Everyone wants to be happy. Happiness is one of the most universally pursued things for all of humanity. If everyone is trying to be happy, why then, are so many people plagued by despair and depression? What is so elusive about achieving happiness? Most people don’t understand what truly makes them happy. The people who are the happiest have mastered their perception and built relationships with themselves and the universe. Some of the healthier philosophies on achieving happiness have been floating around so I have taken the time to write out my ideas and elaborate on the best ones.
Happiness can be defined as the overall experience of pleasure and meaning. Most people believe that money, fame, success, and popularity will make them happy. For some, it does, but most people find at some point that happiness in that sense is short lived. Yes, having money will allow you to experience more pleasure, but that barely scratches the surface of the entirety of happiness. There are plenty of instances of people who win the lottery who at first feel ecstatic but find only that their happiness dissipates quickly back to a normal level even though they still have lots of money.
There are two primary relationships that you need to take care of when it comes to happiness. The relationship you have with the universe and the relationship you have with yourself. With the relationship you have with yourself, you have to accept yourself on a deep subconscious level. Once you can accept your flaws and be proud of your strengths you will be much closer to achieving happiness. Every day is an opportunity to grow closer to your authentic self. Strive for clarity about who you are and live by it. The more you know who you are, the more resilient you will be with your happiness when misfortune comes your way.
You also need to cultivate a relationship with the universe around you. Take advantage of your passions and fully embrace them. Find your niche where you can be yourself and truly express yourself. Whether it is art, music, sports, or any number of things, don’t hold back. If you feel that you don’t have a passion, start some new hobbies and explore your interests a bit. There is always room for new hobbies. If you can do something with friends, even better, sharing the things you love with other people is one of the best ways to achieve happiness.
For me, my passion is skiing. That is where I can genuinely express myself. I feel as if my relationship with the universe is in complete synchrony. I can play with gravity and nature by channeling potential energy into creative expression of freedom and control. For me there is no better feeling, and sharing that, going up to the mountains with friends, is amazing.
Don’t expect to be happy all the time. When you have a reason to feel sad, embrace it. Listen to sad music, talk with someone about it, and go through what you need to and when you are done processing, let go. Celebrate and own your feelings. It’s your life and all the ups and downs are part of it. Happiness will come with acceptance.
It’s so easy to blame everything else for your unhappiness–God, the universe, other people, bad luck. It takes courage to stand up and look at yourself for the part you play. Take responsibility for your own unhappiness and do something about it. If you are stuck in a rut, use contrary action to force yourself to get out and do something. Happiness is directly related to gratitude. If you are feeling down, simply think of all the things you are grateful for. Always remember, every moment is a blessing. We live in an amazing age where we can do almost anything. Happiness is all around us; we simply have to resist having a negative perception and go out and build a foundation of new behaviors.
We discovered vegan chef Christy Morgan on Twitter and instantly fell in love with her philosophy and her food. The Green Dove asked the LA-based veganista, who has whipped up dishes for the likes of Alicia Silverstone, to share her journey, insights and one of her fave recipes…
How did you become the Blissful Chef?
I’ve been studying plant-based nutrition for about eight years and teaching for four. I came up with the name “The Blissful Chef” as a way to brand myself and create an image that people will remember. The name fits me well, because to feel bliss is to experience true happiness and spiritual joy. My life, business, teachings, blog, and whole existence is all about spreading happiness and joy to others through food, and helping them access their bliss.
What inspires you?
In live, I’m inspired by all of my amazing friends that do what they are passionate about everyday and those who have dedicated their lives to saving animals. With cooking, I’m inspired by the changing seasons and the different produce that is available throughout the year. I love gardening, and find growing my own food to be a fascinating process. I’m also inspired by different cultures. Often times I just open the fridge, see what’s in there and whip something up.
Your fave raw vegan treats?
I love raw vegan desserts because they are made with wholesome ingredients and they are so rich that I only need a little to be satisfied. If I eat baked desserts, like Uncle Eddies cookies for instance, I can literally eat the whole bag in one sitting. I love raw chocolate, Earth Cafe pies, and my Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse.
If you could recommend one thing about veganism to someone who’s not, what would it be?
Eating a healthy, balanced, plant-based diet I feel is the best thing for our minds, bodies, spirits and for the planet. But if you can’t go whole hog overnight, then start by having two plant-based meals a day (or as much as you can). Slowly start transitioning the “good” things into your diet, like whole grains and dark leafy greens, then start taking away the not-so-good things (meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, processed foods). I have some great tips on my blog for making the transition that are extremely helpful and realistic.
The 80/20 Rule
This is the only thing that keeps me sane and not OCD about my diet. If you can eat super healthy 80% of the time, you can let yourself be a little naughty 20% of the time. Hold on now, Im not talking about having hamburger and fries for that 20%, but if you are at a party or want to go out to dinner with your friends you can have something fried or a piece of cake with frosting. I dont compromise as far as eating only vegan foods, but sometimes I do eat sugar or have more oil than Id like to when I eat out. Im human too! I just have a rule that at home Im making the healthiest food possible, with wholesome organic ingredients, no oil and no sugar. That way I can relax when I go out with friends.
It doesn’t serve you or your health to be fanatical about your diet. But it is the most important tool that you have for creating optimal health free of physical pain and mental suffering. Your food choices will affect everything in your life, so choose them well.
Check out The Blissful Chef blog for more ramblings from Christy Morgan, natural food chef and educator, who continues to study plant-based nutrition with the best in the field, has cooked for Alicia Silverstone, and continues to be sought out for her accessible approach to nutrition and holistic living.
Follow Christy on Twitter @TheBlissfulChef.
Avocado, Strawberry, & Grape Tomato Salad
Strawberries are the most popular berry in the world. They go great in salads and as a compliment to a savory dressing like Balsamic Vinaigrette like in this recipe.
1 head butter lettuce, leaves torn or chiffonade
1 medium carrot, thin julienne
10 grape tomatoes, quartered
6 strawberries, ends cut off and sliced
1 cup yellow pepper, thinly sliced
Pinch of pepper and sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Were several days into the New Year, and many of us are still basking in the glow of a fresh start. Every year, January brings renewed optimism for change, for a better life, for a better you. And thats a wonderful thing.
If you want to wake up happy on a daily basis, you have to own your own time. You have to be the one that dictates what you do and when you do it. Otherwise, youre at the mercy of your owner boss.
Why its great: Traditional feng shui guides can be somewhat to downright confusing. Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life is not only a cinch to follow, it presents the ancient Chinese system of creating balance and chi (energy flow) with a sense of humor. It’s Rauch’s ability to bring on a giggle or two that makes this book not only practical, but also entertaining.
If you plan to be in Los Angeles this Fourth of July, celebrate your independence by experiencing a native American Indian Sweat Lodge, hosted by Reiki Master and EFT practitioner, Patti Penn.
An important ritual used by Native American Indians, a sweat lodge is a ceremonial sauna to purify the mind, body & soul. The Lodge symbolizes the womb of Grandmother Earth and the heated stones represent her body supporting life. The fire is used to heat the rocks on the outside of the tar-pit (like an igloo) and represent the perpetual light. Once these stones are brought into the lodge the water is poured upon them to create hissing steam, which permeates the air, creating a hot, humid atmosphere as the creative force of the universe is being activated.
“For me, this beautiful ceremony recognizes the trilogy of how our thoughts manifesting our well-being as well as the physical releasing of chemical manipulation in our water, food and air,” Patti says. “We will be addressing your “Pursuit of Happiness” in this sweat. What is will look like? What you need to release to be happy? What is happiness to you?“
All four elements of earth, fire, water and air combined with ancestors energies creates an atmosphere of intense release as participants sit in the pitch dark. This represents human ignorance, as you are unable to distract yourself from yourself.
“Yes, you get to sit in your own stuff,” Patti says.
There are four main rounds in ceremony, as the flap to the tar-pit is opened on three occasions allowing in more hot stones the heat will build. Round one involved calling in the sacred energies and our ancestors to sweat with. Prayers are then offered one-by-one for healing, transformation, expansion, clarity, courage, wisdom or blessing. The second round is an offering of prayers for others within the world, family, our friends, children or pets.
“The third round is known as our give away round whereby we release all our “stuff” that limits, impedes, holds us back; this is done in unison as we do not need to listen to each others ‘stuff’,” Patti says. “I will lead chants in between rounds to connect through sacred sound and focus our distracted energy as each round begins.”
Patti says the final round thanks all the 22 energies invoked to assist in the healing by recognizing “we are those energies and honoring them within ourselves”.
“This intense sense of community shares our energy to release and heal, as the power within all of us is stronger than the power within one of us. Each round offers new test of endurance of the heat, your feelings and yourself as a celebration of your spirit”
Your state of mind and beliefs can help you find opportunity where others believe there is none. The Green Dove asked best-selling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, JACK CANFIELD, how to stay positive while much of the world retreats into scarcity mode.