1. Truth: Being content is what will make us successful.
In this video, psychologist and teacher Shawn Achor argues that happiness inspires productivity. He says we are confused when it comes to success and happiness, because we think the formula is “if I work harder, I’ll be more successful, and when I’m more successful, I’ll be happy” and that’s not it at all. “90% of your long-term happiness is predicted not by your external world [your measurable success], but by the way your brain processes the world.” Being negative, neutral, or stressed does not bring happiness, (and thus, not as much success either). Happiness, as your perspective, is the center that generates everything else. In order to cultivate and strengthen this center, he suggests (and has found to be true through research) keeping a gratitude list, journaling about one positive experience a day, exercising, meditating, and practicing random acts of kindness–mindfulness, compassion, gratitude, connection to your body, and embodiment of the present moment.
Not only do we discover happiness resting in the present moment with this attitude, but we are more creative and productive. Shawn Achor suggests, at the end of this talk, that discovering contentment for ourselves, understanding that success is not what makes us happy, we can send out ripples of positivity and create a true revolution.
P.S. I think I may have made this video sound a bit stuffy and dry, but his delivery is really fun, so you should watch.
2. Truth: There is a you-shaped hole.
You are necessary, and only you can be you. I am on the Trust Tending with Kristin Noelle mailing list (Trust Note), and a few days ago, she sent one with the subject line “Trust Note: You-Shaped Hole.” Her message is so important, I’ve been passing it along every chance I get. She said:
Yes. You matter.
As humans move toward greater wholeness, your piece of that whole can’t be filled by anyone but you. Your perspective, your experiences, your voice: they bring balance to the rest of ours. They’re a mirror for some of us, showing us things about ourselves we need to see. And they’re windows for just as many more – glimpses past the boxes and walls we inevitably and inadvertently construct around our sense of what’s real and true and worth seeing.
There’s a you-shaped hole in our collective experience and I hope with all my heart you’re stepping into it with all the trust you’ve got.
3. Truth: “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are,” (Chinese Proverb).
In my yoga class on Sunday, my teacher said “when we engage, we tend to tense up, and we need to learn to practice soft, gentle engagement.” This is so true. When we push, when we are aggressive, this is not right action. We must connect with gentleness, move with ease, relax into this very moment, just as we are and just as it is.
P.S. I just saw today that Susan Piver has an article on the Huffington Post, “Meditation, Relaxation and the Self-Help Demon” where she talks about meditation as a tool for relaxing into reality. It’s a really great read.
Trust yourself. Be yourself. Be happy and relax, and in so doing, allow success and contentment, whatever that ends up being or looking like, no matter how quickly or slowly it happens, to organically arise.
Two related posts so worth the read:
- “Stop Searching and Start Being” by Daniel Collinsworth on Metta Drum, in which he says “You are not incomplete, and there is nothing you must search for. You only have the work of nurturing and developing those aspects of You that you feel driven to bring forth. They are already present within you.” He uses the cultivation of a tree from a seed as a really powerful metaphor for how we sometimes forget what it takes to grow, to remind us that “what we are searching for already exists as a seed within us.”
- “Why I haven’t wanted to write about eating” by Anna Guest-Jelley on Curvy Yoga, in which she talks about learning to trust herself. She shares that before she learned “I was still very much overriding my intuition at every turn, thinking it was clearly too stupid to guide me, considering how I looked and felt” but that now “I think intuitive eating means showing up for our unique and individual work of doing whatever it is we need to do to get back in touch with our feelings and body. We can share tips and support each other, but the exact roadmap will be different for each of us.”
So again, kind and gentle reader, trust yourself, be yourself. And remember that there is a you-shaped hole, a missing piece of a much larger puzzle, necessary to the wholeness of all the rest of it, the rest of us.