Dr Akilah – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

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Radical Forgiveness

forgivenessBy Jack Adam Weber – wakeup-world.com

I can hardly think of a more mysterious, complex, and too often elusive concept than forgiveness. Most of us have little trouble forgiving minor violations, a la don’t sweat the small stuff. Like being late for an appointment, or forgetting to take out the trash, or not calling someone back. I even wonder if we forgive these daily foibles as much as we just ignore them because on their own, they just don’t run deep or cause significant harm. But what about betrayal, conscious malevolence, or carelessness that costs us major heartache, upheaval, or financial loss? How do we wave the magic wand of forgiveness across a heart that has been hurt in deep, difficult, complex ways?

Forgiveness is a loaded concept, with bigger-than-life promise. It’s also advertised to be relatively easy. We are supposed to forgive, not only to release others from our upset and vengeance, but to free ourselves from suffering the pangs of resentment. There are visualizations to imagine the perpetrator in white light, breathing exercises to release injustices on the exhale, ritual gestures to give away our pain, all of which might help, or hinder our true passage to the elusive land of forgiveness. What is it to genuinely forgive, so that we end up feeling almost as though the incident never occurred? Is it to gradually forget, or merely grow away from what has been done to us, or others? Is it to empathize with and understand why someone else acted as they did? Does this heal the hurt in our hearts? Or is forgiveness—to the tune of a decision—of serious injustice, real betrayal, just a fantasy and not truly erased by wand-waving or easy exercises? 

Most of us have been deeply hurt, where forgiveness of others and ourselves takes center stage. Setting an intention to forgive by saying, “I forgive you,” can be helpful if we do to set a goal—as long as we recognize that there is a lot of hard work to reach that goal, and that the process is not linear but deeply circuitous. We discover forgiveness as transformation by negation, by embodying what forgiveness seems not to be.

When we are able to be deeply present with our pain, as gut-wrenching as it may be, we are able to enter the place of transformation, that of metaphorically dying to be reborn. This is to live with emotional honesty, to feel our feelings. It means that when we hurt, when we lose something significant, when we are betrayed, when we are disappointed or devastated, and forgiveness as resolution is in order, we take these feelings at face value. We feel that hurt and let it be until it is no longer, or until we can go no further or don’t want to go farther with it. The pain dissolves to whatever degree, as we are transformed. Indeed we could say that the energy of the pain is precisely that which changes and renews us, allowing us to forgive. And the corollary is true too: no pain, no gain. Forgiveness in this sense is not a process separate from the tough work of allowing ourselves to be transformed by the hurt we want to forgive. Forgiveness is the door that opens as a result of sitting with the injury of the hurt.

When we feel this hurt, we begin a process I call “dying to our pain.” This means that we surrender to heartache, rather than try to “perspective” or “talk ourselves out of it.” It is valuable to understand the whys of being hurt—why someone cheated on or  stole from us, broke a promise, acted with neglect or malice. We allow injustice and disappointment to change us, carry us down, teach us lessons about how to live and to care better, show us the places in ourselves where we have acted without integrity, how to better care for our hearts and the welfare of others. Feelings of shame, guilt, remorse, sadness, anger, rage, fear, and regret are common when we betray or are betrayed. These are difficult feelings to be with, so it’s no wonder we turn to easy forgiveness, instead of feeling these places that are the precursors for a full-bodied renewal. These trenches of hurt are the school of robust loving and the birthing grounds of genuine forgiveness—the unbidden light emerging from lots of hard inner work.

To forgive another, however, does not mean that we have to, or want to, continue to be in touch with them (him or her). If they have not changed, why put ourselves in harm’s way again? Sometimes the cost to leave a relationship with someone we have to forgive is greater than the cost of enduring the pain caused, such as with betrayal. It’s hard to know what the right decision is. We can begin the journey: embark on the process of accepting and healing our troubles, see where it takes us, how and if our mind changes, and assess as we go. It’s not easy and the journey requires us to get to know ourselves in a much more intimate way.

