By Deb Avery
Is there a secret to living a happy life? I think so.
And I think that secret is in keeping things simple. Animals and children naturally know how to do this. I think we are all born knowing how to be happy. But then we are introduced to our parents’ and society’s beliefs and perceptions, and very slowly—insidiously—all of these begin the process of stripping away of our natural born instincts, replacing them with ideas and desires that cause stress and needless worry.
As we mature we often lose that magical way of thinking that we had as children.
We grow away from our deeper feelings of mystery and our natural curiosity of life, finding ourselves seeking material things, comparing and striving for a better car, home, clothes, job—whatever. We change our focus from that of contentment and wonder to more mundane, materialist pursuits.
How much happier would we be if we only step back from the rat race and confusion and focus on what is really important in life? Does it really matter if we drive a new car or get the latest in fashions? Must we look, feel and be a certain way because it’s the latest trend and we want to appear cool to others?
All this sounds so superficial, but if we strip away the facade we’ve built over the years and look only at our needs, wants and desires that are really important—those that are satisfying and real—-how many of the things we think we just can’t live without or spend enormous amounts of time worrying over, would fall under this label of superficiality?
How do we know what’s really important to us in life? One simple way (simple is a magical word) is to use the analogy of only having a few weeks, or days, to live. If viewed from this perspective, how much would our priorities change? I think for most of us, they would change drastically. But the thing is, each moment of life is too precious to squander on anything that doesn’t feed our sense of well being and enlighten our minds to the wonder and preciousness of this life we’ve been given.
There is magic all around us.
Each day the sun rises and sets. A soft, gentle, summer rain falls or glistening, frosty snowflakes cover the earth in wonder. Birds sing and flowers bloom. The wind teases a harmonious sound from hanging wind chimes. All these, and so many more wonderful and magical moments, happen each and every day. Do we take a moment to breathe them in and deeply appreciate the joy they bring? Or, are we too busy or too jaded to notice?
I think it’s time for us to let go of all the pretentiousness of society and bring back the magic and wonder in our everyday lives. And like everything else, it begins within each of us.
Let us let go of preconceived notions and beliefs that weren’t ours when we came into this world.
To me, the best way to do this is to simplify, slow down, pay attention and observe. That sounds easy, and it really is once you get the hang of it. Try watching a dog, or other animal, playing in the grass. Notice how deeply aware they are of everything around them—with all their senses. Spend time in nature and tune in to the wonders of the world around us. The bees, insects, animals, plants and the elements themselves, have so much to teach us about the simple joy of being alive.
This awakening begins with our willingness to let go of the things that takes our focus away from the what truly matter in our lives. Let go of the worries and cares that are so superficial when seen through the clarity of a sunrise or sunset, the beauty of a flower, or the feel of the wind caressing your cheek.
The magic is there (it never left). We simply choose to focus our attention elsewhere. Let’s let go of all preconceived notions and learned beliefs and perspectives.
Let us once more be astonished with the amazing beauty of simply being alive.
Feature photo: (source)
Editor: Dana Gornall