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By Lisa Cypers Kamen.

FolwerIn geometry class, the line was always my favorite object. Hypothetically, a line has no width or height, which means that in math problems, length was all you had to worry about. Sure, there was the distinction between lines (which could go on forever) and line segments (which had definite beginnings and ends), but regardless of the type, lines always seemed to have the freedom to travel for however long they pleased.

The line is still a powerful thing. Think about how many lines we encounter in any typical day: If we’re in a heated argument, we have to be mindful of a line in the sand. When we’re in a healthy relationship, we usually marvel at the wonders of an open line of communication.

And then there’s the dreaded shopping lines, the wrinkles that seem to appear out of nowhere on our foreheads, and the lines on the road that help us stay in our lane as we commute to and from work. The more you think about lines, the more examples you’ll find. These straight, arrow-like shapes are everywhere, aiding or prohibiting us as we maneuver through our lives.

But what exactly is a line? It’s not a simple, one-dimensional answer. Some lines, like the line in the sand or that line we’ll never cross, help us understand our boundaries and ethics. Whether you’ll “cross the line” with a controversial comment or will “cross the line” into a romantic relationship with a potential beau is a reflection of you and you alone. Whether you engage in an open line of communication or use a certain line in a social situation is also up to you.

Lines like these represent the boundaries we create for ourselves, and because they’re so personal to us, they can teach us a lot about our priorities and views on what is right and just. A little close analysis of these invisible lines can also help us realize that our expectations of ourselves aren’t always in line with reality. If you haven’t examined your boundary lines lately, they may deserve a closer look!

And then there are the lines that dictate travel or movement: The lines in the road, the grocery lines, and the “straight and narrow” lines we follow to achieve our goals. In a constantly changing world, it’s impossible to ignore that these signs of movement are everywhere.

What’s less obvious is how we navigate them. Some people stay in the same line for 80-mile stretches, driving slow and steady until they reach their designated end point. Other people cut in line, swerve off their path and take detours that lead them somewhere completely new. Regardless of which one of these categories applies to you, you are a navigator. And taking a closer look at the lines of travel around you can help you determine what method or route will land you in the destination of your dreams.

Lines are everywhere, and they’re a lot more significant than they seem. Whether it’s a boundary line you’ve set for yourself or the route you take to and from work each day, the prominent lines in our lives can teach us a lot about ourselves. When was the last time you thought a little more about the lines in your life?

Happiness is an inside job. ®

Happiness Strategy:

Remember being a child and drawing stick figures? We derived tremendous pleasure from clean, simple lines. As we got older, the pressure to draw perfectly representative images took over, leading must of us to give up our drawing pastime entirely.

Today, take out a piece of paper and revisit the stick figures that used to bring you so much joy. As you draw simple images, think about the positive side of drawing lines in your life, whether that means creating healthy boundaries between work and home life or developing a concrete five year plan that follows a very simple linear path.

Whether you discover lines that you perceive to be positive or negative in the process, just remember that you have the power to chose the lines you draw in your life.

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Lisa Cypers Kamen is a filmmaker, positive psychology coach, author, host of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio, professor and lecturer specializing in the field of sustainable happiness. She is widely recognized as an expert on the subject. Lisa’s acclaimed documentary film co-produced with her now fifteen year-old daughter, Kayla, “H-Factor…Where is your heart?” explores how people in varied circumstances find, generate and share happiness. In addition to her film on happiness, Lisa has also published a number of articles and books entitled, Got Happiness Now?, Are We Happy Yet?, Leadership: Helping Others to Succeed and Reintegration Strategies, about combat trauma and using positive psychology principles to create wellness in a post-war new normal. Lisa’s written work is featured on blogs for the Huffington Post, and and she is a TEDx community event speaker. In addition, she is the Happiness Expert for the Florida Department of Citrus/ Florida Orange Juice in its Take on the Day campaign.

Harvesting Happiness for Heroes™ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that delivers stigma-free integrated combat trauma recovery services to warriors and their loved ones. Modalities include scientifically proven strengths based Positive Psychology coaching and interdisciplinary tools such as film, yoga, meditation, art and creative writing designed to mindfully empower the client to achieve increased self-mastery, self-esteem and reclaim her/his life. HH4Heroes focuses on the balance of mind, body and emotion resulting in greater overall wellbeing and the transformation of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) into Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). HH4Heroes offers retreat workshops, one-on-one coaching, Battle Buddy programs, as well as our new R.E.B.O.O.T Online virtual community coaching classrooms designed to reach underserved areas. In addition, HH4Heroes deploys Return to Duty™ civilian and corporate training to help welcome a warrior home and into the community and workplace.

Lisa is committed to teaching Happiness is an inside job™ and helping others end their needless suffering through intentionally cultivating greater joy.

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