November 30th, 2012

Life can be hard. It twists and turns, it valleys and peaks, it crumbles and rebuilds. In many ways, life and living is constantly evolving and, because of this, so are we. We continuously adapt to the road that lies before us.

While on this road, do you ever have periods of time where you just feel incredibly and inexplicably happy? You can’t quite put your finger on it, but suddenly you feel immune to the normal stressors of life. That day is easier, more freeing. There’s a bounce in your step. The sun shines brighter, cartoon birds chirp over your shoulder. Something just sort of clicks. Have you ever checked in with yourself internally during that time to figure out what may be different? I’m going to guess the answer is ‘no’. Most of us just enjoy the pleasure we take from a happy day and keep it moving right along. We’re grateful for it but we simply don’t delve further. Nor are we sure how to replicate it.

Lately, I have been exponentially more happy than usual. I can attribute this to many things. I am progressing after a long, and I mean long, tough battle with my health. I am feeling more settled after taking a leap of faith in returning back home to Los Angeles. I am ever so grateful to be supported by an amazing family and a wonderful group of friends. I am traversing new territory and opportunities. And, while all of these things contribute to my happiness, the true source of this shift is me. My attitude is positive, my perceptions heightened. I have begun to learn to check in with myself, to tune in and take notice.

So much of our life is external stimuli. We are constantly thinking of befores and afters. The now is lost on us time and time again. We are repeatedly in a state of getting things done. It’s rare that we take the time in our life to just be, to sit mindfully and be truly present. (Watching tv doesn’t count, sorry folks!) I know we’ve all heard the very hokey ‘It’s the journey, not the destination’ motto. I still would like to roll my eyes at it but there is some truth there. Instead of constantly thinking of our end goal, why not pick up on the things we are experiencing as they happen? We have set up a paradigm of thinking after years of exposure to environmental and societal factors that we must do, do, do. How often do we ask ourselves about the contentedness we actually get from all of that doing? Listen, I’m not saying it’s easy, in fact, it can be very hard work. It takes a concerted effort to stop, think and enjoy the moment. Seems silly, right? Enjoyment should not be difficult. But, for so many of us, it is! It feels so against our fast paced nature and surroundings that to pause and take note of the moment pushes against what feels comfortable. However, the more we do this, the more we train the muscle of memory in bringing us back to this mental space, the easier it becomes. You begin to slow down enough to notice the smaller things, the seemingly trivial but ever so important joys.

Education time! You’ve all heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, wherein Maslow theorizes what humans use as motivation. They are as follows: Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging, Esteem and Self Actualization. Some of these are logical in thought while others would never cross our own mind. Under the umbrella of Self Actualization, Maslow discusses peak experiences. What is a peak experience?

A peak experience is that inexplicable happy day. It’s when all the magical stars align and you feel really whole, really happy and really in touch. It is when you are unknowingly aware. It is when you are at your best. Not your most successful, not your most productive but when you are at your best, as a human being.

Here’s the thing. If you practice enough and flex that muscle enough, you can determine the outcome and become knowingly aware. You can channel your own aliveness. You can open up to an aliveness that previously you only caught fleeting moments of. There will be a shift in thought, in consciousness and in happiness.

There is so much to be grateful for and we must constantly remind our monkey minds to calm down, note this and pay a little homage. We will all be so much better for it, our lives fuller, our hearts kinder, our dreams loftier. When alignment with aliveness occurs, there is little that can stop us because at that point we are imperviously living from the inside out. So, let us all come alive, one thought at a time, knowingly and joyfully.

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