Choosing to Live a Life of Happiness

follow your heart ganesha happiness

The saying, “Life is too short”, had been a repeated topic of conversation over the past few months between me, and my friends and family. The changes that occurred in our lives were eye-opening to say the very least – from revelations of the past that triggered unwanted feelings, the abrupt changes and ending of relationships, to the unexpected passing of people – our lives had been completely rocked.

Although these hardships were initially difficult to fathom, they have become less heavy through a strong faith, active gratitude for life, and the presence of people who lift us up. As time has passed by in digesting and assessing these life changes that occurred in a short period of time, the saying that I have acknowledged and respected of “Life is too short” has evolved beautifully into a new frame of thought that “Life is too short not to be happy”.

In yoga, there is a principle called saucha that describes a form of cleansing internally and externally in order to live a fuller life of purity and contentment. Such form of cleansing is done not only on the physical level, but also in removing barriers that are hindering our emotional, mental, and spiritual growth.

Some few examples could involve cleansing unhealthy thoughts, negative feelings, the consumption of unhealthy food and substances (internal) – and – addressing the neglect of personal hygiene or physical movement, working toward not communicating debilitating words or displaying hurtful behaviors, limiting interactions with certain individuals who cause more harm than good (external).

As I make a conscious effort to practice yogic principles in my daily life, these life experiences over the past months have propelled me on a grand scale to really put into action what I believe in and share during my yoga classes. In actively observing my internal wiring and interactions with others, I was able to consciously determine what needed to be released from my life. This wasn’t a quick cut of the ties either or a one-day effort, but more so reflecting with time whether these things were either building me up or bringing me down.

By releasing what I needed to with peace and no regrets, I have been able to make room to welcome thoughts, activities, and people who bring extreme joy and care to my life. And, who additionally, are helping my soul evolve during this current chapter in my life.

Just as we have a routine to get out of bed, brush our teeth, and get ready for the day ahead, we can also choose what activities, messages, energy, thoughts and people to allow into our lives who will add value and happiness. The more we can regularly cleanse from an internal and external form, the more we can realize what is really important to invest our time and energy in.

Slowly, feelings of control, resentment and fear will dissipate in order to allow a sense of freedom and trust in knowing that what we have experienced up to this point in our life has been for a purpose. We all have a choice to either stay stagnant or take an active leap of faith to live our life to the fullest because at the end of the day, “Life is too short not to be happy.”

Are you at a stage of cleansing in your life – a type of “spring cleaning”?

  • If so, write down what you feel is weighing you down from living a fuller, happy life (i.e. activities, behaviors, people, thoughts, etc.)?
  • Why do you feel each of these things is weighing you down?
  • What can you do to actively adjust them, or bless and release them from your life? And, to do so from a place of purity and contentment rather than with resentment or fear?
  • What brings happiness to your life?
  • How can you make room to allow more time to expand these things that bring you happiness? Is there a way you can incorporate them daily, weekly or monthly so they become positive and regular habits?
  • What are you grateful for today in your life?

Helpful Suggestions to Consider

Don’t rush this process, but rather trust divine timing! We each receive signs and experiences that nudge us a little closer toward realizing where we need to go next in our life even if it might result from unexpected, depleting situations. There is always a bright side to life and just like changes occur with our seasons, we too can experience change if we allow to flow with the rhythm of our life.

“As we purify ourselves from the heaviness and clutter of toxins, distractions and scatteredness, we gain clarity to meet each moment with integrity and freshness. We become more pure in our relationship with each moment.”

Deborah Adele, The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice