No matter what kind of change you want to make in your life, WAKING UP HAPPY: A HANDBOOK OF CHANGE WITH MEMOIRS OF RECOVERY AND HOPE holds the keys. As inspirational as it is practical, this first-of-a-kind handbook focuses on the positive steps of recovery and change.
Powerful, absorbing, and beautifully written, WAKING UP HAPPY tells people’s stories, the turning points that changed their lives, and their secrets to waking up happy. Whenever a storyteller learns a new life lesson, you’ll find exercises you can do to put that lesson to use in your own life.
In WAKING UP HAPPY, Jill Muehrcke tells her true story. She also includes the stories of her daughter and granddaughter. Together, these memoirs shine a light on three generations struggling with similar problems and offer clues to how to break the legacy of addiction.
In addition, Jill includes the memoirs of over 30 others recovering from addictions, harmful habits, and intolerable situations. Brave and honest, these stories are filled with triumphs and epiphanies, as well as concrete, step-by-step advice and guidance.
Lessons learned are summarized into secrets you can use to forge your own life-changing journey. The book ends with 365 Steps on Your Journey – one simple step for each day of the year. If you do just one thing from this book every day, you’ll see dramatic growth.
WAKING UP HAPPY is the first book ever to combine memoirs with exercises in a way that ignites change in an almost magical way. Readers say that the combination of true stories and concrete exercises has helped them change their lives as nothing else has been able to do. The memoirs inspire them and the to-do lists prompt them into action.
The exercises are based on decades of research into how people transform their lives. The memoirs provide hope. They show that change really can happen.
Ideally suited to people recovering from addictions or self-defeating habits, WAKING UP HAPPY is also for anyone who has watched a loved one struggle and felt the anguish of not knowing how to help. Indeed, it’s for anyone who longs to move past fear to joy.
One reader calls WAKING UP HAPPY “a treasure trove of delight. It’s like a work/play book in the style and spirit of the Motherpeace books. You can read it straight through or just open it at random and find wisdom.”
Half of all proceeds from WAKING UP HAPPY will go to the Recovery Foundation (recoveryfoundation.net), helping people lead new lives.
Learn To Love And Forgive Yourself
by Jill Muehrcke
Before you can love yourself, you must learn to forgive yourself for being a flawed, imperfect person. And you won’t be able to forgive yourself until you have forgiven all those in your life who have hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn’t just happen; you need to work at it. Consider it a daily or weekly assignment if necessary.
Here’s how my friend Roger describes his journey of forgiveness:
I used a creative imaging approach to make peace with the ghosts of the past. First, I wrote out my feelings about the priest who abused me when I was a child. Then I took deep breaths, inhaling compassion for him and exhaling bitterness. I told myself that his behavior came from a place of pain within himself. His torture of me was born of his own wounds. Picturing him as a hurt child lashing out at the world in agony, I tried to see the world through his unhappy eyes.
I reminded myself that my inability to forgive was hurting no one but myself – that the caustic poison I’d concocted was sickening me, not him. While I couldn’t change him, I could make any changes I wished within myself.
Then I ripped up the pages on which I’d described that cauldron of emotions. After I threw them away, I closed my eyes, called up my imagination once again, and visualized those
vile feelings disintegrating, falling away, and losing their grip on me.
All my rage and resentment didn’t disappear at once, but I continued performing this exercise every day. Each time, more of my malignant feelings wafted away.
After I forgave the priest, I moved on to forgiving my parents for not believing or protecting me. It took me still more time to forgive the church and Catholicism itself.
Then I still had to forgive myself for letting it happen and for allowing my body to respond to the sexual stimuli even though I knew it was wrong. That’s one of the dirtiest secrets about being abused by someone you love and trust: It can actually feel good to the body. The shame becomes so deep it’s entwined in your very being. You become part of that darkness.
I repeated this letting-go exercise over and over. Little by little, I began to feel more peaceful. I was astounded to find that it actually was possible to forgive what seemed unforgivable.
I didn’t forgive the priest for his sake. I did it for me. It was the only way I could begin to feel happiness.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that I believe what that priest did was OK. It means I won’t let him hold the reins of my life any more. It means giving up the hope that the past could have been any different from what it was. It means letting go of guilt, malice, and regret. It means taking back my power.
The world is full of dreadful things – things so intolerable you don’t know how you can possibly go on. But you do. You go on, one hour, one footfall at a time. You speak about the unspeakable, you endure the unendurable, you grieve the unassuagable. And the thing is, there’s beauty too. There is such beauty.
Now, at last, I can feel love for myself and others. I finally know what happiness is.
Roger is one of 30 people who tell their stories in my new book WAKING UP HAPPY: A HANDBOOK OF CHANGE WITH MEMOIRS OF RECOVERY AND HOPE. As each storyteller learns lessons in their life, I add exercises that you can do yourself to create those same changes in your own life.
Try this exercise now. Ask yourself: Who do you need to forgive? Why? Be as specific as you can. Once you have forgiven those responsible for your pain, what do you want to forgive yourself for? Again, be specific. You will find it much easier to feel compassion for yourself once you have practiced feeling it for those who have wronged you.
Take further steps on this journey of self-love and self-forgiveness with the exercises and lessons in WAKING UP HAPPY (WakingUpHappyBook.com). Come to our website to share your own stories. I look forward to hearing from you!
About the Author:
Juliana (Jill) Muehrcke is the award-winning author of many books and articles. Founder and editor of the international magazine Nonprofit World (snpo.org), she has studied at the University of Colorado and the University of Michigan and has a BA degree, specializing in English and psychology, from the University of Washington. Jill is listed in Who’s Who (MarquisWhoswho.com). In her spare time, she enjoys teaching yoga and eating ethnic food. For many years, in several cities, including Seattle, Honolulu, and Madison, she has written restaurant reviews.
Her latest book is Waking Up Happy: A Handbook of Change with Memoirs of Recovery and Hope.