by Mary O’Malley: Are you happy at the moment?
Yes, in this moment. For me, happiness is feeling a sense of joy and ease, no matter what is happening in my life. In the great flow of life, we always experience extremes – joyful and sorrowful, easy and challenging, beautiful and unappealing. The doorway to happiness is discovering that we don’t have to tighten around the difficult nor hold on to the beautiful. Happiness comes from the ability to be fully engaged with the flow of life exactly as it is appearing, no matter what it brings.
*IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND SAY ANYTHING TO YOUR 16-YEAR-OLD SELF NOW – WHAT WOULD IT BE?
When I was 16, I had already experienced sexual abuse and I was numbing myself with alcohol and drugs. This dark path would eventually lead me to 3 suicide attempts. I would tell that 16 year old to meet yourself in your own heart with curiosity and compassion rather than trying to change, fix, and rearrange the “broken parts.” I would also say that by bringing curiosity and compassion to all of the states of mind and body that you have been trying to change and control all of your life, you will find the doorway to freedom.
*WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED THIS YEAR?
After more than 35 years of doing awakening consciousness work, I learned this year with a major family challenge that deep reaction can still arise inside of me, but each reaction is taking me deeper into embracing life as it is. These moments of consciousness remind me that I am human, and I can love myself exactly as I am. As the author Jeff Foster once said, “Fall in love with this perfectly divine, very human mess that you are!”
*WHAT DO YOU MOST WANT TO ACHIEVE IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
I want to continue to help others heal their inner wars. If I look really closely, I can see that most human beings are walking around with “cloud banks of thoughts” surrounding their heads. Rather than being here for the amazing creativity and beauty of Life, they are totally absorbed in their thoughts. They are living “mind” rather than living “Life.” And if I could hear their thoughts, I know I would see that they are usually struggling with Life. I want to continue to make a positive difference in the world by guiding others to see through their own shame, judgment, greed, hatred, entitlement, anger and fear, so they can experience a trust-filled connection with Life and become a healing presence on this planet.
*WHAT’S YOUR SECRET TO HAPPINESS?
My secret to happiness is tuning into my own heart. I try to allow the wisdom of my heart, rather than my mind, to be the guiding force in my life. When I began to listen to my heart, I began to see that I was not my thoughts, that it was only the storyteller in my head. And, I began to discover the phenomenal power of the heart by seeing through the spells I took on when I was very young. I have come to believe that this is the time of the heart, and the most important person to touch with our hearts is ourselves!
*WHAT ONE RITUAL OR PRACTICE KEEPS YOU GROUNDED?
There is a wonderful mantra that I use when I am meditating or in moments when I am not feeling particularly grounded. This mantra gives me the healing of my own compassionate attention: “As is. I’m here.” When I say “As is” on the in-breath and “I’m here” on the out-breath, it is an invitation beyond the endless struggle of trying to be what I think I should be by allowing myself to be exactly as I am.
*WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST REGRET?
Having regrets is just the mind struggling and trying to change “what is.” So, I really don’t have any regrets. I believe that everything in my life is and has been for me. The following statement from my new book, “What’s In the Way IS the Way” captures this belief:
Life is set up
To bring up
What has been bound up
So it can open up
To be freed up
So you can show up
*WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU’VE TAUGHT YOUR KID(S)?
I have tried to teach my two kids all of the lessons I have learned on the path of awakening, but I would have to say that the most important lesson is that there is nothing inside of you to be ashamed of. We all have “broken parts”, but we are all good at pretending that we don’t – both to ourselves and to others! Be kind to these parts when you are having a difficult day.
*WHAT BAD HABIT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO CHANGE ABOUT YOURSELF?
Trying to change ourselves just creates struggle. Rather, I would like to deepen my ability to bring curiosity and compassion to the one who feels resistance, fear, dread and despair when I am caught in reaction or when something “bad” happens to one of my kids.
*ASIDE FROM MOTHERHOOD/FATHERHOOD AND MARRIAGE WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR LIFE?
As an author, counselor, inspirational speaker, and awakening teacher, I am most proud for the part I am playing in healing our planet. I am also grateful that two of the most well-respected spiritual teachers, Eckhart Tolle and Neale Donald Walsch, endorse my teachings and my books.
*WHEN WERE YOU HAPPIEST?
In this very moment, because this moment is all we have.
*WHAT TEN WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?
In this moment in the great flow of life, I would describe myself as “grateful, compassionate, curious, joyful, and filled with love and light.”