And that’s what we’re all looking for, I think – ‘Finding the Big Happy’. But what is it? How can we find it? Does it exist, or is it just an unattainable and impossible dream?
We all know, I think, that some of the simplest things make us happy. One of my very very best friends, who had been having a bit of a tough week, texted me last night to tell me she couldn’t possibly be anything other than happy while cuddling her granddaughter. We all know the joy of watching a beautiful and incredible sunset or sunrise. or climbing to the top of a hill and seeing an incredible view spread out below us. Sometimes we will be surprised by an unexpected gift, or the words of a song.
The lovely and wonderful Hannah Brencher (www.moreloveletters.com) spreads joy and happiness by the simple but radical act of writing love letters to strangers and leaving them to be discovered. A hero of mine, Randy Gage (www.randygage.com) suggests paying the toll for the person behind, and reminds us that the simple act of smiling at a checkout assistant.. or letting someone in in traffic.. might just be the beginning of a chain reaction creating more happiness in the world. The movie ‘Pay It Forward’ (2000) helped millions to see that it’s possible to make the world a better place simply by making sure that one good deed creates another.. creating a flow of happiness in the world. Can you imagine the tidal wave of happiness that would happen if we each did two good deeds every time someone did something kind for us? The exponential effect would be.. well, very possibly ‘the big happy’.
There’s two things I have discovered about happiness. The first is that we are happy to the extent that we are creating happiness around us. We are loved to the extent that we create love. What we give out truly comes back to us – it’s a law of the universe. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”, said Jesus (Luke 6:38). That applies to wealth, which has a habit of returning to you in the measure that you give it away.. as Randy Gage points out, you can’t out give the Universe. Love is the source of our power, and we manifest power in our lives to the extent that we are prepared to love.
Happiness is even more incredible – because it’s instantaneous! The simple act of choosing to create happiness for someone else will, I guarantee, make you happy. It’ll put a smile on your face, create warmth in your heart and put a bounce in your steps.
And the second thing about happiness? It’s a choice. We can, honestly, choose to be happy in any moment. We’re actually programmed to seek happiness, you know – to seek out the things that make us happy at the deepest possible level. And that’s perfectly OK. It’s why we’re here. The problem is that we’ve got it all backwards. We think that we have to HAVE certain things (money, love, freedom) in order to DO things (take holidays, buy a car, enjoy romance) so that we can BE happy, or content, or secure. And we’ve got it backwards.
The secret is to choose to BE happy. Right now. If we choose to BE happy (or peaceful, or content, or joyful, or secure) – then the Universe responds by creating things to DO that flow out of that happiness (joy, peace, security, contentment) that create what we wanted to HAVE. But we have to let go of attachment to those things first. As long as we are expecting money or possessions or a romance or (fill in the blank) to make us happy, then we’re not going to get there. As soon as we drop that demand and simply allow ourselves to be happy for no reason. then happiness arrives.
Try it out. you’ll be amazed. Simply choosing to be happy. Or peaceful. Or whatever feeling you want. Here’s a secret.. create it the way you want it. Smile. Laugh (another of my friends teaches laughter yoga and points out that it’s impossible to stay miserable if you choose to fake laughter.. even if it feels fake, it soon becomes real). Put on some happy music that you love. Dance. Make someone else happy. Hug a tree. Cuddle a baby. Spread a little joy and happiness and see how it feels..
It’s been a bit of a journey through the elements, too: fire – wind – water – air – earth – spirit – humanity – animals… which meant it was pretty good to start with the Hawai’ian shamanism event in Hawai’i
So, Hawai’i was all about a connection to fire (lava) and a moment of leaving behind the old, as I walked through the lava tube I felt a sense of letting go. Being right next to the lava was a very transformative and energizing experience.
Maui was all about water – snorkelling, jumping into rock pools, swimming in the sea, standing under waterfalls – allowing all of this to be a cleansing. And the turtles – just to swim beside these incredible and, it seemed, wise creatures was a joy and an experience I will never ever forget.
Oregon was a connection back to love at Neale Donald Walsch’s event… just to be with those folk was really great, although I have started to question some of the parts of Neale’s material – which is all just part of me finding my own path rather than someone else’s. I am working through Neale’s mentorship programme at the moment.
