I feel it’s worth mentioning/announcing/declaring/celebrating, even at the risk of sounding all puppies and rainbows, that I am a happy person, with the added awesome benefit of being super in love with my husband. Funny how “puppies and rainbows” can be viewed as some kind of disingenuous statement, as though someone couldn’t POSSIBLY be THAT level of happy, without putting on some serious airs. But I truly am that kind of happy. And since it’s so very easy to hear from people about how their life sucks and they’re unsatisfied and full of fear and worry about the future and on and on, I thought it might provide a satisfying breath of fresh air to hear about how someone (me) is full of happiness, love and great levels of satisfaction in the present, and a trust that what will unfold in the future is part of what needs to happen in the grand scheme of life.
I was hesitant to offer a post about this, for fear of alienating/offending those who do honestly feel quite discontent. But as it is not my intention to make anyone feel badly, I was compelled to step into this discomfort in order to elevate my platform that happiness is indeed possible. So here’s what I’d like to share:
10 Things I Do To Ensure that Happiness is Possible:
1. I wake up early, meditate for 30 minutes (6 days a week), and end each meditation with a gratitude practice.
2. I prioritize self-care and nourishment.
3. I actively practice to simplify my lifestyle.
4. I don’t wallow in challenges when they arise. I acknowledge them, accept them, and move forward.
5. I devote my time to the service, care, and support of others.
6. I make time to do the things I enjoy doing – and I also diligently practice to enjoy the things I do.
7. I practice to deepen my self-awareness and investigate my habit energies.
8. I revel in music (listening, playing, singing, dancing, going to live shows).
9. I stay in close contact with my spiritual community and surround myself with lovely people.
10. I absorb from others what they have to offer and teach me and continue to thirst for more.
To me, one of the most telling signs about our collective western culture’s state of being, is the pervasive commentary about how happy people are just fooling themselves. It’s not global warming or the fact that we just elected Trump as president that speaks volumes about what our future holds, it’s that deep down most people truly and firmly believe that happiness is not possible. And when we stay stuck in our own tiny box of self, consumed in our own mire, I would agree: happiness is not possible.
Happy people exist. Happily married people even exist! But it seems to me that we’re often looked down on, in a way, as though we must be out of touch with some level of reality, in order to be able to fashion a positive outlook. What it comes down is this: unhappy people need others to adhere to their worldview, so they put them down in order to bolster their position, because if they honestly believed that happiness were possible, it would mean there was something they could do about their own situation. As Thay says: we prefer the suffering we’re used to.
My sense, and I could very well be mistaken, is that I personally know very few people who would deem themselves as being a happy person. And by “happy person” I don’t mean someone without any challenges or difficulties, who doesn’t have a rough day once in a while or doesn’t experience painful emotions – it’s these kind of false ideas of what happiness is that get us in trouble. I’m referring to someone that when asked the question: Are you happy? wouldn’t falter or stumble or stop to think about their answer, they’d say “Yes,” right away. Someone for whom a positive outlook is way of engaging with the world, for whom challenges are seen as part of life and not reasons to victimize themselves or over-dramatize about. Someone who, for all intensive purposes, is a happy person with a joyful presence.
Happiness, it seems to me, is in short supply. Our world needs more happy people. Those who practice to ride the tides of life and continue to see the beauty and goodness that surrounds them. Those who are more optimistic and less cynical about life. Those who can hold both the darkness and the light at the same time. Those who know how to care well for themselves, so that they are able to nourish and inspire others.
We tend to share with others more about what’s going crappy in our lives, verses all the good stuff. Is it that we’re not in touch with all the stuff going well and take it all for granted? Is it that we feel as though we’d be “rubbing it in” if we shared the good stuff? Or maybe we just don’t understand happiness well enough to know it when we have it. I see it around me often: the inability to focus on what’s going well and dwell almost solely on all the things that aren’t ideal in our perception of how things “should” be. And when something great does happen, we downplay it or tell others about all the hardships associated with it. It’s almost as though we need to be unhappy, to keep that story going – because, again: we prefer the suffering we’re used to.
I would like to make a proposal, and perhaps I would even go so far as to call it a plea, that we, as a collective body of people sharing this lovely planet together, make a concerted effort to share our moments of happiness with those around us. To share about all the good stuff, too. To start angling our attention, our hearts, and our minds in the direction of everything that is awesome and beautiful and amazing. When we start shifting our focus to the good stuff happening, we begin to discover it everywhere, in everyone, and amid every situation that arises – and, slowly, life stops being so hard.
Please understand, this post isn’t me trying to be all braggadocios and self-righteous about being a happy person, it’s a matter of my want to offer the light of hope and motivation that happiness is genuinely possible. Please remember, dear friends: there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way. Happiness doesn’t create itself, we develop it, by actively and diligently practicing it.