I'm not going to pretend I've got all the answers.
"Be happy! It's that easy!"
But as we enter the Jewish month of Adar, the month synonymous with joy, so much abundant joy that we say, "When Adar enters, we increase in joy," we start to look around and sometimes, the joy just ain't there.
The check isn't in the mail yet, the kid is still struggling in school, the job is still miserable, life is still lonely. And when the joy isn't apparent, it's so easy for the other components of life to just take over: The misery multiplies; the finances tighten; the struggles amplify; and the loneliness takes over.
So how do we move into a space of true "Adar" consciousness, of unbounded, effortless joy?
It starts with you, and that's the thing, isn't it? It always starts with you.
Because what we see is what we get, and that applies to how we perceive the world around us.
If all we see is pain, then all we get is pain. I'm not just referring to the universal law of attraction or anything else you've seen in self-help, but genuine perspective.
If you see a tough lesson that life serves you as pain, it will only amplify and continue to be pain. If you see it as God's manifestation of Tough Love, then you will learn from it, stop resisting it, and move on.
If we view financial straits as lack, then all we will continue to view is the ever-gaping hole of lack that grows and grows. If you perceive your not-as-high-as-you'd-like-it-to-be salary as abundance, albeit not as abundant as you'd like, all you have to grow is abundance. If your job is a blessing because it keeps a roof over your head, the blessings will come.
It's all a matter of perspective. The family that irritates you are a blessing of love, because they care. The partner you don't have yet, the chance to improve yourself and enjoy quality time alone and with the universe until the right one comes along. The challenging political situation around you, an opportunity to improve the situation of this country for the next generation. The tragedies we see in the world - a catalyst to pray and search within ourselves to create a better world, because it always starts from within.
There's no need to be overwhelmed by the state of the earth and thus wallow in a land of self-pity and sadness. Instead, use it as a springboard to improve: You'll never get to Syria, but how about right here at home? How about going deep within to find your flaws and work through them; to improve your immediate relationships with partners, friends and family; to uplift your work to something meaningful and impactful; to change your everyday interactions into something heart-centred and connecting?
It's not that easy to change the world all at once, but it's really easy to change one moment at a time. So infuse that moment with joy, and watch where the day takes you.