San Francisco brought me up against people.. all sorts of people… and became a chance to take stock of what was happening in my life, as things seemed to shift dramatically as I learned and grew through the experience.
The Pacific Trek trip brought me back up against water again, diving into beautiful creeks, receiving more cleansing and letting more of my old ‘being’ slough off… but also a connection to nature through the age of the redwoods, the newness of Lassen Volcanic park, and the determination of life to grow whereever – to grip on to the environment it found itself in. I also found myself with people again – 23 people living and sleeping on a converted bus.
And as I expected, the Canyons tour brought me back again to the earth – the hugeness of rock and power and solidity. That seems to be my heart – again, people have commented on the peace and certainty that I bring to them – combining that with the energy of fire.
But also, the world of spirit stepped in – so many angel references from the climb to Angel’s Landing to the walk down Bright Angel trail to Bright Angel Creek… accompanied by a beautiful woman called (you guessed it) Angela. So, i am now looking for reconnection to angelic guides and seeing how that turns up for me.
I’ve lost a few things on the way – which probably speaks to the bigger picture of getting things and losing them because I don’t take care of where they are, or recognise the connection.
As I sat contemplating the Martin Luther King memorial at Yuerba Buena Park in San Francisco, I realised that my heart went out to allow people to step into true freedom- that i would never be happy until people had been set free from the limits they place on themselves.
As i climbed Angel’s Landing, I heard God whisper to me that all would be in place by the end of the year – that i would not only know and understand my purpose and gift – and that i will have begun a new and deep relationship. I look forward to seeing how that plays out….
I had an amazing experience on the canyon celing at San Juan river – a real connection and understanding of what I am about, of what my gift and purpose is: my ability to encourage, to give energy and to allow people to step into their power.
And as I rode across Monument Valley on horseback, God gently spoke to me reminding me of my longing to build the Leadership Adventure Centre – reassuring me that if I build it, they will come… and that it will be a place of miracles. And the only reason it will exist is because God built it, financed it, created it.
To my shame, I have not always been myself – drinking more than I should, shrinking down to fit in, sharing in the gossip more than I should have – but yet I believe that my light has shone out in all of that.. so it’s just a readjustment of how I do that – how I am part of the group and yet raising the energy of the group. One glorious moment was when I began a motivational speaking spoof – and realised that it’s a real gift to just speak without content or goal and just let it flow.
So, it’s been a fabulous few weeks. Another few more and i will be home. I have learned shedloads as I travel… and yet I feel there is more to come.
One of my mentors and teachers, Julie, recently challenged me to change the way I was living. She believed that I was spending far too much time in my head, and not enough in my heart. What she meant was that my thinking was guiding all my decisions – which is OK, because at least it’s rational thought. But the higher place, considering who I want to be, is to live from my heart – to live from a place of love, a place where my soul guides me as to what works and what doesn’t.
Now, while the mind can make judgements about what it knows, it can’t make judgements about what it doesn’t. Yet our hearts act as a doorway between the physical world and the unseen world. And that means that our hearts have access to far more wisdom, far more knowledge, far more experience, far more truth than our heads will ever do.
So I am learning. Slowly. What Julie advised me to do was to simply let my awareness drift down from my head to my chest area – to sense what I was feeling, what was happening inside me. As I did, then first off I would get a feeling in my heart as to whether that was right or not – whether I was living at peace with myself, or I was living in conflict with myself. If I am on the right path, then I feel at peace with myself. I might feel nervous, sure. I might feel tense, or angry, or any one of a myriad emotions. But at my core, at a heart level, I will be at peace with myself.
Once I know that, then I have access to more information. I can ask my heart about anything, knowing that it will respond to my every thought, and will provide the answers in a way that I can hear them.
A brilliant brilliant book on this is Jack kornfield’s Path of the Heart. Jack is an American Buddhist teacher who really knows how to get in touch with heart level ‘beingness’. Another surprising teacher is Drunvalo Melchizedek, with his book “Living in the Heart”.
