Lately I have been waking up happy. I wonder if you have been too ?
How often do we leap out of bed or rise with a smile in our heart, ready to greet the day and move positively and lovingly into the next moment ?
Perhaps it's a fairly rare thing in our society to feel automatically happy when we wake up. Like most people
it wasn't always something I experienced. More often than not in the past I would ponder the idea of getting out of bed with a familiar mix of boredom and resignation - neither of which had me thinking or feeling happy in the moment.
So what has shifted I find myself asking ? The answer that comes resoundingly back to me is quite simply - "awareness". The deep awareness that comes from knowing that we are all inherently happy. Indeed happiness is our natural state, but often we see it as an elusive ideal that might only be achieved momentarily only to disappear as quickly as it arrived.
How do we cultivate happiness within ourselves so that it can last for days and days, until eventually it becomes simply part of who we are, like breathing in and out ? In my spiritual journey I have come to understand that happiness arises naturally when two or three states of being are observed in our daily life.
The first and most important key is to be grateful for what you have, and for every aspect of your life. This type of gratitude includes being grateful and appreciative for the things, people and circumstances we find the most challenging. The things that we might attribute to making us "unhappy" are there as challenges to our ability to be in gratitude. When we understand that we have the power to respond however we choose and that no circumstance can really control us we realise that gratitude is also a key to personal freedom.
Being grateful for the so called blessings and trials of life brings us into alignment with our true Divine nature and from this place we realise that all events are gifts for our soul's growth and evolution. All we need to do is express our gratitude and appreciation for all that we have and all that we are and then watch and wait for happiness to arise within us.
This deep sense of happiness began to arise in me more and more as I shifted into a space of love and appreciation for everyone and everything in my life. I began to really recognise how blessed I was even in my most challenging moments and at the same time I found myself automatically drawn to simplicity.
From this space of new found gratitude I have been able to let go of expectations. This is the second key to lasting happiness. Accepting everyone and everything as they are has given me such a deep peace and joy. Instead of being disappointed because something or someone doesn't conform to our "standards" we can relax and be in the moment. As I have progressively let of expectations especially around my work, relationships and spiritual journey I have discovered how happy and content I feel and how much smoother my life has become.
Everyday I enjoy the third key to waking up happy and that is, "small steps". In my life I have often felt overwhelmed as I have tried to balance the demands of children, partners, work, exercise and seemingly endless obligations. These days I focus on being in the moment and taking at least one step everyday toward my goals.
These 3 keys- gratitude, letting go of expectations and taking small steps - are vital to the cultivation of happiness in a way that is lasting and fulfilling for our whole life. As you begin to cultivate each of them deeper and deeper I know that you can and will wake up happy everyday.
Jennifer Evans-Allen is a mentor, coach, writer and motivational speaker on matters of spirituality and successful living. She works with women around the world in helping them lead lives of deep authenticity and contribution