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"...Through her candid sharing of personal experiences and depth of understanding, Shannon is able to bring forth universal wisdom and truths in a fresh, lively voice that speaks directly to me. Find Your Happy stands out for its simple, easy-to-implement principles and honest perspective. Shannon's book is a therapeutic adventure for your soul, and it will transform the way you see yourself and the world. Get ready to fall in love with your entire life!"
—Robyn Griggs Lawrence, author of The Wabi-Sabi House.
Being stuck and feeling as if you are trapped is inevitable part of life. Whether you are stuck in a job going nowhere, a bad relationship, or self-defeating patterns, Find Your Happy can provide solutions to greater freedom. Through fresh perspective, inspiring stories, and useful exercises, this book guides readers to true happiness by removing physical, emotional and spiritual blocks.
With the easy to apply "All Clear, Take Off" method and the uplifting Play With The World approach, readers are guided to live life passionately and purpose-filled.
With the author’s signature clarity, wisdom and positive messages, Shannon will show you how to choose happiness as a way of life. Transform your outlook to create an extraordinary life, full of adventure, happiness, and inner peace.
Shannon Kaiser is a travel writer, author, speaker, workshop leader and founder of PlayWithTheWorld.com. She is a Travel Editor for Healing Lifestyles & Spas, and featured in the uplifting best-selling book series Chicken Soup for The Soul, Tiny Buddha, MindBodyGreen, CrazySexyLife, and KATU Morning Show.
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
Read an Excerpt
FIND YOUR HAPPYAn Inspirational Guide to Loving Life to Its Fullest
By Shannon Kaiser
Balboa PressCopyright © 2012 Shannon Kaiser
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSTRIP DOWN
"To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened, each day drop something."—Lao Tzu
Do you ever get to the point where your world is out of control, spiraling downward as you crash to the floor, flooding the tile with dripping tears? That was me just a short time ago. I was drowning in a deep depression and surrounded by chaos. Everything I did was uncomfortable. My relationships were superficial, abusive, and demeaning. My job was pointless and I couldn't look in the mirror and see anything good. One night I burst into such an intense burst of hysteria that I was forced to stop before drowning in my hot tears or suffocating.
I splashed water on my face, stood up and said, "I can do better than this." I looked around my ridiculously overpriced loft and saw clutter. I saw dirty, stained clothes that I hadn't worn in a couple of years; I noticed things that didn't represent me or the person I wanted to be. I grabbed a trash bag and started where I assumed it would hurt the most: the closet. I pulled out everything that wasn't working. I didn't know what else to do but clean, unclutter, organize and remove the crap that had piled up. All I really knew was what I had been doing had not been working. Albert Einstein famously said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Insanity had driven me to a static state of numbness piled high with stuff that didn't feel comfortable. It didn't take me long to recognize that my outer environment mirrored my internal state. Over the past years I had packed on 30 pounds by shoveling toxic sweets and deadly drugs into my body, mingling the process with obscene compulsions. I would trade one addiction for the next in search of my perfect potion, but it all left me feeling cold, abandoned, and lifeless. I was treating my body like a trashcan and it didn't take long to reflect in my outer world. As A Course in Miracles states, "Your outside world is a reflection of your internal state."
It was obvious that if I felt unloved, lonely, uncomfortable, and unworthy, then my home, relationships, and opportunities could only reflect the same. The process of starting fresh, getting back to basics, and stripping down was the first and most critical step to helping me to regain my life. It represented a declaration that I was in control of my life and choosing to embrace goodness. When we clean out clutter, it removes the blocks to every other aspect in our lives. It becomes a gateway to let more life in. Think about it. If you have a door that is blocked with junk, you can't open it. The same thing is true in an energetic sense. When we have emotional, physical and material trash piled high, it drains us, slows us down, and blocks us. So the first step to playing with the world and living life to the fullest is to strip down.
