Year after year we wish each other peace, love and happiness for the New Year. Truth is we do wish all these for others and for ourselves. Yet, we don’t always know how to be at peace, how to be happy and how to feel loved.
This year I decided to write this short guide, my interpretation of one of Paul Ferrrini’s books that has helped me to achieve peace, love and yes, happiness. The Keys to the Kingdom has been a great tool to stay present to my own experience when things are going well and when things are not flowing as I would like them to.
From what I have learned, happiness has nothing to do with what is happening in our lives and it has everything to do with how we can hold our experience at any given moment. Happiness is also related to our ability to be authentic and follow our inner guidance when we are making choices.
Now a short guide based on the 8 transformational questions, spiritual tools that will help us to get in touch with the happiness and the love within.
Key #1 LOVE YOURSELF
Transformational question 1: Am I loving myself right now?
How many times when we are making choices would the answer to this question be a clear NO? Often we say yes when we would like to say no and vice versa. Our inner voice says “no” but we silence it with our irrational thoughts and emotions. We get carried away, we betray ourselves.
It is amazing what repeating this question throughout the day can do to your awareness… it will help you see how many times your choices go against your self-love. Answering this question again and again is a first and important step in the way to honoring yourself. At the beginning you may not be very clear about the answer, but wait patiently, truth is within waiting to be heard.
Key #2 BE YOURSELF
Transformational question 2: Is this in harmony with who I am?
As we seek to get love and acceptance from other people, many times we do things that are not in harmony with who we are. We do this thinking that happiness will come when we receive the love and acceptance of x person because we did what they expected of us. Again and again life shows us that this is not the way. We can blame others and continue to have expectations all over the place without noticing that inevitably at the end we will be disappointed one more time.
To know if something is really in harmony with who we are we must listen to our heart. It may take some time to discover who we really are, especially if we have years of self-betrayal looking for love and acceptance to come from the outside.
Key #3 BE RESPONSIBLE
Transformational question 3: Am I owning everything I think, say, feel and do?
To totally own our thoughts, feelings, words and actions is a huge step towards real happiness. However it is not an easy one. Sometimes it is so much easier to blame life or others for what happens in our life. To own our stuff and be responsible makes us go inward again and realize that happiness is our choice.
This question also covers our judgments. When I own my judgments I realize that what I don’t like about you, is really talking about me. Every judgment I make about others is really telling me which unhealed parts of myself I need to love and accept. A lot of work to be done!
Key #4 BE HONEST
Transformational question 4: Am I telling my truth and listening to the truth of others?
Some people are used to lying. Others are honest and tell their truth but it is impossible for them to listen to the truth of others. They will defend their point of view with all their might. This question is inviting us to do two things: First to learn to speak our truth honestly in a loving, non-attacking, non-defending way. Second to understand that it is as important to be heard as to listen to others. We need to listen with our hearts, making the other person’s point of view as valid as our own. Honoring my truth, honoring your truth… that is another huge leap into peace!
Key #5 WALK YOUR TALK
Transformational question 5: Am I willing to show up even if it is hard?
In order to achieve real happiness we must be present to our experience. We need to stop running away from our fears and from our ghosts from the past. It means being present here and now. It means enjoying when life is “good” and staying present when it is not. Being present means totally trusting that no matter what we can trust ourselves. We will not abandon ourselves one more time, we won’t betray ourselves again. We are that ONE person we can fully trust and the one that will always be there for us.
When we answer this question, this is the place where we can include all the elusive behaviors that we use to run away or hide from our experience. All compulsions and addictions keep us from being present to what is.
Key #6 FOLLOW YOUR HEART
Transformational question 6: Is this what I really want to do?
One more time the key is to follow your inner guidance. Listen to your heart and wait for the answer to come up.
When we do things that we really don’t want to do usually somebody pays for it sooner or later. This keeps us from being happy. Sometimes we have a hard time saying “no” because we don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, yet it is better to be honest and say no, than to say yes when we don’t mean it.
This is true not only in our relationship with others but also in our relationship with ourselves. It is important to identify which are the things that we really like to do and which ones we do out of obligation or habit.
Key #7 BE AT PEACE
Transformational question 7: Can I do this without stressing myself out?
Sometimes we want to help somebody else… we really want to do it but whatever they are asking from us will bring stress to our lives. It is important to notice this events because they also keep us from being at peace. Refrain from acting in a way that brings pressure and stress to yourself and others. Wait to act until you can act in a peaceful way.
Key #8 STAY PRESENT
Transformational question 8: Am I forgiving the past and allowing the future to unfold?
As we know one of the reasons for unhappiness is depression from our past or anxiety from our future. To be able to be present to what is in a loving way is the key that will allow us to find real happiness. If when you answer this question you notice that you are trapped in the past or projecting into the future, don’t beat yourself up. Take a deep breath and go into your heart. Discover the magic of the present moment which resides in the mystery of being alive.
Each and every question is a spiritual tool that will help us to discover who we really are and to express ourselves fully. They show us the way to understanding that the love and acceptance we keep looking for are really within ourselves. We cannot love others without loving ourselves first. It seems simple, we have heard it many times… but making a practice out of it is challenging.
If the 8 questions seem overwhelming, I recommend starting with question number 1. Repeat this question again and again throughout the day… Am I loving myself right now? If the answer is yes, congratulations! If the answer is no, take a deep breath, go into your heart and make sure that the choice you are making is not cutting the most important love in your life, your self-love.
I do wish you peace, love and happiness in this 2015!