Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a  choice. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be Happy   Ralph Marston

It seems a life time ago and yet it seems just yesterday that I was literally fighting for my life. I was severely depressed and in horrible physical pain. I was suffering from migraine headaches 24/7 and the pain and agony that accompanied those headaches were wreaking havoc with my emotional health.

I might have given up had it not been for my near-death experience. After my experience, I understood very well what the ramifications would be if I took my own life. I knew that if I chose to end my life, I would also be choosing to lose God, my family, and all that I loved and gave me happiness.

Upon my return from heaven and my near-death experience, I worked like crazy to overcome my depression. It was an uphill battle all the way – a battle that saved my life and that has brought me enduring happiness.

For me, overcoming depression and choosing happiness was a multi-faceted effort.

I had to be deliberate in the use of my time. My health no longer allowed me to work for pay but I still had to use my time wisely. I spent several hours daily reading scriptures and inspirational materials. I spent several hours a weeks seeing my chiropractor and doing all that I could to improve the structural issues that I suffered from. I spent untold hours reading about health and doing all that was in my power to try to find out the cause of my headaches. None of it was fun and I didn’t “feel” like doing any of it.

But here’s the deal – it was my life and nobody cared about my life and my pain more than I did – not even those amazing people that love and gave support their to me. Therefore, I had to be my very best ally. (We all have to be our very own best ally.)

When we make a choice to be happy – it cannot be conditional. It cannot hinge on if our boss is in a good mood. It cannot be influenced by our pocketbook or our fame. We have to choose to be happy and we have to do all of the necessary internal work.

All personal improvement, including the choice to be happy, comes from within. We choose with our thoughts and our true intents. We can present a fake facade for only so long and then our true colors start to show themselves.

Some of the most important ways we choose happiness is with our efforts to be grateful, the company we keep, the thoughts we choose to think (yes we have a choice), the entertainment we enjoy, the music we listen to, and the efforts we invest in to develop a  relationship with God.

We cannot always choose our circumstances but we can choose the attitude we will have no matter what our circumstances are.

The fight for happiness will not be won in one day or with one small change. It will be won with each day of consistent effort. Some days will be harder than others – but it will all be worth the effort.

I hope that you will choose happiness in your life. I hope that today’s excerpt from the article The Gospel Path to Happiness by Jeffrey R. Holland will further inspire you! I am praying that you will choose to make happiness a part of your life!

Choose Happiness

Second, learn as quickly as you can that so much of your happiness is in your hands, not in events or circumstances or fortune or misfortune. That is part of what the battle for agency was over in the premortal councils of heaven. We have choice, we have volition, we have agency, and we can choose, if not happiness per se, then to live after the manner of it. U.S. president Abraham Lincoln had plenty to be unhappy about in the most difficult administration a president of the United States has ever faced, but even he reflected that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”6

Happiness comes first by what comes into your head a long time before it comes into your hand. Joseph Smith was living “after the manner of happiness” in a very unhappy situation when he wrote from Liberty Jail to those on the outside who were also the victims of great injustice and persecution:

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God. …

“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth” (D&C 121:45–46).

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” That is not only good counsel against the modern plague of pornography, but it is also good counsel for all kinds of gospel thoughts, good thoughts, constructive thoughts, hopeful thoughts. Those faith-filled thoughts will alter how you see life’s problems and how you find resolution to them. “The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:34), the revelation says.

Too often we have thought it was all up to the heart; it is not. God expects a willing mind in the quest for happiness and peace as well. Put your head into this. All of this takes effort. It is a battle but a battle for happiness that is worth waging.

In a popular book a few years ago, the author wrote: “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and … [look] for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness … to stay afloat on top of it.”7

I love the phrase “participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” Don’t be passive. Swim upward. Think and speak and act positively. That is what happy people do; that is one aspect of living after the manner of happiness.

Today’s excerpt from the article The Gospel Path to Happiness by Jeffrey R. Holland is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng

No widget added yet.

Become Someone You Can Be Proud Of…

In Contrast to the  institutions of the world, which teach us to know  something, the plan of  salvation and the gospel  of Jesus Christ challenge us to become someone   Dallin H. Oaks

Happiness is a choice! Self-Improvement is not a once in a lifetime event but, in order to be truly happy, it must be a continual process throughout a lifetime.

Worldwide acclaim and lofty accomplishments do little for our happiness if we are not happy and content with the person we know ourself to be. True happiness comes when we are our own best friend and we like (love) being in our own company.

In heaven, I saw that the most important accomplishments we make on earth are not the ones that grab headlines but, instead, are the ones that bring love, peace, and improvement to the world and those around us.

God will swap a loving hug that lifts another over a prestigious title any day!

I hope and pray that your life is full of becoming someone wonderful! I hope you enjoy today’s story!

