Once

I never appreciated the value of gratefulness until I woke up one day to realize that in my pursuit of happiness it was the missing piece.

Knowing and being thankful for your blessings is one thing.  But naming your blessing and calling them out one by one in the face of sadness and despair is another.

Lately, I’ve been so absorbed with the discomfort of a body pain. I’ve been dealing with it for years. I would whine about it in my mind and blame it for things I couldn’t do, for my short temper, and intolerance to just about anything. Though I never blurted my dissatisfaction out loud nor acted on the annoyance I get to contend with every day, the inner struggle was real and was taking its toll on me. Depression set in, to a point where I questioned, “Why am I even here if I’m up to no good”. Believe me, it wasn’t always my narrative. At at a young age, I already believed I was special- just like everyone else.

My appreciation of every person as being unique and innately good, made me sought and believe in the undeniable gift that every human being can bring into this world- the gift of being their own authentic self.

But though inherently pure and innocent, we cannot deny the truth that as we grow old, our minds get corrupted, we get tempted, we grow frail, and of course, we retire, for good.  Often times we forget about these realities and wonder why people do hurtful things and make bad choices.  We get worried when we start to feel physically weak and we get drawn into the illusion that our strongholds will always be there, till they betray us or leave us.

A time will come when these truths will sink in and find their way to unsettle our steady hearts. Some realities we can change, and some we can’t.  And because not everything in our lives is perfect we have to take the good with the bad. When bad gets overwhelming, we have to start reminding ourselves of things that are actually working in our lives. Mastering this power will help us focus on what we have, instead of magnifying the things that we lack.

“Once I get that gold medal, I will be happy”.

“Once I get a raise I’ll be more passionate about my job” 

“Once I hit the lottery, I’ll be generous to every person I know.

“Once this sickness goes away, I will work to achieve my goals.”

“Once I have everything I could ever want, I vow to love everyone I meet”.

Conditions. We attached them to promises, to our purpose, and to our goals. But do these conditions need to be satisfied before we start doing the things that we know we’re supposed to do?  What if we remove them and declare that starting now,

“I will be happy”.

“I will be more passionate with my job”. 

“I will be generous to every person I know”.

“I will fulfill my dreams”.

“I will love all the people around me”.

Anything is pretty much doable, don’t you think? Getting rid of conditions we set for ourselves, rewards us with the freedom of making our own deliberate choices, regardless of our circumstances.  And that ultimately defines the person we become.

We can only go as far as we allow ourselves to go. So enough with conditions and excuses. The world doesn’t owe us anything. But we owe one thing to the world- – a better us.

Question.

What conditions have you set for yourself? How did it limit you in any way? What big decisions did you make? Share your thoughts. Love to hear from you.

Pancakes It Is For Me

I love waking up each morning to the smell of pancakes. The sensation it brings equates to a fresh beginning. A promise of a new day stuffed with a basket of hope and a few more dreams. 

We all have to have something to look forward to every day, else, our lives would be dull and meaningless.  You have to know that you’re made for more. Do you know why?  

Your heart skips at the sight of sunflowers and roses, or the smell of meadows and green fields. You smile at the sound of children’s laughter more so of a baby’s chuckle. Your face glows, and your body less tense at a loved one’s touch, or a friend’s hug-  the warmth of it, the comfort, the sincerity of  “I’m with you”- even in the absence of words.

We are a feeling creature, and what moves us, MOVES us. Think about it.

  • You feel inspired, you write more stories.
  • You feel bold, you dream more, you dream big.
  • You feel loved, you yield.
  • You feel strong, you give a hand.
  • You feel happy, your steps turn into leaps.

But how about in your not-so-great days?  You feel bored, lazy, incapable, unsure, tired, or on the brink of giving up?  Is there something that can do the trick? Surprisingly, yes!

Emotion follows motion.  You act until you feel like it. This is still you, but this time, you’re throwing the ball instead of swinging the bat. Wondering how?

Say it’s the first day of the week, and you’ve got to get to work.  If you’re stuck with an uninspiring job, the drive to your workplace, all the way to the steps leading to your desk feels like doomsday.