Clear Out Clutter
There is no escaping the fact that retail therapy is one of the most fun things to do on the planet. Gather up the girlies, get gussied up, buy new clothes and neat things to make us feel, look, and act prettier. All of this is fabulous until we get our credit card bill, but that's another chapter. Shopping is one of America's favorite pastimes, but what happens to all the stuff we buy? Don't get me wrong: shopping is rewarding and therapeutic but when anything is attached to the word "therapy" we should collectively take note. Retail therapy is shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer's mood or disposition. If we use shopping to escape, then we are hiding out behind the glass windows. Items purchased during periods of retail therapy are sometimes referred to as "comfort buys."
So what happens to all those comfort buys? This section is not about making us feel guilty for buying all those awesome treasures, but simply to recognize patterns that might be counterproductive to our ultimate goal of peace and happiness. In 1986 the Chicago Tribune wrote: "We've become a nation measuring out our lives in shopping bags and nursing our psychic ills through retail therapy." In 2001, the European Union conducted a study finding that 33% of shoppers surveyed had "high level of addiction to rush or unnecessary consumption." This causes debt problems for many and the results are particularly bad for young people.
Trust me, I love shopping, but I think Lao Tzu said it best, "To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened, each day drop something." This brings me to the first rule of adding more fun into your life: Strip down to add more fun. I bet if you took a look at your closet you may find things that just don't fit anymore. I don't necessarily mean whether they fit in the physical sense; I mean whether they fit you, who you are as a person. We have all bought that crazy fun "item" we thought for sure we could pull off. We wore it once and felt so uncomfortable that it was immediately retired to the back of the closet. It's okay to take risks, but not all of us can pull off Lady Gaga's latest look. Step one is to go to your closet and remove all of the things that don't fit anymore, physically and/or emotionally. Seriously take time to try everything on and examine yourself in the mirror. Pop on some party pumping hits and strut around. If the outfit doesn't make you feel alive, vibrant, and comfortable, it gets tossed into the Goodwill pile ASAP.
I also have a rule: If I haven't worn something in over a year, it automatically gets tossed. The goal here is to make room in our lives emotionally, spiritually and physically. Cleaning out the closet is a very good tool to help us unclutter and reboot our lives. Every transition I've been in, where I felt stuck and trapped, I would ask myself, "What could I do right now to feel a little better?" Since I can control my own environment, I will unclutter it starting with things that aren't working. I will clean out my closet. Would you guess that every time I have done a deep, down and dirty clean, within a week I get some great news? One time it was a promotion, another time an offer to my dream job, and another the first date with a man who still makes my heart sing. If you don't believe me, try it. Clean out your closet and watch what happens in the upcoming weeks. You may be surprised how cleaning out your own living space clears out space in every other aspect of your life. More space equals more opportunity. Goodness gracious, let the awesomeness flood in!
The goal of stripping down and returning to basics is to help you feel lighter and more connected to your true self. When we are bogged down with stuff, it isn't just a visual distraction, but also an emotional drain contributing to our low energy. Start with your living space. A closet is the best place to start because we usually start and end our day there. When it is clean, organized, and up-to-date, our mood every day will reflect that.
No More Junk in the Trunk
This may seem obvious, but junk mail is junk. It fills our mailboxes with clutter and we feel stressed with all the extra "stuff." Usually when things come in the mail that we don't want, we just get rid of them immediately, but what about our email inboxes? As far as adding chaos to our lives, email is as big a culprit as it is a friendly pal on printed paper. Our overstuffed inboxes confuse, frustrate, and stress us out. How can you possibly have fun in life when you are trying to read an avalanche of email? I get over 50 emails every day from people and companies that I don't even know. Chances are, you probably do, too. It didn't take me long to realize the connection between my lack of time to do fun and fulfilling things and the amount of items in my inbox. The more messages I have, the less time I have to enjoy the day. I am too busy trying work my way through the junk email maze.
There is an easier way. I started to track how many emails I had each day (on average 75) and how many were from close friends, family, colleagues, etc. (maybe 5). Over 85% of my messages every day were unsolicited junk. When you sign up for a mailing list or click on that web ad or browse a new site to enter your info for a sweepstakes, that precious personal info gets filed into a system and then shared. You are now a target for marketers of new companies and organizations. How do we stop this madness? We smile and just say no to mail flow.
