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Articles for Summer 2012
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Guiding Wisdoms to Promoting Happiness
Submitted to the Empowerment Magazine by Terry Zick, M.A

In past issues of The Empowerment Magazine, we have shared many tools and strategies to increase contentment and happiness.  These tools empower us to make choices to promote our happiness—recognizing that we have more choice than we think we have.  We often trick our self into believing we are powerless, when in fact we are not.

I have discovered that people who live a happier or more contented life, have developed some basic philosophies that guide their life in the most inspirational way.  I am betting that Donald Trump, Oprah and Michael Jordan among other successful individuals have a well remembered set of guiding wisdoms.  It becomes clear that philosophies of life sustain us through the struggles, and can even quiet the chaos in our spirit.



So why do we need a guiding philosophy?  If we believe that life is a journey, then on that journey we need signposts along the way.  We need those wise, profound signposts to guide us in the right direction so that we reduce those unfortunate detours where we get a little lost.   Sometimes, when emotions take over in a life struggle, we forget all the wisdom we ever heard or learned. 



If we have already created a deeply held philosophy, signposts will remind us what we already know to be true.  And those signposts will ease our way.
Having some guiding principles of life, gives us a window on what gives life the all important meaning and purpose, fulfillment and sense of connection. 


These wisdoms tell us what is of value in life; they connect us to our heart and ignite our personal power.  Chances are, we didn’t get much guiding wisdom in childhood and chances are, we got misguided information along the way.  This misguided information can be replaced with greater truths that will increase our happiness.



The good news is that we can borrow the wisdom of the ages from ancient times down to the great thinkers of today.   The internet is a great resource for finding philosophies—spoken by scientists, psychologists, celebrities, and spiritual leaders—there is a wealth of wisdom to draw from.

Philosophies are more than setting goals, and more than making a plan of action—although those are good strategies too.   Philosophies are the grease or the jell that makes accomplishing our goals and action plans a success.  As we focus on profound truths or sacred messages, these wisdoms will carry us on the wings of inspiration and give us renewed inner strength. 


The following paragraphs describe 4 philosophies that guide my life.  Number1:  For years, my girlfriend and I would remind each other, “Why do we ever worry?”  Can you guess why we reminded each other?  Because 90% of the time, what we worried about never happened --and we realized that worry was a waste of time and energy.  In time, we have adopted it as one of our basic life philosophies—and I guarantee you this has made life so much easier.

Number 2:  Early in life a friend told me that she believed that life’s experience was meant to teach her something and if she paid attention, she would learn something from what showed up in her life.  I immediately adopted this philosophy and found it to be true—this enriched my life’s journey.



Number 3:  Many years ago, I realized that obstacles and hard times will come in my life no matter what I tried to do to control it better (and I really did try to control it).  I realized that those times of struggle were teaching me that I needed to be more assertive; needed to learn to set boundaries; needed to not judge myself so much… and so more.  I learned that, with the right attitude and support, I was empowered to overcome those obstacles.  Also, I was prompted repeatedly to become more grounded in my spiritual inner life, and deepen my relationship to something higher, greater and grander than myself.  These realizations grounded me in a more empowering philosophy which increased my happiness quotient.


Number 4:  According to legend, Albert Einstein said:"I think the most important question facing humanity is, 'Is this universe a friendly place?' So when I read this, I committed to exploring this question.  I found that I truly believe that the universe IS indeed, a friendly place. And I believe this philosophy has greatly increased my happiness.


Another great philosophical point comes from Charles Swindoll when he said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”


Many of us remember the multi-faceted truth of The Serenity Prayer which, in brief, reminds us to develop the wisdom to know the difference between the things we can and cannot control—and to accept and let go of what we cannot control.


I polled some people I know, here are their philosophies for your consideration:

***Stop worrying about yesterday or tomorrow and focus on today.
***This too shall pass.
***My best is good enough.
***Higher Power/God/the Universe is supporting me and wants me to be happy.
***Make sure to laugh; utilize humor.
***Continue to develop a support network—it makes you feel less alone.
***Gratitude is the attitude.
***It is not always about me; put other people first; see 2 sides to a situation.
***Take life one day or even one moment at a time; see there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
***For every one thing you regret, there are countless more to be thankful for.


I encourage you to borrow, adopt, and create some basic philosophies that can keep you firmly planted on the journey to wellness and happiness.  Absorb them deeply into your spirit. 



Let them be your signposts, on big billboards, and with neon flashing lights around them that continue to inspire and uplift you no matter what comes your way.  Let them show you the way home.  This is something we all can do to nurture our beautiful heart and spirit.  I believe in you, wholeheartedly.

Terry Zick has a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling from University of Colorado-Denver. She has 30 years experience working with adults, children and family preservation.  She has worked in settings such as: non-profits, schools, justice system, alcohol/drug programs. Her role as counselor, consultant and trainer maintains a focus on spirituality, health and wellness.  Terry currently facilitates groups and supports individualized mentoring at the Wellness and Recovery Center North .