Happiness Day 30

For thirty days I’ve been focusing on happiness, wanting good feelings to be the norm and bad feelings the rare exception.

So how did it go?

It went really really well 😄

Right from the beginning it reframed my inner landscape. The intention to feel good got me to look up instead of down, and start appreciating how often I felt good already.

Abraham teaches that our reality is created primarily by our inner being (God) who is pure positive energy. The role of our physical self and our worldly focusing mind is significant, but in terms of negativity it can only really create friction, it can’t halt the power of our inner being.

That’s why it is always possible to feel better, whether better be less bad or genuinely good.

In other words things are always better than they seem. Happiness is attainable, it just takes practice to retrain our focus.

What is life like now?

Life is really good now.

I’m laughing and smiling a lot more. I’m finding deeper appreciation of the many good things in my life.

I’m handling the contrast so much better! I can soothe bad feelings much more easily, and I even appreciate contrast because I can see how it’s helping me to focus in certain directions.

I’ve had insights just come to me on subjects dear to my heart. By day 30 I found myself musing on inspiration and the question I’ve long deferred: what do I really want to be doing in my life?

I no longer feel like I need to explain, justify, or apologise for my mood and lack of energy, because I’ve shown myself for thirty days that it’s entirely up to me how much energy I have, since I can decide what to focus on and how I focus!

Satisfied and eager for more

Last night my 1yo daughter slept through the night in her cot. That is a genuine miracle! I never even thought it would happen, and yet it all happened so suddenly and so easily.

And I allowed it to happen. My focus on being happy weakened my resistance and my negativity, and opened the tiniest crack in my old story, and circumstances that seemed unwanted opened the path for this new sleeping routine.

Many other things have shifted, small but meaningful and sometimes enormous in their significance to me. Things that were difficult have gotten easier. Things that felt hopeless feel easy. And things I already enjoyed and appreciated have become even more satisfying and wonderful.

What next?

This challenge has only whetted my appetite for more.

I can feel so much potential to feel better and refine my processes. There are many things I would like to allow into my experience, and now I know how to do it.

And without planning it, blogging has become a new experience for me and a wonderful discipline and tool for helping me train my focus.

Being able to write here fulfils an old desire that my writing become more like my private journaling in terms of ease and content.

I’ve written 55 posts in this thirty days. To put that in perspective, the previous 55 posts took about six months to write.

Blogging each day not only kept me focused, it also helped me develop my thoughts and deepen my understanding of this path I’m on.

I don’t yet know what form the next segment will take, but I want blogging to be part of it, and I want it to take my new habits even further.

Thank you for following, reading, and liking my posts! Having you reading my posts has helped keep me honest and on-track!

Happiness Day 29

Find your inspiration.

I can’t believe it’s been 29 days of focusing on happiness!

I’ll save the recap for tomorrow’s post because today I’m inspired to write about inspiration.

Inspiration is life, my friends.

It comes from the Latin for “breathe into” or “blow upon” like when we blow on the embers of a fire and it springs to life.

But you can’t miss the allusion to Genesis where God created humanity by breathing His spirit into the clay form of the first man.

We are divine spirit in a physical body, and when we feel inspired it’s like we’re receiving a fresh influx of that life-giving breath.

Forget about problems! What inspires you?

Today some contrast helped me to remember an old fear I’ve been keeping alive.

It’s the old fear of not understanding instructions, not knowing what I’m supposed to be doing, and so failing and falling behind and losing hope.

I took those experiences to heart at a young age and resigned myself to having to work things out on my own, in my own way.

I resigned myself to never really understanding, and never succeeding in the “proper” way.

I’m so glad this memory came up, and I’m really appreciating all the work I’ve done to feel better this past month.

Because it only took me an hour or so to allow the answer to come.

All those experiences of “failure” and “not understanding” were about other people’s tasks. School projects, friends’ games, parents’ chores: they were all about being a follower.

Never did I fail at something I was inspired to do! Never have I failed to understand something I actually care about.

Choose your focus

For years I’ve blamed myself for failing at all these “important” things. And yet the real problem all along is that I had no interest in these things in the first place. They were never important to me.

And if you live your life focusing on things that don’t inspire you, of course you won’t succeed. Of course you won’t feel good. Because deep down you don’t even care!

I didn’t care, but I thought I had to care, and so I kept pushing myself and feeling worse and hating it more and blaming myself.

