I’ve found that my two boys often show me why happiness is a choice. In fact, what is it about the young?
We are told that they are bundles of unrestrained joy and innocence. Really?
Well, how come I’m looking at a pouty lip from my eldest (6 years wise) on most mornings. How is him waking up and struggling against the family agenda providing evidence of natural happiness?
A better question is, “How does that serve him and what does it tell me?”
On first glance it looks like something called a bad mood. He has all the symptoms. Downturned mouth and gaze lowered to the floor. Apologetic voice, caved in shoulders and chest.
Something is not right. Something has happened.
Yet if you look up close you can see that it is a mask. It’s a persona he’s wearing, as if he’d got one of his superhero costumes from the dress-up box.
It’s a device that he’s using to help manipulate something. That’s how it serves him. And if you can catch it off guard it cracks and you can see him in there. Laughing.
A quick tickle or a reminder that it’s Nutella day usually does the trick.
The game is up and the ‘mood’ lifted.
He wants something and he’s playing the “it’s not fair” game.
But where did he learn such a device?
I know you’re already ahead of me. What a gift we have given them. “Dear children, despite your unrestricted flow of pure joy and smiles let us teach you how to put on a scowl and let everyone know that we are really pissed about something.”
“Thanks Dad, I’ll remember that.”
The hard part isn’t seeing through his mask, it’s realising that we do exactly the same thing. Daily
When someone annoys us we reach for the sulky pout. That will show them! If someone forgets that we were next in line we unleash the full-on “how dare you”. Irritated, impatient, agitated and annoyed.
We bring them out as our tools of communication. To let everyone know that we’re not pleased about things right now!
But as we’ve learned, it works both ways. We can just as easily trigger happiness!
We can choose to be tickled by things. To be amused.
Joy happens first, before the presents arrive.
We have to choose it and it is ours.
Happiness works by us first allowing it to bubble up and show itself. We often get caught up in our own drama that we don’t let it happen and we don’t see that we can choose it. We always think that happiness comes later.
Yet we have the power to make it happen.
We don’t need other people to do things that will make us happy.
We can choose happiness and the joy will flood in anyway.
The thing about having a dream, or even just setting a big goal, is that it can stop you in your tracks. You freeze. I’ll show you how practice is the key.
“I don’t know if I could ever do that!”
“That just seems unrealistic. How am I ever going to start?”
A voice that you hear finds every possible doubt that lingers in the energy of your thoughts, (and that’s all that your thoughts are, after all).
The result is that you stay motionless. Motivation deserts you as you look across the dream chasm, unable to move.
“I’ll never manage that. I just don’t have the talent.”
We give ourselves plenty of justification as to why that particular goal or vision is too unattainable and how we should just stay where we are. It’s often because our psyche seeks safety and comfort it prefers staying put and not moving at all.
“I can’t really change this relationship, I should just stay where I am.”
But beware of the shoulds. Mike Dooley often talks about the ‘cursed hows’. Well I’m talking about the ‘loathsome shoulds’.
There is a really good way to tackle them and to move from inaction to action. To render the ‘loathsome shoulds’ impotent.
Through doing the practice.
Doing the practice is making the small steps without worrying about the big G-O-A-L.
Put your helmet on and start doing the thing that will begin to shape the dream. It’s not the final dream vision itself, but the fuel that will run the engine to get there.
If it’s writing, then write; building a website, then start working with code,;meditating then start sitting and following your breath.
I always tell people who I work with that when you practice you are not on stage, therefore practice isn’t the performance. You don’t have to look good and you don’t have to impress anyone or gain approval.
You are practicing, pure and simple.
Work out the kinks, find your voice, play with the line and see where it takes you.
Doing the practice builds your discipline and gives you a path. Don’t look for the top of the mountain yet. Watch your feet and find the footholds in front of you.
This isn’t being busy for busy’s sake, or spinning your wheels to give you the illusion that you are working. This is building a habit of practice that will carry you almost unnoticeably forward with a quiet certainty.
Each day moving. Each day doing the practice.
