Wednesday, August 13, 2014 | By: Lisa LaMendola

The Happiness Project

We live in a world full of movement.  We are under the impression that we must always be in forward motion, doing something.  We are told that in our life we must achieve something to be important.  We must contribute to society in some way that we are remembered.  We must save for a retirement and tithe to a charity.  

Today I came to the conclusion that we have it all wrong.  If you aren't happy what does any of it matter?  If you can't be the kind of person you want to be, doing what makes you happy then what's the point?  And for those who just want to win the lotto and be rich and do nothing, sorry to say but that won't make you happy either ~ you will still have the problems you had yesterday.

So how does one be happy?  Can you be happy all the time?!  I don't think you can have one emotion all the time but I do think you can strive for it.  Creating your own Happiness Project.  So what makes someone happy?!  It's simple, really.  Happiness is created when there is balance in ones life.  Balance in Buddhism is known as the Middle Way.  The middle of the road, the center of the balance beam, the Yin and Yang as one. Striving for the experience of happiness at least once a day is a good goal to have.  For once you achieve that, you will want it more.  Then over time you will want others to experience your happiness for themselves.  You won't do anything for them to experience it, except be the example.  Allowing them to want to have what you have.  

Do not mistake happiness for joy or peace or love.  For true happiness is all of those things put together in one amazing experience.  Happiness is underrated.  It is deemed unimportant by your parents, teachers, partners and boss. Even your friends don't get it.  We've been turned into a society of uncaring, unsympathetic, and un-evolved robots thinking we have it worse than another who is suffering. We do what we are told because we think its easier than thinking for ourselves.  We would be sadly mistaken.

As one who suffers from TBI (traumatic brain injury) I have known my share of confusion, sadness, and mental disparity.  I have also known the Divine more than most.  When you loose a part of yourself or break something you rely on your other parts to pick up the slack.  Like breaking your arm ~ you rely more on the good arm than the bad.  The same is true for the brain.  When the cognitive is damaged the intuitive becomes more dominant, but there is also the fear of becoming so reliant upon the intuitive that you become flighty, unable to relate to the day to day necessities of life. When you already use those intuitive abilities as a profession then what happens?  I've been told my connection is even better than it ever was before, making me "scary accurate".  I have also felt too connected to the worlds beyond ours, disconnecting me from my life here.  Remaining balanced is not easy.  Yet when you find the balance you find true happiness. 

Because I have been through so much in the last few years I have reached out to one of my mentors for I have not been truly happy in awhile.  Content, yes; happy, not so much.  I have moments of being happy, but not a life filled with happiness.  So I have been given a challenge called The Happiness Project. There is a book by the same name that takes you through four areas of your life over a month, but this is a different version.  You might call it the Buddhist Version.

So my challenge is twofold.  First, to find what truly makes me happy and second, to add those things to my life everyday. Sounds easy right?  Well it's not...especially when my brain wants to travel down its own road everyday and my "self" gets lost in the shuffle.  The reason for the challenge is not just to find my Happiness Quota, but to find my real self.

When I first lost my long term memory I worked hard to remember who I was so I could be her again.  I finally gave up.  I decided that if I ever needed to remember something I would and left it at that.  Unfortunately I never thought about creating a new me in the process. This caused me to wander through life wondering why I was here and what I was to do with myself. 


Recently I have had flashes of childhood memories. Recollections of who I wanted to be in this world. Unfortunately I grew up and felt the pressures everyone does to confirm to society.  Now here I am 40 years later wishing my 12 year old self had listened to her inner being at the time. Yet I have a truly remarkable opportunity set in front of me now. The ability to find my true happiness and follow it.

So in this version of the Happiness Project, I am to find out who I really am and incorporate one thing each day into my life to allow for change to happen, and in that change blossoms a new flower called Happy Lisa.  The idea is to go back to when you were 12 and sit with that person in meditation.  Who was she?  What were her ideas about life?  What did she want to be?  How did she dress? Talk? Walk?  Who would she be now had she followed her bliss with no roadblocks?  Journaling everything I recieve to help me see who I really  am inside.

Once the image is clear a list emerges.  from that list each day i see what one thing I can do right now, today, to get me closer to her?  Each day I take one thing from the list and as each is accomplished a sense of happiness emerges ~ as well as a shift in consciousness which allows me to be the true me.

I begin tomorrow on my happiness journey and will share much along the way....I hope you will join me on your own journey, for your true happiness.

Namaste ~

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