happiness heals

Happiness isn’t something you have to wait for. It’s never dependent upon something changing. Happiness is something we choose and allow into our lives by the way we live, but that doesn’t mean we are going to feel joyful every day.

Recently I attended a family constellations workshop, which I discovered is not my thing, but a fascinating process nonetheless. In that workshop there were a lot of people who were in deep emotional pain and I heard many expressions throughout the day such as:  It’s too hard, Life’s so painful, I don’t want to be here. The tendency to avoid pain seems to be deeply entrenched in our psyche, and the message I wanted to share with you today is that you can get through anything, yes anything in life, if you don’t resist it.

My life’s been tough. All I ever wanted was to be a mother, it was more important to me than anything else, and I treasure every one of my children. Then, my son died at five. My youngest experienced major depression and was suicidal for many years. And now my eldest, who has always been my rock is suffering. Ten years ago, Lisa was diagnosed with a rare liver disease. Three years ago, she was diagnosed with stage 4 cirrhosis. Recently, she was told that she would be lucky to be alive in two years without a transplant, but there was no guarantee that her liver wouldn’t fail at any time and she could be dead within two weeks.

Right now I feel sad and a little worried but underneath that is a core of peace. I can feel despair on occasions, without losing hope. I can wish my life was easier without complaining about what is. I expect a miracle, yet I know I can accept whatever happens.

The only thing that stands in the way of our happiness is our inability to accept what is. That doesn’t mean we don’t need coping strategies or that we don’t need to express our emotions. Some people cry but I don’t like crying in public, I like to cry alone. I used to talk about my problems all the time, but I’ve learnt that a better way for me to express any pent up emotion is to write it out of me. I’ve spent many hours at my keyboard alone, crying and typing out my feelings.

I used to think that writing was my purpose. I know now it’s just the vehicle through which I express my purpose. My purpose is to share, and that is how I make sense of pain. I share what I learn with others in the hope that it makes their life easier.

I came into this world to experience acceptance. My gift is the sharing of what I learn with others.

I have learnt that forgiveness clears away negative energy and opens doors to opportunity, so on a regular basis, prior to my daily meditation, I often go through the Ho’oponopono forgiveness process. Which is based on accepting responsibility for everything in your life, forgiving everyone no matter what they have done to you, and that includes forgiving ourselves, and the final step is extending love.

Now I know so many will resist this message, and many won’t even have read this far, if you have all I can say is be willing to try it. Resistance of any kind is the cause of all pain. Resistance keeps us stuck.

A question I’ve been asked is, how can we accept what is without resigning ourselves to what is?

The way I do it is I do it is to: forgive, release the pain, and accept. Sometimes it takes a while to accept, but I’m always willing to. Then live your life as if all of your wishes will be fulfilled and it’s just a matter of time until that happens.

Choose happiness today. Not when the miracle occurs. Not when someone changes. Not when your depression or struggle ends. Not when you find someone to love you. And not when the pain ends. All you have to do is make the choice, you may not feel any different for a while but if you keep affirming that you choose to be happy, that you choose to live, one day you’ll find you really do feel happy.

Do at least three things that make you happy every single day. They can be small things like walking in the sunshine. Enjoying a cup of coffee. Talking to someone. Savour these moments.

Then start a list of twenty wishes, these are things you want in your future. These wishes aren’t about material possessions, they are about experiences and can include big things like sharing your life with someone you love or being a mother. They can also include fun things as well such as taking a ride in a hot air balloon or riding a bike.

Today is the only day any of us have, let’s enjoy it, and share that enjoyment with others.

“Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.”
St Ignatius





Searching for more

Traditionally the major birthdays in life are when we turn 18 or 21, but birthdays should never be just about the number, the most important ones motivate us to pause, question and reflect. The life changing birthdays for me were 30, 50 and very recently when I turned 70.

We often hear people say at the beginning of a new year or when a birthday comes around, ‘Well this is going to be the year….’. Generally, what they mean by that is it will be a year when something external changes such as when they find a life partner, work they like, achieve a financial goal or attain a longed for dream. And while I encourage everyone to go after what they want in life it’s important to remember that the attainment of goals only makes us feel happy for a while.

It’s only natural that during our early adult lives we embark on a search for ‘more’. That search motivates us to choose who we want to be and what we want to do with our lives and that discovery process takes time and how long that will take is purely individual.

What I now know having survived turning 30, 50 and 70 is that while I like material possessions and even achievements, I no longer need them.

I expected that getting older would mean that life would be easier, and in some ways it is, I don’t care much what people think and I have more money, but there are always new challenges. I don’t have the energy level I once had. I am not as physically capable. I have to delegate more which isn’t always easy for someone as independent as I am. And there are still people who push my buttons. But I’m alive. I’m working. I am making a difference. I like who I am. I don’t need anyone’s approval. I don’t need ‘more’.

I am never going to be a person who sits back and says, ‘I’ve done all I want to do with my life’, for me as long as I draw breath I need to be sharing what I have learnt.

When I look back at the person I was at 30, I was so scared because I wasn’t married. All of my dreams were attached to the attainment of that one goal, and it is one goal that I never achieved. Yet I have no regrets. What life gave me was exactly what I needed to grow into the strong, independent person I am today. My life turned out so much better than I had planned for myself.

My advice to the 30 year old me, and to you, is: Believe in yourself. Trust life. Follow your heart. Life’s dream for you is far grander than anything you can imagine and it will happen when you stop chasing ‘more’ and trying to dictate the direction your life will go in.

Life Transitions

Transitions occur when we go through a major change, or move from one life stage to the next. Up until last year my weekends were always full either with my girls, seeing friends, or visiting my Dad. Now my girls have their own lives with one living overseas, my friends are getting older and don’t travel as much. My Dad is no longer with us.

Fully aware that I am going through a transition period I decided I needed a project and I chose to plan a renovation for one side of my backyard. Although this garden gets the best sun of my whole yard, and it’s a reasonable size, it is a mess, it’s a place I rarely go to as it’s where I leave the bins and anything I don’t want, there is nothing attractive about it.

Reflecting on what makes me happy I decided to turn this area into an oasis, a place where I can sit in a comfy chair and read, one of my favourite things to do and a place to do my mosaics. I decided to paint my fences and use them to display some of my projects. What started as a way to fill a void has turned into a project I am passionate about and one that might take a couple of years, I have a lot of mosaic art I want to create.

In years gone by, when there was a void in my life, I would most likely have felt despondent for a while, or I would have sought to fill that void with people. Understanding myself and what makes me happy has enabled me to turn what could have been a challenging time into something exciting.

Now while I would like more people, who live in my area to socialise with, I am content to do something I love by myself because I know that if I continue to be the person I aspire to be, then whatever I need will come into my life.

Transitions are a normal part of the fabric of life. They are a time to develop new skills, move through old fears and reassess who we want to be and what we went to do with our lives. They are also opportunities to create what we have always wanted. Just because we get older doesn’t mean there isn’t something to do with our lives, as long as we are breathing we have a purpose.

I want to leave behind me a legacy of love, wisdom and fun and I am so grateful for my business which allows me to do this. I also know that in giving as much as I do I need to refill my own tank, so choosing to fill my leisure time with activities and people who make me happy is vital.

Life transitions occur for all of us and the way in which we move from one stage in life to the next is determined by the way we live on a daily basis. One of the most important choices we can make is to be happy every day. Life won’t always go to plan and sometimes we are challenged, but when we make the choice to be happy regardless of what is happening in life, we develop skills that enable us to navigate the rough patches  with ease and grace.