I’ve been feeling the flow lately and have gotten my head on straight on the happiness front. Like many, I regularly dip in and out of the happiness and joy swimming pool and allow myself to be unduly influenced by the ancillary static that tends to drag us down. You know, stuff like worrying about the future, feeling guilty or shameful about past events or behaviors, allowing negative people to interrupt harmonious feelings, and letting stressful situations linger even after successful conclusions. These pitfalls are like tar pits placed along our flow path, and if we step in them we get pulled out of that state of being. It’s no reason to beat yourself up over occasionally getting bogged down, simply recognize what is happening and change your state.
For a while there, I was trying to grind my way through life through grit and determination. It was like when you’re in the airport and you have those moving walkways to help you reach your destination easier and faster, and I was insisting on walking and doing everything myself. I wasn’t allowing that life energy to flow through me. And I knew it. I knew I wasn’t in the best mental state. I wasn’t unhappy, but wasn’t easily feeling that state of happiness, joy, and flow that you know when you’re in it.
Getting in a funk is normal, but you need to shock yourself to get out.
Recognizing something needed to change, I refocused my efforts in getting my mindset right by leaning on spiritual guiders I’ve found to have a positive influence in my life in the past. Getting into books and podcasts to shake things up, I reintroduced myself to Mike Dooley and Eckhart Tolle. And found other teachers like Gary Bodley, bestselling author Pam Grout, and Michael Talbot. From them, the following key points have really helped me to stay in a state of happiness and joy. Hopefully they have that same impact on your life. I recognize they may sound a little woo-woo hippy-dippy, but when grounded in the reality of actually implementing positive real action towards improvement and goals, they are like the moving walkway helping you get into the flow and make life breezy. So what I refer to as The Universe, I mean that life force that I believe is out there flowing all around us. You may feel free to call it God, or The Force, or whatever spiritual originator you prefer.
Three things that helped me find flow and happiness again
- The Universe has your back and everything is going to turn out OK – This can be a tough one to believe, especially when things are difficult and stressful. However, when you reflect back on those other times in your life when things were challenging, you’ll recall that once you got past that moment, things turned out ok. My breakups with old girlfriends were painful, but taught me things about myself and ultimately led me to a great relationship with my wife. Having a shitty job ultimately gave me the motivation to make changes and find happiness in other ways, including finding new hobbies and a new job that was a better fit. Those difficulties are often bridges to new beginnings. Things will turn out ok, so why spend too much (any??) time worrying about that shit you have no control over when that too will pass.
- Stay in the pocket. This has been the phrase I’ve been using to remind myself to stay in the moment. This is a phrase used in both American football and more commonly in music like jazz, where things are entirely in the moment and meshing perfectly with the players around you. You aren’t worrying about what happened yesterday, or what things are on the horizon, you are perfectly in the now. The Power of Now is one of my favorite books on the subject, but have found that repeating this made up phrase (Stay in the pocket. Stay in the pocket.) that just came to me one day has the power to keep me present and being happy in the moment.
- Affirming that today will be awesome, and will be the best day of my life. I’m not a huge positive affirmation guy, but this is one that is a foundational thing I’ve been hanging my hat on every morning. Oh, it takes a while for me to warm up in the morning (I’m not a morning person), but once I’m past that first cup of coffee and into the morning routine I’m stating out loud how awesome today will be. How it will be the best day of my life. My daughter Birdsnest just laughs, which is good, but even she thinks I’m a little out there. I told her this morning “Would rather start your day saying ‘It’s cold outside. The sun isn’t out yet. I have to go to work/school. Life is hard. Guess I’ll grind out another day.?’ Or would you rather say ‘Today is going to be awesome. I have a life of such joy and abundance it’s not fair. I have a great dog. Live in a great house. Get to spend time with people I love. Have a job/school that I can work hard at and get satisfaction from.?’” I think the answer is obvious. And while I recognize that every day isn’t going to be ziplining, snorkeling, bagging that 12-pointer, margaritas on the beach, if you truly stay in the pocket drinking in the wonders that are all around us, every day should feel like the best day of your life. As you lay down for bed, think about how great your day was and how lucky you are to be living your life.
Those are really the keys. These things are based in gratitude and love, and if you keep coming back to those foundational principals, you’ll find yourself in the flow of happiness, joy, and abundance more and more. Certainly you’ll encounter challenges and difficulties in your life, we all do. Just remember that those are only temporary, and ultimately may lead to things that benefit your life in ways you just can’t realize yet. So put in the effort to have a healthy body (exercise, eat well) and mind (meditate or calm your thoughts and let the flow happen), love yourself and in turn love the people and world around you.
In the doldrums of winter, this is the light that has been shining within me. Do what you have to do to shake up your own thinking and start riding that moving walkway towards happiness.
So here’s a playlist to get you vibration in the happiness mode.
Playlist is below. [Brief hack. I downloaded on my Android phone a Youtube to .mp3 file converter app. It had the ability to search Youtube songs and then save the audio conversion file (.mp3) to your phone storage for use on your music player. Not exactly illegal like torrents, which I liked.]