Releasing Outside Validations

Do you look outside yourself for validation from others? Or, are you fully content to gauge your own successes and sense of worth?

While I’d love to say that this is not a problem for me and that I’ve graduated to not caring what others think, I’m not there yet.

But I want to be, so when something triggers me, I turn to Lia, the feminine ethereal voice of god who speaks with me and offers wise counsel.

If you struggle with this same issue perhaps, you’d like to hear the things she told me recently. Here are her words to me.

“All numbers (think grades, bank balances, job title, and other external measures of ‘success’) are outside validations which you presently use to rate yourself and your value. They were conceived as part of your cultural training, but none of these represent the truth which is that you came from heaven as a divine being and no number can make you any more or less perfect.”

That’s a huge statement for me to consider, but I understand the essence of it because I see my true worth is inside of me, planted there before I came here.

She continued, “Your cultural training is dedicated to localizing you, to keep you separate from all other entities here, so that you are seen as an individual. It does this through the collective ego (the sum total of all egos of those living on earth with you). The collective ego then stratifies all entities by means of ‘numbers and grades’ and other identifiers (skin color, IQ, skill sets…). The collective ego uses a great deal of energy to accomplish this, just as your personal ego does for you. The energy your ego uses is drawn from your other individual aspects (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) and drains them of the energy they need in order to perform. The collective ego also does this, but on a much larger scale.”

I took a moment to absorb this, and Lia went on, “Both your ego and the collective ego pursue protection and expansion of you as their mission. They assess risks and take actions to protect their territories, both at rest and during expansion.”

“Your ego creates an external image of you, which it attempts to maintain and enhance, and it uses ‘numbers and grades’ as one of its main power sources. This is where outside validations come in. They are two-edged swords. If allowed, your ego will spend a great deal of time drawing power from what it sees as positive outside validations from others, but it will also expend much energy defending against criticisms it receives to its created image.”

This is making sense to me in a way I’d never considered before, and a question crystalizes for me.

What kind of life do I want to lead? Is my desire to live a joy-filled life? If so, I need to be aware of what drains my energy and what enhances it. If I allow myself to be subject to outside validations, I now more fully realize the kind of life this will create.

I realize too it would be wise for me to choose carefully and to pay attention to how and where I use my energy. Releasing any need or desire I have for outside validations will prevent any unnecessary energy drains.

I understand this may be easier said than done, but I know it’s important enough to try. As in the past, I recognize the value of shifting toward my aims. So, I consider, what are my aims?

What draws me forward, lights me up, gives me hope, and fills my heart? What feels divine to me and creates joy?

I spent time writing down answers to these questions and discovered a wonderful list of inside ‘validations’. Validations that are reflections of who I am, a divine being living an earth life. I found answers that touch my spirit and set me free.

My hope is that you create your own personal list and that it helps guide you toward experiencing your own sense of joy and best life.

Effective Affirmations

Is there a difference between types of affirmations? From my point of view there is a significant difference.

But before I explore this with you, I thought it might be helpful to start in the same place, with a workable definition of the word- affirmation.

According to one internet source there are two definitions of note. In the first case it is an action or process of affirming something. In the second case, it is a state of offering emotional support or encouragement.

From the beginning of my usage of dictionaries I’ve found it troublesome and annoying when the word you are looking to understand is used in the definition. It always makes me wonder what the dictionary writers were thinking?

Fortunately, in this case several synonyms were offered for the word affirmation; assertion, declaration, statement, guarantee, to name a few.

In popular culture there are many folks who use affirmations as a way of obtaining something in specific, an outcome they want to occur. It may be to improve their health, increase their money or investments, get a new or better job, find a spouse or friend, afford a new car or house or just about anything.

The focus becomes very directed toward a specific result. The process to achieve the desired outcome is generally to phrase an ‘affirmative statement’ in a way that confirms the wish, want or desire.

Inherent in the process is a conviction that whatever is the subject of the desire will in fact come about, so the language becomes an important part. In many cases that I am familiar with, the person making the affirmative statement does so in a way that states they already possess the desired outcome.

