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 Endless Chatter of Yesterday and Tomorrow…


living in the now 1I just finished reading Jen Sincero’s book, “You are a Badass…” and yes that is the title. One of the best books I have read in a long time! I could go on and on about what I loved, but we aint got that kind of time! Suffice it to say, she speaks of our conscious mind (you know, the one that never shuts up) and our subconscious mind (called your heart in the Bible). So this lil’ diddy is all about learning to silence that endless chatter in your conscious mind so you can finally get some long sought after peace…

I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say most people walk around in a fog of their own inner dialogue. They sit down to speak with you and they’re half in and half out, if you know what I mean. They watch their favorite TV show and their cell phone offering Facebook, Twitter, Vines, Snapchat, Instagram and LinkedIn. At work, they stare at computer screens lost in this thought and that one. It’s no wonder peace is a lost commodity. People’s minds are all over the place like that last episode of the Goodwife!

The strangest part of the whole deal is that most thought time is dedicated to dredging up the past or forecasting the future, in realms we cannot directly affect at this time. Trying to make sense of the things we did and said in the past is absurd because we aren’t even in the same place we were when we said and we did. The future is similar. Chances are we aren’t stressing over a present reality, but instead some future reality that may or usually will not come. But there we sit entrenched in thought, babbling and chattering away with thoughts and ideas that aren’t relevant to the moment we live in. If we are honest, we aren’t rehearsing the past to get better, we’re reliving it to find some way to make us okay. We don’t picture the future to properly plan for it, we envision suffering and pain and loss in this capacity or another. The grand what if… Ugh.

The real beauty and simplicity of life is always, always, always found in the moment called now! God, the eternal One, is an ever-present now! For Him there is no time. He is presently in your past, your right now and in your future. Time is something us human folk think in terms of because God made us that way. But for Him, nada… So with that being said, the Eternal One designed life so that we would function best living in the present moment. And amazingly, when we stop that endless rama-lama we find a quietness we weren’t expecting.

So how do you squelch that mind-boggling noise in your head? Simply by bringing your mind back to the moment you are in. If you are driving home from work, get out of your head and look around you. Is it sunny outside? Are there cars around you? What is on the side of the road you never saw before? When you get home from the drive, who is at home? Your spouse, your significant other? What would happen if you actually engaged them with something significant instead of racing to get on Facebook? What if you really stayed in the present moment and let all that frivolity going on in your head, go? What if, huh? You see the mystery of a peaceful mind is solved when you move your mind to the moment that is, rather than the moment that was or will be. The reason we rejoice over a Saturday or a vacation is because for some reason we allow ourselves to live right now in those circumstances. Well my friends, we can always live in the ‘right now’ if we really want to.

As Jen beautifully pointed out, our life doesn’t spring forth from our conscious mind. It comes out of our subconscious mind. And we will never get to what is really going on in our hearts while flailing around, lost in conscious thought focused on yesterday and tomorrow. But, when you slow down a little and stop churning your butter, you begin to get in touch with how you really feel. You start to see the things you have been missing and become oh so grateful. Being all pissy and whiny and ungrateful is a symptom of a conscious mind on overdrive! (Took a whole lotta striving, just to get up that hill! Shameless Jeffersons reference)! Life isn’t fraught with striving and straining to get what you want and need. Instead, the ideal life is found in allowing God to take care of you like He said He would and just living for now. But what if I lose my job and blah blah blah? Most likely you would find another one and not die! You see? It’s silly…and a colossal waste of time!

Your real life comes forth out of that heart of yours and until you begin to change your heart, you’ll find yourself fighting with your conscious mind against circumstances proceeding from your own heart! Silence the chatter and listen. Pay attention to what is all around you. Be open to learning and open (re-open) that heart of yours. God desires your inner happiness more than you do and He can show you how to find it if you are willing to see it. Be willing!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace coming down from the Father above…

Just some good thoughts…

Be…….. Present.


todayIt seems of all the futilities possible in this life, there is one futility that tops the list. It is the futility of trying to live in a moment that isn’t now. Think about that for a moment. (No, really think about it…) The only moment you and I can live is the moment called, ‘now.’ But, we don’t do that, do we? We spend all of our ‘precious now’ living either in the past or in the future.

