‘Think of water and how it moves around the rocks
It always finds a way to flow around, above, and even underneath them. Water flows wherever it wants to flow, and does not stop or get held up by the rocks. It keeps its focus on its purpose … To stay true to your flow, don't make the rocks in your life the most important happenings. Instead, keep your focus on your purpose to flow, and with that, find other ways around them to be and live your truth.'
This is how Jacqueline Pirtle encourages us to keep focus, in her book, 365 Days of Happiness,* publisher Freaky Healer (2018)
Reflect on some of your Monday mornings. It may look something like this: alarm - groan - snooze - alarm - expletive - get up and comment on unfairness of the world - Monday mornings should be banned - look in mirror - groan - expletive - mental list of every flaw/imperfection/excess flesh - shower - open wardrobe - groan nothing to wear - clothes are all meh! .... you get the picture? Sounds great, doesn't it? Er NO? How are we to maintain healthy bodies and minds with such a negative start to the day?
Jacqueline, an energy healer and mindfulness teacher, offers an alternative start to the day. 374 pages cover 365 days of inspirational approaches, insights and mindfulness exercises to achieving happiness every single day. In 2017, she decided to document her method for choosing happiness every day. As adults and children take to social media for their next fix from 'likes', Jacqueline gently redirects this attention to being and living in a "high for life frequency of happiness".
The Mind Body Spirit or New Age genre is as much in vogue today as it was in the seventies and eighties. While the subject of happiness – what it is, how to find it, and how to keep it, has been studied extensively as far back as Plato, new additions to the library of work on this topic are still being produced. However, as culture, language, and external pressures change over time, so does the approach that writers take to address the issue of happiness.
One of the author's core beliefs is that happiness manifests itself through a healthy mind, body and experience. She further believes that although happiness is how we are meant to BE, this state is not necessarily passive but something that we can learn. Furthermore, we all have a responsibility to seek to BE happy. Based on the premise that everything is connected, everything is ONE, an investment in our happiness is an investment in the universe. We are a part of that universe.
365 Days of Happiness invites you to take an affirmative and mindful action each day to BE your best happy self. Jacqueline invites us to either reflect on a routine activity, imagine a specific scenario or remember a past event. This is then developed into a mindfulness task, visualisation or decisive action for the day.
Playful prodding and encouragement steer us towards an energetic shift towards happiness, and we are reminded of our…
' full power to change the state you are in … your thoughts, feelings and perceptions'.
Jacqueline’s whimsical approach to life and happiness is infectious; it will have you smiling at your willingness to 'do the twist' or imagine you have 'inherited a pair of pants'. While these may sound simple and fun, her analogies are pertinent reminders of actions we can take or thought processes we could change. She turns these into 'what if?' scenarios, list-making exercises, visualisations, questions, affirmations or 'Aha' moments. The messages are timeless, and I imagine that when you reach the end of the book, you simply go back to the beginning again?
‘Imagine someone spills a drink!
Usually they are in distress about this happening. Now imagine that you say to them ‘‘it is OK, it is all OK. Are you OK?’’ Hearing these words lets them relax … to smile or laugh about their mishap. The word ‘‘OK’’ carries an energy of resistance-free, peaceful, acceptance, respect for what is…’
Self-acceptance, openness and happiness are examples of what you will be asked to embrace within 365 Days of Happiness. It is slightly meatier than a simple quote of the day and some days the message may resonate with you more than others. However, if you are forgetful, like me, it is only far too easy to ‘forget’ to start happy. This is probably why I called my little dog ‘Happy’, it means that one of the first words that escapes from my barely functioning mouth in the morning is ‘Happy!’
One of my favourite analogies from 365 Days of Happiness is Day 154 where Jacqueline invites you to imagine creating your garden of ‘thoughts, intentions, wishes, dreams…’ You are welcome to visit other beautiful gardens that inspire you and bring happiness, but always return to your own. ‘Overstaying creates a disconnect with yourself’. Conversely you are advised to avoid gardens that do not feel good. We can sense negativity or destabilisation if we have strayed into the wrong garden throughout the day. Being mindful of this enables us to act swiftly and implement an escape strategy. In such a situation, Jacqueline advises us to ‘race back home’. Although the advantages of remaining true to ourselves is hardly breaking news, this captivating image of tending, improving and adding to your own garden is an enchanting one.
If you read the book as intended, one day at a time, you will not only reap the benefits of a positive and uplifting start to the day but additionally, a thought-provoking message to ponder on. This is not a book to digest in large chunks, as I did for review purposes. I would recommend placing 365 Days of Happiness by your bed so that it may greet you with its happy cupcake on the cover. Upon opening it, allow its gentle guidance to inspire and embrace you every morning with its happiness for the day. As Jacqueline states at the end of each day’s guidance,
‘That IS happiness!’
Alternatively, you may feel guided by intuition, or a slightly rebellious streak, and open the book at a random page. If so, go ahead and absorb whatever message speaks to you on that particular day? Ideally, in the spirit of giving and sharing, position it strategically on the breakfast table. Other family members may ingest its daily dose of positivity with their morning coffee, smoothie or maybe … a cupcake?
*Gifted for review purposes