Recently while going through my Nana Scully’s prayer book, I came across a few notes scribbled down on the back pages entitled ‘A Recipe For A Meaningful Life’ and it really got me thinking. We all know that our health is affected by the degree of happiness we feel in our lives. The happier we are, the healthier we feel. So, starting this week, make the decision to be happy and to try and live a meaningful life! I feel that a meaningful and happy life lies in making others happy, in forsaking self-interest and greed to bring joy to others. Live a life that portrays the true meaning of ‘It is in giving we receive’. Giving happiness to others is tremendously important to our own happiness, and one of the most satisfying experiences in life. To live for self in a greedy way is the source of all misery. I believe that if you are being of spiritual, physical, mental, material and loving service to others, you will find your own needs fulfilled. As you forget self in service to others, you will find that, without seeking it, your own cup of happiness will be full. As the saying goes, ‘When you came into this world, you cried and everyone else smiled. You should so try to live your life meaningfully so that when you leave this world, everyone else will cry, but you will be smiling.’
What changed for good?
For some years of my life and at times recently I have been a pretty unhappy person. I didn’t realise it at the time because I just thought this is who I was and that this is what life is about. Don’t get me wrong, I had and have a huge amount of happiness throughout and within my life but I would always drift back into the darkness on many occasions. Throughout my life I have had times where I have had nothing and also times where I have had everything and anything one could ask for. It didn’t matter. Stuff doesn’t matter. Material things don’t matter. It’s all about what’s inside your head, your heart and your soul. Today, at age 49 and closing in on 50, I am hoping to do a big charity event to celebrate and raise funds to help women’s projects in Africa and Ireland if people can help me out. I am a happy and contented person thanks to my faith and believe in the mercy and compassion of our God. So what changed? I just became willing to change and became stronger in my faith and beliefs and every day, although some days can be tougher and harder than others, I make a conscious decision and effort to seek happiness, peace, compassion, mercy, love and serenity in my life. I constantly pray the Serenity Prayer that has become one of the cornerstones of my life and it makes me want to become a better loving, caring and compassionate person each day. I want to be happy and to try as much as possible to live a meaningful life and one that is pleasing to God. The happier I am, the more useful I am to myself and everyone else, especially to my family, my friends, my work colleagues and to the world around me.
I am far from perfect
Just to let you know that I am far from perfect at any of this and fail miserably at times and have failed badly at times in my living. I have suffered pain, hurt and unkindness and caused pain, hurt and unkindness. I still go through times when I revert back to the dark places of been unloving, uncaring, non-believing, fearing, and thus become unhappy, sad, depressed and very anxious. But I keep trying and praying and work to become just a little bit better each day and I am not afraid to talk to someone if I need a listening ear or a helping hand or a caring soul or a trip to the confessional. I try to live this life of serenity I want and need for myself so that I can be a better person to others, especially to my family, my friends and work colleagues and to people that I come in contact with by being more grateful and thankful in my living. I take some time to thank the taxi driver for taking me to my destination safely, to thank the postman for bringing me my post each day, and to thank everyone that helps me in anyway big or small. If we all try to do things like this it will make us feel different, more serene and happier inside. I love a good laugh and have some great friends who make me laugh out loud. Laugh as much as you can. Laughter is known to be the best medicine for everything. Go to the gym, swim, walk, and run or do something that stimulates the endorphin release in your body. Practice time management. Set your goals, plan them, prioritise them. By doing this, you will be able to work through and finish your list on a daily basis, which will help you experience happiness and contentment and meaning. Work hard and always help and care for others when and where you can, for that is what life is all about. By doing so you will create enormous personal satisfaction and it will help you have a sense of value about yourself for it is in giving and sharing and in loving that we receive. Learn new things. Learning new things is an enriching exercise that will literally expand your world and create more opportunities for you in the future. Express your feelings. Show affection and warmth to the people around you and in that let go of your fears. Find spiritual connections. By being in touch with spirituality on a regular basis you foster inner peace and balance. Help other people. Pray for yourself and for others in your life. Light a candle for someone’s intentions. This will give you a warm feeling. Live in the moment. Instead of just adding days to your life, add life to your days. Keep in mind that the only time we really have is now, just this moment. Don’t expect your future to be a certain way. By doing so you’ll be more content with what you have now and this experience will continue in the future.
