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Rules For Happiness
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I have a short quiz for you. Answer the questions as quickly as you can, without pausing to determine whether they make sense.

  1. I must feel badly if . . .
  2. I can only be happy if . . .
  3. I have to get . . . right in order to be happy.

Inheriting Rules

I heard this story a long time ago, and I recently found it on a few web sites. It bears repeating.

Harry noticed that whenever his new wife cooked a pot roast, she cut a few inches off the end before putting it in the pan. When he asked her about this, she said that was how her mother taught her to cook pot roast.

Still curious, he next asked his mother-in-law, who said she'd learned it from her own mother. Determined to get to the source of the pot roast cutting maneuver, he asked his wife's grandmother. He said, "My wife and my mother-in-law swear that it's mandatory to cut two inches off a pot roast before cooking it. Is there any sane reason for that?"

The grandmother started laughing and said, "When I was a young wife, we were very poor, and I only owned one cooking pan. I cut off the end of the pot roast so it would fit inside."

Find Your Pot Roast

Look at the questions I posed above, and, if you responded, read your answers. You might, for example, have written, "I must feel badly if anyone I love is unhappy."

When I was in high school, I came downstairs in a remarkably good mood. I burst into the kitchen, singing, only to be greeted by a grim-faced father, who asked, "How can you be so happy? Last night my grandmother died."

There was my rule (and this surely was not the first time it had been handed to me), wrapped in a miserable gray bow. My happiness made the unhappy unhappier. Although the law of vibrations would suggest that an unhappy person who was the least bit willing to elevate his mood would be cheered by another's happiness, that wasn't what I learned. I learned instead how to lower my own vibrations, in order to be "considerate."

If you haven't yet done so, list what must make you feel badly. If you can't think of anything (or of much), wait until the next time you do feel badly. Ask yourself what this feeling reminds you of. Allow your feelings to let you travel back in time. If all else fails, say to yourself, "I don't know where this belief comes from, and I ask my inner wisdom to tell me." Then let it go. The answer will come.

I Can Only Be Happy If . . .

Again, you can find in the past the answers to how you've set limitations on the permission you give yourself to be happy. For example, if you believe you can only be happy if you are debt-free, see what you can remember about parental arguments on the subject of paying bills, or see if you can remember the emotional atmosphere when a parent was paying bills. Was it fearful, resentful, or angry?

You may have learned that fulfillment depends on certain conditions. Maybe you believe that being in a long-term relation is a necessary condition for happiness. We are encouraged in consumption-oriented societies to believe that one must possess certain things in order to be happy.

You may also find that the question of worthiness may play a role. If you can't pay a bill, you may discover the belief that you did something wrong by not having enough money and don't therefore deserve to be happy.

When we set conditions on what can make us happy or who we need to be to deserve happiness, we miss out on unlimited opportunities for emotional fulfillment. I learned about this when I moved to the country. After many years, the sight of a deer or wild turkey can still make me very happy.

Getting It Right

Standardized education, especially when weighted towards math and science, probably contributes a lot to our learned belief that we must get it right. Two and two don't equal five, and I still remember my high school chemistry class where I produced aspirin that was 50% impure. (Fortunately, a pharmaceutical career was never in my future.)

When we have to get it right, we find ourselves suppressing the wild, unscientific leaps of imagination that form an essential element of creativity. Lest anyone think I am anti-scientific, one of the world's greatest scientists, Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

When you exercise your imagination, you may not always get it right the first time. It may take some thinking and experimentation to come up with the solution you seek or the realization of your dream, but without that initial leap, neither will ever manifest.

It's by getting it wrong, sometimes many times, that you learn how to get it right. And if you can be happy and optimistic on that path, you will really never get it wrong.

Happiness Tools


I believe all crystals are happy. That's why they shine and sparkle. In general, the crystal that most attracts you is the one that will make you most happy. Below I list some general crowd pleasers.

Clear quartz provides maximum sparkle and sometimes rainbows. Of these, Herkimer diamonds provide especially concentrated magic.

Golden citrine is the classic stone for worthiness and self-esteem. Its sunny color can brighten the darkest day.

The flashes of light in tiger's eye and labradorite remind us that the darkest stone can suddenly turn bright.

I have a special fondness for stones with patterns, such as malachite, sodalite, rhodochrosite, and others. They remind me that nature never gets it wrong.


Crab Apple (Bach Flower Remedies) helps us to let go of perfectionism.

Larch (Bach Flower Remedies) enhances a sense of worthiness that comes from within.

Honeysuckle (Bach Flower Remedies) helps us to cast objective eyes on the past, whether we're reviewing good or bad old days.

Otter (Wild Earth Animal Essences) helps to restore a sense of playfulness into our lives.

Beyond the Rainbow
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