Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

The Secret to Finding Your Happy Place

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



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  1. Beautiful review for a beautiful book that’s on my “favorites” shelf. My heart was in my mouth as I read “Falling into now” 🙂 I realized I actually did that when I had accidents – as though watching from the outside. It is amazing.

    I love Galen and I love you, Sandra!

    • This is a beautiful book, isn’t it? The stories are so engaging yet there is a power that is far beyond the words. I’m so amazed by how you experienced your accidents too. I’m fortunate to know such remarkable people!

  2. I can tell from just the Falling into Now story that this is indeed a wonderfully inspiring book. When I read the chapter headings I was amazed that they are similar to the chapter titles of my own book on happiness.

    Even though the market seems to flooded with books about happiness, another one that engages us with compelling stories, actionable steps and uplifting quotes is a welcome addition.

    Thank you for sharing this one with us.

    • Hi Flora,

      You have an expansive view so I can see why that particular story resonates for you! This is an interesting point about the number of books on the market about happiness. I guess that reflects how much people are seeking relief from the turbulent states of mind that seem to predominate in our society. I’m sure your book has helped many people!

  3. jean sampson

    Yes, happiness is a moment-by -moment choice and the choice of happiness Is a habit that might take a little while to develop. Once you see how much better life is with the habit of happiness, you will catch yourself if and when you make the choice to be unhappy. I always ask myself if my choice is really helping me process something or is it just wasting my time. Sometimes we might have to allow some not-so-happy feelings to be present if we are working through an old and painful issue. But the goal is always to work through it and come out on the side of happiness and freedom!
    Sounds like this is a great book to help us remember that we CAN always choose happiness!

    • Hi Jean,

      You have an amazing perspective! You are so right…it’s not all about sugar cookies! There’s much to process as we move along this path to greater truth. It takes courage to be vulnerable, open, and authentic regardless of the emotions that are unfolding in our mind. I’m glad you raised these points. What we’re really talking about is a maturity of happiness, isn’t it?

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