Let me tell you a story about me and where the Be Happiness Project was born.
I was born in the UK but my childhood was anything but British. It all went down for the most part in Bahrain and the San Francisco bay area in California. Whilst I do remember intense desert heat and watching camels from our apartment window in Bahrain, it was in California where my childhood soul still lives.
I love people and I get great joy in my own life helping another person free their soul from it’s ugly twin the ego. You know the one that reminds you just how much fear you can really feel if you try hard enough? I call him the false prophet. He’s the one who judges and criticises and holds you back from being your true self, your naturally happy and loving self.
Living in California I was very lucky to live in a beautiful town called Lafayette, situated in green and golden rolling valleys and lush and abundant woodland. I loved it there and I can easily transport myself back whenever I listen to my soul bird which to me is like the hummingbird that would hover at the feeder outside our home. This is my soul bird. He is light, agile, focused and drinks deeply from the nectar of life.
When I thought about what I wanted to create to share more happiness and love with the world I felt a natural powerful connection with my childhood in Lafayette. The happiest memories I have are hot summer vacations which were filled with exploration and adventure with friends in the woods near my home, and all created entirely with our imaginations and from our joy of being alive.
We fought countless battles, defended our forts and created maps to hide our treasure in castle tree houses, sailed paper boats with secret messages on them down the rain flooded gutters of our street. We swung across ravines and mighty white water rivers which where were really gentle streams. As I was British I decided a heroic Knight was appropriate character for me to play. We camped out and told stories, created friendships and shared dreams. I can remember nights out under the stars, feeling like everything was possible for me because what we can all achieve is infinite.
During my teens and early adulthood I lost touch with my hummingbird, he was still there but I rarely fed him or let him fly anymore. I was too busy fighting and being manipulated by my ego who I’m sure could easily be imagined as the Emperor from Star Wars, only much less supportive and loving! I found myself paralysed by fear most of the time. I struggled to ever really feel comfortable being myself in case nobody liked that guy, how could I take such a risk?
So I hid behind my expertly crafted persona which was the people pleasing jester who would do anything to get a laugh and therefore the hope of love and approval of others. I used this persona as a type of defence against depression and the bad stuff. The thing is this only works for so long because our conditioned self is nothing compared to the unlimited strength of our true self. It’s about as effective as a made up Harry Potter spell against the dark arts of the mind.
My parents separated when I was about 11 and this was one of things I feared the most in life having watched my dearest friends in California have their world and their hearts torn in two by the same thing. This had a profound impact on my life, I was really lost and became estranged from both parents, particularly my mother. We fought fiercely for years and I could never really work out why, I never wanted this.
For a very long time I struggled with my own awkwardness until I found somewhere to hide called alcohol, often referred to in the same family as a recreational drugs. Recreational drugs is a label that has always sounded so cozy and nice to me, but as anyone who has hung out with them for long enough will attest it certainly isn’t. It magnifies the personal hell you have created for yourself and rather than escape you’re even more stuck. Even though the glass is never half empty there is no pleasure left in drinking from it.
I became so depressed and anxious that I started to suffer panic attacks at night and eventually any time of day. These honestly always felt like I was having a heart attack. I would try and wake my wife in the cruelest darkest part of the night begging for her help. God knows what I really expected her to do to help me. Following the typical treatment paths I was given antidepressants and counselling. Talking helped me more than pills to unravel the mess of the past to start to understand the present. But it was only when I finally woke up to my true self that I was able to take control back and clearly see that it was really my own thoughts that scared me the most, not life. I knew that I create my life and my world every day.
I found that by listening I could help others with their thinking and I found real joy in this. Everyone still has the happiness they were born with, it’s just hiding away inside waiting to be set free again, to fly.
Do I still feel fear and receive tempting offers from my ego to just give up and take the old persona for a spin for old times sake? You better believe it. The difference now is that I can see it coming and I’m ready with a custard pie to push in his face!
The purpose of the Be Happiness Project is to capture this magical quality in all of us and share it in story form because happiness and love is our true nature and nothing is more beautiful. I want to share these stories with the world to inspire and to celebrate the people who follow their hearts.