Why should I be thankful for my body? ~ Patricia

Patricia, Most of us go to work, eat, sleep and live our entire lives without thanking our body for the miraculous work it does. You should be thankful to your body because it works very hard for you; your heart beats 3.3 billion times in your lifetime, you breathe 6 quarts of air every minute, and you expel 1,000 pounds of feces a year. Recent research had proven the critical nature of the mind-body connection, demonstrating that each cell of your body has an intelligence that is in constant communication with the master intelligence in the brain. Stop for a moment, take an inner tour of your body, and express how grateful you are for all the support. Your brain stem and your heart were the first organs formed in your mother's body. Your heart and your brain have been working since your conception, day and night, year after year. Thank your organs in your body for the gift of life, especially when your body has been assaulted by drugs, alcohol, food, sleep deprivation, diets, depression, stress, anxiety, and the environment. Begin with the top of your head and move down organ by organ. Continue this process, acknowledging and showing gratitude for every organ and system of your body.  


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How can I find balance and happiness in life? ~ Julia

Julia, The movement toward living an intentional life of balance and happiness is a movement inward and downward. This movement creates the rootedness we need to be grounded and nourished. If we first focus our lives moving inward and downward, we naturally will move upward and forward to continue our natural growth throughout our lives. Think of the foundation of a home. A solid home is based on a foundation. This foundation for our happiness is cultivated by moving inward to our authentic Self (when we feel at one with our Self and our experience). Living from the inside out creates our anchor, our guidance, the key to living a life of happiness. The direction to discover happiness begins inward and downward followed by the movement upward and forward. Just as a tree is dependent upon it deeply grounded roots, we must be grounded in our values, beliefs and self-knowledge. As we begin to really listen to our authentic voice, our growth will naturally move downward to create a strong healthy center.


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What is the foundation of true success?  ~ Agnes

Agnes, Many of us are in such a hurry on the fast track of life to "make it"-- whatever that means for each of us. "Making it" for you may be an organization you want to join, a promotion, money, status, or to be the "best" mom in the neighborhood. For whatever you desire in life to be lasting and sustainable, you must have a foundation and roots. Once you are caught up in the whirlwind of success and the upward and forward lifestyle, it is very difficult to sustain that life without a solid foundation. We focus our lives on the prize, many times to discover when we reach our upward and forward goals that we have created hollow busy lives. If you haven't developed any practices or disciplines grounding you in health and well-being, when the storms of your personal and business life come you can suffer severe damage.


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What is the difference between happiness and pleasure? ~ Lyla

Lyla, We confuse happiness with pleasure. We live our lives moving from satisfying one pleasure to satisfying another pleasure. You will not find happiness in a pleasure prison. Pleasure is short-lived and temporary. Happiness is sustainable for your life time. Pleasure is an event -- a moment in time. You can't find happiness through seeking only pleasure. Pleasure can be seductive and addictive. Our pleasure-seeking obsession is destroying our mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Searching for pleasure in smoking, drinking, sex, video games, or watching television wastes our fragile short lives, not to mention exposing us to the host of diseases that are directly related to our pleasurable lifestyle. Pleasure is an experience; happiness is a chosen path of a lifetime. Many of us chase one pleasurable experience after another only to have a greater letdown after each attempt. Pleasure is short-lived. Pleasure is killing us literally in our world: eating, technology, consumerism, materialism, seeking success. Seeking and experiencing pleasure in and of itself is a dead end. But if your goal is to experience a life of true happiness, pleasure becomes a watering hole on your journey. Having said this, pleasure is a gift, a prized thread that is woven into the tapestry of happiness. It is hard to find anyone who loves to eat more than I do. A good meal is definitely a source of great pleasure for me. But I am clear that this source of pleasure is "only" a meal, and food is woven into my life happiness. The meal does not define my happiness. The meal is a source of pleasure but not necessarily happiness.


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Do I have to suffer in order to be happy? ~ Leah

Leah, Life is suffering. From the time we take our first breath we meet physical challenges: sickness, pain, aging, accidents, and death. There are also psychological issues that cause suffering in our lives: rejection, stress, grief, and depression to name a few. All of these conditions ebb and flow throughout our lives. The key to life is not to experience suffering as an obstacle, but as an opportunity. Every obstacle is an opportunity. You may not see the gifts at that particular moment, but with time the gifts can emerge from our suffering. It may feel counterintuitive to accept suffering in order to live optimistically but it works. Accepting something dilutes its power to dominate our thoughts and our lives, making room for clarity and peace.  


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How can I find joy in my community? ~ Maggie

Maggie, The neighborhood you live in can be a source of great joy. People love to organize communities around different needs and interests. Please take the time to explore your passions, and then reach out to find people with common interests. You can discover a new family in community. There are infinite possibilities for healing and joy in community. We have an article with even more tips on how to find joy in your community that may give you more tips and ideas you haven't thought of as well.


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How can I experience joy in my life? ~ Presley

Presley, To experience joy in your life, you must begin with the intention of wanting to experience joy. Most of us hope or pray that joy will turn up in our lives. We think of it as partying out loud or something that pops into our lives like fireworks that explode overhead, sending streaks of light across the sky. Those fleeting moments are not joy. They're exciting, stimulating, and fun. But they are transitory jolts of happiness. Joy is a state of grace in which we experience communion with our selves and the Divine. Joy is an internal calm, a feeling that despite all the raging storms around us, inside all is well. We think we know what will make us happy: success, fame, money, beauty, power, or intelligence. All of these attributes are wonderful, but I can assure you, as one who humbly can say I have had the privilege of all of these; they don't manifest joy, diminish suffering, or create peace in your life. Medicating our depression, dissatisfaction, disorientation, and disease with possessions, distractions, drama, and diversions is not the answer we seek. We can justify and rationalize the necessity of all these things, but joy is an inside job. We all have the seeds of joy within us, but if we don't water, nourish, and tend our joy, it is difficult to know it is there. It can be cultivated by living mindfully and by continually developing our awareness.


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How can I be happy? ~ Laura

Laura, The fruits of a life committed to happiness are: enthusiasm, inspiration, passion, compassion, courage, honesty and authenticity. Happiness is choosing a path of certainty. There will be suffering, accidents, grief and losses along with laughter, pleasure and joy. Your life stops being a roller coaster of ups and downs. Instead, of going through each day with a certain tentative sense, you live with self-confidence, courage and optimism. Happiness is confidence that no matter what happens, your life's potential is constantly unfolding. Happiness requires disciplines or practices. I use "practices" instead of discipline. Many of us have a negative connotation with the word "discipline." The word "practices" means exactly what it says. You keep doing a practice over and over, and practice it over and over.


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