The past exists only in your mind. Those moments, good or bad, are gone forever. Sure, you have memories, but in reality that time is gone forever. And, whatever happened that lives on so vividly in your mind is no longer anything but a memory. Humans are a very peculiar bunch. You may have spent years doing good things, yet you foolishly cleave to those fragmented times when you didn’t do so well. It seems if you played the odds, you would give yourself a little credit. But, you don’t. And, to make matters worse, you rehearse those fragments and feel the hurt and pain all over again. Those annoying ghosts serve no purpose but to make your present life miserable and distracted. Instead of rejoicing in the possibility of today, you exercise your demons again and again and wonder why you aren’t happy or why your life feels unfulfilled.

The flip side of the equation is trying to live in the future. How many times have you discarded five days while waiting for two? Or pushed to make it through several months while waiting for that dream two-week vacation in the summer? And how about the “put-off” epidemic? Once I get done with college… Or, when I get that dream job… Or, when I find that special person… And that doesn’t even account for those times you feel afraid! You are so sure that such and such a bad thing is going to happen, that you waste days on end only to find out it either didn’t happen, or when it did happen you could actually handle it?

The ultimate problem with not living in the moment is that you miss your life that is happening now. Life is pregnant with possibilities waiting to be born, but you will never see them until you slow that monkey mind down and learn to live in this moment. Otherwise, you won’t see it. Here’s a thought. How many of you feel restless and anxious? Now ask yourself, is your restlessness or anxiety based on now or is it based on your past or on your future? Again, we humans are a peculiar bunch! We are so worried about the long gone past and not yet arrived future, that we can’t even relax and enjoy right now. What if I’m not successful? What if my life goes to hell and I spend my latter days in misery? Really? Really? Call me crazy but it seems that my success in life depends on what I do right now! Misery, like happiness doesn’t just show up unexpected. It shows up based on what preceded it. And, what precedes it is the moment called, ‘now.’

Life really isn’t as complex as we have imagined. You’re worried about your relationship because things have been bad lately (the past…). You think that things may be going to hell in a hand basket (the future…). But, in truth, you have 100% control over yourself in this very moment. You want happiness. You want love. You want warmth. You want harmony. So… Do happiness now. Do love now. Do warmth now. Do harmony now! Yeah, but what about the hurts of the past? (Memory) What if things don’t work out? (Imagination of the future)

This may come as a surprise to you, but God really designed you to live in the present moment. His instruction book clearly tells you to forget the past and quit worrying about the future. And, because He knows all about how your mind works, He tells you that He has forgiven your past (and paid for it – take that karma!) and promises you a wonderful future. But neither promise can be fulfilled while you persist in that dastardly past and future focus.

Children are the best example of being in the moment. When my grandchildren come over, Braylon sits on the couch next to me and plays with my iPad. (He said I’m the Grandpa that likes to sit down – smile)  Wherever I move to, he follows. He doesn’t say much. He doesn’t need much. He just wants to sit next to his grandpa, feeling the love, in the moment.

In microcosm form, that is what life is really about. It’s about people being fully present in the moment and sharing love with one another.  Don’t you see it?  We are all the same.  We all want the same stuff.  It’s not about chasing this and avoiding that; running from this and trying to hold on to that. It’s about being present; living fully in the present moment. And when you finally get it, you are going to find that everything you ever wanted is going to show up, right at the perfect moment; not a minute too soon or a minute too late. The reason it hasn’t happened so far is that you aren’t here yet.

Just be… present and see if things don’t appear out of nowhere, because they have been there all along…

Life is soooo good my friends, in the present moment…

Whatcha Waiting On…?


4960390214_c70d04d5a6_z If you are like me (an assumption I like to make because it makes me feel better), you spend a lot of time waiting for something.  I don’t mean waiting in the grocery store line, I mean waiting for some event to happen; some circumstance to change; some item to arrive before you can be happy.  So my question for you is, whatcha waitin’ on?

