleasure of enjoying it. How many times have you been worried about some scenario and just couldn’t get it out of your head? That is until you decide to mow the lawn and voila, just like that you feel better! Sure these are simple examples, but they do point to an awareness that the best use of our minds is to accompany the activity we are engaged in, in the moment called now.

The polar opposite of simply being and doing is thinking and thinking and thinking. No-one’s life ever got better from over-thinking and analyzing and judging. Yet, we engage in it as if it is a responsible way to behave. The result of it is always “to do” lists for self-improvement and/or decisions to get up earlier, read more, drink less and the like. Hidden behind those noble efforts of goal setting and life betterment lies a subtle message that you are not okay just as you are. In the same way that religion questions your worthiness before God to control you and get your money, the self-help industry offers to improve you and make you okay as long as you buy the book, attend the seminar and buy another book! How can anyone ever simply “be happy” if they live perpetually in a state of “I’m not okay?”

In truth, it’s not the analysis that is the issue, it’s the judgment. It seems a person is the happiest when they can choose for themselves what they will and will not do. How many people really do what they want to do? Things are always modified and changed to fit in, be accepted, please him and satisfy her. We spend our days in anxiety ever trying to live up to some rules that someone else set-up for us to live. We don’t trust ourselves and our judgment and thereby severely curtail our own happiness. Our minds become chock full of things we should do, shouldn’t do and must do! It might be okay if we determined what those things are, but most often we are still living out someone else’s rules for acceptability. Don’t you just love and admire the people who do what they want to do and are not ashamed of it? Happy is the man who doesn’t condemn himself for the things he enjoys! Indeed, happy is the man…

The essence of finding happiness is not in looking for happiness at all. Rather it is choosing to live in the moment, enjoying your choice of activities, accepting yourself just as you are and doing your own life! It’s in making plans and pursuing dreams. It’s in being fully present with the people you love. It’s in flexibility, spontaneity and whim! It’s in getting out of your own head while refusing to judge yourself, analyze yourself or berate yourself. It’s in finally choosing to live your life rather than choosing only to think about it and judge it.

Happiness isn’t elusive or hiding from you. Rather it is waiting for you to let go of all of your controls and ideas and simply let yourself be. It’s all around you waiting for you to notice its presence. It’s at your job, in your home, in the yard and at the store. It’s in each moment of life spent doing and being and living. It’s hoping you will set aside all of your judgments and comparisons and analysis long enough to notice, “I’m here” and “How happy I feel!”

Just another blog on finding happiness…

 

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The Life that is Happening Right Now…


Screen-Shot-2014-04-15-at-9.20.12-PMThere are more keys to living than you’ll find on a janitor’s key ring. There are keys to happiness; to success; to finding the elusive good life. You can find the right thoughts, the proper attitude, positivity, optimism and gratitude. It’s suggested that you declutter, simplify, rely less on material things; and get back to nature. And, all of those things are wonderful, but rarely effective until you finally learn to live the life that is happening right now.

How many of you have honestly contemplated why life seems so complicated? Each day is fraught with things to accomplish; your “to do” list, the never-ending expectations from others. You dream of the weekend, then feel anxious that the weekend is coming to an end. You long for your vacation only to dread when it’s almost time to go home. Everyone is waiting for that certain day in the future, while dragging around those bad days from the past. Even the bad days are really bad moments, but hey, that’s how you remember it! You’re so busy, so overextended, so worn out. Why? Is that how life is supposed to be? Do you win at life by getting the most done? To be happy, do you even have to get all of those things done? Is there enough time to be successful and be happy or must one be sacrificed at the expense of the other?

My wife and I always muse why we kill ourselves to get home from work and then plop our butts in front of the TV for the evening. You do realize that the weekend isn’t the only time to get things done, right? Apparently we don’t. But, I’m guessing that even though you may not fit into that scenario, you have your own rules about getting stuff done. In fact, we all have some rules in place that probably limit us in what we think we can do and when… Those rules aren’t the worst part though. The most defeating practices are those that drag us away from the moment called, “right now!”

Of all the things you wish you could control in life, in reality all you really have is right now. You need to exercise more? Exercise right now. You need to lose weight? Eat less at your next meal. You have a dream you need to get started on? Start right now? Behind all of our “reasons” why we don’t, remains the only moment you can effect – right now. I’m a big fan of making lists and getting things out of my mind and onto the paper. But, if you think it through, often our lists serve as a delay tactic. They’re glorious for organizing, but suck at helping us to stay in the moment. The same is true for setting goals. It’s easy to put that deadline out there, but as it approaches you realize you need more time. Living in the moment helps you remain focused today, which if multiplied out, would lead to the end result if you stuck with it.

Besides helping you to get stuff done, living right now helps you to enjoy the day. A successful life isn’t found in the moments of glory, but in the day-to-day; squeezing the most out of the moments you are in. Someone invites you to dinner, but you can’t go because it’s Tuesday. On Tuesdays you need to get home and watch your shows. Hey, you might not be ready for the workday tomorrow if you get all crazy and go to dinner today. Young people don’t function this way, that is until they also get stuck living for a future moment. We need to quit living in the future and live right now. Happiness is right now. Blessings are enjoyed right now. Knowing the best use of your time is found right now. It’s easy, but it’s hard. It’s only hard because people have become so accustomed to ignoring the moment in favor of preparing for the future. Have you ever watched someone on TV living what seems to be a glorious life; plenty of money, free time, going to cool places or exotic restaurants or fabulous parties? Then you think, well that could never be my life. Actually it could be your life if you wanted it badly enough and maximized your day-to-day to get to your desired end. Why don’t you get there? Because you spend your days distracted, wasting away all of the “right nows” in favor of a wishful future. Maybe all you want is more fun, but you can’t have more fun because there’s too much you have to do, responsibilities and all. However, you can find fun right now, even inexpensive fun, if you will quit dreading some future day whereby your irresponsible fun is going to get you!

Most people spend their days drifting along, caught up in their habits, never taking the time to appreciate the beauty that is today.  They’re bored, depressed, unhappy, waiting, always waiting for something good to happen, never considering the part they have to play in their own happiness. Your happiness is your responsibility and you have the time to make it happen. Sure work is important and finances the fun you want to have, but there’s more to life than work. When at work, do work at an exemplary level. When you get home, do everything else you want to do and break out of that rut. Tuesday matters just as much as Saturday.

It’s so sad when you consider how much of your life you spend just doing with no actual plans to do what you want most. What do you want most? What makes your heart beat a little faster? Quit living vicariously through the Kardashians and make your own reality show. Pursue your own dreams. Live your own short life and live it to the full!

Intentional living is all about living your life right now. Quit living for the future and stop dragging around the corpse of the past. Be present today. Do important things today. Change your unwanted behaviors today. Get off the couch, turn off the TV and make something happen. Don’t spend another moment waiting. Your life is far too precious and way too short to live any other way!

Right now is all you’ve got folks. Right now…

Just some good thoughts.