The Happy Dervish

Once, a shah was riding in his palanquin through the town, looking through the window at the scurrying people. Suddenly, he saw a lonely dervish sitting in the middle of the crowd, who was smiling and looking happy about something. The dervish was dressed poorly, and except the saucer for hand-outs and a road script he had nothing else besides him. The shah road past him and soon forgot what he saw.

After a few days, the shah had to go the same way again, where he saw the same dervish again, completely happy, dozing with blissfully closed eyes.

The next day, shah chose the same way on purpose, to see if the dervish will be in his place and again the image was the same. Intrigued, shah was going the same way almost every day and every time he found the dervish in the same spirit.

Finally, unable to stand it anymore, shah came out from the palanquin and addressed the imperturbable dervish with these words, “Why are you always smiling? Almost every day I see you here and it seems that you are absolutely happy.”

“Exactly, my master.” said the dervish with a smile.

Shah was surprised and asked, “Why are you happy? Do you have any money?”

“I don’t have anything, my master. Maybe during the day a little bit will fall in for food.”

“Do you have a home or a family?”

“Neither this and nor that. I wander the world as the wind.”

“Maybe then, you have good heath?”

“Absolutely not, my master, from the cold of the night my bones ache often and almost all of my teeth have fallen out.”

“What makes you so happy then? Tell me. Maybe your recipe for happiness will be useful to me. I have everything, but I’m unhappy.”

“God never sends more challenges for one person that he can’t handle. And burdens a person only with those circumstances, which at that moment, are most useful for his development. The circumstances in which the person is – is the place for spiritualization. I accept that the best thing for me now is what I am, where I am and what is happening with me. I accept it with gratitude and a smile. If necessary, with resistance and patience, and if possible, I try to understand what God is trying to say to me with it and in which direction should I move with my development. The realization of it doesn’t make me absolutely happy, but I have a clear horizon opening in front of me, free from the rainy curtains and filled with the sunny light of awareness.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.inspirationalstories.eu/stories/inspirational-stories-about-happiness/

No widget added yet.

All Growth is a Leap in the Dark…The Importance of Faith

All growth is a  leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit  of experience    Henry MillerYou may or may not know…not all near-death experiences are positive.

My experience was positive. Yet, when I returned to my body, I still had to contend with a body that was in constant pain, had 24/7 migraines, and was in the throes of severe depression.

I still had a lot to learn and I had a lot of healing to accomplish.

As I look back on my experience, I realize that my experience opened my heart and my soul to new perspectives.

Prior to my near-death experience, I was highly resistant to alternative medicine. Here we are 15 years later and I have adamantly embraced alternative medicine (think herbs, the body’s innate ability to heal, etc) and I have lost my confidence in western medicine.

Those fifteen years have included a considerable amount of healing and an amazing amount of growth. I figure that with another fifteen years of life under my belt, I may “begin” to scratch the surface of all there is to know and understand. 🙂

However, our growth and understanding come…faith is always an important component.

I have made many leaps of faith in my lifetime. When that leap of faith has involved God – I have never been disappointed.

I am grateful to know that God is real… I have seen His face and witnessed His utter and complete perfection.

I hope that in your own way, you too will know of God’s existence and His perfect love for and knowledge of you.

Today’s story really touched my heart. I hope it will touch yours as well!:

My Near Death Experience – Born again

I was not a religious person.  All of my adult life, I only had two prayers. The first, God when the time comes, give me a second chance; the second, please don’t take me until my children are grown.  Never really believing, I said these prayers every once in a while, just in case.  You know what I mean. Little did I know that both prayers would be answered on the same day, Easter Sunday, 1994.

I had one of those near death experiences that we’ve all heard so much about. They were coming to take me away. (ha-ha, ho-ho) I saw the light tunnel, while looking down at myself. The whole scenario; You know the bit. The twist, it was not pleasant, and I was definitely not going to Heaven. While I appeared to be sleeping peacefully, little did anyone know that there was a tug-of-war going on. I was desperately pleading for my life!!!

The night before, I was feeling rather cocky. I was lying in bed thinking, “Man, I’m really doing good.  I have a wife of 23 years, a daughter graduating from college as a civil engineer in two weeks, another in the national honor society going into her final year at high school.  I make an above average income, drive an expensive car, live in a nice home, money in the bank, yada yada.  I don’t think any body can mess with me now.”  As if all that wasn’t vain enough, I couldn’t stop there, I added, “Not even God.”

During the experience, I wasn’t cocky anymore! I was pleading and begging over and over, “God, please give me another chance; then I remember saying, “At least let me say goodbye.”  Suddenly, I felt a sense of relief.   A moment later, one demon conveyed to the other, “Come on, let’s go.  He’s fighting too much, we can get people like him anytime.”

