“If you are depressed, you live in the past.
If you are anxious, you live in the future.
If you are peace, You live in the present.” Lao Tzu
Recently I went to a yoga class that I thoroughly enjoyed. Before we started our asana practice, the teacher instructed us to think of a time when we were the happiest we’ve ever been. She followed that question up with ‘What can you let go of to get back to that place? What can you focus your efforts on to ramp up or enhance?’
I immediately felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.
We always think that in order to be happy we need more or that we won’t achieve happiness until we get x, y or z. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!
Happiness exists at the very core of who we are. If we can let go of our ego and all the fears that surround us, we would have nothing to be unhappy about!
What do I mean?
If you google any derivative of ‘how to be happy’ you’ll come across dozens of articles like these:
Do you notice the pattern?
What you should GIVE UP to be happy. It’s not what you should DO, GET or ACHIEVE to be happy – it’s what you can give up.
I always was striving to achieve more, to get more, to have MORE. The more I had, the more I THOUGHT I was happier. But as I sit here today and reflect on how my life has gone the past few years, I can’t help but disagree with my previous way of thinking.
I was 26, had an awesome job, loving relationship, traveled all over, drove a BMW, had an awesome apartment, created opportunities that I thought I wanted . . . I remember thinking, “My life is perfect. I love my life”.
Little did I know, that in the few short years to come, everything I had worked for out of college would come crashing down around me.
Now, as I sit on the cusp of turning 30, I’m technically unemployed, single, don’t travel as much, totaled my car and don’t have a vehicle at the moment, live in my parents house and have had enough health struggles to last 3 life times. But, I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
How is that even possible?!
Over the last year I’ve dedicated time to exploring myself. Exploring the inner workings of ‘Julie’. What makes me ME?
It’s not my job title, or the car I drive, or where I live, or where I’ve traveled to.
It’s not my diagnosis, or the color of my hair this month, or what my clothing style is.
It IS my love of love.
It IS my love of knowledge.
It IS my sense of wonder and excitement.
It IS me truly wanting to help others in similar situations so they don’t have to experience the pain I have.
It IS my deep sense of passion and curiosity for exploring.
It IS the support I want to give.
It’s NOT dwelling on the past or constantly living in the future – It IS living in the present and being truly grateful for what I have in this moment.
What I’ve realized is that when I approach myself with love, when I approach all thoughts I have with love, when I approach all people, places and things with love, I then can truly be happy.
So what can I let go of to be happy?
The need to control my future.
The need for approval from others.
The need for ‘things’.
The need to always be right.
The need for always wanting more, more, moreeeeeeee.
What can I focus my efforts on to ramp up or enhance?
Approaching all things with love.
Never losing hope.
Accepting that change is the only constant in life.
This week I pose the same questions to you:
When was the happiest you’ve ever been in your life?
What can you let go of to get back to that place?
What can you focus on to help you cultivate that happiness?
Make sure you stop back next Monday for a follow-up post to this one on releasing limiting beliefs! 🙂
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!