The surprising update on my Happiness Challenge

 

Last week, I invited you to join me on my 5-3-1 Happiness Challenge, a simple way to bring more happiness to your life. The idea is a wonderful one: Each day you spend five minutes in meditation, write down three things you’re grateful for, and do one act of kindness. I couldn’t wait to get started! But that was before my week turned upside down …

I started the challenge last Tuesday. I meditate every day anyway, so that part was easy. I thought of some things I was grateful for. I saved a spider as my random act of kindness (though I can’t say I did it without screaming!). And then, the very next day, my horse Kodiak colicked.

Colic is a serious problem in horses and has the potential to be fatal. I was really worried as I raced over to the barn right after my trainer called. I dropped everything I was doing to be with him and help him through this difficult time—in whatever way I could.

I spent the whole day at his side, and then a long night at the barn. I stayed awake all night to watch over him. If his condition worsened, I would have had to take him to a nearby equine hospital. I offered Reiki to him for many hours while waiting and waiting for signs of improvement. I realized I didn’t have the mental resources to “do” the Happiness Challenge I had just promised myself I’d do.

But then a funny thing happened. Although the Happiness Challenge didn’t turn out the way I’d thought, looking back on this week, I realized it actually still helped me in the end. I had gone into this week intending to do acts of kindness … but here I was in a difficult time, and someone did an act of kindness for ME! My trainer, Susan, literally dropped everything she had planned the day Kody colicked. She stayed with me, walking Kodiak, massaging him, staying with us as the vet arrived to treat him. When the tube the vet put through his nose into his stomach caused Kodiak a terrible nose bleed, Susan hugged me as I cried. She even stayed at the barn until the evening, watching over Kodiak, so I could run home to grab dinner before I drove back up for the night. Her selflessness reminded me how powerful kindness is in this world; how it really can help to get us through the tough times. (And it showed me what a wonderful friend she is, too!).

Also, during the darkest part of the first night he colicked, the Happiness Challenge reminded me of the importance of focusing on gratitude instead of giving into fear. It’s at our most difficult moments that it’s most important to remember this! During the extended periods of Reiki meditations in the barn that night, I kept my mind positive by remembering many more than three things about Kody that I was grateful for. I thought of how Kody really helped me so many times in my cancer recovery; how back then, I couldn’t wait to be well enough so I could ride him again. That was one of the goals I focused on during my difficult, painful recovery. And now it was my turn to do everything I could to help him. I kept telling him, “We are going to get you through this. You are going to be ok.”  I’m so happy to report the impaction finally resolved without needing further veterinary treatment! It took both Kodiak and me a few days to recover from the emotions and stress of it all. I think the worst part for him was when he started feeling better but had to be on a restricted diet. That horse loves to eat!

So while I may not have followed the Happiness Challenge to a T, because it was at the top of my mind and intention, I had a deeper realization of the importance that meditation, gratitude and kindness have in our everyday lives. I think it’s important to remember that when things are running smoothly for us—someone else out there is having a horrible, terrible day, and maybe one small act of kindness on our part can help them find hope and strength where they couldn’t see it before. And maybe all of us can become just a little bit happier.

I still love the idea of 5-3-1, and I want to keep incorporating this idea into my daily life. For those of you who followed the challenge with me, thank you. Now tell me: How did your week go?

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Kathleen Prasad

Kathleen Prasad is an entrepreneur, author, educator, spiritual seeker and animal advocate living in beautiful Marin County, California, with her husband, daughter, dog and two horses. She loves being with animals, listening to hip-hop, eating out at vegan restaurants, riding dressage, hiking in the redwoods and traveling the world to meet animal people.
You can learn more about Kathleen here.

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Comments (10)

  • Avatar

    Frans Stiene

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    Thank you for sharing your story Kathleen. You are an inspiration.

    Love
    Frans

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Kathleen Prasad

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      Thanks for reading and being a part of our community! As my Reiki teacher, you are an inspiration to me too 🙂

      Reply

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    Karren

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    This is a beautiful reflection on your challenges and joys of last week Kathleen! I really love the part of “not following it to a T” as I can relate to the side of me that strives to be “perfect”. It is just way too much pressure to be perfect & I have been working on letting go and easing up on myself for quite some time. Aaaahhhhh, feels so freeing.
    Because you challenged us in this challenge :), I really was aware of all I’m grateful for and my interactions with people and animals. There is something so special to be a part of loving kindness as you say Kathleen 🙂
    I love you my friend & teacher, Karren

    Reply

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      Kathleen Prasad

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      Hi Karren, Thanks for sharing your comments 🙂 Yes it is so freeing to let go 🙂 You are a wonderful gift to animals and people too! Keep up the great work you are doing in the Tulsa Shelter and for rescued animals in OK!

      Reply

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    Maureen Petras

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    So touching & beautiful Kathleen. Thanks for sharing! I see & feel so much more beauty around me with every one of your teachings!

    Thank you!
    xo,
    Maureen

    Reply

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      Kathleen Prasad

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      Thanks Maureen, I’m glad it is all helpful 🙂 Blessings to you!

      Reply

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    Sandy

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    Thank you for the reminder that sometimes a small act of kindness can really mean a lot AND make a big difference in a person or animal’s life. And I am so glad that Kodiak is okay now!

    Reply

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    Beth Hunter

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    So happy Kodiak is doing well again. sending Reiki love and light to you both as you continue your journey together.

    Reply

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      Kathleen Prasad

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      Thanks Beth! He is doing great and I appreciate your kind support 🙂

      Reply

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