After recovering from my stroke, I was embarrassed to tell anyone for fear that they would think that I had “lost it”.  I became totally obsessed with the Bible.  I bought several versions of it on CD Rom and began looking up, reading and watching everything that I could relating to my experience.

For years I wondered if I was I actually going to hell or was it a “very vivid dream”?  Finally, I swallowed my pride and began going to church to confide in preachers, telling them about my experience.  Instead of compassion, counseling and guidance, I was ridiculed.  Twice, I was actually asked to leave.  I was always asked, “Why you? What makes you so special?”  Only Jesus can arise from the dead.  (Special? I never died!!! It feels more like a curse!)

Later, when Dr. Vincent, the psychologist (The Death of Old Me) said the words, “Why not you? What makes you so special?  It’s our attitudes and choices in life that make the difference.” It all became very clear to me. I instantly realized that I had a choice to make! I could choose to believe that my experience was a dream, that my brain was starving from lack of blood as I’ve been told, and continue to worry about what others think; or that my prayers were answered and I was granted my second chance.

Suddenly, my mind was flooded with memories of past experiences that led up to this event! I began to experience a sense of relief that I had never felt before.  The bitterness and contempt just melted away.  I actually wanted to live again!  I understood that God does love me; and that I was given a second chance for a reason.  My mission is simply to tell “You” this story.  Within man, God has planted a devine seed.  A seed of his self.  (A seed of choice)   Just like me, you need to make a choice (Satan owns the fence).

I believe that it was then and there that I was “saved”.  It didn’t have to happen in a church on Sunday morning, in front of a preacher in a church full of people.  It is a personal experience between me and God.

am not special and have never claimed to be! I believe that we can all take up our cross and be modern day Disciples (Christian Soldiers) if we will take the time to listen and unconditionally do as we’re told. In fact, it seems strange to me that many of those that say “God has no beginning and no end, He can do miracles, and that He is with us always” seem to be the ones that have the most trouble grasping the concept that Christianity is not some out-dated, two-thousand year old, institutionalized religion. But that God is here and now.  We ask for His guidance, then if we don’t like what we hear simply ignore Him because of fear of ridicule, rejection and pride.

I still have trouble understanding how people that tell me, “God must really like you,” “He must have a purpose,” and that, “He isn’t through with you yet;” but if I explain my experience they shun me, begin to treat me in a condescending
manner, and are embarrassed to be seen around me.

After reading this, can you imagine being my wife, child or friend? Now, try to imagine how difficult it must have been for the original twelve Disciples.  He came to many of them in dreams too.  What made them so special?  Maybe it was their attitudes and choices in life that made the difference.  We read about the twelve Disciples that “took up their cross and followed Him“, but could there possibly have been others that simply chose to write Him off as a “very vivid dream” that we will never hear about?

I have literally seen the light! Quite frankly, now I am terrified not to believe.  Whenever in doubt, I just look in a mirror. I still enjoy life, only now my priorities have changed dramatically! I have absolutely nothing to gain by this; except
the next time I hope not to be begging, but to go peacefully knowing that I used my second chance wisely!!!

So many times we hear about others that lead sinful lives. Then, they have a near-death experience. Word spreads through in the media how exhilarating it was; creating the belief that you can get away with anything and still go to Heaven.

Please remember, that lucifer is the “angel of light” and the “father of lies”. He can be very convincing and deceiving. The “light” may not always be what it appears.

The single most important thing that was made crystal clear to me during my ordeal is that contrary to popular belief, “there will be a judgment day!”  I truly believe that God wants me to remind you about that.  Don’t worry about what others think.   You and you alone will be held accountable in the end!

Story shared from the following website: https://evri1.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/the-rest-of-the-story-my-near-death-experience/

No widget added yet.

Our Task is to Become Our Best Selves…

Our task is to become our best selves. One of God’s Greatest Gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no Failure ever need be Final Thomas S. Monson

I have always believed in self improvement. However, since my near-death experience, I have had a deeper and greater appreciation for the gift of being able to improve myself.

You see, the me I witnessed during my near-death experience was not the me I thought I knew as a mortal. Yet, in all reality, both were, in fact, me.

Who would you believe in? The self that God showed you or the one that had been clouded by mortality and failure?

I choose to believe in the me that God showed me.

I still have failures and days that seem like they were written by a sinister author intent on creating a scenario filled with the most difficult of events. Yet, the wonderful thing is that those days end and I am blessed with a fresh new day every morning!

I have found that as long as I keep on trying and keep hanging in there that eventually everything gets better – including me.

I hope you are hanging in there too!

Please enjoy today’s story!:

The Elephant Rope

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.livin3.com/5-motivational-and-inspiring-short-stories#5%20Motivational%20and%20Inspiring%20Short%20Stories%20About%20Life,%20Stories%20that%20Will%20Make%20You%20Smile.

Save

Save

No widget added yet.