“If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”

Boy, Ram Dass knew what he was talking about. I found that out this summer when part of my big family, including my sister, and I met at a vacation rental home on the Jersey shore.

Don’t get me wrong – I never thought I was enlightened, but in my talks and forthcoming book, I do share practices for living happy so I’m sure it’s equally valid to say, “If you think you’re wise enough to tell other people about habits for living happy, go spend a week with your family.”

Amazing! I really had thought I was mature enough and had been practicing mind/spirit techniques long enough to sail right through, having fun, enjoying the beach, playing with the kids, being non-judgmental no matter what came up in conversation.


Anyway – it rained every day I was there and, long story short, my childish behaviors floated to the surface and bubbled over at the end of my stay. Everything’s hunky-dory now with all of us and we’re more loving than ever, but I had to take a long, hard look at myself and what’s going on inside me. And I used a practice I’ll share with you because it works for me every time – even though in that instance, I didn’t use it until a couple days later when I was back home but still smarting.

So here goes (it’s best to use this technique right away – so don’t do as I do, do as I suggest).

I firmly believe that the most important thing for us to do in this life is to manage our inner show. By “inner show” I mean the movie that’s playing in our heads: our state of being, frequency, awareness, consciousness. I invite you to practice this method often – not just if you have a toxic emotion:

  1. Notice your thoughts and feelings.
  1. If you’re feeling anger or shame or another emotion that makes you miserable, really feel it. Stronger. STRONGER!
  1. Drop the story. If the story tries to creep back in, focus totally on the emotion. You’ll find that it’s impossible to feel the emotion without the story and each time you do this, you’ll release some of the negative charge of the destructive emotion.
  1. Turn your focus to gratitude. Recall what you’re thankful for and what makes you feel good. Play that movie. If you need to make amends with someone, swallow your pride and just do it.

The hardest part of this process is dropping the story. Sometimes we get addicted to our story, and we want to play it over and over. Breaking that pattern takes work – hard work. But it’s so worth the effort for our health and wellbeing. And especially our happiness.

We’re all human and we all have stresses and worries and traumas from time to time, but we can handle unexpected, crummy life situations in ways that bring more love into the world, or in ways that fuel rage and joylessness.

It all depends on our choices. So choose how you want to feel. That doesn’t mean jumping for joy, pretending enthusiasm when you’re feeling down in the dumps. It means not criticizing yourself if you’re letting that story play over and over, but acknowledging that you’re doing this. Just becoming aware of what’s going on inside, whether you’re feeling miserable or fabulous, is a giant step in the right direction.

Once you acknowledge what’s playing in your inner show, if it’s toxic and you’ve done the process above, very gradually increase your frequency by deliberately playing better-feeling movies – and experience the change inside. It’s an unmistakable transformation in energy and vitality.

Next, go for it! Visualize your ultimate desire. Paint a picture in your mind of something that makes your heart roar with sheer delight. Then when love and joy are the main feature in your inner show, go out and share that feeling with other people. Especially your family.

Please share your thoughts about something that makes your heart sing with our online community in the comments section below. Thanks!

2 Comments so far:
  •   September 15, 2015 - Tilaya Says:

    Dear Ellen,

    Love to read your experience. Today I had the same thing going on. I practice already what you described. Yet, Thinking I practice and am ‘spiritual mature’ enough to recognize it and do it in the instant. Was I wrong.. Suddenly I started blaming everything and everyone for my situation and thinking “I will tell them…grmph..” Not very spiritual, not even mature. What I recognize now that I could only handle the whole story when I sat down, slowed down, relaxed, breathed. Than I saw what happened and could LOVE IT FREE. I keep practicing. Am 50 and keep practicing. Everyday in everyway I am getting better and better. I think we deserve a reward for doing our utmost. Feel now like a child enjoying the candy after a tough task. Thanks Ellen xxxTilaya

  •   September 17, 2015 - Ellen Wood Says:

    You’re wonderful, Tilaya. The most important part you’ve aced! Noticing, becoming aware of what’s going on inside you while “stuff” is happening is difficult but gets easier the more we practice. Thanks for sharing.

2 Responses to ““If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.””

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