Here’s an example.

“I am wealthy, and money naturally and effortlessly comes to me.”

The expectation is that making this statement alone will produce the results the individual wants. There are of course different ways to phrase affirmations, but the idea remains that a definitive statement made to a perceived power source capable of granting the request, is expected to happen. The power source might be God, the universe, an angel, or something specific to the affirmer.

I do not subscribe to this style of affirmation and here’s why.

I do not believe we can deceive ourselves. We in fact know whether we are or are not wealthy and whether money ever comes naturally or effortlessly to us. We are eminently capable of detecting a lie, from others and from ourselves. If we are not wealthy, merely telling ourselves that we are does not make it true. This kind of affirmation to me is a deception and will rarely result in any type of success.

What do I propose instead?

I believe strongly that we are capable of creating and experiencing any kind of life we choose. We always know if we are leading the life we desire and cannot fool ourselves. What we can do is focus our attention and make statements of what we are willing to do in order to experience something specific.

For example, “I am becoming healthier daily by (insert the actions you are prepared to perform).”

Shifting from wishful thinking to an action-based affirmation contains real power. Identifying specific actions you are willing and prepared to take in support of your affirmation will create tangible results. As long as you take these actions consistently and modify (if necessary) you will experience your affirmation statement.

Using this kind of affirmation statement and taking action is a winning formula for success that you can rely on.


I was sitting at my desk giving myself permission to follow any thought that came into my mind. I wasn’t reaching for a specific destination, just kind of waiting to see what would show up.

An image appeared. It was an old-fashioned typewriter, perhaps a Remington. For those unfamiliar with these, allow me to explain briefly. You have to insert a piece of paper, threading it carefully so that when you turn a knob, it the paper into view. Each time you hit the return arm, it advances the paper and returns its position to the far left. There are several rows of individual buttons with letters, numbers or characters and you have to depress them to print on the paper. As you depress a button a long metal arm raises up and strikes an inked cloth ribbon, which makes an impression on the piece of paper.

Using this kind of typewriter is more of an art than a science. If you happen to hit multiple buttons at the same time, the striker arms will lock together, forcing you to separate them and start over.

If you hit a wrong button, you have to correct your mistake, which would mean inserting a piece of ‘correct tape’ over the mistake and hitting the same button again to make the page white, ready for the correct letter.

Believe me, it was maddening if you were only a marginally capable typist like me. I remember needing quite a bit of correct type to fix my errors.

Recalling this, I discovered I was still in touch with how angry it sometimes made me.

The next image that came to me was somewhat bizarre. I imagined hitting a series of different buttons. Each time I hit a letter, I sensed a whole word appear and felt its depth.

H…helpless, F…frustrated, A…afraid, V…vulnerable, B…blamed, I…inconsiderate, D…danger.

What was happening? It took a moment to realize there was a pattern here. Each of these words represented a source of anger for me. I sat back to consider and saw more letters appear. I…insecure, O…oppressed, H…hopeless, M…mean, E…expectations.

Wow, the last one caught me off guard. It had more juice than the others. I wondered why?

To gain some clarity I decided to ask Lia, a divine feminine voice that offers me spiritual insight.

“What gives,” I asked, “can you help me understand my anger better?”

“Yes,” she responded adding, “anger is one of your egos most effective tools.”

“Really,” I questioned?

“Your ego’s chief role is to protect you. It’s important though to understand my use of the word ‘you’ here. Over the course of your life your ego has established firm boundaries. It does this to provide you with a sense of safety.”

“From whom,” I asked?

“From everything ‘not you’. To do this your ego builds what I’ll call ‘expectation models’. You create these models to determine what is acceptable to you. All things which do not fit within your expectation models are seen as ‘threats’ and will often manifest anger in you.”

“Are you saying that my sources of anger are triggers for me and that they arise because they’re identifying events outside my expectations of the way I think things should be?”

“Yes, exactly. All anger occurs when there is a gap between what you expect to happen (based on your expectation models) and what you think/believe you want to happen. The wider the gap, the greater the fear and consequently, the amount of anger that appears.”