Trying to live serenely
Other ways I try to live a serene and meaningful life is to really listen when people talk to me. Don’t just wait for them to finish their sentence so you can talk. Always try as much as you can to do something nice for someone each day, especially for your loved ones and colleagues, and try to do it without looking for credit or awards. Meditate and pray if you can and try to make time for it, no matter how busy your life gets. It helps to recharge the batteries. Giving your mind a break and allowing some stillness in your life is so important. Try to read or to listen to something positive every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a paragraph long or a short song or hymn. Don’t waste time on negative stuff. Spend as much quality time as you can with your family each day, it can make all the difference to living a happy and meaningful life. Try not to gossip or spread rumours or bully or be unkind to other people. Accept things as they are and always strive for the truth. Try as much as possible to be passionate about everything or anything you do. Give to others, especially those in most need in our world. Nothing brings more fulfilment to me than the feeling of helping someone else. Surround yourself with positive people. I have tried to stop caring so much about what other people think even though I can be a real worrier about things at times. Don’t think that it’s too late. It’s never too late. Stop thinking that you are too old to do something. You’re not. Stop thinking you are too young to do something. You’re not. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about how you are feeling especially if you’re not feeling okay mentally or physically, that has been one of my downfalls at times but thankfully this is changing. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself or on others.
Don’t just be nice to the people around you and then come home and treat family and friends badly. Treat everyone with love and care and like the way you yourself would like to be treated. Respect. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but make sure you learn from those mistakes. Forgive people and say you’re sorry when you have and need to.
Take a holiday if you can and if you can afford it. Holidays are rejuvenating and energising. They will get you physically away from all the day-to-day cares of living and allow you to focus on things that you enjoy. Quiet your mind. Prayer and meditation are powerful tools that can help you quiet and discipline the rumblings of your mind. Push past the pain. Terrible stuff happens. It’s natural. But it’s in our power to push past these times. When your mind clamps down on some kind of pain, it becomes so self-focused it seems that the whole world disappears. But there is always more going on. Spring will come again and the sun will rise. Your happiness depends on your ability to liberate yourself from your small story. Happy people have a rich spiritual life and strong beliefs, and this positively supports their growth. Act now. Do it now, get busy, become so engaged in living so that you won’t find time to feel bad. You will be happy. Tell your close ones how much you love them. Do this often. Smile a lot. Your smile will make others smile. Always wear a smile. Give lots of compliments. This will make others feel good about themselves. Give regularly to charities of your choice. Surround yourself with pleasant smells. It’s obvious that a good smell creates a positive state of mind. Stay close to nature. It is beautiful and it fills you with energy. Look for the hero inside yourself. You are unique and special, so you should respect yourself. This way others will respect you too. Take time to figure out what is important in your life. Be thankful for what is working in your life right now. Relax, calm down, take things slower. Never compare yourself to the other people and don’t let criticism worry you, you can’t please everybody, and you don’t have to. Get a job you love. It’s very important to do something that you enjoy. If you hate or dislike your current job, seriously consider changing it. Choose the right friends and companions. Get involved in activities that reflect who you are and get to know people who share the same passions as you. If you’re feeling sad, there’s nothing like going out with your friends. Set goals and live up to them. It’s a great feeling when you accomplish a goal. Exercise, eat a healthy diet and don’t forget to fulfil your spiritual needs. Listen to music that makes you feel good. Be honest with yourself. We lie to ourselves more often than others lie to us. Get plenty of sleep every night. You need energy. The true key to happiness is to be happy with what you already have. Never compare your life to that of the others.
Thought for the week
As your thought for the week, strive to live a meaningful life. My Nana Scully was always happy and lived a meaningful life in my eyes by the way she cared and loved me! So live out the above tips and try to smile constantly and start trying to be happy! We only have one life, so why not if possible enjoy it? I will leave you with a poem called, ‘A Time To Believe’ by B.J. Morbitzer – ‘To believe is to know that every day is a new beginning. Is to trust that miracles happen, and dreams really do come true. To believe is to see angels dancing among the clouds, To know the wonder of a stardust sky and the wisdom of the man in the moon. To believe is to know the value of a nurturing heart, The innocence of a child’s eyes and the beauty of an aging hand, for it is through their teachings we learn to love. To believe is to find the strength and courage that lies within us. When it’s time to pick up the pieces and begin again. To believe is to know we are not alone, That life is a gift and this is our time to cherish it. To believe is to know that wonderful surprises are just waiting to happen, And all our hopes and dreams are within reach. If only we believe.’