John F. Kennedy Quote – Frase de John F. Kennedy

Como expresamos nuestra gratitud, nunca debemos olvidar que la mayor apreciación no es pronunciar palabras, pero vivir por ellas.” ~John F. Kennedy

“As we express our gratitude, we must forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John F. Kennedy

credit: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn105511.html
credit: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn105511.html

A Beautiful Video on Gratitude – Un Hermoso Video sobre La Gratitud

A Beautiful Video on Gratitude

Hi everyone!

I’m very pleased and excited to share my first video on my blog! It’s a beautiful, moving video with a heartfelt message that was first shared with me by my dear friend, Christie. I now share it with all of you.

According to the narrator, “Our life is a gift and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.” I think when we cultivate gratitude in our lives, we begin to see every day miracles.  May all your days be filled with gratitude. I hope you enjoy the video!

Thank you for reading and watching,

Liz

Un Hermoso Video sobre La Gratitud

¡Hola a todos!

¡Estoy muy contenta y emocionada de poder compartir con ustedes mi primer video en mi blog!  Es un hermoso video con un mensaje sincero que compartió mi amiga Christie conmigo. Ahora, quiero compartirlo con ustedes.

Según el narrador, “Nuestra vida es un regalo y la única respuesta apropriada es la gratitud.” Creo que cuando se cultiva la gratitud comenzamos a ver milagros cada día.   Que todos sus días estén llenos de gratitud. ¡Espero que les guste!

Gracias por leer y ver,

Liz

The One Message – El Único Mensaje

The One Message

Last month, I was one of the lucky 100 to listen in on Amy Ahler’s and Dr. Lissa Rankin’s webinar- Visionary Ignition Switch: 10 Red Hot Secrets to Fire Up Your Message, Money,  and Meaning In the World. Let me just say that this webinar was amazing! These two ladies were simply awesome as they shared with is 10 key points on various topics that ranged from monetizing your blog to the reasons why an e-newsletter should be created.

Here are the 10 secrets that they shared in this webinar:

  1. Give away a free e-newsletter and put this somewhere in the top right hand corner of your website.
  2. Don’t just sell books – Start a movement (Be of Service)
  3. Figure out the one message you can spend the rest of your life talking and writing about
  4. You want to be BFFs with your heroes and sheroes – Give first.
  5. Roc the Mic – Clarify what you want to say, overcome stage fright, attract paid speaking gigs
  6. Create a compelling offer and package and book launch to create revenue during your book launch – Write a sales page
  7. Monetize your blog- Turn your wisdom into e-courses
  8. Start selling something from the get go
  9. E- Newsletter – It could be costing you thousands.
  10. Quadruple Tweeter- If you’re not following the follow, then you are not optimizing your Twitter.
Source:www.cordleinc.com
Source:www.cordleinc.com

The one that stood out for me was “figure out the one message you can spend the rest of your life writing and talking about.”

Lately, I have reflected on my blog and my writing that I do here, and although I feel that it is a bit scattered, the important thing is that I want to serve others by helping through my writing. Whether it has been with monetizing a blog or ways to be happier.  I have felt as though I am here to teach others to live a more peaceful and happier existence. Therefore, 

“My life is my message.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This may sound a bit funny and even trite, but the truth is for the most part, I am a happy person, and I have been for a few years now. Sure, from time to time, I may become frustrated, irritated, even a bit stressed, but I am also human. I see the pain, frustration, stress, and others, and know that each one of us can live a happier and peaceful existence. This is what I feel at the moment, and I’m simply going with the flow.  

I am where I am supposed to be.

In essence, my life is my message. What I write in my blog is a reflection of my life.  In my waking life, I do all I can to create my Heaven on Earth and I believe that we all can do the same. I am here to tell you that it is possible. You can begin by accepting and being grateful for what you have in your life and the people that are in your life is a step towards all this. If you are able to do this, then  you’ll start seeing miracles in your everyday life.

How have you helped others? What is your one message? 

El Único Mensaje

El mes pasado, yo fui uno de los afortunados 100 a escuchar  Amy Ahler’s and Dr. Lissa Rankin’s webinar- Visionary Ignition Switch: 10 Red Hot Secrets to Fire Up Your Message, Money,  and Meaning In the World, o  El Interruptor de Encendido de tu Visión :10 Secretos Asombrosos para Iniciar Tu Mensaje, Dinero, y Significado en el Mundo. ¡Fue un seminario increíble! Estas dos damas hicieron un trabajo espectacular al compartir con nosotros los 10 puntos claves de como monetizar tu blog hasta las razones porqué se tiene que crear un boletín eléctrico.

