How do you do it?
I get asked that a lot. How do I keep a smile on my face? I have a simple answer. I make the choice.
It took years of practice. Some days are easier than others. My choice to be happy starts with that conscious decision. Then a breath. Then a prayer or a mantra. Then the peace comes.
It’s more automatic now than it used to be. The stress and anxiety I felt on a daily basis, however, are gone, replaced with my ego’s acknowledgement that my soul desires otherwise. I'm not being fake, I'm being more real that I've ever been in my life.
I used to be told I need to relax. I hated it. I still get a little PTSD when I hear the word (not kidding). I’m a passionate person, I feel very deeply. But they were right, I did need to relax. But where they thought I needed to relax my mind and emotions, I really needed to relax my soul. (I really needed to just leave those people way sooner than I did.)
I still allow myself passion and fire when I feel it’s crucial, but I know now how to choose my battles. One of my many mantras: Just because I didn’t react doesn’t mean I didn’t notice, or didn't care. I wish it was a hologram projected above my head at all times. Whether I find myself in the middle of two people disagreeing, or on the outside looking in of a squabble I refuse to participate in, or in the middle of a town overrun by college students who think they own the place, I choose my battles. And I choose them wisely.
Wise is never a word I would have used to describe myself, but I can – and do – now. I’m not arrogant nor do I feel I am better than anyone else. But I am wise. I know better. I’ve been on the bottom, but I no longer look down. I choose to look up.
It’s very simple. Life is about relationships. That’s it. Relationships with our family, friends, partners, co-workers, strangers we meet running errands, pets and animals. Ourselves. We can choose to feed those relationships with either love or fear. How we choose to nurture (or not) those relationships is what gives us stress or peace.
I know too many people who are going through break-ups and divorces right now. It's painful to watch because I know the human emotions all too well and wouldn't wish them on anyone.
Our relationships with people are not as difficult as we make them. We can choose love or not. What makes them difficult is putting expectations on them and our fear of change. Our ego telling us that someone should be this way or that way and our inability to make them into who we want them to be, and our fear of leaving relationships and never having another one. We can choose to keep our own peace or allow someone’s words and actions to hurt us. We can choose to have conversations or confrontations. We can choose to stay or walk away.
Oh, believe me, I know how hard it is to walk away. We want something (or someone) better to come along first to make it easier. But that isn't always going to happen and it's certainly not the best way, either. It's harder to be alone, it's harder to start over. Being alone means you finally have the freedom to figure out who you really are, what you really like and dislike, what you really want out of life. Being alone is what gives you the wisdom you need to know what kind of people you want (and don't want) in your life.
But some people also have a hard time staying. They choose to walk away rather than love. To them, freedom is easier than allowing their heart to open fully to experiencing love in all forms. Choosing to love someone through changes, through life chaos, through any difficulties is the greatest form of love you can express. And it's those most difficult experiences that make us stronger, braver, and ultimately, happier.
No one wants to be alone. Even those that continue to walk away. That's our memory of love long ingrained in our DNA. That's why it's so painful. But it doesn't have to be.
We're never really alone. No, only if we choose to be. If you feel lonely and need companionship, leave your house. Go to the coffee shop, the grocery store, the movie theater. Talk to people, smile at people. Heck, go out in Nature and talk to the trees and birds and insects. Open your heart to letting someone - anyone - in, and you will realize in an instant that you're never alone.
And for those of you who believe - or will leave the subject open - there is always Spirit. Yes, whether you believe it or not, our loved ones are only a call/prayer away, as are our Angels, Guides, and the Divine. Communing with Spirit not only validates that we are never alone, but it heals us. Heals us of all the pain and suffering. This isn't about religion and limitations and right vs wrong - this is about love. Real love. Divine Love.
Divine Love isn't about other people and conditions and even emotions. Divine Love is about, well, love. To define this is difficult. It's an idea, a Natural Law, something that just is. Look up. That Sun? That Moon? Those stars and planets and everything else swirling out there in the cosmos? Miracles. Look out. That tree? That bird? Those insects and weeds and everything else growing out there on Mother Earth? Miracles. Look in the mirror. That smile? That frown? Those atoms and cells and everything else swirling around in that vessel of yours? Miracles. And you know what creates miracles? Yes. Love.
We're meant to love. It's the Universal purpose of every single one of us. How we love here on Earth is the only way we know how to express Divine Love in human form. We may each have our own soul purpose, but that purpose is really just about our unique way of spreading love.
So, how are you choosing to love? What message are you sending? How are you spreading love?
And they're wrong. I don't always keep a smile on my face, but when I smile, it's truth. I'm never not being real - my reality is that I choose love. When I want to cry or yell or vent, I do so. But then I decide to replace those tears or angry and frustrated feelings with love.
And my relationships are better because of it. There are less of them, less people I consider friends. And I treasure my alone time. But I'm not alone. My heart is filled with people who I can connect to on a different level, some of whom I've never met. These connections have no conditions, no expectations, other than giving and receiving love.
And that, my friends, is how I keep a smile on my face. Now, go ahead. You try it.
When Love Wins: Our Journey to Peace
Love. It begins our journey, it ends our journey, and is the foundation for everything we encounter along the way. After all, love is the only thing that is eternal. It is all we need to gain the peace we were all created to experience.
Love will take away the need for forgiveness. Love will conquer negative thoughts such as anger, depression, fear, and jealousy. Love will give us the quiet strength to calm our minds, fill our souls, and help us live a peaceful life. Love will change hope into knowing.
It really is that simple...