Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Recipe for a Delicious Life

"Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect.
It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections."
- Unknown

At one time or another, we've all had situations in our life that we wished would have been different. A lot of these "imperfect" situations tend to be things we really had no control over, or perhaps only minimal control. I know I've had my fair share!

But what I've learned, and what I teach my clients, is that the only real control we have is over our own self. We can not change a situation by fighting against it. We can only change our perception of it and how we choose to act in spite of it.

It IS possible to be happy and to have a "delicious life." Here are five key steps to take toward it....

Love Your Self

This is probably the most important ingredient, yet, it seems to get the most flak. The idea of "self-love" tends to bring up images of selfishness, which most of us have been taught since childhood, especially when it came to sharing our toys... to NOT be selfish.

In the Bible, Jesus admonishes us to "love our neighbor as our self." But in my experience, the passage has been used more to emphasis loving others and forgetting about our self, rather than loving our selves so that we can love others.

But let's look at this logically.... Can you really and truly love another person if you dislike who you are?

Or put another way, how much would you do for someone you dislike? Probably not much, right? And if you don't like yourself, you probably wouldn't be inclined to spend a lot of effort to create a wonderful, prosperous, nurturing life for yourself.

Fortunately, since you're still reading this article, that means that on some level, you must already like yourself a pretty good bit. So, let's turn our question around....

How much would you do for someone you really love? You'd probably go out of your way to do wonderful things for them, right?

So, treat yourself the same way. :)

Stand in front of a mirror and say, "I love you, (state your name)" and "I love myself," then accept the thoughts and feelings that come up.

Many people make a big protest about doing this. But I ask again, "How much would you do for someone you dislike?"

Show yourself a little self-love. Only then can you truly love the other people in your life.

Be Willing to Receive

Life is amazing. Despite all the pain and sorrow it can entail, life here on planet Earth is awesome. If you've temporarily forgotten, just go outside and sit in nature or watch the sunset tonight to get back in touch with the wonder of it all.

And the coolest thing is that YOU are so deserving of life to have been given all these wonders of nature to live in, so anything you might want while you're here is a mere trifle in comparison. You see, the universe gives you all that it gives you without condition (your life, your breath, etc). In fact, you could even take the view that the universe has been throwing good stuff to you your whole life, and the only thing that's stopped you from having it is that you've been unwilling to receive it.... Until now.

As you go through your day tell yourself, "I am willing to receive all the good that comes to me," then accept any thoughts and feelings that arise.

Make Room for What You Want

Nature always fills up a vacuum, so it's important to make space for what you want to bring into your life. This applies not only to the more tangible physical things such as money, furniture, hot dogs, or pies. It also applies to relationships, ideas, and even emotions. If a person is full of bitterness and resentment, there isn't much room for fulfillment and happiness.

Take time to consider what you want to bring into your life, and then start making room for it.

Make Peace with Your Goal

Inner peace, and its close relations (happiness, freedom, love, serenity, fulfillment, etc) are what every person ultimately desires. These are the "goals behind the goals" that people are seeking. There is a simple way for you to bring these into your life: Make inner peace your primary goal.

Now, this doesn't mean you have to go around being peaceful and serene all over the place. (Unless you just want to.) Nor does it mean you can't have any other goals. The main point with goals is to not become attached to them. Realize that your ultimate happiness and well-being does not depend on any one of your goals. Instead, in any situation, make peace your ultimate goal. In other words, whenever there is a choice (and there's always a choice), choose peace.

Remember, Life is Like an Ice Cream Machine

Life IS like an ice cream machine. No, really! If you put strawberries into an ice cream machine, you get strawberry flavored ice cream. If you put in peaches, you get peach-flavored ice cream. It's the same with people. When we put fear into our minds and bodies, we get fear-flavored results.
But what happens when you imagine putting feelings of happiness, freedom, abundance, peace, and fulfillment into your ice cream machine? Delicious! :)

If you're not sure what you've been putting into your ice cream machine, check the flavor of your ice cream. This will give you a clear indication of what ingredients you've been using.
What ingredients will you choose to put into your ice cream machine? (Hint: start feeling now the way you'll feel when you've got what you want.)

We all long for a happy, fulfilling life full of all the ‘good stuff’ life has to offer, with minimal hardships and sorrow. Although I can’t promise these five ingredients will ease all your troubles, practicing them daily can put you on a path toward an increased feeling of well-being which can lead you to that happy, fulfilling life you deserve.

Here's to continuing the Journey.... learning, growing... being careful about what we put in our 'Ice Cream'!


PS. For some ideas to take these tools and techniques to the next level, see the September issue of TIPs for the Journey: Going Deeper