“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy -- because we will always want to have something else or something more” ~ David Steindl-Rast
Well if it works for Peter Pan surely it can work for us too! Can’t it? Metaphorically speaking – yes, it absolutely can! But it needs to be a truly happy thought – one that really makes you smile and feel good. The thing about happy thoughts is that they’re contagious. Once you’ve thought of one, it can lead you onto another, and another, until you’re thinking lots of happy thoughts!
Now I know that some people reading this may be thinking “yes but Peter Pan is childrens’ story”. To a great degree I would agree with you. However, much truth can be hidden in stories if we allow ourselves to see it. Much of the learning we can receive in life can come through stories, fables, metaphors, and analogies. Many of the spiritual teachers, such as Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, taught in this way, and their stories still teach us today. So why not take the lessons childrens’ stories too?
The thing with these stories is that, as we grow older, we are encouraged and educated to let go of them as being “childish” and “too old to believe such things”. This is a great shame as we can end up losing so much of our ability to have fun and not take life so seriously which, of course, we very much tend to as we get older! Responsibilities pile on top of us, challenges of the world around us, all the negativity of crime, illness, the economy, and war (to name a few) press down upon us. So eventually, we forget how to play and have happy thoughts. We have a tendency to think only about serious things and “how we can fix them”.
Do you know, though, the more we relax and allow ourselves to enjoy life, the easier solutions to our challenges come to us. When we are feeling so serious, stressed, and worried, we close off our mind and become too narrowly focused that we miss opportunities to deal with our challenges. We also miss so many opportunities for fun along the way. Life wasn’t meant to be depressing, scary, and horrible. It is meant to be fun, exciting, and stimulating. And, yes, it was also meant to be challenging – but in a positive way.
When athletes beat their personal goals, they look forward to being able to do that again. They don’t get all depressed because they’ve beaten that challenge and feel dreadful because they’ve got to do it all again. It’s a constant striving to improve, evolve, and get even better – and enjoy it along the way!
So let’s look again at this metaphor of flying. Have you ever noticed how some people seem to “fly through life having fun”. You can bet your sweet-cheeks that they’re thinking mostly happy thoughts as they do! Being depressed, unhappy, worried, and stressed is not actually going to solve anything. It’s just wasted energy. It brings you down.
Take another analogy – there are certain types of boat that, the faster they go, they are able to skim the surface of the water. This means they can move more quickly because they’re not being slowed down by the resistance of the water. See yourself as that skimming boat. Worrying thoughts about negative, stressful things slow you down. Happy, positive, joyful thoughts speed you up – and so you can literally whizz along more easily and, even more importantly, enjoy the ride!
Remember all it takes is one happy thought to begin it. Just one thought that feels good and better than where you are. Then allow that thought to lead to another, and another, and another until, like Peter Pan, you’re literally flying!