Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It has been our national birthright, no? And yet, pursuing happiness has led to so much misery. Debt, divorce, landfills full of outdated/out-of-fashion goods, and plastic islands in the Pacific. We pursue happiness as hard as we can, and yet it is the one thing that eludes us.
In 2010, I stumbled across a video that has helped shape my perspective of happiness. Four years later, I am amazed that it only has a little over 20,000 views! Please take less than 7 minutes and watch this amazing talk!
So what really makes us happy? I would like to put forth the concept of Abundance. The Abundance principle is closely related to the miraculous principle of Gratitude. It is truly looking at our life and everything in it as a gift and a wonder. Enjoying this moment and the people we are with as a miracle. Appreciating what we have and not focusing on what we lack. Abundance is sharing, appreciating, loving, serving, and being loved and served. Abundance is not Spartan simplicity, nor excessive consumption, but it lies in knowing what is enough. Abundance isn’t a lack of striving, but in realizing the beauty of the journey, not just the end result. And in some cosmic way, Abundance keeps giving. Living your life in Abundance just keeps giving more abundance. The ability to notice the miracle of a sunrise, a heart beat, a child’s face- these compound as you walk down the path of Abundance.
How do you get started down the path of Abundance, you might ask? The first thing would be to take stock of what you have right now. Allow yourself to feel real gratitude for those things- family, faith, freedom, health, friends, the beauty of nature, etc. The second phase of Abundance involves selective editing of your life. Remove those things that do not ‘spark joy’. For me, those items are things that take too much of my life energy to maintain, clean, pay for; while not giving a proportionate amount of joy. For me, kids= tons of work/tons of joy! Big/fancy gadgets/houses/cars ≠ tons of joy, usually just tons of debt and headache. This too is a process and doesn't happen overnight. Enjoy the journey! I'm not where I want to be, but I am happy for where I am. The third phase is actively seeking and striving for those things that do spark joy- service to others, exploring talents, enriching your spirituality, learning a new skill or pursuing a new career. These three phases can happen simultaneously and are all on a continuum. Remember that happiness will be found everyday on the path of these phases as you celebrate and appreciate life in all it's imperfect beauty!
May this year be one of Simple Abundance for you and your loved ones! Cheers!!!