Tell a new story

Well now I know, and I understand perfectly what I need to do. I need to tell a new story that omits all the useless crap I never cared about, and focus instead on what actually inspires me!

I want to look out at life and see a landscape populated by sources of inspiration only.

I want to wake up eagerly wondering what inspired activities I’m going to do today.

And I want to be very deliberately conscious of how good I am at everything I do.

Because I’m no longer going to waste my time on things that don’t inspire me.

I’m going to devote myself to things that feel good, fill me with life, and make that divine spark within me grow bright.

Happiness Day 28

Fear of being positive.

Why are we afraid to be positive? It’s because we don’t want to get our hopes up only to be disappointed.

This fear can set in on all kinds of subjects: money, relationships, housing, jobs, etc.

But this is also a sign that we aren’t applying the principles correctly in these instances. Because genuine positivity is not fearful, nor should it feel like some kind of ploy or plot to improve our circumstances.

How it works

If I want more money and I feel bad about not having enough, how should I address this desire, these thoughts, and negative feelings?

Many people approach law of attraction or positive thinking as a way to “get their stuff”. We take at face value that wanting more money and feeling bad is a “problem” that will be solved by getting more money.

But from the Abraham-Hicks perspective the actual problem here is that I am focusing on something unwanted (not enough money).

Paradoxically, the reality of not having enough money is a symptom of focusing on an unwanted reality, not the cause.

Feel better

Many people are too caught up in their own desperation and try to use these principles to change their circumstances, rather than changing their focus.

But if you can’t change your focus your circumstances won’t change either.

The problem is that thoughts like “I don’t have enough money” feel bad. They feel bad because they conflict with the perspective of our own inner being (God) who is always offering us an abundance of love, appreciation, and blessings.

The whole point of what we prosaically call “positive thinking” is to align ourselves with the perspective of God, our inner being, and enjoy the fruit of that alignment.

How do we do it?

On the subject of money we can do this by paying attention to how we feel, and the thoughts, words, and perspectives we are focused upon.

Thoughts like “I don’t have enough money” or “money is so hard to come by” feel bad. So as a first step, try to find thoughts that feel less bad.

In the past I’ve sometimes felt like I don’t have as much money as I want. It’s seemed like money is not as easy to come by as I would like.

Small adjustments to your words have great implications. Absolutes can be made relative so that instead of “not enough” we say “not as much as I would like”. Negatives are made positive, so “hard” becomes “not as easy”. I’ve also added words that make it less definite: “sometimes” instead of an implied “always”; and I’ve made the statements a matter of how I’ve felt, or how things have seemed, rather than unilateral declarations of objective truth.

From there it is easier to feel a little better:

I would like more money. I would like money to come more easily.

This is infinitely softer and better-feeling than my initial bold insistence on how bad things are.

I would love it if money came to me easily. I would love it if money just came into my experience whenever I wanted it.

I would love to spend time working on my projects. I would love to spend time hiring the people I need, buying the materials I want, paying for the work I want done.

I love the idea of having the best people with the right expertise at my disposal, and the highest quality tools and materials available to me.

I’ve gone off on a good-feeling tangent! And the point is that I changed my focus from thoughts about money that felt bad, to thoughts about money that felt less bad, then better, and finally thoughts that feel good.

This is the way to apply positive-thinking principles: not as a vain attempt to change one’s circumstances in order to feel better — yet plagued by the fear that change will not come; but as a direct, reproducible, and immediately successful change in focus towards better-feeling thoughts.

Happiness Day 27

Being specific in your desires.

I’ve wanted my life to change but I’ve had only a very general idea of what that might look like.

General is good.

When you’re feeling bad you don’t want to get into specifics. Go from bad feeling specifics to bad feeling generalities. From there it’s easier to feel better and slowly get to the point of feeling good generally.

But I’ve been gradually more aware that my lack of specifics on certain subjects is indicative of where I’m at.

According to the Abraham-Hicks teachings we don’t need to get specific to get what we want. God knows all our desires and needs.

But as we get closer to being a match to those desires we will naturally find ourselves contemplating the specifics.

What are your dreams?

I spent a lot of time crushing my own dreams, in the mistaken belief that dreams are a cause of suffering because life never lives up to them.

I thought I was doing the right thing, but I actually dampened down my own inspiration and enthusiasm for life.

