Gratitude and Joy

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Last month I had what ended up being a pretty life changing experience. It has drastically impacted the my day to day journey from start to finish. Part of that experience is what I’m about to share with you.

Life has been difficult for me in the past months. While my suffering is no greater or worse than anyone else’s – it is only my experience – I was really struggling every single day. I was begging for answers, and coming up empty; until two wonderful people took the time to sit me down and give me truths I needed to hear and the healing I needed to feel. While the experience that I had is a bit too long to tell in a simple blog post (it would probably end up being more like a book), I want to pass on the simplest and easiest part of it. Anyone can do it, anytime.

Part of what these two wonderful people told me was this: “When you wake up in the morning, even if you don’t feel it, say out loud: Today I will find gratitude and joy. Say it with purpose, and again, even if you don’t feel like you’ll find either one, say you will. Even if you’re crying, say it.”

Even though I didn’t really give much creedance to that part of the advice (how could I be expected to even remember to say the very words gratitude and joy amidst one of the hardest periods of life I’ve ever faced?!? I was NOT finding gratitude or joy even when I called out to it), I trusted them, and every day from that point forward, even when I could hardly move myself to get out of bed, I said the words: Today I will find gratitude and joy. Some days (ok, quite a few days) with tears stinging my eyes, because even thinking of gratitude and joy made me hurt…they were so far from my grasp.

But….

Slowly (and in the grand scheme of things, very, very, very, quickly), I began to feel different. When I spoke that phrase aloud, I truly started to feel gratitude and joy. On certain days, I’d only remember to say it in a quiet moment of small happiness – a hot coffee, a smiling stranger, a beautiful sunset – but now, every day, I’m remembering to say it because I’m finding it every day. Now don’t confuse that with everything being perfect…it’s not. My life is a work in progress, but the clouds have parted and I have to say, I am finding joy every day. Joy…a word I never get much thought to, now fills me.

There is no magic happiness pill that will poof you into a state of bliss. And even what I’ve told you is just one small and simple part of what it takes to fill all the gaps in our lives until it pours over the brim with happiness. I am not the first to suffer, and I won’t be the last. So, I’m hoping that in passing along this little nugget, I can help someone the way I was helped – without expectation and out of love.

Today, I will find Gratitude and Joy.

– A

The Secret to Life

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I have a secret.

And I want to share it with you.

But proceed with caution, because once you know a secret, you can’t un-know it.

You can try to pretend you never heard it, but it’ll always sit there below the surface, bubbling; causing ripples in your life.

This secret is wonderful and terrifying at the same time, because it is the one answer to every question you’re afraid to ask, and you already have all the tools to work with you could ever need…
                               but it involves a tricky little devil with an angels face called free will.

I felt like I should give you fair warning, because what I have to say could drastically change your life.

Picture cannon-balling into a pool. It’s like that.
It creates a real scene.

I know it did (and continues to do so) for me.

If you’re still with me, here goes. Here’s the biggest secret I’ve ever been privy to:
Continue reading

Bring Yourself Back to Life

Discarded flower.

Discarded flower.


I’ve come to an important realization recently, after a period of feeling so lost and without purpose that I truly would’ve done just about anything to feel alive again. I sat quietly with myself for a time, and reflected on why I felt so…lifeless. I rifled through the manilla “happiness” folders in my brain, sprinkling mental checkmarks next to all of the things I had that should leave me quite happy. As I got to the folder marked “goals,” I realized, mouth agape, that I’d stumbled upon the very root of the problem. I literally could not remember the last time I’d set a goal for myself. I racked my brain and came up with “move to California.” In a month and a half, it’ll be TWO YEARS since I’ve arrived here in California. That meant that it had been almost TWO YEARS since I’d pushed myself to do anything for ME. A goal.
Without goals, without personal hurdles to move toward, and jump over, we dry up. Immediately, as if I’d pushed a button, the clouds parted and I came up with a professional goal for myself (more on what that goal is soon). I am making that goal a reality as quickly as possible. Though this one is pretty big and life changing, don’t think that all goals have to be huge and life changing. A wall is built one brick at a time. If you’ve been feeling similarly lost, set tiny personal goals for yourself instead of tackling a huge one right off.
I’ve been feeling so much more alive and with more direction since I came up with a plan, and feel like I’ve got a new passion for life. I can’t wait to get the ball rolling! In the mean time, I’ve been using the knowledge I gained about goals to set smaller ones to keep propelling me forward until I can achieve the big one.

So, what are your goals?
Do you think goals are the key to happiness?

– A