Death, Stress and Happiness

I’m considered to be a happiness expert (and love that!). Does that mean I’m smiling all the time? Well, consider this: My mother-in-law, who lived with dementia in our home for four years, died on December 29th. Then my father passed on February 16th. My mother followed him  seven weeks later on April 7th. My family is dealing with another significant emotional trauma as I’m writing this. Stressful? Sure. Oh, and there’s also good stress: We’re selling our home of 23 years, renovating our home in Vermont, renting an apartment in Boston, all while building a brand new home care franchising business.

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There’s a lot going on, and yet I’m still experiencing what I call “glowing happiness.” Why? Well, I’ve drunk my own Kool Aid! Let me tell you, this stuff works! I’m energized, focused on the future, feeling confident, and enjoying the results that come from living a life of purpose and presence.

So what’s the secret to glowing happiness? It all boils down to knowing who you are. It’s really that simple. For me, coming to that awareness happened after years of meditation, delving into different spiritual traditions, being among others seeking the same answers, reading A Course in Miracles, and shifting, generally, into a state of curiosity.

In the framework of Energy Leadership, I’ve chosen to see my experience at Levels 5, 6 and 7 as often as possible. I see opportunity, find joy in the connectedness I feel, and every so often am aware of how beautiful life truly is when lived free of the illusions created by attachment to ego and the idea of our separateness. I’m aware of the purpose I’m serving. I’m clear on what my best self looks like and move toward that daily. I’m not attached to the goals I’ve set, but rather just to the process of achieving them. This way of thinking, of BEING, is the key to happiness – and the amazing results we can achieve when we see the world this way!

So what’s the secret to glowing happiness? It all boils down to knowing who you are. It’s really that simple.

Yes, there’s pain -- plenty of it these days for me! But suffering from the pain is something I’ve chosen to skip. I can be with the pain, and also know that I’m separate from it. I can recognize it, experience it, and let it go. This is resilience: the ability to bounce back from trauma. Whether it’s a lost sales deal, a stinging personal insult, or even death itself, just notice it. Notice your thoughts about it and realize how distinct you are from those thoughts.

Happiness and resilience spring from an awareness of who we are and the ability to use that to see opportunity and let pain go before it turns to suffering. Arriving at this approach to life took me something like 40 years. You can get there sooner, and indeed it’s my goal to help others accomplish just that. It’s been reaffirming, though, to see how this process of enlightenment serves me during this time of deep personal pain. You've possibly heard this before: “My peace I give you.” Well, I'm saying it, too. Please, accept it and share it!


Pete Colgan works with sales and marketing professionals who want fulfillment so they can manage stress, build thriving business and create successful, happy lives. Consider investing in yourself to truly understand what brings you joy and how you can use that awareness to increase revenue and kick your life and career into high gear. Whether through one-on-one coaching, or a cost-effective group coaching program, what you discover will help the work you do feel effortless! Click here to learn more.