It’s easy to feel like we’re lost in a shuffle where our feelings don’t matter and everything we once knew no longer applies. It can feel like time and customs are passing us by. What once looked unalterable is no longer there. Like it or not the world is always growing, and technology and social values are rapidly changing. There are eight billion of us that need to share this planet to survive, and more are always on the way. Resources are strained, the climate is causing greater disruption for everyone, and the voices we hear are becoming more strident and divisive.
What seems so turbulent at first glance can make us feel so hopeless. In a world where we’re so easily led and controlled it can be hard to see the truth and live our best lives. There’s nowhere to hide and retreat is pointless. Whatever we try to avoid will always come back with more vengeance and purpose. There’s an amazing world of wonder and understanding just out of reach and waiting for us. It takes work and fortitude but when we are awake and see the world better we can reach our true potential. There’s a truth in all of us that we can uncover. I don't use words that divide and anger, but there’s a global awakening that’s happening no matter how much we want to avoid it. Woke is just a word and concept for living in harmony with our nature. Most of us want to do good with our lives and can strive to do better.
The danger isn’t found in being woken. It’s the suffering that comes when we hide from reality and face being left behind. It’s a symptom of the anger some feel when their unstable defensive walls are broken.
Wouldn’t it be better if we could take a closer look at ourselves and contemplate our values and truth? “Waking up” and viewing our lives with more clarity might seem like a fearsome task, but the truth is always there lying in wait in our subconscious thoughts. This awakening is how we get to know ourselves better and create more personal value. It helps to see the effects of our actions without feeling judgment or shame. It’s how we discover how similar we are to others rather than being so far apart. It’s how we come together in this world and focus on making our lives healthier and happier.
Together, is a powerful word that will only help us manifest the lives we desire. Lives with less stress and frustration and more forgiveness and understanding.
I believe that through spreading happiness we can always make the world around us better. We can unite with a smile and a friendly nod. Acknowledgement and respect go both ways, and everyone prospers. There’s nothing political or divisive about it, being more accepting and gaining a wider perspective is about survival and good ole common sense. Belonging to a group can have so many perspectives. At the root of it all we are all related as humans.
As The Happiness Warrior, I believe that we are capable of being happier when we care about the freedom to live our lives in peace and coexistence. Think of how much more we could accomplish when we stop wasting time and energy on trying to control others thoughts and actions, and let them get on with their lives?
When are we going to learn that we can’t continue business as usual until we resolve our insecurities and self-negative thoughts and emotions? I believe that we can do better and revolutionize our society and its values. Only then can we be more accepting and solve our problems with a unifying sense of freedom. No need to judge others for what we don’t understand. No need to feel defensive and confused when we can find the courage to be our authentic selves. Let's be weird as long as it’s honest. We can always learn from others about what we don’t understand. All it takes is an earnest set of core values, a fair question, and a desire to learn. Warriors are made from truth and courage.
THE MIDDLE WAY
While I’m not religious in any way I’m always open to lessons and teachings. There’s wisdom to be found in all dogmas and one that has always resonated with me is found in Buddhist philosophy. The practice of taking the middle path between hardline asceticism and the pursuit of pleasure. Much of what we see in life today is parallel. Two sides at odds with one another with strident voices and rigid beliefs. Always using angry words and spending much of their lives trying to control the other.
For most of us this paradigm feels like something that’s stuck in the past. We’ve been through so much these last few years, why are we hanging on to things that no longer matter. Relics of thought and ideology that are losing their relevance as if they ever mattered. Fighting to hold onto ideals that were poorly thought out in the first place without facts or integrity. Do unto others as they would to us is always a phrase that resonates and shines.
When we choose to take the middle way, we are stating our opposition to extremes through our actions and behaviors. We are opposed to extremes and support the greater good. We want all people at our table and believe that every human has value. We are not woken, but rather compassionate and caring. We understand empathy and how it impacts our choices and options. Our religion is integrity and truth is everything. We are warriors for a cause and seek others to join and understand our passion. We care about inequity and inequality as more than just ideals or concepts. We love ourselves and others for who they are. We value wisdom and the challenges that shape us. The middle way has us always learning and being the best versions of ourselves. We travel through the river of life and let things take their natural course.
I LIKE EVERYONE
When I began working with my first modeling agency in New York City I was kind of reserved, insecure, and cool. I had a ready smile but was not always outgoing and eager to share who I was. I was 48 and in the prime of my life, but I was still a bit stunned and very grateful that I had been signed by the agency that I had dreamed most about joining.
One Friday morning as I was leaving my agent’s office, he offered me a few words of advice. “I want you to be the approachable alpha this weekend”. I listened with a stab of fear, he wants me to be approachable on the streets of Manhattan and be friendly to everyone I encounter? I knew what he was saying was true, it was time to stop appearing aloof and let down my defenses.
So, I set out to do my best and follow his directive. The weather was perfect, and the sun was bright and shining. I wanted to be my best and if this was part of the process I was on it. While I began my experiment with some trepidation, I began to feel my heart racing and my mood was heightened. It felt liberating and exciting. I was so used to fighting off unwanted attention no matter where I went, but NYC was always a place where encounters with strangers were always heightened.
I felt myself relaxing, and my body language began to feel more open. I was radiating energy with a high vibration. Positive and confident in my stride as I explored and did my business. I found myself attracting strangers to my side as I walked through the streets. Some thought I was handsome, some were on the make, mostly they were friendly, curious, and welcoming. It felt like I was doing something right. That weekend forever changed my life and outlook. I will always be grateful for my agent’s wise advice.
As The Happiness Warrior, my mission is to spread happiness in a welcoming voice. Every action has a purpose, and my mind is always open. The fears and insecurities of my past have been long dealt with and mostly forgotten. I set out on my journey with a mindset that creates magic and joy. I tell myself that “I like everyone” and go about the day with an open mind and ready smile. It’s so easy and so effortless, it’s made my life so much better. I connect with others and feel their emotions. I respect boundaries and never any unnecessary questions. This creates trust and has so much value. Others are happier when they feel connected and counted. Life is so much better when we allow our fellow humans to be seen and respected.
PRINCIPLES FOR MORE AWARENESS AND CRITICAL THINKING
Look for meaning daily, even amidst difficulties. Make every day the chance to be better than the last. We can take pride in our ability to expand and grow. We can always be awake and at our very best:
1. Worry is the creation of a problem that we don’t have at this moment when we live in the present.
2. Live in an optimistic mindset. Embrace and picture a happier future ahead.
3. Each step we take in creating progress in our lives is more valuable than the elusive pursuit of perfection.
4. Understand that personal greatness only comes when we make others around us greater as well.
5. Don’t allow anger to make us unreasonable. See beyond the fire and gain perspective of the truths in every situation.
There are hard truths that we all must live with every day. I believe that despite our best efforts to fight our truths we will always have them on our mind. They are who we are, and they help us live our lives in clarity and self-awareness. To be woke is to be free of self-created restrictions. It’s the place that we all deserve without any need for validation or reassurance. The more we understand ourselves and push our boundaries the more we can evolve to a higher place of vibration. One thing to consider most of all is not the words we use as labels that define us as much as our intention and motivation. Whatever we want to call it, being kind and accepting of others is the opposite of any manufactured sin.