“Happiness is when what you think, what you say,and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mohandas Karamchand Gandh
I shared this quote with a friend of mine recently because it really resonated with me. I asked her what she thought about it and her response was simply, it’s great and a tall order in our world today. I said for me, it would be a guideline. I did not expect that I would always be perfect.
Happiness! It is what we all really want to achieve, isn’t it? Think about it for a minute. What do you want most for yourself, your children and all the people you love? What does everyone want?
The thing is, so few of us know how to achieve it and in fact we could have it now if we weren’t so busy searching for it.
This year, right before New Year’s Eve, another friend asked me what my intention was for 2013. I said that it wasn’t fully formed yet but I knew that one part of it was that I wanted to learn to be happy no matter what. While I knew that there would be more to my intention, I also knew that was going to be a critical piece of it. One thing that I have become clear about in recent years is that I don’t want to miss the happy moments of my life because I am so busy trying to create the life that I think will make me happy.
In the days that followed, my intention for the New Year became more developed and what I decided was that this year I was going to get very clear on what mattered to me and what didn’t matter and create a life that was as consistent as possible with those things. So not the things that other people have told or taught me should matter and that I honestly believed mattered for a very long time, what really matters to me now as a 51 year old woman, a mother of a 12 year old boy and a spouse.
While I have lived consciously in many aspects of my life for a long time, my intention for this year is to take it even further. To become clear on what I want and to implement this way of life will take honestly, patience and non-judgment. It may also involve changes; some of them bigger and some of them more minor. I may do less of some of the things that I already do, more of some of the things I already do and I may do some things differently. Does this resonate for you at all? Perhaps you are already there. Or perhaps you want to join me on this journey?
I don’t believe that living consciously means we have to do everything perfectly. It simply means that we become aware of who we really are, what we do and the impact of that on ourselves and others. It means that we have to be present to the moments of our lives, know our values and live a life that is in alignment with them.
So here are some of the tools that I have used and will continue to use to meet my intention.
Eating Well. This is a foundation. What we put in our bodies affects our long and short term health and it impacts our mood. The choices we make in selecting foods also impacts the world around us. Get to know which foods work best for you and which foods don’t work for you. How do you do this? You eat and pay attention to the way it makes you feel. That was actually the starting place for me. If you know my story, a health crisis taught me how what we eat, affects the way we feel. It was from there that I began to live more consciously. I recommend choosing organic, local and seasonal foods to the greatest extent possible. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect just be aware.
Exercise. Our bodies need to move regularly. Find a type of exercise that you love, not something that you tolerate. Exercising is a way to nourish your body, not a punishment for over-eating or getting older.
Meditation. In the same way we need to move, we also need to sit still. Studies have shown that just six minutes a day can make an enormous difference in our health. Make time to sit still and breathe, don’t worry about whether you doing it right, just focus on your breath. As thoughts come, just let them go and come back to the breath without any judgment. If you choose to have regular practice you will notice the transformation. If you want to learn more about meditation send me an email.
Community. There are at least two pieces to this ingredient. First, is having a community of like-minded people who support you. Second, is being involved in making your community the kind of place that you want to live by being of service to others.
Watch Our Thoughts and Speech. In the same way that our food impacts our long and short term health and mood our thoughts and speech affect us as well. Think about the way we talk to ourselves and think about the way we judge ourselves and others. All of this has an impact on us. Also, think about the things that we sometimes say about ourselves, about others and to others. Learn to recognize negative thoughts and let them go and learn to stop, think and breathe before we speak. This can make a big difference in our happiness and the happiness of those around us. Again, we don’t have to be perfect; we just have to be aware. And when we recognize that we haven’t been perfect, taking responsibility for it can help.
Are you interested in continuing this conversation? I’d love to hear from you, send me an email.