The degree to which we cannot feel “clear” of an injustice is the degree to which its still affects us. It is also possible that some pains never completely leave us. And this may not necessarily be a bad thing. If we feel strongly about a cause, this pain can fuel our activism for greater good. I am thinking about a Holocaust documentary I watched called “Elusive Justice,” about Jews who have made it their life’s work to track down and bring to justice Nazi war criminals that never faced prosecution.

I am particularly disturbed by the Holocaust, and this movie deeply moved me. It shined a new light on the notion of justice, revenge, and forgiveness—the former are not always bad and the latter not always entirely possible or entirely desirable. The pain of the atrocity allows these Jews to work for a greater good, the spiritual cause of rectifying history and the future, setting an example for appropriate punishment and morality. Whatever our stance with retribution and justice, at the very least, with profound injustice, forgiveness is complex.

forgiveness2LINEAR VS. TRANSFORMATIONAL FORGIVENESS

In the face of betrayal, linear forgiveness might say, “I forgive you for knowingly investing the money I loaned to you in a stock you had no good sense would succeed.” Transformational forgiveness might say, “I am furious, I am sad, devastated actually, that you lost my money, and I am not sure how to proceed; I need to sit with it.” Or, “I am pissed and compromised because you acted selfishly, lied to me, and did not communicate your truth so to allow me the opportunity to make a decision to take care of my needs. I need to go day by day towards resolution.”

Linear forgiveness might say to your partner who cheats on you, “I love you; I forgive you. I will let this go.” Or, “We can go on as if this didn’t really happen. I bless you; may God make this right.” Maybe some people can really live this way and have it work for them. But it does not come close to the congruency and honesty I need to feel at home in my own skin. Transformational forgiveness, on the other hand, might say, “I love myself and I love you, so I will tell you how this feels in accord with how I understand the facts of the situation, and ask that you please help me get them right. This hurts, this really hurts. I am so sad. I am also pissed, I feel destroyed, and I don’t know how to look at you anymore. I will abide in my authentic feelings as a radical form of love, so to deepen my own heart and maybe be able to accept you into my life in a deeper way. But we’ll have to see how the dust settles, how I and you feel about it, and where those feelings and my intelligence take me.”

By feeling our real feelings, we are eventually able to let go of our hurt, rather than gloss over it with methods that merely help us avoid our heartache. When we have processed and been processed by our hurt, forgiveness comes naturally, though not usually easily, as a by-product of being genuine, emotionally and intellectually honest, each step of the way. This way, forgiveness “finds us,” so to speak, instead of our merely expressing what we think forgiveness is, as a predetermined idea.

Transformational forgiveness like this is also paradoxical, in that it does not bypass your emotions to arrive at a “spiritual” outcome, but instead embraces the hurt you want to forgive. It seeks to release the hurt by accepting it, rather than dismissing or skirting it. We can also discover paradoxical compassion, truth, faith, sacredness, strength, humility, and magic by embracing their apparent opposites. But not as an idea—as a fierce and radical process! This is the rich, powerful, courageous, surprising, comprehensively loving, deeply meaningful way home.

We each have our own threshold for breaking open. Some of us will allow ourselves to grieve completely until grief is done with us, until it cleans us out and delivers us to large-heartedness and deeply sourced, unbidden joy. Others allow a little sadness, then shut down, move on—to a new lover, a new job, a new city, a new anything. I am reminded of the line from Mary Oliver’s stunning poem “No Voyage:” 

“Men never go somewhere, they only leave wherever they are, when the dying begins.”

The degree to which we are willing to be with our own heartache, and be changed by it, is the degree to which we can engage in transformational forgiveness. Here forgiveness is not the idealized, contrived goal, but the inadvertent outcome of being authentic and true to the present reality of our hearts and minds. When we deny difficulty, we begin to “die,” even though we might try to compensate with a happy persona. On the other hand, ask us to spend a couple hours alone with our eyes closed feeling into our bodies to ascertain what is honestly there, without manipulating it with our interpretive fear or appall, and we might not be able to bear it. This is a very different brand of meditation, one that values our conditional nature, which then rewards us with a deeper embodiment and experience of the unconditional.

