Running Away from Happiness

Running Away from Happiness

I sit drinking my coffee watching a beautiful snowstorm on this early morning (yes, it is mid-April in Wyoming) and thinking about why I’m motivated to write these blogs, etc…

Here’s what comes. These days we all seem to have packed garages, closets, and calendars – and it’s not dependent on how much money we have in our bank accounts. It feels like our cultural drive, almost mania, to do more, have more, be more has become a key principal in proving our worth yet a dead end to happiness.

I think of it like a speedway down which we all seem to be running to gain more, hoping to get somewhere – perhaps to a place where Bob Barker rings a bell and opens a golden door and yells “you won!” But here’s the thing – that door doesn’t exist at the end of the speedway. No matter how much achievement, accomplishment or material acquisition, it still doesn’t seem to be enough to find that elusive peace and joy. And across many, many reliable and valid research studies, beyond getting basic food and shelter needs met, there is NO correlation between wealth and happiness.

Our society is facing skyrocketing levels of depression, anxiety, stress-related illnesses, obesity and addiction. I doubt anyone reading this blog has not been touched by someone struggling with these challenges.

So, what if there’s another way? What if there’s a way to take back our health, joy, peace and our success?What if instead of just going down that horizontal speedway, we first breathed in a vertical line of energy around the human values we most want to embody (for ourselves, our family and friends and our world)? What if we took a moment or two every day to slow down, lower our eyes and breathe in values like kindness, patience, honesty, integrity, responsibility, compassion, connection – and dare I say it, what if we just took a few minutes to deeply breathe in love (of self, of others, of earth, of any greater energy or God), and then, what if we took a minute to breath in something or someone for whom we are grateful?

Here’s what research shows – when we begin doing this work around breathing up this vertical path of values, something begins to happen. We relax. We see things differently. We may actually see more success on the horizontal speedway of life, but we care less. We gain back our own power and our ability to make healthy choices. We improve our health as we feel the connection to the love around and within us. And, we begin to realize that we have the power to change our future and change our world. When organizations live by values first, financials & efficiency second, they win – and they win big. Look up the stories of Patagonia, Costco, Chobani, Tom’s Shoes, Air BnB, Southwest Airlines, Deloite, and I could go on.

This isn’t just touchy, feely stuff. It’s quiet work. It’s small steps, It’s incremental. But over time, this work of breathing in our deeper human values before we begin each day has seismic changes. Try it for a week or two. Write down what you notice.

And look, the snowstorm has stopped and the sun has come out.

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