Aquí están los 10 secretos que compartieron en este webinar:

  1. Regala un boletín eléctrico y ponlo en la parte de arriba a la derecha de tu sitio web.
  2. No solamente vendas libros – Empieza un moviemiento. ( Ayudo a Otros)
  3. Decide que es el único mensaje del cual pudieras hablar y escribir el resto de tu vida
  4. Quieres que tus heroes y heroínas sean tus mejores amigos. Da primero.
  5. Ser un Gran Orador – Aclara lo que quieres decir, supera el miedo escénico y atrae trabajos pagados como orador
  6.  Crear una oferta y paquete atractivo y presentación del libro para crear ingresos durante el lanzamiento de tu libro – Escribe una página de ventas del libro
  7. Monetiza tu blog- Convierte tu sabiduría en un e-course
  8. Empieza a vender desde el principio
  9. Boletín Eléctrico – Te puede estar costando miles
  10. Cuadruplica Tweeter- Si no estás siguiendo a los que te siguen, entonces no estás  optimizando tu Twitter
Source:www.cordleinc.com
Source:www.cordleinc.com

*Un Mensaje – Una Voz

EL secreto que resaltó más para mi fue el de “Decide que es el único mensaje del cual pudieras hablar y escribir el resto de tu vida.”

Ultimamente, he reflexionado de mi blog y de lo que he escrito hasta ahora, y aunque creo que mis entradas han sido un poco desconectadas en cuanto los temas, lo importante es que quiero ayudar a través de mi escritura- así como lo he hecho con posts como cómo monetizar un blog o maneras de ser más feliz.  Me he sentido como si estoy aquí para enseñar y ayudar a otros vivir una vida más tranquila y más feliz. Por consiguiente,

“Mi vida es mi mensaje.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Quizás esto suene un poco trillado, pero la verdad es que soy una persona muy feliz  y lo he sido estos ultimos años.  Sí, a veces estoy frustrada, me irrito, y hasta tengo un poco de estrés, pero también soy ser humano. Veo el sufrimiento, la frustracíon, el estrés de los demás y sé que  nosotros podemos vivir una vida llena de felicidad y pacífica. Esto es lo que siento en este momento y simplemente voy con la corriente.  

Estoy exactamente donde debo de estar.

En esencia, mi vida es mi mensaje. Lo que escribo en mi blog es una reflexíon de mi vida. En mi propia vida, hago todo lo que pueda hacer para crear mi Cielo en la Tierra y creo que cada uno de nosotros tenemos la capacidad de hacer lo mismo.  Estoy aquí para decirte que es posible.  Agradezcan y acepten todo lo que tienen y a todos los que están en sus vidas. Si puedan hacer esto, empezarán a ver milagros en sus vidas cotidianas. 

¿Cómo has ayudado a otros? ¿Cuál es tu mensaje?

Nature, Life, and Writing – What Do They Have In Common? La Naturaleza, La Vida y La Escritura – ¿Qué Tienen En Común?

One of my favorite things to do is to go out and just be in nature! Luckily for me, Northern California is filled with beautiful parks and vast, open spaces as far as the eye can see. I get to take walks in these verdant parks with creeks running right through the middle!

I first became enthralled with this beauty around me as a student at Long Beach State. I’d eat lunch right outside the library (in the quad area) and I loved just being out there and taking in the trees, plants, and flowers. From time to time, I’d treat myself to a trip to the Japanese Gardens- a simply peaceful experience.

Japanese Gardens  - Long Beach State

The Japanese Gardens at Long Beach State

When I lived in Los Angeles, one of my favorite things to do was to go to a park by my parent’s house and run. After my run, I’d lay down as I cooled off and looked up at the sky and the trees. Time and time again, I was reminded of the amazing patience and intention of nature. A peaceful energy is what I felt in that moment.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I begin begin my bilingual blog and to write more, I am reminded of that same patience. In my Chapter by Chapter Synopsis post , I refer to this patience in Chapter 8: Gratitude and Patience – The High School Year. I briefly discuss patience as a spiritual lesson that I feel I am meant to learn in this lifetime. Countless experiences have lent themselves to the opportunity to be patient: from being patient with my students to being patient with my own healing. In writing and in life, I have learned to be patient with myself.