“So, what I’m actually doing is protecting my self-image so that I feel safe, right?”

“Yes, although a part of you knows better. It senses there is a better way.”

“Which is,” I asked?

“If your aim is to live a joyful, contented, happy life, it would be wise to begin relaxing your expectation models. When a trigger arises, consciously recognize how you feel and decide if this feeling serves you in some way. Does it bring you joy? If it does not, make a conscious decision to release your anger, in favor of living a joy filled life.”

“Living a joy filled life is my greatest desire, so I’m going to do as you suggest. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me.”


I’m willing to bet that something comes immediately to mind when you read this title…mourning. Perhaps it’s an intense feeling of sadness, or a gnawing pain of loss that can’t be recovered.

Likely, it arrived due to the death of someone or something you loved, leaving an emptiness inside you.

I have felt that many times in my life.

There was even a two year stretch where seven important people to me and a beloved dog all died. They were there one day and gone the next. Some of them left this earth quickly, with no warning. Others lingered on before fading out. Either way, it left a great deal of empty space in me.

Today I sensed being stalked by a different kind of mourning. It snuck up on me from behind and gently tapped me on the shoulder. I wasn’t ready for it.

The feelings it generated have been below the surface and out of view.

But one by one they approached me. None of them individually seemed significant, but collectively they dropped me to my knees.

Why, I wondered?

It’s as if they sat waiting for me, hovering almost within sight but not quite.

A favorite TV series that’s over and off the air. A bakery that has stopped making a glazed orange sweet roll I’ve loved for years. The absence of a service person to speak with on the phone, just a series of recorded voices running in an endless loop. Friends who fade away and are lost, disconnected or unavailable.

The list goes on in different directions.

An ice cream flavor I look forward to is discontinued. The fact that I never receive an actual letter in the mail. My knee not cooperating and allowing me to hike up and down hills. Folks I care about moving far away, eliminating our direct interactions.

I noticed something unusual about this process.

The more observant I became, the greater the sense of mourning mounted in me. When would it end, I wondered? Why had they all come today? Were they here to offer me a message?

Perhaps you know by now, if you’ve been with me on this journey, that I believe everything happens to benefit me. (I also believe this about you too) Adopting this attitude has radically altered my life for the better. It allows me to shift my view from thinking that things are happening TO me to knowing that all things happen THROUGH me.

I am not a victim. Mourning is not stalking me to punish me or create sadness or dejection. It is a messenger that offers me a way forward. It is reminding me that I have unfinished business that needs tending.

I can of course ignore this message if I choose. I am never made to do anything, but since I want to experience a wonderful life, I know I’m best served by paying attention.

So, I open up and breathe in the message. Here’s what ‘mourning’ told me.

“I am here to invite you to release each of these items. Let them go, for they do not serve you any longer. Recognize that in releasing them you are creating beautiful new space. Space that you can fill with anything you desire. All things change and shift if you let them.”

“These items that came to you today are waiting for you to decide if you are keeping them or letting them go. It is up to you to choose. Do you want open space for new adventures and to place precious new memories? Do you see the beauty of choice you have now that they have tapped you on your shoulder?”

I thought a moment.

Yes, I did see that. And yes, I do want that. So, I make a decision and consciously choose to free myself and release them, knowing there are better things waiting for me.

I am thankful for their appearance. I am even more thankful, that by making this decision, my period of mourning is over.

To Be Bold

What does the word bold mean to you?

One dictionary definition goes like this. Bold is an adjective that is used to describe something. It’s used in reference to a person, action, or idea, showing an ability to take risks, to be confident and courageous.

It can also mean that something, an object, or design, has a strong or vivid appearance.

As a noun, it can be used, as in ‘bold typeface’, where something is bolded.

Now that we have a working definition, would you say that you are bold? Do you stand out from the crowd? Are you confident, courageous, and willing to take risks?

It’s unlikely that anyone always acts the same way all the time, but it feels to me as though we have strong tendencies and lean in certain directions. I’m willing to bet that our childhood experiences shaped these directions and probably still does.