Am I good at listening to my heart…. Absolutely not. But my heart is, as Julie observes, starting to run a big chunk of the show. And as I meditate and pray, my heart starts to run even more of the show, starts to connect me to another realm. And I become calmer, more peaceful, more connected to those around me and more loving.
So, yet again, I am learning. Slowly… but I am getting there.
You know, it actually doesn’t matter whether you believe any of this stuff. In fact, it doesn’t matter to me whether this stuff is real either. When I was doing my NLP training, my trainer said something that really made me stop and think. You see, we as humans seem obsessed with ‘truth’. We want to seek out the genuine ‘truth’ behind something. And maybe that’s important and maybe it isn’t – and here’s why.
I trained as a Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which means that we went pretty deep into how the conscious and unconscious minds work. In NLP, we learn a whole series of ‘Presuppositions’ – principles on which NLP is founded, the core precepts of you like that lay the foundations for everything else. Things like ‘the meaning of communication is the result you get’ and ‘there is no failure, only feedback’. (There are some truly lifechanging presuppositions that are the core of NLP, and if you want to know more, book on an NLP course – in fact, I’m considering running one myself, probably called “It’s NLP, but not as you know it”).
Anyway, what my trainer said was “I don’t know if this is true or not, but what I do know is the effects that believing it produce in my life”.
So, I have no real way of knowing if God exists or not. I have no real way of knowing if the things I do in pursuit of God are the best or not. But what I do is to look and see if I like the effects they are having. Does believing this make me more positive (yes). Does believing this make me more loving (yes). Does believing this give me more hope (yes). Do other people like the person that I am (yes).
So, in the end, if my beliefs, and my values, and my behaviours produce these sort of results in my life, it doesn’t really matter if it’s true or not, does it? And, sure, I believe that God is real. I believe that we are all ‘God’. I believe that there is no ‘death’. I believe that we can change the world around us. I believe so much – and in so much magic and wonder, power and freedom – and much of it we will explore in the coming weeks and months in this blog.
And yet, provided that what I believe is helping me be more loving, more able to help people, more able to help myself, making me more confident, more capable, more full of hope, and life, and joy, and freedom – then, in a sense, whether or not it is ‘true’ isn’t the important thing. Because I like the effects that it produces.
Today, I was supposed to be running a relationship event for people who wanted to look at taking back their personal power in their relationships.. Which, sadly, got cancelled. But it has given me chance to think about independence…and that may have been the real cosmic reason for organising the event in the first place.
On 1st July this year I started to look at some of the things that I wanted to achieve in the second half of the year, and what actions I would need to take towards them. And yet it seemed like more than that for me – it seemed like a new beginning – a chance to let go of what had been in order to step into something new.
I took some decisions – to decide to move into my own personal power – to reveal more of ‘who I am’ so that others will have the power to step into more of who they are. So that others can live the dream – so that others can marvel at the wonder of Who They Truly Are.
I sensed that I needed to start to make every moment count – to let every moment reflect my reason for being alive.
The United States of America chose to DECLARE their independence – in the face of history, in the face of world opposition, in the face of everything that HAD been, they chose to make a new future – to create a new beginning.
And in the end, this morning I realised that this was a day to declare my independence . . .
Freedom from fear
Freedom from the need to be right
Freedom to love others
Freedom from financial insecurity
Freedom to believe
Freedom to build my own truth
Freedom to live where I want
Freedom to choose to be in love
Freedom to be myself
Freedom to be happy and joyful
Freedom to follow God wherever God takes me
Freedom to let life unfurl me across the Universe
Freedom to lead people
Freedom to live an exciting life
Freedom from my own expectations
Freedom from the expectation of others
Freedom to allow God to reveal truth to me
Freedom to pick myself up and start again
Freedom to think for myself
Freedom to hold any dream I want
Freedom to do something – or not to do it
Freedom from the need to fit in
We do get to choose, you know. Not to decide is to decide – the very act of not deciding is, in itself, a decision. We are where we are because we have chosen to be there – in our hands lies the power to change what’s true for us.
So what will you declare today? What will YOUR statement of independence be? Where will YOU choose the freedom and liberation that is yours by right as a child of God? Where will you choose to step into possibility – and write your own future?