Six Flags - Great American Scream Machine by Amy

Six Flags – Great American Scream Machine by Amy

As Christmas closes in on us, I’d like to wish you the merriest of holidays. May your days be filled with warmth, laughter and genuine camaraderie!!! As you look back at the roller coaster ride of 2014, look at the dips and know they were temporary. Look at the joys and know they were also fleeting. We’ll forever experience the ups and downs of change – inevitable as the seasons.

But, there are two things I’d like to share that have led me to loads more authentic happiness and life satisfaction. Try on the following two strategies for riding the waves and let me know what you think:

1.) Resist the inclination to label. When we were infants, labeling helped us learn the language. We had to put a name to everything so that we could have a tag to help file each thing in our world and also so we could communicate with the humans around us. But, then we learned to label things as good and bad. I like this. But, I don’t like that. It’s a part of developing that little ego – that me-ness. These likes and dislikes are me. They make me special and different from you. But, we truly don’t need any of that labeling to make us unique. We simply are special – all that and a bag of chips. And, that kind of labeling only leads to separateness and disappointment.

We don’t need labels to define our experiences. Labeling gets out of hand for all of us. As, we begin to let little let-downs determine our moods, dictate our days and run our world. What if we stop labeling our experiences as good or bad? How do we really know if an experience is bad? We don’t know the end picture – what God holds for us in escrow. We don’t know what a supposed ‘set back’ will really lead us to. So how can we really label it as good or bad? So, the first step to loads of happiness is to withhold labeling experiences as good or bad.

2.) Ride the crest of the waves with gratitude.  The second step is to develop a real appreciation for the moments that feel good. Ride the wave like a surfer on a perfect sunny California day. Draw them out by being fully present for them, bask in them, smile, breathe them in and out. Think of how dogs are fully in the moment of play. And, develop a knowing, a faith, in the continuance of these moments. There will be more moments like this and better, always. Developing this knowing and ability to surf the waves of goodness trains your mind to look for more of the same.

So, for me, I’ve found if I wait out any uncomfortable moment (resisting any inclination to label it as bad, awful, etc.) and draw out any that feel good by being fully present with gratitude, I experience much more authentic happiness in the practice of these two things. Now, I don’t always practice what I preach. But, when I do, I’m always much better off, a much happier Sandy. The key to this strategy is to just withhold judgment on the experience and always hold an openness and appreciation for that next  ‘Wheeee this is fun’ part of the ride.

Blessings and may you cherish many wave crests and a better and better life!
Sandra M Bell
Author of “Lunchtime Joy Magnet” & personal coach