Valerie shares some Living Happy to Be ME! Book Excerpts.

Here’s Valerie with a second book excerpt.

Valerie Sheppard Shares Book Excerpts

Book Excerpt #3
Living Happy to Be ME!: The Truth About Authentic Happiness

Until I was fairly deep into my “radical sabbatical,” I used to chase happiness … almost literally.  I would flit from one experience to another – workshops, parties, gatherings, friendships, relationships, seminars, vacations – trying to create more happiness in my life. I was confident that if I could just have one more fantastic experience, absorb one more exquisite nugget of knowledge, tackle another goal, earn another promotion, make more money, or have that great ‘love of my life,’ I’d have all the happiness I could ever want.  But that’s not what happened.

Like so many millions of people around the globe, I was taught that happiness is a result of some form of “doing-ness.” From early in our lives, we learn to almost perform for it, as though it’s a reward for having done something nice or right, like the treats I used to give my dog Maggie Mae when she was a particularly good girl.  And so, many of us do our own form of “tricks” – we strive, accomplish, and excel.  We make sacrifices, focus on others, and chase experiences. We ignore emotions, push hurts away, and pretend that everything in our lives is ‘fine.’

In fact, there are some great times when we really do feel good. There are moments when we’re absolutely sure we’ve found the happiness prize and life will be better. But then, as time goes by, we realize the happiness is gone, and like the hamster on its wheel, we set out in search of it once more. We literally run ourselves ragged trying to find our happiness. As a result, we become successful yet empty; wealthy yet poor in spirit; renowned yet unfulfilled.  We advance in our careers and get nowhere in our lives. Why for so many does the pursuit of happiness end up feeling empty and sad?

We’re looking for happiness in all the wrong places!

The problem today is that many of us are stuck in the old DO-HAVE-BE paradigm for deriving happiness. This belief system teaches that happiness comes from success, and so we get energized in the here-and-now by the promise of something happening at some point in the future. We live for a deferred experience of being happy as an end-state resulting from other conditions.  For example, we work hard (the DOingness) to HAVE success (accomplishments/ titles/ money/prestige/stuff etc.) so we can BE happy.

Trouble ensues when we don’t get the results we want. Relationships don’t work out, we lose the job, the bank forecloses on our dream house, we realize what we thought we wanted is not at all fulfilling, we retire only to be diagnosed with cancer.  YUCK!

How do we stay caught in this false paradigm of happiness? I believe it’s because we confuse it with excitement. The dictionary defines excitement as “a feeling of great enthusiasm and eagerness.” Excitement comes from an external catalyst, and it generally makes us feel good.

But the feeling only lasts as long as the external source remains exciting. When the celebration ends, so does the feel-good conditional excitement that the achievement caused.  It is clear the old model isn’t serving us at all. 

It’s time for a paradigm shift!

Fortunately, there’s a better and deeper way to look at happiness. Happiness is not conditional – meaning it isn’t about accomplishments, lifestyle, financial status, marital status, or retirement plan. Happiness is not a land off in the distance to which we have to make an amazing journey. It’s not in this or that experience with friends. It can’t be found in a great orgasm, or a 27-year marriage. It’s not awaiting us in some recognition or achievement.

“Then where is it?!” you ask. 

What I have learned during my radical sabbatical is that it’s really not outside us at all. In fact, looking outside of us for happiness is like a fish swimming around in search of water. The fish is moving in, through and around water at all times. There’s no need for the search.  It’s the same for us. True and lasting happiness is already a part of who we really are, and therefore available to us every minute. Happiness is within our Divine Essence – the spiritual nature of us that is having the human experience of our lives. The longer we look for happiness in things outside us and that we can’t control, the longer we’ll be unfulfilled and unhappy.

If we are moving in, through and around our happiness, what allows us to‘Be Happy?’ The first  requirement is that we choose to make a deep connection to the True aspect of who we are.  We are not the resumé or the ‘stuffology’ … that’s our image; not the physical body … that’s a reflection of our inner emotional state; not the ‘woundology’ … that’s the pain body; not the doingness … that’s the identity; not the traits … that’s the personality; not what others think about us … that’s actually about them.

We must transcend all the descriptions of ‘self’ that we typically use as human beings, realizing that they keep us trapped in experiences that are less than what we can have when aligned with our True Nature. When we can continually choose to be in alignment with the Divine nature of ourselves, that we always are as “Image and Likeness,” we flow the Divine aspects of us, which are Peace, Love, Freedom and JOY.

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