Happy Haven with Brandi-Ann Uyemura

Life is not supposed to be easy.

We’re not meant to sit in hammocks and twiddle our thumbs. We’re grown to be both hard and soft, both strong and vulnerable. We’re built to withstand hardship and to be supple and weak. We know this as children. We know it inherently, which is why children laugh as hard as they cry, play as hard as they sleep. We just forget as we lose our baby fat and childlike sensibilities.

But life does not want us to stay set in our own ways. It wiggles and shakes us to move. It sends storms our way and removes our umbrellas, raincoats and even the roof over our head in an effort to remind us: “You were meant to live BIG!”

It calls us over and makes us say things like:

“This is so unfair. It shouldn’t have to be this way. Why me??!!!”

And when we’re on the floor, sobbing in waves, breathless and tired and weak, it shows us a light. It reminds us that through sorrow and struggle, a door opens. It’s THE way. The path that was always meant for us to walk through. We just were too busy trying to lose weight, buy the perfect house or carve out the perfect life, to see it.

But as the dust settles and we find our place, the light, which was peaking through a small crack in the door grows brilliant. It shines over us and heals what we didn’t know needed healing. We realize that what once we labeled “tragic” was an unexpected blessing.

The new place feels unfamiliar and scary, but we dip our toes in it anyway. We sense as we leave our old life, a shift. We feel both sad about what we’ve lost, but ever hopeful for what we’re about to gain. It’s through this process of continuing to have hope and faith that lands us to the life we were meant to live. It’s the breaking through that gives the journey meaning.

As I walk on sand instead of concrete, my physical move has taken shape to an emotional one. Life cannot exist independent on what we’re going through internally. We must also shift with our physical experience and circumstances. In light of what ever you are going through, remember that where you are now is where you are supposed to be. Remember that you have the tools to get you through whatever you’re going through. And above all this, remember the light of grace that will always pave the way even when the world seems to have gone dark.

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What’s causing you the most suffering in life isn’t the things you don’t have or not being grateful for the things you do. The reason why most of us endure so much unnecessary pain is that we believe in the picture painted by another artist’s brush. To put it simply, understanding why you’re in grief right now, could be due to these two reasons:

1) You believe that you’re not living the life that you’re supposed to have.

2) You know this because you compare yourself to other people your age and just don’t measure up.

“People suffer when they pursue a life or chase a dream that doesn’t belong to them.” – Carolyn Myss, Anatomy of the Spirit

A lot of times we get caught up in somebody else’s light and in doing so get lost in our own shadows. I think people who read blogs, listen to webinars or read biographies get swept up in the success of others. We’re drawn to it like a moth is drawn to a flame. At first, we’re attracted because we want so much to be that successful. And hope that by spending as much time with these people, we will catch some of their star power and be like them.

The truth is we never know the real story of a person’s life. We don’t know their ups and downs, their hardships, their challenges. It is their story and we were never meant to live it ourselves. All we have is a snapshot into someone else’s life for a brief period. Yes your former co-worker on LinkedIn just got promoted or your Facebook friend just posted an envious update. But we all have bad days. How many people would offer to share that?

If you really want to be happy, you need to re-shift your focus. Stop zooming in on other people’s lives. Stop berating yourself for what you didn’t do or don’t have. The only way you will fulfill your purpose is to stop comparing yourself and focus on your life.

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Remember when weekends were all about doing nothing? When you could lay back and lounge around with a intoxicating book and an ice cold drink? Weren’t those days the best?

What happened to our weekends? Why have they been suddenly filled with plans, errands and to-do lists?

Maybe we lost something when we embraced our technological culture. Yes, we may never have to deal with the discomfort of being bored again, but we also lose the sweetness that comes from simply savoring a moment.

Not giving yourself time to unwind and relax can be detrimental to your physical and emotional health. Instead of continuing on this path of busyness, this weekend have fun with one of the activities below and indulge a little.

    1. Sleep in. Savor the feeling of cool sheets on your warm skin. Wear an eye mask to cover tired eyes and delight in the experience of being completely safe and embraced. Let yourself sink in a little and enjoy the feeling of having nowhere to go and nothing to do, but rest.
    2. Be an animal watcher for the day. Whether it’s a pet or a bird outside your window, observing an animal is soothing simply because they are so in the moment. Try it and watch as your heart rate slows down and time starts to move like molasses.
    3. Ground yourself.  Have you heard of grounding or earthing? It’s a fancy term for simply walking barefoot upon the earth. It is supposed to have healing and restorative benefits and is described as a type of meditation. Whether or not you believe it, taking time to walk upon the earth seems like a pleasant afternoon activity to me. You can learn more about grounding in the youtube video below.
    4. Move slowly. Maybe because we’ve gotten so used to the speed of technology we all seem to be in a rush to get things down. Cars zip through red lights. Pedestrians barely escape getting hit while jaywalking across the street. I sometimes wonder where we’re in a rush to get to. Death? Life is meant to be lived not raced through. Try walking, eating, driving slower. See if it slows you down enough to help you digest every moment instead of trying to swallow it whole.
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How will you savor the weekend?

 Brandi-Ann Uyemura is a freelance writer who specializes in psychology and self-help articles. She has a MA in Counseling Psychology and writes for several publications and websites. You can get more information about her here. She also blogs about inspirationwriting inspiration and psychology.

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That’s the thought that overpowered me over a decade ago when I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work part-time as a private investigator. And it’s visiting me again.

It’s so easy for me to fall into the trap of fear. One doubt, a single second of second guessing and I become saturated with fear so great that I forget who’s running the show in the first place. Like a sneeze, its invisible yet insidious ways taints everything within its reach.

It’s the contagion of fear that can undermine any action I make, any decision I’m about to contemplate.

Yet, it’s so hard to see while I’m right in the middle of it.

Today while worrying about an impending move, I allowed fear to consume me once again.

It made me forget:

that worrying does nothing for me.

that I cannot control everything and even if I could my life would not be better, easier, kinder.

that no good decision was ever made from fear.

that every unknown is just a tadpole of opportunity when showered with hope and love.

that God always has my back.

that I’ve been through worse and made it through.

that we’re never given more than we can handle.

that real fear is a gift, not a detriment.

that I don’t know everything.

that life is meant to be challenging, not torturous.

that everything is simply what you make of it.

And finally, what has scared me most in life has almost always ended up being the most treasured memories.

How have you let fear overtake your life and how did you reign faith back in?