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Forging a New Path Forward: With Inner Peace and Happiness

Looking down an brick path in the fall with a clear blue sky overhead

“Each step we make should be peace. Each step we make should be joy. Each step we make should be happiness.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

“Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.”
Oprah Winfrey

Autumn in the Midwest serves as a wonderful reminder of transformation as the long hot days of summer recede and the chill of winter’s sleet and slush awaits us on the not-too-distant horizon. Meanwhile, fall leaves are turning golden shades of yellow, amber, red, and brown, and cool breezes are shaking loose the acorns and walnuts needed to nourish wildlife for the cold months ahead and to set the stage for new growth in the spring.

While observing the change in seasons, what transitions are we likewise experiencing? Perhaps we have a new job or are newly retired. Perhaps we have children who are off at college or getting married or having children of their own. Perhaps we have recently lost a loved one.

As we meet these big life changes, what do we need to release for our own renewal? What do we need in order to nourish our body, mind, and spirit for the times ahead? Transitions often offer us an opportunity to seek uncharted passageways and to reflect on fresh avenues for growth and healing.

How do we forge ahead toward a fulfilling destination during the major shifts in our lives?

Maybe just asking the right questions is a good place to start. For instance, we can ask: What makes me happy? It’s a simple question that we may not have taken adequate time to answer during the intensity and chaos of personal upheavals.

As we take the time to look deeply at our lives and to answer that question honestly, we can set about the task of taking small steps in the direction of our own happiness.

It’s not selfish to look for and to reach out for things that are life-affirming and that bring us joy. On the contrary, it’s life-draining to repeatedly spend time doing that which tends to bring us ongoing misery, angst, self-loathing, or depression. The world has its share of unhappiness – we don’t need to add to it.

Our life on this planet is too short to spend in drama and despair. Better to focus our time and energy more constructively on what promotes our inner healing, happiness, and joy. That’s a gift we can then give not only to ourselves, but also to everyone we interact with along our journey. Perhaps it’s also what the world truly needs right now: more people being the peace they seek.

It’s also a bold declaration that, despite the chaos in the world around us, our choices make a difference.

Whatever the heartache, the disappointments, the loss, or the unanticipated life changes, our actions can lead us forward. The path may not look like we thought it would; but we can, nevertheless, travel it with intentional—conscious—steps of peace, steps of joy, and steps of happiness.

As nature continually teaches us:

Even in the midst of great change, there are gifts to be found in each passing season of our lives.


Peace & love,

Diana J. Ensign

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