How often would you say you act ‘out of character’? Do you find yourself in certain situations that bring out a different side of your personality? Do you know what are the triggers?

Part of my cultural training centered on not standing out too far. I was coached to believe that it was not safe, and I would not be accepted by others, that I wouldn’t fit in. I don’t mean that someone sat me down and drummed these messages directly into me. No, it was far more subtle. Like most things, we absorb them. It seems to me we’re often not even aware we’re being trained, but opinions, biases, and beliefs creep in and become a part of us.

I’ve witnessed others who must have received a different set of ideas. Ideas that generated strong beliefs they use to work their way through this life. They seem comfortable in their own skins. They lead and stand out.

I wonder, why they are so at ease? How can they be so bold?

What occurs to me is that there is something INSIDE them that powers them. Something they rely on and that fuels them forward when others tend to stand still.

I want to know what it is. I want to be like that.

So, I go inside myself on a treasure hunt, looking for the good stuff that will allow me to be bold. I’m actually not surprised by what I find. I know it’s been there for a really long time. There is a host of words, thoughts, and beliefs that I discover.

I’m aware that it’s not that the bold ideas are not a part of me, they are, but they are waiting for me to acknowledge them and act on them.

It’s like the one more drop of water that breaks open the dam, sending forth a flood. I just need one more drop of water.

And it comes in the form of a truth I’ve heard many times. I’ve been told that I am divine, inherently valuable, and worthy. I’ve been told that how others see me or the way I see myself based on my outward appearance and actions, cannot and does not change this truth. I am a part of the whole, the holy, the one presence, source.

All that is left for me to do is to release my dependence on outside appearances and accept my inner knowing, to reveal and embrace the truth of my divinity and know I am whole and can be bold.

The further truth is, you are the same, you are part of the one, the whole, the holy, source. Accepting and embracing this truth can make you bold too.

What Are You Afraid Of

Okay, so what are you afraid of? You don’t have to tell me of course, but if you chose to write out a list, what would be on it?

I would be very curious to see how many of the items we had in common.

I’ll share some of mine with you:

spiders, snakes, heights, abandonment, rejection, others anger, some driving conditions, health concerns, epic failure, grand scale success, falling and getting hurt…

I’m sure there are a lot more. These are simply the ones that popped out the fastest.

Part of me wonders if there is something that ties them all together. Did I inherit them from my parents? Did they all happen early in my life when I didn’t have the defense mechanisms I have today?

I don’t immediately see any common threads.

Then I wonder, are my fears real or imagined? What I sense is that they FEEL real to me and that’s enough.

Another part of me asks, is there a distinction between being afraid versus not liking or preferring something? Could I substitute the word ‘uncomfortable’ for ‘afraid’?

I review my list to see and conclude that for most of the items, the answer could be YES, they make me uncomfortable, which begs the next question. Why?

Why, out of all of the things I experience in my life, do these items make my list? What is their source?

I wonder if I discovered their source, would it make a difference?

I scan my list again and determine that in most cases, YES, it would make a difference. If I knew WHY, I might be able to more easily release them. I could take back the power they hold over me.

That’s an appealing idea and it prompts a new question. What can I do to reveal the underlying cause or concern?

Here’s one thing that occurs to me. Most of the items on my list are NOT concerning from a distance. I can see a spider or a snake several feet away and not be scared. It’s only when I’m near enough for it to touch me that the fear kicks in.

Why is that? Does that same theory hold true if I substitute fear of failure or success for spiders and snakes? Is it true that from a distance failure and success pose no threat, but as they get closer, they produce fear?

Another question enters the picture. Is there an ‘edge’ involved here? Is it true for me that everything is okay until it reaches an ‘edge’, a point where it becomes more real to me?

I sit with this for a while then realize, yes, that feels true to me. So, now what? What resources are available to me? What decisions could I make so that I can feel better and be less fearful?

No doubt there are many self-help books which offer sound, practical, useful advice. And there are numerous professionals available to perform wonderful support and aid to those in need.

