There is no time like the present.
Be happy now.
So often we think we would have been happy if we had made different decisions that would have changed our current circumstances.
So often we believe that we will be happy when we get to that special destination, when we achieve that specific success, and when we receive that accolade, that promotion, that appreciation.
We look to the past, wondering what could have been if we took a different road, made a different turn, and if we did or didn’t trust someone or something.
We look to the future, imagining feeling something different- something greater- all while the present passes us by.
As we get stuck in yesterday, and as we look to a better tomorrow, we miss out on simply being happy today.
We have a choice to be happy. It isn’t a destination, it a state of being.
I heard a familiar reminder this morning- that we “were not made to be human doings, but to be human beings.”
We do not have to necessarily do anything to be happy, we can just be.
Sure there are times when we are just beat up, and that our heart is as heavy as the burdens that our shoulders are carrying. We need to grieve, to be angry, and to heal.
There are also times when we need the help of trained therapists, counselors, spiritual directors, and even medication, to return to a state of balance. These are gifts from God that help you help yourself by the generous help of others.
So often though, most of us get caught up in the everyday emotions of worry and fear, judging and comparing. We say “only if” this happened, then we would now be happy. Or we say “when this happens,” then I will finally feel good about my life.
We become prisoners of past regret and future anxiety.
We feel as if we must do something different or something more to be happy, never realizing that happiness is just a state of mind away.
The task to be present to the moment is perhaps a life-long challenge. These chains do not easily fall off, yet each day presents a new opportunity to live a fuller, more present life.
Each day, we are invited by our Creator to give a greater focus to the moment at hand and to see the good, the love, the gifts before each one of us.
While happiness does not require doing more, there are some tricks to remind us of what happiness feels like. Here are 5 quick tips to try each day to loosen the shackles of the past and the future:
- Fill your cup: find time, even if it is 5 minutes a day, to reflect, to pray, and to be inspired.
- Be Grateful: list 10 reasons that you are blessed. Start with the fundamentals like the ability to breathe and read. Keep going…
- Make a Difference: How can you be an answer to someone’s prayer. From giving your spare change, to helping a parent in need, to calling or writing a friend or family member, make someone’s day today.
- Find God: Look for God in nature, in the eyes of your neighbor, and in your secular and sacred rituals. Seek and you shall find.
- Open your Treasure Chest: Play your favorite song, read your favorite book, watch your favorite movie or T.V. episode, and tap into what was once a source of joy. Find comfort and peace here.
Finally, be assured of my prayers for you. I mean it- I will pray for you, and I ask that you pray for me. Let us in the spiritual sense help one another be more present to today, to be happy, to simply be.