We have certainly been living in some emotional and mentally stressful times over the last year or so. Its to be expected in life as we know there are few roads without potholes and bumps in them. Regardless of the roads we choose to walk we must always be present to our steps and the happiness that walking with presence can bring.

Some people find it hard to choose happiness because they only focus on the grand and extravagant. Anything short of a six-figure salary or Mercedes Benz car will not cut it for them. Don’t get me wrong. Having big dreams and ambitions is not bad; however, while you’re still on the journey, learn to appreciate the small things like the fact that you’re employed or still have two feet to walk. Doing this will not only help you value what you have, but it will also make happiness easier to come by.

We are definitely in states of change on a worldwide basis, but the real change is happening within each of us. Yes we are, will be and have experienced losses in this moment both large and small. With loss comes grief –  we grieve our health, our identities, relationships that have ended due to addiction, disease or just two people falling out of love (or one person falling out of love). We grieve over and over in our lives, and every time we do it, it feels like we’re novices. Like we’ve never done it before. Because we haven’t! Each grief is new, fresh, a brand new experience that we will never have again. Maybe your mind says that it does not WANT to experience it again, but we know the truth of such lofty wishes and we must face these moments, endure them and move on.

I often say, within the trained mind, that we do not move careless move on… we move forward.

We are all the sum total of all of our experiences, even the unpleasant or downright awful ones. This doesn’t mean that we close ourselves around these experiences, that we make them the center of our lives forever, but that we tuck them inside ourselves, alongside our best moments and our mediocre moments. Moving forward means living, as fully as we can, in the face of what we have experienced. It is an act of bravery and optimism to keep opening your eyes every day. To keep living in a world where bad things happen and life is hard. To keep loving people even though we have a 100% mortality rate. 

This doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean it’s fun — not all the time, at least. It means we give our sadness and our grief the same respect and attention that we do to our joys and our happiness. It means we don’t rush people through the hard stuff just because it’s uncomfortable for us, and we don’t pressure ourselves to make our pain more palatable for other people. It means we ask for help when we need it, and we give help when we can.

It means something different to everyone. There’s no right way to grow and no wrong way to learn  – we simply show up each day for this beautiful moment called life and we sink our best efforts into our own hearts and minds knowing we build emotional strength and mental wisdom  from hanging on diligently with each turning of the wheel on the ride.

Peace and Love, Jim

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