08 Jun
Happiness Diaries Episode 16: Elizabeth Grace (Akaroa, NZ)

I sit on the back of my fathers motorbike, arms stretched wide to each side, bracing against the wind. The sunshine beaming through my visor on this fresh autumn morning. Damp nature bush on the roadside expresses its earthy scents and reminds me of many wild welles on the forests of New Zealand. Looking behind me I see Colby and can only imagine he is having a similar experience. The freedom and Joy I feel when riding is why I keep coming back to it. But for me it’s not only about joy (or happiness as you call it). It is about the experience of life. Experiencing life in each moment, without judgement of what it is or isn’t. Just love and acceptance for life as it is. To live with love.

I have been encouraged to write about what happiness means to me and what makes me happy… when I sat down to write I questioned myself on what happiness was and what makes me happy. I was met with my own question of what is deeper than joy? What state of being would I need to be in to experience being happy? And not just a momentary ‘happy’ that is triggered by external events or situations but a happiness that is felt within my whole body. A happy that doesn’t leave when things don’t go to plan. A happiness that I can share and express with others and continue to feel even if they disagree with me.

The State which helps me feel this level of happiness is love and acceptance for the experience of life. What happiness is to me, is the full experience and expression of love for life. After living through a state of depression and contemplation of ending my life, I made it my mission to LIVE and to live fully as the most authentic version of myself. I had spent years of doing what I thought was expected of me or according to other peoples thoughts. So now, I live for me. I follow my passion. What brings me pleasure and joy and fills me with love.

Love to me is the key to happiness. Not the love one usually thinks of in a romantic situation, but love for live. A love that inspires me to be more, to do more. A love that motivates me to look after myself on all aspects; physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually; so that I am nourished and overflowing with love and feel empowered to face any challenge with grace. That I can experience ‘everyday life’ with wonderment and that is what makes me happy. I’ve created a life that is based upon the idea of not allowing myself to do or accept things that don’t ignite the four core values of Joy, Love, Pleasure or Passion. It has required me to let go of a lot of what my life once was, but has created so much space to build a life that I love and will always love.

If there was any message I could pass on to others, it would be the encouragement to go onward and discover what your core needs are and to follow the experience of them courageously. Live with as much love as you can and expand yourself to experience even more love yourself, and love yourself hard! Look for happiness in life. Every moment. The more you look, the more you will see.

Elizabeth is a relationship and empowerment coach in process of building a program in order to help others rediscover the passion for life. A biker when she was younger, she has done things on a Ninja 250 I wouldn’t have thought possible (slash I may be just too… large… to accomplish). Elizabeth has lived, experienced and grown more than would be expected from anyone her age due to her perplexingly vast life experience. Her personal story has brought her from a near marriage, to a long unsatisfying relationship and marriage in a foreign land, to knowing exactly what she wants in a partner and not settling for less; from being a dancer to a heavy duty mechanic to a business owner to a masseuse and therapist/life coach; from living in small town countryside Featherston, to living all over New Zealand, to living in the Cook islands, and coming back home; from youthful and excited about the future to depressed and contemplating driving her scooter into traffic, to living life to the fullest and chasing her personal goals regardless of what people may not think about it. She is working hard to chase her dreams, which in turn will help others either discover more about themselves, or develop those pieces that they want to improve… a noble passion and career.

I met Elizabeth in Akaroa while I was meandering through the waterfront shops waiting for a bus. Her incredible energy for life is immediately evident and intoxicating, and I nearly missed my bus talking to her (and there’s only one a day!). After chatting a bit over Instagram, I was lucky to be invited to stay in the spare room of her family home in Featherston, which is about 40 minutes outside Wellington. Over two nights with her and her parents it was near impossible to halt the conversation which covered all grounds from appropriate use of what can only be described as foul language, to the impact of intimate relationships on mental health, to bodily functions, to motorcycles, to the always intriguing topic of family histories. In what was an incredible stroke of luck I was staying with them on ANZAC day and they brought me to a moving sunrise ceremony celebrating the difficult history of the New Zealand armed forces, not shying away from some of the difficult parts that many exhibits shy away from. Over the stay they fed me incredible healthy food, and in those two short days I could already feel the impact of regaining a proper diet. On two occasions, once after an awesome two-up ride across the mountain pass from Featherston to Wellington (one of the most exciting roads I’ve ever ridden… if you can get it with minimal traffic) and once when I was supposed to be leaving, Elizabeth and I had time to intimately discuss each of our life experiences, including our battles with mental health and depression. In these long conversations we were able to tell each other all about our low points and what brought us there, we were able to hear about what the other did to stop the slide and climb back from the brink, and most importantly we learned the methods we are each using to stay in good mental health.  Elizabeth is a powerful personality, she is open and honest, intelligent and motivated, entirely captivating, and she shows genuine care about everyone that takes the time to openly talk with her. I highly suggest you check out her material and think about signing up for her program next year at www.bygraceshesgood.com , I’m sure it’ll be great.

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