One of the most repeated pieces of advice I give to people is, “You’re not broken.” I say this so many times. And I believe that it’s true.
It’s sort of the opposite to therapy. In that case you look at the damage caused from your past and relive it or express it to relieve the pressure of suppression of emotions.
I believe we all come into this world perfectly formed in our own way. We don’t need to add anything or change anything. All we have to do is allow ourselves to grow and develop and realise our potential.
To become your possibility. To find yourself.
This is a great relief and comfort to people. You are not broken. I’m not even giving you the burden of “you are a genius”. It’s light and no pressure.
Think about it. You are not broken. No need for therapy, you are not broken. No need for guilt, you are not broken. No need for shame, you are not broken.
Well today I caught myself lost in my self-improvement drive – again. And I wondered why I don’t take this advice.
How many affirmations and clearing techniques do I need?
Why do I get stuck in the working on myself loop?
If I’m not broken, then why do I need to constantly fix things?
Do you find the same thing? Must become more productive, more effective, more loving.
It’s part of our self-actualisation you might say, but are we jamming our bandwidth with too many improve yourself to-dos?
Perhaps we need to create more space to just be. When you create space you get to experience your own insight and intuition. What Philip McKernan calls “your Soulset.”
When you create space you can find your inner voice that guides.
So today I started not working on myself.
I started not affirming that I was earning six figures. I stopped affirming that I had perfect health. I stopped trying to clear blockages and shift energy.
Today I started being who I am. Not broken. And no need to work on myself.
I took a day off from self-help.
Today I started to feel comfortable with my work. Not needing to push on and change things. I found myself being okay with my kids behaviour because they’re not broken either. We just need to be with each other.
Today I was being me.
Today I was unbroken.
Today, try being you. Find yourself. Perfect.
Not More Hacks!
I don’t really care for hacks. All that short-cut, time-saving ideology.
I don’t want to short change my experience just so that I can cram more into an hour. Run faster, get more done, be busier.
Enough of doing more.
But on this occasion I’m hacking how to meditate so that more people can use it and get over their fear of it.
I’m specifically hacking ‘meditating properly’ because it came up for one of my clients. It came up so much that it had hampered his own meditation process. He felt that he should be meditating properly to feel okay about who he was, to feel approval for how it’s going.
So this hack is going to help you see through this. Because, you’ll be pleased to know, there is no ‘meditating properly’. There are meditation techniques and there are the results of meditation and that’s it. The important one is the second one, the results. The benefits and the gains. The how to meditate techniques are just to get you there.
in Osho’s Book of Secrets there are 112 meditation techniques and he asks that if you want to learn how to meditate you just pick one that you fancy and then try it for 3 months. Just pick one. it’s not important. All that is important is whether or not it works for you.
So choose Transcendental Meditation, choose mantra meditation, choose yoga, choose mindfulness, choose breath observation, choose body scan, choose sitting, walking, lying, standing. Choose active meditation, choose sound.
You see. the meditation technique is just a tool to get to see through the illusion. Your thoughts are not real.
How to Meditate
When you meditate you begin to see, you become aware. When you meditate you are breaking the train of everyday thoughts. The thought spiral. Meditation is breaking the train of everyday thought and letting go of impulsive thinking.
You let go and awareness enters. You break the train of thought and you see the space. You feel present. You react less and respond more.
This is the goal. The body and mind are resting. They are not doing, doing, doing. You are not lost in thought exhausted.
The brain burns so much energy to keep thinking. We run it ragged just chasing our tails with our thoughts of approval and judgement.
What to do instead
How you get there makes no difference. As long as you aren’t hurting others then take your pick. But not meditating and watching TV. The inaction as you sit is vital to the meditation process. The still space lets that awareness bubble up and the thought spiral is revealed.
So, when you are learning how to meditate don’t worry whether you are meditating properly. That is just more thinking to take you away from your presence. Instead choose a technique that suits. That is the hack. Aim for a break in everyday thinking and allow your awareness to swell within you.
If you want more help get in touch or check out my coaching programme.