For me though, I want to see if I can solve my own challenges first, so I begin to look deeper within. I seek to move beyond the ‘edge’ and into previously uncharted territory. Did I adopt beliefs others in my life taught me? If they shared their reasons, do I still see any value in them? Is there real danger or are my concerns imaginary? Do I choose to release myself from their grasp or are they all worth keeping?

These are all important questions for me to answer.

I realize we each have our own lists and our own set of decisions to make about the items they contain.

I hope you end up choosing wisely and profit from your decisions.

Threat Assessment

Do you always feel safe?

Or are you constantly aware that a certain amount of danger always exists? Perhaps it comes and goes depending on your circumstances.

Recently I was considering this issue and as I thought my way through it, some interesting ideas surfaced. I offer them to you for your consideration.

Five Aspects: Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual and Ego

We are each comprised of five aspects. Each of these aspects focuses on specific areas of our lives and each is important and contributes to the whole. Ideally, they work in harmony, but sometimes they don’t, and this creates imbalances regardless of which aspect is challenged.

Ego’s Role

The ego’s job is to protect us from whatever it believes might pose a threat to us, whether it is true or not. Sometimes the ego can’t tell the difference, so it needs help from the other aspects.

Ego Messages

When the ego believes something is a threat, it reacts by sending messages to the other aspects, When they receive the message(s) they respond creating all sorts of reactions, many of which disturb the normal harmony that exists. When this happens repeatedly patterns are formed so that the same reaction(s) happen automatically.

If the message is received with a high intensity, the risk response is perceived to be greater, and this contributes to a stronger automatic response pattern. Even messages that are similar can create the same type of patterned response. Without some reason to change the automatic response, there is a linking that occurs. You encounter a threat, an automatic message is sent and received, and the same physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual reaction occurs, which creates programmed patterns, which then become your default settings.

All of this is based on a PERCEIVED threat, which our ego has detected and believes could represent danger and harm to us. It becomes very important to evaluate whether the threat is TRUE or FALSE, rather than accepting it at face value. There is great benefit to asking whether there is any tangible evidence to support the threat?

So, we can offer ourselves the opportunity to determine whether the threat is valid or a misperception by exercising our free will. We can step back and consider, using the intelligence of each of our aspects; physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and ego.

I find I often learn best when I reflect on an example. Maybe you do too, so, here’s one of mine. I am always fascinated by how significant this one simple event has turned out to be. It shed a brilliant, bright light on how important it was for me to break the cycle of automatic programed responses that did not represent the truth. They were merely default settings. They were based on incorrect information either told to me by others or misperceived by me.

Earlier in my life I formed a belief (based on what others told me) that if I was physically cold, I would ‘catch a cold’. This played out over and over in my life and was an extremely strong default setting. That is until one day some part of me challenged this idea. A tiny voice inside asked, “Do you truly believe that all one billion people living on this earth catch colds when their physical bodies are cold?” A heard the voice say something like, “That’s rubbish and can’t possibly be true. Maybe it’s time to take another look at your threat assessment and automatic responses that lead to this default setting.”

I began to recognize that my physical body was experiencing a symptom (being cold) which did NOT necessarily need to lead to having a physical cold, so I started to tell myself a new story. A story where I was stronger than I’d previously thought and where I was healthy and resilient. I informed my ego that its threat assessment was inaccurate and then shifted my default setting from weak (catching a cold) to strong (moving on with my life as a healthy being).

What I realized was that I could do that with any default setting that I felt no longer served me. What a fabulous turn of events. Rather than allow automatic settings to rule my life, I now question my assumptions and seek valuable evidence in support of what is actually happening. What a liberation.

Out Of Your Mind

Has anyone ever asked you, “Are you out of your mind”, when you proposed an idea to them? If they discounted or criticized your idea, what was your reaction? Did you let your idea die or go ahead with it anyway?

Releasing my dreams, even if they are a little over the edge for someone else, always makes me feel sad. I’ve experienced this often enough that I rarely give in anymore.

