Success and Happiness

Many people measure success according to how much money they have or how high they have climbed on their professional and social ladder. But in reality, real success is how happy we are. We like to be successful, but when it is not accompanied by happiness, success can leave an empty and fleeting feeling, and we cannot enjoy our achievements. We all have read stories of actors, singers, or lotto winners, for example, who couldn’t cope with their newfound wealth. Although they were able to satisfy virtually any material wish, they were unable to enjoy their abundance.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life;
It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking”.

Marcus Aurelius Antonius

As outlined in the quote above, true happiness comes from within, no one can give it to you, and you cannot buy it. But happiness is available to everyone without discrimination, as long as we believe in ourselves and are willing to take the necessary steps lined out below. By improving our thinking, we open the gates to a happier life.

Yes, it is that simple, but is it easy? Everyone can find happiness within; it all depends on motivation and desire. To change one’s way of thinking requires practice and determination, it doesn’t happen overnight, and we have to be patient with ourselves. Wanting to replace unwanted thoughts, feelings of unworthiness, criticism, and judgments, etc., is the first step, and then comes the second step: “How can we replace those troublesome thoughts?” A positive affirmation or mantra tailored to our specific needs and desires is an effective way to calm the mind and allow pleasant thoughts. Meditation may give us the peace of mind required to replace our disturbing thoughts with positive ones gently. We can also use memories of pleasant and enjoyable experiences. I use affirmations often, and they work well and rapidly for me. I like to feel happy and at peace, but my health challenges sometimes generate dark clouds that roll in and obscure my mind. Repeating my affirmations make the clouds disburse, and the sky becomes bright again. At this time of my life, success and happiness translate being in peace. I no longer have material aspirations having left those behind when my life became finite.

You might want to explore what success means to you. Success is a personal goal, and it is an exciting road to travel. There is no right or wrong, and only your aspirations will guide your journey. Allowing the happiness within to be part of this journey will bring harmony and full enjoyment.

Finding happiness is the most significant success one can find, and it allows us to enjoy one’s life to the fullest. Traveling in the fast lane can be lots of fun, as long as we don’t lose happiness along the way. With happiness planted solidly within, we can fly as high as we want and appreciate life and what it has to offer at the same time.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Flying High

Fly high, and you’ll find blue skies. This is a meaningful sentence for me. I started feeling ill before Christmas and didn’t feel better for over two weeks. Between the dreary weather and my poor health, I needed something to hang on to. And it was this sentence which allowed me to climb my emotional ladder.

I saw myself in an airplane flying through dense clouds and experiencing severe turbulence. Looking out, I could only see grey. It was depressing, but I reminded myself that the plane could climb higher to find blue skies and smooth air. And it did. That’s how I saw my physical challenge – a cloud cover which could be pierced if I wished to do so. This knowledge is powerful, and since you are in charge, you can fly as high as necessary. Next time, when I need a crutch, I’ll be more adventurous and see myself as a Blue Angel piloting my aircraft, zooming through the cloud cover at high speed, and breaking into a blue sky in no time. It will be a thrill.

Sometimes we need a metaphor to pull us out of a hole. It makes our desire stronger, and we can more easily visualize a positive outcome. Just seeing myself climbing at high speed to clear blue skies helped me leave my self-pity behind. I felt stronger, in control, and confident that I would improve. I know that episodes like this one will happen more and more often, but I also know that I can equip myself with tools that will help me continue to enjoy my life.

Why write about this? I felt compelled to share it in case you are also stuck in a grey cloud cover. There can be many varied reasons for it, perhaps caused by physical discomfort, emotional distress, or both. As long as you know that you can climb higher above the clouds and find blue skies again, you do not have to get depressed and stay down. You might want to create your own metaphor, something which can help you leave the unwanted behind.

You are the pilot of your life, and you are in charge; that is powerful knowledge, and as long as you believe it and act accordingly, there is nothing which can bring you down for long.

I wish you a happy and joyous 2019 – flying high above the clouds into blue skies!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

Talking Openly

Saguaro-NPGrowing up in Germany I learned when very young to keep certain things buried within me to avoid punishment or arguments. What things were considered inappropriate to talk about? Opinions on friends and family, politics, religion, anything that didn’t fit into the Catholic indoctrination (my mother was a devout Catholic and one could only speak with respect and devotion about the priest and the church). And then there was the taboo for saying anything that could point to dissatisfaction, which my mother would have taken as a personal insult. So I started writing and developing a creative and imaginative mind to express my thoughts and also my frustration, and it worked well for quite a while.

As a teenager, I was still comfortable with it until my mother died. The grief, loss and shock of losing my mother and home, combined with a cruel and unloving family created such uproar in me that I was unable to make believe everything was acceptable. I spoke out and the consequences were painful. I wondered why people couldn’t talk openly, agree to disagree, have different opinions but still love each other?

