Galen Pearl excels as a storyteller. In fact, her tales have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, A Cup of Comfort anthologies and on her blog. That’s why her new book 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is easy to read yet captivating, charming yet replete with wisdom.
Pearl, a retired attorney with a black belt in Taekwondo and enough kids to fill a big shoe, says she has found her “happy place” and lives in it most of the time. I find that impressive!
So what does this happy place look like? Pearl says it’s not a constant, giddy euphoria or unrelenting sunshine, but rather a deep abiding sense of joy. It is place of refuge, spiritual sustenance and contented fulfillment that exists right within her and you too.
According to Pearl,
“Happiness can only be actually experienced in the present moment. So each moment is a new opportunity to choose. If we choose repeatedly to be happy, it becomes a habit, our default position.”
Deeply ingrained negative habits and attitudes, however, may unconsciously block our happiness unless we stop and take charge of our mind. Judgment, righteousness, a lack of forgiveness, the desire for control, and even a mysterious resistance to happiness may all blockade our way to finding our own happy spot.
In a delightfully casual tone, Pearl shares stories from her own life, a stream of wisdom quotes, and actionable steps to help you dissolve these unhelpful patterns and replace them with joyful habits instead. A constellation of soul stirring vignettes illustrate each of the 10 steps. In fact, you can let the book fall open at any point for a brief infusion of inspiration.
In 352 juicy pages, 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) offers a complete guide to dispelling the dark clouds of your mind. To give you a taste, here are the 10 steps, each representing a chapter:
- Step 1: Give Yourself Permission to Be Happy
- Step 2: Decide if You Want to Be Right or Happy
- Step 3: Give Up the Delusion of Control
- Step 4: Feel Your Feelings
- Step 5: Make Haste to Be Kind
- Step 6: Judge Not
- Step 7: Practice Compassion
- Step 8: Forgive Everyone
- Step 9: Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
- Step 10: Be Here Now
Falling Into Now
One of my favorite stories appears near the conclusion of the book in the section called “Fall Into Now”. It goes like this:
“Some years ago, I went to my cabin in the mountains for some quality alone time — no phone, no TV, no kids. Just me and the dog. While I was there, I decided that I needed to clean all the pine needles and debris off the roof. I dismissed any hesitance I felt about doing this task without backup. I used an extension ladder and a long rake. I was cleaning the very last section of the roof when I felt the ladder slip. I frantically clutched at the roof, but there was nothing to hold on to. I knew I was going to fall.
So far, this sounds like any bad accident someone who has no business being on a ladder when no one else is around might have. But here is where it gets interesting. The instant I knew I was going to fall, I let go. I released the fear. Or rather, it released me, since I was not doing it deliberately. (At this point, I was not doing anything deliberately.)
I was conscious as I tumbled. I felt my body bounce off the ladder on the way down. I felt my back hit the edge of the deck, and then I flipped off the deck to the ground below and slid to a stop. But all the way down, I was absolutely certain that everything was exactly the way it should be. I knew that my body might be hurt. I expected that, at the least, something would be broken. Maybe I would be paralyzed or even die. No problem. I knew in my deepest awareness that no matter what happened, no matter how it might seem on the “outside,” no matter whether my “normal” awareness could understand, everything was perfect just the way it was.”
You see, the purpose of 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place is to help you find true happiness, that deep sense of abiding that does not depend upon externals.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to fall off a rooftop or leap directly into radical acceptance. Just start where you are with Step 1, go at your own pace, and, with these 10 Steps, you’ll have plenty of fun and guidance along the way.
Have you found your happy place? What does it look and feel like and how did you get there?
Special Note: All proceeds from the sale of this book and associated speaking engagements will be donated to Edwards Center, a nonprofit organization providing residential and vocational services to adults with developmental disabilities. Many thanks to Galen Pearl for providing a review copy of her beautiful book.
Thank you for reading and sharing! If you enjoyed this article please subscribe for free updates by email. With love, Sandra