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.” ~ St. Francis

If you’re not being patient with yourself and/or your writing, try it. You’ll discover that letting things take their natural course (as nature does) will bring you miracles in your daily life.

What are your experiences with patience? Are you patient when it comes to your own writing? Are you patient with yourself?

La Naturaleza, La Vida y La Escritura – ¿Qué Tienen En Común?

Unas de mis cosas favoritas de hacer es estar afuera en la naturaleza. Afortunadamente, el norte de California está lleno de hermosos parques y espacios abiertos extensos  hasta donde llega la vista. !Tengo la oportunidad de pasear por estos  parques verdes con arroyos corriendo por el centro!

La primera vez que me cautivó esta belleza que me rodeaba fue cuando era estudiante en la Universad Estatal de Long Beach. Me gustaba almorzar afuera de la bibliotica (en la area del campo) y me encantaba ver los árboles, plantas y flores. De vez en cuando, me daba el gusto e iba a los Jardines Japonenses-una experiencia simplemente tranquila.

Japanese Gardens  - Long Beach State

Los Jardines Japoneses en la Universidad Estatal de Long Beach

Cuando vivía en Los Ángeles, me gustaba ir a un parque cerca de la casa de mis padres para correr. Después de correr, me acostaba y miraba el cielo y los árboles. Una y otra vez, me recordaba de la paciencia asombrosa y la intención de la naturaleza. Una energía llena de paz es lo que sentía en ese momento.

“Adopte el ritmo de la naturaleza; su secreto es la paciencia.” ~ ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Con este blog bilingüe y con mi escritura, me acuerdo de esa misma paciencia. En una entrada de este blog – (Chapter by Chapter Synopsis) 0  Los Resúmenes de los Capítulos (Capítulo 8 – Agradecimiento y Paciencia – Un Año en la Preparatoria) de mi libro (memoria) hablo acerca de la paciencia como una leccíon espiritual que siento que estoy destinada a aprender en esta vida. Un sin número de experiencias y oportunidades se me han dado para practicar la paciencia: de ser paciente con mis alumnos a ser paciente con mi propia sanación. En la escritura y en mi vida, he aprendido de ser paciente conmigo misma.

“Ten paciencia con todas las cosas, pero sobre todo contigo mismo.” ~San Francisco de Sales

Si no tienes paciencia contigo mismo y/o tu escritura, inténtalo. Te darás cuenta que al dejar que las cosas sigan su curso natural (como lo hace la naturaleza) te traerá milagros en tu vida cotidiana.

¿Qué han sido tus experiencias con la paciencia? ¿Eres paciente con tu escritura? ¿Eres paciente contigo mismo?

Looking Within: A Memoir – Overview

Credit: Oprah.com
Credit: Oprah.com

I am towards the end of finishing up my book proposal and it has been quite the experience! Writing the overview has helped me focus more and get a better feel for what I am trying to convey here. Being that it is a memoir, an outline would not be necessary , but the overview (that I am about to share), I think, served the purpose of the outline  and made my writing easier to work with. 

Here is the overview of my memoir: Looking Within: A Memoir.

 

 Overview

The manuscript will be divided into 4 parts.

1. Part I: The Meeting And Marriage. Many women are in enamored with the idea of getting married and living happily ever after. I was one of them. Shortly after meeting my ex-husband, we were married. While I was married, I was second in my life as he was the center of my universe. Needless to say, the honeymoon didn’t last as reality set in and love and nurturance became absent in our marriage. Problems ensued and a separation seemed imminent.

 A chapter will be devoted to this first part.

2. Part II. Emotional Healing. Shortly after the problems began, I withdrew emotionally and sought individual counseling. Slowly, I began to heal emotionally and I eventually I separated from him. All alone, I began to nurture my spirit as best I could. Soul searching and a return to my passions of learning, traveling, running, and writing became part of my recovery. This emotional healing part encompasses four sections that include emotional detachment, the separation, self-nurturance, and more changes that were in store for me.

A chapter will be devoted to each of the sections in part two.

