I used to think happiness was this constant state of elation. I mean that's what we're told it is. When we're happy according to the societal narrative we should be smiling. ALL. THE. TIME. Except, that's a little grotesque, isn't it? (I'm having clown flashbacks. Gimme a second. Ok. Deep breaths. And. I'm good). But, luckily, I now have a deeper and more meaningful relationship with happiness.
Photo by Christian Diokno: https://www.pexels.com/photo/gloomy-man-with-painted-clown-face-3251664/
Here's the thing, happiness is more of a sense of ease in your own body. For me, it feels like I'm able to flow with life exactly as it shows up. I'm not fighting or trying to change anything. And when unpleasantness arises, I'm able to find the edges of suffering and peel them back without judgement. I'm able to stay rooted in love and my connection to that energy even in situations that would have, in the past, caused me to pull away or flee. That sense of ease and ability to stay fully here has taken years of mindfulness practice. And it isn't a constant state, contrary to the societal narrative.
Nowness + Commitment + Gratitude=Joy
When I first started on my healing journey I thought if I just meditated, then joy would be soon to follow. What I didn't understand at the time is that I still believed I needed to be 'fixed". I had this overall belief system that centered around being broken, damaged, unlovable and easy to abandon. But, taking that first step in sitting with myself even if it didn't provide instant enlightenment or joy was the start of a lifelong commitment to self-love. And I'm not saying it's easy! But, when we want to truly change our story we're willing to sit and face ourselves. And through this sitting, we develop a new relationship with everything inside and outside of us.
And through this new relationship, we slowly invite ourselves to see the beauty around us. Each breath becomes a blessing. Each moment a chance to start anew. We realize that everything is temporary and that impermanence is the only constant. And gratitude takes on new meaning. We aren't grasping to find things to be happy about or to hope for, we are in fact acknowledging the simple things that bring us joy just by existing. The smell of coffee, the feel of the mug in our hands, the way the steam rises to meet our face, the sound of the rain hitting the ground. So many precious moments. And this becomes our practice. We become our practice. And slowly over time we feel completely and totally at one with right here and right now or as I like to call it "nowness" :).
It happens so subtly. And one day you realize you've finally come home. There is nothing out there that hasn't always been waiting for you right here. And that is when it hits you: "I'm happy." This is it. And then you let it go. You realize this state will come and go and you will leave and return home over and over again because that is how this human experience works. And you smile in a non-clownish way and realize how incredible this whole life thing is. :)
Happy almost 2023 everyone! Wishing you all a wonderful trip "home".