I think most would agree with his Holiness the Dalai Lama and Buddhist teachings - we all want to be happy. And yet there has never been a time in history that we have had access to so much that promised us happiness - wealth, education, healthcare, technology - and been less happy than ever.
Research on the subject shows that there is a causal relationship between our wandering minds and unhappiness and that perfectionism is a leading cause of unhappiness.
Amongst the research is a 2017 study of 41,000 college students from Great Britain, the US, and Canada by Tal Ben-Shahar, a researcher, positive psychologist and Harvard professor. He found that in the time between 1989 and 2016 the pressure of perfectionism among college students increased and happiness decreased.
In a world dominated by digital and millions wishing to present their perfect self on social media - is it any wonder that our distracted minds are more preoccupied with the portrayal and possibility of a perfect life than what's actually here, NOW? Enter stress and unhappiness.
So what can we do about it? How do we stay present in this moment, mindful and leave the 'perfection party'?
The practice of meditation is key.
Before you say "I've tried it- it's too hard"... "It's not for me- I'm a more active person"... "I can't sit for that long without pain"... it's important to understand nobody (except for perhaps a few exceptions) was born with natural ease in meditation- not even monks. I'm serious. I've asked several of my monk friends and they have all said it took time and commitment to meditate.
The good news is that there are practices that the wisdom traditions have understood for thousands of years that are easy to learn. Quite simply, your breath is your SUPERPOWER.
When we come into conscious awareness of our breath, the mind becomes quiet, steady, clear. Welcome to the present moment (clouds parting, sun shining, angel singing!).
There are untold gifts and freedom to be had when we release the mind, clear limiting self-beliefs, and open to the expansive joy of a full and open breath.
Is it easy? Yes ... and no
Our breath is with us all the time, however our monkey minds have been been in control for at least 3 decades and it's not going to like stepping out of the drivers seat.
Is it possible? Absolutely.
It just takes practice and the strong commitment to bridge a friendship with your breath.
The secret: START.
We are under the illusion that TIME will magically bring us what we seek. However, you must take action because if you keep doing what you've done, you'll keep getting what you've got!
It's time for us to truly wake up and truly embody our experience here, now. You were fortunate to wake up this morning because many assumed they would too and didn't. This isn't morbid- it's the truth: Every day is a gift.
If you want greater health and happiness in your life, and learn the self-empowering tool of breathwork I'd be happy to show you.
Reach out if you are interested in 1-1 sessions or in one of my workshops: Breathe Into Being and soon Breathe, Flow and Let Go - that incorporates movement and breath discovery.
The subtle nature of the breath and our relationship to it is ongoing because our life and circumstances continue to change. For those who have attended a breath workshop or done sessions with me don't hesitate to reach out if you need more support to come back to your fullest and most vital self.
I am endlessly humbled after years of working with my own breath to uncover 'stuff' and go even deeper.
Sunday Oct 14th, I am offering a Breathe Into Being workshop at Loosloo yoga studio in Basel.
BONUS OFFER: Sign up and receive an audio GIFT to guide you into your breath anytime, anywhere ♥
Breathe and be happy!