It’s always seemed odd to me how we have learned to constantly defer our happiness to some future date.  “Once I get that new job and more money, things are going to be great!”  “When I get that new house or that new car or that new something, life will be good.”  “When I go on vacation; when Friday comes; when summer gets here; when I can finally retire and do what I want!”, life will be just awesome.”  When I find that special someone, my life will be complete.”   And while I know I have said this before, what in the world are we waiting for?  Like I told my wife last night, if we spend so much time dreaming about being away from our jobs, maybe we should figure out how to  be away from our jobs more often, or maybe do the kind of work we love?  Odd, huh?

As I think about a little more deeply, what grand, magnificent illusion has been sold to mankind that has talked us into a myriad of reasons to defer our happiness to some future date.  How truly insidious is the notion that we should always be waiting for our mythical ship to come in; for our lottery numbers to hit; for some glorious circumstance to arise that catapults us to greatness?  If you have lived any numbers of years, you probably already know the things that turn you on.  In your heart of hearts you know the type of work, that doesn’t feel like work, you promise you will be doing at some later date.  Meanwhile, years pass, dreams fade and a lot of years turn into distant memories of that awesome person you were going to become…  Wow!  Have you ever watched a movie (and movies are good at this) and saw images of the life you would like to live?  You know what I mean, right?  They live in a beautiful house by the lake, sipping wine in the evening as they watch the sunset glimmer off the water in the distance.  And you think, man that could be me “someday…”  Someday, right?  I remember telling a woman once how much I loved San Diego and its eternal sunshine.  She replied, “Why don’t you move here, then?”  I said, “Oh no, I couldn’t do that!”  And her classic response?  “Then, I don’t want to hear it!”  Clear, not nice, but very clear!   You do realize that if you have enough clarity on the picture of how you want things to be, the only thing stopping you from getting there is you.  But, you don’t think you are stopping the process because you are waiting for it to happen in the future.  But in reality, the result is the same.  The future time never comes as it’s always future.  Now is all you got baby, right now!

And here’s something else to put into your mind during all of that time you are staring into the horizon, waiting.  I’ll refer to this as grand, magnificent illusion #2.  Happiness is not something we seek after.  Happiness is our natural state of being, that is once we have gotten rid of all the silly things that block it.  Children are happy…  And, if they aren’t happy it lasts about 3 minutes then they are right back to being happy.  Events don’t make us happy, we decide to be happy during certain events.  Things don’t make us happy, we decide that getting a certain thing will make us happy.  People don’t make us happy, we decide that being around certain people makes us happy.  Happiness is not something to wait for, happiness is a decision we make right now.  Or I should say, we can make right now.  So why on God’s earth wouldn’t we make that decision all of the time?  Because we are waiting for something else to happen (see grand illusion #1)!  We are waiting for the stars to align; waiting for God to give us a sign; we are waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect time, the perfect circumstances…  If you really, really want something, you have to go and get it now!  I recognize that things don’t always happen overnight, but let’s be honest now, they aren’t going to happen any night if you don’t go and get them.

Okay, okay, so I’m with you, folks.  Remember, my assumption is that you are like me!  🙂  I’m a writer (hope you noticed).  Writer’s write, right?!  How often do I take the time (that never feels like time) to write?  Oh maybe about 3% of the time in my life… Why?  Because I’m waiting for something.  I’m waiting to not have to spend so much time at work.  I’m waiting for the perfect Saturday morning.  I’m waiting for the ideal evening when I don’t feel tired.  Ha, you get the point…

So what do you want out of your life?  What really floats your boat?  What do you do, that when you do it, no-one can compare with your work?  What are you good at?  What God-given talent are you presently hiding under a bushel, waiting for the “right” time to get after it?  The time to do it folks is right now.  That ship aint coming in.  Life just doesn’t work that way.  Even that person you knew who seemed to “find” themselves in the midst of tremendous, good fortune, secretly in their heart, saw that day coming so clearly that it had to happen!

Don’t waste another second waiting on happiness.  Decide to be happy now!  Don’t fritter away another moment waiting on doing what you love, do what you love right now!  (I am)  You love what you love for a reason.  Don’t defer doing you for the future day when you can do you, as you will have wasted ‘you’ in the process.  (A mind is a terrible thing to waste..)

So, next time you are “Sitting on the dock of the bay” make sure it’s because you are resting from doing what you love…

Just some good thoughts…