Perhaps one of the most profound, yet seemingly obvious, life lessons I have learned is that happiness takes work.  For years, I thought that I was owed happiness by somebody or something.  That if I did what I was supposed to do and was a fairly decent person that the universe would somehow automatically reward me with this great sense of fulfillment and well being.  That, however, is not the case.  Instead, what I got was a big fat case of depression and a yearning desire for inner peace that, at the time, seemed so far away.

Fast forward to today.  I have developed a much stronger relationship with God.  I have cultivated a daily yoga practice.  I have instituted a meditation practice.  I take time to focus on gratitude.  I have learned to see the beauty in life’s smallest moments.  I know that achievements, money, and success don’t result in happiness, but rather that the mindset of having everything I need within me at any given moment is what will see me through.  I have learned that thoughts create feelings.  Intentions create reality.  What we focus on is what we create.  And I now know that in any given moment, I have the power to determine my response.  I can choose fear, or I can choose happiness.

I have also learned that only through this kind of true happiness can I be a vessel of love for others.  There is nothing of much value I can be for anyone else until I am a whole person myself.  By giving myself permission to fully live in each moment and to experience the happiness waiting right outside my door, I can then be fully present for others.  And to me, this connection is what life is all about.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not perfect by any means, and I still get sad.  I get down.  I don’t always feel like stepping onto my mat or seeing the good in someone who has done me wrong.  I am human.  And in fact, it is perfectly healthy (and necessary) to allow ourselves to feel these negative feelings.  Thank goodness!  Only through this can we come to terms with our true feelings and begin to heal and to move forward.

I wanted to leave you with THIS ARTICLE that I read today.  It has some really great, practical ways for cultivating a happiness practice.  I call it a practice intentionally because that’s exactly what it is.  Just like any other practice we may have, happiness takes lots of effort and is measured in progress, not perfection.  It is my hope that what I have learned can serve as a learning experience for you too.  And that you may also be able to hone your own inner happiness, no matter what your circumstances may be.  Namaste.