The world we see conforms to our expectations, our hopes, our fears. When our minds and hearts are open, everything is possible. When we are determined to see what we expect to see, the world obliges us by fulfilling our demands. Our fears are realized. We prove ourselves right by finding the evidence we need.
Do we need to be right? There is so much to explore, so much to discover. There is so much we do not know. Nothing is finished or perfect, including our understanding of the universe, of where we are from, of where we are going. And that imperfect understanding means there is always more to discover, more to learn, more to be.
Peace and happiness can only be found where you are. They don’t exist in the future or the past, because right here and now, neither of those places exist. What you have to work with, what you have to create with, is this. Wherever you are. Whatever time it is. Whatever mood you’re in, however you’re feeling. This is it. And one simple way to make whatever it is even better is to decide that what you have is what you want.
Not someday. Not if only. As it is. Start by finding something good, even something small. If you’re single, you have time and space for yourself. If you’re stuck in a dead-end job, you have an income. If you don’t feel well, you have a body that’s telling you to rest and nurture yourself. If you have no idea where to go or what to do, well, then anything is possible and the adventure is about to begin. Start small, and grow from there. Start by pretending, if you need to.
You may find, to your surprise, that what you have actually is what you want. When you stop judging yourself, stop looking to some imagined ideal of how life “should” look or how things “should” be, you may find that what you have is exactly the right life for the unique person you are. Try to see things that way; question the truth of what you think you don’t want. And then make the decision that will lead you back to peace.
It’s incredible the effect that a single decision can have upon your life and your experience of it. You don’t need to know what’s coming; trying to micro-manage your life will only lead to frustration. But when you decide to enjoy yourself, to be kind, to be happy, you open yourself up to the likelihood of creating that experience.
The best trick I’ve found is to make the decision to be happy, to have fun, to be helpful–whatever it may be–as often as possible. Before you go on vacation, you may find that you’ve made an unconscious decision to have fun–why else are you investing so much time and money? If the decision is a strong one, and you are determined to enjoy yourself, a rainstorm becomes an adventure, lost luggage becomes an excuse to buy new clothes. When you decide to be a force of peace, or of service to others, or simply to have a good time, you will find that events transpire to help you.
Wherever you put your focus, if you are determined to meet your goal, you will find ways to get there. It may only take something small to get you going. If you’re with a group of people you don’t know well but you are determined to relax and enjoy yourself, you may start by noticing how the sunlight feels on your skin or that your favorite song is playing. Once you’ve started noticing things that are in line with your decision, you’ll find more of them, and change the quality of your entire day.
So decide to treat your life as one long vacation. Decide to enjoy yourself. Decide to be open to new adventures. Be curious. Take the time to relax, and to be kind to others. Intend joy for yourself and others. Decide to see the best in others, and decide to make the most of each situation. When you don’t make these decisions, well, that’s a decision, too. A decision to let other people, other events, dictate your experience. A decision to float through life, feeling happy or sad based upon things outside of yourself. Why not decide, instead, to love others, to love yourself, to find whatever happiness you can?