3.  Part III. Spiritual Healing. Spiritual healing eventually replaced my emotional healing. Changes in my beliefs and a series of unexplained events began happening to me such as moments of peace and an increase in intuitive abilities. As I began to awaken spiritually, I began to understand that my problems were mere illusions. In time, I began to practice spiritual principles of compassion, kindness, patience, and gratitude, among others , and I simply became happier.

   A chapter will be devoted to each of the sections listed in part three.

4. Part IV. My Purpose in Life. I started to live in the present moment and the consistent peace that I longed for, as well as happy life, awaited me. After endless questioning, I found both my inner and outer purpose. I began to co-create my life as I intended it to be and found joy and miracles in my everyday life.

 A chapter will be devoted to this section in this part.

I’d love to hear what you think!

 

 

Chapter By Chapter Synopsis of My Memoir

Credit: cafepress.com
Credit: cafepress.com

 

CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER SYNOPSIS

 

LOOKING WITHIN: A MEMOIR

 

One Woman’s Search for Her Truth and the Spiritual Awakening that Resulted

 

Elizabeth Cárdenas

 

 

  Part One: The Meeting

 

 

Chapter 1: Love at First Sound

 

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” ~Jane Austen

 

 This first chapter explains how I met my ex-husband. He was a musician and I was mesmerized when I saw and heard him play for the first time. Having met him would not be a coincidence. I go throughout my “picture perfect” marriage to the problems that arose in the last couple of years. Throughout my marriage, I put him first, and I put myself second. Writing has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl, yet I didn’t do it during my marriage. In fact, no passions of mine would come to the surface when I was married. Growing up in a Mexican household, I saw my mother do everything for my father, and I would imitate this when I became a wife. A “good wife” was supposed to clean, cook, serve her husband, do the laundry and iron for him, etc. I did all that and much more. Needless to say, problems arose and I became resentful.

 

 

Part Two: Emotional Healing

 

 

Chapter 2: Detachment

 

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” ~Winston Churchill

 

This chapter discusses my emotional detachment from my ex-husband. Guilt, shame, and depression set in, but thankfully, I met one of my angels on Earth: my counselor Christina. I began counseling on my own. I discuss the stages of grief as my counselor had pointed this out to me: denial, resentment and anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, and I apply them to my experience. Although my healing began as emotional healing, something very special was happening. Something unexplainable as I started dream and my dreams in many ways came true and made me even feel peace. Amidst all this pain, I was able to find hope. Nevertheless, the pain outweighed my peace at the time and the result was extreme disillusionment of my marriage. Divorce was inevitable and it was only a matter of time before I filed for it.

 

Chapter 3: Alone Again

 

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

This chapter begins with the divorce papers being served to my ex-husband and separated from him, I found myself alone again. All throughout this time, I questioned why this had happened and I questioned my existence. With a plethora of questions and no answers, I even questioned God. “Why would You do this to me?”, I’d ask Him. Briefly, I discuss my religion, Catholicism, and the role it played in my life during this time and I how I also questioned it. Although the pain continued, I had more for better days. Counseling and my divorce support group helped me tremendously, and for the first time, I learned about emotional healing in one of my counseling sessions. That day, I made the conscious decision to heal emotionally and I would keep my promise.  The chapter ends with a return to love as I began to love myself again and slowly began to have glimpses of happy moments. I put my faith and trust in God with all this.

 

Chapter 4: A Well Deserved Break

 

“Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” ~Dale Carnegie

 

About 4 months after the separation, I came across Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read it and thought, “I could do something like that.” After working nine years as a first grade teacher, I deserved a break. Nurturance of my spirit was in order and it was during this time that I yearned to learn about music and to play piano. I took a Classical music class and a piano class at East Los Angeles College. Exhausted and burnt out were perfect words to describe this teacher during this time. Initially, fear held me from making my decision to sell my home and go abroad. Once I made my decision, it was a done deal. My ex-husband and I put the house for sale and I went in September 2007 to Granada, Spain for a semester. For the first time in years, I began to put myself first in my life.

 

Chapter 5: More Changes: Going Back to School

 

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

 

My stay abroad would only last four months, but it was enough for me. I missed my family dearly and I wanted to see them. Although I was ecstatic about the changes in my life and my new experiences, I began to feel lost. I was living with my parents again and in many ways I felt like a little girl. My counselor said that moving in with my parents would be a great thing because I would get nurturance from them – something I needed at the time. Confused, I contemplated what I wanted for myself. The answer was to go back to school and to get another master’s degree in linguistics. By no means was it a walk a park in the park, but learning is one of my passions and this return to school was what I needed. My faith and my spirituality were growing. My life and my divorce was making more sense to me and I kept my faith and trust in God.

