To say I spent most of 2015 feeling like my shine had dimmed and sparkle snuffed was an understatement. I was coming off a really tough year of mourning the traumatic death of my estranged mother. I could feel how my perception of the world and my experience had skewed to the dark side (not all the time, but way more often than was normal for me). I had been through many months of mourning and would start to feel strong again, only to find myself feeling blue once more. (A very normal thing when you’re mourning.)

Because I felt ready, on January 1, 2016, I decided to issue myself a challenge. I wanted to raise my consciousness, and instead of allowing my feelings to inhabit me, I wanted to be with them and observe them. The challenge: CHOOSE happiness.

Consciousness raising sounded like this at the time: “Oh sadness, there you are again! I see you and will let you through. Thanks for all the work you’re doing for me.” And then, I would choose to be happy. I spent the entire year examining happiness in my previous and current life. Getting to know it again like we were in a fresh romance. Learning to identify it. Most importantly, learning to create and summon it.  

Even writing that, I can imagine how nebulous and unattainable that sounds to many people. But you see, we often fail to exercise the power of choice in some discreet, truly personal, and deeply impactful ways.

What is hard for us to understand sometimes is that both sadness and happiness can exist in your life at the same time. We can choose how we want to feel. We can honor all the feelings we have without suppressing any of them AND make a conscious choice about our feelings of happiness.

Could I feel sadness in a memory and choose to be happy? Yes. Could I shed tears in the morning after having a tough dream about the tragedy and decide to be happy that day anyway? Yes. Could I endure substantial life changes, be an entrepreneur with all its highs and lows, and sometimes palpable moments of fear and choose to feel the happiness of the freedom it brings? Yes.

Even today, because I am delightfully human, I need to feel my sadness. Because I’ve grown that consciousness muscle, when I’m ready, I let the sadness go and embrace the happiness again.

I choose happiness.

I create happiness.

I am happiness.

The next time you desire happiness, stop what you are doing and say aloud: “I acknowledge that X has happened. I am feeling X, and I choose to be happy. I choose happiness. I am happiness.”  

Remember that more than one thing can be true at any given time. I choose how I want to feel about all things, good, bad, or indifferent.

So can you.

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