The gift of transformational forgiveness is that we are transformed in the process. Linear forgiveness, from what I can tell and have experienced, is fear and denial disguised as wannabe nobility and pretty-posturing spirituality. The latter might be a genuine gesture and attempt at peace, but it just doesn’t foster deep honesty, which is integration by way of transformation. It can actually become a covert self-harm because it denies significant hurt in our hearts. When we deny our heart’s pain, we consolidate and empower our wounds, no matter how “light,” impressive, or compassionate we might try to appear. A more radical compassion is to feel our immediate feelings and notice our immediate thoughts, sit with them, and make sure they are based on reality (if not, then we can look into what and why we have projected), and express them appropriately. This prevents backlogged pain from settling in us and being acted out on others. It also helps to root out our dysfunctional habits, communicate our truth, and also gives others the permission to be emotionally honest. This is how paradoxical compassion delivers us into transformational forgiveness.

Linear forgiveness is, in fact, the new-age antidote for avoiding difficulty, for avoiding the pain necessary to be transformed and birthed into radical forgiveness, as a by-product of lots of hard inner work that looks anything like our pretty ideas of forgiveness. It involves rage, disillusionment, depression, sadness, grief, helplessness, confusion, tremendous humility, and just about every other shitty feeling and state of mind you can imagine. The pain we try to forgive not only wakes us up, but contains the soul-octane necessary to transform and thereby powerfully change our lives.

Linear, superficial forgiveness is the feel-good holdout for avoiding pain when everyday love goes wrong. Many consider “love” to be a mysterious cosmic force, the amorphous answer to all our problems, an immutable power we can channel and share at will. We instead can think of love as the way we behave, enhanced by inner resources such as courage, creativity, generosity, patience, resilience, and self-knowledge. Certainly, what we commonly call unconditional love, as our presence and awareness, can feel like a power “greater than me.” Yet, unconditional love (also a behavior, by the way) does not automatically change our conditional circumstances; it is merely the first step towards working them out, which delivers us into our full potential. We miss out on opportunities for unconditional love and the real miracle of what we are able to authentically overcome when we sidestep what frankly is. We try to see and avoid tough forgiveness a thousand different ways—which if we are honest, is too often the fear of experiencing our difficult feelings.

FORGIVENESS AS SURRENDERforgiveness3

If pop spirituality is geared to avoid pain, as most of its practices and ideologies are, then what juiciness can it really offer in the face of everyday human heartache? The New Age antidote to heartache is linear, mostly feel-good forgiveness, without acknowledging the pain of the wound. It is flimsy and ungrounded, as opposed to the sort of change that happens over many more months or years by way of transformational forgiveness. The former sets in motion the cycle of denial, repression, stagnation, and a covert harm that explodes and destroys when triggered. It avoids being transformed and deepened as evidenced in a radically different person.

When we can tolerate feeling difficulty and understand its ability transform and renew us, we don’t need to rely on forgiveness the hollow gesture that leaves us with a dearth of depth and richness for giving. Transformational forgiveness comes organically, as a result of clearing out our heart-minds of the hurt caused by injustice through emotional honesty. We naturally let go and forgive as we process our hurts, turning misfortune into fortunes we could not have claimed otherwise.

Injustice is not predictable, so a lot of pain is unavoidable. Shit happens to innocent people all the time, and rationales of karma and “meant-to-be” and it “happened for a reason” are more ways that we try to avoid feeling life’s stings and our fear of death, for which life’s pains are a taste. If we find benefit from misfortune, it does not mean that misfortune did us no harm. To live life with the radical courage to feel everything honestly is not only a way to deepen our love and passion but also to truly forgive and forge a deeper, enduring, and more inclusive love.

True forgiveness, then, might not be what we’d like to believe it is. If we want to live deep, rich, full, authentic, courageous, evolutionary lives, we might be better served to leave behind the contrived spiritual postures we adorn as good ideas and for public approval. We could also do away with the emphatic need to be “right,” which shadows other, more subtle and life-changing truths we realize during moments of tremendous humility—when we are honest about our own intentions. We would do better to surrender to how we honestly feel and think from one now to the deeper next, and to wake up in the midst of forgiveness as frankly and as innocently as we accepted its apparent opposites: betrayal, heartache, injustice, and misfortune. We thereby discover the ever-evolving meaning of forgiveness—its holistic, full-bodied, wholehearted, humbly-derived meaning—as a complex of understandings, emotional processes, and organic resolutions, rather than as a goal from what we think forgiveness is. Forgiveness is, in the end, a process, not a linear decision, though it requires the facts and our true, deep honesty. And we get to feel profund, genuine forgiveness when we embrace what looks like anything but “forgiveness.”

