While we would all like to follow the advice of the classic pick-me-up tune “Don’t worry – be happy,” that’s often easier said than done. But one Latvian has worked out a system for putting smiles on our faces.
Joy to the world
Whether it’s due to long winters, lingering Soviet resentments or something else, many foreign visitors have remarked on the glumness of Latvians. On the other hand, a popular folk song urges us to “put your sorrows under a rock and pass over them singing,” so the culture has a resilience beyond those sales assistants’ scowls.
Over the last decade, Inese Prisjolkova has been teaching her fellow Latvians to follow that brighter path. In countless seminars, books and media appearances, she has become the nation’s number one self-help guru, spreading a gospel of happiness through choosing what to think about.
“I discovered that it all depends on ourselves - the information we dwell on, what we feed our brains,” she says.
Searching for meaning
Born in Jelgava in 1968, Inese has always been a high achiever. She earned a doctorate in education, then had a career in youth work, as a UNESCO official and in hotel administration.
But she felt unsatisfied, and her body started telling her she was on the wrong path. She suffered an ischemic stroke which temporarily made her blind, as well as migraines, which continue to afflict her today.
As part of her recovery, Inese began what she calls “happiness therapy.” This involved transforming her attitudes and habits, which gradually altered her personal energy, attracted positive people and led to success in all kinds of areas.
“Living itself is happiness therapy,” she explains. “Notice when you’ re in a bad mood in the morning. You can carry it around for weeks or try to change it – by taking a shower, listening to music, jogging. But don’t just accept it or growl “don’t come near me!””
Inese felt so good that in 2009 she founded the enterprise “Pavasara studija” (Spring Studio) and began holding seminars for small groups in her Jūrmala home. The next year, her first book “Ieelpo laimi un mīlestību” (which has been translated into English with the title “Breathe in Happiness and Love”), became a best-seller. And for the next decade, she criss-crossed Latvia speaking at corporate events and town halls, as well as publishing over 20 books, calendars, diaries, games and other motivational materials.
She insists that what she teaches is a not just shallow “Hollywood smile” stuff. Instead, she urges people to find deep, tranquil joy by embracing the entire spectrum of their experience.
“You should enjoy your wedding! And your divorce!” she laughs. “It is equally important to appreciate both light and dark, because I am convinced that the soul’s mission is to turn darkness into light. “
This philosophy has seen her through harrowing loss. At age 46, after years of trying to start a family, she finally became pregnant with twin boys. But they were stillborn at 22 weeks.
With the support of husband Toms, she cultivated gratitude for having had the chance to meet her sons, however briefly. And she transformed the darkness inside her to grow into a different person.
“I thought I would die from grief,” she says. “But then I let my thoughts rise to heaven and let God bathe me in love, then I descended again to go through this experience. Like a deep-sea diver – taking a breath then plunging in.”
A few months later, she became pregnant again. Realising she was filled with fear of losing this child as well, she used affirmations to generate positive feelings and believe in a beautiful outcome.
Their son Kaspars is now five.
Women comprise the bulk of Inese’s audience and she is passionate about femininity, believing that women and men gain wholeness when they embrace innate characteristics. Women can succeed in business, politics or any other field, but they do best when they draw on their female resources rather than becoming entirely masculine.
And there’s plenty that men can learn from her insights. She says there is a plethora of techniques which can be employed in happiness therapy. For example, no matter how bad a situation might initially seem, you can get a fresh perspective by writing down 20 things you are gaining from it.
The pandemic has impacted on Inese’s plans. Her latest book “Septiņas saules” (also translated into English as “The Seven Suns”) about the role of the chakras in our lives has not been printed because pandemic policies forced the closure of bookshops for several months.
But while she misses travelling and meeting people, Inese has taken to the digital world like a duck to water. She gives online readings from her books and conducts webinars on many subjects, including a 100-day program to lose weight. Some of her audio books are available on iTunes and she is negotiating to get them on Amazon as well.
And getting off the road means more family time.
“Being at home allows me to really see Kaspars growing up, which is fantastic,” she says.
Asked what advice she has for others in these trying times, Inese repeats that we should take responsibility for our thoughts.
“If you start your morning watching the news about how many people are infected or have died or what restrictions there are, and you let that fear into yourself, then you can’t escape from it,” she says. “But if you pay less attention to what is happening outside and focus more on your own life, you can, within the prescribed limits, lead a good life.“
Disclosure: Philip Birzulis has worked as a translator on several of Inese’s books.
Stingy people with a lot of money and stingy people with little money...
People can be divided into two groups depending on how they use their own energy and money and that of the Universe – the generous and the stingy. It is not important whether we are talking about simply helping someone by contributing our energy, or about investing, spending or giving money.
However, this division does not prove that generous people are rich and stingy people are poor.
You probably know both stingy rich people and stingy poor people. As well as generous rich people and generous poor people.
It is worth taking a close look at this correlation.
Let’s begin with stingy poor people.
These people do not receive abundance energy from the Universe. They are so trapped in their stinginess and egotism that even the most powerful Universal energy cannot reach them. And it doesn’t want to reach them.
Universal energy of abundance is like solar energy. The sun delights in shining for everyone. It delights in giving warmth, strength and joy, but if you have shut yourself in a basement and closed the trapdoor, it will be cold, damp and horrible no matter how lovely and sunny the day is.
1. The first rule – you must open your own basement and trapdoor to get some sun. We are free beings and we can get as much Universal energy as we like, but this won’t happen if we are barricaded behind thick walls thanks to our behaviour and attitude.
2. The second rule – Universal energy is given to everyone. You can’t bring it into the basement and use it on your own. You can use solar energy to be joyful and to do good, but you can’t take it just for yourself.