When I was a kid, the phrase ‘are you out of your mind’ was very popular.

My friends and I would come up with stupid ideas and dare each other to do them. The common retort was, ‘are you out of your mind’, which would either end the debate or shift the direction to another dare.

Here’s one example.

“Hey, ride your bike down that path and jump the little creek to the other side…I dare you.”

Mind you the creek was NOT little, and it was really hard to get a bike into the air that far, so the usual response was, you guessed it, ‘are you out of your mind?”

The cleverest among us would figure out a counter-dare like, “I dare you to try to swing across from that tree branch”. They would say it louder to eliminate the energy from the first dare.

Fast forward to school age and more stupid ideas, then to college, where no one was looking over your shoulder and the sky was the limit on foolish and sometimes dangerous notions. One in particular is memorable to me. “I dare you to hop that freight train and jump off while it’s moving.” That’s one I accepted, even though I should have said, “what, are you out of your mind?”

Surprisingly, I made it through my college years without serious injury, got married and entered the work world, only to discover it was full of different kinds of danger. Navigating my way through learning my job, getting along with peers, and pleasing my bosses demanded my full attention.

If you haven’t observed this about me by now, I have some pretty strong opinions, which are based on my personal moral code. This put me at odds occasionally with different bosses. I felt there were better ways to accomplish tasks and said so. My friends looked at me, shook their heads, as if I were crazy and said, “are you out of your mind?”

Over the course of my life, I allowed, then encouraged, then embraced a very spiritual life. I have daily conversations with god. Conversations where I both speak to god and hear god speak to me. They are dialogues really; open, honest, direct, and heart centered. I feel listened to, supported, enlightened, and loved. During the past twenty-six years our conversations have become deeper, more grounding and divine. The best thing about them is I know they are not just for me, they’re available to anyone. I know this to be the truth and have such a deep commitment to this idea that I wrote a book about the process titled, talking with (god) which lays out ways anyone can initiate their own conversations and discover their own answers. (see below for details if you are interested)

Over the years I’ve shared this with many people. Some accept it and have discovered their own path to talk with god. Others have questioned me and asked, “are you out of your mind?”

To each of them I’ve responded, “Yes, I am out of my mind, because I’m fully in my heart.” To me, this is when being out of your mind is a divine thing.

I am unconcerned now whether someone believes me. I choose to let the question fall away and center in on what I feel to be the truth, that the best times in our lives are when we are out of our mind and inside of our hearts.

In case you’re interested in a copy of this book, it is available on Amazon in print and eBook versions. In your search bar enter Talking With God by Rob H Geyer and click on the Amazon site.

NOTE: Please ignore the ‘hardback’ option. Amazon has a few wires crossed because if you click on this option, you’re taken to an entirely different book with the same title.

What Is Worth Keeping

It’s spring-cleaning time and my daughter and I are preparing to have a joint garage sale at my house, which is much more accessible than hers for car and foot traffic.

It’s a time to declutter our houses. A big part of me thinks it’s also time to declutter my mind.

I want to focus on what is important in my life, what is worth keeping. I often refer to this as, embracing what serves me, or the corollary, releasing what no longer serves me. I want to keep all of the meaningful things and release the ones that weigh me down or take away my energy.

Every so often I’m torn, uncertain whether I can part with some of my things. I have an emotional bond with them. I wonder, is trading them for money worth it to me? And it matters what I answer.

Collecting my ‘stuff’ prompts another question. One that goes far beyond the items for the garage sale.

I wonder, what else am I attached to in my life?

Who am I connected to and how do we impact each other’s lives? What personal expectations do I have of myself and others? Am I attached to being who others want or need me to be?

Do these attachments serve me? Do they bring me closer to my aims and support my feeling good about myself? Do they assist me in experiencing my best life?

Or are they a source of more clutter? Things begging to be detached and released?

It’s clear I need to spend more time clarifying.

I also wonder, if I decide they served me at one time, but no longer do, how do I let them go? Is it as simple as studying each of them and seeing how they connect to me financially, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually?

Well, is there really anything simple about that?

Maybe, when all is said and done, it’s a matter of which weigh me down and which raise me up.

I wonder, which direction offers me the best chance at happiness and joy?

What feels important to me is to focus on those practices in my life that set me free, that recharge me, that connect me to the world. Rather than attempting to declutter a tangled mess, perhaps I can zero in on what opens me up and helps me soar.

I wonder what items you would put on a list if you created one?

I thought about mine and I’m happy to share it with you.

I love to go on day trips with my wife, to vacation with her and with the rest of our family, when they are available. I love to spend time with our family, no matter when it happens. I love to walk, swim, float, and spend time creek-walking. I love to read, write, and listen to interesting pod casts. I love artwork and other forms of creation. I love to talk with folks, especially those who want a depth of connection. And I love to be out in nature.

These are all worth keeping. They all raise me up.

They all nourish me and inspire me.

What works for you? How might you discover what feeds you, in order to know what is worth keeping?

I hope you are able to easily discover your path and hold on to all of the things that are most important to you.

Happiness and Joy

How do you measure your happiness?

Chances are if you are dieting, it is measured by whether you gain or lose weight. The changes may only be temporary, but they seem very important at the time. Of course, it’s possible to look deeper and evaluate according to the lifestyle changes you’ve made, even if they don’t directly impact your weight, but represent a healthier life plan for you.

Do you have other happiness measures?

Perhaps the size of your bank account, the funds in your investment portfolio, the car you drive, the number of friends you have, your athletic prowess or some other skill you possess?

Maybe your happiness is tied to something else entirely.

When I ponder this, I often land in the same place, asking myself whether my happiness is merely temporary? Is it easily stolen by someone else, based on their comments or opinions? Is my happiness too fragile or dependent on what happens to me?

These questions prompt me to reconsider the basis or source of my happiness. I confess I’ve struggled with this a lot.

I remember a time in college when my whole life seemed to be falling apart. My studies had stagnated, I had the absolute worst dorm room on campus, right next to the stairwell and common area lounge, facing the side of a hill so that little light penetrated and constantly being barraged by noise all day and all night.

Then my grandfather died. I was very close to him, and it hurt to think he was gone, and I didn’t even get to say goodbye. Not only that, but I also wasn’t invited home for the funeral. I guess my parents thought I’d miss too much school. Not one of their best decisions.

It’s likely you’ve had your own experiences of suffering, where happiness seemed a distant memory, if any memory at all.

Of course, life is balanced. There are up periods of happiness, and they are wonderful while they last, but some part of us knows they are temporary. There is an ebb and flow to happiness, and I believe everyone moves through its curve.

I wonder, what do we do when the unhappiness comes for us?

It took a long time for me to realize the problem I have with happiness is the source it arises from…my thoughts. I seem completely reliant on what I am thinking, placing my treasure there. Inside me, I know there must be a better way.

So, I do what I always do when my mind cannot solve a problem in my life, I drop into my heart to see what I am feeling, because my feelings shed light, guiding me forward.

I realize I have to wait, giving my mind a chance to release its hold and allowing my feelings to become clear. While I wait, I breathe in and out slowly, letting my heart open.

An awareness dawns on me. Happiness is fleeting because it is of the mind. It is my head telling me how I should feel. No wonder it comes and goes, because my mind wanders everywhere.

The awareness draws out a truth I have hidden inside. A truth that tells me happiness will always fluctuate.

It shares with me that what I want is…joy. Joy comes from the heart. It raises me up and cannot be stolen or destroyed.

I want to know more. I want to know the source of joy.

I am told, joy is the source. Joy and love are joined, forever in union, always available to me.

How, I ask?

I am told, remember that you are part of this joy, this love. Look outward into the world and see its reflection everywhere. Remember there is joy and love, even in those things you consider to be unhappy. Look past the surface. Look deeper and you will see the truth.

I want to believe this. I want to believe that I am a part of the joy and love that is my source. I want to remember.

For this moment, I understand I am being asked to trust this truth. It is up to me. And it is up to you too. What shall we do?