That's right it is as easy as saying no. Each time a marketer sends an email blast there is a way to stop it. Go into that email and at the bottom there is always a spot to click unsubscribe. As you do this you will feel a sudden shift in your own energy. You may find that you feel more free and expansive. It is a small and simple deed but it works wonders in our lives. The same goes for magazine subscriptions, email lists, mailing lists, organizations, and credit cards — anything that adds clutter to your life. Dump the extra stuff and you will feel less bogged down.
Organize Your Chaos
The importance of downsizing is significant. Whenever you take a stand to unclutter your life and downsize, you are sending a loud and clear message to the universe that you will remove unwanted things from your life. It may seem silly, but when you physically and mentally clear out space you have more room to play, laugh, love, and live. When we clean out our area and get organized, it makes us feel productive. When we feel productive, we feel good and balanced. The process of straightening up all the nitty gritty helps us get organized.
Being organized increases our prosperity. The process I am sharing with you helps you see what you have and don't have. It eliminates waste and increases abundant space. The best part is you don't waste money- buying things you already have, but can't find. You will suddenly see your bank account grow, and you will have more time and moola to play. These are all great benefits worth every second of diving into the dingy grime and clearing it out for good.
Organization is a form of reverence and respect — for the time, energy, and blessings you've been given. When we respect our living space and the information we allow ourselves to receive, we feel more vibrant and balanced. When our living space is clean we can feel serenity. We have more time to spend with our loved ones, and can appreciate each moment. The time we spend together is of a higher quality because we are less frazzled, with more peace of mind and more physical energy. So get gallivanting, gals and guys. Start cleaning or stripping down to feel pleasantly pleased.
Time Is on Your Side
William Penn said, "Time is what we want most, but ... what we use worst." This saying rings true for many of my coaching clients, because it resonates with everything we do. Think about how often we say we want more time, but the moment we get more time, we misuse it, waste it or regret not making more out of our day. Time is nothing but a moment, changing every second. It is up to us to make each moment count. Ferris Bueller said, "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around every once in a while, it could pass you by." Time wants to be on our side. It is our friend and is always rooting for us to keep going and make the most out of every moment. The beautiful part about stripping down and clearing space is you will have more time to do the things you love. When you learn to be aware of each moment and appreciate truly living in the moment, time becomes endless. Take a moment to think about your perfect day. What does it include? Where do you go? Who do you share your time with? These are all indicators of what is most important to you.
Begin to construct your life around what you value. If your perfect day includes spending time with your loved one, be specific: What do you do together? Are you cuddling in bed watching a 1940s movie marathon for eight hours, or does your ideal day start out with a high voltage jump out of plane as you skydive together and brush death? These are two very different scenarios, both very real perfect days for different people. You need to be specific. Maybe your perfect day doesn't include another person at all. Perhaps you are into nature, writing, or painting beautiful landscapes in oil on canvas. Whatever it is, the elements that pop up in your vision of a perfect day should indicate what you value most in life.
The goal is to take these things and build your days around them. If cooking is important to you, but you worry you don't have enough time to give it the attention it deserves, set time aside every week to cook. Invite your friends over for a meal, or cook for coworkers and bring that food into the office. When we make time to do the things we love, we feel more balanced and whole. You always have enough time, money and energy for what is most important to you. Focus on where you are spending your time and money, and if it is out of alignment with who you want to be then refocus. Simply change your routine and watch everything else fall into place. When we do things we love, time stands still as we actively participate in every moment. Life becomes more about enjoyment, wonder, and fulfillment rather than a chore.
We are in charge of our own lives and how we spend our time. You should never do something you don't want to do. Lives are incredibly short. If it doesn't feel right to do something then you have permission to not do it. Who cares what other people will think? If you choose to go off and travel for a year, some may say you are ignoring responsibilities, but if it is right for you, then go on. If you want to quit your job and join the Peace Corps, what is holding you back? You get to make the most out of your life and no one is in charge of your life but you. So what if others don't understand? They aren't you. Too many times people spend their time trying to please others, hoping to make them happy. We end up sacrificing ourselves. Internal resentments build into a burning resistance to future opportunities.