In the end, transformational forgiveness is a life-path of radical surrender, paradoxical compassion, and spiritual integration. Linear forgiveness, as in “I forgive you for so and so,” is best left for small infractions that don’t really hit us that deeply, though we should still be willing to feel and express our hurt over them. For more serious injustices, linear forgiveness is too often a coping mechanism to avoid pain and an attempt stay happy at the expense of our full, honest humanity. There is little more beautiful for giving than our honesty, care, empathy, and authenticity. The depth from which embody and convey these is up to us.

 

About the Author

Jack Adam Weber is a licensed acupuncturist, master herbalist, author, organic farmer, celebrated poet, and activist for Earth-centered spirituality. He integrates poetry, ancient wisdom, holistic medicine, and depth psychology into passionate presentations for personal fulfillment as a path to planetary transformation. His books, artwork, and provocative poems can be found at his website PoeticHealing.com. Jack can be reached at Jack@PoeticHealing.com or on Facebook

 

The Ultimate Letting Go: Release Your Fear and Be Free

Release_Fearby KC McCormick

It seems on some level we must know that nothing lasts forever. That knowledge must be built into our DNA; surely our cells know their own mortality, that entropy is an unavoidable fact of life.

So why do we fight the inevitable? Why do we crave security and consistency? Illusion that it is, we look for promises where it’s not possible for them to be made.

We buy all kinds of insurance, telling ourselves that if we spend that money, that bad thing won’t happen to us and we’ll be “safe.”

We sign contracts, “ensuring” that that piece of property will always be ours and that that relationship, personal or professional, will never be anything but what it is today. We pour money into tricks to keep us young, seemingly viewing aging and death as the ultimate enemy of happiness and success.

But what if we embraced change, not just as a necessary evil but even as a blessing?

At a tender young age, I experienced the most significant loss of my life, the death of a very dear friend. Robbed of the innocence and naivete of youth, in the decade that’s followed I have learned far more painful, poignant, and enduring lessons that I know I would have otherwise.

That loss also resulted in one big giant fear of the ultimate change—I was terrified of losing the people I cared about. It was nearly paralyzing, and this fear resulted in a lot of ugly insecurity. Ironically enough, that very fear may be just an unattractive enough quality that it could have driven away my loved ones and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I am eternally grateful to the ones who loved me enough to stand by while I discovered this, building my confidence so that I could change from needing, clinging, and fearing their loss to loving freely and letting go.

Whatever the nature of the relationship, there’s something about two people letting go of each other, knowing that the other doesn’t belong to you, that is so much more life-giving than those same two clinging tightly, bracing for the inevitable blows life will deal. It makes whatever comes that much more manageable.

We are inexplicably linked to the ones we love. Whatever our religious or spiritual beliefs, we can all agree that when someone is lost, whether through death or change, they are not gone, in that if nothing else they remain in our heads and hearts.

It is up to us to have the strength to remember that what has been has been real, and that it is not changed by the loss. 

One of my favorite quotes is from Rainer Maria Rilke: “A person isn’t who they were during the last conversation you had with them. They’re who they’ve been throughout your whole relationship.”

It gives me great peace to remember that, even if we go to bed angry and one of us doesn’t wake up tomorrow, it doesn’t change the fact that we love each other.

There’s a proverb about anticipation of a thing being better than the thing itself, and I think the opposite is true of the negative things we anticipate. Tensing our muscles and preparing for impact, the anxiety wears on our nerves, but eventually the dreaded event occurs and we weather it. Life goes on.

I firmly believe that behind every action lies one of two main motivators: fear or love. We act out of fear of loss, fear of change, fear of the unknown. Or, embracing loss, change, and the unknown as things outside of our control, we can choose to act out of love.

My challenge to you is to believe that love is greater, more powerful, and longer-lasting than whatever it is that’s triggering that fear reaction. Believe it, and then act like you believe it.