That’s why stingy people without money first need to change their attitude and learn to give. They must learn to help others. They must learn to be generous, regardless of whether or not they have money. And as soon as they have learned these basic skills, their energy will change and gradually space will open up for Universal abundance energy, which makes it possible to earn money and do good things for other people.
The second group are stingy but rich people.
These people live off their inner resources. Having once accumulated energy, they are now expending it. Using the metaphor of a house, these people don’t live in a damp basement – they reside in a lavish lounge room. These people spend the resources accrued earlier in life or the inner energy we are each given at birth. These people take energy from other areas of their lives. They expend their health, they expend the energy meant for relationships, they expend their children’s energy. And at the first glance it seems they are succeeding brilliantly! See how you can make money and enjoy life! But either gradually or all of a sudden, all of the spheres of their lives can collapse, one by one. They live behind closed doors and windows. There’s no exchange of energy. Because they don’t attract the energy of abundance, sooner or later they must crash. Such people epitomize the saying – the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
They have expended the Universe’s energy of abundance only on themselves. As they have not been generous or shared with others, they have not received other people’s joy in return, and they have not circulated energy.
Such people never have enough. They aren’t happy.
They will have to lose everything to change their attitude and return to core values. In order to learn that the most wonderful thing a person can do is to give. Give love, give understanding, give help, give money, give support. Once you have learned to give, you also receive a great deal.
Remember the saying – as the call, so the echo! Start giving! The Universe will reward you for it tenfold.
I sometimes wonder if there are so many lonely people in the world, why don't they all get together? Why are we crying in our own rooms instead of laughing together? Why do we spend our lives longing and striving instead of truly enjoying love-filled relationships?
Is it so hard to meet someone?
I don’t know.
Are we afraid to let others come too close?
It is as if we want to swim, but don’t want to get wet.
From the outside it looks to me as if we are robbing ourselves. We deny ourselves the most beautiful thing that can be – love. Having someone by your side. Feeling complete.
Probably because at one time or another you have been terribly hurt.
And now this memory from the past keeps circling in your brain, keeping you from daring to start all over again.
It is curious that, statistically, the odds are in favour of men. There are more single women out there, so men ought to be able to pick and choose. But in my experience men are just as lonely as women, perhaps even more desperate.
It is amazing to me that people who can operate technologically complicated machinery, manage projects and capital, or study history and philosophy, are suddenly at a loss when faced with how to help themselves be happier.
It makes me so sad to see a 30-year-old in a panic because she has never been married, or hear a 40-year-old say, “What more can a divorcee like me expect from life?”
Then I feel like yelling: Wake up!!! This is your life! Whose responsibility is it to jump up and help you become happy?
Actually I think it is a question of responsibility in general.
I think people often contrive to put responsibility for their own lives on just about anyone else in order to avoid taking on responsibility for changing something, for putting things in order.
Our parents raised us badly, our exes were dishonest, our children are at fault, it’s the crisis, it’s the government – see, we have to move abroad to find jobs! Or there simply isn’t enough money…
Time passes, and people become more sullen and dissatisfied, angry and aggressive. Society in general has become sick and is in moral crisis. Why? Because people are not willing to take responsibility for their own lives and their own happiness. And after a while they forget what happiness is.
It doesn’t matter if the issue is with your relationship, your job, your career, your money, or anything else for that matter. The responsibility for your life lies solely in your own hands.
Even as you read these words there are people falling in love, starting families, having children. So it seems that external factors like the economic crisis have nothing to do with your personal life.
There are people who are establishing businesses, starting new projects, and successfully earning money right now. This means it is possible.
So why can some people do it while others can’t?
Isn’t this also a question of responsibility?
Of course we can go out into the world to seek our fortunes like the Latvian folk tale hero Sprīdītis, or go in search of treasure like the shepherd in Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist, but these stories all end in the same way. After a life of learning lessons we discover that the real treasure is in each and every one of us, right here at home.
Happiness, love, friends and family.
I long to see happy people, loving families, a nation built on sustainable values, and a strong country led by wise people.
I am convinced that each of us can love and be loved. What do you think?
My dear reader,
I congratulate you with this decision to fill your life with wealth, prosperity and abundance. I deeply respect you for being ready to change in order to reach the fulfilment of your wishes.
Old habits do not lead to new results, therefore, as of today we need to start creating and consolidating new ways habits of attitude and thinking. For today there will be 2 tasks to work on.
Firstly, visualize your new life, every last detail of it, understand what exactly are the changes you are after. Feel them! What are your new ways of living? From now on, keep this image in your head as your new reality, don’t doubt it, from today you are in your new reality. Do not think of the obstacles that could disrupt you from achieving this reality, focus on the goal. Create this image and know that it will happen.
Secondly, you have to create huge enthusiasm and joy. The more you can charge yourself un and the longer you can maintain it, the farther it will take you.
This method always works wonders for me, I get myself so truly excited that I get butterflies in my belly from the new phase of my life. I talk about it repeatedly, I am happy and excited and full of enthusiasm. While this euphoric time lasts I push myself to maximum with the things that I do as I am fully aware that the enthusiasm will eventually fade. If you have gotten yourself really far on your progress bar during this very exciting phase then the setback won’t be as hard on you and you will find ways to pick yourself up to continue where you have left off.
Therefore, from today on, feel the abundance in the feelings of enthusiasm, joy, inspiration, motivation, faith, confidence, excitement and so on. Increase your positive emotions and enrich them. Write comments, inspire others, share your enthusiasm. Create a rich environment around you here and in real life. Create a new reality. Wealth begins with rich thinking and rich actions. It begins from giving.
Warm hugs to all of you!
I am happy that today we started to do and create a new wave of energy and a safe platform that we can each use for our own and common benefit. Space where we can always reach for our dose of positive energy.
Thank you for that!