this is my happy place

by vanessagobes

So often I find myself chasing someone else’s version of success.  It creeps up in all forms – jealousy, envy, anxiety, impatience.  When I find myself experiencing these types of thoughts and feelings, I find the best thing to do, is meditate.  By isolating myself and getting quiet, I can take the time I need to release myself from the stream of voices in my head and gain my composure.

I spent a couple of weeks relatively isolated in the mountains over the holidays.  A quiet retreat.  One morning, I stared at a stone wall in my living room for 3 hours (pictured below).  Just stared quietly, blankly.  I can’t remember feeling so content.  This happy place had nothing to do with work or relationships, travel or money, success or stuff.  It had everything to do with peace and simplicity.


Not everyone would feel content to look at a stone wall.  But I’m not everyone.  I’m me.

Thinking about being me reminded me of a recent experience.  Last fall I saw the The Dalai Lama in Boston.  He shared a stage with Brother David Steindl-Rast.  I was totally taken by Brother David, as was much of the audience, and wrote about him on this blog.  While I was surfing around his website,, I was shocked to see my very own words staring back at me.  His web editor found my recap of his appearance and published it on the site.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was so humbled to think that Brother David may have read my words and appreciated my perspective.  And it made me really happy.

Now, I am probably, no definitely, the only person in my circle of peers who would be elated to see her work displayed on Brother David’s website.  For me it was simply terrific.  For someone else, the simply terrific involves another set of circumstances.  It’s important for us to know what our simply terrific is, so when we experience it, we recognize it.  And so we don’t get mixed up in chasing after another person’s simply terrific.

Finding the terrific is easier for some than it is for others.  Some folks are tuned into the good stuff, attracting it easily.  Others need to work at it.  I think I’m one of the types who needs to work at it.  And when I do, the work pays off.

By working at it, I mean mindfully surrendering to spirit.  I mean connecting to the beautifully divine light within and shining it on everyone, knowing that we are all fighting the same inner battles and we all need to be shown compassion and love.  The best thing that we can do to find peaceful achievement for ourselves is to support one another.

When we, especially we women, share our love and our gratitude for others’ successes, we open ourselves to receiving it, too.  Love begets love.  That’s all there is to it.  Though offering love can feel awkward at first, especially if we are not wired to give it freely, once we begin a steady diet of giving, the act will become normal.  It’s amazing how quickly and naturally a new normal can settle in.

It all starts with a smile in the grocery store.  A pat on the back for the guy in the next cubicle.  A compliment for a friend, or a stranger if that’s easier.  A “like” on a Facebook post.  A compassionate word when our first inclination is a punch in the teeth.  Let’s give it up.  Let the pride and the ego and the judgment melt away.  Be happy for someone else.

Make a tiny, mindful effort once a day for 3 weeks.  What we give will come back to us tenfold.  And we will also discover that the giving feels much better than the receiving.

Tell me all about it!  I’ll be your biggest cheerleader.  Really, I will.  When you’re happy and successful, you are making the earth a more vibrant planet.  And while you’re doing what you need to do, I’ll be working on my own goals.  Which some of the time means just sitting here, staring at the wall.  And I’ll be happy, too.

From mine to yours,


p.s.  Please share this if it speaks to you.  THANK YOU!!!!