If you think you do not have the power to make someone happy, think again.
It doesn’t take money. It doesn’t take position. It doesn’t take intelligence.
It only takes a smile.
Or a thank you.
Or a text.
Or a good wish or prayer.
You don’t even have to walk or talk for that.
(But, if you have money, power, and/or position use those things too.)
The problem with depression is that we spend too much time thinking about what we can’t rather than about what we can do.
Right now, I’m going to think love and send love to someone who needs it.
And the next time I feel useless, I’m going to do the same.
The world is full of people who will never tire of that.
“‘Soulshine’ is better than sunshine, better than moonshine…” -The Allman Brothers Band
Where do I get Soulshine?
- smiling at the future
- delighting in others
- laughing at myself
- giving and forgiving
Breathe life back into whatever is dying within you.
Relationships? A breath of fresh air comes with focus on the things we delight in about someone.
Goals? Fresh eyes for your whys.
Work? Life-breath for work comes with wholeheartedness.
Projects? Fresh air flows in with questions versus abdication. (i.e. What would it look like if it were easy?)
I tried it the other day when I was sighing about my stranded suicide prevention project.
I asked myself:
- Is it a worthy project? Yes.
- Have others given their energy for less worthy projects? Yes.
- Do I have confidence that it can help others? Yes.
- Is there one step I can take today on the project? Yes.
And, voila, the project has new life.
- I forget to delight in the people and things around me.
2. I start to compare my situation to others. I begin to envy, pity myself, or focus on petty inconveniences.
3. I start to want things I don’t have.
4. I lose my inner light and strength. I become dark and common.
“Some day I will be able to ___________________________ or, I will begin today to _________________________________.”
“It takes time to forgive someone, or today I will refuse to play the victim, and begin to forgive.”
“I know I am unhappy with my life, but I don’t have the _______________ (courage, money, time) to change my life, or today I will start taking baby steps toward my goal.”
“Someday I will be healthier and run a marathon, or today I will begin by walking around my neighborhood.”
“One day I will be happier, or today I will live with joy and gratitude for what I already have.”
“One day someone will love me and change my life, or today I will be my own hero, I will love myself and change my life.”
It sounds bizarre to believe the whole world belongs to us when we feel (and most likely have experienced) quite the opposite: poor, helpless, and abandoned.
But, I am starting to understand why it might be true.
Just the other day, while working on a discouraging project, I decided to exchange an attitude of scarcity and defeat for an attitude of hope. It took a day or two, but, I began to…
- attract abundance from “nowhere”
- have new ideas
- feel joy and energy to take steps forward
- be an encouragement instead of a drain to others around me
To know nothing is lacking is to agree with the same abundant Universe that has remarkably sustained me until now.
Said no one.
Yet, learning to welcome criticism is a fast-track to happiness.
To avoid anxiety, indigestion, depression, frustration, fits of anger, revenge, and sleepless nights, learn to be friends with criticism. Because…
- regardless of how right or good we are, others will always misunderstand, disagree, and (inadvertently or purposely) taunt
- criticism is ubiquitous; an international pastime
- criticism reveals gaps in our knowledge
- accepting criticism takes humility and one can’t get enough of that
Self-acceptance conquers the pain of criticism.
Possible reasons why we make too much of “that long groan which underlines the past”…
- We haven’t forgiven ourselves for being human
- We haven’t forgiven others for being human
- We are reliving our pain, slights, and failures over and over again
- We are not counting it all as training for our future
- We are taking ourselves way too seriously
- We do not comprehend how little time we have left
- We have a pattern of whining, blaming, and complaining
Now, I am ready to erase that groan at the past with a smile for the future.
People are a mess. Life is often a mess. Things happen. Death is inevitable.
But, sing anyway.
Look it square in the face and sing.
That may sound absurd, but when I do, I find courage. Sometimes, even a smile.
Music seems to connect me to a harmony above the chaos.
That’s a good reason to test the hypothesis, anyway. (Especially when we consider how important music has been in all the stages of our life, how imbedded it is in our memories, and how much music meddles with our emotions.)
When my challenged nephew struggles against the yoke of his physical and mental challenges, there seems to be no relief. As his caregiver, I often want to despair.
I again find myself in the dark cavern of tragedy struggling to fathom the why of the world’s suffering.
Then, this simplest of truths:
Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment.
If I surrender, all the distasteful and the unwanted will explain the riddles of life to me.
When I get this, life shifts from meaningless trouble to special-ops training.
Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.
My yoke is easy and my burden is light.