Monday, May 10, 2010

Dear Readers

A couple of things have come to my attention recently that I would like to share with you.

My intent in developing this 10 Steps program is to make things easier for us to live happier lives. We are all so busy. If living in our happy place requires finding more time in the day, then regardless of the merits of the ideas, we will feel more stressed and overwhelmed. We will definitely not feel happier.

A friend told me that for people living “in the thick of it” (which for her means raising small children and caring for an ageing parent), there is no time for seeking a happy place. If you are stretched as thin as many of us are, going on a weekend spiritual retreat, or trying to find a hour (even 10 minutes!) to meditate every day is unrealistic. Besides, if we need to put our everyday lives aside to feel better, then that does us no good when we return to our lives.

So what we want is some way to feel happier in our normal lives. And that is where some of these habits can be helpful, I hope. We may or may not be able to change the circumstances of our lives, we may not even want to, but we can develop a different view of these circumstances, and a different way to react and interact with them.

On a related topic, several readers have made comments along the lines of “Oh, gosh, these are great ideas. I really need to do more of this but I don’t seem to be able to.” These comments are sometimes expressions of frustration or self-criticism. Again, not leading to anyone’s happy place. When I fall into this myself, I try to remember steps 6, 7, and 8. Judge not. Practice compassion. Forgive everyone. These three steps are most important as we use them for ourselves. In fact, I believe that we are unable to practice these steps with others if we do not first practice them with ourselves. Charity begins at home, as the saying goes.

So if these techniques are not easy to incorporate in our everyday lives, or if they cause us to feel bad about the times we fail to use them, then we need to pause. Living in our happy place should not be another imperative on our already too long to do list. Let’s be gentle with ourselves. Use what is helpful and let the rest go. Rejoice in every moment that we choose happiness. And remember that fun is good!

I mentioned in a recent post that I have started a list of 1000 things I’m grateful for (1000 Gifts). I am grateful for the opportunity to write this blog. I am especially grateful that you are reading it. I am grateful for the connections I have made with people I would not have met except for this blog. I am grateful for deeper connections with people I already know.

I hope you will feel free to comment on any post (anonymously if you like), or email me privately (using the link in the right column). I would love to hear about your reflections, reactions, suggestions, anything. Namaste.

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