The Pursuit of Happyness – Part 2 by Elizabeth Harrington

Elizabeth HarringtonWe continue the journey to the BEST years in life… NOW! We live in a world of instant everything. How often have you found yourself tapping a foot or squirming and dancing around while waiting for water to boil? I cook my Irish steel cut oats the slow way for 30 minutes so to save time, I cook it the day before. Hence the need to warm it up for 2 minutes in the microwave the next day. I had to stop myself the other day as I caught myself dancing around in front of the microwave, tapping my foot, waiting to hear the ding of the timer yesterday… it only takes 2 minutes but there is so much to do I was telling myself! Yikes- so easy to fall into that trap isn’t it? “Hurry is fear disguised as passion” J Ray NULL

I now believe that it is more important to think and reflect on what we want to create, than to be a person who is “action-oriented”.

In her book Unstoppable, Cynthia Kersey writes that a prominent psychologist asked 3,000 people, “What have you to live for?” An amazing 94% answered by saying they had no definite purpose for their lives – NINETY FOUR PERCENT! With these kinds of results, is it any wonder that there are so many unhappy people in our world today?

“The journey into the heart is our future and our only way of creating a future. It is movement toward wholeness, integrity, and compassion. It is the healing each of us longs for and the healing that each of us must accomplish if we are to move forward into our fullest potential.” Gary Zukav in The Seat of the Soul

As I am again ending my sabbatical, I remind myself of the power of these words of wisdom from many centuries ago. Without this practice of reflective thinking or reflective living, as it is often referred to, how do we know what we want to create to design our “life roadmap” or “life plan?” Until I understood the critical nature of slowing down to take the time to reflect, I was part of the crowd who asked themselves each and every December, “Where did the year go?” Now I set aside time to review my life, my actions, and the results I’m receiving. Each day, each situation, I ask myself what I have learned and how can I apply this learning? I urge others to do the same.

Reflection is the habit of digging deep to understand why you do what you do and what you don’t do.

Most don’t take the time from their harried and fast paced lives otherwise known as the “hurry disease” to explore themselves and their lives at this level. I meet many through my coaching practice who are afraid or too deeply uncomfortable to “even go there.” To examine ways of growing whole – to become what we are capable of being – is a vital part of life particularly a critical second half of life venture. “If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” Abraham Maslow My colleague and teacher, Richard Leider, the Inventure Group, is the architect of the “Purpose Project” and “Working on Purpose”. During one of our Guild meetings, the question arose of how to tell the difference between knowing when you are in a hurry and when you are acting with passion. Great question! One that made us sit back and really think about it. What we came up with is a series of basic questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I having fun?
  • Does what I’m doing right now bring me joy?
  • Is this a mission or an adventure?
  • Am I following my love or my destiny?
  • Am I grateful for the opportunity to do what I am doing right now?

We will be discussing more about each of these in future articles.

For now, if you are not living a life filled with joy, having fun, in love with what you’re doing, and full of gratitude – then I suggest this would be an excellent time to set aside some time each day and start asking yourself some important questions.

You don’t have to take a sabbatical (although I love going to Maui and Sedona for reflection, it isn’t always possible). I DO keep my favorite MAUI sunsets and Sedona Red Rock photos around me though to enhance the spirit of creation. Time alone is essential – at least 30-40 minutes a day. Can’t swing that much time? Find 10 minutes and get started. Turn off that plug- in drug known as the TV, stop surfing the net for more information, get off eBay… what ever it takes. Find it! Do it! It’s worth it. Your life is waiting.

Full actualization of your potential and growth will only come about when you make a commitment to examine your life and explore your identity.

What better time than now? If you’ve read this far… then you know this is the right time, the best time, for you to make a commitment to dive deeply into your heart and soul. You can make this the best year of your life! I challenge you to spend some quiet time with yourself and explore what you have learned this year. You’re worth it. Your life is worth it. Decide right now that you will not be one of the sad people I wrote about last month, who are struggling with the blues because they have given up on believing they can make a difference in their own lives – and all of this sadness occurred from giving up on their dreams and New Year’s Resolutions before January was even over! Reading this, ask yourself how you have grown in your business, in your relationships, in your health, your spiritual connection, your professional and personal development, your financial life? Write down some of the win-wins so you start the following exercise on a positive note.

REMEMBER YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED THE BEST PART OF YOUR LIFE.

I often hear people refer to the quote… “Youth is wasted on the young.” People who quote this are perpetuating and accepting that only the young can enjoy life to the fullest. As I greet each new birthday, happier, fitter and more fulfilled than ever, I realize how untrue this really is. The truth is that many older people enjoy their advancing years as much if not more than their young days. Michael, in his mid-50’s, is a college professor I coach. Comfortable in all respects, he anticipated like many other baby boomers, that he would continue teaching until he reached retirement age. The college faced a budget shortfall last year, and took the unprecedented step of eliminating a number of its academic departments, including Michaels’s. Michael felt his entire world was destroyed. Everything he had counted on was gone. He would read in the newspapers that there were no good jobs for those over 50. He felt great anxiety as he felt too old to search for another job similar to the one he had lost and too old to start all over again. I suggested Michael take the time to gain a new perspective. Instead of grieving over the loss of his old job and life, why not focus on the brave new world of many opportunities that lay before him. Never before had he had the chance to start over again, to decide what he wanted to do and where he wanted to do it. It proved to be a very positive time for him because of this focus, and he took a year off, to live without the structure of a job, traveled to some exotic places and not so exotic places. For the first time since he was a student, he had the time to visit favorite family members and friends. He embarked on an exercise program and committed to a healthier lifestyle. At the end of the year, he admitted to me that he had never been better. In fact he admitted to me that he had always had a dream of operating his own business so is in the process of exploring an internet marketing business with me where he can fully utilize his knowledge and talent.

  • What do you truly want for yourself this year?
  • What do you have to let go?
  • How do you have to grow?
  • What do you want to learn?
  • What will you commit to doing differently this year so you will stop and say with
    wonder and pride next December, “WOW look at what I’ve achieved this year”

Hurry Up and slow down…your best life is waiting!

 

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Elizabeth Harrington
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