Ah, happiness. It’s one of life’s holy grails. But how to find it?
The truth is that we often seek happiness, like distant treasure we’re determined to find. Someday, somewhere, off in the hazy future, where the grass is greener, all our wishes and dreams will be fulfilled. Then we’ll “be happy.”
But what do we really need to be happy?
When my oldest son went off to college, I realized that my dream for him was the capacity for happiness. Indeed, as I was letting go of my first little guy who had grown into a fine young man, nothing else I could want for him even came close.
So what thoughts do you have as you consider these questions:
On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your capacity for happiness, without conditions?
What will it take to move that needle?
What, exactly, makes you happy?
How can you live your life to fit that truth?
What’s first, the chicken, or the egg?
Consider what really comes first, my dears: happiness, or the conditions we think we need to meet to have it. And a bit more truth-telling from me will take us deeper.
What’s your capacity for happiness,
Because before my beloved mother got so ill in the 3rd quarter of 2018, and Hurricane Michael struck as she was recovering from a terrible surgery, and her town’s medical community was decimated by hurricane damage, and she went weeks with disjointed care, and then died, I was still putting conditions on my own happiness.
Whew. Talk about self-correction facilitated by life. And death.
In truth, I’d been relentlessly driven! Always striving, working, and thinking. Planning and assessing. Improving.
Getting hip to happiness
These days, on this side of that life crisis and some healthy grieving, the truth is that I’m all about happiness. Yours and mine. I’m hip to what heartbreak taught me, and it’s all about love.
All about beauty. About kindness and connection. All about gratitude and wonder at the magnificent, mysterious journey of life we’re all living.
What, exactly, makes you happy?
In fact, these days my new projects are joys like trusting my intuition and being empathic. Getting ever more present to mystery and synchronicities. Less about late-night work sessions.
More stretching and walking. More playing. Way more meditating. Way more sleeping!
In fact, I call all this good stuff extraordinary self-care. And I say it’s the new superpower for success in the New Decade.
These days I see happiness, like the journey of life, as its own destination. After all, living—with all its twists and turns and ups and downs—is so precious. I just want to take it all in.
The journey these days
So these days I’d say I have a greater capacity for happiness. I’m here for it.
And these days I say, with more passion than ever, the journey is really the destination. A quote attributed to Buddha is worth sharing here, even though I can’t authenticate it:
There is no path to happiness:
happiness is the path. —Buddha
Beautifully said, right? You feel the truth—and power—of that simple statement.
So I say snag happiness. Own it. Sing it! Be it. Then, by all means, with its glow shining around you from deep inside you, go out walking the path toward what you want most.
Yep, reach for it all from there, like that. Be you from there, like that. Day by day, step by step, on the wild, wonderful journey of life.
Yin to yang and back again
And lastly for now:
To be clear, in defending happiness, I don’t mean we’ll then have no pain. No sorrow. Instead, these days I say being happy without conditions means accepting what is, while we move through it.
The journey is really the destination.
Because we know living brings with it the whole range of experiences and emotions, from light to dark. Agony to ecstasy. From yin to yang and back again. In truth, my dears, that’s the gig.
But these days, in the midst of all that realness, I say happiness is ours for the taking. While the great pendulum of life swings as it will.
So, once again now, with feeling, consider what truly makes you happy. Then build whatever that is into your life, from the sweet inner space of your own capacity for happiness.
And get real support as you need it. After all, you deserve the deliciousness of the life you want most to live.