Thursday, August 14, 2014 | By: Lisa LaMendola

The Happiness Project Part One

I wanted to share the process for this journey I am about to embark on so that you too could begin your own journey.  As you recall from my initial post, there are two parts the happiness project that you must do before you can actually find happiness.  First is the meditation ~ sit in a quiet space for as long as you need (I took close to an hour).  Have a pen and pad next to you to take notes, and imagine yourself at twelve.  If you need to look at a photo do so for only a moment.....then take yourself back to that person.  My picture was from school that year and had long sun-kissed hair and I was wearing my favorite dress ever.  Still would be my favorite dress today if I could fit more than my left foot into it.  It was a sleeveless white crochet dress that eventually turned in to a top when I got too tall.  It was the one piece of clothing I have ever owned that truly shouted ME at the world.  I was happy with who I was and who my friends were.

Going to back to the age of 12 can be a life altering moment.  Its the time before your teenage years begin and hormones change your mind and body.  Your heart is still full and your expectations are minimal.  You dream about what is out there in the night sky and what dreams may come.  You believe your parents when they tell you can do and be anything you want to be.  You know who you are, what you dream of, and how you expect your life to play out.

When I was 12 we had an exercise to do in history class.  We were to write a paper on what we thought we would be doing in 30 years.  Where did we see the world at that time, but more importantly where did we see ourselves.  What would the world look like?  What would we be doing?  Would we have children?  Discover a cure for cancer?  Be the next president?  Anything was up for grabs, so I was surprised when many of my classmates failed the exercise.  I remember this because those that failed said they didn't think they would still be alive.  Some couldn't even imagine themselves in the future?!!  I was sad for them because I had a dream.....and yes I got an A+.  Unfortunately that dream never came to be.  Actually none of it did, but I knew how to dream and that made life worth living.

So why didn't it happen?  Lots of reasons, but the most important was because I didn't believe in myself enough to make it happen.  That's always the real answer.  I could have blamed my mother (you can't be an archaeologist, no women are archaeologists) or better yet the old you can be a nurse or a teacher speech.  I would never blame my parents, because there's nothing to blame them for.  I was who I allowed myself to become and while I am sad that I didn't insist on pursuing my dream of going to Berkeley and living the California Dream, I am not disappointed in who I have become.  So at the age of 52 I just feel like I need some tweaking for the second half of my life.


I did this exercise with a newness to my life.  The potential to do and be anything.  While I could go back to college I think I have enough degrees for this lifetime, and the student loans to prove it.  Instead I focused on what I want to see staring back at me when I look in the mirror.  Where is that dreamer who loved the 60's music and clothes?  What part of her is still inside me?  What would she look like now?  What would she be wearing?  What would she be doing for a living?  What would she be doing for fun?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the thought of what we SHOULD be doing, that we forget WHO WE ARE and what makes us truly happy.  From my meditation I am creating a list of things that might make me happy.  Notice I said might, because I don't know if any of them will or not.  I might be greatly disappointed in my thoughts, but then again I might just find exactly what I've been looking for.  So each day I will take one item from my list and create it.  It can something quick and easy like a new blouse, or a bit more complicated ~ like trade my car in on a Volkswagen Bus and hit the road.  I will share with you along the way things I do and how they make me feel.....and how that can change everything.

Namaste ~





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