The Path of Unconditional Happiness

untethered-soul-3

“Happiness is an inside job.”

As the year draws to a close we’re entering the home stretch of my blog series on The Untethered Soul with five chapters to go! Thanks for hanging in there with me on this spiritual refresher course. In my opinion, these last chapters are the most inspiring and provocative. They include unconditional happiness, nonresistance, contemplating death, the middle way, and the loving eyes of God.
have-a-nice-dayIn his chapter on happiness, Michael Singer asks us a simple question: “Do you want to be happy?” I imagine everyone would say yes, of course, if only…(fill in the blank). We tend to put conditions on our happiness. I’ll be happy when I lose ten pounds, happy when I get the promotion, happy when I can afford a new car, and on it goes. But Singer tells us happiness is a choice, a choice that can lead to enlightenment if we drop the conditions.

“If you decide that you’re going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. You were not put on Earth to suffer. If you want to be happy, you have to let go of the part of you that wants to create melodrama.” ~ Michael Singer

Not surprisingly, many folks take issue with this idea – the idea that we can be happy 24/7, regardless of what life throws at us. I don’t know how realistic it is to feel “happy” in every moment of every day. So I am going to suggest a compromise, based on my own experience.

Let’s replace the word happy with peaceful.

I can envision living a more peaceful life. In fact, using some of Michael Singer’s techniques, I can achieve a peaceful state, regardless of the world around me, by going inward and focusing on the present moment. But it ain’t always easy. For me, it’s more of a process than a constant state of being.

My life philosophy is, living with an open mind, open heart and compassion towards all. It’s a rather simple philosophy in theory, in practice, well, that’s another matter. I make it more difficult when I let the melodrama of my mind have its way, but that’s my choice too. Sometimes I like a little drama, it keeps life spicy. Striving to live a more peaceful life doesn’t mean I never experience drama, or anger, or the full range of human emotions – I do!  But through the practice of awareness, I can see my thoughts spiraling out of control and pull back, become the observer, the witness and make a choice. Do I wanna go down this rabbit hole of drama? Or, get my act together and calm down? That’s awareness.

So, choosing peace, or happiness, doesn’t mean you won’t still experience life’s difficulties. You’re simply choosing to see things differently, through the eyes of awareness. Once you’re aware, then you can choose how best to respond.

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” ~Wayne Dyer

Once again, Singer recommends adopting a daily meditation practice to stay centered. I think he may be right, though – knowing you can center yourself and choose peace leads to a happier life. See how we came full circle just then? LOL.

Give peace a chance
Give peace a chance
So this week, as we approach the new year, practice choosing peace, and know that it is your choice. You are not powerless over how you react to what the world throws at you. And if you’re resistant to this idea….well, stay tuned….

Next week: The Spiritual Path of Non-resistance

~Namaste

Friday Features ~ LET’S BLOW BUBBLES!

Bubble gum bag framed

We were captivated as we watched the pink bubble grow bigger and BIGGER. And then, it emerged, a smaller bubble within the large pink bubble. Slowly, the small bubble began to grow bigger and BIGGER.

Bubble TeriFramed

It was pure GENIUS!

Teri had managed to blow a bubble the size of her face and then another bubble within the bubble! Her cheeks puffed out as she blew more air into her masterpiece! Then,

POP! SMACK!

Teri’s face was covered in gooey pink gum!

"WINNER"
“WINNER”

We cheered and laughed as we crowned Teri the winner of our annual office bubble blowing contest!

We asked how she’d managed it. Her secret, she shared, was to chew two pieces of bubble gum at once so you had more to work with – BRILLANT! And so it went, in future years, that we fought to see how many pieces of bubble gum we could chew at one time while mastering the DOUBLE BUBBLE!

It was an office tradition, back in the day. We loved to find ways to “play” at work! In fact “fun” was part of our office mantra, “We get it done while having fun!”

Now I know there are those who say there is no place for such antics in the workplace, to which I say “PHOOEY”!! (That’s a technical term for buzz-kill!)

Early in my career, I worked in an environment where laughter was prohibited and attempts at play were grounds for dismissal.  I remember thinking, “If ever I’m ‘Queen of Everything’ I’m going to declare laughter and play a requirement!”

And so it came to pass, in my Cinderella story of a career, that I was given the opportunity to lead a talented group of professionals. It took some time to master the art of leadership, (that’s a blog for another day) but one thing I knew from the start was I wanted to create an environment that encouraged laughter, play, and creativity!

Enter the double bubble! Our weekly staff meetings often started with an inspirational quote (everyone was required to take a turn – no one got a pass on creativity and inspiration!) One year we read “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson – one chapter each week. We had bubble gum blowing contests, scavenger hunts,  and a variety of team events. We also worked hard, developed our strategic plan, set our annual goals – and attained them! Happy equals productive … just sayin.

I realize that our office culture may not work for everyone or every profession but let me offer up a little challenge. On Monday, bring a bag of bubblegum to work and on your break, or lunch hour, challenge your co-workers to a bubble gum blowing contest.  You’ll  make some memories but most of all you’ll laugh – and any day you can laugh at work is a good day! Do it! I dare ya!

It’s the weekend peeps….go buy your bubblegum and practice the “double bubble”!!!

~Namaste