“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the constant pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”
Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist, 1879 – 1955
Up until 2004, my life was the pursuit of a successful career in food marketing at Co-op Retail Stores. My family was just a hindrance which I had to sort out, feed and clothe. They just got in the way. My only friends were colleagues whom I socialised with after work. I had my eye on the Head of Product Development job and, ultimately, Director of Marketing.
Then one day, Matt, my husband, had the results of the biopsy on a lump at the side of his neck read out by the Doctor. I was asked to come into the room. “I am afraid it’s cancer.” Our whole world ‘turned on a tuppence’. Money, career, success, big house, fancy cars, all meant nothing. I was going to lose my husband, and Matt, his life. He was devastated. I was afraid. “I am not going to walk Lara down the aisle”, he said over and over again. We were crushed.
Then Matt, pulled himself upright and decided to fight. He had a very intensive operation, drove himself to Clatterbridge Hospital each day for radiotherapy and lay in bed recovering for almost 10 weeks. He remained positive at all times and we joked about the ‘Fradgley happy gene’ which he and his family have. I am absolutely sure that his positive frame of mind helped him to full recovery. Out of this adversity, our life changed for the better. We reconnected as a married couple and our bond has never been stronger. We both pulled back from the pursuit of our careers and the focus turned inwards onto our young children. We made our house a loving, ‘forever home’ and not the intended stepping stone to the huge mansion. I gave up work to make our life comfortable, ensuring he and the children thrived. Money became extremely tight, but our life was much better for the change. We were happy. And we have made happiness our mission. Now, our family is close-knit and we have lots of wonderful friends. We lead a simple, fulfilling life.
In his book, The Untethered Soul, Micheal A. Singer refers to unconditional happiness as a choice. “You determine whether or not you’re going to be happy. You can just be happy to be alive.” In other words, we don’t need to qualify it as conditional to the next promotion, the next new car or Jimmy Choo shoes…..we just need to choose to be happy, no matter what. And Matt does. He sees every day as a bonus, and he makes the most of it. He is inspirational.
Yoga is one of the key paths to happiness and I wish I had found it years ago. It stimulates the spinal centres or plexuses – medullary, cervical, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal. The chakras at each of these ganglia or nerve plexuses along the spinal cord are released and energy is allowed to flow up from the base of the spine (the root chakra) to the brain, namely the pituitary and pineal gland (the crown chakra). Different endocrine glands connect through the spine at each of the chakra points, and yoga gently stimulates and gives space to each of these glands to release hormones. Neurohormones such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins flood the blood stream, in turn, creating happiness.
My CALM blend is relatively new and was created because I was asked for a version of my SLEEP and DE-STRESS oils in an on-the-go rollerball. At the same time, I was asked if I had oils safe for children (2+ years), pregnant ladies (12+ weeks) and cancer patients. I also wanted something which I could use during my yoga class. So, I have created CALM to cover all of these. Sandalwood is the key ingredient, as it is a beautiful woody, grounding aroma. Studies have now found that it is a chemopreventative agent, which means it helps guard against cancer. (Click for the study here). It is also relieves anxiety which may be felt when undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment. Lavender and camomile both relax the nervous system, calming you down. Mandarin has a mild uplifting affect, which is ideal for those feeling anxious or depressed. It is perfect for children because of its sweet, orange aroma. The blend is woody, sweet and floral, ideal for both men and women. I’ve been told it smells like the £185-a-bottle Creed Aventus….so now happiness can come at a even smaller price….