Here is your Friday story,
The Secret of Happiness
I was born to parents who right from the word go, instilled in me that happiness is THE most important thing and that life is to be enjoyed.
When I was 14, my parents bought a children's camp and activity centre 350 miles from where we currently lived, they thought it would be a great upbringing for me and my three sisters and a new fun adventure for the family.
It was a big change for me and my sisters but an even bigger challenge for my parents. Not only were they up and moving their children out of school into a new area, they were going from a home with a garden and one dog, to a home with 50 acres, 15 horses, 2 pigs, 1 cow, 1 lama, 1 deer, 18 chickens, 1 turkey, a couple of guinea pigs and 54 sheep, oh and they had exactly zero experience with any of the above!
And, just 1 week after we were to arrive, a coach full of children would also be arriving eager for a week packed with activities, many of which my parents hadn’t even tried before.
However it didn't take us long to learn the skills we needed and we adapted nicely to our new outdoor lifestyle. As soon as I could, I began to assist and teach with the onsite activities, things such as horse riding, canoeing, archery and orienteering. It was always great fun.
At the age of 15, inspired by my parent’s courage and tenacity, I decided that I too wanted to be my own boss as I wanted the freedom to earn my own money and make my own decisions.
At 17, I began to put the plan into action and started my own business in the automotive industry; I was young but confident, fearless and enthusiastic.
I set out into adult life intent on earning well so that I could live comfortably, buy what I wanted and travel to different parts of the world. And of course it went without saying that I would also look after myself and be kind and caring toward family, friends and strangers.
I hadn't ever consciously thought to myself at any point that this was the way to happiness, but I wasn't aware of any other way of thinking or being and so just accepted it as the way.
Fast forward 8 years and a couple of business ventures later and where once stood a girl excited and full of beans, now stood a girl who was uninspired, drained and frustrated.
I remember looking at myself in the mirror and wondering who this girl was looking back at me. I said to myself in my mind 'Vic what are you doing, you are getting it all so wrong'.
Fed up with seeing me take life too seriously, one of my sister's suggested that I needed to inject some fun into my life and proposed we take a holiday in the sun, which I eventually agreed to. We decided on a two week trip to Egypt. And little did I know that my life was about to change forever!
After the first few days unwinding and relaxing into the holiday mode, I began to find myself, my thoughts and beliefs being challenged. My ideas about life, happiness, success and purpose - which I had believed were the truth, were suddenly in contrast to the emotions I was feeling and the reality I was seeing with my own eyes. And these contrasts began to cause an unexplainable feeling of familiarity and feeling safe, at a depth far beyond what my conscious mind could know.
And this feeling of familiarity began to raise some questions which I'd never before considered. 'How can I feel so familiar in a country which I have never before visited? Have I lived before? Will I live again? What else have I believed as truth – which isn't?'
It got me thinking that if I had lived before, who was I, who were my family, what did I do during that life time and if I do live again, I could be born anywhere, in any culture and any country, suddenly I felt so connected to everyone.
Dormant emotions within me became stirred, feelings of appreciation and compassion run through every inch of my being. I began to feel a rush of internal peace and happiness and with it came a revelation – being happy isn’t experienced only by fulfilling dreams. The way that we feel is directly linked to the way that we think. True happiness is when we are thinking thoughts that are in alignment with who we really are - our true nature. It is rarely our experiences or circumstances that cause how we feel – good or bad – it is our chosen perspective about our circumstances and situations that ignite our feelings.
Over time, as I put into practice a way of living which reflected my new thoughts and perspectives, I found myself even more aligned with my true nature, my heart and mind continued to open and my world changed. Andeven though I feel very fortunate to have had this direct experience, I know that it wasn't so much the experience that changed my life but my perspective of life that was born out of the experience.