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The truth will piss you off…then set you free. Gloria Steinem.

1 We will all die.
2 Our bodies age
3 Pain is unavoidable- but Suffering is optional. You can’t choose whether or not to feel pain over the course of your life, but you can choose whether to obsss over, tell stressful stories about it, or refuse to accept the pain. It just is.
4 We are alone. We are born alone and we die alone. Loneliness is fundamental to the human condition, much as we are all connected to something greater.
5 No “thing” outside yourself can make you happy. NOTHING. Not a spouse, not a new job, nothing will make you happiness unless-
6 Happiness is a mental state that is a choice.
7 You are right where you need to be. You don’t have to like it or love it, but you have to accept it if you want to have peace. Your choices have led you to this moment, which will give you everything you need.
8 Freedom is something we all have regardless of circumstances. You may face ridiculous constraints or even be enslaved, but you still have power over your mental condition.
9 Kindness to oneself isn’t optional- it is necessary in order to be truly loving and kind to others and you deserve your own love as much as any other being.
10 You are happy to the extent you care for beings beside yourself.
11 This too shall pass- everything is impermanent
12 The universe, and ourselves, are fundamentally good. Basic goodness is a fact, a deep truth.

How to be happy and find true freedom?

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
― Gautama Buddha

1 Stop telling stressful stories. The stories you tell are probably causing more pain than the actual event itself, and who knows if what you are telling yourself is accurate?
2 Honor your pain- give yourself compassion, don’t run from it. Whether its into a box of chocolate, the arms of a stranger, or the boob tube, running away will not make the pain go away. Ever. You are bigger than your pain.
3 Listen to your emotions and your inner promptings. I really can’t stress this enough- we all know what we truly desire but for whatever reason choose to pursue other goals. Don’t do this and expect to be happy or satisfied. Just don’t do it- do what you really want instead, to the extent it doesn’t harm others.
4 You will never be truly happy until you genuinely love and accept yourself. You will never be able to accept the love of other people unless you believe you deserve it yourself. No matter how good your life circumstances might seem to be, you will never be happy until you are comfortable in your own skin.
“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”
― Maya Angelou
5 Recognize that NOW is the one and only time that really exists- Be happy NOW! The present moment is our refuge.
6 “Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you’re happy for a reason, you’re in trouble because that reason can be taken away.” Deepak Chopra
7. Watch this video, it just might change your life:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/10/alan-watts-on-the-meaning-of-life/

And read these too:
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/06/sometimes-the-crisis-is-the-healing-pema-chodron/
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/07/pema-chodron-this-is-the-most-important-thing/

Some other thoughts of mine on being human:
Disappointment is inevitable when we try new things and hope to find our niche. That doesn’t mean we can put off putting ourselves out there. Finding one’s place in the sun is important- and having the sense of inner joy inner happiness will be a truer guide than just trying to escape that vague sens of ennui.
Listen to your intuition as well as your logic, and listen to your emotions, and you can find make the path a lot easier. There’s nothing worse than the grinding feeling of trying to be something you are not and do something that, however grand or brave or innocent, is just not in line with your life purpose.
Don’t fear making a mistake- fear not showing up for your own life.
Don’t waste your life- dare to be your highest best self, the person you always wanted to be. Give up on the rest.
Let go. Whatever came into your mind when I said that is the thing you need to let go of.
“You only lose what you cling to.” Buddha

For the record, I am a Christian. But Buddhists have a lot to teach about the realities of life on earth, where we find ourselves now. God’s will is not always clear to us and we live often in fear and uncertainty and change- buddhists have created many tools to get some of the BS out of the human experience and help us to make the most of our time here on earth. And don’t forget-

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”
― Thomas Merton

A little prayer for the road-
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
― Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

Happy travels! bon voyage et bon courage!

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