Be the Storyteller of Your Happiness

Last updated March 9, 2022

Like the butterfly cautiously emerging from its chrysalis, we, too, are navigating a new normal and different world. 

The upside-down hiatus which we have been living through lately has taught us a lot about ourselves, our planet and most importantly how trivial everything else really becomes when we can no longer consider our physical or mental health a given. 

As Lucien Lucarme writes in the online forum Medium, “We don’t need a new normal. We need a better story.” We have been conditioned to survive in a world of greed, separation, competition, tyranny and anxiety, while we observe nature’s ecosystems collapsing all around us. 

We don’t need a new normal. We need a better story.

Lucien Lucarme

“It’s time to embrace a new story for humanity,” he continues, “and you are the storyteller of that new future. We all are. We are in a revolution of inclusion where nobody will be left behind.”

A recent report by management consulting firm McKinsey estimates the global wellness market at more than $1.5 trillion USD, with an annual growth of between five and 10 percent. This research shows that consumers care deeply about wellness and prioritize their health and well-being more than ever before.  

Kate O'Brien storyteller of happiness
Author Kate O’Brien

Over the past 20 years or so I have been fortunate to connect with some of the wisest and most relevant healers of our time. I have told their stories and to this day continue to bring their rich teachings into my own life. 

One of the many conversations that have stayed with me was with Tibetan Buddhist monk and author Gelong Thubten, who has studied under some of the most experienced Tibetan masters of our day. 

Thubten believes there is a trend in the world of well-being for seeking out powerful “wow” experiences that set unrealistic expectations. So much so that we have become so focused on what we are missing out on (that spiritual FOMO—Fear of Missing Out), that the more we crave the high, the more we experience the low. 

We have become so focused on that spiritual FOMO that the more we crave the high, the more we experience the low.

Tibetan Bhuddist monk Gelong Thubten

“So when can we actually have true happiness?” he asks. 

Currently, everything we do offers short bursts of happiness that are neither satisfying nor sustainable and it’s this “spiritual shopping” that he wants to turn around, so we can start to live from within ourselves—the place where lasting happiness resides. 

And while there are many techniques that can help us do this, it is very much about the attitude we bring to our meditation practice and to our lives. “I want to help people realize they can choose happiness, and show how this can be learned through the power of meditation and interconnection,” he qualifies. 

In essence, what illuminates life is not the chasing after, but the slowing down and the living in the now. However, as most of us who have long lived life in overdrive know, putting this into practice is not so simple. 

DNA ladder

The game-changing Human Genome Project completed in 2003 is one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of our time as it enabled researchers to read the complete roadmap of the genes that make up human DNA for the first time. 

Since then, the field of epigenetics has offered hope for the successful treatment of myriad chronic diseases, while also giving us the choice to dial-up or down our genetic activity for happier, healthier lives. 

We now know that while we cannot change the past, nor the genetic code we were born with, we have the power to use our genes to create major shifts in our bodies, our well-being and our performance. 

In other words, from this moment onwards, we have a choice. And what research is also showing is that our genes and lifestyle form a feedback loop and while our actual genes remain the same, our genetic activity—the hundreds of proteins, enzymes and other chemicals that regulate our cells and determine how we feel and behave—can change.

I am the writer of my unique script and my biggest takeaway from listening to these healers is that we really have to pause, listen and stay present with ourselves. Now.

Kate O’Brien

For all of us navigating our way through life, knowing that our biology doesn’t equate with our destiny offers profound hope. This time, we are firmly in the driver’s seat and we have more power than we thought possible to influence our emotional realities. 

Every thought incites neurochemical changes that activate our genes and programs brain cells. So what if we tweak the nagging, painful self-criticism and fearful thoughts that dominate our day (up to 3,000 thoughts per hour apparently!) to those of love, kindness and meaningful connection? 

What if, instead of cortisol and the sympathetic nervous system’s instantaneous “fight or flight” response to stressful moments, we breathed a little more fully and deeply, unleashing a flood of calming and pleasure-seeking serotonin and dopamine from the parasympathetic nervous system? 

And what if we smiled and laughed a little more, connecting more fully with our hearts and our intimacy—the core of who we are? We now know that positive thoughts can do this. 

I am the writer of my unique script and my biggest takeaway from listening to these healers and living through the storms is that we really have to pause, listen and stay present with ourselves. Now.

Intuitive healer Fiona Arrigo
Intuitive healer Fiona Arrigo

As biodynamic psychotherapist Fiona Arrigo says, “We are the dreamers of the new and the more we rest, the more we dream and at some point, these prayers and visions will undoubtedly create a new world. Midst this terror, there is great magnificence, so let’s dare to dream, dare to hope and come together in our collective wisdom.” 

After all, our genes are patiently waiting for direction, so let us plan our journey wisely so we can all live more meaningful, inclusive and abundant lives. 

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