Fear makes people predictable. We run from the thing that causes us fear, becoming sheep of sorts, running from the sheepdog without thought as to where he might be steering us. News stations use our fears to sell stories, politicians use our fear of the “other guy” to get our votes, and, quite often, it works. Why is this?

Fear is a safe bet; love, on the other hand, is not. When you’re acting out of a genuine love, whether it’s for a significant other, friend, child, family member, or life itself, you have a spring in your step, a confidence in your eye, and a fearless approach to whatever life hands you.

You, my friend, are unpredictable. You are a force to be reckoned with. Don’t let fear rob you of who you could be.

 

 

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Finding the Blessings in Difficult Situations

By John Morton, D.S.S

Have you ever had a moment when you realized that everything in your life is a blessing? Even the most challenging situations are blessings too?   Have you ever considered that you are the blessings in your challenges?

Everything in our lives is presented to us in some way as a blessing, including the nature of ourselves. When we choose to love, accept, and cooperate with whatever is presented to us, then we are relating to everything as blessings.

What is a blessing? For me, blessings mean greater good.  Goodness already exists within you and me, in everyone, and in the world around us.  Goodness is a given.  It is who we are.

Along with the goodness present now is greater good yet to become.  So we always have an opportunity to realize the greater good, to realize the blessings that already are. It can be a turning point in your life when you decide, “My life is going to be about the greater good, about finding the blessings.” It’s simply a matter of how you choose to look at each situation and yourself.

I refer to ten blessings identified by John-Roger, D.S.S. — loving, caring, sharing, health, wealth, happiness, prosperity, abundance, riches and touching.  All these blessings, every single one and many more that relate to them, are present all the time. As we become more aware of the blessings, we then allow the blessings to manifest.  That’s because the source of the blessings is always present.

It doesn’t matter to me what you call your source.  You can call it God, Holy Spirit, Higher Power, Inner Master or whatever you like.  The source of the blessings is an eternally loving presence within you that goes by all kinds of names.  It breathes with you and walks with you.  It already knows all about you and loves and adores you as you are.  Everyone has this eternally loving source within them, including you.

You can realize the blessings when you accept, enjoy, and appreciate all the conditions in your life as somehow part of the great perfection on your path of awareness of who you truly are.  So it’s up to each one of us to choose.  It’s our choice to become more aware of the blessings that come from that loving source.

By accepting that the conditions in my life right now are perfect for me, I am choosing to trust that the blessings already are.  Rather than thinking, “Oh, I made a big mistake,” or “This cannot be on my path,” or “This cannot be a blessing,” I see each experience as adding to me and my learning and growth.  So I choose to accept that everything in my life is presented to me from my source for my greater good.

I’m not saying you have to like everything that you experience.  I don’t like everything I experience. However, I’m suggesting that no matter what happens, something in each experience has value and often great value for us, more than we might first consider.  So I encourage you not to draw your first conclusion about a situation or challenge.  Be open as much as you can. The greater blessings are often something that we don’t initially see.

When I see challenges in this world that appear to defy the greater good or deny the blessings, I consider they are just ways of testing us to see if we will trust even more than we already have.  At times, choosing the blessings can take tremendous courage, clarity and conviction.  We may be called upon to be patient and endure more than we imagined we could.  When we do, we can then discover our strength more fully and completely.  We can find a greater love than we knew possible.  With confidence and trust, we can then look to every challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow and know our goodness even more.

Whenever a challenge is presented to us so we can choose to learn to be more loving and caring, to be more accepting and compassionate, to forgive more fully and completely. Perhaps we are simply learning to know we are the blessings, the ones already present regardless of conditions and the ones coming forward as we are patient and enduring with looking for the blessings.

How do we find the blessings?  Through our trust in that eternally loving source by staying open to seeing the greater good.  So when we are faced with any challenge, we can ask within to realize and be more aware of the blessings.  In my experience, when I ask my source to help me understand and realize what is for the greater good, I am shown the blessings.

