Tuesday, February 18, 2014

10 Steps to Happiness

Want to be happier?

Let’s play with some ways this could happen, and let me start out saying that happiness is a byproduct of being present and engaged and loving in your life. It’s not something you chase, it’s a barometer that tells you that you are living right.

Okay, let’s play.

One: Do something wrong. If you do tai chi, do some of the moves wrong. If you always button your shirt from top to bottom, go the other way. If you always come late, come early. If you always come early, come late. ( Once. See if the world crumbles)

This came from giving a Toastmasters talk on happiness where I offered 5 ways of being happy. The Sacred Rule in Toastmasters is to always present 3 things. So I presented five and by doing that demonstrated the first step.

Here, I don’t know how many steps I’m going to give which leads me to

Two: Living in “I don’t know.”
Sometimes a very fun thing to do when answering a question is to answer, “Well, there are three/ four/ five aspects to the answer.” Not knowing what they are. And then wing it and fill in.
Goals are sweet and nice and good for your character and all that, and a central trait to all happy people is the ability to let a new goal emerge from the present, a surprising and interesting path that hadn’t occurred to them until just then.

And when people ask you a question, or you are telling yourself you should have it all figured out, Hang out in “I don’t know.”

Be present.
If you don’t know what’s coming next, or what you are going to say next, or do next, you do know what’s NOW.
Experience that.
As sensation.
As feeling.
As noticing your body shape, where are your arms and legs and spine.
As noticing what images are coming in your eyes.
As noticing what sound is coming in your ears.
As noticing where your breath is, coming in or out, or in a pause.

This you can always know. For certain.

Your own experience of the famous NOW.

Four: Be grateful
Tell someone some things you are grateful for, especially about them.

Be grateful for stuff you thought was really really bad news.

Recently , the wonderful woman who was my girlfriend and lover, and is my girlfriend and lover, decided to call it quits. Instantly and with no discussion.

This was supposedly a disaster.
Except that it threw me back on loving and enjoying myself, and discovering even more deeply the secrets of happiness. ( The toastmasters talk, was before we got back together)

And when we got back together, I was grateful for the way it went down, and our time apart and our getting together at a newer and higher level.

Be wrong.

There’s a good saying: “ You can be right, or you can be happy.”

We, this lover and girlfriend and I, got back together by having an almost enlightenment moment, when we got together after 57 days apart to slug it out. I realized instantly and she soon after, that there was no problem. That all our stories about how the other had been wrong were not worth getting into.

That was over. We were in the same room. The love was still there. We were wrong about the other having been wrong.

We were free.
From freedom love can flow easily.

Seven: Let it go.
That was what we did, though not systematically.

There is a deep and thorough way of letting things go, called the Work of ByronKatie.

And there’s a kind of Byron Katie lite method called the Sedona process.

Pick up a pencil. Grasp it tightly. Okay, you’re holding on.
Now loosen a little and let it roll around in your fingers. No you aren’t so stuck.
Now open your hand and what happens? It drops.
You’ve let it go.

Take some story about how someone else was wrong, or there is something wrong with you and ask these three questions:
Could I let this go?
Would I let this go?

There are no right answers and usually yes, yes and now will get the story dropped.
Try it.

Eight: Laugh.
On purpose.
For ten minutes.

Just start laughing and keep it up.
You may feel foolish.

Be silly.
Move around for ten or twenty minutes in silly, wrong, new, interesting, being present ways.
Or longer.
Eyes closed.
Goof and notice and enjoy and discover.

This is a hidden two part suggestion: Be silly. Move more.

Be curious.
What four more suggestions could you add to this list?
What four more could I?
( I’ll go mine in private. You are welcome to write yours in as comments.



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