 

Part Three: Spiritual Healing

 

Chapter 6: Bumps in the Road

 

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents, and I lay them both at His feet.” ~ Gandhi

 

            There were some “problems” that I encountered as I began to awaken spiritually. I began to see the world in a completely different way and many incidents were happening that I could not explain. For example, I would be overcome with feelings of joy and peace: bliss, if you will. Peace took more presence in my life, but it wasn’t consistent. Change was now something that I welcomed more easily and speaking my truth was something I was learning to do. Finally, I was finding my own voice and I simply let it be. However, during this time, I also allowed myself to become stressed with school and, once again, I had to deal with not only depression, but a relapse of my mental illnesses: manic depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Aside from counseling, I began to see a psychiatrist and Seroquel, Lithium, and Zoloft entered my life and put me in numbed state as I began taking these drugs. Questioning Western medicine lead to believe that I could slowly rid myself on this dependence of drugs. Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote, “A bodily disease which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part.” With all this medication, peace took a back seat in my life and I greatly missed it. Although I had no idea of what it was to heal spiritually, I made the conscious choice to heal spiritually anyways. At the end of this chapter, I discuss what I saw as problems as illusions and how they were merely spiritual lessons to be learnt on this path.

 

 

Chapter 7: Kindness and Compassion – A Semester with Adults

 

“Our main goal is to help others. If you cannot help them, then at least resist from hurting them.” ~Dalai Lama

 

After leaving the world of primary education, I taught adults for 7 months. Armed with courage and with some fear, I began teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to adults at a non-profit organization in Northern California. This entire experience was very humbling for me as I learnt so much from them. Being the first time I taught adults and ESl, my students held my hand and little by little I learned how to teach them and to teach ESL. Words cannot express the gratitude that they had for receiving the English lessons and for their teacher. During this time, I began to be even kinder and to develop compassion for not only my students, but for myself, as well. This chapter ends with learning the true meaning of being one.

 

Chapter 8: Gratitude and Patience – The High School Year

 

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” ~ St. Francis

 

Following the semester with adults, and armed with courage, I signed up to teach high school. In this chapter, I talk about the gratitude I now have for everything in my life as well as the patience. Also, I discuss the law of attraction and I apply to manifest both my job and my wonderful, new relationship. Throughout this school year, I had numerous questions such as why am I teaching high school? Then, it dawned on me one day. Physically and emotionally, it took a lot out of me. I was worrying yet again. It wasn’t until I learnt to let things go and let things be that I started to be myself again. I surrendered. More changes came as a result including a defining moment: my own epiphany. Around this time I read Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss. In it, he discusses, how we return in physical form to learn a spiritual lesson. In my humble opinion, I believe that in this lifetime I am meant to learn patience. My life events have yielded so many opportunities where I have had to be patient not only with others, but with myself, as well. This patience that I am learning has resulted in more peace for me, and those close to me. Patience also taught me to surrender and to simplify my life. I allowed what the Universe was blessing me with and I let my life events transpire. I let things be. Realizing this brought me great joy and happiness.

 

Chapter 9:  A Happy Heart of My Own

 

 “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” ~ Democritus

 

            This chapter begins with being grateful for learning to be happy regardless of what was happening in my life. Staying in the present moment has brought me peace, and that peace in turn has brought me happiness. Learning to let go of material possessions (as this isn’t true happiness), as well as letting go of fears to follow my heart has also contributed to my happiness. Suppressing my ego was key to go in the direction of true happiness for myself. In his book, The Power of Intention, Dr. Dyer lists the 7 Steps for Overcoming Ego’s Hold of You and they are the following: 1. Stop being offended, 2. Let go of the need to win, 3. Let go of the need to be right, 4. Let go of the need to be superior, 5. Let go of the need to have more, 6. Let go of identifying on the basis of your achievements, and 7. Let go of your reputation. In this chapter, I list each one and I give specific examples as to how this manifested in my own life. Finally, I discuss the dependence society has on antidepressants to achieve a state of happiness. The end of this chapter concludes with a quote from Ernst Shurtleff Holmes’ book Creative Mind:

As it’s given me to perceive,

I most certainly believe

When a man’s glad plumb through,

God’s pleased with him same’s you.

