Excerpted from the book: The Goddess of Happiness, A Down-to-Earth Guide for Heavenly Balance and Bliss by Debbie Gisonni

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If life were a pair of DKNY jeans, what would yours looklike? Would they be worn and faded, thinning in spots, soft to thetouch with the hem unraveling? Or would they be crisp and cleanwith perfect creases and the tags still on them? If my mother hadher way, mine would be the latter. I was raised with what I call a“life-saver” mentality. No, not the candy but the kind of environmentwhere couch cushions were covered in plastic and nevertouched by human flesh, where bathroom towels were only for showor company, where money was saved and only spent on necessities,where new clothes were never worn right after you bought them,where entire rooms in the house were not used, and where the onlylit candles were on birthday cakes or in church.

Many women in my mother’s generation saved and collected a lot of things they never used. Nothing too expensive—maybe a seriesof decorative plates you see on late-night TV or a porcelain dolladvertised in Reader’s Digest, complete with the birth certificate.

When my aunt died, we found dozens of limited-edition plates depicting everything from Elvis movie scenes to Chinese childrenplaying—all in their original boxes with protective coverings andsales receipts, tucked away in drawers and closets, never displayed,never used, never enjoyed. Why spend the money just to hide them?Too often we save things in life for the wrong reasons. Besidesmaterial goods, we save our emotions because we don’t want to behurt, our appearance because we don’t want to look old, or our flawsbecause we don’t want to be anything less than the perfect woman.All this saving prevents us from fully participating in the journey oflife. We become bystanders watching our lives go by instead of participatingin new experiences.

Today, make a point of lighting all the candles in your house andallowing them to burn instead of collecting dust. Although some preferto stoke a log or two in the fireplace, I prefer to line up about adozen candles in my fireplace—all different sizes, colors, fragrances,and shapes—and light them while becoming mesmerized by thedancing flames that look as if they’re playing a well-orchestratedpiece of silent music. Just like the unique direction each life takes,and the variety of experiences that await us, no two candles meltthe same way—some drip slowly like sap on a tree; some widentheir walls like the mouth of a cave, exposing their shimmeringlight; and some collapse inward, engulfing their flame like moltenlava. You’ll never know how yours will burn unless you light it. Ahalf-melted candle is like a wise middle-aged woman who has enjoyedand savored life—a goddess who is not afraid to continue toignite the flame of life until there is nothing left but a tiny piece ofmetal that once held the cord to that life’s existence.

Allow the flame of life to entrance you, burn you, titillate yoursenses, soften you. Participate in life and you’ll have more fun thanyou ever imagined!

Five Ways to Participate in Your Life:
* When you have a rainy day, use what you saved for it.
* Don’t hold back your feelings, especially those of love andcompassion.
* Try something new—a sport, an adventure, love, a hat, ora hairstyle.
* Once in awhile, jump up and down on the bed with yourkids (or even by yourself ).
* Use and share your belongings; you can’t take them withyou when you’re gone.

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Author's Bio: 

Debbie Gisonni, aka The Goddess of Happiness™, is an author, speaker, happiness expert and columnist. She makes life easier and happier for women by helping them connect their inner power with everyday life challenges. Contact: www.goddessofhappiness.com