I find that the deepest, most meaningful aspects of my life are ones that may first appear to be ordinary and inconsequential. Maybe I realize what a blessing it is to have shoes on my feet and clothes on my back.  Perhaps I’m aware that I have people who I care about and who care about me.   Sometimes it’s as simple and as vital as, “I’m alive. I’m breathing.  I’m here.”

The blessings already are, so take this moment to look for the good and seek the greater good yet to become.

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The healing power of touch

posted by Nazia Mallick

Touch is the first sensation we feel when we come into this world. A child’s mental, emotional and physical well-being initially depends a lot on a tender touch. Doctors insist on a newborn baby being placed immediately on the mother’s bosom to feel her heartbeat and to experience the gentle touch of her arms around the body. This helps the child gain a profound sense of security and it later helps in developing their self-esteem, as an adult.

Touch is a very important sensation for human beings to gain a sense of healthy emotional responses later in life. Every child learns the sensation of love and tenderness first with his mother’s touch. Even plants and animals respond to touch. They grow well, feel nurtured and cared for when they are touched. We bring animals into our homes and call them pet. The word pet is all about petting, touching, indulging and caring.

Touch is the nourishment for our soul. Touch releases the endorphins in the brain and essentially helps us feel good.

Ever wondered how a quiet touch conveys a lot to a grieving person than many words of solace? Personally speaking, I feel absolutely at loss with words when I come across a grieving person. I feel that how could words, no matter how right they are, calm the heart torn asunder with grief? However, I have found on few occasions that just placing a quiet hand on the shoulder or gently caressing the hand of a person broken down with emotional pain, calm the sobs to a great extent. It sends across the silent message that you care and empathize with them in their pain. I have experienced that they almost always become quiet in their wailings and give in to a more healthy response of shedding quiet tears. And Psychologists say that to give yourself the permission to cry heartily is to bless your body with the benediction of healing. When a person is frozen with grief and shock, a touch brings on the healing response. They begin to cry, and it lifts them off the dry rocks of their sudden distress.

Touch calms anger, grief and aggression. It brings on healthy tears, stops unchecked and hysterical tears and helps a person gain a balanced perspective on many difficult situations. No words are required when touch is used to convey messages of compassion.

It is observed that more often than not those who are acting hysterical respond to a quiet touch. Though, generally speaking, we as people stay away from such a person. Feeling that they might react violently, but unless a person is medically declared a psychotic, most aggression changes into quietness with a gentle touch.

We all are inherently programmed to receive and give touch to each other. Without touch, relationships fail to blossom, not just among lovers, but between parent and child too. We all know how a crying child responds instantaneously to the touch of his mother and become quiet immediately. How we are told to hug our children to help them grow into emotionally healthy and caring persons in life. Most failing marriages lack the right touches and need a right touch to set it right!

Often when Psychoanalysts talk about troubled childhood and children having grown up with baggage that are at times too hard a burden to carry for their inner world, it is about the lack of proper nurturing and touching as children. Often neglected by a distant father and unloving mother the boys grow up without love and affection for a woman and are unable to commit fully to other relationships in their lives later.

Without getting into the convoluted discussion of troubled childhood and its impact on an adult, lets just sum it up and say that it is the lack of touch, hug and caress in the childhood that creates an intense sense of separateness in a child and they grow up feeling a deeply disturbing loneliness almost all through their lives.

Mother Teresa discovered the power of touch when she said that more than hunger, poverty and physical suffering it is the lack of love, which make people die everyday. She used to touch the lepers and bathe their wounds with her own hands.

It is hard to be Mother Teresa as she was a noble soul, but we could all realize the power of touch and just give it out freely to our fellow human beings only to share with all humanity the feelings of brotherhood and equality.

Let’s, begin from home. Let’s just reach out and hug our child or our parent today, and watch that sunny beam spread on their faces, to warm the cockles of our own heart. Go touch.

.

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Take Our Quiz: Are you happy?

Take our quiz to find out how happy you really are with your life

How happy Are You?

The importance of being happy

“Happiness” is one of the main goals we set for ourselves. And for good reason! Not only does having a sense of joy and purpose enrich us emotionally, it also has a huge impact on our physical health, our ability to be productive and even how long we’ll live.

