It’s a New Year. Several thoughts keep floating in my mind. Should I write about goals or intentions? What about New Years resolutions? They’re in our consciousness this time of year. And what about those 10-20 pounds we were resolved to lose last year? I know that some of us plan to go to the gym three or four times a week. And some of us are resolved to make positive changes in our careers.
Let’s start this year with a different exploration. Rather than having a goal or intention let’s look at the big picture. This is the year of reaching out and connecting with our spiritual tribe of kindred souls; those that have the same yearnings and concerns that we do. In the process we experience a synchronicity that becomes a way of life rather than the unusual circumstance. On our journey we discover that there is no such thing as coincidence, but rather the discovery of a deeper purpose that unites us. It can become an exciting adventure if we allow it to be.
At certain times we reflect upon where we are now and where we are going. We also reflect upon how satisfied we are with our lives and what we are committed to changing. There is no better time than now to make this exploration.
In the process of spreading the word about my book Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes I have been asked on many radio shows what I think are the biggest challenges that we face.
This process has helped me crystallize many of the ideas and beliefs that I have been working on for years. Having clarity is just the first step. A bigger challenge is integrating these insights into our essential core so that they become a way of being. It’s powerful when we share our deepest truths with others. In the process we are affirming how we want to lead and live our lives.
But the integration does not happen all at once. It’s an ongoing process that keeps unfolding because we are essentially changing our approach to life and the way we think about ourselves. One of the benefits of doing the work that I do is that over time the same themes keep repeating themselves. Too many of us have forgotten how to play. We are too serious in our approach to life. I remember when I was a kid, I would casually walk over to a neighbor’s house. “Can Johnny come out and play?” I would ask Johnny’s mom. Too many of us feel that we don’t have enough time to get together with a friend.
This attitude contributes to the feeling that life is a struggle. With that mindset every challenge becomes another reason why we think we can’t be happy. We mistakenly believe that when the current crisis is resolved we can be happy again; perhaps not happy, but at least not as stressed. Our mantra becomes “only if my life were different.”
There is a more empowering mantra which is “happiness is a choice.” Most of you know that in my previous incarnation I was a trial lawyer; a profession with a great deal of uncertainty and loose ends. And that’s the way life is. There is and always will be uncertainty. Our challenge is to become happy even though we have those loose ends—to be happy even though there are things in our lives that we wish were different.
A few days ago I was reminded by a former client of something that I had said to him that made a difference in his life, especially in light of all of the uncertainty that he was currently experiencing.
“Learn to make friends with the unknown,” is what he reminded me that I had said to him.
We are affected by events and circumstances that we have no control over. Although I’m curious about the future and sometimes wish I knew how it’s all going to turn out, most of the time I’m enjoying each step on the journey. I’ve embraced the “great mystery.”
I’m frequently asked what I mean by Dancing on the River. Here’s what I say. “It’s a consciousness that is a reflection of a life decision that you make to be happy in the moment that you make over and over again. That choice does not depend on the circumstances of your life.” Instead of waiting to be happy until what is bothering you is resolved choose to be happy now. You can honestly say that you’re happy and you still have a few loose ends. You might even wonder what your life would be like if what concerns you now turns out better than expected.
In many ways we are in the midst of a global renaissance. Every day there are more us reaching out touching souls all over the world. With the emergence of the internet we have the capability of becoming one global family. Please feel free to share this message with those in your circle.
JOURNEY ON AND CHOOSE HAPPINESS
Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He is the author of, Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes.