What does it take to make you happy-ever-after? Some will claim happiness is a happy relationship, others say if they won a pile of money they would be happy. Ask a hundred different people, you'll get a hundred different answers. But wait just a minute -- what if I told you that winning the pile money or having a great relationship won't keep you happy indefinitely (and it will actually do the opposite half the time). That might come as quite a shock!
So why can't happiness be yours forever? The answer is short and simple, because happiness by itself is a fantasy or an illusion. And "happy-ever-after" is an un-spirited fairytale. From this one illusion is birthed some of the most prevalent social 'concerns' of our era - stress, suicide, heartache, hopelessness, anger, resentment and depression! The hope for happy-ever-after is one of our greatest psychological and social delusions.
So beware! If you set yourself up with the expectation that you are going to somehow be magically happy-ever-after, you are checking yourself into a lifetime residence at the Heartbreak Hotel.
The reality is - ever-lasting happiness does not exist! It goes against the nature of our creative evolution. Because the purpose of life isn't to pursue happiness; it is about loving life's winding road that leads us all to places in our hearts, minds and physical experience that are a blend of happy and sad, nice and mean experiences. We are like homing devices narrowing our oscillations through positive and negative feedbacks as we walk through our spiritual journey.
As we progress along the course of our mystical voyage, we all will experience natural cycles of highs and lows. When we experience these cycles, the secret to a wonderful, rewarding life is not to be found by flying high on the up cycles and sinking down to the lowest depths on the down cycles, but instead by creating an ability to appreciate every one of life's experience (both happy or sad) and gain and grow from them in a fulfilling and rewarding way? Learn to see the magnificence of life (no matter what form of high or low it takes) find the blessings and be grateful for whatever it is that life confronts you with, whether you are dealing with a high or a low.
So, while you may not be able to remain happy ever-after, you can, however, be grateful-ever-after for each aspect of your life…and here are examples of how to accomplish this "attitude of gratitude" in the 7 areas of life.
Be grateful for your spiritual state:
If you desire to love yourself, others and the experience of life more, being grateful for the gift of life is one of the most important steps you can take towards living the life of your dreams. And it doesn't matter if you are more conventional in your religious or spiritual beliefs or less orthodox - you can still constantly remain grateful for the invisible energy flow of life that surrounds and fills you (the energy that some call the soul, others term holy spirit and some refer to as life force). Do not under-estimate the power and depth of gratitude that connecting to your own form of higher forces can bring into your everyday life (and taking this one step can profoundly affect in a amazing way all the other seven areas of your existence).
Whether you say your prayers each day, give thanks before meals, write up your wish list, tune into uplifting music or spend some quiet time in contemplation or meditation; a little time spent partaking in a daily spiritual ritual is incredibly nourishing for body, mind and spirit. Put aside a little time each and every day for connecting to the higher spiritual forces - it is amazing how wonderful you can feel when you allow yourself to open up your heart and mind to the invisible, metaphysical world. Gratitude is the key that opens up the gateway of your heart and allows your love and inspirations to shine.
Be grateful for your mental state:
How wonderful it is to have a mind of our own; a mind that can ponder the mysteries of life, sort through everyday priorities, file information for future reference, assist us in learning new skills, set standards, form relationships and have opinions and then give us an option choose to change our minds and alter those opinions. Our minds make up our private world, the secret part of ourselves that often remains a mystery to others, but becomes an intimate friend or foe to us. (Our mind becomes a friend or foe depending upon how we master our mind's perceptions, or how our unsettling mind's perceptions run us). Your mind is like a garden. If you don't plant flowers in your mind's garden you will forever pull weeds.
Most of us take our diverse and marvelous mind's powers for granted. We forget that our thoughts and our minds are the way we take information in and send information out to the outside world. Our minds interpret, filter and assimilate our concepts, strengths, fears and desires. Being grateful for our mind's many rich gifts helps our minds to grow and expand.
Make a commitment to learn something new every day. Have a book of inspiration nearby to refer to (my book Dar Gracias a la Vida - published by Urano is ideal for this mind enriching purpose).
Be grateful for your vocational state:
Feeling productive is one of the most uplifting feelings of the human state. There's nothing better than getting into your cozy bed at night, with the feeling that you accomplished something worthwhile that day. It helps you feel, sleep and heal better.
And being grateful for your vocational state doesn't have to apply to a conventional nine to five work role. Whether you are a homemaker, a student, an athlete or even a holidaymaker it is important to feel that you have been productive throughout any day's activities (in whatever form productivity means fulfillment to you). For example - the person who likes to fish, possibly their productivity is being grateful for a day of fishing. For the businessperson it may mean the opportunity to make some deals. For the homemaker it may mean baking the dinner for the family - but feeling productive and being grateful for your own form of productivity completes the package of your life. Without it, a great deal of fulfillment will be missing from your everyday existence. Productivity provides you with a sense of purpose, achievement and satisfaction.
