Lisa’s Recipe for Happiness

Jul 10, 2013 by

By Lisa Campion

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My life is like a roller coaster.  Love them or hate them, that is what mine feels like these days. I get up, I get down. And round and round. But, can I enjoy the ride?  Can you? I think our state of happiness depends on whether or not we can.

When I was younger I had this crazy idea that one could achieve happiness as a permanent state. As if I could miraculously get everything all lined up exactly right in the proper way and suddenly, I would be HAPPY. And once I got there, it was an unassailable position. I would be Happily Ever After.

 

And if I wasn’t permanently happy, if I couldn’t arrange life to perfection then there was Something Wrong With Me.

I know, right?

Back in my romantical youth, I had these crazy notions that I would have a very different life then the one I do now. I would be eternally young and skinny. I would be happily married, a published writer, living in a villa in southern France. Every morning I would sip my café au lait on my terrace with the stunning view of the Mediterranean and churn out my literary masterpieces while my loyal, devoted, gorgeous husband (who looks a lot like Harrison Ford from his Han Solo days…) would swear undying love, feed me grapes and massage my feet.

I know, right?

My life is hardly ever like that. It’s all so disappointingly NORMAL and ORDINARY. (Disclaimer- I realize that my version of normal and ordinary is a little left of center, but I am speaking subjectively here so just roll with me- ok?)

I live in the burbs in Central MA (sigh…) which is about as far from southern France as you can get. Harrison Ford hasn’t been by to visit in ages. Lately there has been all too much work, work, work and family drama. Romantic adventures in exotic locations are hard to come by.

I am pretty sure I am just riding the same roller coaster that you are.

 

At this point in my life, I have come to accept that this is it. THIS is my life. And it’s a good life, to be sure, and certainly in comparison to others, it’s just not what I was expecting. I have officially come into REALITY.

I know, right? – Hey it took me awhile, but at least I got here!

I wonder how many people are operating on the same faulty logic -that life needs to stop being crazy before one can achieve happiness. Certainly we have images of perfectly happy people with their prefect lives, but in the work I do, I tend to see the reality of what happens in their lives. And let me tell you, it’s pretty much the same crazy stuff that happens in your life. And mine. There are no perfect people with perfect lives.

 

 

We are all on the same roller coaster.

I won’t say that there aren’t genuinely happy people out there, I know a few and so I am sure that you do too. But they aren’t happy because they magically have a better roller coaster then you. Rather, they are folks who CHOOSE to be happy regardless of very imperfect states of their lives. They have learned the knack of enjoying the ride.

So if happiness is a state of mind, an attitude, an internal experience and a decision, then I can get there too. I decided to try an experiment and see if I could come up with my own code, my own recipe for happiness. Here it is- I will share my list with you in hopes that you too find your measure of happiness as well.

 

Accept What Is

Not surprisingly, this one was the hardest one for me, for all the above mentioned reasons. I have had a strong stake in living in Fantasy Land, and I am gosh darn good at it. But accepting what is gives the foundation for everything else. I do let myself continue to wander around in LaLa Land for the occasional recreational outing, just for a little R&R. I love science fiction movies and romance novels, they are pure fun and definitely add to the happiness quotient.

But I am committed to dealing with actual reality as it is. What a relief!

Celebrate Your Successes

I don’t know about you, but I work my hiney off to meet my goals. But in the past, I didn’t always do anything to acknowledge my successes. That is sad and leads not to happiness. Just a while ago, I accomplished a huge goal for myself and decided to really celebrate it. I bought myself roses and a split of champagne. I made a special dinner and toasted myself. The happiness of celebrating that success has carried over through time, increasing my general happiness quotient.

How often do we just rush over our accomplishments? Acknowledging, celebrating and even lingering over our success is so important. I think we should high five each other, brag, boast, crow and swagger. Fist bump!

 

Enjoy the Sweet Moments!

