What We’re Grateful for This Week: Permission to Cultivate Happiness
  • September 23, 2016
  • cultivate happiness

    Each night, sometime between 11 pm and 1 am, I pack my bag for all that the next day has in store. The process includes ensuring I have enough changes (yes, plural) of clothes, that all the necessary checklist items made it into the bag and getting some semblance of meals for the day together.

    Last night, as I scrolled through the schedule on my calendar and internalized the fact that the day was going to start at 4:30 am and end at 9 pm (again), I had a moment of internal frustration that turned into an actual exclamation of “I don’t want to fucking doing it.”

    And then, as soon as I literally cursed out loud, I halted. “Wait a minute, you created this calendar,” my inner-self said. “You chose all of these things and just take a look at them. You’re teaching amazing classes in multiple amazing communities and you’re creating your dream job right before your eyes. You’re in charge of your destiny. Look at you go.”

    In that moment I chose to change the conversation. I chose to be happy. And in that tiny a-ha moment I made the connection to a larger conversation about happiness in the broad sense of the feeling – a theme that has come up for us all week long.

    This Week’s Wellness Mantra: Cultivating Happiness

    Team aSweatLife attended Shape Magazine‘s conference this week, an event chock-full of badass female panelists who are also advocates for choosing happiness.

    “Why are we qualifying happiness?” Jen Widerstrom, Chicago native and coach on The Biggest Loser, asked. The question echoed all the way to the back of the room and overwhelming resolution filled the air as we all nodded heads in agreement.

    Another panelist, Dawn Jackson Blatner, Chicago Cubs registered dietician, built on the question. “We’re all living ‘shouldy’ lives,” she asserted. “Let’s do away with the word ‘should’ right now.”

    The word “should” adds all kinds of qualifiers and extra weight to our daily life decisions. Decisions no longer come from an authentic place that’s best for us; they are all of a sudden the product of others who don’t know us best. That’s something only we can really know.

    The all-day conference with Shape featured many more panelists with tidbits of wisdom I furiously scribbled down into a note on my phone, but I heard an overarching theme of “you are in charge of your own destiny” loud and clear.

    That destiny requires you to be a beacon of light for yourself. What lights you up? What fuels your fire from the inside out? Whatever your answer is, it deserves no qualification.

    In fact, I vote we immediately stop qualifying our happiness and replace it with, simply, the cultivation of it. This Inc.com article says it starts with permission to do just that. Imagine what stress we could, then, remove from our lives on our own.

    About Maggie Umberger

    Maggie moved to Chicago from North Carolina in 2014 with a degree in Journalism and Spanish, a 200-hour yoga certification, a group fitness cert and a passion to teach and to sweat. It wasn't until she found aSweatLife that she really started to feel at home. Here, she's incorporated her passion for health and wellness into her career as she helps to build the network of Ambassadors, trainers and fitness enthusiasts that exist within the aSweatLife ecosystem. You can also find her coaching at CrossTown Fitness and teaching yoga classes at Bare Feet Power Yoga, Yoga Six and exhale.