Shifting Perspective on Happiness
Sometimes life feels impossibly hard. Do you look around and wonder why everyone else has it together when you feel somehow behind? It’s no wonder when we are bombarded with messages about how we should look. think, and act. We are raised to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and protect our individuality at all costs.
Generations deep we have developed the notion of perfecting how our identity appears to someone else. Boomers are blinded by how they look, feeling like they need to be seen as made up, put together, and self-sufficient. Lost between their parents and their children, Generation X still doesn’t know what they are looking for; absent of a sense of identity. And millennials have barely made it out of their parent’s basements with nothing to show for the years they struggled to launch.
We live in a world that encourages our very own suffering as a marketing tool. A society that profits from our lack. A culture that asks us to strive and be and do things we are not. Across generations, we have been given the visual that we are not enough while the American Dream is heralded as something within our reach.
Despite what the world says, life does not have to be so hard. The grand prize for extended suffering is…nothing. But here is the promise I can make you. If you just let go of the programming and preconceived notions, there is a way to live a life fueled by love, joy, and kindness. And it isn’t something you have to buy more of, it is something you can cultivate and grow from within.
The first thing to do is to get curious. Ask yourself is there a formula for living MY best kind of life? What are all the different ways of living? What makes me happy? In America, we applaud individualism and independence, but in other countries living is based on connection and community.
For instance, I once lived in Kenya where the villagers were terribly content. It opened my eyes to a completely new perspective on pain and how we as Americans experience it. Part of the ease in Africa was the way people were connected to each other, nature, and to a higher purpose involving spirituality.
While I used to think of it in a limiting way in terms of my individuality, I learned that being interconnected is essential to my overall well-being and wholeness. It’s about being sated when we are not full. It’s likely we cannot be truly happy or well without other people, other things, other experiences. I started accepting interdependence, rather than denying it. I need, we need, each other on a daily basis. I thought one way before I lived in Africa, but my mind was changed afterward. Because I explored other ways of living, I discovered what it was like to be my individual self and also in community with others.
The next thing you must do is ask for help. It is not necessary to navigate the path alone. You are not required to be self-reliant. We are flowers in a garden. But we need nourishment to grow. Often times we don’t ask for help when we need it. Especially when it comes to our mental well-being. It’s possible to treat our individual symptoms, but when we combine western medicine with the benefits of plant medicine, we can get to the root cause of our problems. One does not work without the other. Just like our physical wellness grows in community, so does our mental wellness grow with complementing modalities. Wellness is not achieved alone. Abundance comes from accepting the offering of all that is available to us.
Plant medicine is an integrative therapy that can give us additional perspective on what we once thought and what we now think. It helps us get out of programmed ways of thinking and encourages us to get curious about the world around us and discover the ways we can live our best and most whole lives. Wellness means putting things in our bodies that nourish us, but also setting boundaries against things that bring us down.
The Buddha says no one saves you, but you can save yourself. We are not victims in suffering. You have a say in how this plays out. I had been suffering for so many years – I was miserable to be around. I finally realized that if I wanted to stay on this earth, I had to find a way to make it work for me. What that looks like for me is not what it looks like for other people. It is my alchemy. And it is fully within your power to discover your alchemy as well.
Please contact Rachel Gordon if you have questions about Buddhist psychology and integrative, holistic techniques to address mental health issues and promote total body wellness. If you live in the Denver/ Castle Rock area and would like to learn more about what Rachel has to offer through Humble Warrior Therapy, please call (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule.
Tags: Castle Rock, community, Feelings, happiness, interconnection, Mental Health, plant medicine, shifting perspective, Wellness