“The older I get I find that happiness is an extremely uneventful subject.”-Florence and the Machine “No Choir”
There are countless books and movies that delve into the subject of happiness. It seems society needs reminders about it, because I guess in the end we are all miserable somehow. The media industry knows this, and capitalizes on our constant search for meaning and fulfillment in a world that does not stop to consider their own existence, not for a second.
I have to admit that happiness has been out of my vocabulary for quite a while now. Yes, I laugh, and may seem happy, but true happiness, the one that settles in with butterflies in your stomach, that one, I’ve been lacking. The kind of happiness that lets you know everything is ok. The happiness that lets you see the glass half full. The happiness that cradles you at night, and comforts you in your sleep. That happiness has been absent. And the emptiness stings hard.
I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer. I am actually not sad about it. I am curious. Will I get it back? Will I ever experience the warmth of it again? I am an optimist by nature, and hell yeah, I will. I don’t know how nor when, but I will. I cannot conceive a life without it. I’m pretty sure I am going through a phase, and this too shall pass. But, how? How will it show up? Do I have to do something to get it?
Elizabeth Gilbert has written about this in her book Eat, Pray, Love. This piece has been quoted thousands of times on social media: “People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.”
Do I, really? Have to participate relentlessly? I’m exhausted as it is right now. Healing takes a lot of energy, and that is what I am really concentrating on. So, if happiness is something that I have to go out and find, well I’m up for disappointment. I don’t have the strength right now for that. Traveling the world looking for happiness is a very romantic idea, but in my side of things, I want happiness to accompany me since I embark. I don’t want to find it there, I want it with me all along.
Happiness is already within you. No need to go out to find it or search for it or travel the world or hope for a strike of luck. I enjoyed reading Eat, Pray, Love, but I think that which she was looking for so relentlessly was always with her. And, yes, it took a trip around the world to figure that out, but we all don’t have that luxury. So why not be more efficient about it? Stephen Batchelor puts in in a simple terms that can help you in any area of pain: ELSA: Embrace the situation/present, Let go, Stop/see the reactivity, Actualize/Act.
I find happiness in hard work and ‘participating relentlessly,’ but I also find it in the small moments that happen everyday. Happiness often doesn’t need finding, rather an ability to open up to its possibilities.
Love the post! I believe you create your happiness and it should never ever depend on someone else. It’s within you and yours to find, pamper and cultivate! After it blossoms, don’t ever let it die. Love you! 😀