LIFE · THE ART OF HAPPINESS

Happiness by Design: A Room full of Hope, Connection and Love

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“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

– Albert Einstein.

I’ve been a little obsessed over the past couple of years with personal development, and productivity and the power of habits and rituals.

I’ve been working on the – slightly unnecessary- 6am wake up, the 6-8 litres of water a day, and my biggest mountain of all, cutting sugar. But what I’ve really been working on – pretty much since having Maia – what I know is really a key to personal growth and excites me more than increased productivity and a sugar-free life; is trying new things. – Some things teeny weeny, others small, and the rest a whole lot bigger in order to really move forward and push some boundaries.

For me, this has come in the shape of courses, internships, going on dates (ergh), taking photos of things I wouldn’t normally give a crap about, finally using my local library services, starting a blog, making Youtube videos and auditioning for a play. It also took the form of doing something very different, and going to church.

Now I did go to church a handful of times last year but for no reason in particular just didn’t make it back again this year, until yesterday.

I got up bright and early on Sunday morning and accompanied my father to church. I’m never really sure whether he really wants me to join him or not, whether he thinks of Church as “his time” and he’d rather I stay in bed another hour. Well he’s either really good at pretending or he does genuinely like the company.

So we get inside the church and it’s this beautiful building, the sort of building you don’t really spend much time in during the week, it’s no Tesco or the gym, so I was grateful for the change of scenery. One of the first things that strikes me is: it’s a room full of old people. I must have been the only person under 30 in the congregation. Where were all the twenty-somethings? Is there another church in the area more popular with the younger crowds? Or are all the youthful-Christians still in bed or nursing hangovers?-  I mean it is Sunday morning..I soon got over it. (A few minutes into the start of the service, the choir came in singing and of course they’re all children so that averaged things out.)

I received a very warm welcome from the priest who, upon seeing me, gave me a lovely smile. I felt very welcomed. (I  think they’re on the look out for a new Youth Leader..but I’m pretty sure you have to be a little more Christian than me to take up that role..I’m not a practising Christian, I don’t pray to God, and I use phrases like “Oh GOD” “Oh Jesus Christ” and ” Holy Fucking Shit” a little too often.)

After the service, my Dad introduced me to the priest and he said “yes I think we’ve met before” and gave me a sort of side-hug. It was very sweet, only when I tried to return the hug, my hand sort of got lost in his multi-layered robes and for a split second I thought my hand had gotten caught and tangled in all the fabric. It was a moment of Oh holy shit. – It was fine, it hadn’t, I had a split-second freak out over nothing, my hand exited the robes quite swiftly and we moved on…

“I didn’t get a hug” my Dad said..
Well you also didn’t nearly lose your arm in a priest’s clothing Dad…

The actual service went by very quickly. I didn’t have all that much focus during the actual sermon because when words like “Messiah” and “Son of God” and “Jesus Christ the King” are used, I start to switch off. I go into my own internal dialogue of trying to figure out what the term “God” really means to me. I don’t think of God in the same way devout Christians do. I don’t believe there is a being, a higher power that controls what happens on this earth. But I do believe in the power of The Universe and how it reacts to our thoughts and behaviours. I do believe in the power of that which cannot be seen, like the Law of Attraction and…faith.

So I take the word, God, and think of it as The Universe. Whilst others might pray to God, I pray to The Universe. (It’s pretty much the same thing, just without the religious connotation, The Universe does not have a son named Jesus). The Universe doesn’t outright control what’s going to happen in our lives, or even in the world, we decide, and it reacts. Sometimes it gives us a helping hand if we ask nicely enough, sometimes it may look as if it’s messing things up, when really it’s redirecting us to something better.

I decided all of this whilst the preacher was talking about King David and Pontius Pilate, and some other people I know hardly anything about.

I realised, the stronger my connection with The Universe (God/whatever you want to call it), the stronger my overall general faith would be, the stronger my belief in myself would be, and the more positive my mindset would become – because I would feel like, well, The Universe has my back. I’m not really all alone after all.

It’s all about the connection.

I decided in order to really grow, to become my best self, my truest self, my highest self, (all those phrases linked with self-actualisation) I would have to strengthen my connection to THE UNIVERSE.

This meant meditation.

Being still and thinking about nothing.

After reading up on it, I’ve gathered that not only can meditation help relax you and relieve stress, it – according to Jen Sincero, author of “You are a BADASS”– also:
-Helps bring us into the present moment
– Raises our frequency
– Opens us up to recieve information and ideas
-Strengthens our intuition and ability to focus
– Allows us to hear out inner voice more clearly
– Fills us with light and love (this sounds woo-woo but it’s so true, I am more loving after just 10  minutes of quiet)
– Puts us in a good mood
– Helps us love ourselves

” Meditating is like riding the air stream of awesomeness..”

– Jen Sincero

I’ve noticed how many thought leaders and big-hot-shot-successful-people I follow on Instagram have a faith, speak about God, or The Universe, and also happen to meditate. They make it part of their daily routine and some even attribute having a meditation practice as one of the keys to their success.

“When you shut up and meditate for even five minutes and start to really notice the thoughts that are squirrelling around in your brain, it’s rather…illuminating. If you’re like most people, the majority of your thoughts are about as valuable and interesting as a bunch of two- year olds fighting over a sippy cup.

The goal is to quiet your mind of the chatter so you can connect to The Universe and instead listen to your inner guidance.”

– Jen Sincero

And this is what Church helped me to do. – Quiet my mind of the chatter. I tried to focus more on this, and on strengthening my faith, than the fact I still can’t really comprehend the resurrection of Christ. I also have to accept I will probably always be the only one who doesn’t get bread and wine because I was never confirmed ( I did get a blessing, which was nice).

There were prayers, for peace in Syria and other countries with conflict, but also for people grieving the loss of a loved one. All of this made me a little, lumpy. I didn’t cry or anything but it was just so heartwarming to see these people sending their thoughts and prayers out, in the hope God might take note.

I still haven’t fully worked out what I mean by “God” or where my stance is on Christianity, but I took a lot from my experience this morning, but mainly just feelings. Including: Faith, hope, strength, peace, calm, connection, belief and love.

It was a room full of hope, connection and love.

The world needs more rooms with this sort of goodness.

I intend to go back for more.

 

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