I've been reflecting lately on all the small shifts I've made over time which have accumulated into the happiness I now experience.
Happiness I've learned, is not the result of one thing, but a certain way of being and a momentum of many things stringing together moments where we feel good.
All of us long for happiness. In fact, many wise people have observed that we all do everything we do because we sense or thought of feel or realized at one time that this would make us happy.
To create a life in which happiness is a boundless spring within ourselves is a worthy aspiration. It's also in harmony with life--it's something we cannot seem to squash the desire for. So going for it and learning what paths create this is not just fun, but also smart. Because consciously or not, this deep seeded desire actually influences everything.
It seems to me in my own experience that there are things which always elicit happiness and things which seem like they will but don't. Of course there are those things we each say/do which we sort of know from experience will not feel good and yet we do them anyway. Often these make us feel really bad--because we've acted on our own behalf in a way that isn't serving our own wellbeing. Yet if we're gentle and honest, we discover that underneath those kind of patterns there is, yet again, the sincere desire for happiness. Typically there is some pay-off for the behavior that is usually a diluted form of feeling good. Maybe it's the best way we knew how to get to feeling good in the past? So even if it's a lame version of happiness we choose it because it seems to be better than not having any happiness. So maybe we can just lighten up about all of this and realize we are in our own perhaps warped way, just seeking the fundmanetal nature of reality--which is joy. Even though some of our choices result in experiences that feel icky (Like eating sweets when we want love.) We can recognize the basic impulse toward happiness and instead of beating ourselves up we can just choose to add a small new habit into our life which might help us tap into love in a more sustainable way.
What's amazing is that sometimes it's easier to just build new wonderful feel-good ways of being, then to drop bad habits. Sometimes we can just pivot our experience through looking at and paying attention to something new and healthy and wonderful and amazingly, over time, we realize the old bad habits that didn't serve us has just dissolved on its own.
I like this kind of approach because it's easier. Why not choose the easy path? It's just a simple truth--the more uplifting, congruent, love-filled moments in my day, the less of any other kind of experiences. So the not-happy moments gradually just got squeezed out.
Now it's the exceptional moment when I feel content--content being a downward dip in my experience. Generally I know a sustained experience where I am present, clear and happy! Occasionally I feel frustrated. And very rarely irritated or angry. Because these lower-vibe experiences are the exception, I am very quickly aware of what's happening and so can choose to care for my experience. For me the important thing when I am triggered or feel badly is to just be aware and then to interrupt this. I just stop participating in whatever is happening. Once I've interrupted this, sometimes I just feel good and well-being returns spontaneously. Then I can "clean up" anything I need to--like apologizing to someone if I wasn't really listening, or for leaving a conversation because I had to take care of myself. All of this happens pretty smoothly now, because happiness is a groove for me vibrationally, as I've cultivated it, and it's natural for the inner-smile to come forth again.
The amazing thing is that none of these changes were difficult to make. That's because I made them when I felt ready, or inspired. When the idea of this way of being was nudging me, popping up synchronistically all around me, pointing me in this direction. So I made changes when I was in alignment with new ways of being. How do you know this? If you sense something will bring you more happiness, it likely will. Simple as that.
Some of these changes took longer than others to truly become a habit, but they all reflect things I care about--kindness, openness, love, appreciation, respect for life, nature, enthusiasm, warmth, simplicity, beauty. I suspect it's because they are aligned with my values that they eventually took root within me and have just become who I am and how I do things.
Here's a few of the changes I've made that I've seen great benefit from: drinking more water, using/checking in with direct knowing rather then using my mind to "figure things out," stretching when I wake up, paying bills with happiness for all I receive, washing my dishes right after I'm done eating, eliminating animal meat, eating more fruit, taking time to focus on my breath, enjoying a daily sunbath, calling in my higher self and grounding each morning, deciding not to take anyone's comments or feedback as criticism--seeing it as just their opinion, always welcoming my dogs/cats when they want attention, learning to be alone with myself, journaling, meditation, listening more and talking less, following my intuition even if I don't understand it, smiling at each person I come in contact with, waiting until I know what I want/want to do before doing it--not trying to "find" answers--letting them come to me, walking my dog every day and noticing the trees and the sky while I'm out walking, making a choice to sustain eye contact with others, getting up early.
You'll notice these are process related, not results related. I am not trying to achieve a certain outcome. I am choosing to live in ways that express what I care about and the kind of presence I wish to be.
I didn't do all of these at once, but little by little they accumulated. Some are larger and more pervasive and took more time to accomplish. All began with an intention to move in this direction and to become this kind of a person. Small or large, all of these changes can enlarge our experience as we take the time to focus upon one and then allow it to become an organic part of how we live. They may seem subtle but building new habits is a powerful thing. Just one of these becoming a habit, becoming who you are/how you live in an ongoing way, will have long lasting implications for your light and your happiness.
It's exciting to realize there so many little ways to open up our experience to more wholeness and joy.
I love making small changes because they are easier and also they snowball--the wellbeing we develop through one path opens up our whole life.
As we discover the new experiences that come from one path or doorway into greater awareness, we become more aware in general. As we choose small shifts in being and doing that reflect our values and ideals, we amplify our ability to embody these qualities. So the great gift of paying attention to your life and making small changes to reflect what you sense will bring you more happiness, is it shifts your consciousness and refines your emanation to reflect and be MORE of you! Pretty cool.
What small shift, or opening has been nudging you from within lately? Has it occurred to you that your higher self flows through your consciousness like a stream and might be planting ideas within you with this little flow of inspiration? If it's a big change can you break it into pieces and start small? What new habit would you love to create that would feel good and make your life more fun?
Enlarge your experience of aliveness? Be sneaky and clever. Smart small. Unleash an innocuous momentum of happiness in your life. Catch yourself offguard...seed your life with newness while no one is noticing. Cultivate and grow. Get your inner smile on.
photo by Pink Sherbert Photography http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/250674118