Many of us experience the all-too-familiar thought pattern on a regular basis: “If I only had more of _________, if there was less of ________ (drama, money-problems, pain) in my life, I could finally be happy, I could feel satisfied at last.”
Once upon a time, I was a clueless, complacent and timid hippie chick, stuck in a loop of thought patterns much like the above song and dance: I was completely convinced that I was missing out on some hidden equation that would deliver me the perfect life.
I was stuck in about 10 ruts, I was struggling to pry myself away from a failing and co-dependent relationship and creating the life of my dreams seemed like a far-away, impossible concept. Honestly, I was miserable, and not doing anything to change it. I was hitting the victim button on repeat, hoping for a miracle and playing out fantasies of who I wanted to become.
Fast forward to two years later—I am with the man of my dreams, fully engaged in a transformative spiritual partnership yet entirely guided by my independence and personal power, leading women’s empowerment groups and rocking it out as I pursue my dreams in the healing arts profession (okay, I may still be a hippie chick).
Most importantly: I am relentlessly happy. I am satisfied. I am living my life as a liberated woman, joyous and full within myself regardless of life’s challenges and struggles.
Almost overnight, I stepped onto the lightning-bolt fast track to my own evolution, fueled by my heart’s truest passions and strengths, leaving the bullsh*t behind and flying forward into a life embedded with a more real and pervasive joy than I had ever experienced in my messy 27 years of life.
How did I come into this sudden and massive transformation?
The secret to my magical discovery around owning and creating authentic happiness was indeed grace—but this grace was delivered to me in a very unexpected form: a feisty intuitive and acupuncturist I had never met, who lived across the country from me.
She plopped into my lap an unforeseen and fortuitous teacher and became a life-long friend and I give tribute to her here for helping awaken within me the awareness that birthed the seven shortcuts I’m about to share.
The work I began to do with Monisha Chandanani revolved around three simple yet transcendent concepts: mindfulness, self-love and conscious creation. The combo platter of these potent personal growth tools—cultivated and blended by this astute woman in her own uniquely effective way—utterly revamped my make-up from the inside out.
She gave to me simple and practical homework to do in the form of daily mantras, which I had never before utilized as self-development tools (because it can’t be that simple to change our thought patterns, right?)
Initially, when she proposed these practical homework assignments, my mind went—aha! I was right!
This intuitive crap was way too good to be true.
Yet as she continued to assign me mantras, my thought process truly shifted. The subtle magic woven into the mental rewording was real, true, and effective. And, believe it or not, when I got out of my own way, the process of integrating these shortcuts into my life to create lasting joy was actually easy.
The Shortcuts to a radiant, joyous and fulfilling life experience:
1. Love yourself through everything. (And I mean everything.)
Hate to tell you, but this even includes the “I-ate-three-brownies-last-night-and-farted-during-sex” days. The more we love ourselves through everything, the easier it becomes to love and be loved by others.
The days you feel most down, uncomfortable, guilty, upset, pissed off, self-critical—these are the days it is most important to do this practice. If you can’t seem to connect to that force of self-adoration within you, fake-it-till-you-make-it: Try this mantra and put it on repeat in your mind on your worst days:
“I am perfect exactly as I am. I am always enough.”
2. Prescribe yourself the medicine of radical self-responsibility.
It goes like this: stop blaming others, or the Universe for anything and everything that happens to you! Anything that is present in your life and reality is something you yourself have created and allowed through the unconscious vibration of your thoughts and beliefs.
If you find yourself in conflict much of the time, look more closely at the nature or repetition of the conflicts. How much quickly would they be resolved, or better yet, avoided entirely, if you focused more on yourself instead of the other person involved and their reactions?
If you become super clear on what you are needing and wanting, and approach every situation with the acknowledgment that you are in charge of how each moment unfolds, it becomes much more easy to control the outcome of every experience in a way that cultivates deliciousness and ease.
3. Be hyper-mindful of your thoughts.
If you find yourself thinking thoughts about things you are not willing to experience, or thoughts which are stimulating any kind of icky negative emotion or discomfort inside of you, it can be this easy: switch your thought or focus. Start thinking of something else that feels good, or engage in new activity to change the energy you are feeling; play some awesome music, exercise—you get the idea.
If it’s not easy to jump to thinking about something delicious and awesome and you find yourself running negative thought patterns on repeat, then it’s time to surrender.
Getting trapped in a negative thought spiral is exactly what gets us feeling stuck in a rut or like we’re running in place. However, if you have been thinking about something for a long time already—if it’s a built-up belief system and there is a lot of energy behind it, then it moves beyond your thoughts and into your feeling body.
At this point, you may be feeling some strong emotion, due to having cultivated enough focus behind the negative thought pattern, and it has become something more visceral. So now what? Accept it. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you have created in your space fully with no self-judgement.