And naturally I was not as happy as I wanted to be.

My wife would often ask me what I like, and I’d shrug because I had spent years earnestly trying to be devoid of preferences as a way of becoming immune to suffering (didn’t work!).

Rediscovering the details

There’s a kind of rehabilitation to it, the work of rediscovering the details of your dreams and desires and rescuing them from “what does it matter?” and other cynical thoughts.

What makes this process exciting is the knowledge that these details already exist for you, and that rediscovering them is really about tuning into that aspect of yourself and your reality.

You can’t get it wrong. There’s no danger of making mistakes and choosing the wrong thing, because your preferences are already there.

For me this is especially pointed when I think about a new house, because to my mind there are so many varying styles and details of architecture and location that I appreciate, I feel like I could find the good in anything.

But finding good in anything is not the same as knowing what you most want. In fact it’s not even close!

Happiness Day 26

Letting go vs highest control.

I’ve had some difficulty with meditation in the past, following all sorts of advice.

But I was listening to another Abraham-Hicks video where a woman had a similar problem, and Abraham’s response really spoke to me.

I am a very deliberate person. I like to be in control and I’m not used to “letting go”.

I’ve had a lot of success taking charge of problems and situations and questions and finding the answers by being in control.

So when meditation is presented as letting go of that…I struggle.

But that’s not the only way of looking at meditation. Meditation can be seen not as letting go of control but as utilising my highest control.

My inner being is vastly more powerful and wise than my problem-solving mind.

Or to look at it differently again, my mind is vastly more powerful and wise when it is aligned with my inner being.

It’s like in martial arts: beginners try to do everything with their arm strength alone. Punching and pulling and throwing, they copy the techniques but the power is very little because it’s limited to their arm and shoulder muscles.

But we learn over time to use the whole body in every technique, and the arms become merely the last link in the chain, conveying the much greater strength of the whole body rather than trying to do it on their own.

And in martial arts I faced the same problem: people could say “relax your arms” and for some that is enough of a cue for the rest of the body to be activated.

But I’m so used to being in control, if I relax I just get…weak arms that don’t move!

What I needed was to know that it’s not about relaxing the arms or letting go, it’s about activating and aligning with a much greater strength and a much greater control that the arms (or my mind) can then follow.

And Oh my goodness! This feeling of higher control is such a relief, now I see why people call it “letting go”!

If you’re all about control you can’t simply “let go”. You need to go to a place of higher control, and in that place the small-scale struggle and conflict just disappears.

Abraham recommends meditation not as an end in itself but because it’s the quickest way to let go of resistance. But meditation still has to be tailored to the individual because everyone has different forms of resistance in their experience.

Letting go of resistance allows our natural ease and alignment and flow to resume. And isn’t that what we’re seeking in our efforts to control things anyway?

Happiness Day 25

Telling your new story.

We all tell a story about ourselves, our whole lives, and each subject in them.

These stories are just collections of thoughts, and our thoughts create our reality.

But stories carry their own momentum, have their own quirks and flow, and narrative structure.

For example, we don’t like stories where the characters suddenly change without cause.

We love success stories, but we expect a certain “then I hit rock bottom” third act, as if hitting rock bottom justifies the eventual success.

Let me tell you why I’m here

In our own lives we tell the same old story over and over again, to ourselves and anyone who’ll listen.

The story can be a happy story or a depressing one, but it usually justifies where we are now, and in retelling that old story we keep it alive.

We keep the story consistent quite easily, because each time you tell it (or part of it) you feel a certain way. And this feeling becomes so familiar that you reject things that feel “different”.

Telling a new story

Most of us tell our old story because we believe it is true, and we think it is delusional or dishonest or weak to pretend otherwise.

But the truth is that we can look at any situation in hundreds of different ways. And while some of those might be too great a stretch for us, others are not.

We can start by softening the story just a little.

“I’m just so tired all the time!”

You could soften that to:

“I’m tired more often than not.”

That’s still not going to feel good but it’s softer than the old story. It might feel just a little less bad.

Soften it further and it might be:

“I’m more tired than I’d like to be”

Soften it further:

“I wish I was less tired!”

And then:

“I’d love to have more energy…to do things”

Opening up to positivity

These statements are not only progressively softer but they also quietly draw in more positive words like “I’d like”, “I wish”, and “I’d love to”.