When I finally became independent, I started studying metaphysics, and I found ways to express my thoughts and feelings without stepping on other people’s toes. What a relief. And who would have known that later in my life this practice of talking openly and honestly would help me with my failing health and allow me to embrace my future with peace and joy. Steve is learning to talk more openly with me and I am grateful that he able to jump over his shadow. There are still areas I would like to talk about but he does not feel comfortable doing so. With time I hope completely open conversations will be possible, and I know this would help me tremendously.

Talking openly doesn’t mean being hurtful or harsh. It means listening and then sharing one’s own thoughts and feelings. There is no reason for criticism or blame. There are subjects in everyone’s life, which are touchy and vulnerable, but it is those protective feelings that block us from growing spiritually. Finding a way to bring those feelings to the light and let them go is not easy but very beneficial. I do not talk about secrets, things we do not want to share with other people, I talk about traditions and habits that stifle us and don’t allow us to be who we really are.  For example “boys don’t cry”. It is cruel to force a little boy to keep tears unshed and to bury emotions within. No wonder many men have such a hard time to express their feelings and emotions.

I am glad that my husband has decided that he can travel my journey with me. As a Texan, he has many taboos and talking about feelings is one of them. He is slowly taking his fences down and I know he does it out of love for me.

I wanted to share this with you because we all need open and honest conversations that come from the heart.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

It’s Not About The Nail

satamshootDid this heading catch your attention? The video  link below will make you laugh but don’t stop there because it has deep meaning for both women and men. Before watching it though, please let me tell you my story.

We all know that men and women are different in how they perceive things and people, and how they approach and solve problems. Most likely you have read or heard of the book Men Are From Mars – Women Are From Venus, by John Gray, but how does it translate into day-to-day life?

My husband and I were sitting in front of my doctor at the Mayo Clinic and Steve, my husband, asks the doctor how he can best assist and help me. The doctor told him that he should support me in sleeping well, eating right and getting more exercise, but that the key was not to become a “nagging mother” but to be my supportive spouse. Then he suggested we watch a YouTube video, which he then played for us. It was short, but to the point, and although it was very amusing, it had a deep psychological meaning and impact. We enjoyed it so much that I decided to share it with you.

“It’s NOT About The Nail”

https://youtu.be/-4EDhdAHrOg

What an eye opener and what a clever and humorous way of bringing focus to an important point. Struggling myself with poor health, this video was very meaningful to me and brought the point home. I really could relate to it. As women we like to nurture and are mostly good listeners. But sometimes we don’t realize that we can become smothering and stifling to the person we want to help, being too nurturing. In contrast, men are mostly action oriented, and are normally not very good at listening. They become frustrated and helpless because they cannot jump into action and fix it. They think they have the solution, so why lose time talking about the problem? My husband is a typical male from Mars, but he has slowly changed during my illness. He has become a nurturing partner in my life, leaving me space to breath, and even more importantly he has learned how to listen without having to fix anything. His transformation was a breath of fresh air and has sharply reduced our mutual stress levels. It still happens sometimes, but now we can laugh about the gender differences and remain in a balanced and good place.

So, next time you find yourself in a similar situation, recall this video and remember, that for most women listening trumps fixing every time. And don’t forget, that the men and women who try to help you mean well, it is just the execution of their nurturing that needs some tweaking. Their hearts are in the right place.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

Feeling Joy and Happiness

Feeling Joy and HappinessThe potential for joy and happiness resides within all of us. When we are with positive people it is easier to feel the joy and the pleasure from being with them. So we might think that it is people who bring us joy. In reality, the joy was always within us but we were able to feel it by being with them. So yes, they allow us to feel our joy and happiness and we feel in harmony.

The key to more constant joy and happiness is to maintain harmonic feelings, no matter what. To do that we can create a peaceful place in our mind where we consciously go to whenever necessary or desired. From this personal retreat we have access to the joy and happiness within us, and we can weather the storms in our lives. This haven of peace, of love and wellbeing is the same place we find when we meditate. It is where we can regenerate, rejuvenate and restore balance and harmony within us. It is also where we can heal; mentally as well as physically, and where miracles can happen.

This peaceful place looks different for each of us. You will know you have found it when you feel the peace and love it brings. Just clearing the mind of all the clutter will lead you to it, and it will quickly become your safe place. Like a homing pigeon you go there every time you want to or need to. It is always waiting for you.

So, do people bring us joy and happiness? Yes, in a way they do because they allow us to shine and to be ourselves. We feel loved and we love. Please remember though, joy is always within us. We have an unlimited potential to feel happy.

There are a lot of unhappy people in the world, and you might wonder if they feel any joy. I believe they have the same potential within them; they just never stop long enough to remove all the negativity and toxic beliefs they have accumulated. But let’s not judge whether they are right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. The longer the burden of unhappiness is carried, the heavier it gets, and the faster joy and happiness will continue to fade. But they never disappear and remain always within.

Wishing you a great journey to your happy place?

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

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