In the morning, upon arising set yourself seven highest priority action steps you commit to taking that day that will ensure productivity. Do these actions first before any less-productive distractions occur - and if you follow this seven highest action steps daily rule, you are certain to finish each day of the week with a sense of gratitude for what you have achieved. (Not to mention that your life is likely to make a quantum leap forward as well).
Be grateful for your familial state:
Family means different things to different people, cultures and trends. Some people have immediate families, like marriage partners, children, parents etc; while others have friends or are involved in family structures of an unusual kind. Some regard those who reside in their city, town or even globally as connections that form their extended family. Your personal sense of family or close connection may even take the form of a pet or a far distanced friend who you only communicate with via email.
But even if we consider ourselves loners, we still will have a close or more distance inter-twining connections to certain individual, groups or other structures (even if only in our fantasies). These connections can be intimate or less personal or may be consist of possibly groups of people rather than individuals - but somehow, we all have family - and after all we are all part of the cosmic family (and collective unconscious).
As we sometimes forget the role that others play (and have played) in making our lives fulfilling and complete, spend some time each day just thinking of those (possibly your particular family members) that you love and how their presence on this planet (or if they have already left this planet - how much their presence meant and still means, to you) has contributed to your existence. Loving thoughts of others, opens up the heart and enriches our lives.
Be grateful for your financial state:
Now being grateful for your financial state can be a tricky "attitude of gratitude" to master, because many people constantly are in the habit of affirming to themselves that they don't have enough money. Money woes are one of our society's biggest stressfests. Many constantly are facing financial shortfalls and their finances or managing money becomes a constant concern or pressure upon them. There are few people who can say they are truly grateful for their financial state - but the moment they were grateful the faster they would attract greater financial abundance. Their very attitude of "I don't have enough money" makes their lives miserable is a self-defeating prophecy. So often are they filled with angst over finances, that they miss the many riches that surround them, because they are too busy worrying or feeling 'less wealthy' rather than "more wealthy" in the realm of finances.
Be grateful for your social state:
There's a certainly reason for the saying "all work and no play makes you a dull person", because variety and change create the balance in life. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, it is like reading the same page in the book of life repeatedly, you soon become bored. Getting out of your routine, meeting people, sharing ideas, finding out what works or doesn't work for others and yourself, helps you learn, grow and share space with others.
Our social and leisure lives are important because they give us a chance to see the world through the eyes of others, relax, regain lost enthusiasm or energy and to share quality time with others. Being grateful for the opportunity to have some fun by doing what we enjoy -whether it is play golf, take a vacation, visit relatives, go to the movies, break bread with others or nurture and create new and old friendships is an important part of our every day lives. Of course when you love your work as if its play and your vocation has become your vacation you have certainly much to be grateful for. Then you go have fun at work.
Go out of your way to plan holidays in advance, so you have the anticipation of them coming up to look forward to. Be friendly and open to new people coming into your life and go out of your way to develop friendships that will enrich your life. This may mean that you don't wait for others to invite you somewhere; but you take the initiative and organize get-togethers yourself. Each day make an effort to expand your social network and friend connections or have some fun for yourself. Making a phone call or send a card to someone you would love to have as a friend, or make a new friend - can set all kinds of new social wheels spinning.
Be grateful for your physical state:
The greatest art form that exists on this planet is the human body. What a magnificently structured temple of sacred architecture our human body form represents. But are we grateful for it? Some are; but most take their body's great gift for granted. Many complain about the shape of their body (I'm too fat, too thin, too short or too tall). They will spend a great deal of time in front of their mirrors focusing on what they perceive is the imperfections of their body, rather than focus on its perfections.
So many people seem to conscientiously go out of their way to break down this magnificent structure by smoking, eating poor diets, not exercising, burning the candle at both ends. Being grateful to your body for the multitude of powerful gifts it provides can make the difference between experiencing good health or ill health. (And even what we term "ill health" is actually our clever body's way of intuitively guiding us back to meaningful actions and healing).
Be aware of your body - do not just expect it to maintain its own well being without any contribution or effort on your part. Think of your body as a gift you have been given that is serving to enrich the entire structure and enjoyment of your life. Tend your body and take care of it - as you would tend or take care of garden.
Dr John Demartini, international speaker and published author is considered one of the world's leading authorities on human behavior and personal and professional development. His trademarked methodologies, the Demartini Method and the Demartini Value Determination, are the culmination of over 40 years of cross-disciplinary research and study. His work has been incorporated into human development industries across the world. For more information on Dr John Demartini, his events and products or to book a speaking engagement please contact The Demartini Institute by emailing [email protected]