THE BLOG

Choose Happiness

04/27/2015 10:24 am ET | Updated Jun 27, 2015

When my bud of happiness attempts to bloom I've become conditioned to whither it with thoughts of why I'm not allowed happiness in that moment. I've become a master at conjuring negative thoughts that serve to diminish, or even eliminate, that beautiful flower of joy.

Why must I whither the bud, the bloom, and the flower? What would happen if I passed through the negativity and found myself in the still state of allowance? What if I simply choose to allow happiness?

The revelation of this choice came to me one afternoon when I was sitting under a gray sky, holding the hand of my child, in a rare moment of stillness and silence. We were soaking in the fresh grass that had sprouted after the last rain, and I felt complete happiness unfolding within me.

This unfolding progressed, until I remembered it wasn't allowed. I had too many things to worry about and tasks to complete to be happy.

As I sat with this, attempting to silence the piercing whisper in my mind, telling me to be righteous and shun the happiness I was so "unworthy" of, I was struck with the simplicity of the situation. I could allow the happiness; it was a choice, just like choosing to turn left or right.

My inner whisper, we'll call her Sheila, was offended by this thought. She was offended by my audacity at considering the idea that happiness was a simple choice we make in each moment.

But why not? Why couldn't I choose to be happy right in that moment?

As I sat, holding the tiny hand of my child, my internal bud of happiness came to fruition and I watered it with my choice to allow it to persist and thrive. This choice arrived after moving through the following process:

Noticing. The initial development in my process was noticing the spark of happiness. I had never examined what happiness really felt like. I noticed a lightness and presence that accompanied the spark. I felt love, hope, and acceptance for what had been, what was here now, and what was coming. I felt a comforting acceptance for where I was in the moment, and as I scanned my body I became aware of an absence of tension. My noticing of this happiness allowed me to discover where I am to go when I choose happiness.

Acceptance. The acceptance I experienced did not just relate to external circumstances, I accepted my internal circumstances. I accepted the tinge of stress I was feeling, I accepted the knot in my stomach, and I accepted the completeness in my wonderful imperfection. I felt the acceptance seep into the top of my head and as it flowed down the stress, the knot, and hapless desire to live closer to perfection washed away. These feelings did not need to dissolve for the happiness to survive; the dissolution was just a pleasant byproduct.

Release. When I became aware of my state of happiness I grew concerned of its fleeting nature. It had never stayed long in the past, which made me desperate to do what I could to prevent its retreat. Not surprisingly, those fearful thoughts of loss diminished my joy. I then chose to release my pining for a constant state of happiness, and just be with whatever was there in the moment. As I practiced this release, I noticed the happiness begin to bubble back up. It was a pleasant little dance that I curiously observed.

Notice, accept, release, notice, accept, release. I wrote this mantra on my mirror, computer desktop, and mind. At different times, these words have different meanings for me, but they're always significant and impactful. The words always spark my curiosity and openness to allow happiness to flow in, regardless of the mud that may have been slung at me a moment before. Maybe I can rub in that mud and garner soul-soothing benefits?

Let's join together in allowing the happiness to flow into our lives.

Did we make a crucial mistake on that work assignment? That's okay, we're still allowed to be happy.

Did we receive a hurtful comment from a loved one? That's okay, we're still allowed to be happy.

Did that whisper in our mind lash out? That's okay, we're still allowed to be happy.

We are entitled to happiness, we consent to joy, we permit the manifestation of miracles, we give permission to the miraculous, we sanction serenity, and we approve the bliss.

Let it be.

This blog post is part of a series for HuffPost Moments Not Milestones called 'Lived and Learned: What I Want My Younger Self To Know.' To see all the other posts in the series, click here.