The no. 1 priority for being happy & 6 tips for conscious wanting

This is going to seem blatantly obvious when I say it but it’s just amazing how often most of us don’t make this the number 1 priority.

The number 1 priority for being happy is to WANT to be happy. 

The same goes for everything else:

The number 1 priority for love is to want to love and be loved.
The number 1 priority for being healthy is to want to be healthy.
The number 1 priority for __________ is to want to ____________. You fill in the blanks.

It is as simple as that, really!

You’ve gotta choose to be happy. And to do that you have to KNOW that you want it!
You do NOT need to know HOW to get or have or be it.

We love to be complex. (I know I do anyway!) If we want X then we think we need to focus on Y and Z. No, No, No. If you want X then you want X and you focus on X.

Happiness is available when you choose it. Photo: Georgina Peard by Carlos Gonzalez photographie

Happiness is available when you choose it. Photo: Georgina Peard by Carlos Gonzalez photographie

Let’s unpack it a little.

1. First, KNOW what you want. 
Now this does not mean needing to do an in-depth process of your strengths and personality traits and asking others how they see you, and considering your childhood passions, and what you’d do even if your weren’t paid for it  etc. etc. etc. It’s not about finding one life purpose.

I’m talking about a higher (or deeper) level than all that. Do you want to be happy? Do you want to be a great parent? Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to feel wild and free? Do you want to enjoy life?

2. Then, OWN what you want. 
The weird thing is that we might work out what we want but then we deny ourselves that want. We don’t think its realistic, or possible, or that we are worthy of it or perhaps even that it is “allowed”. Crikey!! Watch out for the almost instantaneous backlash of “Yes but…..” and “I can’t…..” type thoughts which result in you hiding away the want.

How about just enjoying the fact that you know what you want? Let it be a dream and enjoy daydreaming about it. When you are really connected to something you want, it will feel good as you think about it. If not, then it’s not really what you want and might just be conditioning and someone else’s want.

3. SAY OUT LOUD what you want.
Say it out loud so that you can hear yourself owning this want. Write it down, sing about it in the shower, paint it in colours, make a vision board of it. Dare to share it with someone who wants the best for you. This ain’t about holding you accountable to something. It’s so that you start creating new neural pathways, like new voices in your head that are actually positive and helpful. Make this want so obvious and present in your psyche that it can no longer get stashed under a whole bunch of other daily pressures, habits and to do lists.

4. LET THE UNIVERSE KNOW what you want.
The more energy you put into feeling and dreaming up this want, the more energy gets sent out into the universe to manifest that want. That will start the whole universe in motion to help you out. It’s like some magic fairy kingdom in the sky receiving in a new command, sending them into high alert to shift destiny and deliver you with opportunities where you can keep selecting and focusing on your want. Well, however it might happen, maybe you send it out on a heart’s prayer, with a wink of an eye, on a pebble in a stream or sending the written wish up in flames. And do it regularly. Be conscious of your want daily.

5. BELIEVE you can have what you want
Ok, so this is a biggie. We could get into in-depth psychology here but that’s not the objective. We are staying simple. So if you can, or rather if you DARE, just believe that you can have or be what you want. Now this is simple actually. Because you need to use the same process again. Priority no.1 for believing in what you want is to WANT to believe in what you want. Only you can do it for yourself. Believe also that you having what you want is a good thing for everyone and serves a higher purpose. What you desire in your heart is guiding you wisely to live our your purpose actually.

6. Notice I WANT becomes I AM 
At this point notice how it feels in your body, in your mind, in your heart. The very cool and funny thing is that just this knowing and choosing and dreaming up of what you want is more important than ever succeeding in having it. In fact, it’s most often the case that just knowing it and bringing it to clear conscious attention in the now, means you already have it or are experiencing it. It is already here, right now. Or perhaps it helps you suddenly get really clear on what you need to do or say to reach for what you want.

I want to be happy. Oh actually, I am happy because I choose to be happy right here and now.

happiness want what you have

Be content today with bringing into full consciousness to what it is that you really want, above and beyond everything else. Be content and gleeful in making the WANT a NUMBER 1 PRIORITY in your life and finding ways to anchor it in your mind and heart.

