If there is one gift I would grant a child, assuming love is already there, then it would be curiousity. That courage to explore new places, meet new people with an openness that builds better relationships and turns strangers into friends.
It will change their thinking and their ability to learn. It’s the gift that will encourage them to have ideas and invent things that change the world for the better, to travel to other places and cultures with respect, and even explore other galaxies. It will keep rocking them back in wonder at creation and the world around them, so that even when adults, they will stop and stare at a rose, whirl a dandelion head round to see what happens, or crunch through autumn leaves.
It’s what will allow them to wait to see the butterfly emerging from a cocoon, an egg hatching, what shape the bread that rested and was kneaded makes. It means they can never be bored, for they can stimulate their imagination and get lost in different worlds of books and games.
It will give them the courage to take risks sometimes, to ask “what might happen if I try” – and find out that even if they fail, they can still be curious about the lessons they learned. It encourages flexibility, and gives them the resilience to deal with uncertainty. It can turn everyday chores into adventures, and even give them the freedom to explore the big questions in life without fear (like who are we, what happens next, how can I bring peace, can I dare to be happier?)
That’s what I would give a child, if I had a magic wand. What would YOU give them?
Life can make choices for us.
Sometimes these choices
And make us unhappy if we let them.
But in the end we control our own destiny
Because we can decide how we are going to allow
People or events to affect us.
So much of our happiness, and unhappiness,
Lies within the choices we make.
We can accept that life isn’t the way we want it to be,
Or we can work to change it so it will be.
We can walk through the shadows,
Or we can choose to smile
And to seek out the sunlight.
We can create grand dreams
That never leave the ground,
Or we can be builders of dreams that that touch the sky.
We can look at only
The negative aspects of ourselves,
Or we can lift ourselves up
By being our own best friend.
We can live in the past
Or dream about the future,
Or we can live for today.
We can give up when the road becomes difficult,
Or we can keep on going
Until the view is much better.
The choices in life are endless,
And so is the potential for happiness…….
I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works.
Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.
And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t you will eat away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.
(Eat, Pray, Love)
When I forgive myself, I’m letting go of a certain kind of useless guilt – not the simple awareness of responsibility (that’s precisely what I’m accepting and acknowledging), but a self-regarding and sometimes self-dramatising guilt that leads nowhere in particular.
While I hang on to this guilt, I am subtly presenting myself as having done something that not even God can forgive it. Although this behaviour has all the external appearance of humility, it’s really a clever and externally pious way of making myself the centre of the universe – the only person in all creation who is beyond the reach of God.
Try any of these for size:
1. Let money be your main guide to what you do with your life
2. Be vulnerable to the people you already know won’t support you
3. Ignore or override your inner voice, or heart, or soul
4. Continue to live a constantly unbalanced life
5. Follow someone else’s dream for you
6. Stay stuck with who you are with because it’s better than being alone
7. Fail to set and maintain appropriate boundaries
8. Depend wholly on external validation
9. Don’t go looking for your tribe
10. Fail to forgive and let resentment build up
11. Give from a place of emptiness or duty
12. Keep blaming others for where you are now
You can only live in a happiness bubble if you’ve made a choice not to be real. Life is always a mixture of good times and bad. Even Pollyanna knew that.
One of the greatest lessons we can learn is to see the positive in the times that are less than totally positive – or downright painful. To see the positive, or see the teaching, is what changes our perspective and allows us to move forward again.
Real happiness never means the total absence of sadness, grief or pain. Nor does it mean we ignore these things so we can concentrate on more positive ones, because when we shut ourselves down to any emotion, we ultimately shut ourselves down to ALL our emotions.
And that would be a disaster – because how then would we recognise happiness or joy when they come? How could we feel or appreciate them fully?
We deny our humanity when we pretend to be happy or when we any of our emotions. We must connect our body and mind and feel real life – but we must also remember not to get stuck in a dark place.
Death happens, serious illness happens. Our lives can be turned upside down in an instant and we are faced with living nightmares that tear our hearts apart. At these times, we get through our days by living moment by moment, one step at a time.
What we can’t afford to do is to stop living, to allow ourselves to get stuck or frozen in that place. We must move forward, learn new ways of living in the landscape of the new world that faces us – and choose to be happier, despite what has happened or is happening to us.
The choices we make at these times – to do what we can to get us back to a happy place – are what makes our lives worth living well. Our happiness is always a choice, moment by moment, thought by thought and action by action. By choosing happiness, we allow ourselves to see what is still good in our life, and we allow ourselves to create new opportunities to know happiness.