As part of going for my big dream, I make it a point to connect weekly with people who support my vision and help me imagine more happiness in my life.
This week, I met up with my friend, Stephanie, for a light dinner of tofu and veggies and fun conversation at a local Thai restaurant. After dinner, we wanted to do something else fun, so we wandered the neighborhood peering through different shop windows.
We are the type of friends who enjoy playing our plans by ear, improvising our time together, doing whatever seems to bring us the most fun at the moment. To us, this is the happiest way to connect and reenergize.
We ended up ducking into a little shop which took us down a short flight of stairs to a basement level. It smelled musky and delicious inside, fragrant incense wafting through the air. The little shop sold incense, tapestries, spiritual games, card decks, and glass water pipes. We were poking around when my friend spotted an Ouija board.
She was instantly excited, and begged the cashier, a handsome young man with cafe au lait skin and an afro, to let us use it. I’d never used an Ouija board before.
Communing with the spirits for happiness
The sweet young cashier, let us open the board to see it. But even better, he volunteers to join us, sitting cross-legged on the floor with us, so we can all “commune with the spirits” and see if any messages materialize.
If you’ve never used an Ouija board, it’s a wild experience. You place a star-shaped “planchette” in the center of the board and then ask it questions.
Spirits from the beyond are supposed to answer you, and when you rest your fingers lightly on the planchette, it will move towards a letter of the alphabet on the board, or a number, or a word.
It is a little bit “out there,” yet I’d always wanted to try one, and I believe that people still exist as spirit and energy after they pass on from the earth. So I thought, what the heck.
We asked the board if it had a message for us, and the planchette moved toward “Yes.” We asked it what the message was, and it spelled out:
Love life! What a lovely message. It was one I needed to hear because I’d been caught again in a down mood, still feeling sad about a relationship that recently ended. I was finding it challenging to stay in my “happy place” and focus on my plans. My friend reminded me that what matters is living the now, imagining happiness, and loving every moment. But I’m human, and sometimes I become sad, even while working toward a big dream.
The mind loves to find things to worry about and will see things that are “wrong” with how you are living, whether you are surrounded with stable relationships, working at a fulfilling job, or not sure what to do next with your life! My friend was right about me not enjoying the moment.
I always remind my life-coaching clients, friends, and family to imagine happiness and journal happy stories for their lives. The stories you tell about yourself, past, present, and future, are compelling. Your words shape your reality, help create what is to come and create emotional states within you.
Imagine a happy story about your life
Think about it. If you tell a story about how disastrous your life and past is, how do you feel? If you instead tell a story about how blessed you are you, how you have always done your best and how life is unfolding as it should, with beautiful lessons learned, how does that feel?
Everyone can tell a life story as if they are the most unfortunate person on the planet, and find evidence in support since no human life is without some sorrow, disappointment, or loss. And, everyone can also tell the story of their lives as if they are the luckiest person on the planet, and find evidence to justify that, since there are some blessings in everyday life.
And let’s face it, it’s much more fun to look back at your life when you’re able to see the best in your past and yourself, when you are willing to learn from the mistakes of the past and to find inspiration from what you’ve learned to help propel you into an even happier future.
The stories you tell about your present life help either move you forward on your big dream or keep you stuck where you are, where you are dissatisfied and resisting being present in the current moment. As the expression goes, “What you resist, persists.”
Negative energy about the present moment can keep you stuck where you are, versus being in gratitude for what you have now, which can help you to move forward, leaving you more open to taking inspired action to make your dreams come true.
Imagine a happy future
The stories you tell about who you are becoming, and what is possible for you, also help to determine how your future will unfold. Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company once wrote, “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you’re usually right.”
If you are convinced that you can live your dreams and create something beautiful in your life, you will find a way to do it. If you are confident that you can’t–you won’t.
Why not imagine a happy story for your life, past, present, and future, write it down, and then go ahead and live it?
Easier said than done sometimes of course, as I remembered my sad thoughts from the past week. After all, I teach this way of living to clients, and I still need reminders to live it. I have my moments when the stories I tell myself or others about my past or future are not as inspired and empowering as they could be.
The key is to be aware of this habit and imagine a happier story when you catch yourself feeling like a victim of the world, or talking in ways that put limits on the possibilities for your future.
How to Imagine Happiness
1. Write your current life as the “Worst Horror Story Ever!” followed by a story about how you are “The Luckiest Person In The World!”
Everyone I’ve encouraged to write two stories about their life right now can find evidence to support both perspectives. Once you have done this writing prompt, you will see how you can always look at situations from two sides. Which view helps you move forward? Which view keeps you stuck?
2. Pick a story from your past that has always troubled you, and see if you can imagine and write a happier tale about it.
Can you find the blessing in disguise in a painful situation from your past? Can you see how it led you to something beautiful in your current life? See if you can find something to embrace in whatever feels most challenging.
3. Now, imagine a happy story about your life now, by focusing on what you are most grateful for in your life.
Count your blessings, and take stock of all the good that you have.
4. Finally, write a happy story for your future by dreaming big and jotting down a vision for your “ideal life,” as if it is already happening.
See it, taste it, feel it, know that it is coming true, and let the vision of your most beautiful future come to you! Now, take one small inspired action step to live it.
Here’s to imagining happiness as you pursue your big dream!
Lisa Powell Graham
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.
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