From Caroline’s 2012 Salon – Part 4 of 4
Just for fun, I used the chakra system as a map, charting the soul’s requirements for engaging with this organic force of Nature that we have named, “Happiness.” That is, if we could ask the soul, “What does the soul require us to know or to do in order to create a happy life?”– these are answers that might just work.
This is your tribal center that represents your connection to physical life as well as to the Earth itself. This is the chakra through which you are connected to the laws of Nature and to its cycles and rhythms. You are a part of this ecosystem. In order to thrive, you need to live in harmony with Nature’s ecosystem. You need to plant seeds, symbolically speaking. You need to stick your hands in the Earth and connect to the life force. You need to be rooted in something that matters. You need to be part of a community of people, a community of life. You need to matter to this community and find people who matter to you. You cannot define “meaningful” relationships only by those that are romantic. Life is filled with meaningful relationships of all kinds. You need to contribute to the living community that you are a part of on this Earth.
This is your center of relationships and creativity, as well as values such as integrity and loyalty. Knowing your values, then, becomes an essential ingredient for creating a happy life. You need to be in relationships with others. Friends, family, lovers, neighbors, community members, volunteer groups – you need people in order to thrive. No one can be alone and happy. People need people. And you need to stay creative. This means you need to feed your mind creative inspiration, like good books, film, theater, museums, and conversations. And you need creative outlets. Happiness requires expression and input. This is also your center of values. The absence of values – whatever your values are – leaves you adrift. You don’t know who you are because you don’t know what you stand for or what you believe. If you don’t know who you are or what you stand for, life will terrify you. You will never be able to count on yourself, much less anyone else. You have to know what you believe in and what you stand for in life.
This is your ego center. Happiness is built on healthy self-esteem. The shadow side of self-esteem is narcissism, a life that’s “all about you.” If you are serious about creating a happy and healthy life, then raise the bar on what you expect from yourself in terms of how you live. Decide to live the congruent life: walk the way you talk. Become a person who does her/his best to live without contradictions, keeps her word, and doesn’t betray others or lie. Such a personal code of integrity, I assure you, will improve your chances of creating a happy life because you will find you hurt people a lot less. You will discover that living at this altitude of consciousness requires that you are extremely mindful of what you say and do – and that quality of consciousness is exactly the type of thoughtfulness that creates the refined harmony we have named “happiness.”
Clean out your heart center. Start fresh. If you want to be happy, reboot. Carrying baggage and repeating your wounded stories again and again – and again – is self-destructive. Punishing others for your bad days and unhappy childhood is cruel – although many find it useful as a control mechanism. If you want a happy life with someone, or just yourself, clean out your heart center. Get up tomorrow morning and fall madly in love with your life, or at least something about your life.
I told a woman to do this one time and she said she hated her life and everything in it. She said she could not imagine falling madly in love with her life. The idea, she said, was preposterous. I got that. So I told her to imagine that she was dying, that she had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given two months. She really got into this exercise. After a bit, I asked her, “Did you give in to the diagnosis or did you fight it? Did you want to live or die?” She started to cry, admitting she wanted to live. Indeed, she said, she would have fought with all her might to stay alive, even in her dire situation. We discussed that feeling – this desire to fight to stay alive even in her dismal situation – and she said, “I can’t explain it but I felt as if grace itself was talking to me, telling me to hang on because the situation was only temporary. I know we were just doing an exercise, but I think that grace really spoke to me.” Absolutely it did.
Happiness is about cleaning out your heart and nurturing the graces that matter: hope, love, and forgiveness. Let the past go. And don’t be shy about telling others you love them or that you are sorry for something. You may not have a second chance.
Make important choices when you need to make them. Have the courage to be spontaneous. Do not let others make choices for you that you have to live with. Speak up. Remember that you are an adult. Children living in adult bodies never find happiness – remember that. Happiness requires that adults live, walk, talk, and act like adults.
Do not play mind games with others or yourself. Live the truth. If you live in denial about things or if you harbor secrets, creating a happy life will not be easy. Happiness thrives on open, clean air. You can’t be happy if you are always wondering if a secret has slipped out the back door. Keep your mind in the higher altitudes. Stay out of the trash: gossip, rumor spreading, etc. Don’t dwell in fear and if fears are controlling you, then do something about that. Everyone experiences fear. Big deal. Don’t let fears control your life. They seep into your mind, and then your heart, and then your bloodstream. Imagine for a minute that you have no fear of being who you are. How does that feel? Like pure bliss, right?
Happiness requires that you have an inner theology or spirituality that can withstand the storms of life. It matters not what tradition it comes from. What matters is that your inner spiritual truth is, in fact, a genuine spiritual truth that truly nurtures you. You have to attend to your spiritual life, not just visit it when things go wrong. The Divine is not a hobby. The Sacred is in every breath of life, yours included.
I hope this Salon has been a fun read for all of you. And I also hope that this has provided some insight for those of you actively seeking ways to become happier people.