My life is chock full of these precious times. Mine mostly have to do with the other people in my life. My kids give me many gifts of sweet moments and I treasure every one of them. I love having teenagers and spending time with them and their friends. Sweet moments galore. And my parents who are quirky and adorable. My friends too.

I love the little moments like watching the boats go by, stopping to smell the roses, savoring that first cup of coffee. I find that if I really drop into it, each moment has a sweet spot in it. (Unless you are having a root canal or something… Yikes!)

Enjoy these to the fullest. Be fully present in each moment that they happen. Pay attention to them- they are like fuel for the soul.

 

 

Cultivate Moments of True Happiness

These are rare, but can create a high that we can ride for days. I had one the other day, it was a prefect storm of gorgeous weather, a holiday on my favorite beach, and the some mysterious inner alchemy that all arrived at once to give me a peak experience of True Happiness.

These moments are ecstatic in nature. They happen totally spontaneously and can’t be ordered off the menu, they seem to just happen of their own accord, but MAN, it was good. True Happiness Moments are when you are happy all the way through, every cell, every molecule. It’s a Zen moment, like falling in love.

I think we remember them forever and they are like turbo, rocket fuel in the Happiness Department. You can cruise off one of those puppies for months.

 

Quit Trying For Perfect

This is a tough one for me. It’s taken me a long time to accept my limitations and the general limitations of life. I have wasted a lot of time on trying to get to PERFECT when I really just could do Good Enough. How much time and money have I wasted trying to get a “perfect” body and lose those last 10 lbs? Short or a miracle, or cosmetic surgery, it’s just not happening. How much happier would I have been if I had just accepted and been pleased with my much more real, but actually imperfect physique?

Same goes for the book I never tried to publish cuz I couldn’t get it where I wanted it. I am also going to ditch striving for a perfectly clean house, perfect hair, perfect men, a perfectly clean diet. Ugh, it’s all just too impossible and stressful.

Good Enough leads right to my happy zone!

 

 

Work, Play and Rest!

I think balance is there key here. I am a bit of an over-worker by nature, so to be happier to have to MAKE myself rest. And play. And I feel soooo much better when I do. Too much work makes me dry, brittle, cranky and unproductive.

And I have noticed that some people swing the other way, those who are wired more for slack might have to step up their game to find their inner happy. I truly believe that PLAY is the language of the soul. Our souls are naturally playful and that making time to play important. And it seems to get dropped off the list quickly. Work. Play. Rest.

 

Keep Your Sense of Humor

This is a natural for me, and truly a saving grace. I see the humor in just about everything and I get it that most of the time, the joke is on me. Laughter is great medicine and the ability to laugh at one’s self and the crazy spots on the roller coaster is crucial. Ever watch people on a roller coaster? Some are laughing, some are screaming and freaking out. Which ones are having fun? The laughing ones.

It’s hard for me to take life too seriously, I just can’t. Eventually, I have to make a joke out of it, to see the cosmic irony. This allows me naturally to flow into the next one.

 

 

Don’t Take Things Too Personally

I am not the center of the universe and ninety nine percent of the time, what is happening to me is not “personal” about me or against me. Would you take every curve of the crazy roller coaster as proof that God is punishing you? Of course not, and yet that is what we do.

Not taking things personally keeps things in perspective.

Have Faith

What can I say? Seems like a fitting end to this blog. When all else fails me, faith holds me up. And my faith is really all about trusting that even though I don’t know what it is, there is a Cosmic Plan out there that is bigger then I. Faith leads me to believe that the universe is basically a benign, loving place and that whatever is happening to us is not about random punishment, but is for some divine purpose even if we don’t know what that is.

I have faith that I can handle whatever comes along.

I have faith that I am a whole person simultaneously moving towards wholeness.

I have faith in the inherent kindness of others.

I have faith that the Cosmic Plan is in my best interests and is working towards my own evolution.

So here is hoping that you find your keys to happiness.

 

 

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