There is of course a fundamental next step, and that is to make every choice from now on based on that which you want. Perhaps we’ll explore that more another day. You may notice anyway, that this just naturally happens because you are clear on the want.

So what is your fundamental want? Are you prepared to share?

 

Passing through crazy to come home to wholesome and wholehearted

In my classes and retreats, I often speak to ‘coming home’ to yourself. This is the first essential step in experiencing joy and freedom. To truly live from that place of ‘home’, however, deeply rooted in your authentic self, means to fully embrace all of you, to be wholesome and wholehearted.

We all know the phrase, “Home is where the heart is”. It can certainly mean the time or place where, or the people with whom, we feel a deep, heartfelt connection. It can also mean literally wherever we currently find ourselves, alive and heart beating, conscious and present to all that we are feeling and experiencing. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “Wherever you go, there you are”.

But have you ever found yourself feeling torn between two or more possibilities, two decisions, two points of view? If I walk out this door right now my life will be completely different than if I stay put.

Every moment, with every thought, word and action, we are influencing and creating our reality.

We all have the capacity to imagine and experience multiple realities. We can ‘put ourselves in their shoes’ as we say, to get a sense of someone else’s perspective. Even beyond sharing life experiences with another, we have the capacity to empathise with any other human or even animal. That’s awesome (and a bit more of it is generally needed!)

We are many things all at once. In me is child, mother, priestess, seductress, warrior, human, animal, goddess. I am masculine and feminine. I am witch and bitch. I am a lover and hater. I am physical muscles, bones and organs, and I hold the elements of the entire universe within me. I am forty years old and I have lived many lifetimes. I am ignorant and I am wise beyond all knowledge.

To be wholesome, we must remain truthful to our vulnerable complexity. In order to keep our balance, we need to hold the interior and exterior, visible and invisible, known and unknown, temporal and eternal, ancient and new, together. No-one else can undertake this task for you. You are the one and only threshold of an inner world. This wholesomeness is holiness. To be holy is to be natural; to befriend the worlds that come to balance in you.

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

John O’Donohue continues to write, “Each one of us is doomed and privileged to be an inner artist who carries and shapes a unique world“.

Our ability to shape-shift and imagine and create is extraordinary, confusing and terrifying at the same time. Perhaps it is this that creates so much stress, fear, neurotic behaviour, and, dare I say it, willingness to be strongly conditioned by societal norms. We struggle to make sense and peace with our own complexity. We are terrified that some of that inner madness might make us unloveable or do something bad that would have us rejected.

So when we sit with ourselves and notice and hear and feel our inner world, that can feel kind of crazy at first! As we sit more and more, it can feel even more crazy!

DSC_1953

Taking to time to sit and contemplate the inner landscape. Georgina Peard by CarlosGonzalez Photographie

So I am here to say, it’s ok. It’s even ‘normal’.

Alongside the downright crazy is the imaginative potential to create a new paradigm on earth.

Many of us skim the surface or simply avoid this inner space though. Many of us nourish the parts that we like, and attempt to diminish other parts that appear a bit dark and ugly.

Brené Brown refers to the whole messy process of being human, and that it takes a whole lot of vulnerability and courage and compassion to own all that we are, to show up and be seen, and to live life wholeheartedly.

Wholehearted living, as Brené calls it, is about loving ourselves and embracing all that we are. It’s a process and a choice in each moment.

So first we must dare to come home to ourselves and embrace the magnificent, wild and wonderful inner world with honesty, curiosity and love, as well as a certain lighthearted sense of humour.

Gradually then, we begin to truly rest within ourselves, to feel deeply rooted in our own being, at home in our own soul essence.

From this wholesome and wholehearted place, we may then be truly surprised and delighted by the unique and authentic expression that is born, again and again.

Let’s not fear or shy away from ALL that we are, but rather, as O’Donohue explains it from the Celtic understanding of inner friendship, let’s embrace our “nature, divinity, underworld and human world as one”.

Allow the child in you to delight in such fanciful imagination and limitless possibility.

From a place of wholeness, enjoy creating yourself anew in each moment.

