Happy even through it

When I heard this issue was themed, ”Get Happy,” I was totally in. I’m all about happy, even through the messy parts of life. I recently received upsetting news about the health of a loved

When I heard this issue was themed, ”Get Happy,” I was totally in. I’m all about happy, even through the messy parts of life. I recently received upsetting news about the health of a loved one. It was a moment that stopped my heart and knocked me right out of happy, temporarily.  As I was explaining to my friend what I was learning from this moment, she laughed. “That’s why I call you the flipper,” she said. “You always flip everything around to something good.” I had to think about that. I do re-frame everything. I can’t choose what happens to me, but I have the sole power to choose how I respond. And I choose to be happy. Eventually.

The italics on the word eventually are very important. When something enters your life, whether it comes crashing through your heart, or softly rains and rains, you have to find your way through it. These are the three P’s of my happy GPS. They get me through and I find a gem through each experience. This “Takeaway” is the difference between learning to carry trash bags or treasure chest! Which do you want to carry?


Image courtesy of Linda Ragsdale

How you look at everything emotionally charges your life, and either challenges, changes or enriches it. The first thing I do when facing any incident is ask myself one question – where’s the Gem? Every experience in our life offers us a jewel of knowledge for us to carry on, and sometimes to share with others when they find themselves on the same road. When you start to look for gems from the very beginning, you’ll always keep your eye to the gifts life offers. Take a moment to think about this.

Everything starts and stops with you. YOU.

You determine how you see, feel and respond to anything.

You do.

This is a power worth embracing! How’s it looking for you? What are you finding?

Put your lens to finding the jewels in your life.


While you’re looking for those jewels, you’ll experience the emotional upheaval or imbalance. So feel them! Feel what you need to feel and then empower the emotions that help you through. After I got the news, I had to sit with it. I had to feel every part of it. I had to do this until I found the shiny part of it, the jewel. Then I let the trash fall away.

What was showing up as fear was not helpful – at all. It was paralyzing and based upon the unknown, illusions. The easiest way for me to deal with fear was to get answers. Searching for answers put me back in power. The sadness also dissipated as options and opportunities appeared. This is a pattern you have to keep working with, because fear can be pretty demanding. In helping people through the initial diagnosis of cancer, fear can completely polarize them from moving forward, and when you’re making decisions about your life, you need to be in complete power. When someone refers back to fear, I ask why they want to go there. Why are you choosing to embrace fear? I send them searching within. Searching for answers there releases the illusions and presents truth. It’s your light shining into your darkness. It’s the powerful you taking charge! Take the time you need to find your power.


Of all the aspects in facing a challenge, patience can be the most trying. Happiness comes with living in the now, without the luggage of yesterday or the doubts of tomorrow. When answers don’t appear immediately, impatience can drive you directly to misery. Don’t let it detour you from your happy place! Acknowledge that some information is still on its way, and reset your mind and actions. For me, this is a trip to the art–side. I find my peace and patience in creating something beautiful, creating a different experience. Sometimes it’s a walk or listening to my favorite music. Sometimes it’s crying to my favorite music!

Right now, I’m learning to be a co-survivor. It’s expanding my understanding of the challenges from this new place, regaining my power, and being happy even through it. Happiness is a gift we give to ourselves and those around us.

Here’s an exercise to set your heart compass to happy and beginning your treasure hunts.

        Image courtesy of Linda Ragsdale

A Story Worth Retelling

Think about how you share your most challenging life moments. Are you the victim or the victor? What did you discover after going through it? How did it help you face future events? If this is a repeating story, you’re not finding the gems. Rewrite your story as the hero and you’ll start seeing yourself that way too. Find your gems and cash them in for joy!



Linda Ragsdale
Author, illustrator, TedX and international speaker Linda Ragsdale teaches how the powerful skills of View, Voice and Choice can guide people through the challenging parts of life to achieve a peaceful and productive outcome. Surviving a physically devastating wound in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, Linda offered a message of empathy and compassion over retaliation or resentment as her response. The world heard. Her peace work moves her around the globe, reaching over 33,000 students and adults in presentations and workshops, in Canada, India, Brazil, The Philippines, China and Japan.

Linda teaches people to stay in their heart base, the tenets she applied to guide her through stage-three breast cancer, keeping her focused on celebrating life s treasures within the moments of darkness. Whether the terrorist comes from outside or within, Ragsdale believes peace offers a balanced journey through every life event, whether its traffic, trauma or cancer.

Her non-profit, The Peace Dragon, keeps Linda active in local and international schools, colleges, rotary clubs, women s groups, and FBI meetings. As a local volunteer, she is on the community boards of NPT and SouthernWord. She organizes community events for peace and social issues. In the publishing world, her picture book series, Peace Dragon Tales (Flowerpot Press) introduces peace skills to our earliest learners. Her upcoming adult book, Happily, Even After reflects her Panglossian joy to facing life. In the virtual world, she is co-host of New Focus Network's My 2nd Act, and stars in her own upcoming series, A Happy Place, where she hopes to help people find their happy places, and stay there!

Ragsdale shares her peace of heart everywhere she goes, with handfuls of paper dragons and peaceful wishes. Otherwise, you ll find her at home curled up with her husband and pets, or with visiting her three children.

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