As we clinked our glasses (filled with sparkling pear juice) at the cusp of 2020 to 2021, I couldn’t think of anything else to say to our children (my husband already made the same choice) “Let’s choose to be happy this year!”.
It might be hard to think “how to be happy?” when many are still facing great challenges in their personal and professional lives. I still believe in the world of possibilities (infinite ones!). I remember sharing with you years ago my experience during times of great trials in my life. It was about 11 years ago when I was going through a divorce and facing the challenges of raising three children (two dogs 😉 ) alone. My whole family lives in Brazil and my children’s dad decided to move back there as well. Dealing with the challenges of financial struggle, mental health and substance abuse with one of my children, learning disabilities with another. The world of “appearances” was falling apart, but my commitment to my practices was steady and determined (the lives of my children and my own depended on that). During one of my yoga and meditation practices with my community, all of a sudden my heart swelled with joy and happiness. I smiled, I laughed and at that very moment, I knew that anything was possible! And it was! I am writing you this message today to let you know that while we have a heartbeat, there is much we can do. Even if the outcome might not be as we wanted it to be, there are great lessons in store for our souls. We just need to embrace them and not fight with them.
Pema Chodron (Comfortable with Uncertainty) wrote “A teacher once told me that if I wanted lasting happiness the only way to get it was to step out of my cocoon. When I asked her how to bring happiness to others she said, “Same instructions.”… We can do these practices in three simple steps, using the words from the traditional Four Limitless Ones chant or whatever makes sense to us. “May I enjoy loving-kindness.”. Then we include a loved one in the aspiration: “May you enjoy loving-kindness.”. We then extend our wish to all sentient beings: “May all beings enjoy loving-kindness.”. Or for compassion: “May I be free from suffering and the root of suffering.” “May all beings be free of suffering and the root of suffering.” (…) This is what it takes to become involved with the sorrows of the world, to extend loving-kindness and compassion, joy and equanimity to everyone-no exceptions.”
The year 2021 offers us a great opportunity to take inventory of our lives, and lovingly and gently replace old and not so good habits with healthier ones. We all need the community to uplift us, to listen to us, to be the shoulder when we simply need to cry (even if nowadays we might need to lean on virtual shoulders-there is no barrier for energy. As we practice sensing and moving energy, we can feel the warmth and peace from one another).
One day at a time. Consistency is the key. Knowing that the power that lies within us can move “mountains”, we understand that we are truly the healers, the makers of happiness, the producers of joy and contentment, and as Ram Dass said: “We’re all just walking each other home.” So let’s be happy together! And when the uncertainty of life touches us with pain and sorrow, let’s love each other and hold each other up high.
Love, always choose love!
Maria Helena Corrêa Anderson