“When we rediscover our childlike nature, we enter into a world of gentle possibility. Consequently, we will find ourselves more frequently at the place of ease, delight and celebration”

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

Navigating the shadow

Does it feel like you are rehashing old patterns and tossed around with gloomy thoughts or negativity about yourself or the world? Does it feel like more effort to stay in a state of love and light, even though you thought you were done with those old thought patterns? Are you internalising a lot, feeling tired and wanting to withdraw from the world? Are you noticing more conflicts, internal and/or external?

Fantastic! You are being gifted the opportunity to work with shadow. Here it is. Slam bang in your face! Bleh! Ugh!

The question is, do you say “Yes” to this opportunity?! Are you ready to upgrade to the next level of love? Are you ready to meet it all and welcome it all? The universe thinks you are!

Do you chose fear or love?

The shadow is what we fear. That which we keep in the shadows to avoid it being seen. It’s the “what I don’t want you to know about me”, and even more so, the “what I don’t want to accept about myself”. It is what disgusts you. We often have it so well hidden we don’t even realise it ourselves. I am not judgemental. I am not a jealous bitch. I am not evil.

To be that would be to be unlovable, to be rejected and abandoned. And that would feel like being left to die.

We compensate by emphasising the opposite (e.g. being super nice and always accommodating to others) or avoiding situations that awaken this shadow in our own consciousness or that might show it up.

We tend to internalise harsh and negative dialogue with ourselves and compensate with actions that can be self-harming, like addictions or situations not aligned with our truth. Perhaps it comes out all ugly in a passive aggressive way, projected on to others. The internal battlefield is externalised and you are in battle with the world. We also try to ‘purify’ and rid ourselves of these darker parts through all sorts of cleanses and spiritual practices and exercise and doing good. Or maybe we outright deny and suppress them.

Light and shadow

The fear of the shadow being uncovered, however, and all that you do, often unconsciously, to keep the shadow hidden, is a major driving force in your life.

The good news is that in the shadow lie your greatest strengths. Once owned and channelled through the heart that energy leads to powerful transformation. The release and directing of that energy is absolutely phenomenal. Seriously! I have witnessed and experienced this so many times.

Let’s take some very simple examples to illustrate where shadow = strength when the same energy is channeled consciously through the heart:

  • I am jealous = I am inspired to be a greater version of myself and create a better life
  • I am judgemental = I have a great ability of discernment
  • I am arrogant = I am leader
  • I am cold and lack compassion = I am level-headed and can see the big picture

So I beg of you, please, please stop trying to cleanse or meditate away or exercise away or suppress or get rid of your shadows. You can’t anyway, no matter how much you try. This would be like losing your juice!

Instead, shed light and love on your shadows. Tease them out with understanding and compassion. Create safety for them to be seen. Acknowledge their power and potential. Connect with their energy and give it direction for positive impact.

The exploration of my shadow has become an important regular, and even, dare-I-say, joyful practice for me. Not always easy, I would say that is the most empowering path I have ever taken. And I get to witness it again and again happening for others in my work.

To realise that you are still loveable and perhaps loved even more – you WITH all your shadows and fears and strategies to hide them – is the most liberating experience!!! Suddenly you are free to be and express and create all that you are meant to, and I’m pretty sure that you have something unique and important to share.

Hide and Seek – Catch me if you can!
As I reflected on this topic one early morning last week by the lake Geneva, my attention was drawn to a large tree. Two dark red squirrels were playing hide and seek around the trunk. Each one trying to see and catch the other, they were scampering around this tree with such speed and agility and glee, changing directions, left and right, up and down. I burst out laughing. That’s it! That is my light and shadow parts at play, doing this all the time, it is the constant dance.

So is it like this for you?

“You can’t see me! I’m the shadow!”
says the dark to the light, “You can’t catch me but I’m going to catch up on you and get you – run, run!”

Or is it more like this?

“I am going to see you dark one,” says the light to the dark, “and I’m going to shed all my light and love on you – you can’t hide.” 

Can you just enjoy the game? Can you relax in the dance with the dark partner?Which one is leading in your life right now in any particular situation?
Is it holding you back in some way?
Are you ready to direct that same energy through your heart? 

Now this is a big area to discuss, so in my next blogs I’ll write more about how I like to consciously and joyfully navigate the shadow.

I’d love to hear about your own experiences with this. Please do share your comments. And stay tuned for more.