They gradually shift your focus away from the unwanted thoughts about tiredness and steer in the direction of what you do want.

That last statement might even get you thinking about why you want more energy, and what you’d like to do with it.

Do it yourself

The real benefit lies in doing this for yourself. Reading my statements probably won’t hit the right notes for many people.

It’s an individual thing, and the choice of words and even the overall approach is important for you to discover for yourself.

But as you get better at telling a new story, you’ll be amazed at the things you can retell and soften and shift.

Things that you might have viewed as the leaden burden of your life so far can “turn out” to be the source of all your inspiration, enthusiasm, and love of life!

Happiness Day 24

How much do you invest in your problems?

When your body doesn’t feel good, what do you pay more attention to: the 1% that hurts or the 99% that feels fine?

I used to let a mouth ulcer rule my world.

A sore throat was the end of life as we knew it.

Its actually funny right now how many physical symptoms are cycling around my body.

My throat started to hurt but I basically ignored it (I’ve come so far!) and resisted the urge to keep triggering the soreness.

It went away! But other symptoms have arisen. I won’t give a litany, but let’s just say pain has moved from my abdomen to my mouth to my eye to my knee to my back, sometimes a few of them at once.

I’m not worried. While it does show I have some resistance, the answer to resistance is never to fight it.

The Yi Jing has a beautiful passage on this:

“If evil is branded, it thinks of weapons, and if we do it the favor of fighting against it blow for blow, we lose in the end because thus we ourselves get entangled in hatred and passion.

Therefore it is important to begin at home, to be on guard in our own persons against the faults we have branded. In this way, finding no opponent, the sharp edges of the weapons of evil becomes dulled.

For the same reasons we should not combat our own faults directly. As long as we wrestle with them, they continue victorious. Finally, the best way to fight evil is to make energetic progress in the good.”

So by taking these pains lightly I’m already soothing the resistance that causes them. In fact I think I’m learning from the pain in a way, because it gives me a direct feedback on how relaxed and soothed I’m feeling in the moment.

This is a big step forward from my previous efforts to overcome my autoimmune pain, which were, in hindsight, as intense and focused as the pain itself.

It turns out I can soothe the pain just by relaxing and feeling good. I don’t have to dig to the bottom of it (there isn’t one) and I don’t have to track down the specific resistance and neutralise it.

Besides, according to Abraham-Hicks it takes far less resistance to keep symptoms going once they have started. Because once they start they tend to grab our attention and become self-perpetuating.

As for me, I remain amused by these sneaky pains moving around my body and trying to be taken seriously. Meanwhile, I can more easily set them aside while I ask “what is the good in which I would make progress?”

Happiness Day 23

What will you focus on?

I just watched a woman cross two lanes of busy traffic, holding her hand out to stop or slow the cars as she hurried to catch the bus.

The cars let her through, the bus waited, she caught the bus.

It was pretty audacious, but also admirable.

The person I was with couldn’t see it in that light. He was annoyed at her on behalf of the drivers and insisted she was wrong to do it because it was against the law and dangerous too.

She went too far!

I’m not saying she was right or wrong, that’s not the point. The point is that I’m my reality she would have missed the bus.

I would never have been so audacious as to cross through traffic like she did. But at least I can respect and admire her own focus and determination to catch that bus!

What impressed me further is the difference in our perspectives. The person I was with felt bad watching her because he could only see the unwanted aspects of the situation.

I felt surprise, admiration, and excitement at seeing someone so focused on their goal that they transformed obstacles into stepping-stones.

After all, I’ve seen busses drive off as people hurry to catch them. They won’t necessarily wait.

But watching this woman so audaciously cross the road, I feel the driver must have waited for her out of sheer admiration for her effort!

Physical illness Wellness

These principles apply to everything.

I’ve had an upset stomach these past couple of days, but it wasn’t until this morning as I drove my son to school that I found a better way to focus.

My stomach feels unwell…but my head feels really clear! I can only focus on one part of my body at a time. Which part will o focus on? Clarity or discomfort?

Remember that whatever we focus on will be magnified and strengthened.

Choosing to notice how clear-headed I feel, I appreciate the clarity and feel good about it. My clarity grows and expands. And as I appreciate it, anything contrary to it is just tuned out.

Happiness Day 22

Path of least resistance.

A couple of people have asked me if the Abraham-Hicks teachings are a form of prosperity theology.