Our happiness quiz looks at what experts agree are areas of your life that are strongly linked to your sense of joy; they include relationships, spirituality and resilience.

For each question, choose an answer that best reflects your current attitudes or thoughts.

What are the keys to happiness?

Research into the traits, attitudes and lifestyle choices most associated with emotional and psychological health. Scientists identify five key compon­ents to the “happiness” equation:

1. Resilience to life’s challenges.

2. A healthy, active social life.

3. The ability to prevent or manage depression.

4. Embracing some form of spirituality or higher purpose.

5. Skill at defusing everyday stressors.

While being in an ongoing relationship isn’t one of the five variables, experts have proven that successful couples tend to be happier overall, in large part because loving companionship greatly helps each partner succeed in the five areas above.

Romance and love: Part 1

Answer the following if you are in a relationship:

1a.  If our relationship were an object, it would be:
a. A chili pepper—spicy, lively, intense.
b. A quilt—warm, comforting.
c. A railway—fast-moving trains by day; side by side, deep in sleep at night.
d. A video game—push the button, a new battle starts.

2a. My partner and I could happily be stranded on a deserted island for:
a. Years—we really do enjoy each other’s company that much.
b. Weeks—we do love each other’s company, but in a short time we’d crave the other parts of our lives.
c. Days—just long enough to have some laughs and have a few good talks.
d. Hours—any longer and we’d be at each other’s throats.

3a. We have our own secret touches and phrases, and we use them:
a. Every day, sometimes even in public. 
b. Occasionally, and always in private.
c. Rarely—we did that stuff only at the beginning of our relationship.
d. Never—and never will.

4a. When I talk to good friends about my significant other, I am:
a. Enthusiastic, loving and supportive.
b. Kind, generous, occasionally teasing.
c. Rational and dispassionately descriptive.
d. Surprisingly critical and uncomplimentary.

5a. If I find myself attracted to another person, I would likely:

a. Shut it right down—my current relationship is the one!
b. Not take action, other than perhaps a brief fantasy about what might have occurred.
c. Flirt. It’s harmless, isn’t it?
d. Secretly pursue the relationship, wherever it goes.

Romance and love: Part 2

Answer these questions of you are not in a relationship:

1b. Love is:
a. A beautiful, natural, enriching part of life.
b. An oversimplified notion, but something to strive for.
c. A fairy tale concept that, on rare occasion, can happen.
d. A cruel hoax.

2b. If I need someone to talk with
:

a. I have plenty of friends or family members I can call in an instant.
b. I have a few friends in whom I can confide if I feel I really need it.
c. I think [fill in the blank] might be open to it, if I asked…
d. Open up to someone? It’s just not me.

3b. Past relationships that failed have taught me that:
a. I always emerge wiser and better-prepared for the next one.
b. Life is an unpredictable journey that takes you into all kinds of interesting situations.
c. I should date less, trust less and pre-screen more.
d. Most guys are creeps, and those who aren’t are already taken.

4b. My social life is:
a. Absolutely great! I love my friends, and I love my time off.
b. Mostly active and interesting, though somewhat predictable.
c. Slow. I get out some, but more often than not, the TV is on.
d. Blank. My couch is my best friend.

5b. If I’m home alone on a Saturday evening, I’ll be:

a. Thrilled at the prospect of relaxing and doing exactly what I want.
b. Fine with it. Just another ordinary evening.
c. Stir-crazy somewhere around 10 p.m.
d. Completely, thoroughly bummed out and frustrated with myself.

Spirituality and joy: Part 3

6. I feel that I have within me:
a. The power to really improve the world.
b. A general desire to do good things for those around me.
c. A good moral compass, but no great need to touch the world.
d. Zero desire to affect the world. Come on, it’s six billion people!

7. I would rate my spiritual life as:
a. Thoroughly fulfilling. I have strong spirit­ual beliefs that benefit me every day.
b. Passive but good. I have my beliefs, but they don’t play into my day-to-day life.
c. Wanting. I want more purpose to my life; I want to believe in something bigger.
d. Absent. I don’t believe in that stuff; I trust my brain to guide me.

