Life is incredibly magical and beautiful, and of course can also be immensely challenging at times. This week, my journey is about finding happiness when others all around me are struggling.
So many people who I love dearly are going through some difficult times right now, and I am doing my best to offer love and support. At the same time, I think it’s important for all of us to take care of our own health, spiritual and emotional needs, and to offer love and support from a replenished and peaceful space.
I am doing this, however imperfectly, this week. I am focusing in my own goals and joy, and being there for others as much as I possibly can as well.
I am so clearly reminded right now that happiness is a journey, not a destination. We all have the power to choose to approach life from a joyful space, regardless of our current circumstances.
There is always something in life to celebrate. There is always something to be grateful for, even when things are most challenging.
Practicing loving-kindness and compassion for others, while also holding a joyful healthy space for myself in my life right now, is the path I am walking.
The Path of a Healer
Three years ago, while in the midst of an eight-month long life coaching training program with best-selling author and Oprah’s Live Your Best Life show co-producer Martha Beck, I told Martha an encapsulated version of my life story.
“You’re a shaman,” she said, and I got goosebumps all over my body. Martha explained that the path of a shaman includes a painful or difficult childhood, which was true of me as a nervous, overachieving do-gooder who was frequently made fun of, and who wanted to save the world.
She said the path of the shaman usually includes some trauma (mine does), and that the shamanic healer gets happier as s/he ages, which has definitely been true for me. I have lived a carefree childhood more as an adult than I did as a child.
The shaman endures difficult times that s/he may help others heal. I certainly never want anyone to suffer as I have suffered in the past, but if the upshot of it is that I can be a positive force in the life of others, I can happily embrace that.
Helping Others Heal, While Also Protecting Our Own Hearts
This week alone so far, I found out that two beloved friends have had their relationships with their significant others end. Two friends are going through a period of depression, where everything feels very bleak.
I have had relationships end. I have been through a very dark and deep depression, when I could not see my way of the dark tunnel I was in, and found my way back to the light.
I feel like offering people hope, that there is life and happiness after these challenges, and that we can find peace in our hearts even in the midst of challenging circumstances, is part of my role right now.
At the same time, I am reminding myself daily that while each of us can help relight the flame in another’s soul even brighter when it flickers, and be a friend, inspiration, or coach, none of us can save anyone else.
Every human is responsible for his or her own soul’s journey, and we can only offer love and support. I am practicing being an angel for others as best I can right now, while also continuing to move forward with my own goals and dreams, and to be in my happy place.
There is too much good in this life for me to be weighed down for too long by anything, and too much love and light to dwell in sadness. I am thankful for the gift of being alive, after all that I have personally survived.
Because I am right in the midst of this opportunity and challenge right now, to practice happiness in the midst of the storms that others are enduring all around me, I wanted to share some of my strategies for staying happy and sane in the midst of chaos.
Choosing Peace, Always
1. Probably the most important thing we can do whether in the midst of our own life challenges, or dealing with being a support to others, is to cultivate peace in our own hearts.
The fastest way I know how to do this is to stop fighting with what is. As spiritual teacher Byron Katie says, “Whenever I fight with reality, I lose, but only 100% of the time.” Wanting things to be different than they are, in our own lives or other lives, can exacerbate a situation. By all means if we can change our circumstances or help others shift them, beautiful! Life is infinite possibilities. But in this moment now, acceptance brings peace.
2. For me, practicing joy is a way of life.
Whether I am blasting the radio and singing and dancing along to pop songs on my drive, or roller blading on a balmy summer evening as I did last night, or reading something inspirational, just connecting with people I love, I always look for ways throughout the day to have some fun, to feel good, to focus on the positive in life. That doesn’t mean that I am not focused on my goals and the work that must be done. Joy is still a priority for me, no matter what. I make time for practicing joy every single day.
3. Offer a loving ear, without judgment.
The most loving thing we can do for another human is to listen completely, without judging or needing to change them in any way. Everyone has their own path to take in life, and simply being there to offer nonjudgmental love and support can be totally transformational for others. Often, what people are truly seeking is someone merely to listen and understand, so they know they are not alone in this world. Everyone has the answers for their lives deep within their own hearts, and sometimes just letting them talk things through can help someone to unlock their own wisdom.
4. Play, often!
When there are storms brewing all around you, I highly recommend taking time out as often as possible to do something utterly joyful, preferably silly, and all-around mood-elevating. It could be exercise, dancing, singing in the shower, watching a funny video, talking to a hilarious friend. Joy raises our own “love vibration,” and we have more love to give. It’s replenishing to the soul. Our souls want us to always feel joy. That’s not necessarily the case for most here on earth, but I find the more you practice joy, daily, the more joy you generally feel. Being blessed out can become more and more of the “norm.”
5. Work on your own goals.
While bolstering others up, we need to be careful to also pay attention to our own dreams and goals. Sometimes caretakers will put their own dreams on hold temporarily, and we all understand when that happens. Be mindful however of back-burnering your own goals for too long, as they are a way to bring joy to your own soul. The more you pursue what makes you truly happy, the more you will have to give back to others. When we live a life we love, we exude happiness, confidence and peace, and we give these gifts to others. Our light is a gift to others in this world.
Stay strong while helping others, and don’t forget to reach out for help yourself when you need it! Love to all who are suffering.
Lisa Graham is an inspirational writer, life coach, motivational speaker, and globe-trotter whose passion is to help others to find happiness and meaning their daily lives. A political activist at heart, Lisa would like to empower more women to run for political office as a way to create positive change in the world. You can find her on the Madam President Project or watch her TEDx speech on YouTube.
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