Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy is the New Rich

I spent last week in Toronto in my hotel room, watching from afar as the stock market and people's emotions went up and down respectively. With all of this financial unrest, lack of stability and security, and questions about our futures and what it means to be "downgraded", I couldn't help but think, what is it that really belongs to us?

For all of the years that we spend pouring our energy into the future that will bring us money, or love, or the perfect body... and living for the satisfaction we will feel once we have these things, I realized that the true commodity is really not the number in the bank account, the number on the scale, or the perfect relationship. It occurs to me that what we may be chasing is not any of these things, but a feeling of contentment and, if I may be so bold: happiness.

There is a word that many yogis and yoginis use: equanimity. How can I find a place of balance in the face of so much change and volatility? Being a natural born downplayer, a cup half empty type of gal from the get go, I actually NEED to counterbalance the negativity with positivity. Not just balance and equanimity, but happiness. The fears I may be facing may be slightly different than yours. Certainly discomfort is unpleasant, yet some of us may face shame or humiliation when we lose what we have worked for. This can happen in my yoga practice as well. Many times, my body has been at the height of heath, and I have pushed myself, only to incur an injury that sets me back for months, setting me up for the challenge of humility and humanity.

There have been several times in my life when I was faced with what I call " a clean sweep" from the Universe. A break-up, my finances plummeting, my body giving out, the loss of a loved one, a move... my life fell down like a line of dominos; it seemed there was no foundation to rely on. Although the natural inclination is to curse ourselves with shame or get mad at God (or anyone in front of us), the true gold is when we are no longer outwardly focused, and find a happiness anyway.

Easier said than done? True. However, I have had it the reverse as well: the guy I liked was into me, i was making tons of money in my chosen career, my body was the way I wanted it to be (too thin...) and I was terrified. Miserable that I may lose what I have. So what is this future we fear? And where does happiness come from? 

What if losing is not the worst thing in the world? Perhaps there will be an outcome beyond what you could imagine. If I were truly happy, would it matter if I were wealthy? If I were wealthy would that make me happy?

By taking a few long deep breaths, and expressing gratitude for your gifts daily, waking up, and acting as if you have all the money, all the love, and the perfect body you may just act your way into that happiness you are seeking. As the saying by Abraham Lincoln goes: "I am as happy as I decide to be". (Incidentally, he struggled with depression).

The beauty of this life is that I am in a body that takes care to maintain. It is free to exercise, to breathe, to practice yoga, to walk on the beach, to smile, to have a conversation, to read uplifting words, to feel love, to weep, to pet an animal, to lend a hand. This life is an absolute beauty. And as someone commented "another day on this beautiful earth". I am beyond grateful to share this beautiful planet in this gift of a body with all of you. Thank you for reading my blog today. And just for today, I am going to act exactly the way I think I would feel if I had it all. And for this day I do have it all.

Salute the sun!



  1. what an amazing outlook you have on life, Mandy. it would be truly epic if more could share this view. i try and see it like's all version of hitting rock bottom may be the very situation that another would aspire to. then again, my version of success may be anothers version of the slums. it's all what you make of it when you see it in perspective.

  2. You're an amazing human, Mandy! Thank you for this post. I am reading "The Power of Now" at the moment and so much of what you've written coincides with the messages throughout the book. If we focus on the past and future we are never really enjoying the now, which is ultimately all we really have. Happiness is about embracing and appreciating where you are right NOW. Even if it involves pain.

    I salute YOU and the SUN!

  3. Thanks so much for these words! "Another day on this beautiful earth!" sums it up nicely. =)

  4. Once again, you inspire me. Indeed, my power is in the present moment (yes, I've done your video way too many times). This moment of clarity was brought to me by YOU. I need to think and act AS IF every single day. Sending out gratitude for all that I have and all that is possible. Look forward to your next post. And your next video. And the lunch we will have some day. ;-) (Just throwing that out into the universe)

  5. You are an inspiration Mandy! This has perfect timing in my life right now, thank you!! Happy day to you :)!!!