Take the Road Inward

dalaiactionsThe desire to be happy drives all of us, but sometimes it drives us in the wrong direction. Anything we do, we do because we believe it will bring us peace or contentment or feelings of joy or gratitude, even things we do for other people. I teach because I love it. I love the feeling of being in a room full of people who are breathing and sweating and focusing and looking at themselves in an honest way, in a safe space. I love the co-creation of that space, and I feel grateful that I can offer ideas that might help someone to heal, drawing from my own healing journey over the last twenty years. It feels good. Doing things for my kids makes me happy, even if I’m exhausted and have answered nine million “why” questions by the end of the day. Folding those tiny tee shirts, or pairing up those little socks makes me smile, because it’s so fleeting. Soon my son’s socks will be bigger than mine, and my daughter will be rolling her eyes as she heads out the door with some guy I’m going to vet like I work for the FBI.

Anyway, my point is, if you ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, or why you want what you want, I can almost guarantee you’ll find it’s because you think this course of action will lead to your happiness. If you’re on a diet, maybe it’s because you haven’t been treating your body well, and are now trying to make friends with it again, eating whole foods, and drinking lots of water, and tuning in to your body’s needs and desires. Or maybe it’s because you’re buying into the insanity that you can never be skinny enough, but if only you could, you’d meet someone fabulous. See what I’m saying? Whether it’s a healthy or unhealthy motivation, you’re doing it because you believe it will lead you somewhere good.

If you’re working a ninety hour week because you think a lot of money will make you happy, and someday you’ll be able to retire and enjoy yourself, I’d say that’s not a good course of action because tomorrow isn’t promised. If you’re chasing someone who isn’t really giving you the time of day because you believe if only you could “have them”, then you’d be happy, I’d say you’re also on a thorny path, but sometimes we’re in pain, and that’s what’s motivating us. We’re coming from a place of lack, and we attach our happiness to external things, people, events or circumstances, and so here we are on this quest to be happy, but we’ve taken the road to misery. I think a lot of people are living this way.

Ask yourself why you want the things you want. It’s a good exercise, and you don’t have to share your findings with anyone (although a great therapist can be very helpful in this regard). Make a list of those things or people or brass rings you’re chasing, and hold them up to the light, because you don’t want to spend too much time racing down Misery Lane. You really might need to recalibrate your GPS, and set a new course. Happiness is inside us. You don’t have to run or race or travel to find it. You really have to get quiet, so you can hear the voice of your intuition, so you can tap into that inner knowing. It’s got a very clear voice. It will tell you “yes, this”, or “no.” It’s just that sometimes we’ve drowned it out with a lot of shoulds.

It took me a long time to be happy. I spent a lot of my young adult years convinced I’d be happy, when…and you can fill in the blanks with so much stuff. I also spent a lot of time blaming other people for my unhappiness. Those are flip sides of the same coin. If your happiness lies in something or someone outside yourself, your lack of this person or thing or event becomes responsible for your unhappiness, but the truth is, no one is responsible for your peace of mind, or lack of it, but you. We each have our own work to do to unearth our joy, our passion, our gifts, those things that light us up, or terrify us, or inspire us. We all have to look at what’s holding us back, where we might be blaming, where we might be stopping ourselves with self-limiting beliefs. You have to know yourself if you want to be happy. A huge house isn’t going to help you with that, and neither is the “right” person. You’re the right person. Knowing yourself and accepting yourself is inside work. So if you’re looking for a road to get you there, pick the road inward.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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