I had a choice all along. This core belief is what ultimately catapulted me into an ongoing quest of self-discovery and personal development.
It was a period of two years with no shortage of divine lessons to learn. They kept showing up – one challenge right after another. It was like some magical radar would go off as soon as one came up the next popped up shortly after. It was a divine storm of synchronicity and not in a good way (at least that’s what I thought at the time). Usually, I can handle most things but this pattern continued over the span of two years putting me in a state of constant defensiveness and extreme doubt. I guess it didn’t help matters that there was also a lot of cosmic activity and big planetary shifts happening at the same time. I totally believe that affects us in major ways.
I tend to be strong and resilient when it comes to my own personal mishaps but when loved ones are going through monumental life changes, it’s really hard not to jump into attack mode. It was a dark time all around. Most days I was just on auto pilot going through my daily routine with no real purpose or intention. I could muster up some enjoyment here and there with the occasional happy hour or brunch with friends but for the most part I was just going through the motions. Nothing seemed to excite or motivate me. Work became just a job, not really something I wanted to do for the long term anymore. I felt stuck in this never ending pattern of disappointment, monotony and apprehension.
What I didn’t realize is that I had a choice. Actually I did know that. I’ve dabbled in the personal development realm enough to know that happiness is most definitely a choice you make not something that comes about with time. However, what I didn’t realize is that more than a choice it’s a belief, a mindset, a constant reminder to keep choosing the higher road (something that would eventually become a daily practice). But getting there was most definitely a choice I had to consciously make.
Getting back to that two year period when I was contemplating which way to go …
I could continue down this disappointing winding road that would lead me to a deeper state of sadness and hurt. A state I’ve always tried to avoid as I’ve seen how it affects others firsthand. And although, I’m usually pretty good at bouncing back, it’s a lot harder when challenges hit you one after the other in a short period of time. Those are the times it is difficult to see the light at the end of tunnel. Even more so when your loved ones are suffering.
Or, I could find a much better alternative which in itself seemed like a daunting task. It was like I had no desire to pick myself up. I found comfort in being sad and unfulfilled.
So that is exactly when I knew it was time to take my life back. Not only take it back but make it the life of my dreams. I set out on a journey back in December of 2013 to discover what it means to make happiness a choice. To not only think it but to BELIEVE it and LIVE it fully in my actions, who I associate with, the social activities I choose to participate in, how I serve others though my work, how I optimize my time on this earth by being wholly engaged and present while inspiring those around me to do the same.
I knew both roads would offer even more challenges. And after two years, the realist in me finally took control. Deep down I knew there was something better and my intuition was calling me to find it. What I didn’t know at the time is that it was the best decision I could have ever made not only for me but also for the people closest to me.
It’s been an eye opening journey so far. Not all days are good obviously. What makes this journey even more special is that now if I go through a period of resistance and mental blocks, I can see it is an indication that I am on the right path and to keep pushing forward. It means I’m on the verge of something bigger.
5 insights from my journey so far:
- Make happiness a choice. I know it sounds so cliché. It’s not just about making happiness a choice one time or being this happy bubbly person all the time (which I am most certainly not either). But it is about making it an ongoing habit that may seem hard on some days. Keep it as part of your consciousness instead of automatically thinking the worst or being negative. Flip it. Notice your behavior when reverting to a skeptical way of thinking. Being conscious of it is what makes the choice real in your actions.
- Bring more presence and awareness in all that you do. Not just the big moments but even when washing the dishes, doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom. Take pleasure in the smallest of tasks because that is when you will realize there is beauty all around us. The more you adapt this mindset the more it will be a part of you. Just like forming any pattern over time, this will serve you in the long term.
- Do something inspiring everyday. This is something I used to take for granted and not appreciate enough but it really works. It can be anything that energizes you, fills you with gratitude or triggers you in a positive way. For me, it ranges from taking a spin class, meditating (see #5), taking a walk, looking up at the sky in the middle of a crazy busy day, talking to my babies (which are actually my niece and nephews but they are still my babies!), enjoying some quiet time…leading me to the next insight.
- Be still. One of my favorite things to do is carving out quality time to be alone. It’s funny because I used to always fill up my days with hardly any downtime. Jumping from work, to happy hour, to some event. I would get home late and have to get up super early the next day. And yes it can be fun but what I’ve come to realize is that just stopping to think and be still is the best gift I can give myself. You would be surprised the creativity and inspiration that flows when you actually allow yourself to stop and listen.
- Adapt a daily spiritual practice. Whatever this means to you. It can be prayer, a gratitude journal, meditation, acts of kindness. My morning meditations have become such a sacred space. It allows me to stay open-hearted and consciously plan out my day so that I can continue to take inspired action and make progress on my personal and business goals.
I love hearing about what inspires you on a daily basis. Favorite music, workout, book? Please feel free to share insights from your life experiences in the comments. Can't wait to learn more about you!