Are you feeling as crazy as most folks seem to be these days? It’s interesting having all the challenges we’re having to face with the world in this shape at the moment. People are being pushed on to change, to step up and in many other ways. From my observations, the ones having the most trouble with this transitional time in our history are the ones who have no spiritual base.

Clients tell me they feel like nothing is ever going to recover, neither the economy nor their own broken lives. When I hear this, I ask them about their spiritual life. Many of them say they don’t believe in God or any other form of divinity and then I understand the problem. Without a strong spiritual connection, how can anyone help but think of themselves as out there with no hope? Imagine believing there’s nothing but your own efforts to save you. No wonder we’re such a scared, unhappy society.

I work with mentally ill, substance abusing parolees who have less hope than the rest of us who have “normal” lives. I never believed in normal anyway, since each of us is a unique expression of God, how can there be a norm? But I mean those of us who may be suffering from various issues but generally can count their blessings. Many of these parolees have been in and out of jail and prison most of their lives. They’ve already burnt their family/friend connections long ago and nobody has their backs. Yet when we talk about developing a faith in a higher power, treat them with respect and emotional support, an amazing thing happens.

After the staff and myself do everything someone who believes in them would do, including accepting them back into the program multiple times with no judgment, many found they could turn their lives around. So far, twelve of them are attending community college, others are getting their GED, jobs, even seeking ministry training. They never believed themselves capable of these things. You never know until you challenge yourself.

So, my point is that if these guys can do it, you certainly can. How strong is your faith? Do you talk yourself into failure because of low self-esteem? How strong is your desire to live a productive, meaningful life? Here are some suggestions to get on that track:

1.  Stop making excuses and do something proactive to help yourself. There’s always something you can do. Are you lonely? Join a club that interests you or volunteer somewhere. “I’m shy” is an excuse. Would you rather remain shy or be happy. Get out and challenge yourself. Get outside of yourself and give time to help others. You wouldn’t believe how rewarding this can be.

2.  Stop downtalking yourself. We are always our worrst enemies. If you counted the number of negative statements you make about yourself in your own head every day, you’d be shocked. Listen to your thoughts. Become conscious of this. Say “next” to each negative thought, going on to the next until you hit a positive statement and then expand on that one. Decide to “next” every single negative thought you have and pretty soon, they’ll practically disappear.

3.  Stop living in the past. Living in any time frame except the moment keeps you from enjoying the beauty of the day, the grace you have right now. The past does not exist. No one can step back into the past and change anything, so what’s the point of regrets? Learn from the past and make better choices now. Any harm you’ve been done by another person in the past is over. Only you keep hurting yourself over and over by reliving the events.

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.”
– Fulton Oursler

4.  Stop being so ungrateful. Do you have mostly working parts? Can you read and write (obviously, or we wouldn’t be interacting)? Do you thank God every day for your arms, legs, functional systems and everything else you take for granted? If you did, you wouldn’t be unhappy. The fastest way to become happy is to have mad appreciation for everything you do have. If you can do this and remain in a state of gratitude, so much more will come your way. Try this, don’t believe me. This doesn’t mean try it for one day or one week. It requires a permanent attitude shift.

5.  Stop being so afraid. Yes, changing is risky. If you’re used to doing things a particular way and having iron tight beliefs, you’re stuck in too many boxes. Naturally you’re afraid to chance trying something new. It probably feels like taking one chance could topple your whole carefully constructed “safe” world. You aren’t happy in your safe world. What’s so great about it that a change might not make better? Everyone is afraid. Yet the people who fear but take the challenge to change their lives anyway, are the ones who free themselves from being boxed into an unhappy existence.

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or a curse.”
– Carlos Castaneda

6.  Stop trying to fit in or be anything but who you are. How much time and energy have you spent trying to fit in places and with others you just didn’t vibe with, simply because they were the “cool kids” or “in crowd”? You can only be who you are, and that is amazing in itself. You are a unique human being with talents and gifts you have been put on Earth to share. Get over yourself and start figuring out how you can share yourself with others.

7.  Stop thinking of yourself as less than special. You have been given the amazing gift of life. This time in history may look problematic but in order for us to evolve as people, we are having to undergo major changes to our perspectives and values. We weren’t put here to amass fortunes and material goods. We all have special talents and abilities we have been granted in order that our world can operate with all the skills needed. No one is more important than anyone else. We’ve been led to believe our net worth defines our value but that just isn’t so. When you leave this Earth, God isn’t going to be impressed that you made a million dollars or had five expensive mansions and a jet. What did you do with your life will be the question. How many people have you helped guide to healthy minds and bodies?

8.  Stop procrastinating and hiding. How many times have you heard someone say “I don’t have enough time” or “I can’t do that” to something requested of them. Mother Teresa couldn’t be bothered attending award ceremonies on her behalf. She wasn’t interested in the bennies and accolades. She was more concerned about who would die because she didn’t help get food or water to them in time. Think outside of yourself. Help others instead of hiding and you will find a whole new world opening up for you.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.” – Helen Keller

So, listen to Helen Keller. If anyone had disadvantages, blindness and deafness , it was her. And if you do these things, you will find yourself getting more juicy, full of life, and contented. ~Stay Juicy!

~ by Lorraine E. Castro on May 3, 2012.

4 Responses to “DO YOU WANT TO BE HAPPY? ~Stay Juicy”

  1. This is so awesome –thank you very much!! Hope you are doing well, and we miss you!


    • Thanks Steven. I miss you all too and will try to get by more often. I’m glad to hear how positive you sound. Hope and faith, that’s all it takes to recognize an opportunity when it shows up. It all keeps getting better!!!!


  2. Love this post! When I look back to dark moments in my life, it know it was my faith that helped me find my way. Oh the things I used to do… When most lost faith in me, I felt there was no reason to move on. I attempted to take my life several times, different ways. I survived when I realized I kept living through my failed attempts for a reason and knew it was because of God’s purpose for me. I found faith again, in God and myself.


    • I’m so glad you were unsuccessful at attempting ending your life. You are a source of inspiration and a blessing to all around you. Finding your life’s purpose is the way to joy and fulfillment and we are both so lucky to realize this.


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