I went looking for an answer, but in practice it appears that “prosperity theology” is just very very dumb.

I can’t do a nuanced comparison of the two teachings because prosperity theology doesn’t appear to have nuance.

The Abraham-Hicks teachings do have nuance. And one area of nuance is that we are sometimes led into circumstances we do not want, as the quickest path to what we do want.

The path of least resistance

In Christian terms this is depicted as God allowing us to suffer and face obstacles so that we turn towards Him and depend on His help.

Abraham encourages us to always take the path of least resistance to aligning with our inner being or Source (God) but sometimes the path of least resistance still has quite a bit of resistance in it.

Last night I was extremely tired and aching all over after training that morning.

I didn’t feel as though the weariness was caused by my resistance necessarily.

By evening I was alone trying to rock our 1yo daughter to sleep as usual, but such was my exhaustion I just couldn’t do it.

Yet through this experience I was forced to find better feeling thoughts about her sleep routine – something that has been distressing us all for almost a year.

And in those better feeling thoughts the solution presented itself. Well, I had no alternative but to feel better and let her learn to self-soothe, and it actually worked!

I’ve heard similar stories of people being pushed into circumstances that force them to find alignment and release their resistance.

The circumstances are in that sense a reflection of our own resistance, but at the same time there’s a slightly different quality to it.

The feeling is of genuine confusion, because “I was doing so well!”

Likewise our physical health can change as our vibration changes; not always in “positive” ways.

Sometimes the path forward looks like it is going back.

And in this way the Abraham-Hicks teachings invite us to appreciate the good in everything, the wanted aspect of all our circumstances, even ones that look bad or feel bad.

I don’t think prosperity theology does that, but I know regular theology does, and calls it “providence”.

Doing the dishes…happily?

I’ve struggled with doing the dishes and tidying the kitchen because on the one hand I don’t like it being messy and cluttered but on the other hand I’m tired of being the one cleaning it most of the time.

My wife and I have discussed it in the past but it feels like a stalemate.

I find myself again and again gritting my teeth and just doing it because “otherwise it won’t get done”.

So I decided to apply some of the Abraham-Hicks principles I’ve been working with and see if I can feel better about this situation.

It’s not the situation

It’s not the situation causing me to feel bad, it’s my thoughts about the situation.

I don’t need to know specifically which thoughts, and trying to hunt them down is usually counterproductive.

I already know I feel trapped because I want the dishes done, I’m tired of always doing them, and I don’t want to revisit a fruitless and aggravating discussion with my wife.

So what’s the opposite of all that? I want to feel free, I want to feel inspired and energised. I want to feel easy about doing the dishes.

My first thought is “they have to get done” and before I even get to the follow up I can tell this doesn’t feel good.

Do they really have to get done? Is that really how I want to approach these chores?

No wonder I feel stuck. The dishes are a burden even before I decide that I’m the one who should bear it.

Focus on the positive

After much practice at feeling better I had enough momentum to reconsider the situation and say “I love having a clean and tidy kitchen!”

Now it’s no longer a burden, it’s a statement of value. I love a clean and tidy kitchen.

And suddenly it flowed from there: I might not always have the energy to clean and tidy it. It might not always be entirely clean and tidy. But I still love and appreciate a clean and tidy kitchen.

And somehow with that positive statement I found I had the focus not just to clean some of the dishes…enough to make some room…but to clean all of the dishes. Three lots including some dirty pans from earlier in the week.

I cleaned them and dried them and put them away, not because they are a terrible burden under which I must suffer, but because I love and appreciate a clean and tidy kitchen.

Then I took the bin out and various bottles and cans that needed to be recycled. I kept going until the kitchen was as clean as it usually gets. I kept going until it mirrored the satisfaction and love that was guiding me.

Domestic insanity

I was definitely raised to see these kinds of chores as a burden, and carrying that attitude into my own home life is a shame.

All this time I could have been rewarding myself with love and appreciation for my clean kitchen, instead of forcing myself to endure the endless burden of dirty dishes that just have to get done somehow!

I can see now that when my wife did do the dishes I’d feel guilty that she was shouldering the “burden”.

It was a no win situation, but by finding a better-feeling way to think about it, it is totally transformed.

I like to think this is a microcosm of my Happiness work at large. Starting where I am, I’m finding that there have always been many things to feel good about, and many ways to feel good about them.