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How To Find Out What Makes You Happy (so you can do more of it)

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After spending an incredible three days in Sun River, Oregon coaching fifteen amazing women, I jumped on a short flight to Seattle, Washington and spent six days with my youngest daughter, a sophomore in college. The timing for the trip was divine. From being able to be together to cheer on our favorite American Idol together, to being one of four in a movie theater on a random Tuesday eating popcorn and watching the new Downton Abbey movie, I relished the time we spent together. When she studied and went to class, I spent my alone time at work, visiting with a local friend, hitting the hotel gym where I reached a new physical milestone, luxuriating in the time to knit and binge watch Love on the Spectrum, and even an afternoon strolling in and out of shops in Ballard, one of my favorite Seattle neighborhoods. As a result, I’m heading back to Andi with a deep sense of peace and a new understanding about what it really is that blows my hair back.

As I have said before, part of the Radical Living Challenge is just that, to figure out through the experiences I have, how I want to spend most of the rest of the time I’m alive. How can I design my life so that it feels like I am consistently expressing the essence of who I am as much as possible. This trip away from Andi for 12 days gave me a new perspective on several elements of who I am at the core that I am going to marinate on.

  1. I am a teacher and a student, always. There is nothing that feels more aligned to my soul than when I am teaching, coaching, collaborating and leading. During the time I spent at the Retreat, I felt truly enlivened, deeply feeling the flow of energy and oneness with clients and nature as each day progressed with all of its twists and turns. During a particular moment the last day, while I was coaching a client, I noticed a bird in the huge picture window just behind where the client was sitting. The bird darted back and forth as it flew dangerously close to the window, each time retreating back before trying again, swooping closer, then swooping away. Intuitively, the bird knew this was not the way to freedom, but yet she tried again and again before finally flying off into the bright Oregon sun.

    The bird reminded me that this is what we often do in life. I thought of the times I have continued to try what does not work again and again, thinking that if I pulled back, tried again, or tried harder, the result would be different. What I remembered during these three days is that this struggle is really the call to do something different, to be courageous and take a new path. When I teach, I learn. When I am in nature and listen, I hear the lessons I need to guide me. And this process most definitely blows my hair back.
  2. I have a specific piece of me that resonates deeply with the energy of vitality, and the name I have decided to give her is “Vi.” And let me tell you, Vi is a hoot! Friday night during the retreat the team and I went into Bend, Oregon to play. We ate dinner at a local Mexican restaurant teeming with people celebrating the start of a weekend and dipped into a local candy store to fill tiny plastic bags with our childhood favorites. We ended the night at an arcade playing Air Hockey, Pac Man, Frogger, and Asteroids.

    I noticed this is the same feeling I have when I’m catching up on the latest ‘t’ with my daughters, or when I’m yelling at the TV watching one of my favorite reality shows with people I love. It’s the feeling I get when I’m dancing at a concert, in my kitchen singing out loud while making dinner, riding a bike, swinging on the swing at a park made for children, or when I tell a story. I have a vitality inside of me that wants to laugh and to play, and this most definitely blows my hair back.
  3. I can find peace and joy anywhere when I am in my Essence, even in the middle of the busy SeaTac airport on a Friday morning. I’m starting to realize that peace and joy are not dependent on location, the situation at hand, or what is happening in the world around me. When I am able to connect to who I am in all its messy parts, I am finding it easier to connect to home inside my heart. Which is a big deal for a woman who once thought that her home on Tabor Street was the source of her joy.

About the Author



I am Marni Battista, entrepreneur, mom of three, wife, and lover of travel. My husband and I have spent the last three years being intentional about creating a life that feels like an authentic expression of us as individuals and together. We have a mutual love of adventure, nature, peace, and freedom which has resulted in a series of experiments in honor of our desire to experience a radical living challenge! This blog represents the beginning of this journey.