Picture this. You’re treading down a narrow path leading to a tiny cubicle, with a mini desk, filled with hills and mountains of paperwork. Your steps feel heavy right? You’re feeling down already, but you have to work. So try this. Don’t walk on your way to your desk. Skip. More like bounce.  Like you’re dancing. It’s hard to do that and not smile right? Your muscles need to harmonize. So smile.  Notice this time, It’s hard to bounce and smile and not feel happy. So then take the liberty to poke your heart.  Your mind will then start to talk.    

Mind to Heart.  You know life is too short. Let’s give it our best shot. Even just for today. Tomorrow will have its own time,  I mean, It’s for another day. But right now, it’s you, me, and this awesome body taking on this day. Let’s do this! Ahhh and I’m so looking forward to that cup of barley tonight, and a fresh stack of pancakes in the morning, with blueberries on top? (and so it goes).

Emotion follows motion. Try it. Your days are too precious to leave it gloomy and sad. Make it happy. Throw in glitters of hope.You owe it to your self. 

Come on. Smile already. 🙂

What You Need To Know About Happiness

It cannot be found. The world doesn’t owe it to you. It can’t be guaranteed by anyone or anything, not even by a therapist, an enlightened guru, or by any amount of wealth, fame and power.

Chasing happiness makes it elusive, just like sleep when you desperately want it.  So where does happiness lie? How does one get to possess it?

Let me tell you a story about a wealthy family. 

One day there was this boy who’s celebrating his 8th birthday. As a present, his parents took him down the countryside for the weekend. They stayed in a spacious cabin by the lake, not very far from a small farm. This was the very first time that the family ever spent time away from the city.  

The next day, the father took his kid fishing, and both decided to stay until mid-afternoon to feast on their catch.  After having their fill, they decided to take a longer route going back and happened to pass by the small farm. 

The pair saw the family living there spending some fun afternoon just outside their barn.  Three kids are running around, playing with chickens and goats, climbing and jumping down haystacks. Two men sipping their cup of hot tea while a teenage boy plays a folk song in his rugged jeans with his old guitar entertaining the older men. Coming out from an old wooden house, a young woman and an elderly lady are carrying a plate of freshly baked cookies and a pile of bread, bidding the kids to come and grab some. 

As the father and son moved in closer, the oldest man from the farm noticed them, and without hesitation waved and invited the two to stop by. The rich man hesitated, said thank you and carried on.  

As the pair inch further away, the boy can’t help but look back and glance at the family again and again. Finally, they reached the cabin. The night was already deep and the farm was out of sight.

At the dinner table, the boy recounted his day and out of the blue, he quipped.

Boy: “Dad, I realize they are richer than us”.

Dad: “Who, son”?

Boy: “The family at the farm”.

Dad: “What do you mean? They don’t have much. But us, we own a lot of companies, live in a huge house with lots of cars, you can have all the sweets you want, and you’re always safe as I have servants looking after you, drop you to school and pick you up.  There’s freedom in our wealth, son, you can do anything”!

Son: “Well dad, they have a million lights above them, they have the stars. And the sky is huge, they get to enjoy it every time. They are always together, they look very happy and they celebrate every moment. They don’t just pass the time, they live it, savor it, just like those freshly baked cookies. It smelled so delicious and to them, every moment is treated like that. And it seems they didn’t feel scared.  They don’t have big men watching over them or guarding them. I think they have Someone bigger and stronger than the guards we have. I don’t know. But I just feel they’re richer than us, they’re freer, happier, and I think they’ve got something really special”.

The father was astonished about what he heard and was lost for words. 

My friend, happiness cannot be circumstantial because it’s within us- a sleeping giant that just needs to be awakened. You don’t need any magic tricks, fancy cars, shiny shoes or mansions. You don’t need to be a superstar nor would you need a hermit to reveal an ancient secret to you. Happiness is already in you. You just need to bring it out. Your spark, your gift, your beauty, your goodness, it lies at the very core of your being. 

The challenge? Piece by piece, layer by layer, strip yourself off with your masks, pretensions, pride, hate, with worldly desires and dependencies. Your soul and your heart, in it’s barest state, reveals the true you, and because of so much goodness that lies within that core, there lies not just happiness, but pure joy too.

You are your own joy. Celebrate your being, and move the world beautifully in ways that only you can.