 

 

Part Four: My Purpose in Life

 

Chapter 10: Coming Into My Own

 

“Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

            This chapter begins with answering my question on the meaning of my life. Why am I here? My answer lied in looking within myself. Because each of us has the divine spark, we are spiritual beings in physical bodies. We are, therefore, immortal and perfect as we are. My soul searching resulted in my finding both my inner and outer purposes. Seeking my truth and my never ending questioning brought me great peace as I made that fateful reconnection with God. Also, I discuss the love I have for others and myself as the greatest gift that I have given to myself and to them. Finding my balance in my life through meditation, nurturance of my spirit, and living in the present moment contributed to my spiritual awakening, as well. The divorce made it all possible and, in retrospect, it really is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The culmination of this spiritual journey resulted in the everyday miracles and a love for life. This chapter ends with my favorite poem: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

 

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth.

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same.

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

On Being Happy…

Happy
Ever since I can remember I have always been curious about many things in life and I am constantly questioning everything. This has included happiness.  In this post, I include what I believe happiness to be and what friends and family have told me what happiness means to them. This is an excerpt from one of my chapters from the memoir: A Happy Heart of my Own.

“In general, I knew certain pleasurable experiences not only made me joyful, but others, as well. I asked friends and family what they considered happiness to be and their answers ranged from playing their favorite sport, to helping others, or simply being in nature. Marcos, a friend of mine, began his response with telling me that happiness to him meant ‘not being stressed.’ And I couldn’t agree with him more. Since when does stress and happiness occur simultaneously? It doesn’t.  One of my family members, Karina, answered by saying, ‘For me it’s when I run and feel the presence of the Lord and I have this immense feeling of gratefulness for everything in my life.’ Another family member of mine, Gloria, very humble began with, ‘I can’t explain true happiness” and added, “all I can say is that I know it when I feel it. Family, friends, humanity, humility, gratefulness, waking to another day, thunder, lighting, the sunshine, a smile, a hug, even nothing can make me feel happiness! But, I can truly say that I experienced true happiness when I learned self-love, when I leaned in to clear my mind and let peace take over. So, happiness to me turns out to be LIFE itself.’

This same harmony, joy, and peace are seen in my friend Carlos’ definition on happiness. He says, ‘For me, happiness is akin to knowing that I am alive. There is something so special going on this planet of ours, something that we’ve yet to discover anywhere else in the universe and most of us (again, particularly in industrialized nations) act as if we couldn’t care less. We have to stop every now and then and take a step back in wonder and amazement. Put things in perspective and take life, with all its glitches, and treat it like what it is: the best, most unique gift in the world.’

What a beautiful combination of different interpretations on happiness. As each expressed what happiness meant to them, I understood and felt it as a rejoicing in all that proved to be of profound delight in their hearts. What was salient in their takes on happiness was a feeling, a connection, and an alignment with spirit: a complete and selfless, unconditional love of life and love for oneself.

After my family and friends expressed what happiness meant to them, I was left with an unwavering desire to define happiness for myself. I questioned whether mere instances in our lives would be the only defining moments that made us achieve this state or could we live happily all the time?

Here is my take on happiness:

“In many ways, the result of this search for my own happiness led me to believe that it is as simple and as sweet as one’s own joie de vivre. I can’t recall the exact date when all this started to happen, but I clearly remember a consistency that came with waking up day after day and being content and filled with gratitude for the light of another day. Not to mention, how truly blessed I was for seeing my life as beautiful and, even more, living it as such. The great and late pianist of the twentieth century, Arthur Rubinstein, once said, ‘I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.’ Pure and simple. I can think of no better way of expressing this sentiment of a constant state of happiness other than to see life as beautiful and to love it. For me, this has translated as living life to the fullest with joy and peace in our hearts because this is what we feel and have within us; it’s who we are. And when we radiate this love, it follows that we not only see our environment and others in a different light, but we also take pleasure and delight through the benefit of receiving love in return. And, for the first time, I wasn’t seeing my life through rose-colored glasses. Happiness wasn’t the result of luck as I had once thought, but it was the result of my unyielding pursuit of it. I had come into harmony on my own accord and I was truly happy.”

What makes you happy? What do you define as happiness?