People are always looking for the perfect recipe for success and happiness. I don’t believe there is a perfect recipe. Happiness is a feeling and it can be seen in many different ways. You should not try to copy anyone else’s lifestyle, because that is a waste of time without any guarantees; what is good for them may not be good for you. Everyone is different. Instead of running after butterflies, take care of your garden, and you will have all.
People love to feel good; to feel pleasure; to have health, success, money, and opportunity. Those who possess these traits have a tendency to be upbeat people who do not compare themselves to anyone. Besides being focused on what they want to do, they also have a strong energy: a powerful and positive way of thinking and seeing life in everything. More importantly, they believe in themselves.
Your thoughts have an energy that can help you attract things faster, so your way of thinking is no doubt the catalyst to empower you or to destroy you. Understanding what makes you happy is the first step; however, the amount of happiness you can achieve in life is measure by the amount of freedom you have in your mind and how you use it.
Free your mind: What people think about you doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day you are the only person that knows who you are and the truth about your life. Every day, people will try to make you like everyone else, and this is one of the biggest challenges of living in this world: to be yourself. In the past, I always listened to the advice of other people, even their criticisms about my personality. However, I learned there was no point in wasting my time and energy arguing for hours about what would be best for me. Instead, I decided to make it happen. I took an attitude and saved a lot of time that could be better used to enjoy my achievements. I made a list of the things that I wanted to do in my life, and most of it is done!
Create the atmosphere: The synergy between the ways you think and feel about situations you face is a magnet that can attract either your desires, or nothing. Be a positive person is strength, and the key to connecting your thoughts to the universe, and the secret to increasing your chances of conquering your dreams.
I was born in the city of São Paulo in Brazil. However, because of our circumstances, my family and I went to live in the north of the country in the state of Para, where I had the opportunity to grow up in the beautiful region known as Amazonia. There, life was very simple. We combined our own creativity with natural resources to live life every day, and it was far from high-tech. We pulled water from a well to wash the dishes, cook, and shower. Twice a week, we walked two kilometers to wash clothes in a river. We climbed trees to harvest fruit as an afternoon snack. It was even possible to manufacture our own coffee, because we had coffee trees in our yard. That way, we would save money for other needs.
“Luxury” was a word that I didn’t know. I didn’t even have much time to play because I had to help my family. I started work very early, selling sandwiches and popsicles at the school gate on weekday afternoons. On the weekend, I’d work as a manicurist to help my father. I had asked his permission to work to help him, so we could eat bread at breakfast, as well have the ability to add items to the monthly grocery list like chocolate milk, cheese, and Coca-Cola. At that time and place, these things were otherwise too expensive for us. Eating bread every day was a special achievement, and drinking Coca-Cola with Sunday’s lunch was a luxury.
Although I loved living there, I wanted to know more about life, and I wanted to travel the world to learn about different cultures. Given the living conditions for most people around me, no one could imagine the possibility of living a different kind of life, nor was anyone willing to make the effort to leave that place. In their mind, it was impossible—but not for me.
I left my father’s place. I chose to be far from my family and friends because I had big dreams, and my ambitions could not be satisfied in the beautiful but secure environment my family provided. I knew that my life there couldn’t possibly fill my heart.
Now, if I close my eyes, I can see my stepmother crying and watching me leave home with only the clothes I wore and two grocery bags, one with two books and the other with two shirts. My shoes were old and damaged; I had to put a nail inside one so I could keep using it. I said goodbye to that house. I said goodbye to that life, and I was very determined. Only death could have stopped me from my decision—nothing else.
Don’t expect anything from anyone: If you want something to happen perfectly, do it yourself. You have a long way to go if you want to achieve your desires, and I can assure you that there are no such things as “miracles” or miraculously charitable people. Having expectations of others can be fatal to achieving your dreams. What truly calls forth your desires is attitude and believing in yourself. In this way, your “garden” is your heart and your mind. How you treat your garden will determine whether or not you receive beautiful flowers to attract the butterflies everywhere.
Ana Paula Mendes
Many thanks to:
Nadjim Ait-Meddour – Photography