Directions to Happy Lane

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This is a guest article from Alan Cohen – From the Heart – February  2011

Directions to Happy Lane

During my Life Coach Training seminar in Ojai, California, I took a walk in that picturesque town. As I strolled along a back road enjoying a striking mountain vista, a car pulled up beside me.  A forlorn tourist rolled down his window and asked, “Can you direct me to Happy Lane?” I shrugged my shoulders and answered, “Sorry, I can’t help you. I don’t live around here.” As the motorist moved on, I recognized the humorous metaphor of the encounter: You can’t direct other people to Happy Lane unless you already know the town. You can’t help others find happiness unless you are happy. When you’re familiar with the area, it’s easy to show the way. If you’re not there, you can’t be of much help.

In February we celebrate Valentine’s Day, honoring lovers and relationships. While we tend to focus on the romantic aspects of relationships, ultimately they serve as powerful teaching tools. If a relationship helps you grow in self-awareness and take back the power you give to others to make you happy or unhappy, it has served you well. Your relationship partner serves as a mirror for your beliefs and attitudes about yourself. If you see beauty and love in your partner, that is what you see in yourself. If you see faults and problems, again you are meeting yourself. Wherever you go, there you are.

In the early days of motion pictures, a small group of cowboys in South Dakota got together to watch their first movie, projected onto a sheet on the wall of their bunkhouse. At one point in the film a band of war-painted Indians stormed over the top of a ridge, hooting and hollering, seemingly charging straight toward the audience of viewers. Suddenly one of the cowboys in the bunkhouse rose, drew his revolver, and fired six shots at the Indians. Moments later the lights in the room went on, the movie disappeared, and the audience laughed to find six bullet holes in the bunkhouse wall.

When you resent, resist, or attack your relationship partner, or anyone, you are firing holes in the screen. You are fighting an image in your mind. Rather than engaging in a war with a play of light on a screen, trace the image back to the film moving through the projector in your head. You made up a story and then dove into it. The issue is not about the other person. The issue is about you. With such a realization you are immensely empowered. You cannot change other people to meet your expectations, but you do have the power to change your mind. When you open, grow, and expand your consciousness, your relationship opens, grows, and expands. We see life not as it is. We see life as we are. Thus relationships are one of the best ways to facilitate self-healing and personal evolution.

This principle came to light when I coached an unhappy doctor in Japan. The fellow had been pushed into his career by demanding parents and he hated his job. Yet, due to rigid societal expectations and his parents’ continued pressure, he felt he was unable to leave. When I asked him if there was any other profession he would rather have, he lit up and answered, “I would love to be a party planner.” Stunned, I asked him, “Why would you prefer that over medicine?” “Sometimes I throw parties for my staff,” he explained, “and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to see them happy.” Suddenly the dynamic behind his dilemma became clear to me. I told him, “When you throw a party that makes your staff happy, in that moment you realize that you have the power to make someone happy. The someone you would really like to make happy is yourself. Now turn that power loose on yourself.” He and I explored ways he could take better care of himself and amplify his joy, and he left the session relieved and uplifted.

Likewise, a workshop participant told me, “I am angry with myself because when I was a child I vowed I would become President of the United States by the time I was 48 years old. Now that birthday has come and gone and I see no hope of me achieving my goal.”
“Why do you want to be President?” I asked.
“I would like to free the world of oppression,” he replied.
“Then perhaps you could begin by freeing yourself of the oppression of self-judgment,” I suggested.

This month as you consider your lover, or your desired lover, or any of your relationships, remember that to guide someone to well-being, you have to already be there. If you want more love from your partner, give it to yourself first. If you want more freedom, claim it. If you want more understanding, understand. Then, when someone comes to you looking for Happy Lane, you will be able to point them in the right direction.

Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including the metaphysical thriller, Linden’s Last Life. Listen to Alan’s weekly radio show Get Real on Hay House Radio at, and join him for Life Coach Training beginning in September. For more information about Alan’s books, programs, or his free daily inspirational quotes via email, visit, email, or phone 1-800-568-3079.