Recognize, “Okay, here it is, let’s just feel it through and accept that I created this so that I can expand further from it.”
Once we get ourselves to a place of feeling that bad, we tend to beat ourselves up again and again about things. Here’s a clue: don’t do that! Just practice saying, okay this is here, I created it, but it’s not a big deal—and thankfully, there is going to be more expansion from this point.
Love and accept what you are feeling and practice trusting that it’s okay to feel that way, because every point of tension we experience is always moving us toward the direction of good.
It’s important that in those moments where it’s so easy to continue to feel sh*tty, that we have some reference that “it’s actually okay that I feel sh*tty” because it gives us just enough relief to pull out of the downward spiral.
4. Practice the Art of Gratitude.
What do many of the happiest people have in common? They are incredibly thankful to be alive and are always finding new things to be grateful for.
Gratitude is an expansion for your being. When you can reach a place of gratitude about anything that has happened to you, you will know you have reached the ultimate, final stage of the healing process. The practice of gratitude is a life-changing attitude and the more we practice it, the better our lives get.
It is actually a simple thing to access when we allow it and it multiplies easily and effortlessly the more we practice it, just like anything. The power of gratitude is that it holds us in a state of pure lightness because of the way it feels in our bodies.
The practice of gratitude opens the heart, it expands the chest, you can breathe deeper.
Living in gratitude will catapult you more quickly into joy, ease and flow in your life than any other attitude.
5. Stop talking about how hard it is.
Here is a concept that Monisha taught me that has completely changed my life: Let it be easy, let it be good.
Let’s face it, as a society, we are completely addicted to hard work. We are absolutely addicted. We have completely convinced ourselves of the truth of the story that we are strong if we experience hardship. But that’s what this belief is—just a story.
Making things harder than they need to be creates a false sense of value. Move yourself out of that false thought paradigm.
Now, that’s not to say hard things don’t exist. Some things are hard, you know? They just are. Break-ups? Generally not so easy. The passing of a loved one is another example. There is no denying that some things in life simply feel hard as hell.
But that doesn’t mean we have to be committed to struggle in all things.
Let’s say something that actually isn’t that hard comes into your world, but you are committed to making it hard. If you continue to think again and again and again, “this is hard,” then it will be hard, I guarantee it. I absolutely assure you that if you keep telling yourself something is going to be hard, then it’s going to be hard.
So, if telling yourself something is going to be hard will make it hard, why not practice telling yourself something is going to be easy, again and again and again and again, in order to create and experience more ease in your life?
First, pay attention to how often in your daily life you refer to something as being hard. (The frequency of your usage of this phrase may surprise you!) Then, stop saying it and replace it with this mantra:
“Let it be easy, let it be good.”
It’s another simple yet potent tool that has absolutely upgraded my mental processes, and subsequently, my life. I started using this mantra regularly, and suddenly it became evident how much unnecessary struggle I was creating for myself.
6. Remember always (and remind yourself every day) that you are perfectly on time.
Because it’s true: you are perfectly on time. In fact, I invite you to say it out loud to yourself right now and notice what disbelief may arise:
“I am perfectly on time.”
Keep saying it, and ignore any doubt that arises. You do not need to be anywhere else than where you are right in this moment, period. So please stop being so hard on yourself or getting into these ideas of “I am two steps behind.” There is no such thing.
Everyone is on their own individual path, expressing qualities and doing those things which make them a powerfully unique being, and the timeline their evolution follows will be entirely different from those around them. So stop comparing yourself to others and embrace being in the present moment with you, because there is no one like you in this world!
This mantra can also help you get out of the standard American mode I like to call “Triple G”—go, go, go.
Slow down and chill the eff out, people—there is nothing so emergent that requires you to race around like a beheaded chicken all of the time. Allow yourself the spaciousness of trusting that everything in life is orchestrated in the perfect timing. Slowing down allows us to take life in a way that is savory, not fleeting.
7. Choose to seek joy in all that you do and make feeling good your number one priority.
Seriously, stop complaining!
How much of your time and energy is wasted droning on about things you can’t change? What you can change, always, no matter what, is your own attitude and ability to hone in on the good of any situation, person or experience. The magic of positivity and focusing on whatever feels good to us is a magic that no one should scoff at until they’ve taken these qualities on as a consistent practice.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Viktor Frankl
There is absolutely no excuse reasonable enough to keep us from feeling joyful and being grateful for the beauty and opportunity that overflows all around us. None!
Of course, I’ll allow for the recognition that challenges and traumatic events abound all around us, but life is never going to change the sorts of experiences she dishes us out: only we change our circumstance by shifting how we respond to what is happening around us and what we attract based on our thoughts. No matter what may feel like a struggle, there is always something to be grateful for or excited about. After all, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
Make a master list of all the things that make you feel damn good and then do at least one of those things every single day, no matter what your schedule or mood.
Author: Christina Korpik
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock