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Written and Narrated by Marie T. Russell

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There's an expression that is used by French-Canadians: "Être né pour un petit pain". This expression loosely translates into English as "born for a small loaf of bread". In other words, the sentiment is that one doesn't deserve better than just a small loaf of bread or bread crumbs.

This attitude is the first block to creating a life of bliss for ourselves... .the belief that we don't deserve it. You might think you're not good enough, or that you did something for which you deserve to be punished, or you're not smart enough, or good looking enough, or whatever "enough" you feel you are lacking. Whatever the reason, the end result is that we've then closed the door to a life of abundant joy and blessings.

Aiming High

In order to receive the best life has to offer, whether emotionally or physically, we have to believe we deserve it. We have to be willing to aim high for what we desire, whether that is in the realm of relationships, work, money, living situation, etc. If you aim for bread crumbs, chances are that is what you will get. While aiming high may not guarantee you will reach the top of the mountain, it at least pretty much guarantees you won't be stuck at the bottom where the crumbs are.

In order to achieve a goal or a dream, we have to: 1) have a goal or dream, and, 2) believe that we deserve it coming true.

It stems from what you believe about yourself, and also what you are willing to accept for yourself. So which is it going to be? The crumbs or dregs of life, or the pinnacle of joy and love in all areas of your life? We get to choose our goal and we get to aim for it!

Choosing Happiness

Most people are familiar with the sentence in the USA's Declaration of Independence that refers to "inalienable rights; that among  these are life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness". I feel that the problem in that statement is the "pursuit" of happiness. For me, when one pursues something it is something you're trying to grab on to that is either running away or elusive. It becomes a goal "out there somewhere" that we strive for, and we will someday, maybe, attain.

Perhaps this is part of the problem. We are chasing after happiness as if it is a goal -- and we need to do certain things on a to-do list before we can attain it. 

However, happiness is not a material or physical item that we can grasp and hold on to. Happiness is a feeling and it starts from the inside of each and every one of us. It is not bestowed upon us from the outside. No one else can give us the gift of happiness or "make us" happy. Yes, I know that is a common expression, but think about it -- can happiness be forced on you? Can you be "forced to be happy" if you are in the middle of despair? 

We actually choose to be happy. And certainly there are times when, due to circumstances, we choose to "not be happy". If someone you loved just died, it is normal to grieve and to be sad. Happiness does not enter in that situation, at least not at the beginning. Later you can start remembering all the good times you had with your loved one, and choose to be happy again.

Abraham Lincoln said: "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." So rather than choosing to be upset and angry, we can choose to be at peace and happy.

We don't have to pursue happiness. We have to choose it. In order to do that, we may have to not take ourselves so seriously and not take every thing as a personal affront or burden. Once we are willing to let go of grudges, resentments, and judgments, we will find that happiness is right there waiting for us to claim it.

Winds of Change

The great thing about life, and about our own self, is that nothing is set in stone. Everything is bound to change. That is a guarantee. So we can choose to change our attitude any time we so desire.

The universe is constantly presenting us with hints, guidance, insights, and tidbits of information that "just happen to be" what we need at the moment for the next step in our journey. Just this morning I came across this quote:

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"...often life presents itself fairly straightforwardly. Usually we aren't listening or paying attention. Or maybe even we have our vision obstructed by the past or colored by old hurts... Life is a journey. Sometimes we're stalled. Sometimes we get lost. Sometimes we're speeding by so fast we miss something. And sometimes we break down. The path we take dictates most of what we experience, but our approach is the vehicle..." -- The Dream Travelers, Sarah Noffke

Our approach to life is based on our attitude about the past, present and future. Stress and pain are created by our fear of change, our need to hang on to things as they were, or our insistence on not letting go of old hurt. In other words, by our resistance to the flow of life in the here and now.

However, when we are willing to let go and let the winds of change inspire us, then the ride of life becomes more joyful and leads to the fulfilment of our hopes and dreams, on a day by day basis.

Believe in Your Potential

The word "potential" is defined, in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, as "existing in possibility: capable of development into actuality." We, as humans, have so much potential. There is so much that we can dream of doing, and so much that we can do. 

Jan Phillips, author of Still on Fire, says in a TedTalk that we are born as a 100-watt light-bulb. Then our radiance was dimmed down to 60 or 40 or 10 watts by life's experiences and the people we encountered. So to access our full potential, we need to clean out our light bulb of old thoughts and old programming so that we are operating at full 100-watt capacity. Once we do that, we will be lighting up not only our own life, but the lives of the people around us.

Believe in your 100-watt potential! Your greatness is waiting for you to actualize your potential in the here and now.

Being Open to the Flow

Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is to be open to the flow of life. That's rather counter-intuitive and counter-productive, because being in the flow is the absolutely easiest thing for us to do. It requires no struggle on our part. 

Why is it so difficult to let go and let life carry us along? One of the reasons is lack of trust, or another way of stating that is fear of the future or fear of change. Another reason is our egoic mind thinking it knows best and trying to control the outcome to match what it foresees or thinks is possible.

However, life is always ready to send blessings our way when we are willing to be a channel for good. Trusting that things will work out if we do what feels right, will open the floodgates to the flow of inspiration, intuition, synchronicity, and love.

Connecting to Inspiration

Inspiration is like "the flow of life" -- it is everywhere, everywhen, and everyhow. Inspiration is not available only for the "special ones" and the mystics. It is always present for all of us through all our senses.

Inspiration can be fun. It doesn't have to be serious and only gained in moments of deep meditation or silence. Inspiration can come from anywhere... from a song on the radio that "just happens" to play when you get in the car, it can come from a book that you open "randomly", it can come from a scene in a movie or TV show.

The origin of the word inspiration - in Latin, French, and Old English - is connected to breathing in and to taking in life or spirit. Inspiration comes to us on every breath we take. We simply have to be paying attention to the insights and guidance that come from all sources. Each and every moment, we are connected to the Source of Life, and thus are connected to all wisdom and inspiration.

Finding Silver Linings and Rainbows

When people speak of unintended consequences, they usually are referring to negative results. However, unintended consequences occur in all areas of life, and are often a wonderful uplifting experience.

Here are some examples: Perhaps you missed your bus and because you took a later bus you bumped into a friend you hadn't seen for years. Or, you were headed to your favorite restaurant and you got there and they were closed. So consequently you chose to eat at another establishment down the road, and they turned out to be an even better place than the one you are used to frequenting. This good fortune was an unintended consequence of your favorite restaurant being closed, or of you missing the bus. 

Every challenge, every bump in the road of life, has a blessing along with it... Just like the rainbow that shows up after a storm, the gift that life has to offer shows up after a rocky experience. Some people who have had the experience of being a drug addict and conquered their inner demons, end up being drug and addiction counselors. They are good at their job because they have lived the experience and can thus relate and empathize with the person they are counseling. Another "unintended" consequence. 

When we set our sights on a goal, the path to reach it may or may not be smooth. Life may throw a few hurdles our way. We may at times not know which way to turn, but there is always a blessing in every experience. Be open to discovering the gifts life is offering you -- expect the silver linings and rainbows, be on the look-out for them, and be grateful when they show up.

Life is not always like we plan it, yet sometimes the unexpected twists and turns are the best part of the experience. The silver linings and rainbows bring joy to the heart and a lightness to our step. 

Article inspired by:

The Life Navigator Deck
by Jane Delaford Taylor and Manoj Vijayan.

cover art: The Life Navigator Deck byby Jane Delaford Taylor and Manoj Vijayan.Whether we are navigating tumultuous eddies or paddling in still water, this set of inspirational cards offers guidance and new perspectives for our day. The cards focus on empowering us, encouraging us to trust in our own innate abilities to handle life in a truly positive, creative and dynamic way. 

The pack can be dipped into for instant inspiration as each card contains one idea with the text beautifully supported by well-chosen artwork. 

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About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com