How I Stared Down the Devil and Chose Happiness – Part 1

Elephant on a tightrope with happy sign

You know that feeling you get when you think you finally have it all figured out, but out of nowhere another crisis breaks loose and throws you off your feet?

The angel (our positive inner voice), on one shoulder, says you have come so far, mastered incredible challenges; you are strong; keep going. Meanwhile, the devil (our negative inner voice), on the other shoulder, calls you naive, a childish optimist, a do-gooder, a dreamer who fails to change her life or the world.

Well, it was a beautiful spring morning in April 2016, and the devil was winning.

We had moved from Texas to Northern California for a fantastic new program for Sarina, our daughter. She is on the autism spectrum and has severe sensory impairments. She is a brilliant thinker and gifted artist. This mix made it difficult to find a placement for her.

The new program we found was a dream come true.

She was thrilled and wanted to be independent. And I was happy because I would finally have time to follow my mission as a body-mind healer and create programs for those who need this therapy.

Suddenly received shocking news. Two weeks before we were to move in, the Regional Center, the Department of Development Services, cut funding and the program closed its doors.

“It’s enough,” said the sneaky devil’s voice. “You can’t win; give up your dream; it’s not meant for you.”

I felt powerless and defeated.

We had no place for Sarina to live or work. To keep living at home was a setback for her. “I’m 25, why can’t I move… you promised…” The situation was suffocating me – the caretaking would keep me chain-bound. I would have no time to teach. The devil was winning.

How I defeated the devil

Chaos lingered. My daughter’s needs were overtaking my entire existence.

After an early morning hike, as I sat on a rock and watched the sunrise, an overwhelming longing tightened my heart. I cried. “I want to feel like the sky, carefree and full of color. I can’t let the devil win. But how can I overcome him?”

I practiced yoga and looked for healing through nature whenever possible. It was never enough. It felt as though time thieves were stealing my life. The stress of caretaking caught up with me over and over again. I engaged in quick practices throughout the day to keep me afloat, but I valued long practice sessions, the ones I had no time for.

I dried my tears. The sky was stunning. I felt like it doubled its powers to intensify the colors and lure me away from the devil’s grip.

It worked. I heard the angel’s voice whisper, “you can do this, keep going.” And right there on the spot, I stared the devil down: “I will endure; you won’t steal my happiness. I will be free. I’m not here to walk around in shackles.” And I saw the devil shrink.

Sometimes there is only a tiny gap between defeat and victory. In the blink of an eye, either one is possible. One key to flourishing under stress is a practice I teach. It’s the skill of increasing both your outer awareness (what is actually going on around you) and your inner awareness (your introspection, what you are holding in consciousness, your thoughts, feelings, and emotions)

To create a life rooted in peace and inner happiness, you need to grow your awareness to not let the devil win…no matter your circumstances.


Next time we meet, I’ll share more of my story with you. In the meantime, you can sign up for my new program “The Tiny Islands.” 


Shine your light,


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