Ask most people what they want out of life and they say, "I want to be happy."
But "happy" is really vague. What is "happy?" How do you even get there?
If you haven’t noticed lately, I have been ecstatically "happy." Like ridiculously, punch-drunk, slap-happy. The kind of joyful where literally shiny, gold glitter rains down from the sky and falls out of my hands like Lakshmi’s gold coins. The world has been my oyster, with teaching offers pouring in, and boundless opportunities to bring my work in the Rasamaya Method to the world. It’s true, if you look at my Instagram or Facebook feed you will see endless images of me smiling radiantly. I am a manifesting machine.
That’s only half the picture.
What’s missing between the ear to ear Cheshire Cat grin is the truth about the struggle that joy requires. What’s missing is the countless walks on the beach with tears streaming down my face.
The very idea that the path to happiness can be painful is something that our idealistic culture rejects. Posting, “I’m changing, and it’s shitty,” on your Facebook page will get you zero likes and even fewer new friends.
Here are three things no one tells you about the pursuit of joyful living:
1. True joy requires deep practice and deep practice equates to failing regularly, signing yourself up for a huge struggle, and a whole hell of a lot of work. You must be willing to put the time in to get to where you want to be in life. It's work, it's messy, gritty, and baby, it ain't easy. But that is exactly what makes the reward so sweet.
2. True joy means being content with where you are and learning to sit with the discomfort that arises when you pursue your truth. When I teach my trainees about the rasa (core emotion) of joy we always have to talk about the rasa of disgust at the same time. The two hold hands, and you can't know one without the other. There is this great line in The Invitation from Oriah Mountain Dreamer, "I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it." Spot on.
3. Get ready for the universe to throw you a curve ball and for all your old patterns to show up again. Temptation is the snake in the garden of Eden that is your future life. It would be easier to give in and stay at the job that doesn't inspire you, the terrible marriage, the house that doesn't fit your life any longer. Or you could just put on your big girl panties and do what needs to be done. Seriously.
At the end of the day, YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE RESPONSIBLE for your own joy.
Once you accept that responsibility and all the struggle that comes with it, the sooner deep joy sets in.
Here's the thing - If you can look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and feel okay with who you are becoming, then you are winning the battle of life. Try to tread gently as you walk the joyful path, and don’t leave too many scars. Keep your promises to yourself by walking your talk, don’t back down. You owe that to the people affected by your choices. Clean the clutter off your path, and stay true to your north. Manifest like crazy.
As you get to the light at the end of the tunnel of change, cry out to the world in exultation, “YES.”