I’d like to offer a radical opinion. What if the most direct route back to happiness is through crisis, chaos and loss?
I know, I know … this is not a popular opinion. But this is what I learned after I lost my daughter Teal in 2012. Before her death, I was possibly the unhappiest I had ever been … at least since my tortured twenties.
By that point, my children were pretty much grown, and my marriage had ended. I’d moved across the country to a city I couldn’t quite relax in … And I’d found my way into a toxic relationship that I felt completely trapped in.
I worked constantly in order not to feel my pain. My work as an internet marketing coach was successful and even a little glamorous – so it looked like I was having lots of fun. But I wasn’t. This wasn’t my true calling and I knew it.
Really, in my heart, I was a writer. That’s how I started out in my twenties. But now, nearly twenty years later, I had no idea how to get back there. I’d chosen this path simply because I knew it would be financially successful. But instead of being able to leave it, I felt bound to it by ball and chain.
But by the time my daughter died, my lousy relationship was over, my business ended due to simple burnout, and I had no place to live. The Universe had conspired to ‘do for me that which I could not do for myself,’ and taken the whole damn mess away.
What followed was two years of grief and rest, during which I had to learn how to become very quiet, and let go of all the props that had been holding me up. This was followed by two more years of slow, gradual rebuilding.
Today, more than four and half years later, I really am the happiest I have ever been. My income became stable again when, out of the blue, I was hired to write a series of novels for an investor. I’d published a novel many years earlier, and now as I sat down to write again, I found … miraculously … I had become a much better writer.
What all of this abundance is teaching me is that when you stop, relax, and ‘just be’ … the Universe starts to deliver up exactly what you want. It’s a great discipline to do nothing, ironically. In this age of pushing and striving, we are ever more fearful of having space, peace and quiet.
But may I recommend at least the occasional dip into these waters.
You may, indeed, be surprised what will come your way.
Don’t just do something … stand there.