With a new calendar year beginning, so many people are setting resolutions, yet unfortunately by February many of them will be a forgotten memory. When we make resolutions, it is because we want something to change, so I thought we would examine change. I have found that change happens when we surrender what is present and happening, rather than resisting it.
So often when I wished things would change, and they weren’t changing, I would remember this line. “If you aren’t happy with what you’ve got, how can you be happy with more?” When I was 16 years old, I received a card from my godmother. I don’t remember the whole poem, but this line stood out and has guided me for the past 33 years.
Often I was focused on what was wrong, what wasn’t happening, what I wish were different, how I wished someone else was different, regretting choices I made, beating myself up for something I did or didn’t do, and the list goes on. Most of the time I was unaware I was even doing this.
We all have dialogue that runs through our brains usually subconsciously and if you could watch it, it would look like a hamster running on the wheel in his cage, going nowhere. That is what happens when we want something to be different yet our unconscious thoughts are playing re-runs of exactly what is upsetting us, or happening now. Nothing changes.
The way to create change is to acknowledge what is happening in your life. Visualize how you want it to be. Let go of the energetic hold it has on you. Create an affirming statement that you consciously repeat in your mind until it becomes natural and easy (to replace the old unconscious re-runs.) Surrender to all that is already here and appreciate it all. Acknowledge that at some level you have created this and give thanks that you can create something else. Gratitude is the best way to manifest change in your life. Gratitude invites happiness.
Let’s focus on the emotion and attitude of happiness. Happiness is a choice that you make. Happiness is not when, but now. It is not a destination that you reach. It is a continual journey in which you participate. It is not about being happy when something occurs; it is choosing to be happy now regardless. How many of you believe that you will be happy when you find a mate or when your husband changes, or when you make more money or when your child gets into the college of choice? I challenge you to be happy in spite of these things happening, be grateful for what is here, and focus on the outcome you DO desire. I guarantee you will notice positive changes in your life.
The law of attraction states that what you focus on expands. Like attract likes. Our thoughts are powerful. They do create our reality. However, it not just thinking alone that activates the law of attraction. Feelings, emotions, and your vibrations are just as powerful, and they are all part of the complex mind-body system. They all work together. Energy and action must feed your desire. Energy in the form of beliefs, thoughts, emotions, attitude and action must be engaged. You must also clear out the old energy that has become part of your subconscious thoughts, cells, and programming, so you can then replace it with the fresh conscious content.
How wonderful it is to live in happiness! It begins with you. Develop a happy relationship with yourself and you will easily develop happy relationships with others, and naturally enjoy a happier life. How’s that for surrender?
So how do you start feeling happy if you don’t? Begin by being grateful for all your experiences. Be aware of how much you have no matter how hopeless things may seem. There is always a reason to feel grateful and to smile. Emotional energy generates the momentum of attracting what you want. So if you are feeling sad, angry, cheated, disappointed, resentful, or worried, guess what you will continue to see in your life? Yes, experiences will continue to show up over and over again that reflect the attention.
So, wouldn’t you prefer to experience joyful people and situations? A few years ago I was living in a beautiful home with a wonderful man who is now my husband. However it was not in the town that I considered “home” or where I wanted to live. I was an hour away from my children who were in their early twenties and I felt homesick. The more I thought about how much I didn’t want to live in this town anymore, the more unhappy I felt and the more distant I felt from my children. Also, I was continually pushing Burt to remember the deal we made about moving to the Seacoast and forcing the issue.
Fortunately I realized that I was not practicing the steps I share below. So here’s what happened. I surrendered to the moment and to the situation. I acknowledged how blessed I was to live in this house. We had recently renovated it. It was comfortable and spacious. We had a large deck and back yard. It was a lovely neighborhood. I enjoyed the time I spent with my husband. I accepted how fortunate I was and realized how many people would love to be living here.
Then I let go of the energy I was holding where my children were concerned. Rather than focusing on having to live near them, I felt how wonderful it was to have a loving relationship where we saw each other often, communicated easily and enjoyed each other. This is what was important to me.
Lastly, I stopped pressuring my partner about selling his house and moving. I began to enjoy our life together without imposing conditions of how it should be. I visualized a home that was comfortable for both our families to visit, where we entertained often and was filled with love and invitation. I engaged the following practices.
Here are some simple things you can do now to surrender to what is, embrace happiness and make changes in your life.
1. Choose to be happy. Wake up each morning, look in the mirror, and Declare, “I choose to be happy. I choose to see all things through the eyes of love.” Repeat this phrase often throughout the day.
2. Practice an attitude of gratitude. Start a gratitude journal. Every day write in it 3 things for which you are grateful. You will begin to see things shift.
3. Look for the gift in every situation. Everything happens for a reason, and everything that happens, we have created on some level. So ask yourself, “What is the gift in this? Even if I cannot see it now, I choose to believe there is gift and I will see it.”
4. Lose your judgments. Rather than seeing things as good or bad, right or wrong, ask these questions instead. You don’t even have to know the answers. “How can it get any better than this? What is else is possible? You can also say when you have a judgment, “That’s an interesting point of view.”
5. Do something kind without expecting anything in return. Random acts of kindness generate good will and happiness.
6. Practice self-care and self-love. If you are not feeding your soul, fueling your body, and seeding your mind with positive, healthy, loving energy, it is more challenging to remain upbeat, energized and happy. You also have less to offer others.
7. Clean out the energetic toxic sludge. Weed your negative, self-limiting beliefs. You would be surprised how much you have taken on energetically, perceptually, and experientially since being in your mother’s womb and in your cumulative lifetime. Challenge what you believe and think and clear out what does not belong to you. The more you stand in your own space, the more powerful you can effect change.
8. Smile often. Try being unhappy with a smile on your face. You cannot even think a negative thought when you smile. You feel better. The people who see your smile feel better. You surrender to all that is joyful and loving when you smile. You experience change in that moment. That is powerful.
It is a perfect time to change. Right now. In this moment, you can decide to be happy, be grateful, surrender to the present with grace, acceptance and ease and you will see your life change for the better.
So what changed for me? My sons began calling and visiting more often. My daughter had already been visiting often, and she started to spend the night frequently. Within a few months, Burt decided that since we would be spending a month at the sea, it was a great time to look for a house. He felt that it would be easier to sell his house if he had one he wanted to move into.
In less than a year of making this change in my thinking, we were living in a beautiful old house on a wooded lot less than a mile from the sea. It was the perfect space to host both his family and mine. It has been filled with family and friends since the day we moved in. We are now happily married and have hosted 2 weddings and many celebrations. We enjoy a balance between time alone, together and varying degrees of visitors. Yes, change happens when you surrender.
So I invite you right now to choose happiness and love to be your intention and to guide you through your resolutions.
Listen to this and more on January 1, 2013 archived episode of Planting Seeds of Love – Starting the New Year with Realistic Expectations