I know this from personal experience. I used to play Pollyanna Peacemaker. I spent all my time trying to make sure everyone was happy. The whole time I did this, I never asked myself if I was happy. When I finally got the courage to dig deep and peel back the layers, I saw that everything in my life wasn't working. I would bend over backwards to help others, but I was the one left in the shadows. I always gave away my power. I never put my own opinions in the mix. This made me feel weak, alone, and depressed. My time was never my own. I spoke the words I thought people wanted to hear in the cities I thought they wanted me to live in. I share my experience with you to hopefully shine light on areas in your life where you have been inauthentic. If you are always giving your time, your money and your energy to those around you, you cannot possibly feel fulfilled. If you don't fill up your own cup it can never spill over to really help others.
1. Go to your email inbox and delete every message that no longer serves you or your path to happiness. Unsubscribe to messages/ updates and magazines you no longer read.
2. Go through your closet and get rid of anything you haven't worn in over one year. Trust me you won't miss it. Donate it.
3. Update your picture frames. Chances are you haven't really looked at them in a few years. Put fresh faces inside of them. This refresh will reboot your entire attitude.
In a Nutshell:
1. Take responsibility for how you feel and how you treat yourself. If you don't like something about your life, then look inside yourself to see how it is a reflection of your inner state.
2. Take inventory of your life, your stuff and your relationships. Get rid of everything that isn't working.
3. Every day should be a perfect day. If its not, go back to your value list and add in more of your values and what you love.
4. The Pursuit of Excellence self-improvement series reminds us that you always have enough time, money and energy for what is most important to you.
5. Make every moment matter. When you appreciate the moment there is an infinite amount of time.
Audio Meditation: Find Your Happy: Motivational Mantras, Track 1, "Strip Down" (available on iTunes, amazon.com, and playwiththeworld.com shop).
Chapter TwoGIVE IT UP
"Open minds lead to open doors." — Unknown
One constant in life is change: seasons change, our jobs change, our relationships change, and circumstances will always change. If we know change is inevitable, then why do we get so bruised up and bent out of shape when it happens? Over the years I've learned to look at situations with a little more ease and perspective. I've realized that change isn't something to be feared but rather revered. The best opportunities in my life have been direct results of changes. From the outside, some changes could have felt brutal, such as layoffs, illness, car accidents, etc. Each change in my life has had a specific role in helping me peel back the layers to see the bigger picture. Nothing happens in life that doesn't help us grow and connect more closely with our true selves. (Continues...)
Excerpted from FIND YOUR HAPPY by Shannon Kaiser Copyright © 2012 by Shannon Kaiser. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part One: All Clear....................1
Clearing Space so Fun Can Be Effortless and Abundant....................1
Chapter 1: Strip Down....................3
Chapter 2: Give It Up....................11
Chapter 3: No More Drama....................21
Chapter 4: Clear Your Fear....................29
Chapter 5: Life Is a Game, Are You Playing It?....................39
Chapter 6: Money Is Your Friend....................49
Chapter 7: Become a Master Manifester Set Goals....................61
Chapter 8: Become a "Yes!" Person....................71
Chapter 9: Spread Your Wings....................85
Chapter 10: Be a Kind Junkie....................93
Chapter 11: Live the No-Regrets Lifestyle....................101
Chapter 12: Make Every Day Your Birthday....................107
Chapter 13: Think Big, Act Small....................123
Chapter 14: Make Mother Nature Your BFF....................129
Chapter 15: Dance Like No One Is Watching....................137
Chapter 16: Make the Impossible Possible....................147
Chapter 17: Hug Your Inner Child....................157
Chapter 18: Play with the World....................165
References and Resources....................177
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is truly an Exceptional Read! I absolutely couldn't put it down from the moment I started! I love how the author uplifts you through her words!
Find Your Happy was such a wonderful read! I loved how Kaiser walks you through very practical steps that can be applied to life now. I finished reading it in only 1 day because it was so good! With each page, I felt my stress melting away little by little. When I started applying Kaiser's advice to my life I could immediately see a difference. Since then, I have let several of my family and friends read the book because I think everyone should use her principles. After all, EVERYONE deserves to be happy.