8. I consider my work to be:

a. A wonderful gift that lets me do what I love every day.
b. A reasonable and fair arrangement that, most days, is enjoyable.
c. A duty I need to fulfill in order to enjoy the other parts of my life.
d. A form of torture I endure for the money.

9. The last time I had a pleasant, non-work conversation of more than 10 minutes was:
a. Today or yesterday.
b. Three to seven days ago.
c. Last week.
d. More than two weeks ago.

10. In a typical day, I laugh:

a. All the time. I easily find the light side of things, even in dark times.
b. Once every few hours. Life is busy, but I can lighten up easily enough.
c. Rarely. It takes something really funny to crack my demeanour.
d. Pretty much never. The way things are, what’s to laugh at?

Resilience: Part 4

11. I typically feel:
a. Well rested, happy and ready to get going.
b. I have a lot to do today. Take a deep breath, and let’s go!
c. I wish it were Saturday. Please let it be Saturday. Damn.
d. I’d do anything not to have to get up and go through another typical day.

12. When I go to sleep at night, I feel:
a. Proud and satisfied with what I did today.
b. Grateful that the work and activities are done for the day.
c. Drained and spent—emotionally, physically, spiritually.
d. Angry at the world, angry at myself.

13. If I took a poll among my friends or co-workers, they would rate my attitude as:

a. Happy, engaged, optimistic.
b. Stable, even-keeled, in control.
c. Worried, frustrated, pessimistic.
d. Angry, defeated, overwhelmed.

14. When something really wonderful happens, I think:
a. I absolutely deserve this, and there’s more to come.
b. I’ll enjoy it now, knowing that it might not happen again.
c. It only took, what, how many years?
d. From here, it’s straight downhill.

15. If a new job didn’t work out well, I would think:
a. Their loss! I’m great at what I do and someone else will benefit.
b. I’m disappointed, but I’m sure I’ll find something else.
c. This is really bad. How will I ever find another job?
d. I’m a failure.

Everyday stress: Part 5

16. If a stranger did something really rude to me, I would:
a. Brush it off; life’s too short to let strangers affect you.
b. Get a little perturbed, but an hour later I’d have moved on.
c. Get very perturbed, and still be talking about it tonight.
d. Tear into him or her; no one is rude to me and gets away with it!

17. If I do something embarrassing in public, I:

a. Laugh it off, maybe even make a joke. We all do silly things at times.
b. Get a little embarrassed, but recover quickly enough and move on.
c. Turn five shades of red, and quickly try to escape the scene.
d. End up in tears, thinking how foolish I am.

18. When I’m feeling really stressed, I:
a. Turn to prayer, meditation, music or relaxation to calm me.
b. Talk it out and learn to cope with it.
c. Get upset and need help to calm down.
d. Get angry and hurtful, to myself and to others.

19. I get angry:
a. Almost never. Life’s too short to waste on such negative energy.
b. Maybe once a week. It takes a serious provocation to get me started.
c. Often. There’s a lot of stupidity out there.
d. Regularly. I fall into anger naturally; it’s part of who I am.

20. I’m suddenly in a situation I really fear. My reaction is:
a. Take a deep breath and deal with it; here’s a chance to beat this fear.
b. I’ve got no choice but to get through this; it’ll be over soon.
c. I hate this, I hate this, I hate this. Hey, it’s over!
d. Run! Hide! Weep!

Scroll down the page to find out your score…………………………..

Scoring:

Give yourself 5 points for each (a) answer; 4 points for each (b) answer; 3 points for each (c) answer; and 1 point for each (d) answer. Now add up your scores; the lowest possible score is 20; the highest is 100. Here’s how to rate your score:

81-100: Congratulations!
In the areas that experts say matter most, you have got life well under control and have the key elements required for a real, deep sense of happiness.


61-80: You’re doing well,
but there are some areas in your life that are hurting your emotional well-being. Look where you answered (c) or (d), and ask yourself, is this approach really serving me?

41-60: At best, you are coping with life. At worst, you could be burned out, depressed or angry. The first step is to acknowledge that your emotional health is not good. The second step is to get help. Breaking through tough times is easier with guidance.

20-40: With numbers like these, you’re not merely having a tough time. Seek professional help. You deserve to get happiness into your life; it’s what our natural state should be.