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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Habitual Happiness Part One

Dear Friend,

I am writing you a love letter, because I think that you need a really big hug. I think you need a vote of confidence. I think you need everything you would give to a small child afraid of the imaginary monsters under his bed. You need to hear that soothing comforting voice and feel that all enveloping hug of reassurance that everything truly is okay. That you are safe right here in your own hands. You know who I am. I am the one you walk with, hold hands with, who tucks you into a perfect night of rest and rises with you in the morning with bright open eyes clear and ready for the start of a new day.

I am the one who walks you by the river of dreams and literally washes the gunky negative thoughts out into the open where you can see them float away. I cleanse you of the fears and doubts that you have carried for far too long. I am a healer, but so are you. Think of me as a trusted friend teaching you to trust in yourself. 

In your own strength and courage.

But here is a little secret. Life does not have to be this hard honey. Life is hard enough without adding to it fantasy and unrealistic not going to happen scenarios. I know this is very tough for you to accept, but start on this new path right now. Take a deep breath and ask yourself to hush. Hush all the thoughts that want to scare you. They are strong, but you are so much stronger. You can give them a severe beating, not by force of hand, but by force of will.

Say to yourself…oh yes I will. Yes I will smile, yes I will laugh, yes I will dream, yes I will dance and play and marvel at the wonders of nature around me. Yes, I will look at my children and grand children with loving eyes, and let their ability to play loosely and with wild abandon, be my guiding light. See the world as they do. Wide open and miraculous. Each day a new discovery.

I want you to take a moment to pause here as I write to you. Did you notice that as you were reading these words, some of your anxiousness evaporated. Lost in these good thoughts your body settled down. You calmed down. 

You truly calmed down.

Now I understand that you have been dwelling in the past a long while now,  scaring yourself about the future, so that you are not quite ready to trust these calm feelings will stay. Will last. But they can. It is time for you to begin to believe that. Even if you only believe for one minute. Time yourself. One minute. Sit here. With me. Yes if you need some music that is even better. So check the clock and let’s try one minute.

Two minutes? Really on your first try! That is double your expectations already. Pat yourself on the back. Smile. You did it. Now don’t go backwards by looking too far ahead.

Wondering how long it will last, this peace. Because your inner peace will last as long as you believe in it. Say to yourself. I believe. I believe. I believe. Practice that with me. Anytime day or night when a tiny negative thought teases at you. Simple close the door with these three phrases. I believe in me. I believe in me. I believe in me.

 Let me tell you what the past is good for. The past is a good way to remind you of all your past success. Picture those moments when you were brave and funny and happy and joyous and ABLE. Truly able to immerse yourself so completely in new adventures, with no reservations or pre conceived ideas of failure. You just had fun. Living life. Being you. In control, on your own walking down new paths unafraid of the shadows. Look at how you stood tall and moved with ease. Use the past for these glorious memories and nothing else. The past is over. Now is here. Nothing from your past can harm you. The future is yet unwritten and you have the pen in your hand.

Together you and I can write a new story one day at a time. Only this time let’s pull out the thesaurus and find new positive language. Let us both re-program your brain into thinking I can. You have it there. Let’s write a few of them down for reference.

Happy: cheerful, merry, good spirits, high spirits, lightheartedness, elated, joyful, glad, exceedingly glad, thrilled, in seventh heaven, walking on air, on top of the world, free and easy, untroubled, worry free.

Peaceful: restful, calm, quiet, still, at rest, tranquil, quiet, serene, composed, relaxed and easy
Bliss: joy, ecstasy, gladness, pleasure, heavenly

Wonder: awe, surprise, fascination, curiosity, creativity

Good job.

Okay let’s try one minute rest again. Ready?

Well?  Three minutes? Good for you.

Do you see what we are doing together here? We are climbing up a beautiful staircase one step, one minute at a time. No rush to reach the top, merely time to relish the climb up and out of old thinking, and moving higher up to where the white fluffy clouds seem within our reach.

We are leaving old habits behind, scattered at the base of the ladder, as it is so much easier to climb without having to carry a load. Yes, yes, I know, I hear you. Habits are hard to break, and some of them are actually good for you. The truth is that the habits we will break are the ones that feel the heaviest. Seem to hold the greater power. Pretend and fake you into thinking they are protecting you, when actually they are like an anchor, weighing you down. Time to cut anchor. Time to be free, lighter on your feet. Bad habits gain their power by whispering, you need me. You need me to feel better. Bad habits are liars. They offer you nothing, but  an imaginary temporary escape. 


None of their whispers can compare to the relief you felt in those three minutes of calm, you gave to yourself, with no strings attached. No false promises, or false comfort. Real peace. True calm. Freely given just for you. There you have it, your first new habit. Rewarding yourself with your own calm heart, not your head.

Habits are based in routine. Routine keeps you safe. Or so you think. Routine is a habit that can serve us well. Checking the stove to be sure you turned it off is fine. Once. Repeating a pattern over and over, leaves no room for new ideas. New uncharted paths. New creative and spontaneous moments of surprise and wonder. Breaking out of a routine is tough. That is you talking. Not me. I am here to tell you that breaking out of a routine is good for your soul. It helps prepare you to not only expect the unexpected, but to be ready for it, and willing to embrace change.

Habitual Happiness is the goal.  

The path out. 

The answer to the question you love to ask. What if? Habitual Happiness leads you, instead, to ask, Why not?
Think of yourself in the middle of a foreign city, no GPS, a crumpled map at your feet. Your cell phone empty of minutes. You are out of your routine. Pull over and do what your wiser self would do. Greet a stranger and ask for directions. Be open to guidance. Trust in the goodness of others. You never truly walk alone. You know that. You know how often you have found solutions, simply by asking for a little help. You will be a blessing to yourself, and provide the chance for another just like you, to ease your way home. My guess is that you will end your conversation with a shared smile. I help when you ask, and you help when I do. What a grand scheme of give and take.

The truth is that in this life, while some may laugh at first if you slip and fall, most will reach out a hand to help you up. Why? Because whatever situation you are in, a multitude of others once walked in your shoes. The laugh or the smile, simply felt, is one way to say, been there, done that. Sharing with others makes what seems huge and overwhelming, trivial and manageable.
So here we go. Moving forward, with a gentle loving spirit. Lay your hand on your heart, at least once a day, and say…I trust you. Because I do. I see you, hear you, and am waiting to hear from you. If you need a new habit, try this. Write a letter to yourself. Or a Post-It. Or do a doodle drawing. Smile inside first, and the smile on your face will follow. Then trust the new feeling, hold it tight, give it hug. Again and again and again. Until you believe.
 The new feeling is Happiness. Make it your favorite Habit.
Oh, me? I am right here. All the time. Whenever you need me. That’s what friends are for. You can call me up anytime. I will answer day or night. 
I promise.

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