Thursday, July 21, 2011

What makes me happy?

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Yesterday was a busy day. But I say that everyday. Busy. Busy. Busy.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining but I am concerned. All this busy-ness doesn't seem to make me happier.

Which begs the question... What makes me happy?

And I breathe. Settle into myself. Pause.

What makes me happy?

Small moments experienced in the awe of beauty. A sunset stippling the sky in rose and golden hues.

Feeling useful. Feeling like what I do makes a difference.

A conversation with a friend. An evening laughing and sharing.

Lying in bed in the morning and hearing the birds outside my window.

The sound of the water falling in the fountain outside.

Seeing the bright pink petals flowering on the plant on my desk.

These are all sensations of what makes me feel happy... yet still I wonder... What makes me happy?

What is happiness to me?

I am reading, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen spent a year 'changing her life' to feel more happy. She began her project knowing she 'should' be happy -- she had it all. Fabulous husband. Children. Fascinating work. Wonderful friends. Great home. But... she didn't feel happy. There was an unidentifiable ennui eating away at her peace of mind, and she wanted to know what and why and how she could change it. So, she set out on a year long project to do something every month to raise her happiness quotient.

It is the very first statement of the chapter, Getting Started, that woke me up. "I'd always vaguely expected to outgrow my limitations."

I hear ya' sister.

One day I will stop eating when under stress.

One day I will remember family and friends birthdays. I'll get those cards in the mail. I'll learn Photoshop (I signed up for a course yesterday!). I'll watch more documentaries. I'll quit playing Spider Solitaire. I'll only eat 'healthy' food. I'll....

And then, one day turns into the next and suddenly a year has gone by and I wonder... am I wasting my life?

And while I know the answer is a definitive 'NO!', I still feel the ennui of wondering... if I'm doing so much to make a difference, why don't I feel 'happy'.

It's not about feeling 'unhappy'. I am fundamentally happy. With me. About me. In my life.

No, my ennui doesn't come from discontent with my life. It's about finding contentment in the moment without the niggling worry of all the little things I leave undone.

Like the paperwork that needs filing. The bills that need paying. The dishes that need washing. The laundry that awaits piling.

And from that, those little things undone are symptoms of a bigger ennui that undermines my happiness in the bigger picture of my life.

I am letting things pile up because I am avoiding looking at circumstances in my life that are grating on the edge of my contentment.

And at the moment, I'm not prepared to write of them here simply because they have far ranging implications which I need to deal with professionally to ensure fallout doesn't contaminate a larger field of play.

But, in having recognized, and acknowledged where I'm at in the 'playing field of my life', I am empowered to address the situation -- and not play, if I stick my head in the sand long enough, maybe erosion will unbury my thinking. In the sandstorm of my denial, I have been holding my truth silent in the belief that if I don't rock the boat, the sands won't shift (don't you just love those mixed metaphors! :))

Seriously. I am staying silent in my own life, holding myself still in the hopes I won't have to make a decision. That things will change without my having to do anything.

And that's where my 'happiness project' awakens.

I have in the past been a passive observer of life. I've tolerated the unacceptable. Accepted the opinions and actions of others as tolerable, even when they violated my beliefs and values.

and in my passivity, I have allowed myself to drift, to wallow, to sometimes drown, in my own life without fighting for my very life!

No more.

uh uh.

I am a victor, not a victim of circumstances.

I do not stand for the unacceptable. I stand up for me. For what I believe in. And I believe everyone has value. That treating every human being with respect is a measure of my worth and the worthiness I see in others. I believe Love is the answer. And the path is the way to Love.

I believe we all have the power to create happiness, fulfillment, purpose and joy in our lives. WE all have the power to be all we're meant to be.

And no one can do that for me! No one can take it from me either -- unless I give it up.

And I'm not willing to do that.

What makes me happy?

Knowing I am loved. Knowing I love. My daughters. My partner. My family. My friends. My pets.

The rest... they're just trappings. The things I do. The things I have. They don't make me happy. They just dress me up.

And while I like being all dressed up, I know the dressing is nothing compared to the body of work I am when I am being all I'm meant to be without fearing who I am is anyone other than my most magnificent self!

Amen Sister!

have a nice day y'all!


Maureen said...

I've been struck by the amount of research and the number of books on the subject of happiness. One branch of thought is that happiness doesn't even exist, that it's just a construct. Fascinating but...

Just waking up in the morning is enough for me.

Anonymous said...

great piece

watch for it tomorrow at

well done!


S. Etole said...

Do you remember the Charlie Brown series on "Happiness Is ..."?

I sometimes wonder if attitude is what happiness is all about rather than circumstances.

Brandi said...

Good for you sister!!

Praying for your peace and deserve it!

deeps said...

Falling from a great height we CAN say we are flying, but that’s just positive attitude, it wont be too long before we meet with the reality!!
Well, this is a great post oozing with inspiration…

Louise Gallagher said...

Thanks everyone for your comments -- LOL -- maybe I need to do some more research on happiness :)!

Just teasing Maureen -- I agree, there is a lot of research. And happiness still gets confused with contentment and joy and ...

Yup. Getting up in the morning with a smile definitely makes a difference.

And I agree Susan -- it is about attitude.

Thanks so much Mark! I'm honoured.

Hi Deep! Nice to meet you. Love your analogy of meeting with reality!